Friday, November 28, 2008

Big Thanks to

I am grateful for so many things - friends, family and the dynamic industry in which I work. The Liquid Muse has grown from a fledgling cocktail blog in April 2006, to my full time business incorporating mixology services, beverage consultation, cocktail classes, spokesperson partnerships and my first book on its way to stores as I write this!

You have probably seen me mention "Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be" many times. I am not only proud of finally making this dream a reality but I have to be my own little PR machine! (I'm a one-woman show so forgive me for wearing every hat...) This is one of the reasons I am so appreciative of the kind words and support from my peers both online and in-person.

When I read Colleen Graham's review of Preggatinis on, I held my breath... and was so relieved and thrilled when she liked it. (To echo Sally Field "She really liked it!") Woo-hoo, thank you!

Guide Review - Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be

Virgin cocktails do not have to be boring and the preconception of many women when they are pregnant is that the fun of drinking has to stop. Yes, you shouldn't be drinking your favorite Cosmopolitan, but that doesn't mean you can't have one of The Liquid Muse's Cosmoms. That is where the beauty lies in Preggatinis: Bovis-Nelsen has given life to the mocktail so that even when you cannot drink alcohol you can still have a drink that makes you feel like the adult you are.

There is not one of the recipes in Preggatinis that is not enjoyable and for Bovis-Nelsen to share her original drinks with us in such an enlightening fashion is excellent. Beyond just being a list of drinks, these drinks have a purpose. From the ginger-laden drinks for quieting morning sickness to "drinks" like the Funky Monkey that cure the ice cream and pickle craving, through light beer and wine cocktails to slowly reintroduce alcohol to your system and a few trimming tinis for shedding those extra pounds - all of the steps are covered.

My other favorite aspect of Preggatinis are the "De-Virginize for Dad" tips - because the pregnancy trip does not just affect the ladies. Throughout the book there are options for the sympathetic father who wants a slightly stiffer drink without making his wife feel left out. That is a win-win situation for the whole family and a great concept for keeping everyone happy.

So, ladies, your social life does not have to end when you get pregnant, you can still have fun and enjoy fine drinks. I would highly recommend Preggatinis for any family with a new addition on the way - it's fun, it's enjoyable and it's filled with great ideas. Not to mention that I now have the perfect gift for every one of my friends when they make the "big" announcement.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Shot of Gratitute!

Apple Pie Shooter from The Liquid Muse

I created this recipe for Every Day With Rachael Ray a couple of years ago - and thought this is the perfect time of year to share it with all of you! If you're looking for a tiny dessert drink to present to your guests along with the pies and cakes, this might be a good one. Happy Thanksgiving!

Get recipe here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Tokyo Rose

Want to learn how to make this yummy cocktail for your Thanksgiving meal? The Tokyo Rose is my first of many drinks to come as the Mixologist / Spokesperson for Pinky Vodka's Cocktail of the Month!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Have You Applied for the Vail Mixology Summit?

If you are looking to mingle with other bartenders / mixologists from around the country in the bars and on the slopes of Vail, this might be the contest for you.

In their words: "If selected, GRAND MARNIER and NAVAN will use your skills to help build their great brands. In addition to learning from your mixology expertise, we will have fun in Vail -- skiing, snow tubing, seminars, dining and parties. "

Submit your application / recipes via this link by NOVEMBER 30, and you could win airfare to Vail and be invited to participate in fun activities and share your mixology ideas at the Grand Marnier / Navan Mixology Summit. (You pay for your own 2 nights lodging.)

Good luck!
Pairing Cocktails With Thanksgiving

A "Revolutionary" Idea...

While taking a quick jaunt around the cocktailian blogosphere, I came across The Cocktail Revolution, a DC-based blog with an interesting slant: "Each week we will expose the government’s tampering with the free market and the highlighting excessive tyrannies of the modern nanny state. Additionally, in keeping with the conservative tradition we will examine the classics and find new meaning in the experience of the past."

Sounds cool, no? I like this cerebral approach to pleasure and inebriation.

