Friday, October 31, 2008

Tequila Warm Up For Scary Night Ahead...

We decided to be "dead pirates" for Halloween. My costume started out as a "sexy witch" but frankly, I need more time than my work schedule would allow today to get too carried away with the "sexy" part.

We're drinking Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila in a sort of "grapefruit daisy" cocktail, waiting for the trick-or-treaters before we hit the town.

Oh, who am I kidding. We don't care about the trick-or-treaters all that much. We have our cocktails, thank you very much, and a good excuse to start sipping a fine mescal before sundown...
There Will Not Be A Dry Eye in These Dry States on Election Day

I'm reprinting this announcement from D.I.S.C.U.S as I think it will be of interest to cocktail-lovers everywhere!~Natalie

Seven States Still Force Prohibition-era Bans on Election Day Alcohol Sales : On November 4th, voters in seven states will be able to choose a president but not a bottle according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). Seventy-five years after the Repeal of Prohibition, archaic Election Day alcohol sales bans continue to inconvenience consumers and hurt small businesses in a handful of states across the country.

The only states that still cling to statewide Election Day sales bans of alcohol at restaurants, bars and package stores are Kentucky, Indiana and South Carolina. Utah and West Virginia still ban the sale of alcohol at package stores on Election Day. Alaska and Massachusetts also ban Election Day alcohol sales, except that local governments are authorized to provide
an exemption from the ban.

"The Election Day sales ban is a ridiculous relic of the Prohibition era when saloons sometimes served as polling stations," said DISCUS Vice President David Wojnar, whose organization has aggressively supported rolling back Blue Laws in states across the country. "Repealing the 1930's ban on Election Day alcohol sales would provide adult consumers with much-needed convenience -- whether they're celebrating election returns or mourning them."

Three More States Repealed Bans in 2008

Wojnar pointed out that Delaware, Idaho and Utah all relaxed Election Day sales bans earlier this year -- the latest in a nationwide trend of states modernizing their alcohol laws. Utah, which still bans package store sales on Election Day, now allows Election Day sales at restaurants and private clubs.

"Blue Laws make absolutely no sense in a modern economy," Wojnar said. "If legislators want to boost tourism and help small businesses in the state they need to start by repealing these silly Prohibition-era restrictions."
"Going Green is Big Easy"

Those crazy kids down in New Orleans who came up with a bright idea called Tales of the Cocktail, now present Tales of the Eco-Toddy!

In the words of Ann Rogers Tuennerman, the event will wrap you in “environmentally conscious warmth, comfort and joy sipping ECO Toddies, Nogs, Hot Buttered Rum, Mulled Wine and more green friendly libations.” The evening is hosted by local culinary celebrity Lorin Gaudin and guests will enjoy:
  • Green Fairy-Sampling of various Absinthes from around the world
  • Green Tea Cocktails
  • The Tree Hugger Holiday Market in partnership with Freret St. Market
  • Holiday Cocktail Creations by New Orleans top mixologists
  • Informal Modeling of Worn Again Fashions by Recycle 4 the Arts designers
  • Debut and book signing of Poppy Tooker’s Crescent City Farmer’s Market Cookbook
  • Debut and CD signing of Armand's St. Martin's "KATRINA ANTHEM", A Katrina Collection of Memorable St. Martin Songs
  • Cocktail Herb Garden- Designed by Anne Baker, Sustainable Farming & Organic Gardening Consultant and Educator. Proudly supported by Absolut Vodka global cooling campaign.
Tales of the Eco Toddy takes place on Wednesday, November 19, 2008 from 5:00pm-8:00pm at Republic New Orleans, 828 South Peters Street. Tickets are $25.00 per person in advance or $30.00 per person at door.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sipster Submissions

San Francisco’s Victoria D’Amato-Moran shares her gorgeous Autumn-themed cocktail with us. Incidentally, this particular libation won FIRST PLACE in the "ri(1) whiskey" competition last Monday, in the City by the Bay.

Rumor has it that Victoria is about to start whipping up some luscious drinks for Michael Chiarello in Yountville (ie: Napa’s playground for wine-loving world renown chefs).

