Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cocktails For Choice

The Liquid Muse Supports The Right To Choose! And, though this is a cocktail blog, not a political one, it is an arena to share my inspiration. So, here are two delicious recipes I created for an event coming up in Los Angeles, this weekend. If you are in town, and support the Right to Choose for all women, you may want to check it out. Here is the low down (and the recipes!):

Sip a martini and learn why you should vote No on Prop. 85! Saturday, September 30th - 5-7 pm. Feel free to bring friends.

Café Lattetini
2 oz. Grey Goose Vanilla Vodka
1 oz. Khalua (or other coffee-flavored liqueur)
splash cream
3-4 espresso beans for garnish
Nilla Wafter crumbs

Rim a martini glass with Nilla Wafer Crumbs, place the espresso beans in the bottom of the glass. Shake all ingredients with ice, strain, pour and serve!

The Taste of Freedom

1oz. Vodka
1 oz. Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (plain pomegranate juice is fine, too)
Generous squeeze of lemon
Dash of bitters

Shake all ingredients with ice, strain, serve up in a cocktail glass.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Celebrity Sips

Mark Burnett’s Gold Rush!

Emmy Award winning Executive Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Contender and The Apprentice) launches Gold Rush this fall. AOL and CBS team with Burnett, marking a groundbreaking collaboration between interactive online and on-air entertainment.

Burnett, formerly in the British military, parlays his hunger for adventure into block-buster shows. Gold Rush begins with thirteen armored trucks driving off to hide over $2 million worth of gold bars in various locations across America. Twelve of the trucks contain a value of $100,000 and the thirteenth carries gold worth $1 million.

What happens next? Each week new clues are found within CBS TV programs, sponsor commercials,® web site and other media properties. Then, real-life treasure seekers embark on a race to find the gold, in other words - a national treasure hunt.

Mark Burnett explains, "Unlike reality TV shows, where 16 hopefuls take part to win, 'Gold Rush' allows potentially millions of players to look for the gold in mediums which are omnipresent, such as the Internet, radio, network television and print magazines. It is a game-changer in the way that the first 'Survivor' changed the game."

Mixologist Leo DeGroff (son of famed “Cocktail King” Dale DeGroff) created three cocktails for the show’s recent launch party in Los Angeles. Get all three recipes and read Leo’s interview here.

Gold Rush Mint
Mixologist: Leo DeGroff

3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 1/4 ounces simple syrup
3 juicy orange slices
6-8 mint leaves
1 1/2 oz Maker's Mark Bourbon whiskey

In pint glass, muddle the lemon juice, simple syrup, orange slices, and mint leaves together. Add liquor and shake with ice. Strain over new ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and orange slice.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hold the Red Bull!

Zygo caffeinated vodka does two jobs in one - liquors you up and keeps you awake. Talk about a bang for your buck!

I was skeptical at first... but I have to say that its peachy flavor works nicely when mixed with a squeeze of lime and a little muddled mint. (I made that last night.) A splash of hibiscus juice enhances it, too (shaken with ice and strained, of course).

Use Zygo for your next slow-me-down and speed-me-up cocktail. It's the hardest working liquor on the market!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Shopaholics Unite through!

Katherine Kennedy carries a concealed weapon. Of course, I am not referring to a firearm or blade. What I mean is that meeting this California bombshell for the first time can be misleading. Lovely to look at with a bubbly personality, it is easy to dismiss this clever lady as another privileged Georgetown princess, with an ability to make good grades and spend “daddy’s money.”

I freely admit that I had to scold myself for judging a book by its cover! (And, I should already know that when BabsieD makes the introduction, the person must be fabulous!) When I finally sat down to chat with Katherine, I was blown away by her charm, ambition and business savvy. At only 21 years old, she has learned the fine art of creating a career from something she loves to do. (Hmm… Isn’t that what school counselors encourage, after all?) With, Katherine turns her passion for purchases into a soon-to-be goldmine.

Katherine says, “My two favorite things are and shopping online.” While working on a project for an e-commerce class, she learned that 81% of products which get into a shopping cart are not bought. Reflecting on her own online shopping experiences she recalls, “I’d put 1000 items in a cart and abandon them.”

When she moved to DC (and became car-less quite an adjustment for most Californians) she would make “wish lists” on for her mom, who could them purchase the items and send them to her. This sparked a light bulb to flash in Katherine’s mind, “I had the idea to make a universal wish list.”

