A passion for food + fashion

Posts Tagged ‘cocktails’

Bunnies, Bagels and Bloody Marys

In Baby Love, Drink on April 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm

The kids’ birthday party circuit in Los Angeles is the stuff legends are made of. (Those of you who watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills know what I’m talking about.) But the best of these parties are less about three-year-olds being feted with diamond necklaces and fine china, and more about creativity and good taste. Yesterday morning, our friends Laurie and Lucas threw an absolutely fantastic party for their three-year-old daughter, one of Tiny G’s best gal pals. The theme was: Bunnies, Bagels and Bloody Marys. Supervised by Cowboy Mark, the kiddies got to pet little bunnies—so sweet! While the girls were off at the other end of the pen holding tiny fluffy little bunnies, Tiny G managed to corner the only rabbit bigger than himself and fed him carrot sticks. It was a big morning and we’re still talking about it.

Inside, our hostess Laurie—a woman who rocks a Halston halter dress like no other—had put out a spread of fresh-out-of-the-oven bagels from Sams on Larchmont with lox, cream cheese, and all the fixings. Kids and parents couldn’t have been happier. And I know it’s all about the kids, but I do love Laurie for making it a little bit about the grown-ups, too. In a corner of the dining room she’d set up a Bloody Mary station with the best homemade mix I think I’ve ever tasted. So impressive! There were bottles of Tabasco, Cholula and Sriracha so you could pick your poison for adding more heat. (Yours truly went with Sriracha, which did not disappoint.) I begged her to share her recipe, below. Thank you, Laurie and Lucas! And Tiny G sends love to the birthday girl.

Laurie’s Blended Bloody Mary

Plenty of fresh squeezed lemon juice and beet horseradish are what make this Bloody Mary a little bit better than your neighbor’s. Laurie adds, “BLEND all of it. I think that might be the key to greatness—infusing each drop with horseradish and lemon, etc.”

32 oz. Campbells tomato juice

1/2 jar plus a little more of Bubbies beet horseradish

juice of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tablespoons Cholula sauce

4 tablespoons worstershire sauce

salt and pepper

celery salt sprinkle…

Vodka, obviously

celery and lemon garnish

In a large pitcher, combine all ingredients except the vodka and garnish. Pour tomato mixture into food processor and blend. Return to pitcher. Chill. Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery or lemon wedge and vodka to taste. Makes about 6 drinks.

Dishing on Drinks with Jason Wilson of the Washington Post, aka “Boozehound”

In Drink, Media on December 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

Last year at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood, I met a very cool dude by the name of Jason Wilson. Those of you Washington Post readers are no doubt already huge fans of Wilson’s spirits column (his most recent in which he takes on the Williamsburg hipster contingent is classic). But wait, there’s more! Wilson just came out with an awesome new book, Boozehound, which chronicles his quest for the best cocktails and liquors the world over. Not only is the book often hilarious, but full of great insight and fantastic cocktail recipes. It’s my top pick for the cocktail lovers on my gift list these year. And so, gentle readers, I was thrilled to catch up with Jason in between drinks and ask him a few hard questions, some of which involved vodka and Miley Cyrus.

For the cocktail cognoscenti, it’s all about rye, right? At the risk of aligning myself with the buffoons who walk into Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. demanding vodka, I still dream about the Makers Mark Manhattan that PDT’s Jim Meehan served me at the now defunct Pace years ago. So break it down for us. What rye should we be drinking in our Manhattans instead of trusty old bourbon?

Wait, is it all about rye now? I thought it was all about mezcal? Or over-proof rum? Or not wearing deodorant anymore!? I think it’s totally fine that you like your Makers Mark Manhattan! Makers Mark isn’t so bad—it’s definitely one of those transitional products, like Patron, that convert new spirits drinkers. Also, I often enjoy a bourbon Manhattan (thought I usually go for Buffalo Trace at home). Or better yet, a bourbon-based-Negroni called a Boulevardier.

