Three Classic Bond Cocktails

Three Classic Bond Cocktails

Sorry to disappoint, this will not be a lesson in creative and colorful mixology. James Bond is not a man who falls prey to fads, he is a man steeped in classic elegance, and so are his drinks of choice. Of course, the famous, “shaken, not stirred” vodka martini is the most well know choice for Mr. Bond, but there are a plethora of other cocktails that he occasionally indulges in. The three cocktails I am reviewing today are easy to make, regardless of your bartending skill level.

The best tip I can provide is to tailor your drink menu to what your guests like. For instance, I hate sugary martini’s so, I would enjoy this classic menu, but some of my friends prefer something sweeter, perhaps a nice glass of champagne would be a better option for them, rather than a scotch and soda. There are no rules saying you have to serve martinis at a Bond themed party, go with what your group wants. That being said, the three classic cocktails we are reviewing today are the, iconic Vodka Martini, the vodka tonic and the scotch and soda.

Make sure that you buy quality vodka and scotch, when drinks are this simple there is no covering up musty weird flavors with a sugary mixer. Ask you local liquor store manager for his/ her suggestion if you feel lost, while you are there purchase plenty of fresh ice and mixers. Lets get shaking!

The Vodka Martini

2 ½ oz Vodka (I prefer Absolute or Grey Goose)
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 green olive or lemon twist for garnish

 Pour all ingredients into shaker filled with ice. Shake it, don’t stir it, baby! Strain into chilled martini glass. Garish as you please. Enjoy.

 

 Vodka Tonic

2 oz vodka
2 oz tonic water
lemon or lime wedge for garnish

Fill highball glass with ice. Pour in Vodka and tonic. Garnish with citrus wedge. Enjoy.

Scotch and Soda

3 oz scotch (I prefer Glenlivet 18)
soda

Fill highball glass with ice. Pour in scotch and top with soda. Enjoy.

These may all seem delightfully simple, because they are. Anyone can make these cocktails, but if you are concerned about proportions, purchase a jigger from any stores kitchen/ bar section. Most jiggers hold 1.5 oz and make measuring for your drinks super easy. If you are still intimidated by serving some of these boozy classics, then take a page from James Bond’s playbook: act like you know what you are doing, even if you have no clue how to precede. Confidence is secret ingredient in any good bartenders arsenal. Good luck.

Bottoms Up,

M

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Bacon Wrapped Filet with Herbed Garlic Butter and Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

Bacon Wrapped Filet with Herbed Garlic Butter and Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

I am so sorry, I completely forgot to post yesterday. I got a little of my daily schedule and everything fell apart.

While browsing through my local meat case, I was shocked to see the filet migion priced at $20 a pop. Now, for some people, they might have gone ahead and purchased the meat, but I could not bring myself to stand for such price gouging. Instead, I purchased 5oz bacon wrapped sirloin and they were just as satisfying, I can assure you. Particularly satisfying because now I have $35 extra dollars to spend on shoes!

Don’t be shy about serving your guests a cheaper cut of meat; just make sure that you cook it properly. No one wants an expensive steak that has been cooked all to hell, or a cheap steak that is too rare to eat, unless, you are into that sort of thing. Moderation is best, besides, the more money you save by buying a sirloin filet or a strip steak, the more money you have to restock your bar with all of Mr. Bond’s (and my), premium favorites.

When entertaining, corners sometimes need to be cut, but no not, I repeat, DO NOT skimp on the herbed butter. I am telling you, the butter took the whole thing to another level. My husband proclaimed that it was the best steak he had ever had, while he proceeded to smear bite after bite with the delectable herb garlic butter. Butter hides all sins, that make have occurred in the cooking process. The roasted baby reds finished with truffle oil, were also out of this world. Creamy inside and crispy outside, they tasted like they were decedent but, in reality were probably pretty healthy compared to their delicious cousin, the mashed potatoes. For veggies, I chose to serve a simple salad with homemade creamy balsamic dressing, in my martini glasses, but you could certainly roast up some asparagus or blanch some French green beans. This meal was great, elegant and large enough to entertain with but not so complicated that you come to the table looking frazzled. Don’t worry about trying to get everyone’s steak done to their exact specifics, go with an overall medium and everyone should be happy.

