Category Archives: cocktails

Cocktails by numbers

Ms. S&C hasn’t blogged a lot recently, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some notable experiences to share — especially on the cocktail front. Here’s a little glimpse of what she’s been up to.

13 — Points scored in a blind beer-tasting game

Friends, who host an excellent Halloween bash each year, led guests in a blind tasting of eight beers at their most recent party. Points were awarded for correctly guessing the beer style, brand and country of origin. Ms. S&C had a respectable third place finish.

2 — Punches made in a one-week period

Ms. S&C made a punch for her friends’ Halloween party. Ingredients included: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, lemon juice, apple cider, apple brandy, sparkling wine.

Ms. S&C made a second mocktail punch for a co-worker’s baby shower, using many of the same ingredients: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, apple cider, cran-apple juice, ginger ale. Please note the lovely garnishes of fresh apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

2 — Parties hosted in a three-day stretch

The two cocktails Ms. S&C created for her bookclub and a post-dinner party deserve their own dedicated posts. The Clover Club Cocktail was tres apropos for discussing “The Group.” And the pear margarita (secret ingredient: pear-infused simple syrup) was an inspired choice for post Mexican dinner imbibing.

7 — Football games left in the regular season

One recent game day beverage was a Red Eye (or Michelda). A simple combo of lager and tomato juice (but feel free to add lime and spices), is a great treat for those days when you want something more than just beer.

posted by Ms. S&C

Getting Experimental

I do believe I’ve found a new signature cocktail for fall, and I couldn’t be more excited to spread the word. Miss Mojito encountered this particular cocktail at Balliceaux, a Richmond restaurant with a truly creative menu. The charmingly-named Down the Rabbit Hole combines an unexpected mix of muddled blackberries, tequila, red wine, ginger liqueur and lime juice. The wine tempers the kick of the tequila, while the muddled fruit provides the perfect touch of sweetness. The end result is a ruby-red concoction that is as easy on the eyes as it is on the taste buds. Now it’s time to start experimenting with proportions. I’m thinking equal amounts of wine and tequila with a small handful of berries, a splash of ginger liqueur and the juice of half a lime.

As long as I’m experimenting with my cocktails, I figured it couldn’t hurt to do a bit of shoe experimentation, as well. And there’s no better way to experiment this fall than with one of the season’s most intriguing – but potentially most difficult to pull off – styles: the over-the-knee boot.

My top pick is by Frye, but I hate to shell out major cash for a shoe that qualifies as a trend. And the $500 Frye boot certainly qualifies as “major cash.” That’s why my top pick is this $120-pair by Naughty Monkey, available on Piperlime. I love the sculptural heel and slate gray color.

Miss Mojito wants to know: Is anyone else getting experimental with their shoes and cocktails this fall?

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

Tell me

Herbal spirits like Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Pimm’s, and Lillet are all the rage these days. Why are these liqueurs appearing on just about every cocktail menu put in front of you? They aren’t new spirits. In fact, most are quite old (Pimm’s was created in 1859, Bénédictine in the late 1860’s). Maybe that’s why? What’s old is new?

Ms. S&C isn’t complaining. She likes herbal aromatic additions in a cocktail. They add a layer of complexity, and without any danger of making the drink too sweet. Ms. S&C has come across a few other, lesser know, botanical spirits that she’s fallen for:  Dimmi and Aperol. Both of which happen to be Italian herbal liqueurs, and that’s particularly apropo since Ms. S&C is traveling to Italy (for the first time ever!) today!!!

Dimmi translates to “tell me,” a phrase used frequently between friends in Italy, especially on the telephone. Dimmi includes a secret blend of herbs and fruit essences such as liquorice, vanilla, rhubarb, ginseng and bitter orange. It is great with citrus and strawberries. Ms. S&C first experimented with Dimmi by pureeing *very* ripe strawberries, adding the liquor, ice, and topping it with seltzer. She also garnished with rosemary from her garden, for extra aroma. It was an intensely refreshing cocktail — one that she needs a name for.

