Monthly Archives: March 2009

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

A friend forwarded a fantastic article to me that got me thinking: do I have a “signature” cocktail? New York Times blogger Anna Fricke reflects on the concept in her March 22 post, “Your Signature Cocktail.”

Ms. Fricke, whose sentimental favorite is the strawberry daiquiri but finds herself “compelled by circumstances to act strawberry_daiquirimy age and order a nice Bordeaux,” thinks that many of us aren’t drinking what we want to drink; instead, we choose the drink that we think will give those around us the best impression. Which makes sense: if I’m at some dive, I’d definitely pick a beer over a bellini. And I wouldn’t be caught dead at a chic martini bar with, for example, a rum and coke in hand. “What we choose to drink can reveal more about us than, say, our astrological sign or whether we prefer Elvis or the Beatles,” writes Ms. Fricke, and I think she’s right on target.

The drink I order with the most frequency is the gin & tonic. It’s a safe, tasty bet that is hard to get wrong. It’s a bit mature but not stuffy, and definitely cheaper than some fancier cocktails. So, does the fact that the gin & tonic is my most frequently ordered drink make it my signature?

Then again, my name is, after all, Miss Mojito. The mojito is undoubtedly my favorite drink—I’ve waxed poetic about its addictive sweet tartness countless times. So what should define my signature: frequency or favoritism?

Throw into the mix the question of seasonal appropriateness, and we have ourselves a real conundrum. What might work well as my signature drink in the spring or summer might seem weak and lifeless during cold winter months. What’s a girl to do?

Miss M wants to know: Is your favorite drink your frequently ordered drink? Share your cocktail ordering philosophy.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

A bit of this, a bit of that

So, I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. Lacking inspiration. I’ve given up on the return of Project Runway. I still have an unopened bottle of Pisco at home. And, has time stopped? It seems like the transition to spring will never happen. I’m so tired of my winter clothes and shoes. I want spring and warmth. And, open-toe shoes and cocktails al fresco. Too much for a girl to ask?

You can  read more of Ms. S&C’s random and slightly inane thoughts over on Twitter, where one can share a little bit of this, and a little bit of that.


  1. survived day one of two day liquid-only cleanse diet. but i would really like an eggroll.
  2. still has a lot to do this week and sadly most of it doesn’t involve shoes or cocktails
  3. Flight of the Conchords makes me want a glass of New Zealand sauvignon blanc
  4. Thai food tonite and a drink called the Tom Yum Cocktail
  5. and how about a bees knees to go with that fringe?
  6. our own Miss Mojito says fringe is in:
  7. cherry blossom cocktails courtesy of @washingtonian
  8. maybe later, a cherry blossom cocktail to brighten my mood?…
  9. this day is starting off exactly how I didn’t want it to. good grief.
  10. I know I’m desperate for spring attire, but this BR cape is only $100:
  11. first time on twitter today. and only been on facebook once. seems like I should have more work to show for it.
  12. having my first iced coffee of the year. thank you sun and 60 degree weather.
  13. is drinking a glass of prosecco. yes, on a tuesday. and yes, on st. patrick’s day.
  14. Is it cocktail hour yet? What a day.
  15. is green with envy:
  16. gossip girl does edith wharton. yes to the gilded age.
  17. never been to the District Sample Sale: http://www.districtsamplesa… — worth it?
  18. for crying out loud, Ms. S&C wants to wear Spring clothes!
  19. impromptu party with friends at my place until 2am. sometimes those are the best. and the worst.

posted by Ms. S&C

Fringe is In

Way back in 2008, celebrity stylist extraordinaire Rachel Zoe predicted that fringe would make heavy appearances in 2009’s fashion forecast. And boy, was she right. It’s fun, it’s frivolous, it’s trendy—it’s just the sort of lighthearted fashion that might take our minds off of more. . . serious issues.

And fringe isn’t just for suede cowgirl jackets anymore. Over at S&C, we’re seeing it on bags, and tops, and most importantly to our kind, shoes.

These peep-toe patent pom pom platforms use fringe in a fun and unconventional way, and are almost too cute to be allowed.


For the recessionista-minded, you can’t get much better than Target’s fringe pumps by Mossimo, available in black and “dark caramel.” I love the multi-layer flaps of fringe and the sexy ankle strap.


For a flapper-inspired trend, I recommend a 1920s-inspired libation. In the absence of some homemade bathtub gin, I’m looking forward to trying the Bee’s Knees, a gin concoction that relies on honey, lemon and lavender for flavor.

The Bee’s Knees

  • 1 part hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms
  • 1 part honey
  • 1.5 parts gin
  • 1/2 part lemon juice

Mix the hot water and dried lavender blossoms in a bowl. Let steep for five minutes. Whisk in honey and strain out the lavender. Add the honey syrup, gin and lemon juice. Pour into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass (or, if you’re searching for authentic flair, a chilled bathtub.)