Herbed Garlic Butter

The easy garlic herbed butter is a spin on the famous deburgo butter that dons every menu in my hometown. You can only find it in Des Moines, but it is so worth the drive. Rich, garlicky and it looks so beautiful cascading down a perfectly seared filet. Deburgo butter may be a regional specialty but I promise, everyone at your party will love this little slice of Des Moines.

Herbed Garlic Butter (Deburgo Butter)

Time: 1 hour for warming, 10 mins prep   Serves: 6-8

1 stick butter
4 cloves garlic, pressed or micoplaned
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley
2 teaspoons garlic salt
1 teaspoon thyme
foil, for rolling

Let butter come to room temperature. No not microwave. When the butter is soft and malleable, add garlic, parsley, garlic salt and thyme. It is important to press or microplane the garlic because, you also want a bit on the liquid the garlic gives off in the butter. Once all ingredients are well mixed, form a long log on one end of the foil. Make sure butter log is about an inch in diameter; roll foil over and refrigerate for at least an hour, but up to two days.

Bacon Wrapped Filet

Now on to the filet! We are a medium-well sort of people, so feel to ignore a lot of what I say if you desire a different level of doneness. We also don’t own a barbeque grill, but I feel that steaks are best cooked in cast iron; but once again, if you want grill these babies, feel free. One universal tip I can provide, is to make sure that you let your steaks come to room temperature before you sear them. It makes such a huge difference in the quality of sear and you get a more accurate cooking time.

Bacon Wrapped Filet
Time: 15-20 mins

Filet
Salt
Pepper
Olive Oil

In a heavy cast iron pan, heat three tablespoons olive oil over high heat. While pan is heating, generously salt and pepper both sides of the filets.  Once the pan is screaming hot, drop steaks in. Space them so they don’t touch at all. Leave them in the pan to sear for 4-5 minutes as side without touching. After both sides have a golden sear, turn heat off. Keep steaks in pan for another 10 minutes, while turning every five minutes, the heat will continue to cook them. Let steaks sit on plate for 5 minutes before serving so all juices stay in. Top with herb garlic butter.

Roasted Baby Reds with Truffle Oil

If there is one thing you try out of today’s recipes, try these potatoes! I have never been a huge fan of baby red potatoes; perhaps it’s because I always stuggled to finish off my veggies and potatoes, when I was little; my plate was littered with carrots and baby reds, I would choke them down, just to get more of my Mom’s pot roast. (I am sure some of you out there feel the same way). But, put your childhood trauma aside, these potatoes were out of this world! I would take these over mashed potatoes any day, and just ask my mother, that is a huge feat.

The roasted baby reds are finished with a little truffle oil, if you don’t own any; it is a nice decadent ingredient to have on hand. Truffle oil is rather expensive however, $15- $20 for a small bottle, but fear not, a little goes a long way, and it really does add a whole other layer of complexity to you dishes. Finish off your risotto with it, drizzle it over some fried goat cheese or these delectable potatoes. I wish I could afford real truffle mushrooms, but alas, I am a recent college graduate with a writing degree, and no job prospects, so the truffle oil with have to do!

Note: I used baby red potatoes; if you use medium sized potatoes, adjust your baking time accordingly.

Roasted Baby Reds with Truffle Oil

Time: 5 mins prep, 25 roasting   Serves: 6

3-4 lbs baby red potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic salt
salt
pepper
1 tablespoon white truffle oil

Preheat oven to 450. Clean the baby reds thoroughly. Slice them into fours and place in a large bowl. Add all ingredients, except the truffle oil. Toss well, coating each potato with all flavors. Cooking spray a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan. Dump potatoes onto pan, arranging potatoes so that none are touching.  After 15 minutes, flip potatoes with a large spatula. After 10 more minutes have elapsed, they should be done. Remove from oven, while potatoes are still very hot, drizzle white truffle oil over potatoes. Serve while hot.

This meal is super fulfilling and beautiful to entertain with. I hope you try one of all of these recipes and let me know how they turn out for you! Cocktails are coming up a little later, so get your shakers ready.

Question of the day: What did you always struggle to finish before leaving the table?
I refused to eat cooked carrots and peas. I usually ended up sneaking them to our dog, Mandy. She would patiently wait under the table for a spoonful of my castoff’s to be delivered.

