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Pernod, Herbsaint, Pastis, Etc. Cocktails


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#1 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:27 PM

I have started to realize that I have a bit of a jones for anise-tinted drinks. Yeah, I know the stuff can take over, but it's a wonderful partner in the right combinations.

I wrote about Sazeracs over here. Meanwhile, since tasting it a few weeks back, I've been working hard to figure out the French Pearl that is served at Pegu Club. (I'm currently using 2 oz Plymouth gin, 1/2 oz lime, 1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup, 1/4 oz Pernod, with 6-8 muddled mint leaves. Ideas, anyone? Audrey? Audrey?)

Makes me think that there are other winners out there that I haven't tried. Must be. Right?
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#2 BTR

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:37 PM

There's the Corpse Reviver II: 3/4oz each Lillet, lemon, triple sec, gin, with a drop or two absinthe or substitute. This one is good too, if you take eje's request about the amount of pastis.

#3 JAZ

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:57 PM

I really like the flavor of licorice, and have been known to drink Pernod on the rocks. But aside from the drinks (like the CR#2) where the glass is rinsed with it, I don't know of many cocktails that call for it. I've been using basil in a few drinks, some of which have been very good. Since basil has licorice undertones, I wonder if Pernod and the like would be good in similar drinks. I'll have to experiment.

When you get the French Pearl figured out, let us know. It's a great drink.

#4 mkayahara

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 06:34 PM

What about the Monkey Gland? I tried one for the first time the other night using the Benedictine variation, but could totally see how the pastis version would work just as well.

And, of course, pastis is a key component in the Dreamy Dorini Smoking Martini. :wub:

Then you get into the more pastis-intensive drinks, like the Mauresque.
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#5 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 06:37 PM

There are a trio of seemingly classic pastis beverages which are detailed here which involve adding flavored syrups and water to the pastis. I haven't had Le Perroquet for want of a quality mint syrup, but the others are excellent and very refreshing, though I typically double the entire recipe and build them in a tall glass with lots of ice. Make sure you use a high quality syrup brand like 1883 de Philibert Routin. The Tomate is particularly delicious with my homemade grenadine, if I do say so myself. The floral-ness of it works nicely with the herbals of the pastis.

I use Henri Bardouin or Herbsaint, though I decided Herbsaint left a bit of something to be desired compared to Bardouin (and even Pernod).

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#6 eje

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 06:59 PM

It's not exactly a Pastis cocktail; but, Le Demon Verte from Hollinger and Schwartz' "Art of the Bar" is quite nice:

1 1/2 oz gin, 1/2 oz Absente, 1/2 oz Velvet Falernum, 1/2 oz lime juice. Shake, strain.

If you're making it with Pastis, instead of unsweetened Absinthe or Absinthe-a-like, you might want to reduce or skip the Falernum. Maybe add a dash of a clove heavy bitters instead.
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#7 cocktailgeek

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 08:51 PM

I have started to realize that I have a bit of a jones for anise-tinted drinks. Yeah, I know the stuff can take over, but it's a wonderful partner in the right combinations.

View Post


Rouge no. 10
1 3/4 oz. black pepper gin
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
2-3 small strawberries (or 1 giant one)
1/2 oz. Pastis
Muddle 2-3 strawberries with simple syrup. Add gin and lime juice and shake vigorously. Rinse chilled cocktail glass with Pastis. Double strain cocktail into prepared glass. Garnish with a strawberry and fresh ground pepper.

(Infuse a bottle of Plymouth with a handful of black peppercorns for no more than 24 hours.)

I stole this recipe from Todd Smith of Bourbon & Branch.
After I added the Pastis he stole it back.
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#8 BTR

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 01:29 AM

JAZ--care to share the basil cocktails?

#9 jlo mein

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 03:17 AM

Does Ouzo generally substitute well for Pastis?

#10 eje

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:53 AM

Does Ouzo generally substitute well for Pastis?

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Well, not really.

Ouzo and Middle Eastern Arak (Raki, etc.) are flavored distilled spirits similar to Gin, Absinthe, and Aquavit. Ouzo is more comparable to Absinthe, though with a simpler flavor profile. Pretty much all Anise and no other herbs. Ouzo, like Absinthe, tends to be pretty high proof.*

Pastis is, (with the exception of a couple brands,) a sweetened spice and herb flavored liqueur which clocks in around 25% alcohol.

As the primary way of serving Absinthe is to sweeten it lightly and add water, I think of Pastis as a pre-mixed Absinthe drip.

Ouzo might be OK in a Sazerac or other drinks where you're just using the Pastis or Absinthe to scent the glass. On the other hand, it probably won't work in a cocktail where you're counting on the Pastis as a sweetener as well as a flavoring agent.

edit - Hey, you're in Canada, why not just use Absinthe?

*I did some more reading and discovered some Ouzos are sweetened, not to mention that some of them may use a wider variety of herbs and spices than simply anise. I also found this interesting quote, "Most of the ouzos on Lesvos are not distilled. In other words they just buy the ingredients and assemble them in the shops and then bottle it and sell."

Edited by eje, 26 March 2007 - 01:21 PM.

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#11 Alchemist

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 01:15 PM

I have found there is a huge difference in taste if you fill the glass with crushed or cracked ice then pour in the anise flavored liquid than if you just educate the glass by it's self. The anise incorperates into the drink much better. Especially if you are using the green fairy (with a proof of over 150.) it really needs a little extra water content.

Come to think of it all rinses seem to work better with ice.



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#12 David Santucci

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:19 PM

I would recommend the Zazerac. The CocktailDB recipe has a little different proportions from the Savoy recipe

1/6 Bacardi Rum
1/6 Anisette
1/6 Gomme Syrup
1/3 Canadian Club Whisky
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Orange Bitters
3 Dashes Absinthe

which is also notable for not adding up to unity! I used Rye rather than Canadian and Pastis rather than Anisette/Absinthe.

Another is a tall drink I made up, with an Anise/Lemon/Almond flavor combination that I found quite nice. The proportions I can't say exactly, but I made it very Pastis-heavy, something like:

1 1/2 oz. Pastis
1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 oz. Amaretto
Dash Orange Bitters
Top with soda water.

For anise-lovers only and godawful before adding the soda.

#13 jlo mein

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:08 PM

Does Ouzo generally substitute well for Pastis?

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Well, not really.

Ouzo and Middle Eastern Arak (Raki, etc.) are flavored distilled spirits similar to Gin, Absinthe, and Aquavit. Ouzo is more comparable to Absinthe, though with a simpler flavor profile. Pretty much all Anise and no other herbs. Ouzo, like Absinthe, tends to be pretty high proof.*

Pastis is, (with the exception of a couple brands,) a sweetened spice and herb flavored liqueur which clocks in around 25% alcohol.

As the primary way of serving Absinthe is to sweeten it lightly and add water, I think of Pastis as a pre-mixed Absinthe drip.

Ouzo might be OK in a Sazerac or other drinks where you're just using the Pastis or Absinthe to scent the glass. On the other hand, it probably won't work in a cocktail where you're counting on the Pastis as a sweetener as well as a flavoring agent.

edit - Hey, you're in Canada, why not just use Absinthe?

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Odd...Pastis available here is 45% alcohol. In regards to the Ouzo, the one I have is rather sweet, called TSANTALIS OLYMPIC. It is very heavy on the anise, so I can't really pick up any other flavours.

I'm just hoping to find some cocktails that it would work with, as it is terrible straight up. Perhaps I should just invite some greeks over and let them have at it. :raz:

#14 MaxH

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Posted 12 April 2007 - 01:44 PM

Pastis is, (with the exception of a couple brands,) a sweetened spice and herb flavored liqueur which clocks in around 25% alcohol.
As the primary way of serving Absinthe is to sweeten it lightly and add water, I think of Pastis as a pre-mixed Absinthe drip.

Odd...Pastis available here is 45% alcohol.

Here too. What Pastises have you encountered at 25%, eje?

I know that Pastis is generic in Europe for a class of herbal spirits including anise, served diluted with cold water (and said to be at their best consumed in a warm breeze off the Mediterranean). My US-bought Pernod is 40%, Granier 45%, Absente 55%, Versinthe 45%.

Note that the Pernod firm was the original popularizer of absinthe and built for that product. Today's Pernod evolved after the absinthe ban in many countries in the 19-teens. All of the spirits I listed came sweetened but undiluted. These also are described in US cooking and drink recipes as "absinthe subtitutes" (they make amazing classic shellfish dishes too, for instance, used to steam fresh mussels with some citrus zest -- served with a basket of crisp French fries). But I have the impression that bases for European "Pastis" drinks embrace more than absinthe substitutes and absinthes.

#15 eje

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Posted 16 April 2007 - 03:54 PM

Here too.  What Pastises have you encountered at 25%, eje?

I know that Pastis is generic in Europe for a class of herbal spirits including anise, served diluted with cold water (and said to be at their best consumed in a warm breeze off the Mediterranean).  My US-bought Pernod is 40%, Granier 45%, Absente 55%, Versinthe 45%.

Note that the Pernod firm was the original popularizer of absinthe and built for that product.  Today's Pernod evolved after the absinthe ban in many countries in the 19-teens.  All of the spirits I listed came sweetened but undiluted.  These also are described in US cooking and drink recipes as "absinthe subtitutes" (they make amazing classic shellfish dishes too, for instance, used to steam fresh mussels with some citrus zest -- served with a basket of crisp French fries).  But I have the impression that bases for European "Pastis" drinks embrace more than absinthe substitutes and absinthes.

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Perhaps another fine example of my occasional work postings undertaken without bottles handy. Both of you are correct.

I guess I just meant to contrast the alcohol percentages of Absinthes, which are often 70+% alcohol, with modern pastis which tends to be in the 40-50% range. Not sure where I got the 25% idea for Pastis.

I also wanted to point out that most Pastis is quite sweet, and Absinthe is not.

Not having drunk a lot of Ouzo or being familiar with the brand you're asking about, I'm not sure where that leaves you for cocktail ideas.

I guess I think it would be OK for Sazeracs or other recipes that call for a dash or two of Anise flavored liquor/liqueur. That won't put much of a dent in your bottle though.

However, given how unenthusiastic you are about it straight up, I'm not sure it's a good idea to substitute Ouzo in cocktails that call for a larger percentage of Absinthe or Pastis.
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#16 MaxH

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Posted 17 April 2007 - 09:41 AM

My parents would serve Ouzo sometimes in the 1960s, I remember the strong "louche" [sp?] of the insoluble oils turning the water a milky white. In my experience it's much more of a "licorice" spirit than the absinthe substitutes (which have a broader herbal flavoring).

I remember an engineer in Berlin consuming it once while holding forth to several visitors about the recent reunification of Germany (this was in the early 1990s, at a conference there). At an outdoor café on a busy commercial street (Ku'damm maybe) in the late afternoon if I remember. He was in the daily habit of an Ouzo an hour or so before dinner. The spirit arrived in a plain glass, with a container of cold water on the side, added to taste by the customer. (I think he smoked a cigarette also -- it would not be unusual for the time and place.) "Not many countries in Europe," he intoned with a sweep of the hand, "could afford to buy another country, as we in West Germany have done..."

#17 MaxH

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Posted 21 April 2007 - 01:08 PM

Another good source for this topic (and this forum):

Harold Grossman's eloquent Guide to Wines, Spirits, and Beers (4th ed., 1964), written for the trade as well as consumers, says this at the end of its Absinthe article:

"Anis-Licorice flavored liqueurs are the most popular drinks of the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The product is known in each country by its local name..." [Ojen in Spain, Pastis in France -- Ricard cited as best known; I forgot to list it above, it's also 45%, Anesone in Italy, Ouzo and Mastikha in Greece, Raki often in Turkey.] These spirits are "rarely ever drunk neat," instead diluted about 1:5 with water, consumed both as aperitif and refresher.

