Tag Archives: champagne goes with everything

S&C celebrates one year

The Shoes & Cocktails blog is one year old today. How about that? The little blog is growing up. We should celebrate. And, we should thank you. We really love our S&C community, and we hope you’ll keep reading, and drinking, and finding the perfect shoes for every occasion — and sharing all of it with us.

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Those of you in the DC area, we’d love for you to celebrate with us by joining us for cocktails next week!

Shoes & Cocktails One Year Anniversary Celebration

WHEN: Wednesday, July 29th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

WHERE: Wolfgang Puck’s The Source (in the lounge area)
575 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20001

RSVP: Kindly let us know if you are coming. Guest list and details on Facebook. Or, you can make a comment below. Or, send an email to: shoesandcocktails@yahoo.com.

OTHER DETAILS: The nice folks over at The Source are creating a “special” cocktail to mark the occasion. Name TBA, but ingredients include: vodka, St. Germain, fresh grape juice, and champagne. Sounds delicate, and lovely, and refreshing — and perfect for Ms. S&C. NOTE: Cash bar is the dealio.

PS: Miss Mojito, we will miss you (and your sister)!

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: Do you have any favorite posts from the blog? The stats tell us that people really like the pomegranate champagne punch, the watermelon lemonade/yellow shoes combo, our reader mail on cream colored pumps, Miss M’s mojitos, and, of course, the Top Chef and Project Runway drink and shoe pairings.

Thanks again for reading!

posted by Ms. S&C

Cake and punch

The fun thing about going to a one year old’s birthday party is the party turns out to be one that’s really more for adults. Ms. S&C recently had the pleasure honor of fixing a punch for an adorable lad’s first birthday party. Said adorable lad also happens to be Miss Mojito’s nephew! While the pomegranate champagne punch was a crowd pleaser, the real hit of the party was this incredible rainbow-colored cake baked by the lad’s superstar mom, LC. LC tells me the rainbow cake was inspired by a number of blogs and recipe sites (Google rainbow cake and you’ll get oodles of results). But her cake and icing recipe came from Restaurant Eve’s Birthday Cake. Clever mom that she is, LC implemented the rainbow layering and colored coconut for the topping, rather than using plain old sprinkles.

bday-cakeSpectacular rainbow colored birthday cake

For the punch: when asked to help make a cocktail for the party, I wanted something equally colorful and festive. Since we were serving a large crowd of 20-30 people, I knew that punch was the only practical option. I found a pomegranate rum punch recipe from Bon Appetit on Epicurious. I’ve always been a fan of pomegranate juice – the color and tartness make it a perfect mixer for cocktails. Not to mention all the health benefits. But, I’m not so much a fan of rum (which could be good in a fall/winter version), so I subbed champagne and white wine, and made a few other tweaks. The result was a bright, cheerful, and sparkling beverage that parents, and friends and family of parents, can enjoy.

pom-champagne-punchPomegranate champagne punch with lime and mint

Pomegranate Champagne Punch

Ingredients:

  • Simple syrup
  • 5 bottles chilled brut Champagne
  • 2 bottles chilled white wine (Ms. S&C uses sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice,  (Ms. S&C prefers POM Wonderful)
  • 4 limes, thinly sliced
  • Simple syrup, to taste
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ice block

Directions:

For the simple syrup: bring 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely. Note: adding lime slices is always an option to infuse the syrup.

Combine Champagne, white wine, triple sec and pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Add syrup to sweeten to taste. Mix in lime slices, and pomegranate seeds. Add ice block to bowl. Garnish with mint.

posted by Ms. S&C

Love is in the air

Happy Valentine’s Day! The theme of love continues over here at S&C. Ms. S&C had two good friends marry a few weeks ago and thought now would be the time to share a few details.