Fall-ing For You

1.5 oz ri(1) whiskey
1 oz. homemade spice syrup
3 oz Pumpkin/Apple juice

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

This little lady also runs Cent' Anni, her cocktail consulting business. She has created 40 drinks for the Suntory Company (Midori, Yamazaki, Zen) as well as for magazines, websites, East Leaf Products, and so on.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today's Hollywood Reporter claims that agents and TV execs are frothing at the bit to get Palin a TV show because when she appears, ratings hit the ceiling. (Are they sure they're not confusing her with Tina Fey?)

This country is in serious trouble if running for Vice President of our nation is a stepping stone to "reality TV." What's next? Bill Clinton giving sex advice on Playboy's Sirius radio? (Wait! forget I said that...)

*Photo from

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Twitter Vs. Zannel

I'm relatively new to Twitter and I admit that, yes, I find it slightly more than addictive. Ridiculously so, in fact. So, just when I've accepted that I'm a "Slave to the Tweet," here comes another way to whittle away my precious working hours... with pictures and video! Damn - it sounds so good, it hurts.

Have any of you tried Zannel? Is it all its cracked up to be? They've shared their Top Ten List with me. Sounds pretty enticing...

Disaster/ Storms - Once upon a time, critical information about disasters like storms and large wildfires was delivered in small doses, either by radio broadcasts or through the TV news at 5pm and 10pm every evening. Mobile phones bring news to audiences instantly, even if the power lines are down or you're trapped far from home. Imagine the difference between texting "trapped in the airport" to seeing the chaos of O'Hare airport shut down by a blizzard…the day before Thanksgiving.

- Tweeters love to share their daily movements, from sitting in a traffic jam to shopping for shoes at the mall. But how effective is saying, "can't decide between the red and black pair" compared to showing folks your options? Pictures let friends get involved with the process as if they were standing next to you at the checkout stand offering advice.

Event – How can text ever capture the sensation of sharing an important moment with a group of people? Whether it's sold-out a concert, a high school football game or a bachelor party in Vegas, often the sights and sounds of an event can only be expressed with pictures or video.

Celebrity - Ever had a close encounter with a celebrity? Most of us have some random story about the time that Keanu Reeves gave us his taxi or we saw the kid from Saved By the Bell at the In and Out Burger. How much better is a photo to share the experience with your skeptical friends?

Pets – People who love their pets REALLY love their pets. In fact, the U.S. pet industry is approaching $50 billion a year. From Persian cats to purse dogs, animal couture, pampering and merchandising have reached unprecedented heights as people invest huge amounts of energy and capital into spoiling their pets rotten. And nothing makes a pet owner happier than sharing little snookum's new chew toy with the world.

People – Throughout our busy days we come into contact with countless people, from the grumpy guy behind the deli counter to your great-aunt Gertrude's surprise visit. Sometimes seeing someone special affects us enough that we want to share the experience with friends and family. We've all received those 2:00AM texts from a frazzled daddy in the labor room. How cool would it be if we could see and hear baby Aidan, along with those delivery details?

Bizarre – There are moments when words just can't explain what our eyes can see. For those times, a picture or video might be worth a million words…

Business – Livecasting is not just for our personal lives. It can be an essential tool in the professional realm too. Check out this clip that a grass roots blogger captured at the recent Democratic National Convention, when he found himself in the same elevator with Governor Dean.

Travel/trips – For many of us cell phones are a necessity on trips. We whip out our phones the moment we step off the plane to let folks know we arrived safely. Or for that disgruntled teenager trapped on a road trip, there is often nothing to do but text and tweet as she passes miles and miles of the same boring cornfields. How much cooler would it be to send a digital postcard as we pass Bob's Big Ball of Twine or hike to Puohokamoa Falls on Maui?

Holidays – From Christmas to Mother's Day, annual celebrations are one of the most popular times for folks to send cards, pick up the phone or capture moments on a camcorder. They inspire our desire to share and connect with people near and far. And how much more exciting is a picture of you in your Halloween costume, than a short text saying, "I'm going as xx?"
Spire ... Climb to the Top!