Boulevardier Cocktail © Julia Ewan The Washington Post

But, ok, getting back to rye. A rye Manhattan is divine. I like cheap ryes like Rittenhouse and Old Overholt. I like pricier ryes like High West Rendezvous Rye and Tuthilltown. And lately my go-to, mid-priced rye has been Russell’s Reserve 6 year old Kentucky Straight Rye (made by Wild Turkey). I like to use rye in the traditional Manhattan and the numerous Manhattan variations, like say the Greenpoint or the Red Hook.


And speaking of vodka, does the world need another one?

Ha. I think you know my answer to that! I’ll quote from something I’ve written: “I can only assume that the development of new vodkas—each in a fancy bottle and with romantic stories involving special places and rare ingredients—will go on until the world ends in fire or ice. In fact, I have a recurring dream in which the first true sign of the Apocalypse is a press release for a vodka that has been quintuple-distilled from tears of flaxen-haired angels and flavored with the ambrosia of Mount Olympus. And it’s promoted by Miley Cyrus.” Short answer: No.

A Cantina San Francisco © Cindy Loughridge & Seth Restaino


What are your top five favorite watering holes?

Oh, that is so hard. I love different bars for different reasons. I would love to say something really pretentious-sounding like, Kaffibarinn in Reykjavik or Bar Magenta in Milan or A Ginjinha in Lisbon. But let’s stick with American cocktail-centric bars in various cities:

The Passenger in Washington DC (as well the inner sanctum of the Columbia Room)

Cantina Bebidas in San Francisco

PDT or Mayahuel in New York

Oh yeah, let me add one more: Nye’s Polonaise Room in Minneapolis. You simply cannot beat a polka lounge with live piano karaoke, and red pleather booths.

Nye's Polonaise Room


What trend would you most like to see disappear?

I think the trend of proclaiming new cocktail and spirits trends…and swiftly then declaring these trends over, all before 99 percent of American drinkers ever had a chance to try whatever it is the trend was.

Do cocktails go with food?

I don’t particularly enjoy my cocktails with food, unless it’s some kind of Italian apertif-based drink. I think some straight spirits go with food, like aquavit and oily fish or tequila and Mexican dishes, or of course something like cognac or Calvados with dessert. But mainly I drink wine with the meal.

I love your chapter on “Liquor Store Archaeology,” in which you and your brother compete to find the most arcane liquors on dusty shelves. As some of these forgotten spirits, such as Old Tom gin, return to the cocktail lexicon what are you happiest to have discovered and most relieved to leave in the past?

I am so happy about real sloe gin—made from real sloe berries—making its reappearance in the U.S. I’ve been making a lot of drinks with both Plymouth and the Bitter Truth sloe gins. But I’m also so so happy about now being able to find stuff like genever from the Netherlands, Zucca from Italy, the unearthing of  Crème Yvette. Really, it’s such a wonderful time to be into spirits  since every month something long-unavailable is suddenly now available.

As for bottles that ought to stay in the past? I’d say that prize goes to the disturbingly-named Peanut Lolita—a sort of whiskey and peanut concoction that had its heyday in the 1970s. My brother and I may own the only two bottles in existence. These bottles will still likely be full when archaeologists dig them up in the 23rd century.

What bottle would we be most surprised to discover in your bar?

Is this where I admit my guilty pleasure of neon green Midori melon liqueur? It’s something that holds some nostalgic value from my wayward Jersey youth. Actually, I have a lot of questionable stuff. I have an entire Cabinet of Shame that grows every month with really bad new liqueurs and such. But the real surprise? I do actually have several bottles of vodka! And sometimes, I actually do drink from them.

