Category Archives: bourbon

Happy [Vegan] Thanksgiving

The past two Thanksgivings for Ms. S&C have been meat free. This means no turkey, no Virginia ham, and when she’s visiting family in Southwestern Va., it also means no gravy and no stuffing. Some of you may be thinking “What’s left to eat?” Trust me, you can have a rich and hearty vegetarian (or vegan) Thanksgiving dinner that’s reminiscent of the one you know and love. (And it may be one you feel better about eating.)

Start off with a cocktail we’re calling the Old Fashioned Pilgrim. Adapted from Imbibe Magazine‘s Maple-Cranberry Bourbon Smashed, we used the same ingredients as those in our cranberry sauce (yes, the same sauce that’s served alongside the tofurkey).

The instructions are easy: add a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce to two and a half ounces of bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace). Stir well. Fill glass with ice and garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy a sweet and warming seasonal variation of a classic drink.

cranberryorangesauce

oldfashionedpilgrim

The Old Fashioned Pilgrim is a lot like the classic Old Fashioned but made with fresh cranberries, orange, agave nectar, and cinnamon

Enjoy this beverage while you’re putting the finishing touches on this delicious all vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Herbed Tofurkey (we used the Quorn Turk’y and roasted with fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme)
  • Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes (we mostly followed this recipe but eliminated the cream, almost all of the butter — used vegan butter actually — and the brown sugar)
  • Chorizo-style Protein & Apple Stuffing (we used Field Roast protein sausage in this stuffing recipe and subbed veggie broth and beer for the chicken stuff)
  • Roasted Cauliflower (there’s nothing to it: roast cauliflower with salt, pepper, and olive oil)
  • Cranberry Orange Sauce (we fixed this version with agave nectar so it could be used in cocktail as well)

veganthanksgiving

If you’re not used to eating a protein other than turkey and sausage, the taste will surely be different (and the tofurkey on its own could have used a little gravy), but the spicy stuffing and tart citrusy cranberry sauce are more than enough to give this all veggie dinner a lot of flavor.

Bourbon and blackberries

“Does the ‘perfect’ bourbon exist?” That’s a question Washington Post spirits columnist, Jason Wilson, asked in a recent article.

It doesn’t really matter if a perfect bourbon exists. One reason: we probably couldn’t afford it. Another reason: Ms. S&C (and Wilson) agree that Buffalo Trace — who is said to be making the so-called ‘perfect’ bourbon — is an excellent bourbon just as is. (Wilson even goes so far to call it his “desert-island bourbon.”)

Buffalo Trace doesn’t have to be the ‘perfect’ bourbon. It goes perfectly
well as is with blackberries.

Ms. S&C is sure she’s had — and written about — bourbon mixed with berries before. The inspiration comes from somewhere (aside from there being a lot of bourbon in the house). Anyway, this drink came together recently (but not so recently that Ms. S&C hasn’t had time to try it a second time). We give you a bourbon and blackberries cocktail that’s quite good.

Ingredients:

  • Blackberries (three to five per drink)
  • Lime (one per drink)
  • Agave Nectar
  • Bourbon (Ms. S&C likes Buffalo Trace and Maker’s Mark)
  • Ice
  • Seltzer
  • Lime peel (for garnish)

Directions:
(for one cocktail)

Muddle 3-5 blackberries with juice of one lime and a spoonful of agave nectar. Add ice (enough to fill a glass) and 1.5 to 2 ounces of bourbon. Shake well. Pour and top with seltzer. Garnish with lime peel.

posted by Ms. S&C

What to drink on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from S&C!

Over here at S&C, we are grateful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving. We’re grateful for loving family and friends. We’re grateful for our good health. We’re grateful that we continue to be inspired. We’re grateful for you!

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It is a great holiday filled with some really great food. (Ms. S&C *loves* Thanksgiving Day food.) In addition to that turkey you’re brining, that homemade cranberry sauce you’re making and that pumpkin pie you’re baking, there are beverages to think about! Don’t get overwhelmed though, Ms. S&C is here to help.

PUNCH

Why not start off the afternoon with a seasonal punch? Your guests (especially if you have a lot of them) will think it is festive and fun and delicious. You can go with the Autumn Spiced Punch (a S&C fave that has been referred to as “autumn in a cup”). Or, you can try this new S&C punch recipe (which is good with or without the booze). It is another crowd-pleaser, not to mention it looks so pretty with the floating apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

Sparkling Cinnamon Apple Punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider , chilled
  • 4 cups cranberry-apple juice, chilled
  • 12 bottles sparkling wine , chilled (or sub one liter ginger ale for mocktail version)
  • Fresh apple slices
  • Cinnamon sticks

Directions:

In a saucepan, bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill (preferably overnight). Just before serving, combine the syrup mixture, juices and sparkling wine in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Garnish with fresh apple slices and whole cinnamon sticks. Serve over ice, or use an ice block to chill.

BEER

For those non-punch-drinkers, offer them beer before dinner. And if you are going to drink beer on Thanksgiving, you might as well drink a pumpkin beer, right? There are some good ones out there. There are a lot of good ones, actually. There are some mild ones and there are some full-bodied ones. Ms. S&C gave a rundown of her faves awhile back. (And yes, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is still high on the list.)

WINE

Opinions run far and wide about what wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. Some say Zinfandel goes best with turkey. Others say Riesling, for its acidity and touch of sweetness, is a good match. You could have the best of both with a rose. Or, Beaujolais Nouveau is often a popular choice because it is light and fruity, and it goes well with turkey and the melange of side dishes. Ms. S&C says drink what you want! (But you should probably have a mix of red and white. And don’t forget the champagne! Because: it truly goes with everything.)