As The Liquid Muse, I am happy to say that Katherine’s concept, like many brilliant ones, was developed over cocktails with friends. She explains, “The idea for came up at Sea Catch, next to a wall of fruit-infused martinis. We’d go every day for happy hour / dinner for half-price martinis and oysters. I wrote my first business plan on a napkin there.” (No wonder we could relate!)

How does work? In a nutshell: prospective shoppers join for free, then use the integrated browser. Katherine explains, “We let you shop any retail site. The web is your world. You can get anything you want.” Desired items are added to the person’s Universal Wish List on, where additional information can be noted. Friends and family members can access the wish list as a convenient guide for gift-giving occasions.

What makes different than traditional online shopping? Katherine explains, “Only 3.4% of retail shopping is currently for ecommerce market. Our competitive advantage is the social aspect.” subscribers create profiles. Shopping Buddies with similar tastes can connect and even rate each others’ prospective purchases. Katherine says, “In traditional online shopping you don’t get to shop with peers.” Retail businesses also have the opportunity to add “buy now” incentives.

How did this young woman get so clever? Perhaps it’s in the jeans. I mean, genes. Katherine grew up in Palo Alto, California and her father worked in Silicon Valley. She headed down to So-Cal for a Poli-Sci degree from Loyola Marymount in LA, then arrived in DC a year ago to work on a Master’s degree in Politics and Media at Georgetown University.

From class project to budding entrepreneur, Katherine expressed her confidence that she will win online shoppers’ business, beaming, “I am the demographic.” Peruse is scheduled to launch this month. Katherine says, “It’s all coming together. It’s a bit scary but I’m ready for it.”

Her favorite places to go out? Blue Gin, Café Milano, Mate, Georgetown Waterfront
Her Favorite drinks? mojitos and beer: Yingling, Bud Light

Friday, September 15, 2006

Women & Wine

Julie Brosterman fills a gap in our lives. Dismayed by the “vacuum of information speaking intelligently to women about wine,” Julie points out, “When it came to wine, it was always geared toward men.” Taking matters into her own hands, she created Women & Wine, a trusted source for female wine enthusiasts.

Julie explains, “I don’t want to look through a card catalogue of wines and scores. That doesn’t tell you anything about the people who make the wine. To only judge a wine by a score… well, it’s a crazy way to learn about anything.” She says that women gravitate toward storytelling when it comes to wine. She also credits good timing in the success of her site, citing a Desperate
Housewives-meets-Sideways trend.

Julie, raised in New York, considers LA home. Previously a Mortgage Broker, she says that looking back on her life, it’s not the business deals that fulfill her but the “postcards of my life” in which wine has played a part. She explains, “I may forget what I need to buy at the grocery store today but I can tell you, in detail, about an afternoon 14 years ago, when I sat on a terrace, drank rosé and ate apple tart, over-looking the Riviera.” (Hmmm - did I mention that Julie is my kind of gal?)

Luckily for us ladies, Brosterman has done her research and knows what we want. According to her, last year women bought 55 % of wine in the US. She believes the wine industry has taken note and is making a strategic commitment to marketing to us. She has even observed more attractive labels and bottles as subtle encouragement for ‘impulse purchases.’

Julie makes the point that while businesswomen are starting to get the attention they deserve from the wine industry, women who drink wine for pleasure, who travel, make luxury purchases and give themselves affluent lifestyles are overlooked. She describes Women & Wine as a “luxury brand,” appealing to that neglected market.

As an example, Women & Wine offers “Reading Glasses,” a clever service pairing book club selections with vintages which highlight, accentuate or playfully accompany the topic, title or setting. (I’d say reading just got a whole lot more fun!) Women & Wine also makes corporate events experiential by providing Beverage Matching services. And, don’t forget to listen to Voice America for the weekly radio show!

And, a note to my much-valued male Sipsters: Women & Wine events are man-optional. (Julie’s husband is involved in the business, too!)

Optimistic for the future, Julie ponders, “Are we the next Oprah, Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray? Maybe. I hope so.”

Time will tell – but while membership is still free, take a look at the site and raise a glass to Women & Wine!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Props to DC Drinks

I love this post on "Why Your Bartender Hates You." It is a must-read for anyone who goes to bars, tends bar and has any affinity for bartenders what-so-ever.

I appreciate someone who can serve up a kick-a** drink with a little personality on-the-side. For a bartender full of knowledge and talent, I am an eager and appreciative audience. I reward them with revel and awe (and, of course, put my moo-lah where my mouth is).

On that subject, I've noted some shitty tippers during my time in DC - even at free events - which really amazes me because people in Washington have money. What the hell? I'd like to hear your thoughts on that...