Happy Eating,

M

50 Years of Bond: Hosting the Perfect Party

Golden Anniversary of Bond Tablescape

Friday represented the release of the highly anticipated new Bond film, Skyfall. The Bond franchise is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year, and in honor, this week I am providing you with all of the knowhow to throw a smashing golden dinner party and movie marathon, for everyone’s favorite British spy! Bond, James Bond, of course. The menu will be as glamorous as the table décor, and best of all, I will walk you through it all step by step. Each day I will show you another aspect to creating a perfect and elegant party for all of the Bond lovers in your life. The following is the schedule for this week:

Mock up Monday: Evites, Movies and Table Mock up
Entre Tuesday: Filet Mignon with Garlic Butter and Truffle Mashed Potatoes
Cocktail Wednesday: Classic Bond Cocktails
Craft Thrusday: Golden Playing Card Runner
Dessert Friday: Elegant Sticky Toffee Pudding

Simple Electronic Invitations

Keep the invitations simple but elegant: Paper invites are always more special to receive, but not everyone has the time or money to invest in them. Electronic invites are a great way to get the message out quickly about this weekend’s party, and better yet, they are free. Spend your money on the filet minion and not embossed stationary. Evite.com is a great online invitation resource that has designs for nearly every occasion; two of my favorites are showcased below. The following screenshots are two of the evites that would work perfectly. The first available in the cocktail party category and is called martini stems. The second is available in the dinner party category and is called black and white dinner.

Martini Stems

Black and White Dinner Party

Table Mock Up and Craft Preview

An elegant dinner party followed by a screening of classic Bond films is surely the perfect way to celebrate the enigmatic man’s golden birthday on the silver screen. The color scheme is kept simple and true to the character of Bond with a heavy emphasis on black and white, because no man has ever looked so good in a tuxedo. Hints of red and gold are incorporated to the table-scape with a playing card table runner, that I will highlight in Thursday’s blog, along with a golden and glittering 007, as the focal point. Names of guests are printed on golden tiles and flatware is tucked into a classic menu folded napkin, reminiscent of a pocket square peeking out of a suit coat. All of this glitz and glamour is, washed down with a few vodka martinis for good measure. Shaken, not stirred, of course.

Quick Tips to Take Your Party to the Next Level

Invest in some plastic chargers– With the holidays quickly approaching, chargers can be found everywhere, some as cheap as $2 (Target). Buy up a few and use them when you entertain. You will be surprised how they can change the feel of your table and give a burst of class to your function.

Get creative with presentation– For this party, serve the salad course in a martini glass. It is super fun and fits the theme beautifully. If you don’t own any, head to your local thrift store and snatch some up at bargain prices.

Learn to fold napkins– I am still a novice, but I cannot express to you how beautiful a properly folded napkin can make your table. I advise the classic menu fold (seen below) for this dinner party, the fold resembles a man’s pocket square, adding and air of elegance; I certainly think Bond would approve of.

Break up the monotony- I love a good movie marathon as much as the next girl, but sometimes you need to get up and stretch your legs. Dazzle your guests with a glass of champagne and a nice cigar after a few films. If you don’t have a go-to cigar, I recommend Torano’s, they are a mellow, full-bodied cigar that both novice and expert smokers will enjoy.

Movies

While the food and table are important, the films have equal weight for this opulent function. My husband, who is a certified Bondie, suggested a few films that would please any audience, regardless of their knowledge of the franchise. Purchasing is costly and renting seems to be harder to do these days, so unless you happen to own all of these, like we do, head to your public library. Usually, they have a huge collection of classic films that people rarely utilize. Who knows, maybe you will rediscover your love of Hitchcock or film noir while scouring the movie section. Libraries are wonderful places! The follow is his list for a perfect Bond evening:

1)   Dr. No (1962- Sean Connery) The film that started it all. A classic and an absolute must for your evening!!

2)   Goldfinger (1964- Sean Connery) A classic Sean Connery film and one of my favorite Bonds. Of course, it doesn’t hurt either that the concept of the film fits in perfectly with the golden hues on the dining room table.

3)   Live and Let Die (1973- Roger Moore) The best of the Roger Moore films, in my opinion and Sir Paul McCartney recorded the theme song. How could you lose?

4)   GoldenEye (1995- Pierce Brosnan) The world is on the brink of disaster once again, and handsome Pierce comes to the rescue. He can save me any day!

5)   Casino Royale (2006- Daniel Craig) Daniel Craig provides as fresh new edge to Bond. A super techy and fun film is a great way to round out your night.

Very few characters have endured the way James Bond has, and that is truly something to be celebrated. I promise, if you follow my tips and tricks, you will have an evening full of fun and glamour. I have some wonderful things in store this week, so make sure you check back everyday.

