Monthly Archives: December 2009

Best of S&C in 2009

Happy New Year! As we say goodbye, au revoir, arrivederci to 2009, we’ll leave you with a little recap of Shoes & Cocktails during the past year. According to WordPress’ snazzy blog stats feature, here are our most popular blog posts. Thanks for reading (and Google searching random things)!

  • Cake and punch — By far the most viewed blog post of the year. I’d like to think it was because of my bright, cheerful, sparkling Pomegranate Champagne Punch, but I think it was because of the colorful and festive rainbow cake.
  • S&C spotted–Keds comeback — I can’t say for sure that Keds are replacing Chucks as the new hipster shoe of choice, but this blog post got a lot of hits.
  • The Brothers Voltaggio — I think my favorite Google search phrase is: “Is Michael Voltaggio married?” While S&C doesn’t have the answer to that question, you can read a lot about the Voltaggio Brothers in our Top Chef recaps and drink pairings.
  • One fine muddle — People like muddled cocktails, evidenced by the number of visits to our mojito and caipirinha blog posts.

P.S. We didn’t do a “Best of S&C” in 2008, but we did do a “Year in Review,” in case you’re curious.

Wishing you all the best in 2010!

posted by Ms. S&C

T’is the season–for clementines

Ms. S&C thinks there’s a lot to love about clementines. Those perfectly small, round citrus, with a deep orange color, pack a lot of flavor. (Not to mention they are so easy to peel and seedless.) And, how irresistible are those boxes at the grocery store this time of the year? But, when you’re a family of two, how do you make use of them all? Ms. S&C is here with a few cocktail suggestions so those beauties don’t go to waste. Think of today as a two-for-one special!

That delicious box of clementines can be used for a number
of delicious cocktails

Cocktail Number One: Ms. S&C came across an inviting recipe for an Old Fashioned over at Metrocurean. She tested a few batches, made a few minor modifications, and couldn’t have been happier with the end result. The infused simple syrup is pretty fantastic, and all the flavors mesh perfectly with bourbon. To conclude, this is an awesome cocktail.

Clementina Old Fashioned
adapted from Jaleo, makes 1 drink

For cinnamon apricot syrup:
(make one day in advance, preferably)

  • dried apricots (approx. 6)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Peel from one clementine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon sticks, apricots (1 apricot for each drink you plan to make) and clementine peel. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Let cool and stand for several hours, or overnight (recommended). Use any leftover syrup to sweeten tea, or for other cocktails.

For the cocktail:

  • 1 clementine, segmented
  • 1 1/2 ounces Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon of apricot cinnamon simple syrup
  • zest of 1 clementine
  • A few dashes orange bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle apricot (from syrup) and clementine. Add bourbon, cinnamon apricot syrup, orange bitters and enough ice to fill a rocks glass. Shake well. Pour into a rocks glass and finish with a generous amount of clementine zest.

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Cocktail Number Two: Naturally, Ms. S&C has offered to make punch for New Year’s Eve festivities. Last year she whipped up a sparkling cherry sensation that was quite good. This year she plans to adapt a citrusy champagne punch from Epicurious. And, for Ms. S&C’s party purposes, this recipe will likely be tripled.

Sparkling Citrus Punch
makes eight servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white grape juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (preferably pink or ruby red)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau, triple sec, or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 2 clementines, segmented
  • 1 lime, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle Champagne or other sparkling white wine, chilled

Stir together juices, wine, triple sec, Cognac, mint, fruit, and cooled syrup in a large pitcher. Chill, covered, until cold, about 1 hour. Stir in Champagne. Garnish with clementine, lime and lemon pieces.

Happy New Year from S&C!

posted by Ms. S&C

Quick Roundup of Christmas Picks

Some seasonal cocktails practically scream “Christmas.” Eggnog, for example, is essentially synonymous with the holiday season, and for good reason. Other cocktails meet the “festively seasonal” criteria in a manner a bit more subtle. Today, we’re exploring a few cocktails that fall under the latter category.

The folks over at the Atlantic Food Channel (a fantastic, must-read blog) have a great recipe for a drink for a crowd: their champagne cocktail mixes bitters and pomegranate seeds with bubbly.

For those sweet-of-tooth, Jonathan Miles of the New York Times recommends the posset, a creamy concoction which Mr. Miles describes as a precursor to eggnog.

Many people detect prominent notes of pine in gin. At Christmas, the pine flavor takes on a whole new meaning. Put gin to holiday use in a brightly colored and super-flavorful cherry gin-gria from Foodnetwork.com.

Also from the Foodnetwork.com is Emeril’s ruby-red rocket cocktail, which uses plenty of seasonal citrus, brown sugar and cassis or raspberry liqueur.

