Monthly Archives: July 2009

The S&C Celebration

A big thanks to everyone who came to the one year S&C anniversary celebration! We had a fabulous time at The Source. I do need to give a special shout-out to the restaurant, as they were super accommodating and great to work with — just all around nice people over there. They went out of their way to make sure we had a  memorable experience. Including, creating a specialty cocktail to commemorate the occasion. Ms. S&C told them ahead of time that she likes bubbly concoctions, and that’s just what they made. Cheers to the Elderberry Spritz!

elderberry-spritz

Elderberry Spritz
serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1/3 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
  • 2/3 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • Henriot Champagne
  • Grapefruit wedges, for garnish

Directions:
Combine the first three ingredients and shake over ice. Serve in chilled martini glasses. Top with Champagne, or other sparkling wine. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Note: There’s a little bit of guesswork on the ingredient proportions. The drink came across a little strong for some in the group, so we may need to go easy on the vodka and/or include an extra dash of St. Germain and grapefruit juice.

Thanks again for a great year!

posted by Ms. S&C

Pink Panther

At a recent dinner party for some girlfriends at my apartment, I was in need of a festive cocktail to provide ultimate refreshment on a hot summer day. For a girly gathering, I decided a girly drink was in order.

I’ve been dying to try the Pink Panther since I read about it in Eric Felten’s column for The Wall Street Journal. In this particular column, Mr. Felten examines the role of women in bar tending history, culminating in a recipe from New York bartender Aisha Sharpe, prepared especially for the James Beard “Women in Food” culinary gala.

The Pink Panther is an intoxicating–and simple–mix of lime juice, grapefruit, agave nectar and tequiPink Pantherla, muddled together with pink peppercorns. The pink peppercorn, which isn’t actually a peppercorn but a berry, lends a hint of sweet and mildly spicy flavor. Truth be told, the end result isn’t all that pink, as you can see from the picture, but it is all that tasty.

You’ll note that this recipe calls for reposado tequila, which got me thinking about the different types of tequila and just what makes one different from the other. Tequilas labeled “silver” or “platinum” are the purest form of the liquor – clear and unaged. Reposado, meanwhile, has been rested and aged. You can also find extra- and ultra-aged versions, but reposado is the first stage of aging. It’s typically a shade of gold, a color imparted from the aging process in oak barrels. The aging takes anywhere from two to 12 months. The reposado flavor tends to be a bit smoother than unaged versions.

But whatever type of tequila you have on hand, this recipe is one to try!

Pink Panther
Courtesy of Aisha Sharpe and Wall Street Journal.
Serves one.

  • 1 ½  oz reposado tequila
  • ¾ oz fresh ruby-red grapefruit juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz agave nectar
  • 2 dozen pink peppercorns

Muddle half the peppercorns in a shaker together with the lime juice. Add the other liquids, shake with ice, and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Float the other pink peppercorns on the drink for garnish. [Note: Miss Mojito decided to serve her version on the rocks, and without the garnish.]

Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C alerts–brought to you from Oprah

A good friend of Ms. S&C’s, and one who is likely in the running for Oprah’s-biggest-fan-ever, recently passed on these S&C-related finds from the August 2009 issue of O magazine.  Ms. S&C thought she’d share, as she does love Oprah’s recommendations, for just about about everything. (In case you missed it, see the post on her “favorite things.”)

Oprah-Cover-Aug09

Shoe-related newsSoleMates — No more heels sinking into the grass or falling into sidewalk cracks. These discreet, little plastic things attach to most heels, to give stability on grass and to keep you from destroying your heels on sidewalk cracks. They come in clear and black, and seem worth it for $10.00. I usually recommend wedges for grassy events, but I definitely need another solution for walking on brick sidewalks in this city. Read more in the O magazine feature.

Cocktail-related news: BYO Boxed Wine — Check out a new website where you can locate restos that allow you to bring your own wine (just enter your zip code). You’ll be surprised at the number of DC-area places. Only 10 regions are covered so far, but it was  highlighted in O, and that means you can expect that number to go up drastically.

