March 12, 2013

Cocktail Talk: The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Until recently, I’d never read the Friends of Eddie Coyle. Maybe you haven’t either? But maybe you don’t read the pulps and mysteries like me. So, maybe it’s not as odd, since this book is a classic of sorts, remarkable for its dialogue-focused narrative drive and spot-on look into Boston-area criminals, including the very-friendless and weaselish Eddie Coyle, and crime-fighters (not the caped kind of course). It took me a bit to get rolling with it just because it’s so much of a talking-scene-to-talking-scene affair, and you have to keep up with names to keep up with plot. But once you dig in, you dig in and feel completely a part of the life. Outside of the in the below quote, cause I’d never order a vodka Martini. But still . . .

At five minutes of six, Dave Foley escaped from the traffic on Route 128 and parked the Charger at the Red Coach Grille in Braintree. He went into the bar and took a table in the rear corner that allowed him to watch the door and the television set above the bar. He ordered a vodka Martini on the rocks with a twist.

–George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle

PS: There’s also a movie based on this book starring the mighty Robert Mitchum. But I haven’t seen it yet. Sadly.

November 23, 2012

What I’m Drinking: The Gizmo

It’s the day after Thanksgiving – are you having your Gizmo yet? If so, why not? If you don’t know what it is, head on over to an earlier Spiked Punch post for your Gizmo recipe and story. Now, I have to go back to drinking my Gizmo.

November 16, 2011

What I’m Drinking: The Erikecca

Earlier this week (see below) I talked about building a better Gin and Tonic (though the world didn’t beat a path to my door–yet) for pal Erika’s birthday. But we didn’t solely serve G&Ts at the birthday party, though they were quite fantastic. We also whipped out a new-old drink, or old-new, in honor of the occasion. See, I had some homemade blackberry liqueur around that was begging to be consumed in something bubbly and some nice recently-released local vodka begging for the same. I couldn’t resist the call, and so fashioned a drink based on one created for another pal, Rebecca (a recipe for The Rebecca, the drink, can be found in either Good Spirits or Champagne Cocktails, both of which I hope you have, cause we’re pals, right?). The Erikecca combines the two ingredients touched on above, Skip Rock vodka–a smooth, berry-friendly, potato vodka made in Snohomish, WA–and blackberry liqueur with a demi sec sparkling wine to lovely, and tasty, effect. It’s a drink worthy of a serious birthday celebration, or any old celebration. And, as some philosophers say it’s right to celebrate every day, that means you should have this drink every day. At least that makes sense to me.

1-1/2 ounces Skip Rock vodka

1-1/2 ounces blackberry liqueur

Chilled demi sec sparkling wine

Frozen blackberry, for garnish

Ice cube (if needed)

1. Add the vodka and the blackberry liqueur to a flute glass. Stir once or twice.

2. Fill the glass about three-quarters full with sparkling wine–carefully, though, so it doesn’t bubble over. Stir again, carefully, briefly, to introduce the vodka and the liqueur into the bubbly.

3. Garnish with the blackberry by dropping it into the glass. If your sparkling wine isn’t good and chilled, feel okay about adding one ice cube to keep this cool.

A Note: Not sure about making blackberry liqueur? Luckily, there’s a great recipe for one, called Always Bet on Blackberries, in Luscious Liqueurs. And yep, I’ve managed to link to three books in one post. Amazing.

June 27, 2011

What Kent is Drinking: La Rana d’Oro

I recently was slinging cocktails for an Italian-themed charity event (it was for my mom’s HeartWork, if you’re interested), and the drinks were so popular (I say, humbly) that I wanted to post a couple. And, I had a few myself, so I thought they’d fit right into the What’s I’m Drinking group. But here, in this picture, it wasn’t me drinking, but Kent, one of the fantastic piano players who were tickling the ivies for the event. And what he was drinking was the La Rana d’Oro. Sounds continentally intriguing, yes? Really, though, between us, it was just an older drink called the Golden Frog, which I’d Italian-ized (in name, anyway). The drink is packed with Italian punch no matter what language the name is in, however, boasting both Galliano and Strega, two golden and delicious Italian liqueurs. It has a bit of a kick, but hey, what would you expect from a frog? Kent sure seemed to like it:



Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces vodka

1-1/2 ounces Galliano

1/2 ounce Strega

1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway up with ice cubes. Add the vodka, Galliano, Strega, and lemon juice. Shake well.


2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Serve stylishly.

November 24, 2010

I Missed Harvey Wallbanger Day—Did You?