I've also come across some incredibly talented "mixologists" during my time in the District - many of whom inspired me to start my cocktail blog. For God's sake, treat these people well, tip them accordingly and everyone has a better night!!

I love a good drink - and I love a good bartender... especially in a fun, lively and comfortable atmosphere. And, a friendly attitude behind the bar is the cream on the cake.

It's what I call my Liquid Muse wet dream...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

For the Love of Espana

If I hadn’t just moved back to sunny LA, I would have gotten my “culo” to Spain, this summer. The 2 1/2 years I lived on the Costa Brava were among the highlights of my life. The food, the people, the culture, the food, the music, the beach, the food…

Washingtonians longing for a Spanish fix don’t have to travel far! Through the end of September
Taberna del Alabardero celebrates its 17th anniversary with a Paella Festival. Named after the in which it is prepared (a paellera) paella originated on the eastern coast of Spain, in the city of Valencia. Executive Chef Santi Zabaleta is joined by guest chef and paella expert, Chef Miguel Fuster Ribelles of Spain's La Lluna de Valencia restaurant.

Bring a friend because there is a minimum of two people per-order. A few of the many paellas presented

Paella Valenciana - Traditional Paella Valenciana with Chicken, Rabbit and Mixed Vegetables
Arroz Negro - Squid Ink Paella
Arroz Meloso de Pulpo con Habas y Ajetes - Creamy Rice of Octopus, Fava Beans and Scallions
Paella de Marisco - Seafood Paella with Fish and Shellfish
Arroz Meloso de Bogabante - Creamy Rice with Lobster

Wash it down with this Sangria, created by Sommelier David Bueno:

Taberna’s Sangria

1 bottle fruity red wine (Shiraz, Merlot, or Grenache)
2 oz Bacardi White Rum
1 fresh peach, skinned and diced (if peaches are out of season, use 1 green apple and 1 orange, skinned and diced)
Pinch ground cinnamon
4 oz freshly-squeezed orange juice
1 oz 7-Up

Marinate the fruit in a pitcher of rum for up to a day. Add wine, cinnamon and orange juice, then top with 7-Up and pour over ice.

In the mood for a cocktail?

Taberna’s Sangritini

1 oz Bacardi Orange
1/2 oz Bacardi Apple
1/2 oz Bacardi Lemon
1/2 oz White wine
1/2 oz Triple Sec
Splash Orange juice
Splash Lemon juice

Shake ingredients. Serve in a martini glass garnished with orange twist and apple dice.
One for the boys (and some girls…)

At least half the population is waiting for this sequel.

A drink suggestion by which to enjoy it:

Slippery Nipple

1/2 oz Bailey's® Irish cream
1/2 oz butterscotch schnapps

Serve chilled in a shot glass

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

La Bella Italiana

Sipster Pierre Bovis (who happens to be my dad) is a lover of the drink. (I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!)

Born and raised in Beaulieu Sur Mer, France, he enjoys the boozy bounty the Mediterranean coast has to offer. When spending time in Beaulieu, we often make the half-hour drive into “bella Italia.” Below is my dad’s recipe using my all-time favorite summer spirit, Campari.

La Bella Italiana

2 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. Mandarin (or Orange) flavored Syrup

Shake Campari and Mandarin Syrup in a cocktail shaker to chill. Pour into a champagne flute or rocks glass. Top with champagne.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Manhattan’s Manhattan

I remember visiting the World Trade Center for the first time as a kid, in the early 80's, on a whirlwind tour of Manhattan with my mom and sister. My mom even took us into Windows On The World for lunch. It was breathtaking.

The next time I went there was in the summer 1990, with a few fellow students from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Being “aspiring artists” Windows On The World was out of our budgets – but peeking inside the famous restaurant was still a thrill for me.

The last time I visited the towers was in 1997. Little did I know that the photos taken from the roof deck of one of the twin towers would come to mean a lot more to me a few years later. Peering down on that glittering city, looking out across an awe- (and vertigo!) inspiring expanse, it was hard to imagine that those crystalline beauties upon which we stood could even be thought of as fragile or vulnerable.

In 2005, I was in Manhattan again. I did not want to go to Ground Zero. However, a girlfriend was visiting from Germany. We were doing the tourist dash from uptown to downtown, and back again. Returning from Battery Park, past Wall Street and heading toward Midtown, suddenly and quite by accident, I found myself there, standing in front the chain-link fence surrounding Ground Zero.

