Category Archives: cocktail-related

Herbaceous Trending

In January, the Huffington Post made one particularly spot-on trend prediction in the world of cocktails – and it’s a trend that I’ve particularly enjoyed exploring as of late: herbal infusions. Food & Wine has noticed a similar trend in their 2011 cocktail guide, commending to its readers a non-alcoholic Almond-Fennel Cooler.

I’ve long been a fan of using basil in my cocktail concocting (Basil Gimlet, anyone?), and we’re all familiar with the king of herbal cocktails, the Mint Julep. It’s high time I got experimental with some herbs that are more off the beaten path in mixology, particularly as more fresh herbs are in season this summer.

Most recently, I jumped on the herbaceously trendy cocktail bandwagon with the Intimate Secretary, a pleasing blend of grapefruit vodka*, rosemary syrup, lime and club soda, at Balliceaux in Richmond. The herbal notes temper the sweetness of the syrup with eminently drinkable results.

So, how else might we meld herbs and cocktails? Taking a nod from Balliceaux, I’m eager to try my hand at other herb-infused syrups by making a basic simple syrup (bringing equal parts sugar and water to a boil, then simmering until liquid reduces by about half), adding herbs while the syrup is still hot and letting it steep while the syrup cools. What do we think about …

  • Thyme Syrup + Vodka + Homemade Lemonade + Vanilla
  • Lavender Syrup + Gin + Prosecco
  • Cilantro Syrup + Tequila + Grapefruit + Club Soda

Miss Mojito wants to know: Have you had any success with herbaceous cocktail mixing?

*Why haven’t I tried this before? And does grapefruit-infused gin exist? Immediate investigation required.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Americans in London

Did you think S&C would totally ignore the upcoming nuptials of Wills and Kate? No way! Especially when Ms. S&C has two great friends living in London and so close to the action! Especially when we’re talking about a real prince and princess. Especially when the soon-to-be-princess wears such magnificent hats! Especially when we can find an excuse to use the phrase tea and crumpets. And cheerio.

Friends of S&C who live in London discuss the upcoming Royal Wedding

When Ms. S&C reached out to Mere, an American living in London for three years now, she seemed a little more excited that the sun had been shining for a few days straight — and that she has Friday off work — than the actual wedding. Here’s what else she had to say:

What will you and most British people be doing the day of the Royal Wedding?

Either watching it on TV at home or in a pub. I haven’t decided what to do yet, I have a feeling I might try to ride my bike down to the park by the palace. Other things that most neighborhoods are having block parties so that should be fun. I think there is one in my square. Also: lots and lots of UK flags are everywhere. It is like the World Cup all over again.

What will you be drinking to celebrate the occasion? What will most Englishmen be drinking?

Pimms! of course. Also the standard of beer. But I think it will be more Pimms and Champagne.

Tell us something about the Royal Wedding — and the festivities — that we don’t know.

I think the U.S. news has covered everything. I think most Londoners are going to bunker down and go to their local pub or friend’s place and the people downtown will be tourists. There are a crapload of random things you can buy like mugs, magnets, ash trays, bells, etc.

Tell us why we should care about the Royal Wedding?

I have no idea why anyone should really care about the Royal Wedding. But it is a day off here so I am glad it is happening.

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S&C friend, Sesolf, an American living in London for less than three months, is a bit more like us: a little more caught up in the fairy tale and extravaganza. Here’s what she has to say about the wedding day:

What will you and most British people be doing the day of the Royal Wedding?

I am desperately looking for the best pub / bbq / party to go and watch the whole affair whilst drinking heavily. I think I’ve finally been pointed in the direction of a pub in Spitalfields where the owner is a crazy character of a woman who is already a major royalist and I’m told should be putting on a great party for it. But, every Brit that I have talked to says they have no interest in watching and will be going to bbqs b/c it is a free day off of work, so they will be getting completely wasted, but just not at all caring to watch the wedding itself. I, however, will find a way. At the very least, there is a pub down the street that is throwing a proper drinking and viewing party, so I will go there alone if need be…

What will you be drinking to celebrate the occasion? What will most Englishmen be drinking?