Living here in Italy for my pre-tirement, time sometimes seems to slip away. Not in a bad way, but because there are lots of Italian trips to take, Italian liqueurs to sample, and Italian restaurants to visit. But sometimes it is a smidge sad, as the mind doesn’t focus with the same type of precision as when stateside. For example, I completely forgot that November 8th was Harvey Wallbanger day. Dang. I’m hoping everyone reading this wasn’t as addle-pated as me, and remembered to have their Harvey Wallbangers on the 8th? If you’re like me, you enjoy your Harvey Wallbangesr most in the bathtub, so your evening on the 8th was spent (I imagine) with you (and someone close to you, if you have a big tub) pouring both a drink and a hot bubble bath, and then indulging in a large amount of relaxation and bliss. If, by some mistaken chance, or perhaps through a case of short-term amnesia, or because you weren’t alerted by your local bartender (shame on them), you also missed Harvey Wallbanger day, don’t fret too much—you can pretend it’s today, and make one up (to have in the above-mentioned tub, naturally). Here’s my recipe (the one I’ll be following when I do my own celebrating, in about three hours):


Ice cubes

2 ounces vodka

5 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 ounce Galliano


1. Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with ice cubes. Add the vodka and the orange juice, and stir briefly.


2. Float the Galliano on top of the vodka-juice mixture.

May 8, 2009

Cocktail Video: Maibowle on Fox 25 Boston

Hey, check me out on Fox 25 Boston, talking Wine Cocktails with my pal Gene and making up Maibowles for some early morning drinking (and while checking out the fun, well, hopefully fun, stuff you should know that I had just flown into Boston the night before, and my flight was late, and, even though it was a “direct” flight from Seattle to Boston we had a layover in Philly, and they managed to lose my luggage–though I was always on the same plane–and so I was wearing the same clothes from flying the day before, which means I was in shorts and smelled a bit, and had to use a different shaker and all that cause my bar tools were in my luggage, and well, I know I’m complaining, but I also know you want the backstory, and so you’re getting it, but what I really want to say is, “damn you US Airways, how can you stink so much?” I did end up having lots of fun on the TeeVee though, and hopefully didn’t look too sleepy):

The Maibowle’s genius, too, and you should have one this weekend, with mom, who will love it, or just with yourself. And then, come back next week for Italy, Part III: This Time It’s Countryside.

April 17, 2009

Cocktail Video: Perseverance

Here it is, what you’ve all been waiting for, the second “I promise to write about Italian drinks and food soon” post. Yay! And I do promise. But, since it’s Friday, and I need to hit up the drinks before too long, this is again a short post leading into a video. But what a video! It’s for the Perseverance cocktail, which is again (as with the Bishop below) from Wine Cocktails, sported on How2Heroes, that food and drinking video bonanza site, and directed, produced, shot, and co-scripted by the boy genius himself, Fargo’s favorite frolicking son, Bradley Kosel. But this video co-stars those stage-and-screen scenesters, wife Nat and heartfelt Harry (who was last seen in Paradise). Yeaping yimmeny! Don’t sit around people: hit that play button (wait, wait, wait–feel free to make yourself a drink first. Then hit that that play button)!

PS: Holy historic halfwit! I completely forgot above to say the Perseverance contains rosé wine, maraschino liqueur, vodka, and Peychaud’s bitters. Which you might want to know before even clicking the video. Forgive me pals, I’m plum embarrassed.

PPS: Yes, I am getting paid by the exclamation point.

PPSS: Nicole, really, I’ll talk up Italy soon. With pictures. It’ll be bella. You’ll like it.

December 3, 2008

What I’m Drinking Right Now: Saint Nick’s Rosy Cheek

This holiday helper was created for a winter parties class I’m teaching tomorrow and Friday at the wonderful and worthy Dish It Up (if you’re in the Seattle area, or visiting, be sure to check them out not only for a wide range of kitchen gear, and kitchen classes, but also for their selection of wines). The class was featured in the most recent issue of Traditional Homes (cause we all know for a real traditional home, you need lots of booze), and I had to make up some new mixes (and snacks) for the occasion. Funny enough, when the creation took place it was summer (ah, those long-lead mags) and I was drinking and mixing with rosé quite a bit (a good dry rosé, like one from those madcap vintners at Trio, is a dandy mixer), which led to the rosé-backed Saint Nick’s Rosy Cheek.


Ice cubes

1-1/2 ounces rosé wine (be sure to get an actual rosé and not a blush wine)

1 ounce citrus vodka

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 dashes orange bitters

Maraschino cherry, for garnish


1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rosé, vodka, simple syrup, and bitters. Shake well.


2. Add the cherry to a cocktail glass, interesting cordial glass, or anything you won’t drop. Strain the mix over the cherry. Kiss Santa’s cheek.


I used Regan’s orange bitters here, and it worked wonders. I suggest you do the same. I like the little ting the citrus vodka brings, but think straight vodka would be good as well, and would be interested to try this with gin (I mean, I tend to like gin better anyway, but for some reason reached for the vodka originally. Now I feel sorta bad, like I’ve let gin down. Gin, I love you. Forgive me).

Rathbun on Film