NIGHTCAP

Have a bourbon. Or a glass of prosecco. Or a cognac like B&B.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What’s on your Thanksgiving dinner menu? What will you and family and friends be drinking around the dinner table?

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.

Bourbon in the summertime

Ms. S&C’s recent love affair with bourbon has been well-documented: bourbon mojitos, bourbon with clementines and apricots, bourbon with grapefruit. (And with Miss Mojito’s help, the list goes on and on.)

When two of Ms. S&C’s favorite friends announce they are moving to Colorado — and throw one last goodbye bash — how does Ms. S&C celebrate? With bourbon cocktails!

Inspired by an abundance of mint growing in her friends’ backyard — and an earlier conversation about bourbon (specifically in regards to organizing a team for Bourbon Chase 2010) — Ms. S&C was on the hunt for a refreshing new cocktail containing these choice ingredients. She ran across the Bourbon & Peach Smash over at Imbibe Magazine. Reminiscent of a fancy bourbon and ginger, it incorporated fresh, seasonal ingredients (there’s really no excuse for anything else this time of the year). And it was perfect. She’s convinced bourbon can be enjoyed year-round: bourbon in the morning, bourbon in the evening, bourbon in the summertime.

Ms. S&C’s love affair with bourbon continues. A clementine old-fashioned during the winter, mojitos during the spring — and now, a peach ginger smash for the summer.

Bourbon & Peach Smash
adapted from Imbibe Magazine, serves one

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 2 slices fresh peach
  • 4 or 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (pickled ginger is also okay)
  • 1 oz. infused simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 oz. fine bourbon (such as Buffalo Trace)
  • Ginger ale (preferably a higher-quality brand that doesn’t contain sodium and added preservatives; think Whole Foods and the like)

Directions:

For the simple syrup: bring to a boil, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, handful of mint leaves and peels from two peaches. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool completely and strain mint leaves and peach peels. You’ll be left with a syrup with a lovely pinkish hue.

Add slice peaches, mint, ginger and simple syrup in a cocktail glass and muddle vigorously. Add bourbon and fill glass with ice. Top with ginger ale.

posted by Ms. S&C

Raindrops on roses

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…brown paper packages tied up with strings…

These are a few of my favorite things*:

  1. Damask reusable bag — this pretty decorative bag from Pier 1 makes it soooo easy to be a little more earth-friendly (ditch the plastic bags, people).
  2. Frontera salsa — my obsession started with the tomatillo salsa, which I use for my soon-to-be-famous heuvos rancheros. But, I love all the styles (and Rick Bayless).
  3. Dark Choco Dream — a Belgian dark spreadable chocolate found at Whole Foods. It is delicious with bananas, croissants, pancakes (or, licked off a spoon).
  4. Cinnamon — a few sprinkles go in my coffee every day, and I love the flavor in Mexican dishes, curries, and pancakes. Not too mention the numerous health benefits associated with the spice.
  5. Maker’s Mark Bourbon — bourbon, my friend, you helped get me through a long, cold, lonely winter. And, I’m planning to keep you around for the spring (so many ways to use it!).
  6. Wilco album — Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was my first album, so it will always have a special place in my heart. But, if I was stranded on a desert island, I’d probably take Kicking Television.
  7. New York Times — I’m one of the twelve people left who actually have a daily newspaper delivered. I’m loyal to the Washington Post, but I would trade just about any magazine subscription for the NYT weekender (Friday-Sunday). The Sunday edition alone gives you enough reading material for days. Fave sections include: Arts, Sunday Styles, NYT Magazine, and the Corner Office column.
  8. Cashews — rediscovered this yummy snack when looking to add more protein to my diet.
  9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being — I read this masterful novel by Czech author Milan Kundera upon my return from Prague (actually bought my copy there in a tiny bookstore).
  10. Yoga — in my opinion, there’s nothing like it when you want to take your mind to another place. I go to my local yoga studio, Mind the Mat, at least twice a week. And, I’ve recently downloaded the Pocket Yoga app for at home practice.

*Background on my favorite things: My lovely group of friends have started a tradition. Every Spring, with a budget of $50, we put 10 of our favorite things in a basket (or a decorative damask reusable bag). We meet for dinner, draw names, and exchange baskets. It is So.Much.Fun. It is fun to get a basket of goodies, fun to hear friends talk about why these items are their favorite, fun just to hang out.

I touched on this concept last year. And, I still consider every item on the 2009 list one of my faves (with the exception of the battery-powered toothbrush–I’ve gone back to a regular toothbrush).

Ms. S&C wants to know: what favorite things would you put in your basket?

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon drinking time

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, (read this great article from NPR about how to throw a Kentucky Derby party), it seems right now is prime-bourbon-drinking-time.

Around this time last year, Miss Mojito visited New Orleans and shared her Pat O’Brien’s mint julep experience. Inspired by this, and the pretty fantastic weather we’ve been having (which means planting and playing in the yard), I present, with unbridled enthusiasm, the Bourbon Mojito. I like to think of it as the mint julep’s less intoxicating sister. It has similar ingredients, but the tartness of the citrus and the bubbliness of the seltzer make this a great, early Spring, sit out on the patio, with maybe even some dirt left under your fingernails, drinking companion.

The mint julep’s less intoxicating sister, the bourbon mojito.

Bourbon Mojito

Ingredients (for one cocktail):

  • 1/2 lime, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 full sprig of mint
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Soda water

Directions:

In a glass, muddle the lime, sugar, and mint until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and bourbon. Stir well. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

Bonus Tip: Growing mint is perfect for a beginning gardener. It is hardy and fast-growing, and thrives in all kinds of conditions. But, it should be contained. Seriously, use a pot, because this lovely aromatic herb spreads quickly, and will take over your yard.

posted by Ms. S&C