Category Archives: spirits

Three things: campari, anklets, new indie-rock

Ms. S&C would like to thank the ladies over at DIY Del Ray for the recent blogging inspiration. (I hope to channel their home renovation and decorating inspiration as well. But, I’m a little held back by the do-it-yourself concept, as I’m in a do-it-for-me place at the moment.) However, seeing their regular sharing of cool ideas and things they like reminds me: I like to share things too!

So, here are three things that Ms. S&C really likes right now:

(1) Campari

Back when I started this blog (July 2008!), the bitterness of Campari was like nothing I had ever tasted. Now, my refined — or slightly numbed — palate craves the herbal sensation. My cocktail-writing idol (and now my New York Times Op-Ed writing idol), Frank Bruni, shared his experience with the Negroni Sbagliato awhile back. After trying it out myself, I can attest to it being a pretty damn good, fizzy and refreshing, “summertime negroni.” The Campari Cup (a love child of the Pimm’s Cup) is also good use of this aperitif.

(2) Anklets

I’ve noticed an anklet on one of my yoga instructors (yes, there is more than one yoga instructor in my life — and yes, I have crushes on all of them). Then, I came across this anklet on Garance Dore’s blog. My recent captivation of anklets also reminds me of the scene in “Love in the Afternoon,” when the spunky Audrey Hepburn wears an anklet to make the womanizing Gary Cooper jealous (of course it works). All this leads me to say: I want an anklet for the summer sandal wearing! Help me find a cool one. Please!

(3) New Music

I’ve been in a music rut lately. I haven’t been excited by much of anything (anything *new* that is — but, I do have a new-found love for Fleetwood Mac). Just as I’m lamenting this rut, the new Bon Iver album comes along. I am so in love — and it has been put on such heavy rotation — that I had to purchase the first album, “For Emma, Forever Ago,” too. Both albums  are great to listen to, but the new album is particularly dreamy. Fave songs include: “Towers” and “Perth.”

Naturally, when it rains, it pours. I’ve also been recently introduced to Eleanor Friedberger’s (of Fiery Furnaces fame) debut album, and I’m pretty giddy about: “My Mistakes,” “Heaven,” and “I Won’t Fall Apart on You Tonight.” Indie-pop at its best. I swear.

Lastly, The Feelies’ “Here Before” — their first album in twenty years — is certainly worth a listen. Or ten.

The three things blog post gives 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

S&C patriotism

If money were no object, the 4th of July holiday weekend footwear may look a little something like this:

For the picnic, or the baseball game (the Nationals have a double-header on Saturday, you know), let’s don these adorable Kate Spade sandals. That bow, the grosgrain fabric, the basketweave heel — nothing could say casual American holiday better.

For the night out, how about this classic Burberry espadrille paired with a flowy black sundress? Love the combination of red patent leather, espadrille midsol, and the check pattern.

For the wide-leg white linen pants (or the white linen anything), how about these striking Diane Von Furstenberg wedges? Yes, the height, the bold color, the multi-pattern wedge heel would contrast beautifully with white.

And what to drink this Independence Day? Well, we’ll have to get back to you on that, but these Black and Blue Mojitos and this Campari Cup are strong contenders (particularly given the amount of fresh mint we have growing over at chez S&C).

Happy fireworks, barbecues, picnics, baseball games, Declaration of Independence reading, patriotic song singing, parade going, blue-and-white sprinkled, sparkler waving holiday!

posted by Ms. S&C

Variations on a Fruity Theme

One of last year’s fave cocktail concoctions was most certainly this Fruity Bourbon Fizz, which combined tart cherry juice, bourbon, lemonade and sparkling wine with delightful results. For a recent mother’s day celebration, I was eager to put the cherry juice to good use again.

The R.W. Knudsen brand makes a delightfully tart, organic black cherry juice that has become more widely available in grocery stores as of late. The flavor is quite potent and a little certainly goes a long way – making it a great mixer for a crowd.

Since I already had tequila on hand, I decided to meld the liquor with the juice in a vibrant Cherry Margarita. Given the pow packed by the cherry punch, I like to give my guests a fair warning and introduce this as a Tart Cherry Margarita, so they’re fully prepared for the pucker that inevitably follows the first sip. Feel free to mellow out the tartness level with some extra agave syrup for sweetness – but personally, I find the bite refreshing!

A pitcher full of cherry tequila goodness.

Cherry Margarita
Serves 6.

  • 10 ounces tequila blanco
  • 6 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 ounces tart bottled cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • Fresh cherries (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir well. Serve in chilled glasses over ice, with optional fresh cherries as a festive garnish.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

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

When in Tanzania



Miss Mojito is recently returned from Tanzania. Business was the focus of this particular trip, which featured a schedule packed with visits to villages surrounding the capital city of Dodoma. So, what’s a girl to drink while on a Tanzanian adventure? Miss Mojito had two top beverage picks.

Stoney Tangawizi would make the list based on name alone. This super-tangy ginger soda packs way more “oomph” than the average American equivalent – there’s more ginger and fizz in every sip!

East Africa has plenty of local breweries, but my favorite beer was Tusker. It’s pale, fairly mild and eminently drinkable after a long day of trekking around central Tanzania.

I won’t even try to show you the shoes I sported while traveling in Tanzania. Suffice it to say that long skirts paired with sporty sneaks is not a good look for Miss Mojito!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Three quick things: how to be cool

Let’s use these quick things as a lesson on how to be cool.

(1) Garance Doré’s Blog

What does the picture on the left tell us about how to be cool?

  • Learn to wink
  • Start smoking (or maybe just start carrying around a long, skinny cigarette?)
  • Wear a trench over the shoulders
  • Read more of Garance’s blog

(2) Anthropologie Dresses

Polka dots are always cool, right? We think so — especially when in flowy maxi dress form. (And speaking of fabulous Spring dresses, how does one choose between the twisted stripe dress, the pom flower shift, and the imprint fossil maxi skirt?)

(3) Beer Floats

Ms. S&C has determined that using beer in a non-traditional manner — say in cocktails and desserts — is now a very cool thing to do. (PS: Brasserie Beck’s beer float — a Kasteel Rouge, with hints of cherry, topped with honey cinnamon ice cream — is t-a-s-t-y. PPS: She also thought beer floats were cool last year when she made one herself.)

Because we all want to be cool.

posted by Ms. S&C

Showing Some Love for the G&T

I’ve mentioned before that the gin & tonic is my most frequent go-to drink for its combination of two important factors: ease of assembly and general availability at any and every bar (not to mention the positively pleasing taste factor). So I was more than a little excited to read Jason Wilson’s most recent column for the Washington Post, which describes the writer’s quest and research in elevating the classic cocktail from a weeknight treat to a special occasion libation.

I recommend the article – and its recipes – to you in its entirety, but here are a few of my fave take-away lessons for your own G&T pleasure.

  • Don’t limit yourself to lime. Different gins lend themselves to different flavor profiles – some are more well suited to citrus, other benefit from amplifying herbaceous notes with thyme or other herbs and spices.
  • Homemade tonic is worth consideration. It does take some specialty ingredients and equipment – namely, quinine powder and a soda siphon – but making your own tonic gives you the ability to customize it with flavor infusions.
  • There’s more to gin than just Tanqueray. Don’t get me wrong, this go-to gin is a fantastic quality. But there’s a whole world of other gin brands to be explored!

So what are we waiting for? It’s high time to get experimental and take our G&T concocting up a notch with creative garnishes, quality tonics and new and exciting gin prospects.

Posted by Miss Mojito.