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Green with envy

Forget the parades, shamrocks, and leprechauns for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There are green shoes to be worn! And the variety is incredible — floral, t-strap, patent, snakeskin, flats, platforms, sneakers and rainboots. The strappy sandals are my personal faves. They are flirty and fun, and I can see them having a place in my spring wardrobe long after the Irish festivities are over. Quick reader quiz — who can spot the $1,000 pair and which are eco-friendly? Share your guess in the comments section.









As far as imbibing on this occasion, beer is traditionally the favorite. And, like shoes, there are more choices than you think.

1. Irish beer, such as Guinness or Harp

St. Patrick’s Day is the only day of the year when I’m tempted to drink a Guinness or a Harp or both. I like the half-and-half combo which yields a Black & Tan.

2. Green beer, as in beer that is the color green

Green beer, even on St. Patty’s Day, doesn’t really appeal to me, but I thoroughly enjoy that others consume it. In the event you ever want to mix up your own batch, Mix That Drink outlines, step-by-step, how to make this concoction.

3. Green beer, as in beer that is eco-friendlygreen-beer

Drinking beer is good for you and the environment. Well, not exactly. But it still sounds like a cause that many of us can get behind. The Sierra Club has a few recommendations for beers made by companies who are working to lighten their carbon footprint–Sierra Nevada and Brooklyn Brewery are included. This way you can drink green beer today and any other day.


posted by Ms. S&C

One Cocktail-Filled Weekend

A recent weekend trip to Charlottesville found me hiking in the mountains, sampling Moroccan fare at a new restaurant (complete with belly dancers), brunching with friends and sampling a wide variety of exciting cocktails over the course of two days.

My first out-of-the-ordinary sampling was a sweet concoction at Maya: the Peanut Butter Martini. While sitting at the bar, my friend grew curious when she spotted a container of peanut butter sitting behind the cash register. When we found out that the jar of Jif was intended to play the starring role in the Peanut Butter Martini, my friend was quick to order a couple to satisfy our curiosity. This is definitely a dessert-style drink best suited to those sweet of tooth. The ingredients are top secret—in fact, the martini menu lists ingredients for every other drink except for this one; under Peanut Butter Martini, the only information you’ll find is “??????????????????????” 

Our next stop was at the Box, a tiny bar located just off of Charlottesville’s pedestrian downtown mall, for some beers. Only when I ordered two Magic Hats, the bartender misunderstood my order amidst the din and served up two lemon drops instead (go figure). But these weren’t just any lemon drops – they were Ginger Lemon Drops with a sugary rim. Delish.

The next night, at the aforementioned Moroccan restaurant Alhamraa, I indulged in a Hibiscus Cooler. The refreshing drink combined homemade hibiscus concentrate, Bombay Sapphire and cava. It was a bit on the sweet side (and were those notes of cinnamon I detected in the hibiscus concentrate?), but it was definitely something different.

We continued our evening at Bang, an Asian-inspired tapas restaurant. Bang has an extensive martini menu, and Miss Mojito found herself partial to “The Joe.” Although Miss M was less than reliable in her note-taking, she recalls a delectable mixture of gin, Chambord, white cranberry juice, ginger syrup and lime.

The winner of the evening? It was the accidental lemon drop. The ginger added a kick to the traditional—and sugary—lemon flavor, resulting in a winning combination.

Recipes for Ginger Lemon Drops are few and far between, but this one sounds promising.

Ginger Lemon Drop

  • Ice
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce ginger syrup, recipe follows
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Twist of lemon
  • Superfine sugar

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, ginger syrup and lemon juice. Cover and shake vigorously until combined and chilled. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with superfine sugar. Add twist and serve.

Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 lemon, peel removed with a vegetable peeler into strips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh ginger (peel too)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Add the ginger chunks and lemon into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a pan and add sugar and water. Mix and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and cool. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C diversion–favorite things

So, you’ve all likely seen, or at least heard about, Oprah’s Favorite Things segment. This is the annual show where she gives her studio guests her favorite products of the year. The gifts include anything from a high-definition TV to a book to a pair of shoes. And speaking of shoes, if you look at the list of products, since she started back in 2002, Oprah loves her some Ugg boots — they’ve made the list three times — and that’s with her skipping two years (in 2006, she gave everyone $1,000 cash to give-away; in 2008, she pared down the list considerably because of the sucky economy).

While hanging out at a friend’s birthday party over the weekend, this topic was much discussed. The question: if you could put together a basket of your ten favorite things, what would they be? A note: because you would be buying the products and giving them away, you may want to consider the item’s price tag (i.e. I love my iPod, but that’s not going in the basket).