Jeff Fulcher's latest post called "What to drink with Thursday's Cornucopia" brings up the topic of (gasp!) cocktails with the Thanksgiving meal rather (or in addition to) merely wine or beer. Fulcher references a MxMo cocktail-and-food pairing, which I hosted on this blog, last year (I'm quite enthusiastic about cocktail pairings, personally) and also presents a quote from Eric Felten at the Wall Street Journal who boldly states "Thanksgiving is not a cocktail holiday" and that they have no business beyond the aperitif. Obviously, I disagree with Mr. Felten completely. Wine, beer and cocktails can easily be part of any celebration. It just takes a little 'know how!'

Jeff's post is an interesting topic, and a timely one, with everyone preparing for "indulgence Thursday." I'm posting my thoughts (from the comments page on Jeff's blog) below. Why not join the inter-blog conversation?

While I am a wine lover, and out of habit / convenience / enjoyment do tend to drink wine with a meal more often - especially at home - I would like to also sing the praises of a well crafted cocktail pairing. Rule #1: The Cocktail must not be too sweet. This seems to be the first mistake of an inexperienced chef / bartender team. Herbal notes, citrus notes tend to work well with most dishes. They are best when the flavors of the drink are subtle... ie: enhance the dish rather than over power it. Rule #2: Choose appropriate spirits. With something like salmon, I would tend to go for a vodka based drink. Think about it --- vodka is drunk routinely in Russia, Poland and like countries. Normally, it is drunk neat, but slight enhancement would be lovely. I, personally, am fond of gin drinks with cheese, and cognac or whiskey drinks with a chocolate torte, for example. Rule #3: Don't be afraid to experiment! When I teach my cocktail classes, I always stress that COCKTAILS ARE FUN! Eating and drinking is not only sustenance but recreation. Don't get too uptight or stuck on "what's supposed" to go with what. This ain't brain surgery, no one will die. Get creative... you may find a combination you love!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Preggatinis Gets Props on

Many thank you's to the awesome folks behind for this wonderful mention of "Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be."

And, did I mention that Partida tequila is one of my favorite tequila brands going waaay back to 2005? (Scroll through these posts for proof!) Keep it mind when you take a Preggatini(TM) and use the "De-Virginize for Dad" directions!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why A Blogger Couldn't Be President...

There are many reasons why I'd never be eligible to run for Executive Office. From my perspective, this is probably one of the biggest reasons I wouldn't want to, anyway.

One of the many benefits of our 2.0 world is the free flow of information and convenience to correspond with others at any moment that suits us. Granted, there is a lot of "noise" and crap on the Internet, but I think I'd feel like I lived in an iron-clad bubble not being able to maintain a blog, facebook, twitter or basic email account.

Soon-to-be President Obama, however, will not enjoy the same freedoms as his constituents. This New York Times article explains why. (photo is from the same NYT article)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kissed With Cachaca Cocktails at Beso

I’ve been a fan of the food-and-cocktail pairings for a while. I love me some yummy food and I love me some yummy cocktails. A long-time resident of Los Angeles, I also love our yummy, celebrity-ridden, see-and-be-seen restaurants and bars. Roll these all
together into one evening and I’m sipping my way into Pop-Culture Paradise.

Needless to say, when Cabana Cachaca invited me to sample cocktails by Alex Straus – L.A. barman extraordinaire – paired with Latin-inspired delicacies designed by Executive Chef Todd English at Beso, co-owned with “Desperate Housewives” Eva Longoria Parker and one of the hottest hotspots in the ‘Hollyhood,’ I was excited!

Now, sometimes the places with all the hype in L.A. are style-without-substance. I admit a bit of skepticism as I wound my way over Laurel Canyon and onto Hollywood Boulevard. As the valet drove off with my car, and I stepped in
to the softly lit red-and-black eatery peppered with pretty people and dripping with enormous crystal chandeliers, I prepared my ‘mental notebook’ and switched on my bullshit meter.