And while you are at it, bringing your own wine and all, consider boxed wine as an option. Yes, I said it. Boxed wine. In higher demand because of its eco-friendly packaging and long shelf life, there’s a new wave of premium quality boxed wine available. For a weeknight supper, O magazine suggests the Black Box Sauvignon Blanc. Ms. S&C has tried the Black Box brand (Shiraz is good too), and highly recommends it. Trust me, this won’t be the last you’ve heard of boxed wine over here. Read more in the O magazine feature.

posted by Ms. S&C

S&C celebrates one year

The Shoes & Cocktails blog is one year old today. How about that? The little blog is growing up. We should celebrate. And, we should thank you. We really love our S&C community, and we hope you’ll keep reading, and drinking, and finding the perfect shoes for every occasion — and sharing all of it with us.

Fotolia_277273_XS

Those of you in the DC area, we’d love for you to celebrate with us by joining us for cocktails next week!

Shoes & Cocktails One Year Anniversary Celebration

WHEN: Wednesday, July 29th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

WHERE: Wolfgang Puck’s The Source (in the lounge area)
575 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

RSVP: Kindly let us know if you are coming. Guest list and details on Facebook. Or, you can make a comment below. Or, send an email to: shoesandcocktails@yahoo.com.

OTHER DETAILS: The nice folks over at The Source are creating a “special” cocktail to mark the occasion. Name TBA, but ingredients include: vodka, St. Germain, fresh grape juice, and champagne. Sounds delicate, and lovely, and refreshing — and perfect for Ms. S&C. NOTE: Cash bar is the dealio.

PS: Miss Mojito, we will miss you (and your sister)!

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: Do you have any favorite posts from the blog? The stats tell us that people really like the pomegranate champagne punch, the watermelon lemonade/yellow shoes combo, our reader mail on cream colored pumps, Miss M’s mojitos, and, of course, the Top Chef and Project Runway drink and shoe pairings.

Thanks again for reading!

posted by Ms. S&C

Life is Just a Sling of Cherries

I have been having cocktail dreams about the Sour-Cherry Gin Sling since I read about it thisGin Slings spring over at FoodandWine.com. Being a gin fanatic, I love the idea of mixing a sour-and-sweet syrup with my favorite liquor and a splash of fizz. Doesn’t that sound intoxicating and irresistible? My thoughts, exactly.

The challenge with the Sour-Cherry Gin Sling is that sour cherries have a very short season – in fact, they’re exiting their peak as we speak! So rush to your local farmers’ market and pick up a few pounds of the intriguing fruit – you can make this easy cherry syrup and freeze it to reintroduce yourself to the sour cherry this winter when you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

The end result of this particular gin sling is eminently attractive – fizzy, pink and adorned by a fruity garnish. It’s the perfect cocktail with which to bid farewell to July.

Sour-Cherry Gin Fiz
From FoodandWine.com. Serves 12.

  • 2 cups gin
  • 2/3 cup Cointreau
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 1/4 cups sour-cherry syrup (see recipe below)
  • Angostra bitters
  • Ice
  • Sparkling water
  • Lime wheels and fresh cherries, for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the gin with the Cointreau, lime juice, syrup and a few dashes of bitters. Stir well. Pour into ice-filled glasses and top with sparkling water. Garnish with lime and cherries.

Sour-Cherry Syrup

  • 1 pound sour cherries, stemmed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Strips of zest from 1/2 orange

In a large saucepan, combine the cherries with the sugar, water and zests and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids. Yield should be 2 1/2 cups. Let cool.

For those inclined to match your footwear to your beverage, cherry_shoesI’d recommend something saucy, red and fun to accompany this festive concoction. My vote goes to these cagey red Michael Antonio Selma sandals over at Endless.com.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C diversion–cocktail cartoons

Ms. S&C loves the dry, sardonic humor of New Yorker magazine cartoons. Many months back, we shared a selection of shoe cartoons found in their Cartoon Bank. Well, we’re back at it with more funny stuff.

Because of strict copyrights, I can’t post the actual cartoon, so check out the links and report back to let us know your fave.