There's a stylish new website called Spire in which local "experts" weigh in on their fave picks in their home town. I suppose my penchant for eating and drinking - for better or worse - caught the attention of the Spire folks and they asked my humble opinion on a few hotspots in La-La-Land.

If you're visiting LA, or a resident, check out Spire - and get "inspired" to check them out if you haven't already. And, feel free to add your own two cents in the comments section here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Is the Latest Bar Chef... A Chef?

Looks like the "Rockstar Mixologist" image is luring kick-ass culinary guys out of the kitchen and behind the bar.

Hottie NYC pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini - who's appeared on every major TV show and has a James Beard Award tucked into his white apron - is working with cocktails. Mixology is his new passion, according to this article, and it seems he has some projects up his sleeve. (Apparently, he's even been working in an undisclosed location to 'up' his bartending game, starting from the bottom schlepping ice, etc.)

Maybe the bartenders should start practicing their Line Cook skills...
Are Blogs Passe?

Have Facebook and Twitter taken over? (I sure hope not!) I see them as a complement not a replacement, personally... Read what Wired Magazine has this to say.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Bartending Essential

Today I got a welcome surprise in my pile-o-boxes. Robert Hess (aka: has a new book out called “The Essential Bartender’s Guide: How to Create Truly Great Cocktails,” published by our friends at Mud Puddle Books. (You know, those awesome guys reprinting the old cocktail books for geeks like us…)

This book is a fab guide both for the pro and the amateur because Robert breaks down drink styles, tools and throws in a bit of history for good measure. There are classic recipes, some of his own, and some “guest appearances” by Jamie Boudreau, Chuck Taggart, Gary Reagan, Ryan Magarian, Paul Harrington, and more.

In addition to lovely drink shots, there are lots of photos of bottles, brands and book covers from Mud Puddle. Still, the product placement doesn’t take away from the content. This is a book I’m putting on my holiday shopping list for my cocktail-curious Kris Kringles. Well done, Drink Boy!
El Presidente Cocktail

Like multitudes of other bars and liquor companies, Bacardi is putting forth some "presidential" cocktails. As I've already stated, I won't put you through the slew of blue "obamatinis" that come across my desk...

However, given my desire to toast a fellow American regarding this articulate, measured, sane and thoughtful decision of who he will endorse in the upcoming election, I thought the "El Presidente of Change" is an interesting Fall concoction. This one's for you, Colin Powell.
El Presidente of Change
2 parts BACARDI® Superior Rum
1 part Triple Sec
1 part MARTINI® & ROSSI® Dry Vermouth
1 tsp. Blue Curacao

1/4 of a ripe pear

1 pinch each of ground vanilla and ground cloves

Muddle the pear, sugar, and ground spices. Add ice and remaining ingredients and shake well. Fine strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hugh Hefner Tells All...

I decided to showcase a cocktail Hef might be enjoying while he's crying a river over his break up with Holly. He is a known whiskey lover. She is trying to learn French. This seems like the perfect cocktail for the "puffin" while mourning his little muffin.

Trois Rivieres
1 1/2 ounces whiskey
1/2 ounce Dubonnet
1/4 ounce Cointreau
Orange peel

Shake with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Twist orange peel above drink and drop into glass. According the Playboy's Host & Bar Book, from whence it came, this drink is "perfect before a midnight collation."

Monday, October 13, 2008

MxMo XXXII: Guilty Pleasures

I love creamy cocktails, whether made with coconut cream or the thick stuff that comes from a cow. Line me up a fancy glass, a long silk glove and an elongated cigarette holder. (Who cares if I kicked the ciggie habit 3 years ago. We’re going for effect on this one...)

It has been a while since I last participated in a MxMo, but I was quite enticed with the idea to feature guilty pleasures as this month’s topic. It was my first visit to Two at the Most and Stevi looks like my kind of gal. As far as I’m concerned, the guiltier, the more pleasurable it is!

