Tag Archives: champagne goes with everything

Quick Roundup of Christmas Picks

Some seasonal cocktails practically scream “Christmas.” Eggnog, for example, is essentially synonymous with the holiday season, and for good reason. Other cocktails meet the “festively seasonal” criteria in a manner a bit more subtle. Today, we’re exploring a few cocktails that fall under the latter category.

The folks over at the Atlantic Food Channel (a fantastic, must-read blog) have a great recipe for a drink for a crowd: their champagne cocktail mixes bitters and pomegranate seeds with bubbly.

For those sweet-of-tooth, Jonathan Miles of the New York Times recommends the posset, a creamy concoction which Mr. Miles describes as a precursor to eggnog.

Many people detect prominent notes of pine in gin. At Christmas, the pine flavor takes on a whole new meaning. Put gin to holiday use in a brightly colored and super-flavorful cherry gin-gria from Foodnetwork.com.

Also from the Foodnetwork.com is Emeril’s ruby-red rocket cocktail, which uses plenty of seasonal citrus, brown sugar and cassis or raspberry liqueur.

What shoes will Miss Mojito wear during this seasonal sipping celebration? I’m a big fan of traditional, romantic velvet used in untraditional ways during the holidays. And while these AMAZING Christian Louboutin pumps with an audacious velvet bow (left) might be a smidge out of my price range, these feisty purple velvet platforms by Poetic License (right) inch much closer to my budget.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Vices that inspire

We’re excited as all get out that Top Chef is back. The show premiered last week — and you know what that means? It is time for the Top Chef Drink Pairing! The Top Chef Drink Pairing is a reoccurring feature on the S&C blog, where we recap the previous week’s episode and then pair the winning dish with a cocktail, or other suitable alcoholic beverage.

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Season six of Top Chef is taking place in the city of extreme indulgence — Las Vegas, and we’ve been promised high-stakes play. I’m assuming when Tom and Padma repeatedly mention high-stakes, they are referring to the cooking, competition, and drama — where there’s a lot to be won, and a lot to be lost. Highlights from episode one:

  • There are two DC-area cheftestants: Michael Isabella from Zaytinya and Bryan Voltaggio from Volt Restaurant (whose younger bro is also a contestant on the show). First impression: The cute Voltaggio bros are easy to like. Isabella has an overbearing and slightly annoying personality, and let’s hope he reigns it in soon so he doesn’t go the way of Teddy ala The Next Food Network Star.
  • The Quickfire Challenge is the relay challenge, where the chefs work in teams to shuck clams, clean prawns, crack lobsters, and French-cut a prime rib. There’s one team who spent the entire challenge shucking clams, and it was painful to watch.
  • Winning relay team members square off for a challenge amongst themselves, with Jennifer (I’ve made men cry in the kitchen) Carroll‘s clam ceviche winning.
  • The Elimination Challenge has the chefs creating a dish based on their personal vices, and we know a little something about vices as inspiration. :) It comes as no surprise that drinking, scotch, bourbon, beer, and the overindulgence of spirits are the primary vices of our cheftestants.
  • Wolfgang Puck is guest judge for the Elimination Challenge, and he is funny. I like him and his Austrian accent.
  • Kevin Gillespie, who reminds me a little of Zach Galifianakis, wins with his procrastination-inspired Arctic Char with Salsa Verde of Turnips.

TC_arctic-char

Kevin Gillespie’s winning dish, Arctic Char with Salsa Verde of Turnips

Since the prevalent flavors in this dish include fennel and star anise, I recommend a French pastis, or anise-flavored liqueur, for the drink pairing. Pernod, whose distinct licorice flavor is often used as a cooking ingredient, as well as before-dinner beverage to stimulate the appetite, is a good choice. Pernod has a crisp, sweet flavor that makes it a favorite in the summer (a French favorite that is). Purists prefer the traditional French aperitif, the Pernod Classic. But, you know me — bring on the champagne and the French Fizz. Recipes courtesy of Pernod Richard USA. À votre santé!

Classic Pernod

  • 1 part Pernodpernod_bottle
  • 5 parts water
  • Ice

Pour 1 part Pernod in a glass. Add 5 parts water. Add ice to fill glass. Serve in a highball glass.

French Fizz

  • 1 part Pernod
  • 5 parts champagne
  • Lots of ice

Pour Pernod and all of the other ingredients into a tall glass over lots of ice. Mix well. Serve in a white wine glass.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: What personal vice inspires you?

posted by Ms. S&C

The S&C Celebration

A big thanks to everyone who came to the one year S&C anniversary celebration! We had a fabulous time at The Source. I do need to give a special shout-out to the restaurant, as they were super accommodating and great to work with — just all around nice people over there. They went out of their way to make sure we had a  memorable experience. Including, creating a specialty cocktail to commemorate the occasion. Ms. S&C told them ahead of time that she likes bubbly concoctions, and that’s just what they made. Cheers to the Elderberry Spritz!

elderberry-spritz

Elderberry Spritz
serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1/3 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
  • 2/3 oz. Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • Henriot Champagne
  • Grapefruit wedges, for garnish

Directions:
Combine the first three ingredients and shake over ice. Serve in chilled martini glasses. Top with Champagne, or other sparkling wine. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Note: There’s a little bit of guesswork on the ingredient proportions. The drink came across a little strong for some in the group, so we may need to go easy on the vodka and/or include an extra dash of St. Germain and grapefruit juice.

Thanks again for a great year!

posted by Ms. S&C

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.

wedding-shoes

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.

red-velvet-cupcakes

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