Here’s my list:

  1. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur (for a cocktail with champagne)
  2. Otis Redding album ( I would give fans Otis Blue, all others would get a “Best Of,” or maybe I’d make my own?)
  3. Lavender plant (my favorite scent in the world–for lotions, soaps, aromatherapy, and as a garnish in the St-Germain cocktail)
  4. Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar salad dressing (I’m really picky about salad dressing, and this is
  5. Joy of Cooking cookbook
  6. Yahtzee (discovered the fun of this game in college, and it continues)
  7. Silver bracelet from the Master Craftsman (love the handmade bracelets from this little shop in my college town)
  8. Pashmina (likely in black–that’s the one I wear around my office at least three days a week)
  9. Colgate battery-powered toothbrush (I’ve only had this for a few weeks, and it is my first experience with an electric toothbrush, but I don’t know how I could go back)
  10. Potbelly sandwich (seriously, I eat one a week, and you have to add the hot peppers)

Interesting that there are no shoes on my list. Maybe it is because I don’t own a pair of Uggs? Obviously, now that I’ve shared mine, Ms. S&C wants to know: What favorite things would you put in your basket?

posted by Ms. S&C

Spring forward

Spring is only a few weeks away. Is your closet ready? Ms. S&C is looking forward to the arrival of warmer weather, and here are a few trends she can’t pass up.

First up is the denim-rolled-above-the-ankles-look.  I’m as surprised as anyone that I like this look. It certainly does not mean I’m a fan of the slouchy tapered ankle trouser. These harem pants can’t possibly look good on anyone with hips, so no thanks. But, the baggy boyfriend cut or the skinny jean rolled above the ankle — I like how this style can work for many body types, and show off your impressive footwear.

jcrew-rolled-denim-picralph-lauren-skylarAnd by impressive footwear, I mean something like these wooden heels from Ralph Lauren. Miss M referred to this style as the “extreme strappy sandal” in her inaugural post. I love the woven leather detail and the platform. They could definitely be my statement shoe of the season.

Another footwear trend that is exploding — neutral-colored pumps. Nude is the new black, people. And when colors like stone, dust, blush and sand come in patent, even better. These conical heels, slingbacks and peep-toes pretty much sum it up.


Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What are your “must haves” and “can’t stands” for the spring season? Share your thoughts below.

posted by Ms. S&C

Coney Island

The first—and only—time I overdrew from my checking account was to purchase a pair of brown leather open-toe conical heel pumps. (Miss Mojito Peep-Toe Conical Heelsmust stress that she is normally much more responsible when it comes to her shoe purchases!) I found them after sorting through loads of shoes at Nordstrom Rack, and immediately found myself drooling over the chic peep toe and the bright red lining, but most of all, the eye-catching heel. This was my first encounter with the cone-shaped heel, which starts wide and round at the base of the shoe and narrows to a smaller point. The shape is retro, feminine and utterly irresistible to Miss Mojito.

I recently reintroduced myself to the conical heel at the Asheville, N.C. shoe-mecca, Tops for Shoes, on a weekend getaway. The shop is known for a well edited selection, but even more, they’re known for their regular sales.

Mary Jane Conical HeelsIt was in the clearance section of Tops for Shoes that I came across this pair of gray leather Mary Jane-style pumps with a conical heel by Seychelles. They’re super comfy, and the neutral color pops with my pair of purple gem-tone tights.

For this shoe’s sophisticated and slightly retro silhouette, I think a sophisticated—and slightly retro—drink is in order. For sophistication, you can’t do much better than a martini—served, of course, in a traditional, cone-shaped martini glass.

You might have seen Jason Wilson’s recent Washington Post article, “Stirrings of a Better Martini,” which taught me a thing or two about the classic concoction. According to Mr. Wilson, there is no such thing as a “vodka martini,” which is just fine by this gin-lover. Moreover, the martini’s reputation has apparently been destroyed by macho men who think of the sweet touch of vermouth as a bit too feminine for their tastes.

The Post dishes up four different martini recipes for experimentation. I must admit that the martini has never been my favorite drink, but I’m inclined to give the Martinez a try. Mr. Wilson describes it as the martini for those with a sweet tooth.

The Martinez

  • Ice
  • 1 ½ ounces Old Tom Gin*
  • 1 ½ sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur**
  • 2 dashes orange or aromatic bitters
  • 1 twist of lemon or orange peel, for garnish

Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice. Add the gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Stir vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the lemon or orange peel twist.

*Some googling around led me to discover that a commonly recommended substitute is 1 ½ ounces of regular gin with about ½ an ounce of simple syrup.