Ms. S&C tries out a few herbal Italian liqueurs, like Dimmi, in preparation for her first visit to Italy.

Ms. S&C also tried the “Herbal Sour” cocktail recipe from the Dimmi website. This drink includes one of Ms. S&C favorite cocktail techniques: infused simple syrup (using  thyme and rosemary from her garden). Infusing simple syrup takes a little bit of work (so does fresh-squeezing grapefruits, lemons, and limes), but it is all worth it for this cocktail.

Ms. S&C’s colorful concoction of Aperol and Prosecco match the colorful concoction of her Nanette Lapore pants.

Aperol has been mentioned on the S&C blog before. Miss Mojito came across it last fall at a restaurant in Richmond. Ms. S&C found herself at the same restaurant not too long ago and tried Aperol for the first time. It was like love at first site. The spirit is bitter, colorful, and a lot like Campari. Ms S&C’s drink at Acacia was called the Mid-town Spritz and ingredients included:  Aperol, gin, orange juice, housemade fennel syrup, Prosecco. However, when at home, she can also recommend a simple mix of Prosecco with a few splashes of Aperol.

Ms. S&C wants to know: Ms. S&C wants you to tell her you would like to see more of (or less of). She’s going to be on vacay for a little more than a week, but during this time, she’d love for readers to tell her what they want on this blog. More pictures? More style tips? More menswear (any menswear?) More food and drink pairings? More bar recommendations? More shoes? More outfits? More party planning? Tell me!

posted by Ms. S&C

Drinks at the lake

Here’s the final installment of Ms. S&C’s Seneca Lake recap. Over the course of three fun-filled days, here’s what you could find friends imbibing by the water, on a sailboat, by the grill, on the porch, on a swing, playing games, by the bonfire (did I miss anything?): Grapefruit Crush, Bloody Mary, Mai Tai (for the luau-themed dinner), Gin & Tonic, Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Pimm’s Cup (and variations of), Beer, Wine, Champagne.

One specialty cocktail (that was planned in advance): Five Island Punch.

The Five Island Punch was made with Banks Rum, a new rum on the market that is a blend of aged rums from five island distilleries. Ms. S&C doesn’t know a whole heck of a lot about rum (not like this guy), but she certainly loved it in this cocktail. And naturally, fresh watermelon this time of the year is a perfect mixer for cocktails.

The Banks Five Island Punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Banks rum
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • 4 oz watermelon puree

Directions:

Shake all ingredients together, serve over ice, and garnish with mint sprig and lime wheel.

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Another specialty cocktail (that was totally random and totally awesome): Iced Double Espresso.

Coffee is probably the one beverage Ms. S&C can’t live without (actually, coffee may have to fight it out with Champagne). So, when another friend came with a surprise bottle of Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka, she couldn’t have been happier to make iced coffee drinks. Then, the drinks were paired with these amazing orange glazed cookies. The lake is like a culinary wonderland.

Iced Double Espresso

Directions:

Pretty simple stuff: fill glass with ice, pour a few ounces of coffee-flavored vodka, add a dash of cream, milk or half-and-half, and stir.

Ms. S&C’s has a three-part series covering her favorite weekend of the year. Part one: Sights of the lake. Part two: Overheard at the lake. Part three: Drinks at the lake.

posted by Ms. S&C

Collaboration

Miss Mojito thought she was really on to something when she decided to whip up a batch of Cherry Bourbon Lemonade for a bourbon-loving-pal’s recent summer birthday picnic celebration. Sweet, dark cherry juice and tart lemonade would be the perfect companions in this delectable punch.

And they were – sort of. The punch was good. Very good, in fact. But something was. . . missing. The drink was sweet, but not too sweet. It packed a lovely, bourbon-y punch. But it just wasn’t spectacular.

