Monday, May 09, 2011

Misnamed sausage?

JK was foolhardy enough to order some of the food in Paddy O'Shea's the other day. I warned him against it, but his munchies got the better of him. He plumped for the dish of 'cocktail sausages' - and found them to be tiny, deep-fried to excessive crunchiness, cut into the rather creepy 'octodog' floret shape (something surely only 8-year-olds could conceivably find an attractive novelty?!), and of a cheap local Chinese variety whose weird and inappropriate 'savouriness' was still repeating on him the next morning. Next time, heed the advice of the Froog, my friend!

However, this bizarre food encounter got me to thinking..... Why do we call them 'cocktail' sausages anyway?

I suppose it's because this unsatisfying size of banger was developed as a finger-food for 'cocktail parties', when these became something of a social fad (when was that? '60s, early '70s? maybe earlier for the States, but I remember it as one of the odder background details to my early childhood in the UK).

Ah, but might it not be rather fun if one could develop an actual cocktail sausage - one that evoked something of the character of a classic mixed drink?

After all, we know that spiceyness and tomatoeyness work splendidly as an accompaniment to sausages of any size - so, some kind of Bloody Mary sausage ought to be possible. The challenge is to find a filling that can carry some flavour of the base spirit as well, and goes reasonably well with it. Something fairly bland and pale for vodka, I suppose (although I'm not sure that any food, certainly not any meat would really go all that well with vodka).

American whiskeys, because of their sweetness, have already been widely used in marinades and sauces for barbecued foods. So, I can see a Jack & Coke sausage, for example, being rather successful (although it's not exactly a cocktail; and I don't really approve of it as a drinks choice). And I see no reason why you couldn't add a whiff of vermouth (or port - yum!) to the mix to evoke a Manhattan.

I can see a mint'n'lime glaze going quite nicely with a lamb sausage too - but could you infuse it with the Mojito's rumminess?

I shall perhaps conduct some research over the coming summer to try to ascertain whether it is possible to impart some of the flavour of an alcoholic drink to a sausage (without making it taste disgusting).  Watch this space.

No comments: