Recently in Cocktails & Drinks
Tuesday, April 30, 2013

dark and stormy

dark 'n stormy

I had my first Dark and Stormy when I was on my first (and only) vacation in Mustique with my then-boyfriend’s father’s family. It’s a gorgeous, lush island in the Caribbean, close to St. Vincent island, and it’s the kind of place where, unless you own a house there, you must rent one for an astronomical price. The house comes with staff who will wait on you, cook for you, tend to your every need. All you have to do is buy groceries and fly them over there. No big deal, right? Not if you like to live “like a [fill in the blank] raja” — my ex’s father’s words, not mine. At the time, I found the phrase to be funny, and he (the father) was always lovely to me.

Anyway, Mustique was kind of a surreal place, and our rental house, one of the swankiest on the island, opened to a kind of a panoramic view where you see so much of where water meets the sky that you see the horizon beginning to curve on the ends. It’s a simple thing, but it’s the kind of thing that never fails to take my breath away. That curve, that hazy glow of water meeting sky, when I think about it even now, I get a little light-headed. It was truly, breathtakingly gorgeous there. It was also the island where I got to stand, one foot away, from Mick Jagger while we waited out a quick shower on the beach.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

bourbon arnold palmer

bourbon arnold palmer

Summers are for Arnold Palmers. And despite the fact that I have little appreciation for all things golf-related (I hope my father-in-law forgives me!), I have a fondness for a certain Mr. Arnold Palmer and for the legacy he has left behind. His signature drink, half iced tea-half lemonade, is my preferred summer concoction.

At our wedding, which is ten (10!) days away, we are serving his and her signature cocktails. We went with the Bee’s Knees for Andrew’s drink. He’s a gin guy and the cocktail is a lovely way to highlight both: gin and the start of summer. It’s lemony, it’s uplifting, and even gin-haters like to drink Bee’s Knees!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

the bee’s knees

andrew's signature wedding cocktail - the bees knees

Apparently signature cocktails at weddings are in. Or so I’m told. Long before I had a wedding to plan, I thought that having a his-and-her cocktails at a wedding would be a really fun idea. No, I’m not calling myself a trail blazer by any means, and I suppose it does go against me saying I never planned my own wedding. I suppose that the part of me that loves feeding people planned a portion of it. But that’s about as far as I got with the wedding dreaming.

If someone ever asked me what my dream wedding would be, I always said, that I’d want for it to be outside. I’d want a cookout with pulled pork sandwiches, corn on the cob, lobsters, and potato salad. I’d want strawberry shortcake. I’d want a bluegrass band. And I’d want some bourbon.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

the stone fence (plus!)

stone fence (plus)

For all my talking about being a bourbon lover, I am an embarrassingly pathetic (read: light) drinker. And Andrew is no better. Between the two of us, it takes us about three days to finish one bottle of wine.

You read that right. Three (3!). Days. Kind of sad, if you ask me.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

cucumber cooler

a toast!

Hello, New Yorkers and lovely East Coast folk, are you sweating yet? Have you wondered what just happened with our seasonal transition? Does the mere thought of having to go outside make you break out in sweat? Welcome to Wednesday. And come tomorrow – it’s gonna get even hotter.

I had to go out and get groceries this morning, and by the time I walked half a block (half a block, people!) I was already sweating. It’s terribly unfair, I think. New Yorkers don’t get a fair shot at spring – we move onto summer almost instantly from the doldrums of winter. Instead of wanting to be outside, I’d rather be indoors, where I have control over the heat. Though truth be told, while we make out like bandits in the winter almost never turning on the heat, in the summer, we pay through the nose. Our southern facing apartment starts feeling oppressive as early as April and so it goes until late into October, when we can finally stop and out the air conditioning to rest.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

rosemary gin fizz

rosemary gin fizz

Face it, there’s only so much eggnog you can drink before you’ll need to loosen that belt one notch. I’m not one to count calories – I drink my milk whole, braise my brussels sprouts in cream, and never ever skip dessert. I’m a girl who likes to indulge, albeit in moderation, but I find that life restrained is not for me. I like balance, but I like to have my fun too. Clotted cream? Why, thank you! Bacon with my pancakes? But of course! And when real-to-goodness-made-from-scratch eggnog is offered to me, I, mostly, can’t say no.