The fun part was trying to figure out which drink to feature. A 50’s style Grasshopper? A Creamsicle? A Pink Squirrel? I want to be the one to bring those fattening little suckers back to cocktail menus everywhere. Of course, that will never fly in L.A. so I tried this one with soy milk… and frankly, it wasn’t half bad.

So, yeah, it may have a few extra calories… but champagne isn’t exactly diet food, either. I’m not going to convince you to embrace creamy cocktails. (Given the slew of political email I’m getting from people who already know I’m voting for Obama… I am not into hammering others with what they should or shouldn’t support!)

However, I will entice you by letting you know that the guilty pleasure-ness of this drink recipe is doubled by the fact that it comes to you straight out of the Playboy’s Host & Bar Book, circa1971.

Shake your tail and wiggle your whiskers for the Pink Creole:

1 1/2 ounces golden rum
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 teaspoon cream (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon grenadine
1 black cherry, soaked in rum

Shake all ingredients, with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Add cherry.

Celebrity Sips - Ringo Starr

A Long, Tall Drink of Ingratitude

I'm sorry to say that if you're a celebrity... an aging member of the BEATLES, no less, you do not get to ask fans to stop "bothering" you with fan mail. I mean, is that the height of arrogance, or what?

In this article, Ringo Starr announces, via the media, that any fan mail or requests for autographs received after October 20 will be "be tossed [in the trash]" because he is "too busy" to sign stuff.

He can flash the peace sign as much as he likes and repeat "peace and love" a million times over, but he sounds like quite the self-important, upper-class cad as far as I'm concerned.

*Photo from Reuters
Dining (and drinking!) By Design

With downtown Los Angeles being our most ‘vogue’ neighborhood, this chic fundraiser - showing off white hot interior stylists’ interpretations of exquisite dining rooms - took place at LA Mart Design Center, a few weeks ago.

Since 1984, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) has donated more than $35 million to AIDS service organizations. Dining By Design is the non-profit’s multi-city fundraising tour. After kicking off in New York City, the exposition is (still) making its way around the country, stopp
ing in Kansas City, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. I was happy to catch the wildly stylish L.A. leg of the tour.

These events have raised more than $12 million for AIDS related charities in past years feature awe-inspiring dining installations by industry luminaries such as architect David Rockwell, fashion designer Vivienne Tam and tabletop designer Marc Blackwell who created event sponsor Beringer Vineyard’s table.

The Beringer table was one of my favorites because it brought the outside in-doors. Designer, Marc Blackwell, said that he was inspired by “the passion and honesty in winemaking,” which I thought was well reflected in his melding of Napa’s rustic beauty with chic, modern comfort, creating an elegant-yet-approachable arena for entertaining. (I could imagine myself pulling up a chair and tucking into some roast duck with a juicy Cab or full-bodied Syrah!)

The three-day L.A. celebration began with “Cocktails by Design,” on Saturday, September 13, during which Jason and I meandered from installation to installation, sipping wine and nibbling on hors d’oeuvres. The $125 affair featured some opulently creative interpretations of dining spaces, ranging from antique Buddhas and low tables, to wild prints and rich textures dripping with crystals. There was even one David Rockwell display that featured a fully crocheted dining setting! (How would one clean such a thing?)

Unfortunately, I left town the next day, so I didn’t get to sample goodies from some of LA’s top restaurants at the Table Hop & Taste on Sunday, or the $500 Gala Dinner on Monday. However, at the cocktail party I was able to sample some of Beringer Vineyard’s yummy Third Century wines. So named for entering its third century of winemaking, the winery’s newest line features chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and syrah. (Now available nationwide!)