  1. Really? ‘Happy Hour’ is meant ironically? And you say everybody knows this?
  2. I want Chardonnay, but I like saying ‘Pinot Grigio.’
  3. One Martini on the rocks and one Martini in a bowl.
  4. I appreciate the overture, Nick, but I’m trying to cut down on after-work cocktails with Mr. Wrong.
  5. May I have a tiny umbrella in this, Ernie? I’m on vacation.

On a related note, this cartoon, “Being an accountant gives him that extra aura of danger,” is not in the running, but it is one that I purchased for Mr. S&C, who happens to be an accountant. I love that it takes place in a bar, and I love the irony. It is worthy to note that it appeared in the New Yorker shortly after the Enron scandal and the collapse of Arthur Andersen. In addition to being funny, it was well-timed.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What cocktail-related cartoon makes you chuckle, and why? Have other funny stuff? Share it in the comments.

posted by Ms. S&C

Tiki allure

Bamboo torches, raffia grass huts, Polynesian gods, coconut cups, little umbrellas, exotic drinks – who can resist the lure of Tiki? Tiki offers a bright and happy escape, and all the aforementioned novelties capture the magic perfectly. Tikiwonder.com tells us that current Tiki subculture (file under “Lounge”) is a revival of the Polynesian craze of the 195o’s and 60’s, when people were enchanted with the south pacific.

Tiki bars and cocktails are seeing quite the resurgence. Places like Don the Beachcomber’s and Trader Vic’s are the founding fathers of tiki bars and cocktails (both claim to have invented the Mai Tai), but only one is still in existence. Solomon’s Island, Md.,  has a great Tiki Bar, and when that place opens for the season, it is apparently quite a to-do. Squidoo’s also has a top ten ranking of the best tiki bars in the country, in  case you’re looking.

Last month, Jason Wilson, The Washington Post’s spirits columnist, wrote an excellent article on tiki cocktails that led Ms. S&C to Agraria, on the Georgetown waterfront, for a Zombie and a Pancho Villa. While her drinks were top-notch, there was something missing. And that something was the tiki allure. There was no hut, no ceramic mug, no adornment, not even an umbrella. She wanted that as much as she wanted a tasty, tropical cocktail.

Tiki drinks have many ingredients, and most of them are not your staples, which is why Ms. S&C likes to go out for hers. Or, she recommends that you invite enough people over to make it worthwhile. The Mai Tai, the most well-known of tiki drinks, contains the classic ingredients of rum and orgeat (an almond-flavored syrup). Here’s one of many versions.

Mai Tai
makes one serving

Ingredients:mai-tai

  • Ice, preferably crushed ice
  • 0.750 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, reserving a spent half-lime for garnish
  • 0.500 ounce orange curacao
  • 0.500 ounce orgeat syrup (see related recipe)
  • 0.250 ounce simple syrup (see NOTE below)
  • 1 ounce aged Jamaican rum, preferably Appleton XV
  • 1 ounce amber rhum agricole, preferably Rhum Clement VSOP
  • Mint sprig, for garnish

Directions:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add the lime juice, orange curacao, orgeat syrup, simple syrup, Jamaican rum and rhum agricole. Shake well, then pour (unstrained) into a double old-fashioned glass or wineglass. Garnish with a mint sprig and the spent shell of half a lime.

NOTE: To make simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a slow, rolling boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a glass container and let cool to room temperature. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled before using; store indefinitely.

Recipe Source: The Washington Post, Adapted from “Sippin’ Safari,” by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry (SLG Publishing, 2007). Picture: Mark Finkenstaedt for The Washington Post.

FWespadrillesAnd, the perfect shoes to complement grass huts and fruity cocktails? Behold the espadrille! The bright colorful prints and the woven wedge heels definitely speak to the tiki vibe. We love these Oscar de la Renta ikat espadrilles that Fashion Washington highlighted in their Lush Life section, but the $400 price tag has us looking for other options. These navy floral ones and these morracan paisley ones, both from Tommy Hilfiger for $70, will do. Also like the bright tropical fabric and wicker heel on this pair on sale for $35 at Piperlime. Wear them with a solid colored maxi dress, break out the ukulele, and don’t forget the little umbrellas, please.

posted by Ms. S&C