New York City’s celebrity chef Eric Ripert is the anti-Gordon Ramsay. While Ramsay is famous for his outbursts and f-bombs on Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, Ripert is well spoken and Avec Eric—his cooking and travel show on PBS—is almost soothing to watch. But make no mistake, he’s no pushover. With good friends like tough guy Anthony Bourdain, and four-stars from The New York Times and three Michelin stars for his legendary French restaurant Le Bernardin, he’s legit. But after a long 12-hour-day behind the stove you won’t find him bar hopping with sous-chefs or getting into trouble with Bourdain. (For the record, he’s “not a bar guy” nor does he really care for cocktails. “I like good quality spirits and I don’t like to mix them,” he says.) On most nights, at around 11:30 PM, he’s at home watching Charlie Rose and enjoying a stiff nightcap. He’ll slowly savor a good ounce of spirit while he unwinds. “It takes me forever to drink,” he confesses. “It’s my time for myself.”
Sometimes it’s a dram of Scotch, usually Johnnie Walker Blue Label or Macallan 12-Year-Old with a single large ice cube, or some tequila neat, usually Patrón Silver, Don Julio 1942 or Casa Dragones. But recently Ripert was introduced to the joys of dark rum while down in the Caribbean. (He has a restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton on Grand Cayman.) He’s particularly fond of the Zacapa Rum 23 and the Zacapa XO. A glass of it neat and “you go to bed easily,” he jokes. For a special treat Ripert pairs it with a late-night snack. “I love dark chocolate with rum,” he says. Even better is a glass of Zacapa with some of his rich chocolate mousse. But be warned: This combination may lead to a Gordon Ramsay like outburst.
Contributed by: Eric Ripert
- .5 cup Whole milk
- .25 cup Granulated sugar
- 2 Large egg yolks
- 6 oz Quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- .75 cup Heavy cream (cold)
Place the milk in a small saucepan and gently bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, combine the sugar and eggs yolks in a small mixing bowl. Whisk them together until thoroughly combined. Remove the milk from the heat and very slowly whisk it into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to low heat. Continue to cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl and add the hot milk mixture in small amounts, stirring to combine. After all the milk has been incorporated, cover and allow to cool to room temperature. In another bowl, vigorously whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the chilled chocolate mixture and divide it among four to six serving dishes. Allow the mousse to chill for one hour before serving.