February 14, 2014

What I’m Drinking: The Rose

It’s Valentine’s Day – let me give you a little quoted advice*:

Showing up with a dozen limp red roses picked up last-minute on Valentine’s Day garners only a thumbs-down from a romantic dearest (if not a door slammed in the face, or a slap, or an invitation to spend the night on the couch). However, you can show that love how much you care and start the evening right by swapping the limp flowers for a liquid Rose and having it ready when he or she walks in the door (or when you show up at his or her door).

This Valentine’s Day maker-better is from Ginger Bliss and Violet Fizz, too!



Cracked ice
2 ounces dry vermouth
1 ounce kirsch
1 ounce Chambord
Maraschino cherry, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the vermouth, kirsch, and Chambord. Stir well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass and add the cherry.

*Funny enough, I’m quoting myself. But hey, I’m funny.

February 7, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Cara Sposa Mattina

Sometimes, you even have to change drinks you like. Heck, even drinks you wrote about. Though maybe “change” isn’t the right word, as it sounds a wee bit pejorative, and I don’t mean to say the original drink in this case, the Cara Sposa, wasn’t and isn’t super tasty. Cause it was and is. However, I just got a bottle of the new coffee liqueur from the Seattle Distilling Company, Luana Beach coffee liqueur (made with Orca Blend coffee from the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie), and wanted to try it in a cocktail, and, well, the Cara Sposa seemed a perfect match, even though the main ingredient in it, Tia Maria, isn’t necessarily a coffee liqueur. But it does have a coffee-esque quality, so I wasn’t that far afield when making the sub. And, you know what? The end result was amazing. Delicious. A worthy successor to the original. I, naturally, changed the name a stitch, since it is a different drink. You would have done the same, I hope.


Cara Sposa Mattina

Crushed ice
1-1/2 ounces Luana Beach coffee liqueur
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand orange curaçao
1/2 ounce heavy cream

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with crushed ice. Add the Tia Maria, orange curaçao, and cream. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass.

A Note: I’ve seen this blended and then strained, but I think that makes it too watery. Using crushed ice and shaking like a machine gets things slushy but not overly watery.

January 31, 2014

What I’m Drinking: Friar Untucked

In Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, I start my talking about this dessert-y drink by saying, “Ooh, Friar, what a long robe you have on–but why is it so ruffled?” I’m not sure there is anything else needed, really. Outside of suggesting you serve this after dinner, in the evening, with you and your sweetie.


Friar Untucked

Ice cubes
1-1/2 ounces Praline Liqueur
1-1/2 ounces Sound Spirits Depth crème de cacao
1-1/2 ounces ounces heavy cream
Cinnamon stick for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the praline liqueur, crème de cacao, and cream. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.

A Variation: I’ve seen this made with Frangelico (the Italian hazelnut liqueur originally made by monks, and with the monk-like bottle), and called just Friar Tuck. It’s tasty, but adding the praline instead gives this drink a bit of a Southern flair that adds a lot to an evening. I’ve also seen a drink called the Friar Tuck made with vodka, coke, and blackberry cordial. Which seems so unholy I would suggest not even mentioning it.

September 27, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Chartreuse Daisy

I recently was talking to a friend, and they mentioned that they didn’t like Chartreuse. I was flabbergasted. I didn’t, like, knock them over the noggin with a three-legged stool or anything, but I did decide then and there to never talk to them again (okay, maybe not – but that would have been sorta great). I also decided to go right home and make myself a Chartreuse Daisy, in honor of the lovely herbal French liqueur/aperitif that had been maligned by my one-time friend. I think you should do the same. We certainly don’t want Chartreuse to feel bad, after all.


Chartreuse Daisy, using the recipe from Ginger Bliss

Cracked ice

2 ounces gin

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce grenadine

1 ounce yellow Chartreuse

Strawberry, for garnish

Orange slice, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, lemon juice, and grenadine. Shake very well, until the shaker gets frosty.