Of course, I should have known that when Anthony Dias Blue is involved, its impossible to be disappointed. The charming Editor-In-Chief of The Tasting Panel Magazine knows his food, wine and spirits. Formerly an Editor at Bon Apetit with a James Beard award under his belt, he also knows a thing about restaurants.

Matti Anttila, founder of Cabana Cachaca hosted the evening in conjunction with Andy, and I got to learn a bit about Cabana. The company is only a few years old but already recognized as makers of one of the finest cachacas on the market and produced outside Rio by a Brazlian Master Distiller. (Fyi: the finals in their cocktail competition is coming up in Brazil. Stay tuned for more on that, at a later date.) In my experience, I’ve found Cabana to be a light, clean distillate, which mixes well in cocktails and is also nice with just a squeeze of lime and pinch of sugar, ie: my Soft Core Caipirinha.

For my meal, I selected the CraBLTA Tacos, a sexy little concoction of crab, mango, avocado and bacon, served in a house-made, deep fried taco shell. Uh huh. Decadent. Even more so when paired with Alex’s Cabana Cilantro Collins:

2 oz Cabana Cachaca
2 pinches cilantro

3 lemon wedges

3/4 oz. simple syrup

Shake, strain over fresh ice. Top with soda water.

Next I cheated and shared with the person seated next to me… I got the Chili-Rubbed Skirt Steak and she got the Jumbo Sea Scallops with tomatillo risotto, mulatto mole and mojito pesto. This course was paired with Poolside Punch:

1 3/4 oz. Cabana Cachaca
6 red grapes
1 ounce white wine

1 ounce fresh sour

Serve on the rocks.

Finally, for dessert, I chose the Hazelnut Flan served with malted milk sorbet, sour cherry marmalade and salted popcorn. Yeah, I know… yum. This sweet / sour / salty flavor extravaganza was lacking only one element… spicy… which came in the form of the Serrano Caiprinha:

2 oz. Cabana Cachaca
4 lime wedges

3/4 oz. simple syrup

3 slices Serrano chili
Muddle, serve on the rocks.

When you make it into Beso, be sure to belly up to Alex’s bar. Tell him I sent you and ask for one of these specialty drinks. Trust me when I tell you that you will like them so much, you’ll want to plant a big fat sloppy beso on him.

*Big thank you to fellow scribe and girl-about-town, Karen Loftus, who once again generously shared her photos when I (like a dolt!) forgot my camera. She is pictured above with Matti.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Calling Los Angeles Bartenders!

L.A. Downtown District Cocktail Contest

New York has cocktails named for its neighborhoods and boroughs: The Manhattan, The Brooklyn, and The Bronx. Recently, a couple of bartenders from New York got together and decided to finish naming cocktails after their beloved neighborhoods: The Bensonhurst, Greenpoint, and Little Italy.

Now its your opportunity to create a drink for parts of the City of Angels. Marcos Tello, who heads up our L.A. bartender group called The Sporting Life, is a native Angeleno and leading this competition. Apparently, our downtown is is trying desperately to become a recognized city – like Santa Monica or Beverly Hills, and Marcos’ idea is to create and name cocktails after the 17 Sub-districts in Downtown Los Angeles. Here's how it breaks down:

Eligibility: Bartenders who reside in Los Angeles or the LA area, and native Angelenos who now tend bar elsewhere. (L.A. based enthusiasts are invited to participate, too.)

The Rules: The drink must be a stirred cocktail using a base spirit, modifying vermouth, liqueur (ie. benedictine, curacao, etc.) or sweetening agent, and some type of bitter. No citrus. Ingredients must be readily available, meaning no homemade ingredients or extremely obscure, hard to find ingredients. These need to be made on a regular basis and promoted around the city.

Competition: These cocktails will be presented at January’s The Sporting Life gathering in front of the judge, L.A.’s resident
cocktail guru, Ted Haigh. Please do your homework on cocktails that have already been invented as we will discard cocktails too similar to already-established recipes.