I think most will be drinking beer and cider at bbqs, as mentioned above. I’ll drink cider in a pub, since I’m not a big beer drinker and don’t trust wine in pubs – and don’t want to drink wine at 11 AM. That said, if the pub has a sparkling, preferably prosecco, I will load up on that to celebrate the nuptials.

Tell us something about the Royal Wedding — and the festivities — that we don’t know.

I had a great fun conversation this weekend with someone from The Sunday Times who insists that this whole wedding and “love story” was a complete coup planned by the Middleton family from the moment Wills decided to go to St. Andrews. Apparently Kate was going to university somewhere else, and then changed all her plans to go to St. Andrews, all with the intention of finding Wills and marrying him. It was absolutely hysterical, b/c he was adamant that she is a little hussy doing whatever her parents make her do to get into the royal family and Wills is such a dumb dolt that he’d have no idea and just fall for it… I enjoyed the conversation, but am still sticking to the fairy tale story and happy to like Kate… for now. (Also, side note, most interesting to me is that EVERY Brit apparently knows that Harry’s dad was the bodyguard that Diana had an affair with – spitting image of him, it’s not even a question – but I’d never heard that in the U.S. I mean, obviously we can see that they very likely have different fathers, but still, I had know idea it was just absolutely known and accepted here. Also, Diana was sleeping around with loads of footballers etc., while Charles and Camilla were 100% together from pre-marriage and on… this came up in the statement that Kate will be just like Diana and sleep around within a year.

Tell us why we should care about the Royal Wedding?

Because it is even more awesome when in the context of all the royal scandal as discussed above. And it is real. I mean, he really is a prince. And she really is a commoner who is going to become a princess. I love it!

Has Ms. S&C mentioned that she has awesome friends? She has awesome friends.

posted by Ms. S&C

Showing Some Love for the G&T

I’ve mentioned before that the gin & tonic is my most frequent go-to drink for its combination of two important factors: ease of assembly and general availability at any and every bar (not to mention the positively pleasing taste factor). So I was more than a little excited to read Jason Wilson’s most recent column for the Washington Post, which describes the writer’s quest and research in elevating the classic cocktail from a weeknight treat to a special occasion libation.

I recommend the article – and its recipes – to you in its entirety, but here are a few of my fave take-away lessons for your own G&T pleasure.

  • Don’t limit yourself to lime. Different gins lend themselves to different flavor profiles – some are more well suited to citrus, other benefit from amplifying herbaceous notes with thyme or other herbs and spices.
  • Homemade tonic is worth consideration. It does take some specialty ingredients and equipment – namely, quinine powder and a soda siphon – but making your own tonic gives you the ability to customize it with flavor infusions.
  • There’s more to gin than just Tanqueray. Don’t get me wrong, this go-to gin is a fantastic quality. But there’s a whole world of other gin brands to be explored!

So what are we waiting for? It’s high time to get experimental and take our G&T concocting up a notch with creative garnishes, quality tonics and new and exciting gin prospects.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

History repeats itself

This time last year (January 8, 2010, to be exact), Ms. S&C wrote this blog post. It started with:

Ms. S&C has been busy, busy, busy getting ready for her biggest work event of the year. It is one of those all-consuming — yet somewhat exhilarating — work periods. I’m reminding myself about work things in the shower. I’m thinking about new ideas walking home from work. I’m working late. And working more means blogging less.

It closed with:

P.S. It is New York City I’m going to. Even for work, even when it’s cold, New York City is New York City, and it’s something to look forward to.

Um, so, this is *exactly* what Ms. S&C would write today, one year later. It is that time of year when things (meaning work-work things) take over.

But, because Ms. S&C is headed to New York City, and because she has the  greatest friends on earth, she is reminded that she should take some time to enjoy herself. By doing what exactly? Trying a few new cocktails.

Proof that she has the greatest friends on earth? Proof that she is going to enjoy herself? She was sent this email today:

Hi! I know you must be prepping like crazy for your conference so I thought you’d appreciate this: Frank Bruni’s top 3 cocktails from last year, and where to get them. Seems like you will have earned one (or three) of these by the time you’re there this month. Let me know how they are if you get to try them. xo

Ms. S&C responded and cc’ed another friend, who lives in NYC, asking her friend if she will go to *one* of these places with her.

