Category Archives: bourbon

Beer float

It is a pretty simple formula: Beer + Ice Cream = My new favorite dessert.

Ms. S&C isn’t a fan of root beer, but given the amount of craft beer consumed in her household, she can’t believe she hasn’t tried this dessert cocktail before. Her stout beers of choice for this heady concoction include: Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout and Williamsburg Alewerk’s Coffeehouse Stout. Both beers are strong with roasted malt and well-suited for coffee flavored ice cream (or gelato!).

Stout & Ice Cream Float

  • Split a bottle of stout beer among two glasses
  • Add 1/2 cup coffee ice cream to each glass

Want another variation on the traditional root beer float? Try Bobby Flay’s adult version with bourbon.

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

Keeping it Simple with Staples

Every gal with a penchant for entertaining should have a few stand-by cocktails up her sleeve that can turn a simple get together into something a bit more special with the help of a few basic ingredients. Over the past few months, I’ve been working on growing my collection of what I refer to as Staple Cocktails. These drinks offer something more than, say, your basic vodka tonic or scotch and soda.

My Staple Cocktails have a few requirements.

  1. Ingredients must be readily available. So, if you never have OJ as a fridge-staple, then a screwdriver is clearly not a Staple Cocktail for you. Staple Cocktails are as unique as the liquors and mixers in your kitchen.
  2. Assembly must be minimal – these are cocktails that can be prepared at a moment’s notice. Anything requiring a blender or food processor is automatically out of the running.
  3. The flavors must be popular people-pleasers. Any “controversial” flavors – say, coffee or anise liqueur – are a no-no.
  4. A Staple Cocktail must have a great name.

This week, I discovered a new cocktail to add to my simple, satisfying and growing library of Staple Cocktails. This particular drink came to fruition when I was faced with some stock ingredients which I hoped to transform into a special cocktail for friends, without an extra trip to the liquor store or grocery. Some quick googling resulted in what I found to be a delectable bourbon drink: the Brown Derby.

The sources of – and ingredients for – this particular cocktail are a bit sketchy. Some say it comes from the famous Hollywood institutional restaurant of the same name. Some say it calls for rum, others say bourbon. I had some Jim Beam on hand so opted for the latter, and replaced the recommended honey with my perennial fave, agave nectar.

Brown Derby
Serves one.

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice (I only use Simply Grapefruit or fresh juice)
  • 1 squirt agave nectar

Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker (if you can, do mix up a large batch using a fabulous, oversized, graphic vintage shaker like the one pictured here, a fantastic birthday gift for Miss Mojito). Pour over ice cubes in a tall glass.

Miss Mojito wants to know: What are your favorite Staple Cocktails?

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Unexpected Mixes

I do love a chance to sample a new cocktail menu, and last evening I did just that at a friend’s birthday celebration. Lemaire, the restaurant in the historic Jefferson Hotel, is something of a Richmond institution. But that institution recently received a facelift, complete with a posh new bar. Plenty of marble fills the space, along with modern glass chandeliers that look more like sleek lucite. It’s a chic and comfy spot for some post-work imbibing.

While I haven’t sampled the eats at Lemaire, I did partake in their delectable and creative cocktail menu. My pick was IMG_0888the new-to-me Lady Astor, which combines Patron Tequila, Woodford Reserve Bourbon, house-made grenadine, lime juice and agave. I was intrigued by the combo of tequila and bourbon, and the results were fairly delightful and even fruity. It takes its name from Nancy Langhorne Astor, who was the first lady elected to British parliament. According to the cocktail menu, “she was a complex lady, and we think this drink represents her well.” The mix of tequila and bourbon was certainly complex, but I might have a lighter hand on the sweet agave when I remake this cocktail at home.

I wore a pair of basic black booties for the evening’s festivities, but when I return I’ll go with something a bit more festive. And since the Lady Astor is an unexpected mix of bourbon and tequila, my pick is an unexpected mix, too. This fun print from Nine West does it for me: from a distance, the heel resembles a cheetah pattern while the toe looks a bit more floral. Call it complex or call it crazy, but I call it too cute.

pl581035-14viv01

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Mad about the classics

This Sunday, Mad Men, the sexy sophisticated 1960’s drama, returns to television — and, I can’t wait. If you haven’t watched: the show follows the lives of Madison Avenue advertising executives. And the show is as much about 1960’s culture as it is about the drama-filled lives of colleagues at Sterling Cooper. Episodes have highlighted events surrounding JFK’s presidency (the election, Jackie O, the Cuban Missile Crisis), portrayed scenes from the traditional 1960’s family life, and it has certainly emphasized the drink and fashion trends of the time.

It would surprise few that First Lady, Jackie Kennedy, epitomized 1960’s fashion, especially during the early part of the decade. It was a time when women were very elegant, with their pillbox hats, suits, dresses with close-fitting waists, and purses that match shoes. Speaking of shoes, stiletto heels were widely popular during this period (then come the Go-Go boots). For a better glimpse of early 60’s fashion, check out the awesome images below, courtesy of AMC’s Mad Men photo gallery.

madmen1

The stars of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency

madmen2

The beautiful, yet troubled, Betty Draper

madmen3

The boys of Sterling Cooper

In addition to its focus on fashion, cocktail culture is also an important element on the show. Martini lunches and afternoon scotches are practically obligatory. The office and the home are filled with booze. There is so much drinking, you could seriously get a buzz from just watching. The great (okay, maybe scary) part is, it seems to be an accurate depiction. The New York Times published a recent article praising the authenticity of the drinking culture on the show. And, AMC has an extensive cocktail guide of popular 60’s drinks that you see the characters imbibing.