Overpowered with emotion, I got choked up,
thinking of the people trapped inside the buildings that day. I thought of the panic they felt - jammed into the stairwells trying to escape. I imagined the phone calls telling loved ones "good bye" and not to worry. Who would I call first, in the last moments? My blubbering turned to tears as I recounted stories to my friend, and thought about what it takes to seize the last shred of control and jump out of a doomed skyscraper. I marvelled again at the rescue workers, the people blind-sided in the Pentagon, and Flight 93, crashing in the fields of Pennsylvania whose passengers, with their "let's roll" attitude, died heros...

It was still too much to imagine that could happen, standing on that sidewalk, gazing upward into empty blue sky.

I never did get to drink a Manhattan atop the world, but I can share New York’s “King of Cocktails” Dale DeGroff formula for the perfect Manhattan. In addition to founding the Museum of the Cocktail, he also trained many of the bar staff at Windows On The World.

On this somber anniversary, a liquid tribute to one of the most special cities in the world…

Greater Manhattan

2 oz. Blended Whiskey
1 oz. Sweet Spanish Sherry (Windows On The World substituted sherry for Italian Sweet Vermouth, which is more commonly used)
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Pour all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass and stir as you would a Martini. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry. Note: If you prefer a dry Manhattan, use dry Vermouth and garnish with a lemon peel.

Interesting side note: On January 4, 2006, a number of former Windows on the World staff opened Colors, a co-operative restaurant in Manhattan that serves as a tribute to their fallen colleagues and whose menu reflects the diversity of the former Windows' staff.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Ass–Licker

I don’t think that Tony Blair is an inherently bad person. I kinda feel sorry for the guy. Being referred to as George Bush’s poodle can’t be easy. Not to mention, he is nothing like a poodle, really. Every poodle I’ve ever met has an identity of his own. They are happy-go-lucky animals with some sense of autonomy. Blair looks anything but happy these days, and Lord knows he melded himself into one entity with George Bush years ago.

Now, I am not someone who can claim to know a whole hell of a lot about politics or foreign affairs (which is probably the only thing I have in common with our president). However, I have opinions. And, thankfully, the freedom to express them is one of the founding principles of the country in which I was born. (Just in case you were wondering, I am referring to the United States. At least, it was that way before the whole “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” policy became our new-and-improved Crawford Constitution…)

But, I digress. Let’s get back to Blair, the poor chap. Thinking back to five years ago, when President Bush delivered a speech just after 9/11, he said something to the effect of “The United States has no truer friend than Great Britain.” I seem to recall the camera shot of Tony Blair, all warm and fuzzy, lit a-glow from the inside. I think that must have been the moment he decided to become George Bush’s ass-licker.

Not only did Blair join Bush in defying the United Nations and invading Iraq, he earnestly stood behind an inarticulate, beady-eyed American President whom the rest of his European neighbors mistrusted. While the world-at-large (we’re talking pretty much every continent) staged protests, marches, signed petitions and screamed “NO!” at the top of our lungs, Blair remained loyal to his bumbling friend from Texas. And, like his Yankee pal, he loaded up his own farm kids, inner-city youth, and the noble young men and women who want to serve their nation, and sent them off to the Middle East.

I can’t help but wonder what happened to poor Tony in childhood to make him feel the need to align himself with “he who shoves the hardest” rather than reason through his choice of friends. In my mind’s eye, I see Tony as a clever but lonely little boy who is picked on by bullies and dreams of being a popular kid. When the lesson he really needed to learn was “just be true to yourself and people will like you for who you are.”

I can’t help but think that without Bush’s influence, Blair would not be the kind of arrogant and boorish fellow who would march into a country, wielding the WMD flag, and proceed to decimate its land and people. He really does seem far too “civilized” and well bred for that sort of behavior.

The one thing for which I must commend Tony Blair is that he, at least, has the integrity to announce that he will resign within a year. If only W would have that much consideration for our great nation…

So, in honor of our buddy, Tony Blair, let’s raise a glass!

The Ass-Licker

1 oz. berry-flavored vodka
1 oz. chocolate liqueur
splash cream

Shake all ingredients with ice. Serve in a chilled glass. Garnish with a Marachino cherry and a mini Union Jack.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Celebrity Sips - Scotch for Sir Sean

The American Film Institute (AFI) presented a very rare, award-winning 40-Year bottle of the celebrated Scotch whisky to Sir Sean Connery, winner of the 2006 AFI Life Achievement Award.

The AFI Life Achievement Award, established in 1973, honors an individual whose career in motion pictures or television has greatly contributed to the enrichment of American culture. Past recipients include Bette Davis, Fred Astaire, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Barbara Streisand.