What shoes will Miss Mojito wear during this seasonal sipping celebration? I’m a big fan of traditional, romantic velvet used in untraditional ways during the holidays. And while these AMAZING Christian Louboutin pumps with an audacious velvet bow (left) might be a smidge out of my price range, these feisty purple velvet platforms by Poetic License (right) inch much closer to my budget.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list–part 3

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list continues… Not all of Ms. S&C’s gift items have to be one-of-a-kind vintage-y cocktail ware, or shoes that would break any normal person’s budget. Sometimes, a simple mug of hot chocolate will do just fine.

When Ms. S&C visited Chicago a few months ago, she tried hot chocolate (at Rick Bayless’ XOCO) that changed her life. (You can read about it in one of her Top Chef blog posts).

Now, she is spotting specialty hot chocolate on menus everywhere, including in her own neighborhood. Artfully Chocolate, a funky little chocolate boutique in Del Ray, Alexandria, has quite the hot cocoa menu and mixes. And, they are a perfect accompaniment to their already incredible selection of gourmet truffles — in delectable flavors such as chipotle cinnamon and toasted coconut. The gift box of 4, 6, or 12 pieces is a perfect, perfect gift for your chocolate-lover!

Happy Holidays from S&C!

posted by Ms. S&C

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list–part 2

The special occasion shoe. Ms. S&C can’t think of a better category of shoes to be on her wish list. The special occasion shoe is the polar opposite of Miss Mojito’s staple shoe, as these shoes are typically more unique, not so versatile, and not one where comfort is expected. And, they’re probably overpriced. Despite these underwhelming selling points, they are so much fun — and, usually worn at fun occasions, no?

Ms. S&C currently has an affection for gold shoes, especially when they’re contrasted with black tights (it can be quite a contrast, but a spectacular one). Here are a few of her personal faves for upcoming holiday parties, New Year’s Eve, or any festive event.

There’s a reason why the Kate Spade (left) special occasion sandal is named “Glamour.” This suede sandal, detailed with a patent trim and a gorgeous, grosgrain ribbon laced through the gold chain-link t-strap, is so feminine and so lovely.

Jessica Simpson (center) has a simple, yet eye-catching, cracked metallic d’Orsay pump with a mary jane strap. This is the most versatile pair of the three picks, and more importantly, the most affordable.

And finally, who could resist this other brilliant Kate Spade (right) peep-toe? The metallic sequins and the oversized, sculpted bow on the slingback make it sexy, glamorous, and almost fairy tale-esque.

Ms. S&C wants to know: what special occasion shoes will you wear for holiday festivities? Or, what shoes are on your holiday wish list? Share in the comments below!

posted by Ms. S&C

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list–part 1

The indulgence of a compiling a wish list is frivolous, yet hard to deny oneself — especially during the gift-giving season. Ms. S&C strongly encourages you to think of (and give something to) those less fortunate during the holiday season. However, if there was someone out there (wink, wink, Mr. S&C) who wanted to spoil a certain blond blogger during the holiday season — well, here’s an idea.

The Hour, a chic boutique located in Old Town Alexandria, specializes in modern and vintage cocktail ware. They also offer a selection of framed vintage cocktail advertisements and portraits of women (from the New York Evening Post, in wonderful 1950’s and 60’s garb). Below is one of their classy art pieces, that I adore. I’d also be happy with any of their other très stylish glassware collections. Any cocktail enthusiast would. Great place for gifts!

Vintage print that Ms. S&C adores, and is available at
The Hour in Old Town Alexandria

Happy Holidays from Shoes & Cocktails!

posted by Ms. S&C

Go-To Footwear: Exploring the Staple Shoe

Last week, we explored go-to cocktails: those superlative beverages that are full of flavor, come together in a flash and are perfect entertaining staples. This week, we’re applying the same concept to our footwear, and taking a look at staple shoes.

So what makes a shoe a staple?

  • The most obvious requirement for a staple shoe is versatility. You can wear it to work, you can wear it out on the weekends, you can wear it shopping. Heck, you could even wear it sleeping, were you to nod off for a bit of nap whilst wearing said shoes.
  • Staple shoes have some element of the classic about them. That doesn’t mean that they can’t have a unique detail. One of my favorite staple shoes, for example, is a classic black kitten heel with a very non-classic studded star pattern. But these aren’t trendy shoes – they can return to your wardrobe season after season, with a little help from your friendly cobbler.
  • I hate to say it, but a shoe won’t work it’s way into my staple wardrobe unless it’s reasonably comfortable. Obviously, this rules out some fantastic and much-loved four-inch heels.

The latest acquisition to my staple shoe collection is a fantastic charcoal riding boot. The riding boot is my winter go-to shoe thanks to its fashionable warmth. This particular version comes from Nine West’s Vintage America collection. I love the rough-cut edge at the top of the boot, and the brass detailing adds a nice touch to this wardrobe classic. You’ll find me in this staple boot at least several times a week this winter. (And check out the awesome discount over at NineWest.com!)

Miss Mojito wants to know: what constitutes a staple shoe in your wardrobe?

Posted by Miss Mojito.