(Grossman, whose career in the beverage industry went back to the 1920s or earlier -- he worked in other countries also -- has wry comments in the absinthe article about the specious "aura of mystery" enveloping prohibited products, when compared with the reality. His remarks on durable misconceptions about absinthe are accurate and current even now, and apparently would be news to some of today's vocal absinthe hobbyists as well as to the general public.)

#18 eje

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 09:32 AM

Another good source for this topic (and this forum):

Harold Grossman's eloquent Guide to Wines, Spirits, and Beers (4th ed., 1964), written for the trade as well as consumers, says this at the end of its Absinthe article:

"Anis-Licorice flavored liqueurs are the most popular drinks of the countries bordering the Mediterranean.  The product is known in each country by its local name..."  [Ojen in Spain, Pastis in France -- Ricard cited as best known; I forgot to list it above, it's also 45%, Anesone in Italy, Ouzo and Mastikha in Greece, Raki often in Turkey.]  These spirits are "rarely ever drunk neat," instead diluted about 1:5 with water, consumed both as aperitif and refresher.
[...]

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It's interesting that Grossman places Pastis in the continuum of Mediterranean anise flavored liqueurs and spirits. That's a point of view I've always subscribed to. Yet many spirits enthusiasts seem to place Absinthe and its supposed bastard offspring Pastis outside of that grouping. I've no idea why, as, as far as I can tell, Anise and herb flavored spirits were enjoyed well before Dr. Ordinaire, (if he existed at all,) supposedly "invented" Absinthe. To me, the Pernod and Ricard Pastis, with their relatively simple herbal flavor profiles, fall squarely into the tradition of these Mediterranean liquors and liqueurs.
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#19 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 07:13 PM

French Pearl update. As the Pernod seemed to be dominating too much in previous incarnations, I cut it back; now it haunts in the back of the drink and adds a subtler cloud:

2 oz Plymouth gin
scant 1/2 oz lime
1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup
1/8 oz Pernod
10-12 mint leaves

Gently muddle the leaves. Add liquids, shake with cracked ice, strain with a fine mesh sieve, garnish with a mint spring. I'm starting to think that a mint simple syrup might be proper, too.

Has anyone else tried this?
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#20 MaxH

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 11:03 AM

Summary of 1988 Anglophone Larousse Gastronomique entry (standard French food-drink encyclopedia -- and the earliest edition of this book I've checked that explains the term): Pastis is a south-of-France idiom for anise-flavored strong drinks along the lines of "the famous Pernod in the north" and no longer based on the absinthe "that originally made this type of apéritif distinctive." Word is local dialect for "confused" or "mixed" (alluding to the clouding when the water dilutes the liquor). Locals "will spend hours sipping pastis while watching the local game of boule or petanque." Ricard and Berger as representative brands.

That's consistent with use of word "pastis" that I've heard from Europeans over the years. (Suppositions about it being a specific liquor, or a class that excludes absinthes, I've seen only relatively recently, on Internet postings not originating in France.)

#21 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 12:49 PM

I posted this elsewhere but I'll put it here, too, as an interesting example of a drink that uses quite a bit of pastis (or better yet, Absinthe) and yet restrains the flavor nicely:

McKinley's Delight

2 oz Rye (WT for me, please)
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1 tsp pastis (I have also used Jade Edouard with excellent results)

Stir and strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.

It gets appreciably, but not ridiculously sweeter with the use of pastis. With absinthe, it's perfect. Anise works very well with red fruity flavors indeed (cherry, pomegranate, etc.)

-Andy

Edit for spelling and punctuation

Edited by thirtyoneknots, 06 June 2007 - 12:37 AM.