I can’t think of a more fun way to take in “functional art” for a good cause… and be on the clock tasting wine. I may have even picked up a few interior design tips in the process… though I assure you that I won’t be pulling my knitting needles out of that box in the garage to implement them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Modern Classic Cocktails

Mix something old with something new at your next cocktail party. Read my article on Gayot for more!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Bartender Diaries

A Sucker for Sake

So, remember when I told you about my time at B.A.R. and mentioned meeting cool people from around the country? Well, here’s one of them. Its funny – that
proverb about books and their covers… At first look, David Roth is a tough talkin’ tattooed guy from Connecticut. If I’d met him in the street, instead of studying spirits and cocktails, I would have pegged him for a beer-and-a-shot man. Macho, straight forward. How would I have known that I was sitting next to a sake expert – who has studied in Japan! Holy smokes. I had to get this guy on The Liquid Muse. In his own words:

"About 4 years ago I was approached to run a new yakitori and sake bar in Hartford. I said, “A what and what bar?” Yakitori is easy. It's chicken skewers. o.k. Sake? Sake is that hot stuff that gives you a massive hangover right? It's really strong and you drop it in beer for sake bombs. What’s to know?

Fast forward to the present day and what I know about sake will bore most people within one minute. My quest for knowledge began with buying a book by John Gauntner, which I highly recommend. Then there is info on the Internet. I tasted as much sake as I could. I asked my reps questions about sake that most could not even answer. Mostly I got, "The good stuff is served cold.” True.

One day a sake salesman named Michael and I were talking and I was asking him all kinds of sake questions. He was impressed with my knowledge and asked where I had learned all the info. I told him I had John's book. He asked why I didn’t sign up for John's class in Tokyo. I was like, “There's a sake class in Tokyo? Seriously?” So I did.

Sake is delicious. It's subtle and sweet, it's fruity and dry, it is many things and I like it. Usually convincing someone to try premium chilled sake is best handled by letting them taste it. There are many grades and styles within those cate
gories. It gets a little confusing. So, I decided to dummy it down and make many different sake- tinis. It is a way to introduce sake into peoples’ vocabulary - and their blood stream. If they have questions after that, a thirst for knowledge if you will, I can go from there.

One of the most popular cocktails at my bar is a Cucumber Sake Martini. I use Crop Organic Cucumber vodka, a nice tokubetsu junmai grade sake called Shirakabe Gura White Label, and just a touch of simple syrup. Shake it up and pour into a nice chilled martini glass with a lighlty salted rim and a cucumber pinwheel garnish. Tastes like summer. Well, summer and a salad.

Cucumber Sake Martini
1 1/2 ounces Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka
1 1/2 ounces premium sake, preferably junmai grade.
Dash of simple syrup

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass

At Koji offer ten or so sake cocktails and offer 40 or so premium sakes by the bottle and glass. Since sake is lower in alcohol than most spirits, 14 - 16%, it softens up the drinks and allows the consumer to enjoy more than one cocktail without falling out of their barstool. Sake is still a hard sell in Hartford but I try to practice, "education without pretension". The category is growing in the U.S and worth getting a little info on. Luckily my bar is still one of the hottest spots in Hartford. Our drinks are constantly featured in the Hartford Courant's Liquor Cabinet. Sake sales can always be better but I can't stop trying to get it into peoples mouths. Check out my bar at Kanpai!"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Passionate for Skyy

Yes, you read that correctly. Skyy Infusion's new passion fruit flavor is delicious. I know, some of you out there may roll your eyes and scoff. It’s VODKA! It’s FLAVORED! (all natural" at that) But, I’ll tell you what… it tastes good.

I just made my version of the Passion Fruit Cosmo – oh yeah, even a Cosmo avoider like myself. Replace the citrus vodka with Skyy’s passion fruit vodka, replace the cranberry juice with guava juice, and let me tell you people, it tastes fab-u-lous.

I was not so fond of the AperiTea pre-bottled cocktails mixers I received in the same package. Went right into the garbage. But, that’s not surprising. I’m not a pre-mixed cocktail mixer kind of gal.

The Mighty Leaf organic tea bags were lovely though. I will buy boxes of Spring Jasmine and African Nectar. I might even mix them with the Skyy. I have been known to whip up a tea-ni or two. Those are yummy. You know I would lie to a passionate little flower like you.

Does Your Tequila Have a Master?