Leo Rivas, who works at Seven Grand, inspired this idea with his Arts District Cocktail, so that one is already done. You can choose to honor one of the following districts and submit your recipe to Marcos by December 31:
  • Spring Street
  • Broadway Theater District
  • Civic Center
  • Gallery Row
  • Fashion District
  • Financial District
  • Flower District
  • Toy District
  • Jewelry District
  • Bunker Hill
  • Chinatown
  • South Park
  • Old Bank District
  • Historic Core
  • Skid Row
  • Central City West
  • Little Tokyo
Good luck – and give L.A. a little love!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pigskin Football Slideshow

This slide show totally rocks!! L.A. Bartenders spend a Sunday on the beach with Steve Olson, Leo DeGroff and Andy Seymore, courtesy of Grand Marnier.

Watch the SLIDE SHOW - and come down to L.A. for a little barhopping, already!

Thanks to Claire Barrett photography for immortalizing the fun.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Are you a Vodkabot?

Do you follow drink trends rather than set them? Do you guzzle vodka-and-redbull and think you’re having a cocktail? Do you drink whatever the girls down the bar are drinking? If so, you have morphed into a vodkabot.

Now, I personally, have nothing against vodka. There is a place for every spirit, and each one has its purpose. However, if I choose a vodka, it is not because I’ve never experienced anything else. I love gin. I love tequila. I love rum, whiskey, cognac, Campari and grappa. I love them all - even vodka - but I know that there is more in the world than it.

The point those clever boys at Veev acai spirit are trying to make with their vodkabot viral campaign (it is as fun as the Christmas Elf thing was, a couple of years ago) is that you shouldn’t just follow others to the bar like a little lost lamb. Choose your drink according to your taste and knowledge. Yes, try some Veev, for chrissakes. Its good stuff. And, whatever you do, think for yourself… at the bar and beyond.
Pigskin Sunday in Los Angeles

More than 45 bartenders and / or liquor industry professionals showed up on Santa Monica beach for a little touch football followed by a cocktail party featuring Grand Marnier cocktails and a very impressive spread of ribs, salads, desserts and, oh yeah, did I mention the cocktails?

Steve Olson, Leo DeGroff and Andy Seymore flew in from New York in honor of the event, so it was extra special. Having just finished the B.A.R. training program – which all 3 lead in one way or another – it was really cool to see them on the West Coast.

Proving what cool chicks we have out here (far cooler than me) Christine D’Abrosca (bartender at Malo), the lovely Courtney (gf to our own bartender and bar-owner extraordinaire Eric Alperin) and one of the lovely ladies who work with Veev acai spirit whose name escapes me now.

As for me, I sipped drinkies and cheered on the players – until it got too windy – and then I headed up to the Fairmont Hotel for the after-party.

Smashes, crustas, and margarita-like drinks were a-flowing and we had bartenders from all corners of the city. It was one of those great afternoons that reminds me of just how cool the hospitality industry people are, and what a great city we live in.

Rumor has it that we will invite down the hotshots from San Francisco, next year. An North-South intra-state rivalry sounds like the only next logical step for this annual event…

Oh yeah, San Fran. You just got served!

Watch the whole SLIDESHOW here... courtesy of fab photographer, Claire Barrett.

The Tom Selleck

Ok, what's in the glass goes against what I normally promote with regard to mixology ...

However, Plan B Bar + Kitchen in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood gets an A+ for humor and effort for this drink called the Tom Selleck and described as: “Strong and distinguished. And yes, it really does come with a moustache.” (Light rum topped with coke and a splash of Rose’s lime.)
Looking for a Job in the Beverage Industry?

BEVFORCE May Be The Answer and BEVFORCE Elite™are job listing and recruitment resources focused specifically on the beverage industry. is an online career community that connects job seekers with employers looking to quickly and efficiently fill positions. Employers develop a company profile, post available jobs, screen submitted resumes, identify broker networks, and market brands. Career seekers can sign-up for a free account, post resumes, see opportunities listed, apply for jobs, and take advantage of career advice and resume writing services.

BEVFORCE Elite provides full-service recruitment solutions to employers looking to secure qualified, pre-screened candidates. BEVFORCE Elite claims to have "a powerful national network of working professionals well-connected with the industry’s best talent." The company says that its career consultants are intimately involved in the beverage business and maintain personal contact with thousands of industry professionals both actively and non-actively seeking a career change.

