Lush Life: A Catnip Cocktail
"I've watched people closely who consume the drink, and I've noticed they seem especially frisky afterwards," mixologist Alan Walter jokes about the Here Kitty Kitty, a cocktail he created with catnip-infused brandy.
Walter, a mixologist at Loa in the International House Hotel, New Orleans, has become famous in cocktail circles for his foraged house-made syrups in flavors like caramelized Pandan leaf, pine needle/lemongrass and Spanish moss, but his Here Kitty Kitty "started as a playful novelty and became so popular," he says.
That might have something to do with the "cat bowl" he serves it in. But the draw is definitely the catnip, which Walter found dried at a local spice store. "I knew it to be a traditionally healing herb, but I love and have cats, so I found the crossover amusing," he says. "They usually get a piece of whatever I'm cooking, but now I get to enjoy something in one of their toys."
Long before it was used as fun for felines, this perennial rose to popularity as an ornamental herb because of its drought-tolerant and deer-resistant properties. It has the opposite effect on humans that it does on cats, and is often used in herbal teas for relaxation.
"It has very mellow qualities," Walter says, "This drink is reminiscent of a brandy milk punch and the catnip lends a bewitching, earthy quality."
Here Kitty Kitty
Courtesy of Alan Walter, mixologist at Loa in the International House Hotel, New Orleans
- 1 ounce catnip-infused brandy*
- 2 teaspoons crème de violette
- 1 ounce cream
- .25 ounce simple syrup
- 1 dash absinthe
- 1 bottle of brandy
- Dried catnip
Add 1 tablespoon dried catnip per 5 ounces of brandy and shake vigorously 4-5 times over 30 minutes, then strain through a fine strainer.
Shake all ingredients together with ice and strain into a "cat bowl."