Friends SB and LD were married in a courthouse ceremony, so they spent their wedding day with a small gathering of family and close friends — until an evening reception when many more of us joined them to celebrate. When I saw SB, she was stunning in a Tahari dress. The dress, knee length, had gorgeous silver detailing, a cut-out neckline, and was finished with a belted bow. I so wish there was a picture to share. It was very Jackie O/Audrey Hepburn-esque. SB said a courthouse wedding seemed a bit retro so she went with a vintage late 50s/early 60s look.

Naturally, I wanted to see what shoes she paired. And she really couldn’t have found a better match for the dress. The shoes were beautiful and elegant and had P-E-R-F-E-C-T bow detailing to compliment the belt on the dress. She picked up this ivory pair over at DSW, where there are more color choices. And with a price tag of $49.95, I’m very tempted to get the black ones.

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SB’s perfect wedding shows with bow detail

Another fun retro-y detail — at the reception, instead of wedding cake, red velvet cupcakes were served. I’m not sure I’ve tasted a better cupcake. The baker has a blog where she shares the recipe, and she comments that “the intense red color of the cake has some sort of hypnotic effect, because people are always delighted just to lay eyes on the cake, and then absolutely smitten when they finally taste it.” Absolutely right, sista.

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Delicious red velvet wedding cupcakes

To further celebrate this heart-filled holiday, here’s a romantic cocktail that fits the occasion. It was inspired by the Rose Royce Cocktail, courtesy of OVAL Vodka. One of the original ingredients in the recipe was rose syrup. I subbed St. Germain elderflower liqueur because it of its floral notes and because I already had it in my cabinet. I used grenadine instead of simple syrup so the drink would have a slight pink color. I also didn’t have any fresh thyme, but the rosemary in my garden has survived the winter (and it seemed a better fit, both in name and flavor). All in all, a lovely drink.

The Rose Cocktail
makes one drink

1 oz. Vodka (Oval recommended)
1/3 oz. St. Germain
1/3 oz. Grenadine
2/3 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
½ glass Champagne

Shake all ingredients well over ice and pour into a flute half-filled with champagne. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Gone fishin’

Last week’s episode of Top Chef featured chef Eric Ripert as guest judge. And now, I am totally crushing on him. He was super friendly and sweet and encouraging, and he seemed to be without pretense. He has definitely skyrocketed into my Top 5 celebrity chef picks. And, as good timing would have it, Ms. S&C was able to visit Chef Ripert’s Washington, DC, restaurant, Westend Bistro, over the weekend. Like the acclaimed Le Bernardin, seafood is the star at Westend. The Salmon Rillettes and Fish Burger may sound like average dishes, but they were excellent. Ms. S&C had a great cocktail too – the Memorial Bridge Sunset was made with Campari and Champagne, garnished with a dollop of pink grapefruit sorbet. I’ve never mixed Campari with Champagne before, but I definitely will again.

On to the Top Chef recap. The Quickfire Challenge had the cheftestants competing in a three-round fish filleting tournament with sardines, Artic char and fresh water eels. Stefan easily beat Hosea in the final round, after hammering the eel to his cutting board and peeling back the skin. It was a little disconcerting, to be honest. Stefan did not get immunity but got a huge advantage in the Elimination Challenge. After dining with Chef Ripert at Le Bernardin for lunch, the cheftestants had to draw knives to see which of his dishes they had to recreate for the Elimination. Stefan’s Quickfire win meant he could choose his dish outright. Naturally, Stefan chose the easiest dish and tops Fabio and Carla to get another win. Hosea, Leah and Jamie were on the bottom. I would have paid money to see Leah go, but it was Jamie who was sent home, presumably for not liking braised celery and not knowing how to use serrano ham in a sauce.

lobster-asparagusStefan’s winning dish of lobster and asparagus with hollandaise

For the drink pairing, I would personally have a glass of champagne or a crisp sauvignon blanc with this dish, as to not overpower the lobster.  So, in honor of a killer deal I found on champagne over at Pearson’s Wine & Spirits, I’ll pair it with the Fat Bastard Blanc de Blancs. They are practically giving it away over there — $5.99 a bottle! I so regret not buying a case.

posted by Ms. S&C

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

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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.

