Broussard's Bartender Paul Gustings Shows off His Menu
By Todd A. Price, NOLA.com | Times-Picayune
Esquire magazine once called Paul Gustings, best known for his time at the Napoleon House and Tujague's, the crustiest bartender in America. But as he showed off the cocktail menu at The Empire Bar inside the newly renovated Broussard's, he looked as happy as a grumpy man can be. Why shouldn't Gustings be pleased? He's making drinks exactly how he wants.
The labor-intensive menu has four punches, including a Nuremberg punch and an English milk punch. For the milk punch, he combines rum, brandy and arrack with pineapple, spices, citrus and sugar. That sits for a week. Then he adds more citrus and boiling milk, which curdles. After an hour, he draws off the milk solids. The result has an unusual richness.
"People don't make this, because it's too much trouble," Gustings said. "If the end result is this good, I don't know why I shouldn't do it."
Many of the drinks come from Gustings' 150 volume library of cocktail books. Most date from the pre-Prohibition era. His originals have an unusual depth and grace that makes them taste antique.
His El Libertador, for example, includes both Angostura rum and an ounce of Angostura bitters along with sugar, lemon juice and acid phosphate. For his spin on the Pimm's Cup, he first infuses the standard Pimm's No. 1 with the pulp of limes, lemons, oranges, cucumbers, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.
In one aspect, Gustings didn't get to call the shots at The Empire Bar. The management wanted his cocktails to reflect the restaurant's Napoleon theme.
"We changed all the names from what I call them," Gustings said. "I suck at naming things."
Broussard's officially opens Friday, Sept. 20. The restaurant is located at 819 Conti St.
Source: NOLA.com | Times-Picayune
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