**The recommendation here is for maraschino liqueur, NOT to be confused with maraschino juice, which is apparently sweeter. Since Miss M doesn’t mind her drinks a bit on the sweet side—and because she’s not likely to have the liqueur available in her cabinet—she plans to give the juice a try as a substitute.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

The winning cheftestant

I think I can speak for many of us when I say that last week’s Top Chef finale was a big disappointment. Carla practically self-destructed; Stefan’s food was described as soul-less; and that left Hosea winning season five.

The final challenge was, as Tom Colicchio phrased it, “cook us the best three-course meal of your life.” The surprise twist, because each episode needs at least one or two surprise twists, was allowing each cheftestant to choose a contestant from a previous season as their sous chef. Carla partnered with Casey, my favorite from season three. Stefan selected Marcel, who apparently has a lot of personality (read: a jerk), but I didn’t watch that season so I can’t really say. Hosea picked (picture me swooning) Richard Blais, the runner-up from last season, to assist him. I’ve actually had the pleasure of meeting Richard, albeit briefly, when I was in Atlanta last spring and I heart him. Heart him. Heart him.

The cheftestants served their three-course meals to a mixed bunch of musicians, restaurateurs and chefs at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. Carla, poor Carla. Not sure how she was steered so wrong. She cooked her beef using a technique she’s never used, sous vide, and then forgot to lower the temperature of her soufflés. Stefan had a solid evening, cooking the best dish of the night — Pan Seared Squab, Braised Cabbage, Schupfnudeln, Foie Gras and Grape Jus. I guess he got some foie gras from Hosea after all. Stefan’s mistake was going the traditional route and cooking a three course meal that ended with a very average dessert, unfortunately.

In Hosea’s defense, his food overall looked like it was better and was thoughtfully prepared. He was probably Top Chef of the night, just not of the season. His Blackened Red Fish on Corn Cake with Creole Roumelade looked great. And, the Seared Scallop with Foie Gras on Pain Perou, Apple Preserves and Foie Gras Foam appeared delicious.


Hosea’s Seared Scallop with Foie Gras on Pain Perou,
Apple Preserves and Foie Gras Foam

For the drink pairing: The classic accompaniment for foie gras is a Sauterne, a full-bodied, sweet white wine from Bordeaux that has a high acidity and therefore a good accompaniment for rich foods. It is also good for dessert or as an apertif. A Twitter friend recommended this one from Barton & Guestier. Described as supple and suave, with nice freshness on the palate and intense mouth flavors. Hootie-hoo!

Another cocktail news alert

We continue to be impressed by our local Washington, DC, area publications, who seem to frequently cover our favorite topics.

On Thursday, February 26, The Washingtonian hosted an online discussion with four notable local bartenders, who will be featured in their March issue. The bartenders chatted about the spirits du jour, the history of cocktails, the craft and technique behind a well-made drink, and much more. The Washingtonian asked for questions in advance and one of Ms. S&C’s made the cut.


Question from Alexandria, VA:

Saw the Sazerac all over cocktail menus during the winter. What cocktails can we look forward to in the spring/summer?


Gina Chersevani: Rickeys.

Chantal Tseng: Pimm’s Cups.

Derek Brown: Return of the Rickey.

Chantal Tseng: Definitely the Rickey. More Punch?

Gina Chersevani: Juleps.

Derek Brown: I think the Champs-Elysees might be making it on a few cocktail menus.

Gina Chersevani: Punch definitely!

Derek Brown: I just had a vision yesterday as I made one.

Chantal Tseng: Right. It would be nice to see more juleps. Alas, crushed ice is key though.

Derek Brown: Tom Collins made with fresh juice.

Gina Chersevani: I heart Tom Collins! Crushed ice is key to a julep,but a little prep solves that problem.

Chantal Tseng: More cachaca drinks. More pisco drinks. Maybe a mini-tiki summer?

Derek Brown: Yeah, Tiki drinks! Definitely more Pisco drinks.

Gina Chersevani: Have you had Cuca Fresca Aged Cachaca??? It’s pretty good!

Chantal Tseng: Need to find some fun mugs and bowls.

Derek Brown: This is going to be Pisco summer.

Chantal Tseng: Pisco Punch? With pineapples and fresh lemon.

Gina Chersevani: At PS 7’s there is a cheeky tiki on the tasting menu that is available at the bar for a pairing, but shhh, it’s a secret.

Chantal Tseng: He he. No worries, it shall not be i that will blow your cover.

Derek Brown: Yellow Chartreuse is the old, new “it” mixer ingredient.


Holy cow, I’m excited. Pimm’s, punch, rickeys, Tom Collins, and the importance of crushed ice — yes, please! Plus, I just picked up a bottle of Pisco, as a result of Miss M’s sipping sours. The S&C team are ready for warm weather cocktails. Bring ’em on.

posted by Ms. S&C