Well... since I missed Christmas and New Year's, the least I can offer up is a belated-yet-hearty "Happy Martin Luther King Day" along with my best wishes for the New Year. (Thank goodness I bought one of Jill DeGroff's fantastic Cocktailian Calendars to get my schedule organized in 2008!)
Meanwhile, here are some highlights from last year:
I've covered some of my favorite faces and drinks on The Liquid Muse Blog, the Cocktail of the Week Museletter, and The Bartender Diaries. (This month, meet fabulous Lu Brow of the Swizzle Stick Bar, in New Orleans.)
February found me in Finland for the finals of the Finlandia Vodka Cup cocktail competition. Having been a regional judge in Phoenix, it was exciting to see all twenty-two international finalists vie for top honor at the Ice Hotel in Lapland. (some cocktails pictured here) Side note: Eating reindeer carpaccio after being pulled on a sleigh by one of the sad-looking beasts made me feel a bit guilty, and surely didn't score any points with Santa. Quite tasty, though...
In March, I joined hubby in Thailand, where I got taken by a Tuk Tuk driver, gave offerings to a gigantic Buddha and became an "accidental bulimic" due to choosing the wrong street food. I recovered after a shot of antibiotics and some fabulous Thai soups. (pork porridge = breakfast of champions)
(Courtesy of TheLiquidMuse.com)
1 1/2 ounce White Chocolate liqueur
1/2 ounce cream
1/2 ounce maraschino syrup
Shake above ingredients well, with ice. Strain into a chilled, sugar-rimmed Martini Glass. Serve up, and garnish with a maraschino cherry, in the bottom of the drink.
Next gig was to create a twist on the Julep for a Kentucky Derby promotion where I found myself obsessed by ponies... and hats!
Then, June breezes blew me to the gorgeously unspoiled West Coast of Puerto Rico, Porto Del Sol. There, I learned how "not to be a gringo" while surfing and filmed a little video on Puerto Rican Moijtos. The area also boasts secret celebrity getaway Relais & Chateaux's Horned Dorset. (Shhh...)
In August, I sipped around incredible Libation-Loving Londontown. There's no place like London, there's no place like London...
September saw a weekend escape to Monterey, followed by an educational whirlwind at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Who better to learn from than Fred Noe - seventh generation distiller at Jim Beam (his face is on the bottle!) and David Pickerell, Master Distiller for Makers Mark.
Back home, I taught a cocktail class at my all-time favorite cocktail store: Bar Keeper in Silverlake; then went back up to San Fran to be a judge in Square One Vodka's Square Off. While there, I was excited to see the first edition of my syndicated monthly cocktail column with Where Magazine in the hotel room!
I taught organic cocktail classes in Seattle, in October, as part of a 'sustainable stylish lifestyle' promotion. Here's one of the eco-friendly drinks I created for that:
(Courtesy of TheLiquidMuse.com)
3/4 ounce Casal Dos Jordoes Tawny Port (organically-grown grapes)
3 or 4 ounces Can Vendrell Cava Brut Reserva (organically-grown grapes)
2 teaspoon organic sugar
4-5 drops organic almond extract
1 sour cherry
Sugar-rim a chilled champagne flute by rubbing rim with a lime, then dipping into sugar. Pour one teaspoon of sugar into bottom of flute, then add almond extract. Drop in sour cherry. Gently pour in port. Top with cava.
I finally got to make a quick visit to my sister (and the Bar Hemmingway) in Paris, followed a few days in Athens with hubby. (Haven't even blogged that yet!)
I was deeply honored when swanky DC Magazine (Modern Luxury) featured The Liquid Muse in a glorious article, in November.
And, I could not have been more thankful when a wonderful publisher offered me a two-book deal during Thanksgiving Week. (Ah, a home at last.) Book One hits shelves this Fall. Cocktail of the Week subscribers will be the first to receive invitations to book signing cocktail parties around the country! Invite your friends here.
Finally, the year ended with a bang when Sutter Home Wine asked me to be the Spokesperson and Mixologist for their line of alcohol-removed wines, Fre. In addition to creating cocktail recipes, I did in-person demos in Tampa and Houston, and appeared on morning shows in Miami, San Francisco and Phoenix. (Nothin' like Live TV to get the adrenaline pumping!)
Whew! What a year. Needless to say, I thank you all for tuning in, and I'm excited to see what 2008 brings. And, I hope you'll all come along for the ride...