“As a beverage industry professional one of the biggest challenges my colleagues face is the ability to tap into a network where employers and candidates can effectively connect,” said Josh Wand, founder BEVFORCE and 12-year beverage industry veteran. “We recognized a need for a comprehensive solution that would save beverage employers valuable time and money by making it easy for them to find exactly what they’re looking for.”
'In the Land of Cocktails' Website

If you know anything about cocktails, you know that New Orleans is the true soul of cocktail culture. Although the theory that the cocktail was created in the Big Easy by Antoine Amadee Peychaud has been dispelled, the Sazerac cocktail - using his namesake Peychaud's bitters - most certainly was.

Visiting New Orleans, whether for Tales of the Cocktail, Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras or a simple escape from the rest of the world is a colorful, spicy, bountiful intoxication for every sense. It is a bon vivants playground.

Now, two of N.O. natives Ti and Lally Adelaide, who along with mixologist Lu Brow, brought you the book 'In the Land of Cocktails,' launch a website by the same name. Stop on by whenever you're feeling a little homesick for the home of Blues, Bourbon Street, and most of all - a fine drink.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Bitter Truth

Without It, You’re Not Drinking A Cocktail

In the U.S., we use the term “cocktail” the way we use “champagne" - a blanket term and not always accurate. Most of the cocktail menus we see in our favorite lounges and bars are not necessarily made up of true “cocktails.” They may be smashes or punches or crustas or daisies or other classifications of mixed drinks. What the hell am I talking about, you ask? Well, let’s begin with the definition of a cocktail:

Cocktail = Spirit + Water + Sugar + Bitters
  • Spirit: alcohol of some kind (vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, and so on)
  • Water: can be actual water or soda water, or sometimes comes in the form of ice
  • Sugar: can be granulated sugar, simple syrup, or even a sweet liqueur
  • Bitters: can be Angostura (found at any supermarket), can also be flavored bitters such as Fee’s new rhubarb, grapefruit, peach, etc. Can be traditional Peychaud’s bitters, as used in the classic “Sazerac” cocktail, Can also be a bitter apertif / digestif such as Averna, Campari, Fernet Branca, etc.
There is so much room for creativity when it comes to designing a new cocktail, just as there is creating a special meal, or painting, or designing the latest ditty to drape over a model on the catwalk. This creative factor is exactly what attracts so many of us “artsy types” behind the bar.

I can wax poetic about my love of Campari, and go on about the myriad of novelties with using flavored bitters. However, in this post, I want to share a bit about the “elite” bartender’s darling, that little Italian bitter sweetheart called Fernet Branca.

Fernet Branca, is similar to vermouth in the sense that it is wine-based. Like mainstay bitters such as Angostura, it is infused with herbs and spices (more than 40, actually). Some of those include: peppermint, myrrh, chamomile, cardamom and saffron. It is aged in oak barrels for a year. And more than 2 million cases of this stuff is sold annually, worldwide.

So, why hasn’t every American embraced Fernet Branca, and other bitter apertifs / digestifs? My theory is that the U.S. palate is more accustomed to sweet than bitter. We grew up with Kool Aid and Coca-Cola as childhood beverages. Most of us girls, anyway, first encountered alcohol in the form of sickly sweet wine coolers and fruity, sugary cocktails designed more for their color and foofy names, than for what was in the glass. Even our early champagne was likely some form of Asti Spumante – a sweet, carbon dioxide injected sparkling wine.

Whereas in Europe, the concept of aperitif (appetite opener) and digestif (digestion facilitator), in the form of a tidy beverage, is simply part of the meal. I grew up spending annual chunks of time in France where it was natural for a teenager to be exposed to Campari and soda, or Dubonnet with a lemon twist, or a glass of sweet red vermouth on ice, for example.