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#22 limewine

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 01:32 PM

I posted this elsewhere but I'll put it here, too, as an interesting example of a drink that uses quite a bit of pastis (or better yet, Absinthe) and yet restrains the flavor nicely:

McKinley's Delight

2 oz Rye (WT for me, please)
3/4 oz Italian Vermouth
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1 tsp pastis (I have also used Jade Edouard with excellent results)

Stir and strain into chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.

It gets appreciably, but not rediculously sweeter with the use of pastis. With absinthe, it's perfect. Anise works very well with red fruity flavors indeed (cherry, pomegranate, etc.

-Andy

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I agree fully with this one--although I think I dial back the Heering a little bit, and when using absinthe I relegate it to just a couple of dashes (I also tend to go with Rittenhouse for the rye), so you wind up with a souped-up Manhattan. An underrated drink, in my opinion.
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#23 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 04:14 PM

I also tend to go with Rittenhouse for the rye.

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I'd love to, but it seems to be unavailable in Texas :(
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#24 mjohnson

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Posted 05 June 2007 - 06:46 PM

I've had no complaints (excepting licorice-haters) from the following:

1 oz pastis
3/4 oz triple sec (typ. Cointreau)
3/4 oz lime juice

I don't recall where I found the drink, but I think they called it a "Johnsons Delight"

For some reason I just had to give it a try...

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#25 BrooksNYC

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Posted 25 June 2007 - 06:30 PM

French Pearl update.......
Has anyone else tried this?

I had it at Pegu Club several months ago, and it was one of the suavest, most wonderful drinks I've had in a long time. Loved it! Haven't tried to make it at home, though.

#26 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:26 AM

Another French Pearl update. No change in proportions from this post, but I have noticed a benefit to a change in order. Instead of muddling in an empty shaker, I've been muddling in the room-temp liquids, the logic being that having the mint come in contact with as many different compounds as possible ahead of time increases the benefits of muddling. So:

2 oz Plymouth gin
scant 1/2 oz lime
1/2 oz 1:1 simple syrup
1/8 oz Pernod
10-12 mint leaves

Add all liquids to the shaker. Gently but thoroughly muddle the leaves. Shake with cracked ice, strain with a fine mesh sieve, garnish with a mint spring.

I know feel confident to ask: Audrey, is this anywhere near correct?
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#27 Darren72

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 08:17 AM

I started to make two of Chris' drink last night, only to realize that I didn't have enough gin left. So I made it with rum and it tasted great. Thanks for sharing, Chris. Next on the agenda: restock the gin.

#28 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 06:42 PM

Thanks for the props -- but I don't deserve them. I'm trying to knock off a decent imitation; Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club in Manhattan is the Van Gogh to my paint by numbers efforts. :wink:

Having said that: what rum did you use? Interesting idea. I'd think the rum and the Pernod would bang heads.
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#29 Darren72

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for the props -- but I don't deserve them. I'm trying to knock off a decent imitation; Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club in Manhattan is the Van Gogh to my paint by numbers efforts. :wink:

Having said that: what rum did you use? Interesting idea. I'd think the rum and the Pernod would bang heads.

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I used the 2-year Cruzan light rum.

#30 Chris Amirault

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Posted 15 August 2007 - 12:45 PM

The extraordinarily generous Libationgoddess shares this with the faithful:
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Simple Syrup (1-1, uncooked)
1/4 oz Pernod
1 sprig mint
2 oz Plymouth Gin

Muddle / shake / fine strain
Glass: Small Cocktail
Garnish: None -- the opacity of the drink is the "Pearl"
So, side-by-side, original and pretender:
2 oz Plymouth gin
3/4 oz lime vs 1/2 oz
3/4 oz 1:1 simple syrup vs 1/2 oz 1/2 oz
1/4 Pernod vs 1/8 oz
10-12 mint leaves (call it even)
I think that this indicates my own preference for more "ginny" drinks. The balance between the lime and simple is 1:1 in both, and there's more of the faux green fairy in Audrey's original. It'd be more pearly, natch.
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