Category Archives: cherry liqueur

Coney Island

The first—and only—time I overdrew from my checking account was to purchase a pair of brown leather open-toe conical heel pumps. (Miss Mojito Peep-Toe Conical Heelsmust stress that she is normally much more responsible when it comes to her shoe purchases!) I found them after sorting through loads of shoes at Nordstrom Rack, and immediately found myself drooling over the chic peep toe and the bright red lining, but most of all, the eye-catching heel. This was my first encounter with the cone-shaped heel, which starts wide and round at the base of the shoe and narrows to a smaller point. The shape is retro, feminine and utterly irresistible to Miss Mojito.

I recently reintroduced myself to the conical heel at the Asheville, N.C. shoe-mecca, Tops for Shoes, on a weekend getaway. The shop is known for a well edited selection, but even more, they’re known for their regular sales.

Mary Jane Conical HeelsIt was in the clearance section of Tops for Shoes that I came across this pair of gray leather Mary Jane-style pumps with a conical heel by Seychelles. They’re super comfy, and the neutral color pops with my pair of purple gem-tone tights.

For this shoe’s sophisticated and slightly retro silhouette, I think a sophisticated—and slightly retro—drink is in order. For sophistication, you can’t do much better than a martini—served, of course, in a traditional, cone-shaped martini glass.

You might have seen Jason Wilson’s recent Washington Post article, “Stirrings of a Better Martini,” which taught me a thing or two about the classic concoction. According to Mr. Wilson, there is no such thing as a “vodka martini,” which is just fine by this gin-lover. Moreover, the martini’s reputation has apparently been destroyed by macho men who think of the sweet touch of vermouth as a bit too feminine for their tastes.

The Post dishes up four different martini recipes for experimentation. I must admit that the martini has never been my favorite drink, but I’m inclined to give the Martinez a try. Mr. Wilson describes it as the martini for those with a sweet tooth.

The Martinez

  • Ice
  • 1 ½ ounces Old Tom Gin*
  • 1 ½ sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon maraschino liqueur**
  • 2 dashes orange or aromatic bitters
  • 1 twist of lemon or orange peel, for garnish

Fill a mixing glass halfway full with ice. Add the gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Stir vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Garnish with the lemon or orange peel twist.

*Some googling around led me to discover that a commonly recommended substitute is 1 ½ ounces of regular gin with about ½ an ounce of simple syrup.

**The recommendation here is for maraschino liqueur, NOT to be confused with maraschino juice, which is apparently sweeter. Since Miss M doesn’t mind her drinks a bit on the sweet side—and because she’s not likely to have the liqueur available in her cabinet—she plans to give the juice a try as a substitute.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

S&C advice–what to drink for the Globes?

Ms. S&C,
After two weeks of drinking champagne over the holidays I need something new for the Golden Globes on Sunday night.  I’m not having a party, so I truly don’t need an entire punch (although, it would be a challenge I’d have to accept).  Any suggestions for a fancy pants drink while watching the Globes?

Many thanks,
Looking for a little fancy


Dear Looking for a little fancy,
I may have a cocktail for you.  While your bar might not be stocked with this spirit (mine isn’t, yet), St. Germain is definitely au courante.  A product of France, this tres stylish liqueur is made from handpicked elderflower blossoms.  I recently tasted it at EatBar, a place that serves of-the-moment cocktails with fine ingredients.  EatBar’s Alchemist Cocktail (I know the name makes it sound like a science experiment rather than a lavish cocktail) contained St. Germain, Sazerac rye and lemon, shaken thoroughly, strained into a martini glass and garnished with minced lavender.  It was aromatic and divine.  And, while I know you said you wanted a break from champagne, the signature St. Germain Cocktail contains champagne (or dry white wine, Prosecco or Cava) mixed and club soda.  Maybe you could think of it as a really fancy pants spritzer?

My second choice would be the Ritz Cocktail.  Aptly named for this occasion and another-fancy-pants-drink-because-its-French.  I really love it.

Hope this gives you some inspiration — let me know what you decide!

