Category Archives: gin

Ups and Downs

Well, you win some and you lose some. Miss Mojito spent the long weekend with friends, with plenty of snacking and imbibing along the way. Of course, there were highs and lows in our drink and cocktail agenda for the weekend. Here’s a quick recap – maybe we can all learn from my failures (and successes)!

Starting to Wine at Keswick
Miss Mojito and pals brought some snacks to Keswick Vineyards, outside of Charlottesville, for a sunny afternoon ofIMG_0209 Viognier-sipping. The wine was sublime, the company delightful and the setting perfect.

Time for  a Drunken Mule
Post-wine sipping, we gathered back at a friend’s house for even more good eats and cocktails. I was truly excited to prepare the Peach Donkey. Somehow, though, I convinced myself that the name of the drink was actually the Drunken IMG_0214Mule. Although neither makes much sense, I prefer the latter. It’s a mixture of peach purée, vodka, Domaine de Canton (a ginger liqueur) and ginger beer. I subbed club soda for the ginger beer and was less than pleased with the end result. Maybe the peaches weren’t peachy enough, or maybe the ginger beer is crucial to the success of this drink. I think it’s a recipe that’s worthy of some more experimentation, particularly now that I’m left with a practically full bottle of Canton (check back for more cocktail recipes inspired by this ginger liqueur).

Drunken Mule
serves one

  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
  • 3 ounces peach puree (Miss Menu peeled peaches and whizzed them about in a food processor with some lime juice to prevent discoloration)
  • 1 ounce chilled ginger beer

Combine the vodka, Canton and puree in a glass. Stir. Top with ginger beer and serve.

Taking a Trip South
Miss Mojito was excited to hear about the Southside, billed as the gin-lover’s mojito. It combines mint, simple syrup, IMG_0231club soda, lime and gin. So on Sunday evening, we enjoyed a pre-dinner version of the cocktail, subbing agave nectar for simple syrup with delightful results.

Southside
serves one

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1 handful mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Club soda

In the bottom of a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint with the simple syrup or agave. Add gin and lime juice and shake thoroughly. Pour over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with more mint leaves.

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

Life is Just a Sling of Cherries

I have been having cocktail dreams about the Sour-Cherry Gin Sling since I read about it thisGin Slings spring over at FoodandWine.com. Being a gin fanatic, I love the idea of mixing a sour-and-sweet syrup with my favorite liquor and a splash of fizz. Doesn’t that sound intoxicating and irresistible? My thoughts, exactly.

The challenge with the Sour-Cherry Gin Sling is that sour cherries have a very short season – in fact, they’re exiting their peak as we speak! So rush to your local farmers’ market and pick up a few pounds of the intriguing fruit – you can make this easy cherry syrup and freeze it to reintroduce yourself to the sour cherry this winter when you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

The end result of this particular gin sling is eminently attractive – fizzy, pink and adorned by a fruity garnish. It’s the perfect cocktail with which to bid farewell to July.

Sour-Cherry Gin Fiz
From FoodandWine.com. Serves 12.

  • 2 cups gin
  • 2/3 cup Cointreau
  • 2/3 cup lime juice
  • 2 1/4 cups sour-cherry syrup (see recipe below)
  • Angostra bitters
  • Ice
  • Sparkling water
  • Lime wheels and fresh cherries, for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the gin with the Cointreau, lime juice, syrup and a few dashes of bitters. Stir well. Pour into ice-filled glasses and top with sparkling water. Garnish with lime and cherries.

Sour-Cherry Syrup

  • 1 pound sour cherries, stemmed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Strips of zest from 1/2 lemon
  • Strips of zest from 1/2 orange

In a large saucepan, combine the cherries with the sugar, water and zests and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, pressing on the solids. Yield should be 2 1/2 cups. Let cool.

For those inclined to match your footwear to your beverage, cherry_shoesI’d recommend something saucy, red and fun to accompany this festive concoction. My vote goes to these cagey red Michael Antonio Selma sandals over at Endless.com.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Getting Sentimental Over Shoes

A friend who happens to be very in tune with Miss Mojito’s purchasing habits once made the observation that I don’t tend to buy clothes so much as I tend to collect them. And she was at least a little bit correct. I do like to grow and nurture my wardrobe, building it up piece by piece so that I’ll have an outfit ready for any occasion. And if that meant that I had to wait a year before I found occasion to wear the red silk dress with necklace detailing, so be it. Or if a brown jersey cocktail dress with a jeweled tie has remained dormant in my closet for over three years now, that’s alright with me. I just feel better knowing it’s there, at the ready, making my closet more complete.

The same philosophy certainly applies to my shoes. The crown jewels in my footwear collection happen to be two of those pairs that I have never—nay, could never—wear, but for a different reason than you might imagine. The shoes are impossibly small, remarkably narrow, impeccably stylish, and admittedly in need of repair. They also happen to be about 60 years old.

Both pairs of shoes belonged to my grandmother, Bobbie. Based on the fabulousness of these particular pairs of shoes, she certainly shared the same taste for footwear that we here at S&C so value. Both pairs are peep-toe ankle straps, a shoe silhouette that has  retained its popularity today. The black pair, which bears the mark of Paul’s Aristocrats of Brooklyn, is decorated with polka dots and swirls, while the creamier pair is made of satin and tiny rhinestone buckles.

bobbies_shoes

It’s sentimental favorites such as these that turn a wardrobe into a collection, one that inspires memories and a bit of sentimentality. And, on occasion, something to wear, too.

