Tag Archives: martini

Dressing boldly (an update)

About a month ago, Ms. S&C declared that the goal of her fall wardrobe was to dress boldly. In her original blog post, she highlighted a few trends that were catching her eye. Did she follow-through on her own advice? Yes, sort-of.

Below are some of her recent purchases. Obviously, there’s not a lot of bold color and flashy prints in this selection – with the exception of the bright cobalt clutch. She likes this sweet, satin bow clutch because it can brighten up a lot of outfits. She’ll take it out when she’s in distressed denim (or her new black denim), and when wearing the all-occasion black dress.

Biker chic accessories are a popular fall trend. Ms. S&C picked up this studded belt, which she’ll wear high-waisted over her numerous black and gray cardigans, to make them much more exciting.


As for shoes – Ms. S&C recently tossed a pair of black, peep-toe pumps from Nine West. She’d had them for at least five years, probably longer, and they showed their years. Replacing them was a necessity. She spotted these Nine West platforms when researching suede shoes for a reader, and she loves them. Her first day wearing them — a lady stopped her in Starbucks to comment.

Ms. S&C has been toying with buying a pair of booties for awhile now. She didn’t want anything too flashy, as she plans to wear them with shorter-length skirts/dresses and colorful tights. And, she didn’t want to spend a lot of money. She thinks she satisfied both requirements with these Report Dylan ankle boots.blk-platform


While Ms. S&C likes trends, she prefers classic items with a long shelf-life. Not purposely, this mentality has transferred over to cocktail preferences of late. The drink in her hand on Friday’s, after work? It was a Tom Collins over the summer.  For the early fall, it’s been the classic martini — or more specifically, the original-pre-Prohibition martini, which is currently called the Fifty-Fifty Martini. Confused? It’s the martini with equal parts gin and equal parts vermouth. Why the extra vermouth? Read Jason Wilson’s, WaPo columnist, article “Stirrings of a Better Martini,” or this article from NYT’ Shaken and Stirred column. Vermouth is good in cocktails,people. Use it.

Since there are so many variations of the martini, I find it’s easiest just to tell the bartender what I want in it, and how I want it prepared. For example, tonight, I’ll simply say, “Martini with equal parts gin and vermouth, up, with a twist. And, a dash of orange bitters, if you got ’em.” Please. 

posted by Ms. S&C

Olive Love

I recently made a purchase that I’ve been pondering over for weeks: a big container of olives with fennel. I’m olivesembarrassed to admit that fennel—and the olive, for that matter—has only made its way on to my taste bud radar as of late. I started enjoying fennel about one year ago, and olives have made a comeback for me in just the last six months. As they say, better late than never, so thank goodness for maturing palates!

But back to the matter at hand: how will I use my new acquisition? Besides the obvious (snacking) and the more obvious (gin martinis), how can an olive with fennel be integrated into Miss Mojito’s cocktail repertoire? The problem with the martini is that it often packs a bit too much of a punch for my tastes. Still, I’m hoping that with the addition of this new and exciting olive, plus some first-rate Hendrick’s gin, my taste buds just might up their maturity a notch further. But as a back up, I’d like to have some other cocktail recipes ready as a substitute that will also make use of olives.

The Bloody Mary could easily benefit from the addition of the fennel olive. But it’s not exactly the evening cocktail I’m looking for. Miss Mojito wants to know: Are there any savory-style cocktails that would benefit from an olive that I’m missing out on? Help me brainstorm in the comments section below!

posted by Miss Mojito

One Cocktail-Filled Weekend

A recent weekend trip to Charlottesville found me hiking in the mountains, sampling Moroccan fare at a new restaurant (complete with belly dancers), brunching with friends and sampling a wide variety of exciting cocktails over the course of two days.

My first out-of-the-ordinary sampling was a sweet concoction at Maya: the Peanut Butter Martini. While sitting at the bar, my friend grew curious when she spotted a container of peanut butter sitting behind the cash register. When we found out that the jar of Jif was intended to play the starring role in the Peanut Butter Martini, my friend was quick to order a couple to satisfy our curiosity. This is definitely a dessert-style drink best suited to those sweet of tooth. The ingredients are top secret—in fact, the martini menu lists ingredients for every other drink except for this one; under Peanut Butter Martini, the only information you’ll find is “??????????????????????” 

Our next stop was at the Box, a tiny bar located just off of Charlottesville’s pedestrian downtown mall, for some beers. Only when I ordered two Magic Hats, the bartender misunderstood my order amidst the din and served up two lemon drops instead (go figure). But these weren’t just any lemon drops – they were Ginger Lemon Drops with a sugary rim. Delish.

The next night, at the aforementioned Moroccan restaurant Alhamraa, I indulged in a Hibiscus Cooler. The refreshing drink combined homemade hibiscus concentrate, Bombay Sapphire and cava. It was a bit on the sweet side (and were those notes of cinnamon I detected in the hibiscus concentrate?), but it was definitely something different.

We continued our evening at Bang, an Asian-inspired tapas restaurant. Bang has an extensive martini menu, and Miss Mojito found herself partial to “The Joe.” Although Miss M was less than reliable in her note-taking, she recalls a delectable mixture of gin, Chambord, white cranberry juice, ginger syrup and lime.

The winner of the evening? It was the accidental lemon drop. The ginger added a kick to the traditional—and sugary—lemon flavor, resulting in a winning combination.

Recipes for Ginger Lemon Drops are few and far between, but this one sounds promising.

Ginger Lemon Drop

  • Ice
  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce ginger syrup, recipe follows
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Twist of lemon
  • Superfine sugar

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, ginger syrup and lemon juice. Cover and shake vigorously until combined and chilled. Strain into a martini glass rimmed with superfine sugar. Add twist and serve.

Ginger Syrup:

  • 1 lemon, peel removed with a vegetable peeler into strips
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh ginger (peel too)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups water

Add the ginger chunks and lemon into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a pan and add sugar and water. Mix and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain the mixture and cool. It can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Credit: JeMangeLaVille.com

Posted by Miss Mojito.

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.