Happy watching (and drinking),golden-globes
Ms. S&C

P.S.  Which Best Actress Nominee do you think will wear the best knock-out shoes?  Anne Hathaway, Angelina, Meryl Streep, Kristin Scott Thomas, or Kate Winslet?  My money is on Kate.  After the show, we’ll have to dish about our fashion faves.  And more fun, the fashion faux pas.


St. Germain Cocktail


  • 2 parts Champagne (or dry white wine, Prosecco or Cava)
  • 1 ½ parts St. Germain
  • 2 parts sparkling water or club soda
  • Lemon (for garnish)

Stir ingredients in a tall ice-filled glass, mixing thoroughly. Garnish with a lemon twist.


Ritz Cocktail
This recipe is a variation from many I’ve seen, but I think it is much better (no need for orange juice).  Recipe by Dale DeGroff; presented by Phil Greene at the MOTAC Holiday Cocktails Seminar.


  • 1 oz. Martell’s Medallion VSOP Cognac
  • ½ oz. Cointreau
  • ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Champagne
  • Flamed orange peel for garnish

To make one, shake cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, then top with chilled champagne.  To make a batch, multiply first four ingredients by the number of drinks you’d like to make, stir well in a pitcher, then strain into chilled cocktail glasses, about one-third full each.  Top each with chilled champagne.

For the garnish:
The aroma and flavor in citrus fruits is concentrated in the oil cells of its peel.  By extracting the oil, you can add the essence of the fruit to drinks.  Large, thick-skinned navel oranges are recommended for flaming.  Slice a piece of the peel about the size of two quarters, light a lighter (no butane) over the drink, and squeeze the peel over the flame.  The oils will catch fire as they fall on the surface of the drink.

posted by Ms. S&C

Too much of a good thing

Isn’t too much of a good thing what New Year’s Eve is all about?  When Ms. S&C likes something, she kinda gets all consumed by it.  Take Duffy’s Rockferry album for instance.  Once she got it for her b-day, it was in heavy rotation on her Ipod for weeks.  Everyday on the metro, she would listen to the whole album beginning to end (she’s usually a shuffle kind-of a girl).  Now that the Duffy newness has worn off, she’s moved on to T.I’s Whatever You Like.  Damn, that song is catchy.  And, let me tell you — it made the metro ride to work today at least bearable.  The first day back after the holidays is the pits.  Absolute. Pits.

Ms. S&C’s obsession fascination with punch has lasted a lot longer (yes, it made the 2008 Year in Review list).  When given the opportunity to make a holiday cocktail for LKO’s New Year’s Eve party, she could not resist.  Taking cues from the autumn spiced punch and LC’s champagne punch, we came up with this delicious Shoes & Cocktails exclusive — a sparkling cherry punch! This drink’s bright, festive color make it a perfect holiday cocktail.  It was a splendid way to start off the night!


After recently trying a Ritz Cocktail with maraschino liqueur, I knew I wanted to use cherry liquor in something, so I replaced the apricot brandy from the champagne punch.  And, I feel like if you are going to go through the trouble of making simple syrup yourself, you might as well infuse it with something.  I made this simple syrup with cranberries mainly because I had a leftover bag of them in the freezer, but also because I wanted something with the deep red color (I thought more cherries in the syrup may be an overload on cherry flavor).  The frozen cherries were a delicious little surprise at the bottom of the cup, and they helped keep the punch cold.

Sparkling Cherry Punch


  • 4 bottles of champagne
  • 2 bottles of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 8 oz. cranberry infused simple syrup (see ingredients and directions below)
  • 8 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1 bag of frozen pitted cherries

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.  Stir.  Easy schmeasy!

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag frozen cranberries

Simple Syrup Directions:
It is recommended that you make the simple syrup a day in advance to maximize the cranberry flavor.  Combine water, sugar, and cranberries in a saucepan.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain bits of cranberry from the syrup.

S&C wants to know: What fun, festive drinks did you have to ring in the new year?  Share your NYE drinks below!