November 7, 2008

Friday Fête: Three Drinks

Don’t while away your weekend with uninspired cocktails–take a gander at the three options below from the blogosphere and drink the weekend up in happy fashion. And quit saying I never steered you in a positive direction.


White Lady: The recipe is about three-quarters into (so keep reading–not that you’ll wanna stop once you start) an in-depth and worthy post called “Eggy Weggies,” in which Andrew from Cask Strength details why eggs are so darn great in drinks, and why you should be using them more. And I say “amen” to that.


Our Man In Havana: Found on A Mountain of Crushed Ice (which is one of the best blog names ever), down aways in another in-depth and fully worthy post (about Havana Club rums—this must be my Friday for enjoying the in-depth, fun posts), this drink not only boasts an amazing taste, but shares a name with a Graham Greene book I love (the name was suggested by, as the post says, Jeffrey Morgenthaler). That’s kismet y’all.


Brandy Milk Punch: After all the Friday and Saturday effing and jeffing (and I mean that in the best way), it’s nice to have a Sunday morning liquid pal to return to center with, which is what Married with Dinner offers in this dreamy recipe. Wow, I love a good milk punch. If you don’t, then (well, first, I feel for you) just sleep it off until Monday.

October 30, 2008

Drinks on the Road: Boston Drinks

I just returned (well, not too long ago) from a week on the road talking to folks about the new snack and liqueur books (wow, that plug happened so quickly, I almost didn’t realize I was slipping it in there. No, wait, I did, and I’m shameless. But I can admit it, so don’t look down at me too much), and had more tasty drinks while gone than I can even remember. However, I do wanna shine a light on some highlights, as my East Coast drinking tour was rather amazing (there is such an enormous amount of worthy drinking spots and drinkers in Boston and New York, which were my main stops, that I felt embarrassed a bit by all my choices).


My first serious cocktail happened on a Boston Sunday (after spending Saturday evening drinking giant PBRs with Megan at the Pour House, which is also awesome), at Eastern Standard, which I was taken to by my pals (and key Harvard Common Press components) Betsy and Valerie. I’d heard lots and lots about Eastern Standard, about the on target bartenders and drink list, and I wasn’t disappointed in the least. Great open space, cheery wait staff, and the Frisco cocktail I had, which featured a healthy helping of rye tinted and tilted the right shade via the addition of Benedictine and lemon, was absolutely the way for me to start a week of cocktailing. It’s funny that I just wrote a book that has a completely different Frisco cocktail in it (made with apricot brandy, lemon juice, grenadine, and sparkling wine, and a lemon twist), but I think the world is big enough for both, and maybe a few more. I was so happy with the drink at Eastern Standard that I might be willing to change the name of the one in the book at a future printing to “The Bubbly Frisco.”


The next night (after having a little fun with Gene at Fox TV) I enjoyed a treat that I can’t sing loudly enough about (if you could hear me singing right now about it, you would realize how loud that really is. I may not be on pitch, but dang, I can shout), which was getting to go out for delicious drinks with the amazingly friendly and fun ladies of LUPEC Boston. If you don’t know the LUPEC, then take a stroll over to their blog at once–I insist (just come back–even though you may not want to once you’re there). Okay, now that you’re back, I’ll continue. I was with the out-of-sight Pink Lady, Bourbon Belle, and Fancy Brandy, and they took me to a fresh cocktail spot in Boston called DRINK (simple and lovely, isn’t it?), where Misty (founder of LUPEC Boston and cocktail-slinger extraordinaire) was behind the bar helping out Josie, who made us two rounds that any true-blooded cocktail connoisseur (or happy barfly) would have loved. The first was a Fort Point, which contains rye, Punt e’ Mes, and Benedictine, and which was served in a delicately curved glass pitcher, from which she strained the drink into the most rad little cups with roosters on them–leaving the pitcher for refills. As a big fan of the communal drinking, a big fan of the rye, and a big fan of glasses with roosters on them, you can imagine that I rose at that very moment into a cocktail heaven made just for me. Oh, I got so into thinking about the drinks and company that I didn’t describe the bar, which was really interesting. It was three sort-of bar “areas” (somewhat like an “E,” as Pink Lady adroitly pointed out). The first one is the “ice” bar, which hits late 1800s drinks and style with only a big block of ice for chilling. The second is a more early-19th-century style, and has a real herb garden behind the bar and enough fresh juice to keep a whole 1st grade class in vitamin C for a week. The third is more mysterious, and provides a kind of back-up as needed. Visit DRINK in Boston and go home happy, likeably tipsy, and enthralled with the staff.


For our second drink at DRINK, the LUPEC ladies and I went for a slowly stirred and chilled pitched of Hemingway Daiquiri’s that I could go on and on about (how well proportioned they were, and how the tang followed up the slightly tougher “umph” of the Fort Point perfectly, how I think Josie made it with white rum, Maraschino liqueur, lime juice, and a touch of grapefruit juice over some seriously huge pieces of ice), but instead, check out this pic of the finished product (pic taken by Fancy Brandy–thanks a bunch FB):



In closing, here’s a big cheer to Boston and its many fine cocktail spots. Next up: New York.