So, what would Miss Mojito sip were she able to cram her feet into these diminutive pumps? Why the Aviation, of course! It’s a classic cocktail concoction that gained popularity throughout Prohibition and into the 1930s, when my grandmother probably wore these shoes.

The Aviation Cocktail
Serves one.

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Violette (optional)
  • Ice

Combine the gin, lemon juice and maraschino liqueur in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Add a drizzle of Crème de Violette and serve.

*Miss Mojito makes the Crème de Violette optional because some versions of the Aviation omit the liqueur entirely, plus it’s a bit cost prohibitive.

Miss Mojito wants to know: What “crown jewels” are in your closet? Or, rather, in your “collection.”

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Ready for a Reunion

Miss Mojito will be reunionizing with college friends in Charlottesville this weekend and has been in search of a dress, shoes and a cmaxidressocktail to help prepare for the festivities.

Outfit Requirements: A fun, cool and casual dress (that’s long enough to hide the alarming sunburn marks that are still on both of my legs as a result of my Nags Head vacation over two weeks ago) was my number one requirement. My hope was to find a maxi dress that wasn’t too clingy to match with a pair of comfortable flats.

Outfit Results: I snagged a pearly pair of bone-colored, Pierre DuDSCN1221mas thongs for a cool $24 at Richmond boutique Fab’rik. The flats are a perfect match for my turquoise maxi dress with a braided rope detail, but the best part is that I can pair them with tons of other summer-friendly outfits.

Cocktail Requirements: Blue and orange are the official colors of my alma mater, but I’m coming up empty on ideas for similarly colored cocktails with great flavors.

Cocktail Results: Since I’ve abandoned the color theme, I’m going to focus purely on taste with one of my favorite summer cocktails, the Basil Gimlet. Traditional versions often rely on Rose’s Lime Juice, but Miss Mojito prefers the fresh stuff instead – if you do have some Rose’s on hand, though, it can’t hurt to add a splash. Legend attributes the drink to Sir Thomas Gimlette, who apparently served the concoction to his shipmates in the late 19th century to promote health and prevent scurvy.

I first experienced this herbal version of the gin cocktail at Mas, a tapas restaurant in Charlottesville.

Basil Gimlet
Serves two

  1. In the bottom of a shaker, muddle 1 large handful of basil (torn), with 1 tablespoon superfine sugar using a muddler (or the back of a spoon as a backup).
  2. Add 1 ounce of lime juice, 1 ounce of grapefruit juice and 4 ounces of gin (preferably Tanqueray’s Rangpur version, which is a bit sweeter and has extra notes of citrus).
  3. Add ice and shake well. Strain and serve.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Beach Twists

A Wednesday-through-Sunday beach vacation with friends from high school and college was the perfect chance to put a multitude of cocktails to the test. It was a relaxing, laid-back affair, so exotic experimentation was not at the forefront of Miss Mojito’s train of thought. Rather, this was an opportunity to mix good ingredients in new and interesting ways with refreshing results.

DRINK: Frozen Margarita blended-margarita
TWIST: Grapefruit Juice
1 cup of tequila, ½ cup lime juice, 1/3 cup Triple Sec and a pitcher full of ice make up a standard batch of frozen margaritas. A ½ cup of pink grapefruit juice adds a splash of color and a touch of tang to this beachy concoction.

DRINK: Salty Dog
TWIST: Lime Juice
2 ounces of gin, a large splash of grapefruit and a salted rim go into a traditional serving of the Salty Dog. We found a ½ ounce or so of fresh lime juice to be a nice addition.

DRINK: Sangria
TWIST: A frozen version
A good friend shared her recipe for a frozen sangria that was the perfect easy beach drink – it was fun, fruity and light enough for some daytime-appropriate imbibing. The night before, mix a bottle of fruity white (we used a pinot grigio), a can of frozen lemonade concentrate and OJ in a bowl. Freeze overnight, then mix and serve the next morning. Repeat as needed to prevent beach-related dehydration throughout the course of your vacation.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Shoes & Cocktails in Staunton

Staunton, Va, is one of my favorite places for a quick weekend visit. They have a great Shakespeare theater company and beautiful architecture, but most importantly, Staunton is home to some amazing restaurants and great shops.

I’ve been dreaming of sculptural purple heels for a while now, so I decided to indulge myself in this wedge pair at the cute clothing store Design at Nine. The patent body is a very dark purple, while the swath of suede across the wedge itself is a more brilliant shade of violet. Plus, they were a steal at 50 percent off. While there’s still a bit of a chill in the air, I’m pairing these with my black opaque tights, but they’ll also be flattering bare legged as the spring temperatures pick up.

purple_shoes

Miss Mojito was equally excited by the cocktails she encountered that same evening at Staunton Grocery Store. The Gin Fizz was my drink of choice. This quick cocktail relies on just gin, key lime and soda with satisfying results. We also sampled the Dr. Gonzo (pictured in the background), a mixture of Wild Turkey, cherry and lime. Festive cocktails were the start of an excellent meal (not to mention a highly worthwhile weekend getaway).

staunton_cocktails

Posted by Miss Mojito.