Happy planning,

M

5 Minute Decadence: Nutella Mug Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

Nutella Mug Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

We have all been there, in that dark and disastrous place. A chocolate craving hits hard, and totally consumes the brain. Not just any average craving, the kind that you would kill your own young for a square of dove chocolate or, the kind that almost warrants a trip to the grocery store in blizzard conditions. The craving may strike while watching the Colbert Report or in the middle of the work day, completely unannounced; but all you can think about is how to stuff your face with as much chocolate as humanly possible.  This was my day today. No matter how I busied myself, I couldn’t tear myself away from the idea that I needed something decadent and delicious, and I needed it NOW!!

Zombie like, I rummaged through our cupboards in search of rouge chocolate chips or even hot chocolate, but alas, there was nothing. Not even a lonely bit sized candy bar left over from Halloween. Panic swelled in my throat. Chocolate, in that very moment was crucial to save myself (and my husband) from a total melt down. But then, my eyes begin to water with the most beautiful sight they have ever fallen upon, a lonely jar of Nutella, hidden in the back of my pantry. It seemed to be calling out to me, illuminated in a halo of goodness by the overhead florescent. It was as if some divine force suddenly declared, “Let there be Nutella,” and all was right with the world again. I briefly debated grabbing a spoon and going to town, but my dignity and pride thought of something better, a gooey, luscious, Nutella mug cake, complete with peanut butter frosting. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Start to finish a complete devilish desert that only takes 5 minutes, a microwave and is sure to satisfy.

Nutella Mug Cake
Makes: 1 (Giant mug, I would suggest sharing)

4 tablespoons AP flour
4 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
4 tablespoons Nutella
3 tablespoons whole milk or half and half
3 tablespoons vegetable oil

(Modified from Source)

Combine all ingredients in large microwave safe mug. Whisk until lump free and well combined. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 – 3 minutes. (Every microwave is different, I set mine for 1 minute and then did 30 second intervals until the top no longer looked wet. All in all about 2 minutes.)

As if this wasn’t already caloric enough, why not go for a homerun. The homemade peanut butter frosting is truly the icing on the cake!!

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes enough to frost 2 mug cakes

1 tablespoon butter (room temperature)
5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons powder sugar

Beat butter and peanut butter together. Add powdered sugar, mixture will be super stiff at first, but will soften up. Pipe or spoon on to cake.

A cake like this is dangerous knowledge! Warm, gooey and ultra satisfying, everything you need to quench your craving. Next time you need a little chocolate in your life, try it out. You won’t be sorry.

Happy eating,

M

Beat the Cold: Boursin Cream Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Mushrooms

Boursin Cream Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Mushroom

 

Winter is coming quickly to the Midwest; it is a simple fact I can no longer deny. The trees are nearly bare, and the local squirrels have turned our front yard into their own personal nut safe. My Birkenstock sandals need to be switched for boots, and summer dresses for cozy sweaters and scarves. I like winter, for the first few snow falls, but after the third, I want a one-way ticket to Cabo and a pitcher of margaritas, served to me by an attractive cabana boy. But alas, I am stuck here for the long haul.

The wind has that undeniable chill when it tickles the back of your neck and swirls around your ears, seeming to whisper, “Hunker down, it is going to be a long one.” Though, fear not, the changing of the seasons opens up a whole new set of culinary options. After all, winter is the season of baked goods, casseroles and of course, cream sauces! My Boursin Cream Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Mushrooms is just the thing to warm your bones when the wind is whipping.

Caramelized onions are one of my very favorite things, second only to cigars, French wine, my husband and any show on AMC. I am seriously crazy about these little succulent bits of heaven. I can eat them right out of the fridge, on a grilled cheese, quesadilla or on a salad. They provide just the right amount of sweetness to any dish, while giving just the slightest crunch that is oh-so fulfilling to the palette.  If you have never made them before, fear not! I will walk you through a foolproof, intimidation-free way to perfectly caramelize an onion. Be forewarned, it is a time consuming process, but worth every moment, I can assure you.