Yes, I’m a little partial to tequila, these days, so trying new brands gets me all excited! Maestro Dobel is one of those that I will enjoy slowly, and only with people who will enjoy it as much as I do.

Blended from reposado, anejo and extra anejo tequilas, which are made from 100% 8-10 year old blue agave plants, Maetro Dobel calls itself a diamond tequila. I suppose that is meant to be a higher classification than the plantino (or platinum) tequila I tried a few months ago… although that was quite tasty, too.

Each bottle of Maestro Dobel is hand-numbered, has the bottling date on it and is signed by the Master Distiller Juan-Domingo “Dobel” Beckmann, the sixth-generation leader of the world’s most prominent tequila-producing family. Pretty impressive stuff. And, with a suggested retail price of $74.99, it had better be!
Pumpkin Beer

Now, don't get all macho on me here... We know you don't like anyone messing with your Michelob, tough guy. But, its nearly Halloween. And, Thanksgiving. A little holiday spirit never hurt anyone, bub.

Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale is my kind of beer. Admittedly, I like all things pumpkin. And, I like flavorful beer. So, for me its a win-win.

Don't take my word for it. Watch this video and learn all about it first-hand. (The Mid-Western accent totally works - and he even gives food pairing suggestions!)

Wrap Your Lips Around Oval

And, Where Vodka Fits in Today's Mixology...

I got an interesting introduction letter from the person who sent me a sample of Oval. It said that most of her favorite cocktail bloggers aren’t crazy about vodka… which means that TLM probably isn't one of her favorite blogs as I have no problem with vodka. To me, every spirit has its place.

I understand where she’s coming from, though, because there has been a lot of “vodka backlash” over the last couple of years. Not that the vodka market is drying up or new products aren’t hitting the market at 200+ new vodkas per year, in some instances! In case you're not following what I'm talking about here, I’ll put the “vodka conflict” into context for you, in a nutshell…

Prior to vodka, whiskey, rum and gin were the Great American Spirits. Tequila gained popularity during Prohibition (1920’s – 1933) because the hooch from South of the Border was making its way up to thirsty Americans gagging for a drink!

Vodka didn’t hit it big in America until the 1950’s. It surpassed gin’s popularity in 1967. And, it whizzed past all other spirits combined in 1976. Today it makes up nearly 30% of all liquor sales in the U.S. The popularity of the Cosmo in the 1990’s didn’t hurt vodka’s sneaky little take over when bartenders replaced the gin called for in classic cocktail recipes with vodka to suit “pop culture’s” taste. That’s why, when classic cocktails came back in such a big way, some people are now vodka snobs… the whole “anti vodka” thing.

Its like, in the 80’s, when people would wear an Izod shirt just to put a safety pin through the little alligator logo to make a statement… At the end of the day, by slamming the brand, they were still giving it publicity. By dissing a perfectly fine spirit, you’re only drawing more attention to it.

So, back to my Oval vodka post…

With all of the exciting spirits on the market, I admit that vodka is not always my #1 choice. In fact, it rarely is. I’m really into tequila, these days. I’m nuts for pisco, cachaca, vermouth, sherry, wine and Campari. There are more flavorful liquors that get me salivating. However, if I’m going to make a Cosmo for my visiting mother-in-law at Thanksgiving, or oblige a vodka-loving guest who stops by for a cocktail, I must have vodka in my home bar. Every cocktail connoisseur must have vodka in their home bar. Every bar should have it on the shelf. At the end of the day, just because I may be more enchanted with my favorite spirit du jour doesn’t mean that I should impose it on everybody else.

Oval has everything today’s vodka should – a fancy bottle, a vague but plausibly presented method of 11-day “structuring” (essentially, their way of distilling), a market price of around $37. It is 84 proof and they say its made from grain, although its not immediately clear which grain. (I guess they buy raw alcohol and then distill it / structure it, whatever).

Oval claims not to have a “bite” but I do taste a bit of … spice? Tingle? I quite like it. I will definitely use Oval in some cocktails and see how other ingredients impact the spirit. (I always taste new products straight at room temperature, at first.)