Fernet Branca is particularly pungent, and even for a bitter lover like myself, I can see how it resembles cough syrup at first sip. After all, herbal elixirs were early medicine. And, Fernet Branca was created in 1845 by Bernadino Branca, a self-taught alchemist in Milano, Italy. His three sons, Giuseppe, Luigi and Stefano carried on the family business after his death.

Fernet Branca is still a family-run business to this day. It sells in the U.S. for just under $30 per bottle. And, if you frequent high-end drinking establishments in our major cities (and hopefully some smaller ones) you will see it behind the bar. If you are a cocktail enthusiast looking to round out your home bar, run out and get yourself a bottle, and start experimenting. After all, a cocktail by any other name may taste as sweet… but that may be exactly NOT what the doctor ordered!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Snarky Southern Belle

When asked to create a specialty cocktail to accompany the Sloshed Socialite: the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' drinking game, as seen on Luxaholics of, I couldn't resist.

Seriously, is there a more satisfying giggle than turning the TV tuner to a gaggle of bubble-headed, blingy bimbos - in a second rung city, no less - getting tipsy and talking about how awesome they are? (Go Hotlanta! Get jiggy with your fabulocity.)

Feel inclined to get in on the fun? Whip up this ever-so-tasty tipple and let the snarking begin!

Snarky Southern Belle
designed by The Liquid Muse for's Luxaholics

1 ounce peach purée
1 ounce bourbon
Dash peach bitters (angostura bitters is ok)
3 ounces champagne
Splash of apricot brandy or peach liqueur
2 tablespoons sugar on a small plate

1 lemon wedge

Rub the rim of a chilled champagne flute with the wedge of lemon to moisten it, than dip it into the sugar. Set aside the sugar rimmed glass. Pour peach purée, bourbon and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake well. Gently strain the liquid into the sugar rimmed glass, then add champagne. Top it off with a splash of apricot brandy or peach liqueur and toast your sexy self.

Peach purée: blend 1/2 cup frozen peaches with 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 ounce of lemon juice.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Barack Obama and the Ice Cream Cone...

What a great look at our new First Lady!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Election, in Art

Ryan Schude, one of my favorite artsy photographers, creates fantastical, thought-provoking, hauntng images which convey various concentrations of emotion. I just had to share this with you, today. See more of his work on his website.

Bols Genever

A Stroll Down Modern Mixology’s Memory Lane

Many associate gin with the English. And, rightfully so, as they drank so much of it that the “Gin Craze” of the 1700’s became a national crisis – men, women and children were raging alcoholics! The British Navy also put gin on ships and took it to India where they guzzled it down with quinine to avoid malaria and sometimes a squeeze of lime to stave off scurvy, in the form of a drink we call the Gin & Tonic.

However, if we roll back our history clocks a few centuries, we will see that the English actually first came to gin via the Dutch. Also a world power, at the time, fighters in the Dutch military drank grain spirit infused with herbal botan
icals as liquid courage (and lets face it, drinking distilled spirits meant one had less of a chance from dying due to drinking dirty water. This was before water purification systems were in place, and water-bourn diseases took many-a-soul.)

The Dutch gin was called genever, and it has been produced in Holland since the 1500’s. Many of our original classic cocktail recipes were actually created with genever. Now, Lucas Bols is making genever available to all of us around the globe. Yippee!

The heart of a true genever is maltwine, a distinctive distillate made by triple distilling a mash of rye, corn and wheat in copper pot stills at 47%, which is believed to be the optimum alcohol content for maximum flavor. Genever has even been awarded the prestigious A.O.C. status, meaning that this spirit can only be produced in Holland. Bols has even designed a traditional bottle, as seen in the photo above. Drinking this product is like taking a little sip history.

This stuff is freakin’ delicious. Smooth, herby, silky, strong. It is amazing in cocktails and seriously incredible chilled, up, with a twist of lemon and a splash of simple syrup and orange flower water stirred in. Add a thimbleful of dry (or even sweet) vermouth – and it’s the martini I hope to drink in Heaven.

Here are a couple of recipes from the Bols Genever camp:

The Holland House
1 3/4 ounces Bols Genever
3/4 ounce Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

Shake, with large cubes of ice. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Stray and rim glass with lemon zest.