Caramelized Onions

Yield: Approx. 2 cups   Time: 45 mins-1 hour

1 ½ – 2 large yellow or white onions (don’t use purple, the turn a very ugly gray)
3 Tablespoons butter
salt

Melt the butter over medium-low heat, in your cast iron skillet, or the heaviest pan you have. (I chose to use a cast iron stovetop friendly, Dutch oven.) Slice the onions 1/8th of an inch thin. Once butter is completely melted, drop all of your onions into the skillet. Salt the onions and stir to coat thoroughly. Cook over medium low, onions will slowly break down. Stir occasionally, but don’t feel a need to babysit them. Keep them on the heat until they turn a deep golden color.

Note about storage: Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Or freeze little piles of them on a sprayed cookie sheet or a muffin tin, and thaw a batch when necessary.

 

Now, onto the pasta, I could hardly wait any longer! This is a great dish for you and your vegetarian friends alike, though you could certainly add some chicken, to bump up the protein content, if desired. This pasta is simple enough to cook on a weeknight, but elegant enough to entertain with. The onions provide sweetness, while the balsamic mushrooms are just tart enough to excite your taste buds; the garlic and herb boursin melts like a dream and provides the base for the creamy, delicious sauce. One bite and your eyes will roll to the back of your head, guaranteed.

Boursin Cream Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Balsamic Mushrooms

Serves 2    Time: 30 mins

½ pound penne pasta
8 oz white mushrooms
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (not pictured)
2 Tablespoons EVOO
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock
3/4 a wheel of garlic and herb boursin cheese
2 Tablespoons half and half
1/2 cup caramelized onions (see recipe above)
1 Tablespoon parsley (for garnish)
salt
pepper

Slice mushrooms and mince garlic. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and garlic. Salt and pepper well. Heat for 3-4 minutes till mushrooms are slightly soft. Add balsamic vinegar, stir well. Continue cooking until balsamic has been absorbed and turn heat to low.

In a small saucepan bring ¼ cup stock to a rolling boil with some salt and black pepper. Whisk boursin cheese in until smooth, add 2 tablespoons half and half. Once boursin has incorporated with the sauce, reduce heat to low to thicken. If you desire a really thick cream sauce, remove from heat entirely.

Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook till al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Drain and rinse pasta, and add pasta to skillet with mushrooms. Add caramelized onion and thickened sauce to skillet. Keep heat low and stir till all ingredients are hot and well incorporated. Serve hot and garnish with fresh or dried parsley.

 

Words cannot begin to describe how delectable this dish is, so easy, tasty and satisfying. It would be a great addition to your family’s meatless Monday rotation, or just some luscious comfort food whenever the craving strikes. With our hours of daylight shrinking and the cold creeping up, we all could use a little creamy delight every now and again. I think we deserve it! Bon appetite, buen provecho or dig in, no matter the language, this dish is sure to satisfy.

Happy eating,

M

Gin Four Ways: Serve up Some Nostalgia

The cocktail hour seems to be a forgotten tradition of yesteryear. Now days, we all pack into our nearest corner bar the second the clock strikes five and slug back a few frothy mugs of beer or glasses of cheap wine. There is nothing civilized about it. Cocktail hour and cocktail parties used to be a way to slow down and get drunk with friends while maintaining an air of dignity. Well, I for one, would like it back, and for the record, jager redbull does not qualify as elegant. A well made cocktail is one that is lovingly crafted, thoughtful and when shared with pleasant company, unforgettable.

When thinking about this project, I took a trip to my local liquor store and was shocked to find nearly a whole row of the store was devoted to flavored vodka. Not just lemon or grape, but glazed donut, buttered popcorn and bacon. seriously, who would want a bacon flavored drink, I love bacon as much as the next girl, but really? While vodka may dazzle with its flavors and choices; Gin will always be the spirit for me. It is the base of any descent bar in my opinion, and blends well with a plethora of mixers that are probably already in your fridge. Vodka can have its big moment, I would rather be classic than trendy any day.

Today, I will teach you 4 easy classy cocktails to whip up for Holiday gatherings or just because it is five ‘o’clock somewhere.

First, a few tips about cocktails, these may seem like no brainers but they make the difference.
1) Always, always, always, fill your shaker or rocks glass with plenty of ice!!
2) Measure precisely as you can. A burned drink is a very unpleasant way to start a party.
3) Have proper stem and barware. No one wants to drink a Cosmo out of a solo cup, it tastes far better out of a martini glass, I promise. After all, we are not in college anymore.
4) Don’t be afraid to follow your instinct, some great mixology can come from happy ancients.

Most of our cocktails today use a simple syrup. If you have never used simple syrup before, it could not be easier to make and provides for a gourmet spin on any average cocktail. I chose to make a sage honey simple syrup, because I like the taste with Gin, but feel free to try a different flavor.  Directions are as follows.