rosemary gin fizz

However, I have to be prudent. A drink made with eggs, heavy cream and milk can only be considered a protein shake for so long. Yes, I’ve actually referred to it as such, but I’m prone to stretching definitions. Also, there will come a time in every holiday season, when I look at a perfectly respectable eggnog, lovingly garnished with freshly grated nutmeg, and I want to gag. This usually happens a few days before Christmas when I’ve been liberally indulging in the holiday spirit and start wearing leggings, sweater dresses and outfits generous enough to hide a food baby. But indulgences aside, sometimes eggnog just is too rich for my taste. Sometimes, I want a holiday cocktail that’s light and effervescent and smells of Christmas. Please take that Christmas tree, shove it in my drink and serve it forth!

I’d like to present to you with such a drink – the Rosemary Gin Fizz. Now, doesn’t that sound celebratory in and of itself? Just saying fizz makes me feel festive, like I want to put on a flapper dress and one of those cute hats and go dance a foxtrot. Never mind that I don’t know how to dance a foxtrot; it’s the spirit of the idea, well, you get the point. A Fizz is actually a cocktail dating back to the 19th century, and the Gin Fizz is the most famous Fizz variation. The Gin Fizz is supposed to contain gin, lemon juice, sugar and carbonated water – and is to be served in a highball glass. The version here, infused with rosemary, is kind of a genius idea – highlighting the woodsy, green notes of gin, and deviating from the traditional, expected gin and tonic citrus notes. Here, gin matures and steps up in sophistication. I like to think of it as a gin’s cotillion, when it finally steps out in society.

rosemary gin fizz

When I first had the Rosemary Gin Fizz, it was years ago, at a colleague’s holiday party, and I was beside myself – it was the kind of clean, crisp, wintry taste you immediately take to and think to yourself, “Where has this cocktail been all my life?” It’s an instant, immediate friendship. And if one could become besotted with a cocktail, then I certainly was. I must have consumed a goodly amount of the made-to-order cocktail. My colleague’s then-girlfriend, now-wife, worked for Food & Wine magazine, and got the recipe from their holiday entertaining issue. The secret, she told me, was a rosemary-infused simple syrup. Add to that some gin, a little club soda, some fresh lemon juice and a sprig of red currant (missing from the pictures here because when I made these for my housewarming party in October, red currants were nowhere to be found) – and you got yourself a very festive cocktail. One that smells just like Christmas in a glass!

I had much to learn. At the time, I didn’t even know what simple syrup was, never mind one infused with an herb.

rosemary gin fizz

Well, tipsy and giddy, I diligently (or so I thought) copied the recipe down. You can only imagine my penmanship after half a dozen of these babies. In the morning, upon looking at my scribbles, I couldn’t read a thing. Embarrassing, as I could barely remember the act of scribbling itself. I felt like a pest and didn’t want to bother my colleague about the recipe again, but the cocktail swirled around in my mind each holiday season. And each holiday season, I would forget to make it. And so the years flew by, until my housewarming party in October, when I decided to make Rosemary Gin Fizz for my guests.

rosemary gin fizz

Well, it was a hit.

No. That would be an understatement. I didn’t leave my kitchen bar area all night because I kept making more batches for my thirsty friends. It was beyond a hit. In fact, people still talk about that cocktail and apparently rave about it to friends and family. I suppose, in the spirit of the holidays, it’s time for me to share it with all of you. Because, like I said before, there’s only so much eggnog an individual can take. And since it is the season of giving, I suppose I should finally put my money where my mouth is.

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