When choosing a vodka for your home collection, why not make it Oval? Besides, I’ve just given you a whole mouthful of vodka-related cocktail party chit-chat, to boot.
Charmed Cocktails

Chef Ron Oliver has an eye for design… not only for making beautiful food and drinks but also for finding ways to incorporate his culinary passions into jewelry. His clever and eye catching necklaces allow you to pair your favorite dish using eggplant, chilis or fruits with glass ornamentation of Nature’s bounty.

Ron also recently put out a charming booklet of his own colorful cocktails. Pulling from a wide range of ingredients – including surprises like avocado – the
gorgeous photos are enough to inspire any enterprising foodie to take their talents behind the bar. Along with the book, Ron created Drink Charms, which are elegant little “bracelets” for the cocktail glass.

I love the idea of presenting a guest with a glass with a bejeweled marker so I don’t end up washing glasses throughout the night when people mix them up or leave them in another room. In addition to adding a festive touch, the personalization of your guests’ glasses brings an extra element of style to your soiree or brunch.

Consider a set for yourself, and keep in mind that these goodies make charming hostess gifts and holiday surprises for the foodie or cocktail lover in your life.
People Against Dirty!

Cleaning Up America, One Cocktail at a Time...

I've just finished up my last round of The Liquid Muse Sustainable Sips(R) cocktail classes in Chicago. What a blast! Not only are Chicagoans some of the nicest Americans you'll ever meet, the Method Home pop up store is a wonderful place to share stylish sustainable lifestyle tips.

I was first introduced to the Method line when they invited me to team with them on their Detox America campaign. Sure, I'd seen the products in Target but I had no idea that they were non-toxic and would make my house smell amazing!!! I now have the almond wood polish, cucumber spray, lavender dish soap and brand new eucalyptus mint toilet bowl cleaner.

Although, I do admit that the best part about cleaning my house with green products... is making an eco-friendly cocktail when I'm done...

A hearty thank you to my eco-friendly liquor sponsors: Veev acai spirit, 4 Copas tequila, Bonterra wine, Square One vodka and Bluecoat gin.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Don't Get Popped by the Po-Po!

Avoid meeting our friends in blue by planning ahead

Think you may be heading out for an evening of libations and fun? Then stop by the B4UDrink website on your way out the door, and calculate just when you should say when. There is no more embarrassing "walk of shame" than the one out of a jail cell...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cherry Heering: The Stylish Girl’s Perfect Fashion Accessory…

Or Is It the Other Way Around?

I know I’m a bit late to the game in falling in love with Cherry Heering. I first tasted it in New Orleans this past July in one of the more unique tasting rooms at the Tales of the Cocktail. The imaginative team behind the sweet Danish cherry brandy liqueur paired the luscious elixir with dresses to fit any kind of woman. Now, that’s one way to get a woman’s attention.

Feeling sexy and wild? A sparkling cocktail dress livens up any hot date or upcoming holiday party, particularly with a classic cocktail in hand. Feeling sultry and sweet? Romance your man with a flirty frock and a tasty drink.

Best of all, YOU can get in on the fun. The Accessorize 2009 Competition is a global fashion and drink competition intended for the world’s most talented mixologists and aspiring designers. See below, then submit your entry.

· Cherry Heering is looking for designers to create a cocktail dress inspired by a Cherry Heering cocktail and mixologists to concoct a cocktail based on the dresses and glassware.

· The grand finale will host winners from 12 different countries at the legendary Raffles Hotel in Singapore (birthplace of the Singapore Sling).

Are you excited to open a bottle of Cherry Heering and see what all the fuss is about? While its integral in the aforementioned, and yummy, Singapore Sling, I’ll let you in on a little secret… My favorite cocktail du jour is Blood & Sand.

Although it can seem like a weird combination of ingredients when you first read it – trust me when I tell you that it is
freakin’ delicioso! You know I wouldn’t lie to you. You can also impress your pals during cocktail party chit-chat by informing them that this wonderful Fall drink is actually one of just a few scotch cocktails, to boot.