Holiday Punch

In Drink, Fashion on December 13, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I love this picture that my friend and celebrity photographer Alex Berliner took of yours truly with gorgeous friends Anna and Ariana at our holiday party a couple weeks ago. While Ariana is holding the goodness that is my sister’s masterful Triple Chocolate Cranberry Cookie, Anna and I are all about the punch, though it looks like her glass needs a little replenishing. I’ll tell you, the stuff disappears quickly. I blogged about the recipe earlier today on Herman Miller’s LIFEWORK blog in my weekly “Good Taste” feature, so head on over for the skinny. Go ahead, take a sip, it’s loaded with pomegranate antioxidants (she said by way of enticement). And white rum…and more rum…and Champagne, so while we can’t exactly call this a health beverage, we can call it the most festive and prettiest punch you’ll drink all year. Cheers!

Now Shaking: The Foodinista Up Online at The New York Times

In Drink, Media on December 8, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Get thee to the Library Bar! That’s where you’ll find Matt Biancaniello, Hollywood’s king of cocktails (above, in a photo by Dylan Ho), shaking up some savory goodness. Read all about it in a short profile I wrote over at the New York Times: T Magazine. Don’t miss: Biancaniello’s white truffle egg nog. This is the egg nog they’ll serve in heaven.

Peach Tarragon Bellini

In Drink, Recipes on September 3, 2010 at 11:29 am

I’ve had a really good morning in the Twittersphere. Three men I respect greatly, Bruce Schoenfeld (wine editor of Travel & Leisure), Jason Wilson (spirits columnist at The Washington Post and author of forthcoming book Boozehound) and Los Angeles food blogger Tony C. (of SinoSoul) all tweeted about my Herbal Cocktails story in the current September Restaurant Issue issue of Bon Appetit! While the story is not up on the website, you can still grab a copy of the mag on newsstands—and believe me, you’ll want to. The issue is loaded with goodness from the country’s top restaurant including desserts to die for from Momofuku’s pastry chef, like Chocolate Malt Cake and the infamous and aptly named Crack Pie (it is that good, people). And here’s a little bonus not in the issue—the recipe I developed for the Peach Tarragon Bellini mentioned in the story. Cheers!

The Foodinista’s Peach Tarragon Bellini
The classic Bellini gets an herbal kick from fresh tarragon.

Makes 4-6

1/2 generous cup ripe peach slices, peeled
10-12 tarragon leaves
1 750 ml bottle Prosecco

Puree peaches and tarragon in blender. Add 1 ounce peach/tarragon purée to each flute. Top each with 4 ounces prosecco.

I ♥ L.A.

In Drink, Food, Media, On Location: Out and About in L.A. on May 31, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Cinespia is just one of the many reasons to love LA. My friend Lizzie snapped this pic the other night at an outdoor screening of North by Northwest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Is there a better location to watch Hitchcock? Look at the moon. It was incredible to watch it rising from behind the screen as Eva and Cary lit up the night. I can’t remember a more perfect start to summer. We arrived with our friends Katie and Matt A., Lizzie and Matt M. a couple hours before the movie started to picnic while listening to the DJ. Matt poured these all too drinkable whiskey sours. This recipe (from the Barefoot Contessa) will undoubtedly be in heavy rotation all summer:

We made it through two 40-ounce Thermos Stainless King Beverage Bottles, which got me thinking that’s a hell of a lot of lemons and limes that Lizzie had to hand-squeeze. Thanks, Lizzie! Katie made two awesome salads—lentil and feta, and panzanella (Italian bread salad) with grilled vegetables. We brought orzo with artichokes and prosciutto and Bourbon Molasses Chicken Drumsticks, whisked off the grill moments before we jumped in a cab to meet the gang and still piping hot when we tucked into our loot:

Check out these LED flickering tea lights. Even the hipsters next to us couldn’t get enough of these bad boys:

But the pièce de résistance had to be Lizzie’s Chocolate Oatmeal Carmelitas, a recipe first served to Lady Bird Johnson. Each bite is loaded with chocolate chips, pecans, rolled oats and dulce de leche. Talk about a Hollywood ending…

