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Gourmet Shot: Ted Allen

While celebrity-chef shows may come and go, one of the mainstays of food television is smooth-talking Ted Allen.

He burst onto the small screen back in 2003 with the Emmy Award-winning smash hit Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where he taught millions of Americans about cooking and bartending. “We did a lot of cocktails,” he says. In a memorable episode, he even got Kevin Bacon’s brother Michael to make French 75s.


Now you can find Allen on a range of Food Network programs, including the acclaimed Chopped, which he hosts. Both he and the show just won James Beard Awards. And his latest book, In My Kitchen, was released this past spring. “I wanted to write a cookbook for people who love to cook, who live to cook,” he says.

But that doesn’t mean he’s stopped making drinks. In fact, in Allen’s Brooklyn apartment, there’s a mid-century-modern bar cart (he says it’s the same one John Slattery’s character, Roger Sterling, has in his office on Mad Men) and a wall-mounted Paul Evans disc bar. “You either love it or hate it,” he admits. “It’s a very acquired taste.” That’s not to mention a new stand-alone Viking ice machine, whose cylindrical cubes are ideal for mixology. “They’re shaped so they tumble around and don’t clump up,” he says.

So what does he fix for himself, anyway? “I’m a gin guy,” he says. Usually, “perfectly boring Tanqueray & Tonics.” He also has bottlings from Death’s Door, Hendrick’s and Junipero, plus the Japanese Hibiki Whisky.

But there are a few recipes for original concoctions in his new book. We like the Campari Açaí Brunch Punch, which combines three types of juice with herbs, vodka or rum and, of course, the bracingly bitter Campari. Mix up a batch and you’ll see why Allen is still on TV.

Campari Açaí Brunch Punch

Contributed by Ted Allen

  • 16 oz Tangerine or orange juice (no pulp), divided
  • 16 oz Cranberry juice (100-percent juice), divided
  • 6 sprigs Basil or mint
  • 4 oz Açaí juice
  • 8 oz White rum or vodka, cold
  • 4 oz Campari, cold
  • Garnish: Lime, orange and lemon wheels
  • Glass: Tall

The night before serving, stir together 8 ounces each of the tangerine and cranberry juices and divide between 2 small, uncovered food-storage containers. Place 3 basil sprigs in each container and freeze overnight. Pop the frozen juices out of their containers and place in a half-gallon pitcher. Add the remaining 8 ounces each of tangerine and cranberry juices, along with the açai juice, rum or vodka and Campari. (If you can’t find açaí juice, substitute extra cranberry or tangerine juice.) Stir, and garnish with lime, orange and lemon wheels. Serve in tall glasses filled with ice.

(Recipe courtesy of In My Kitchen by Ted Allen with Barry Rice. Copyright © 2012. Photo copyright © 2012 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.)

Series & Type: PeopleGourmet Shot

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