The Improved Holland Gin Cock-Tail
2 ounces Bols Genever
3 dashes rich sugar syrup (2 parts sugar / 1 part water)

2 dashes orange bitters

1 dash dry orange curacao

Stir, with large cubes of ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Spray and rim glass with lemon twirl, dropping it into the drink, afterwards.
What To Drink on Election Night...

In case you were wondering how to celebrate on Election Day, you can check out's Luxaholics for 4 cocktails from La-La-Land.

Extra asked yours truly to create two Election Cocktails - one for each camp (featured below). I started with the classic Aviation as inspiration as my hope is that our new leader will help us soar into smoother sailing with regard to both the economy and our global relationships. I added a splash of champange to both of my drinks because, frankly, as far as I'm concerned, there is no celebration without a little bubbly.

The election cocktail feature also presents 2 drinks from my fellow cocktail-lover, Marcos Tello, who is the resident mixologist at downtown's swanky speakeasy-style joint, The Edison. Luxaholics even suggests some liquorless celebrating by plugging "Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-To-Be," due in December. (Thank you, Luxaholics!)

Either way the election goes, you will have something to tickle your tastebuds... not to mention, we are all campaigning to bring Los Angeles Mixology into the libational spotlight, one fine drink at a time.

The Aviator of Hope (Obama)
1 1/2 ounces of gin
3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce blueberry pomegranate juice

1/2 ounce lemon juice
6 - 8 blueberries (fresh or frozen, thawed)

splash of champagne

Muddle 4 blueberries in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add maraschino liqueur, gin and juices. Shake well, with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with a splash of champagne.

The Red Baron (McCain)
1 1/2 ounces of tequila
3/4 ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
3/4 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce agave nectar

splash of champagne

Pour tequila, Cherry Heering, juices and agave nectar into a mixing glass. Shake well, with ice. Strain into a martini glass and top with a splash of champagne.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Take A Look Around 360 Vodka

The Girls Next Door Did…

Eco-friendly 360 Vodka hit the Playboy Mansion for the “Great American Fantasty” party, last month. The event raised money for the 30th anniversary of the Children of the Night charity, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing children from the streets. As you can see the girls gave Vic Morrison (360’s VP of Marketing) plenty to fantasize about while Ludacris performed for party-goers.

But 360 vodka is more than flashbulbs and Hollywood snapshots. All of the grains - corn, wheat and milo - used to make the vodka come from
northeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri, within a 95-mile radius of 360’distillery. Although the grains are not organic, McCormick Distilling (the company behind 360) is minimizing its eco-footprint by working with local farmers, minimizing fossil fuel emissions and lowering its energy consumption. By partnering with Renewable Choice Energy, McCormick offsets 100% of the electricity and natural gases used at their Weston, MO facility, where all of their products are made.

Each batch of 360 Vodka is filtered through their proprietary charcoal and Sri Lankan coconut shell filter system and column distilled four times. And, if that is what makes it so smooth and creamy, all the better. It is clean, pleasant, and frankly, delicious. At 80 proof, it is great for mixing or chilling and drinking straight. Added bonus: the bottle is made from 85% recycled glass.

360 New Leaf
(This recipe is essentially a vodka mojito - easy to make and refreshing for a steamy, sexy party.)
4 Lime Wedges Squeezed & Dropped
6 mint leaves torn in half
1 oz. Simple Syrup
2 oz 360 Vodka

Muddle limes, mint and simple syrup. Add vodka, fill with ice, then top with club soda or lemon lime soda.
Protect California's Farm Animals from Cruelty by Voting YES on Prop 2

Forgive me for getting political for a moment but humane treatment of animals is a cause dear to my heart. I believe it is our collective moral duty to stand up for those who are being abused and can't speak for themselves - be they animals, homeless people or children. Those without a "voice" in our society need our help.

I admit that I'm a hypocrite because I eat meat - but I care very much about animals. I don't think I could kill one myself to make a filet mignon, BBQ ribs, spicy sausage, lamb kebab or any other meat dish I enjoy. However, I do not want animals to suffer physical and mental distress because they are being raised for food purposes.