It was presented to Connery at a gala tribute at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles in June, 2006. Other famous personalities at the event included such as Calista Flockhart, Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Julia Ormond, and Steven Spielberg.

Laphroaig single-malt Scotch is distilled on the island of Islay and rests in European oak barrels, in a seaside warehouse. It is the only whisky to bear a Royal Warrant bestowed by HRH Prince Charles, in 1994.

Laphroaig has received high accolades including “Distiller of the Year” and “Best Whisky of Show” at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2006 and Best Single Malt in the World in Whisky Magazine 2005. The bottle awarded Sir Connery would retail for approximately US $1,800.

So, what I want to know is if he passed the bottle ‘round for sips to other celebrities in attendance at the AFI event!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Crocodile (Hunter) Tears

I want to pay tribute to the late wildlife conservationist and damn-fine human being, the ultimate Wildlife Warrior, Steve Irwin.

His commitment to educating us all about exotic animals and dedicating his life to helping them survive is an example of what it means to be a productive member of society. His purpose on Earth was larger than his own existence.

In honor of his work, you can make a donation to his wildlife preservation organiztion, Wildlife Warriors Worldwide. The money is used to run the non-profit and also to help maintain Australia Zoo, the wildlife park started by Irwin's parents and continued by Steve and his wife. In an interview, Steve said he hoped to pass the torch of wildlife preservation to his children, Bindy (8) and Bob (2), one day.

Crocodile Tears
(Disclaimer! This recipe is not meant to be in bad taste. Rather, this drink is meant to be a nod to his zest for life and his sense of humor.)

1 oz. Midori
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Galliano
4 oz. pineapple juice

Combine all ingredients and shake vigorously, with ice. Pour into a rocks glass. Exclaim “Crickey!” upon consumption.
Personality Profile - Out Of The Closet

I met Margaret Lilly at her launch party, earlier this summer, in DC. It was an intimate, stylish affair centered around a fashion show featuring her six lovely sisters. Her hunky hubby passed hors d’oeuvres while her brother-in-law and dad kept the bubbly flowing. The event reflected Margaret herself – upscale yet unpretentious – and utterly charming.

Margaret says she became aware of personal style at an early age. “When I was old enough to know what fashion was, I knew I wanted to work in it.” Margaret’s silings have varying personalities and lifestyles. She took it upon herself to guide each one’s wardrobe to reflect their individuality.

Eventually, she turned her passion into a business. Lilly’s Closet took off like wildfire this summer after her write up in Daily Candy DC. Recently, she teamed up with DC’s Kimpton hotels to create Diva Weekends. Fun!

A Silver Spring native, Margaret recently returned to Washington (after several years in California) with a goal: to guide Washingtoniennes in finding a new look or updating their current one. Sensing a shift in fashion-consciousness among women in the DC-area she notes, “Suddenly there is a fashion re-birth in Washington. People want to spice up their wardrobes.”

Margaret’s personalized style packages (in your home) range from basic ‘closet editing’ to an all-day, in-depth one-on-one workshop, resulting in a “look book,” polaroids of outfits (to recreate alone) and even an accompanied shopping trip! She has something for everyone saying, "
“I’m so enthusiastic about dressing people that my style packages accommodate people with varying incomes.” Now, that's a service with style!

What are this style-Divas favorite drinks? Sparkling cocktails tickle her fancy.

And, where does she drink them? Well, let’s just say Margaret and I put down a few at Topaz…

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sipster Submission - The Scarlet Woman
(Sipster: A member of The Liquid Muse Community. To get the "museletter" email:

Elizabeth Denton sends us a lascivious Labor Day libation from the wily, windy city. (While enjoying this cocktail, don't forget to check out her new fashion blog, The Tailored Woman.)

From Elizabeth:
"I'm addicted to a fabulous carbonated fruit juice drink called Essn. The company makes four flavors in little Red Bull-size cans.
One evening I tried adding a splash of vodka to my favorite, Sparkling Blood Orange & Cranberry, and the Scarlet Woman was born.

The cocktail is prettiest with freshly-squeezed blood orange juice, but since these are only in season December through July, and can be difficult to find, I’ve suggested an equally-delicious lime alternative."

The Scarlet Woman

1 Can Essn Sparkling Blood Orange & Cranberry Juice

1 (or 1 1/2) oz. vodka (preferably Ketel One)

Juice of one freshly-squeezed blood orange (if not available, use fresh lime juice)

Pour into a highball glass and garnish with a lime slice and fresh or Maraschino cherries.

photo of The Tailored Woman by: Clay McClure