Category Archives: Cocktails

So Much Pretty

One week from today, my sister-in-law has a book coming out. 

You can pre-order it from Amazon.  You can read more about the book and about her on her website.

My favorite review for it so far is the LA Times:

“So Much Pretty” is harder to pin down, trickier in its aims and delivers a skillful, psychologically acute tale of how violence affects a small town, its tentacles enmeshed so deeply into the collective fabric that it takes the thoughts and actions of one intelligent adolescent to shake things up and force everyone to examine their duplicitous complacency. To say more about Hoffman’s constantly surprising story is to reveal too much, but the payoff is more than worth the slow-building suspense.”

Look for her in the NYT Book Review this Sunday, 3/13. We’ll all need a drink in anticipation of that, which leads me more to the point of this post. 

I’ve developed two cocktails for the release party we’re hosting for Cara at The Monday Room next week. 

So Much Pretty
1 1/2 oz. McKenzie Bourbon
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Carpano Antica Vermouth

Combine ingredients and shake with ice.  Serve up in a chilled glass with a cherry garnish.

Cara’s favorite cocktail is a Negroni (she hasn’t tried this one yet), and if you subbed gin for bourbon, that’s what you’d get. I wanted to use a spirit from upstate, since that’s where the story takes place. The drink has a girly color, which belies its non-girly flavor. Once you read the book, you’ll get why this last part makes sense.

So Much Pretty, 0% abv
4 oz. ginger beer (I like Fentimans, though I think we’re using Ithaca for the party, for additional upstate-appropriateness)
½ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. star anise simple syrup (made this at home, more on this later)

Shake with ice, strain into rocks glass over ice and garnish with candied/crystalized ginger.

When asked in an interview if she could only eat one thing for the rest of her life, Cara replied crystalized ginger, so that explains version 0% abv.

Looking forward to toasting So Much Pretty with a So Much Pretty!


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Hibiscus Rose Vesper

A cocktail of mine made it into Saveur’s March Issue.  I also figured out how to embed documents into wordpress.  Big day. 

Use the zoom key at the bottom so you can actually read what it says.  Does my crooked scanning make you feel like you’re reading it from the magazine?


Filed under Cocktails, Noteworthy articles


Noah recently picked up these bitters at Formaggio Essex:

Sriracha (pronounced SIR-rotch-ah) bitters by Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters. A bit spendy, at $12.95 for 4 oz., the flavor is true to the beloved "rooster sauce".

I opted for the recipe printed on the back label of the bottle: Srirazerac. Step 1 is to coat a rocks glass with Absinthe.

In a stirring glass with ice, I added 2 1/2 oz. rye (I used McKenzie). This is 1 teaspoon of simple syrup going in. Next was 2 dashes Peychaud's, followed by 2 dashes Sriracha Bitters. The dropper in the bottle yields less than a dash would, so that, combined with how spicy you'd like your drink, should dictate how much you add.

The finished cocktail, garnished with a lemon peel and a few additional drops of Sriracha Bitters. It's not terribly complex, but I really like rye, so I'm not the best judge in this instance. The best part is the finish - an intense, yet pleasant heat creeps up on you. These bitters are definitely worth experimenting with. Stay tuned.

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Italian Love Bite

Plenty of Aperol in stock inspired Marcella to create her “Italian Love Bite”.

Marcella working her magic behind the bar. Join us at L'Ecole for a Love Bite starting today.

The recipe:

1.5 oz. Aperol
1 oz. Dolin Blanc
1 oz. Finger Lakes Distilling Pear Brandy
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 egg white (equivalent to 1 oz.)
dash salt
dash club soda

Combine all ingredients, except for club soda, and dry shake.  Add ice and club soda, shake again, and strain into chilled martini glass.  I asked what the garnish was and was told, “it’s so pretty, it doesn’t need one.”  See for yourself:

Candy-heart pink with notes of ripe pear and herbs, and a beautiful froth on top. Girly, without being sweet.

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Put your Christmas tree to good use

Before your Christmas tree dries out, make some Evergreen Simple Syrup:

Combine 1 cup of water with 3/4 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Add a handful of fresh pine needles from your Christmas tree and boil for 3 mins. Strain and cool before combining in cocktails.

Brian brought this syrup when he visited a few weeks ago and we started brainstorming about cocktails.  I’ve experimented with pine flavor before, and decided that this time around an herbaceous gin might be a perfect fit.  Keeping in the holiday spirit, we opted for cranberry as the fruit and acid lift. 

I’m especially pleased that my title stuck.

Twigs and Berries
2 oz. Seneca Drums Gin
1 oz. Evergreen Simple Syrup
1 oz. White Cranberry Juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters

Stir the above ingredients over ice and strain into chilled martini glass.

Pine-y refreshment under the Christmas tree.

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Bitters to go

Leave it to the ever-traveling Germans to come up with a way to have classy cocktails on the go.

Today’s Times clued me in to this adorable kit.  Tasting notes from the company’s website:

CELERY BITTERS: Very complex and exotic. The initial flavor of celery is dominant, leading into a complex palate with aromas of lemongrass, orange peel and ginger.
OLD TIME AROMATIC BITTERS: Classically bitter and tangy. Combining the aromatics of cinnamon, cardamom, anise and cloves, it reminds one of gingerbread.
ORANGE BITTERS: The aroma of bitter orange peel is in the foreground, complimented by the spicy flavors of cardamom, caraway and nutmeg.
CREOLE BITTERS: The complex combination of flavors hints upon spice, bitterness and cardamon with a subtle floral finish that evokes the flavors of Creole cuisine in New Orleans/Louisiana.
CHOCOLATE BITTERS: Deep chocolate notes are supported by classic bitter flavors and accented with a hint of spice. Plays perfectly with most dark spirits, rums and tequilas.

Noah and I had recently been discussing saving airplane-sized bottles and filling them with booze from home in order to have a tastier tipple while in the air.

What a perfect stocking stuffer!

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Filed under Alcohol in the News, Cocktails

Greenmarket Mixology for Holiday Cocktails

If you’re free in NYC tonight, Union Square wines is presenting, Slow Food U: Greenmarket Mixology for Holiday Cocktails with Allen Katz from 6-8 pm. 

From USQ’s website:

Holidays are a time for good cheer… and good cocktails.  Local, legendary, “slow” mixologist, Allen Katz, promises, “the best damned holiday drinks you ever tasted.”  Join Allen as he mixes up seasonal, Greenmarket inspired holiday libations featuring some familiar, and some not so familiar, spirits and local, seasonal ingredients.  You will learn technique, and a few secrets, while enjoying a festive flight of unique holiday libations you CAN prepare at home to enjoy with friends and family.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the programs and activities of not-for-profit Slow Food NYC, including the Urban Harvest programs of good food education for NYC kids.

I happen to know that at least two of the ingredients involved tonight are McKenzie Rye and Finger Lakes Distilling Cassis.  You need tickets for this event and you can get them here.

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