Blood & Sand

3/4 ounce scotch

3/4 ounce Cherry Heering
3/4 ounce Sweet Vermouth
3/4 ounce orange juice

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist. Garnish with the outfit that best suits your mood…

The Historic Los Angeles Cocktail Pilgrimage

This invite-only cocktail tour took place at the end of August, and I am terribly remiss in not yet telling you about one of the best days I’ve spent in Los Angeles, sooner. Not only did our busload of happy tipplers get to experience our fair city with fresh eyes but every stop we hit had cocktailian significance.

David Wondrich, respected cocktail geek, I mean, historian, created the tour, and acted as head storyteller and imparter of liquid wisdom & lore. I know I was not the only one who reveled in this unique experience, and hung on his every word… even as cocktail by cocktail, those words became the teeniest bit foggy in backward recollection. (We even took home signed copies of his book “Imbibe” for our libraries!)

Plymouth gin funded the daylong journey, fed us and lubed our senses with historic cocktails. Plus, they sent Simon Ford their charming Brand Ambassador to act as host. (If you’ve met Simon, you know he gave us a hellova good time.) Even Jacques Bezuidinhout came down to L.A. to mix up Partida drinks along the way with fellow Brand Ambassador Damian Windsor. (sidenote: After reigning supreme on the West Coast mixology scene for so long, the impressive strides in So-Cal bartending has caught San Francisco's attention…Yee-hah! A united California.)

We assembled at Cat & Fiddle (6530 W Sunset Blvd, Hwd) for a lunch of shepherd pie and Moscow Mules, a vodka and ginger beer drink created in Hollywood in the early 20th Century, traditionally served in a copper cup. Marcos Tello helped assemble our motley crew from members of his bartender association called The Sporting Life.

Bellies full, and ready to soak up a full day of drinking, 20+ high-end barkeeps from around the city, LA-based cocktail bloggers: Chuck Taggart form GumboPages, Marleigh from Sloshed and yours truly, as well as the venerable Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh and Joe of Barkeeper fame piled into a full sized bus to the original site of Don the Beachcomber’s first bar (1727 N. McCadden, Hwd).

Sadly, the home of tiki favorites is now – sigh – a parking lot. However, we stood on the sidewalk and raised our Zombies to the chain link fence, toasting a dead man who helped put the pink umbrellas and rum in tropical fruit juice.

Our next stop was in front of a construction site on Wilshire Boulevard, once home to the legendary Coconut Grove (3400 Wilshire Boulevard) where the Rat Pack and other Hollywood greats once swizzled and sipped their way into the gossip pages. The Brown Derby’s iconic sign now sits atop a strip mall across the street.

Next, our tour went “high-brow” and we sipped drinks inside the Polo Lounge at the “Pink Palace” (aka: Beverly Hills Hotel 9641 Sunset Blvd, BH) It shouldn’t surprise you that a classy group like ours finished our visit with our own cocktails on their front lawn before re-boarding the bus.

We careened down into town, catching sideways glances from snooty residents when our bus pulled into the parking lot of a fancy food store. Formerly the site of the legendary Chasen’s restaurant (where I was lucky enough to attend the 1995 Pulp Fiction Oscar party when I worked at Miramax Films) it pained me to see expensive produce where movie stars once mingled.

A few blocks away, we stopped at 140 Rodeo Drive and "ooh’d" while cocktailing on the sidewalk across from where Mike Romanoff once served fancy drinks to Los Angeles elite. Cocktail history buffs may also remember Tail O’ the Cock (477 South La Cienega) as the place where the “tequila daisy” or margarita gained popularity back in the 1930’s. Now a rental car parking lot across from Norm’s, we didn’t hold back enjoying daisies of our own.

We drove past several more historic sites, a blur by now, truth be told, and ended with dinner at West Hollywood’s Formosa CafĂ© (7156 Santa Monica Blvd) frequented by movie stars since 1939.

This experience was an incredibly generous gesture on the part of Plymouth gin, and a bonding experience like no other for our L.A. crew. Many thanks to all involved!