PS: Tons of thanks tothe brillant store Brix, and the sweet folks there who let me sign books. If you’re in Boston and need wine or some of the best booze that side of the Mississippi, you should stop into Brix.


PSS: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention also Oleanna, where I had a dinner with Boston ne’er-do-wells Bruce, Howard, and Adam (after going to DRINKS) that was so good, it should have its own epic written about it. Or at least a serious ode.


PPSS: Hey, I’m having a cocktail conversation this week at CookThink, with bar champions Greg Boehm and Rob Chirico. Check it out.


PPPSSS: If you’re in Boston, be sure to sign up to see and be a part of the rollicking LUPEC USO Show. It’s going to be the hippest thing happening on the whole east coast in November.

October 3, 2008

Friday Fête: Three Drinks

I promise to get up “U.K. Drinks: Part Two” soon (Part One’s below if you missed it), but to tide you over until that time (a time that’s, honestly, dependant on whether or not I can quit watching the new Robots in Disguise video for “The Tears” over and over), here are three cocktails for you to sip from the drinker’s blogosphere.


  • Remember the Maine: Over at Oh Gosh! you’ll find two variations (one drier) of this rye-based cocktail, which is from one of my favorite books, Charles H. Baker’s The Gentleman’s Companion. If you don’t try both, you’ll only have yourself to blame. And that would be a sorry way to spend the weekend.
  • Damson Gin: Okay, you won’t be able to drink the results of this recipe from The Spirit World this weekend, but darnit, if you don’t start now, you won’t be able to drink it any weekend. Which would be a crazy shame. And you don’t want to be crazy, do you? At least not the kind of crazy that doesn’t have their own homemade Damson Gin to drink.
August 29, 2008

Friday Fête: Three Drinks

I feel bad I haven’t put any of my own drink-making fun up this week (cause I’m lame, or busy, or tipsy, or all three), but still wanted to point you to three mighty mixes from the blogosphere, to make sure you spend the weekend in high spirits.


  • Anticipation: Paul at the Cocktail Chronicles is always good for teaching not only about a drink, but about the history behind it, with fun bounding around everything. Here, he details a drink found in William Schmidt’s The Flowing Bowl, from 1891, that still tastes swell.
  • Natural Harmonic: Take a trip to the Spirit World and discover this  intriguing combination that uses a syrup made from I.P.A. (that’s beer, folks) to balance out Damrak gin. Old pals lemon juice and Marashino round out the orchestra in a manner sure to transport you. Consuming it while playing a hydrocrystalophone is suggested.
  • Tropical Rum Infusion: The knockout photos at Rejiggered of this fruity mixer made me unabashedly start salivating. Wow. Every time I look at them I realize that yes, even though silly Seattle is a bit cloudy it’s still summer most spots, and a pitcher full of booze and fruit is something summer wears as comfortably as Natalie Portman wears skinny pants.
August 22, 2008

Friday Fête: Three Drinks

Bring on the weekend, and the sooner the better. Speaking of “better” and “weekend,” make your upcoming Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rise to the occasion by trying out these three cocktails from the booze-y blogosphere.

  • Heirloom Martini: From A Dash of Bitters, this elegant mixture matches up with the current-and-upcoming (depending of your locale) harvest season, as it matches up gin and heirloom tomato water.
  • Shanghai Gin: In the Scofflaw’s Den you’ll learn about this variation of the Last Word (and learn about the Last Word for that matter, if you don’t know it), a variation that combines gin, yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, and lemon juice.

  • The Hop Toad: On SpiritAndCocktails, Jamie Boudreau sings (in written format, but lovingly all the same) about Matusalem Gran Reserva rum and then blends it into an old favorite that traces back to the venerable Waldorf-Astoria.
August 15, 2008

Friday Fête: Four Drinks

Since the weekend is here (thankfully), I thought I’d point you towards four drink ideas from the drinker’s blogosphere to get your booze-y motor running and to give you some starting points.


  • Nobody’s Darling: From LUPEC Boston, this lovely mix just won the Hendrick’s Gin Beantown Bartender Battle, and comes with a limerick. So, there’s poetry in the glass and in the air.


  • Ti’Punch: At Trader Tiki’s they’re punching it up right with this Rhum Agricole-based combo (and, you’ll get to learn a lot about Rhum Agricole while getting ready to get punched–in the friendly fashion, that is). 


  • The Maple Leaf: Okay, this is a little old, but I’ve just been browsing the archieves at Drink Dogma, and so saw it for the first time. A bourbon, maple syrup, and lemon juice cocktail sounds like a great way to wind down a Saturday.


  • Ring My Bell Martini: From a blog that’s new to me, Listen to the Ice, this may be the first drink I’ve had with bell peppers, gin, and peach in it–making it ideal for late summer when the gardens are popping. Also, it’s the first Italian drinks blog I’ve known (and how happy I am to have found it).

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