Pocket Full of Change

In Drink on April 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm

I met a college friend yesterday for coffee, and with weather like this the conversation quickly turned to gin and tonics. Which lead us a little further down memory lane to a now defunct bar in Davis, California, called The Paragon. On Friday afternoons, our friend Matt would load up his pockets with Susan B Anthonies—he preferred coin to bills—and head down to the Paragon. The dive’s selling point was its outdoor patio, and when the weather was fine, Matt would order pitchers of gin and tonics and dig deep into his pockets for a fistful of Susie Bs to pay the bartender. I haven’t seen Matt in over a decade, and my stomach turns just a little thinking about what kind of turpentine gin we were drinking back then. (I guess the upside to emerging crows feet and a mortgage means now being able to afford decent gin.) But then—and now—there are few better ways to enjoy a warm spring night than with a gin and tonic, surrounded by friends.

Blood Orange Mimosa

In Drink on April 4, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I’d like to raise a toast with a gorgeous Blood Orange Mimosa to fabulous family, friends and neighbors. More tomorrow on this morning’s brunch (which is doing double duty for dinner tonight!), but wanted to share my new favorite riff on the mimosa, made with fresh blood orange juice and Barcino Cava (avail at Larchmont Wine & Spirits for under $15/bottle). I have a feeling we’ll be drinking this cava all summer. My friend Katie told us about it and it’s perfectly dry, citrusy and excellent either in a mimosa or all on its own. Get some, that is if Katie and I don’t clean them out first.

Flower Power

In Baby Love, Design, Food on January 18, 2010 at 11:37 pm

At the baby shower I cohosted with Gia and Trisha at her lovely home this past weekend, there were gorgeous sprays of pink flowers just about everywhere you looked. Like the tulips on the buffet table, above. Or the gerber daisies and hydrangeas atop the mantel:

Or a fresh bouquet on a side table:

The food was every bit as pretty, with fantastic sandwiches, crudité, and baby potatoes with crème fraîche and bright orange Petrossian trout caviar….

In addition to bacon-wrapped dates (a riff on those served at AOC) and Jane Royale cocktails, I also made Mark Bittman’s chicken laver pâté. More on that tomorrow. But let me leave you with a deliciously sweet bite made by shower attendee and former front woman for all-girls punk band The Red Aunts, Terri Wahl, who is also known as the force behind the delicious Auntie Em’s Kitchen in Eagle Rock:

Jane Royale

In Baby Love, Drink on January 17, 2010 at 11:53 pm

The most beautiful baby girl in all of Los Angeles has her own signature cocktail. Think pink. Think pretty. Tie it up with a pretty pink bow, and you have the Jane Royale! This weekend, friends Trisha, Gia and I hosted a baby shower for one of our favorite people on the planet! Trisha had the genius idea of developing a pink cocktail to honor the little lady’s arrival, and I riffed on the French 75 to come up with a TOTALLY DELICIOUS cocktail that incorporated two of her mommy’s favorite adult tinctures: pink Champage and gin. I substituted pink Champagne for brut, agave syrup for castor sugar, along with a heady dose of gin and freshly squeezed lemons picked from the tree in our backyard. And then I dropped a raspberry in the bottom.

For party favors, Trisha tied gorgeous recipe cards (that she made) around splits of delicious and fruity Pommery Pink POP.  The result is a pretty and pink cocktail that packs an inconspicuous punch. And for people who don’t think they like gin (ie, my husband, a diehard vodka drinker,who PS was crazy about this concoction), this one is for you.

Jane Royale

2 ounces dry gin
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
Pink Champagne
2 raspberries

Shake hard the first three ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and strain into two chilled Champagne flutes. Top each with Champagne and drop a raspberry into each flute.

Check back later this week for add’l baby shower pics—lots of great shower ideas. I kind of can’t even deal with how amazing a hostess Trisha is…………I promise you will want to learn at the feet of the master mistress! Tune in tomorrow.