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St. Germain Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 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)

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

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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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:
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!

angelas-nye-punch-003

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:
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!

Holiday party cocktails

Break out the punch bowls!  S&C has two great holiday drinks for you.  Our friends LC and CA hosted their annual gift exchange party over the weekend.  LC served the delicious champagne punch she makes every year.  I think it is a family recipe.  It is bubbly and festive and everybody loves it.  If you don’t make it for the Christmas holiday, it would be perfect for a New Year’s Eve bash.

LC’s Family Punch

champagne_punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 bottles of champagne
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 8 oz. apricot brandy
  • 8 oz. triple sec
  • 1 liter club soda

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.  Add block of ice.  For less potency, half the amounts of brandy and triple sec.  (As the night goes on and you continue to refill the punch bowl, halving is not a bad idea.)

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After attending the Holiday Cocktails seminar, I was inspired to make homemade eggnog for LC’s party.  Eggnog is quite easy, as long as you have an electric mixer.  And by mixing the ingredients one by one, it ensures that they are well blended.  This recipe is an adaptation of several I’ve seen.  I didn’t add cognac or brandy (a spirit found in most recipes), mostly because I didn’t want it to be too boozy.  I also added more vanilla extract and spices to make it more indulgent and dessert-like.  I think the final product was a perfect accompaniment to chocolate pound cake and the other fine desserts served at the party.  It is also a fine substitute for cream and sugar in your coffee.

Eggnog

Ingredients:

  • Dozen eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon clove
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg, plus extra for garnish
  • 4 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 cups dark rum (I used Gosling’s Black Seal)

Directions:
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy.  Add sugar, continue beating.  Add vanilla, clove, nutmeg, continue beating.  Add heavy cream, little at a time, continue beating.  Add milk, little at a time, continue beating.  Chill for 1-2 hours.  Before serving, add rum and mix well.  Garnish with nutmeg.  For less indulgence, substitute some of the heavy cream with milk.

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S&C Wishes You Happy Holidays and Best in 2009!

Sunday brunch

Life doesn’t get much better when you can sleep in on a Sunday, then rouse to join friends for a leisurely and delicious brunch.  But life does get better when you get to have said Sunday brunch on a gorgeous October day in New York City’s West Village.

I was this lucky duck this past Sunday.  Having spent Saturday night tasting cocktails in the city (more to come about those), I was thrilled to meet friends the next day at Dell’Anima, a fantastic Italian restaurant.  The name translates to “of the soul,” which is a perfect description for their hearty, elegant dishes.  Dell’Anima serves brunch family-style, and now I think there is no other way.  Together you can ooh and ahh over the Farro, retell funny stories from the night before while passing the French toast, and soak up the remaining precious moments of the weekend over that last cup of coffee.  Its bliss, I tell you.  Bliss.

Dell’Anima’s Sunday Brunch Menu:

Our Sunday Brunch Drinks:

  • Bellini (with blood oranges rather than peaches)
  • Bloody Mary (spicy and served with a pearl onion)

Love story

Oh la la. More exotic prints. More colors. More fabrics. More textures. More, more, more.

These heels are Missoni, a company famous for its unique knitwear. Founded by Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in 1953, after a romance that began at the 1948 Olympics in London. Rosita was studying there and decided to take in some track and field events. Ottavio was a hurdles runner who also happened to design his team’s track uniforms. Fast forward to now – and a great selection of their patterned footwear over at Zappos. Keep a watchful eye because you can find these same multicolor pumps for less at one of my neighborhood boutiques, The Shoe Hive.

Another great thing about multicolor prints – they pretty much go with everything. Kind-of like champagne. I’m in love too.

Femme fatale

We all need something to aspire to. This Christian Louboutin python print is wicked cool. And wicked expensive. Sigh. S&C knows we have been heavy on the CL lately. We’re moving on. Grab the Perrier-Jouët.