 Honey Sage Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
6-10 sage leaves (depending on how strong you want it, I used 6)
1 tablespoon honey

Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring until all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Lightly dot sage leaves, with end of butter knife to release aroma. Add the honey to the simple syrup, mix well. Add lightly muddled sage to mixture, stir well and let sit for 15 minutes. After time has elapsed, remove sage leaves and pour mixture into bottle. Store in fridge for up to a month.

Lightly Muddling Sage

Straining the Sage

GIMLET

Our first cocktail is the easy and very boozy, Gimlet. Traditionally, a Gimlet is four parts Gin and one part sweetened lime juice. My recipe keeps the potency, but utilizes our Honey Sage Simple Syrup, instead of sweetened lime juice. Raymond Chandler, would not approve, but life is about taking risks, (If you haven’t read, the Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler, stop drinking and get yourself to a bookstore, ASAP!!!). If you are not a gin fan, (then you are probably reading the wrong blog), feel free to use vodka. It is an easy twist on a classic drink that is sure to bring a smile to your lips.

M’s Modern Gimlet

M’s Modern Gimlet
3 oz Gin (I always use Bombay Sapphire, but Tanqueray would be fine)
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz honey sage simple syrup
lime wedge for garnish

Fill shaker full of ice. Pour all ingredients in. Shake the hell out of it. Strain and serve in beautiful martini glass with lime garnish.

BELLA VITA

Our second cocktail is a bit sweeter and may be more popular than the aforementioned Gimlet. I call this cocktail the Bella Vita, because after a few of these, you will be seeing life through glorious rose-colored glasses. The Bella Vita is very sweet and would be a good choice for people who don’t think they like gin. The simple syrup and the creme de cassis blend well with the herbal notes that some people find overpowering in Gin. For those of you who haven’t had creme de cassis, it is a blackcurrant liquor that is best known in Kir’s, the french white wine aperitif. It is not creamy at all, so don’t let the name detour you, if you have texture issues. It is sweet, dark red, fairly cheap and would make a nice addition to any bar. P.s: I even got my husband, who is a rye and whiskey kind of man, to drink the Bella Vita. He claimed it was the best martini he had ever had, though, I think he may be a little biased.

The Bella Vita

Bella Vita

2  oz Gin
1 oz of creme de cassis
1/2 oz honey sage simple syrup
juice of half a lemon
lemon-lime seltzer (or sprite)

Fill shaker full of ice. Pour in all ingredients, except for seltzer. Shake, shake, shake it!! Pour into martini glass, top with seltzer. Garnish with floating sage leaf. Sip until the world is rosy.

THE FITZGERALD

Our third and final martini, is called The Fitzgerald. It is another cocktail of yesteryear that is often overlooked today, in our world of O-bombs and Dirty Girl Scouts. It is an orange and gin cocktail that is between the Gimlet  and the Bella Vita  in sweetness. Light in flavor with a hint of orange, it is the perfect cocktail to enjoy on a spring night outside with friends.

The Fitzgerald

The Fitzgerald (recipe loosely based on the Kitchnn’s version)
2 oz Gin
1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
3/4 oz Honey Sage simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters

Fill shaker full of ice . Pour all ingredients in. Shake it as if you were throwing shirts from your closet to impress a lady, a la Jay Gatsby. Pour into an elegant martini glass. Sip slowly, while you become whisked away by nostalgia.

CRANBERRY GIN AND TONIC

Our  fourth and final homage to the Gin, is a twist on the iconic, Gin and Tonic. The G&T is my signature drink, it is cool,refreshing and just the right amount of confusing for people when they see a pretty-twenty something drinking it, instead of an old grouchy man. My friends do not share the love for the classic G&T that I do, but the Cranberry Gin and Tonic, is a drink that even the most picky boozers will enjoy. It is refreshing, festive and would make the perfect holiday party cocktail with it’s red and green color palate. Let me know what, you non-gin drinkers think! I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.

The festive Cranberry Gin and Tonic

I love that decanter!

Cranberry Gin and Tonic:
3 oz Gin
2 oz chilled tonic water
juice of half a lime
cranberry juice
lime wedge for garnish

Fill tall glass half full with ice. Add gin, tonic and juice of lime. Top with cranberry juice. Cut lime wedge in half and float both parts in drink. Mix with long spoon. Enjoy!