While Mr. and Mrs. S&C are worlds away from Don and Betty Draper, our tastes in cocktails happen to be similar. So, I’m thinking we should have these classics as we toast the show’s return: Old Fashioned for him; Tom Collins for her (it’s really quite refreshing). Both recipes serve one, and contain ingredients that are considered staples in any home bar.

Old Fashioned

Ingredients:drink_oldFashioned

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1½ oz bourbon
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 orange slice
  • 1 lemon wedge

Instructions:

Dissolve sugar with bitters and about a tsp of water in an old fashioned or rocks glass. Add cherry, orange slice, and lemon wedge and muddle (use back of spoon if no muddler is available). Fill with ice. Pour in bourbon and stir well. Garnish with extra orange slice and cherry, if extra are available.

Tom Collins

Ingredients:drink_tomCollins

  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar (superfine or simple syrup)
  • 1½ oz gin
  • Seltzer water or club soda
  • Lemon slices and a maraschino cherry

Instructions:

Dissolve sugar with lemon juice, if needed. Shake together with gin over ice. Strain and pour into a collins glass filled with ice. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon slices and a cherry.

Fun Fact:

The Tom Collins is in the fizz category of drinks (almost a twin sister of the drink gin fizz). TC is referred to as a plain fizz, and recommended as an “eye opener” for the “morning after the night before.” – from “Cocktail Bill” Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them

posted by Ms. S&C

Make Mine a Manhattan

Strawberries are already on their way out of season, so it’s time we take advantage of them while they’re still in their Strawberry Manhattanprime. The folks at Gourmet had the same inclination, and offered a host of strawberry-inspired ideas in a recent electronic newsletter. My favorite suggestion? Infuse some bourbon with fresh strawberries and bottle up some berry bourbon. Miss Mojito decided to use hers to whip up a batch of Strawberry Manhattans.

To make the strawberry bourbon, hull a pint of strawberries and place in a large bowl. Pour bourbon over the berries (I used a 750-milliliter bottle of Jim Beam because that’s what I had on hand, but I’m sure a liter of some nicer bourbon would work just fine). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days. Strain out the berries and bottle the bourbon. I’m not entirely sure of the shelf-life of this liquor, but I’m guestimating you have a week or so to enjoy the intoxicating strawberry flavors.

Although I am a bourbon fan, I haven’t participated in much Manhattan mixing, and was pleased with the results. After much investigation, we decided on equal parts sweet and dry vermouth as a nice balance for the fruity bourbon. And the strawberry garnish is a necessary addition to fully enhance the fruity flavor. I advise you whip up a batch immediately, before it’s too late!

Strawberry Manhattan
Serves one.

  • 2 ounces strawberry bourbon
  • ½ ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce dry vermouth
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice
  • Sliced strawberries for garnish

Pour bourbon, both vermouths and bitters into a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour over ice. Garnish with strawberries and serve.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Footwear and Fun in the Field

foxfieldThe pounding hooves, blistering sun and lingering scent of bourbon in the air can only mean one thing: Foxfield. Miss Mojito spent this past weekend at one of her favorite springtime celebrations. The Foxfield Races are steeplechase races (distance horse racing with jumps and such) that are basically an excuse for Albemarle County’s biggest tailgate party.

Miss Mojito’s favorite part of Foxfield has, traditionally, been the wardrobe picks. My favorite outfit in the seven years that I’ve attended the races entailed a horse-pattern dress (custom made by Mother Mojito) with a petticoat, cowgirl boots, a straw hat covered in feathers and a matching purse.

Since graduating from college, Miss Mojito has toned down her outfits a bit – but that doesn’t mean she takes the task of dressing for Foxfield any less seriously! With sunny skies and 90 degree temps in the forecast, I snagged a strapless, bohemian-style frock from Off 5th, the Saks outlet store. But what to choose in the way of footwear?

Flops are de rigueur for Foxfield. While standing in the grass all day, you certainly don’t want to find cutout_wedgeyourself in a pair of stilettos. But flats did nothing to accentuate the empire styling of my dress. A 4.5-inch heel was desired–nay, required–to make this particular outfit work. And with a $10 coupon to DSW in hand, I decided that wedges were the way to go. I’ve been coveting a cut-out heel for ages now, so this pair by Madden Girl met multiple shoewear desires. And while they weren’t the most comfortable pair of shoes ever worn, they were most certainly the most comfortable pair of 4.5-inch heels that ever graced Miss Mojito’s feet.

Mint juleps were the libation of choice for this day of fun, but since we encountered that particular concotion just last week, let’s examine another race-friendly drink today. After a bit of research, I discovered that all of the “big” races (the Belmont, the Preakness and the upcoming Derby) have their own signature drinks. So why not Foxfield? I’m taking a nod from Ms. S&C and recommending this festive Bourbon Punch as a contender for the official drink. Foxfield just isn’t Foxfield without a bit of bourbon, and I’m crazy about the addition of tangy grapefruit juice. And though I’ll have to wait until 2010 to give the punch an official test run at the races, there’s nothing stopping me from conducting a cocktail dress rehearsal this weekend!

Posted by Miss Mojito.