A cooling hot-weather aperitif, Pernod is traditionally served with shaved ice and water on the side. As they're added, the yellowish liqueur turns milky white. Since Pernod is distilled from fennel, it has the bulb's characteristic licorice flavour. The absinthe cousin can also be used to intensify broths (Pernod deliciously complements steamed mussels) and cream sauces. Here's a recipe for a Morning Glory Fizz, a potent Pernod-spiked brunch cocktail. In a cocktail shaker, combine four ice cubes, one ounce lemon juice, three ounces gin, 1/2 teaspoon sugar syrup, an egg white and three drops Pernod and shake until a froth forms. Strain into a large chilled old-fashioned glass and top up with ginger ale. Drink with a straw. Paper umbrellas optional.
"You know you're getting old when your birthday candles cost more than your cake." So quipped bad-boy chef Greg Couillard last weekend (July 5) at his party to celebrate turning the big 5-0. Held at his ramshackle farmhouse on Lake Simcoe, part of the abandoned Christie cookie family estate, it made the perfect antebellum setting for a soirée. While Couillard roasted pigs, jerked chicken and whipped up strawberry shortcake, sister Gay of Vienna Home Bakery (626 Queen West, 416-703-7278) grilled salmon with white wine in tinfoil papillote. Guest Moses Znaimer spent the afternoon scoping the beach for bikini-clad bacchanalians, while party-hearty Marcus O'Hara and Mary Margaret O'Hara split just as the party peaked to catch pal Daniel Lanois 's Kee to Bala show.
Back in town, Greg has scored a gig as consulting chef at Sassafraz (100 Cumberland, at Bellair, 416-964-2222), the pseudo-celeb lounge in Yorkville. It's the peripatetic cook's 38th restaurant.
I give him a month.