I hope that one of these cocktails will make an appearance in your life, and maybe, just maybe, will brighten your day. Make them for your loved ones or just for yourself. Vodka may be flashy and flavored with every fruit of the rainbow, but Gin is full of  the elegance of a time gone by, it is more than a drink, it is liquid nostalgia.  Don Draper from Mad Men says it best, “Nostalgia it’s delicate, but potent.”

Bottoms Up,
M

 

Tune of the day: Fly Me to the Moon– Frank Sinatra

A Fool Proof Guide to a Stellar Election Night Party

My favorite night as a kid only came around once every four years. No, not leap year, thank god, I got a birthday every year like a normal kid. No, it was election night. My parents, though representing different sides of the political spectrum agreed about one thing, it was important to see democracy in action. I polled and caucused with my mom when I was tall enough to see the ballot on the smooth grey desk.

I watched the nightly news with Brian Williams and we discussed the Clinton sex scandal over dinner. There is no denying that politics was in my brain from a very early age. No matter how old I get election night always seems to get my blood pumping, the excitement surrounding the day, tricks me into thinking that democracy and my vote matter, and that maybe, just maybe, I can make a diffrence. Whether you are wit’ Mitt or Obama is your homeboy, or you are celebrating that this race is finally over, here are some helpful tips to throw a successful election day bash! Now, I think that is something we can all agree on.

Save the Good Stuff for the Inauguration:

Tonight is not the night to whip out you grandmothers vintage Noritake china and impress people with foie gras and your knowledge of French wine. Keep the food simple and non-partisan. I would suggest heavy appetizers and frankly, food that can easily be cleaned of your couch, like Buffalo Egg Rolls, Deviled Eggs and Sliders. This is the one night when your cooking isn’t the star of the show; let your big screen have the attention for once. By keeping the food hardy and simple it allows everyone to feel comfortable and focused on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, and not the order of their salad and dessert fork. I would suggest a tour of America for the ambitious chef with a large group, select a food from each region of the United States and have your guests guess. Or if you like to keep things simple, limit yourself to a few heavy appetizers and a variety of munchies clustered on your coffee table. Trust that you are a great chef even if you don’t get paid compliment after compliment when the glazed meatballs are passed around, there are greater things at stake, and after all, Iowa could be reporting.

Serve up a few Coke & Rumney’s and Bahamobama Mama’s:

Booze and politics go together, like, well… sex scandals and politics. Hand in hand and never the two shall part. If your friends are anything like mine, they always find their way immediately to the bar in any social setting. Depending on the diversity found in your guests, politics may be an awkward topic of discussion initially. Since you don’t want your soiree to be as tense as the last Presidential debate, I suggest serving up some delicious signature cocktails for the evening. If you know what your friends drink, rename a few of their favorites to be politically themed for the night, or put on your mixology hat and whip up a few new cocktails like the Baby Kisser and the Swing State, courtesy of Makers Mark and their genius Cocktail Party. Anyway you choose to bartend, make sure your friends are safe, nothing kills the buzz quicker than a DUI, or worse.

Deck out your Pad like it was Campaign HQ:

Stop by your local Obama and Romey office and pick up a yard sign from each, or if forethought and planning isn’t your style, steal one from someone’s yard under the cloak of darkness. Adhere both signs to separate parts of your living room and have a good old-fashioned game of “pin the sticker on the asshole.” Who ever gets closest to the logo on each respective sign, should receive a prize. It may be allowing the super republican winner to watch the Fox news election coverage for 10 minutes or an airplane size bottle of booze, do what you feel.

Everyone seems to enjoy pretending to be a political expert so, feel free to ask your guests to color in the Electoral College according to their predictions. Also, whoever is closest should be allowed to dance around your living room, screaming in jubilee, “Four More Years” or “My man, Mitt,” whatever the outcome may be.

Bearing all of these things in mind will allow you to have a fantastic viewing party without all of the concern, effort and anxiety that goes with hosting a dinner party. Make sure your focus is on your guests and the excitement unfolding on the television, rather than the dishes in your kitchen. They will be there in the morning, regardless of the winner, that much can be said for sure. Happy watching, rooting, and may the best man win (Sidebar: It will be a happy day for me when that gendered phrase can no longer be used). Enjoy this night, regardless of the outcome, because the 2016 election is bound to last even longer and be more annoying!

Cheers,

M