2. Fill a goblet three-quarters up with cracked ice. Strain the mixture over the ice. Stir briefly. Float the Chartreuse over the ice, and stir again briefly. Garnish with the strawberry and the orange slice.

September 13, 2013

Cocktail to Cocktail Hour V4, One, The Kick-Off Cocktail

Holy Toledo! Everyone who’s been holding your breath can now exhale – the new season of the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour is finally upon us. They (those bastardos) said it couldn’t be done, said that the Cocktail to Cocktail Hour was too radicool, too awesome, too tasty for modern T.V. – but they were wrong. To prove it, the first episode of the new season, where I teach you have to make the Kick-Off, a combination of gin, dry vermouth, anisette, Benedictine, and Angostura. Get to it, y’all!

August 30, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Marguerite

A week ago today, I put up a Friday night drink called the Portofino, which was a drink I made for my mother’s 75th birthday party. One of the other drinks (there were three) was the Marguerite. As mentioned in that earlier post, I was slightly angling the drinks the Italian way, and the Italian connection here is anisette – specifically Meletti anisette, which is one of the finest sippers I know. I blogged more about it on a specific Meletti post, so go catch up if you missed it. Then, when back, make this drink. It has an interesting balance, as it’s equal parts gin and vermouth, but the end result is awfully wonderful (oh, the recipe is from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz, if you wondered).


The Marguerite

Cracked ice

1-1/4 ounces gin

1-1/4 ounces dry vermouth

1/4 ounce anisette

Thin lemon slice for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker or mixing glass halfway full with cracked ice. Add the gin, vermouth, and anisette. Stir well.

2. Strain the mix into a cocktail glass or comparable glass

3. Give the lemon slice a small squeeze over the glass then drop it in.

August 23, 2013

What I’m Drinking: The Portofino

It was recently my mother’s 75th birthday (yay mom!), and she had quite the wing-ding to celebrate, with oodles of friends and family in attendance, and lots of delicious edibles, and some piano playing, and some singing, and some toasting. I also made drinks for everyone, and we went with a little Italian-styled, or at least Italian-touched, menu of three drinks. One of those was the Portofino, a drink I hadn’t had since putting together the recipes for Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz. It ended up being the favorite of the evening, I think because, well, it’s a tasty drink, sure, but also because it’s such a fine, fine bubbly beauty for August, when the weather is hot. The Italian part of the drink comes out in the name (which is a small port city in Genoa), as well as the addition of Italian aperitif champion Aperol. The neat thing – I believe – is that the drink also has a dose of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup in it. That’s not only neat because it references the days when English sailors used to dock in the port city the drink’s named after, but also because the day before my mom’s 75th birthday party, I returned from a two-week sojourn in jolly old England, where Pimm’s, of course, is from.


The Portofino

Ice cubes

2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup

1 ounce Aperol

Chilled ginger ale

Orange wedge, for garnish

1. Fill a highball glass three quarters up with ice cubes. Add the Pimm’s and Aperol and stir briefly.

2. Fill the glass almost to the top with ginger ale. Stir again and garnish with the orange wedge.

August 16, 2013

What I’m Drinking: Hot Night in Hidalgo

Even if you don’t live in Hidalgo, as it’s August, it’s fairly possible that you are, indeed, hot (unless you live on the other side of the equator, in which case you might as well save this one until next time it is summer in your neighborhood. Or, you could just have it in a sauna, or in a room with a heater, or under the blankets with that special someone. Up to you, of course). And while this isn’t one of those super cool-down kinds of affairs, it matches up so well with higher temperatures and shorter outfits (if you know what I mean) that summertime is the time to have it pals and gals. So, I guess, the heat is on.*


Hot Night in Hidalgo (from Ginger Bliss and the Violet Fizz)

Ice cubes

2 ounces dark rum

1-1/2 ounces Damiana

3/4 ounce fresh pineapple juice

Pineapple chunk, for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add the rum, Damiana, and pineapple juice. Shake well.

2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the pineapple chunk, in a smooth manner. *I know, that was cheesy. But I had to say it. Had to. Contractually obliged.

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