Her friend’s response:

Um, how do I even take that question seriously? Let’s meet at ma peche on Monday after work (it is right near my office), then we’ll go down to The John Dory for dinner after that. Tomorrow night we’ll have a night cap in the east village at Joe Doe (or maybe even eat there)?

If you’re interested in keeping up with Ms. S&C’s adventures, follow her on Twitter or join the S&C Facebook page. Things happen over there a little more regularly these days.

PS) History does repeat itself. Ms. S&C bought another pair of black flats for the occasion. And, fashionable flats are still hard to come by.

posted by Ms. S&C

Party Spirit

This holiday season more than ever, Miss Mojito is feeling the festiveness. From decorations to gift-giving, from entertaining to party-going, I’m taking it all in and loving every minute of it! And what better way to prepare for the celebrations ahead than a round-up of tasty cocktails and party-perfect footwear to get us through New Year’s and beyond?

For Miss Mojito, nothing says “holiday festivity” better than sparkles, and I’m officially obsessed with the sparkle placement on this green velvet pair from Modcloth. That platform! That bow! That peep-toe! Swoon.

Despite the near-perfection of this particular pair, when the cold weather hits and the fun parties start, I constantly find myself in desperate need of festive close-toed shoes. The uber-reasonably-priced Lulu‘s comes to rescue in this arena. I’d love love love to start circulating these leopard-print pumps into my party repertoire.

Beverage-wise, I’m feeling the love for this Cognac Sparkler from none other than Ms. Martha Stewart herself, who recommends mixing cognac with a sparkling apple cider and bitters. I’m inclined to substitute champagne or hard cider for the apple cider to keep in the truly celebratory nature of the season!

When I’m not sipping on champagne and cognac, I plan on keeping things warm and festive with some hot buttered rum. Rum? Good. Butter? Good. Combined? Even better.

Miss Mojito wants to know: How are you celebrating the season, shoes-and-cocktails-wise?

Warms my heart

There’s nothing that could warm Ms. S&C’s heart more than to receive these texts and emails over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Text from DD: “…I have cinnamon infused simple syrup chilling in the fridge for the cinn. apple punch you suggested. Can’t wait to try it :)”

Text from Brother S&C: “We made your spiced autumn punch!”

Ms. S&C is particularly pleased that these two took her up on her Thanksgiving drink recommendations. Now, she wants to know how they turned out, and who you served them to?  

Email from KS: “Frozen ice cubes with mint and cranberries. Aren’t they pretty? Wish we could share a cocktail… Two weeks… xoxo.”

KS, PLEASE tell me what you used these flavored ice cubes for? They are so pretty and make me so happy.

Text from KG: “That’s an empty martini glass that previously contained THE best cosmo I’ve ever had…at Farmers and Fishers.”

KG, Ms. S&C tried one (or several) of those very same cosmos at that Style in the City party she hosted at the beginning of the summer. And yes, it was the best one she’s ever had.

Family, friends, readers: keep the messages coming, okay? Ms. S&C wants to know what you are eating, drinking and wearing!

posted by Ms. S&C

Three (farm-related) things

Three quick things. All farm-related (sort-of).

(photo from The Sartorialist)

(1) Farmer’s Market Chic

Ms. S&C loves this farmer’s-market-chic-look. Perfect blue eyes (that match the shirt, that match the apron). Perfect use of the tie. Perfect hat. Perfect coat. Perfect rugged pants. Perfect weathered boots.

(photo from little brown pen)

(2) Applejack

Hello, fall produce. Ms. S&C is glad you’re here. Ms. S&C is also glad she recently came across Applejack (apple brandy) in her bookclub book “The Group.” Now, she must use it in a punch, in an Old-Fashioned, in something! (Especially if that something includes apple cider, fresh sliced apples, and maybe a dash of maple syrup?)

(3) Country-rock

The Flying Burrito Brothers: the Gram Parsons’ band that made country music cool — the band that made 70’s rock laid back — is in heavy rotation in the S&C household. Ms. S&C thinks you should listen to the “Hot Burritos” anthology album, particularly songs: Dark End of The Street, Hot Burrito #1, The Train Song, Image of Me, and their cover of Wild Horses.

The three things blog posts give Ms. S&C an opportunity to share a combination of shoe and cocktail-related finds, along with something else. That something else usually includes music or yoga.

posted by Ms. S&C