If you live in California, please vote YES on Proposition 2,
The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act to help give farm animals a more humane existence. Here is more information about it:

FACT: Prop 2 will eliminate the worst cruelties inflicted on animals living on factory farms. It will end the practice of cramming animals into cages so small the animals can’t even turn around or extend their limbs.

FACT: Prop 2 will make our food safer to eat. A recent study found that battery-cage operations were up to 20 times more likely to be contaminated with Salmonella than cage-free facilities. Prop 2 will protect all Californians -- and especially infants and small children -- against higher risks of Salmonella.

FACT: Prop 2 will cost less than a penny per egg to implement. Published research and analysis by a California-based poultry economist show that it costs producers less than one penny per egg to stop confining laying hens in battery cages.

FACT: Prop 2 will give farmers more than 6 years to adjust to more humane and sustainable practices. That's a more than reasonable phase-in provision. In fact, more than 100 California family farmers are endorsing Proposition 2.

For all these reasons, vote YES! on Prop 2 tomorrow. For more detailed information about Prop 2, including complete fact sheets on animal cruelty, food safety, and other issues related to Prop 2, visit:
Drink for the Economy

I lived in Spain for 2 1/2 years and one of the things I loved about it was the simple way to eat and drink. For example, a Spanish tortilla (potato omelets), a green salad and a glass of $4-per-bottle red table wine was a typical meal at home. I loved being able to run down to the corner store and get at 500-peseta bottle of wine (that was about $3 at the time, pre-Euros) and know that it would be quite decent. Splurge for a $8 - $10 bottle - and it was a special occasion.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who recognized the value and quality of vintages from the Iberian Pennisula. “Spanish wine exports have doubled during the last four years, making its availability and price point more accommodating to consumers,” said Katrin Naelapaa, director of Wines from Spain. “With the large number of distinctive native Spanish varietals, most shoppers would be surprised to find how many high-quality Spanish wines are affordable even on a limited budget.”

I heartily agree. Here are some suggestions from Wines from Spain. I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments section, if you try them.

Mont-Ferrant Brut Rosé – Denomination of Origin (DO) Cava
An excellent partner to grilled seafood and fowl, this wine shows cherry, red currant and a hint of yeastiness in the nose. It is full and weighty with a hint of orange in the finish but firm and almost lemony. $18.

Abad Dom Bueno Godello 2006 – DO Bierzo
Best if consumed within the next few years, this wine has a very fresh and youthful nose with lemon, orange and slightly cooked green pear. The mouth is nicely balanced between stone and pear with cracked rock notes. $14.

Marqués de Riscal Rueda Verdejo 2006 – DO Rueda
The nose is bright, citrusy and refreshing, with lime zest, green pear, baked apple and wet chalk. The mouth is more of the same, along with some wet herbs and a stony note to finish. This wine pairs nicely with light, salty appetizers. $7

oriñón Reserva 2003 – DOC Rioja
A blend of 85 percent Tempranillo, five percent Garnacha, five percent Graciano and five percent Mazuelo, the nose shows some development with overheated aromas of fig, prune, some dust and dried leaves and sweet black cherry. The mouth starts out more generously with sweet cherry and then a dry middle, but sweet fruit returns with red and black cherry and some spiced red currant. $23

Juan Gil 2005 – DO Jumilla
This Monastrell wine has overripe aroma notes, as well as sweet cooked cherry, vanilla and warm clove. The mouth shows some of this heat and slightly overripe character but is also dry and firm with plenty of spice with a finish of red cherry juice and hints of red raspberry. $14

Solanes 2004 – DOC Priorat
With a dark cherry color, this Cariñena blend has an expansive aroma with fruit expressions and a creamy oak palate and sweet tannins. $30

Dry Sack 15 Years Solera – DO Jerez
An amber colored wine of intense aromas with hints of dried nuts. Full-bodied and balanced, with little acid and a sweet and long finish. This sherry can be served straight or with ice. $29