So, what is any responsible cocktail-maker to do when faced with such a conundrum? Why, collaborate, of course! A friend and fellow picnic-goer came up with an idea that turned this cocktail into something truly special: a splash of sparkling wine gave my Cherry Bourbon Lemonade a bit of light fizz.

+ + + = YUM

I highly recommend you make the most of this recipe before the last days of summer slip away!

Fruity Bourbon Fizz
Serves one.

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon (nothing too fancy, Miss Mojito used Jim Beam)
  • .75 ounces cherry juice
  • Large splash lemonade
  • Small splash sparkling wine or champagne

Mix bourbon and cherry juice in a large glass. Top off with a healthy splash of lemonade and a slightly smaller splash of sparkling wine – just enough to add some fizz. Serve on ice and garnish with maraschino cherries, fresh cherries or lemon slices.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Get ready, waves coming

As Ms. S&C mentioned in her recent Rehoboth Beach update, the “crush” may be the perfect beach cocktail, which means it may be the perfect summer cocktail. It is certainly a damn refreshing cocktail. And, it is a cocktail that is very easy to make. Did you hear that? It is a cocktail that is super easy to make. Make one. This weekend.

There’s one month before Labor Day, so Ms. S&C begs you — pleads with you — to make a “crush” before summer is over. Did I mention how it is so easy? And, how it tastes like a summer drink is supposed to? If there is one thing Ms. S&C can give you this summer, it is the Grapefruit Crush.

Ms. S&C’s favorite cocktail of this hot, hot summer?
The grapefruit crush.

Grapefruit Crush
(recipe adapted from Going Out Gurus, and what they claim to be a proper and traditional recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz.  Grapefruit Juice — preferably ruby red, and the fresher, the better
  • 1 oz. Vodka — the original recipe calls for grapefruit-infused vodka (i.e. Absolut Ruby Red)
  • Lemon Lime Soda — Ms. S&C also plans to try it with Fresca
  • Lime wedges — for garnish

Directions:

Fill a collins-style glass with ice. Combine one part vodka, two parts juice, and top with soda. Stir. Garnish with lime wedge.

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When you’re beachside or poolside or lakeside — or, wishing you were beachside, poolside, lakeside — here’s a playlist that can help set the mood.

Some of the songs are on the playlist because of name alone. Beach House is one example  (I’m glad the band name works because I’m totally digging their Teen Dream album right now). The Velvet Underground’s “Ocean” is another (I think the song is about heroin?). Some of the songs are, naturally, from surfer bands: The Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. And bands who are inspired by surfer bands: The Morning Benders, Caribou, and Surfer Blood. (And, good god, it was hard not to pick most of the songs from The Beach Boys’ Surfer Hits album, or from Pet Sounds, which is actually my fave.)

Perhaps Ms. S&C was destined to surf because all these songs come directly from the S&C music library. They’ve just been waiting to be compiled on a playlist, and to be heard with a grapefruit crush in hand.

Surf Songs

  1. Swim – Surfer Blood
  2. The Tide is High – Blondie
  3. Surfer Girl – The Beach Boys
  4. Charlie Don’t Surf – The Clash (this may be my favorite on the playlist)
  5. Ripple – Janes Addiction (yes, the Grateful Dead cover)
  6. Surf City – Jan & Dean
  7. Ocean Breathes Salty – Modest Mouse
  8. Ocean – The Velvet Underground
  9. Redondo Beach – Patti Smith
  10. Wipe Out – The Beach Boys
  11. Inaudible Melodies – Jack Johnson (or any Jack Johnson for that matter — he’s a Hawaiian surfer for crying out loud)
  12. All Day Day Light – The Morning Benders
  13. Melody Day – Caribou
  14. Zebra – Beach House
  15. Tides of Time – The Soft Pack
  16. Surfin’ Safari – The Beach Boys
  17. Sea of Love – Cat Power
  18. Wouldn’t It Be Nice – The Beach Boys

Ms. S&C would like to know: Do you have favorite songs that remind you of the beach? What songs should be added to the surfing playlist? Please share!

posted by Ms. S&C