Tag Archives: s&c exclusive

Bourbon drinking time

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, (read this great article from NPR about how to throw a Kentucky Derby party), it seems right now is prime-bourbon-drinking-time.

Around this time last year, Miss Mojito visited New Orleans and shared her Pat O’Brien’s mint julep experience. Inspired by this, and the pretty fantastic weather we’ve been having (which means planting and playing in the yard), I present, with unbridled enthusiasm, the Bourbon Mojito. I like to think of it as the mint julep’s less intoxicating sister. It has similar ingredients, but the tartness of the citrus and the bubbliness of the seltzer make this a great, early Spring, sit out on the patio, with maybe even some dirt left under your fingernails, drinking companion.

The mint julep’s less intoxicating sister, the bourbon mojito.

Bourbon Mojito

Ingredients (for one cocktail):

  • 1/2 lime, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 full sprig of mint
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Soda water


In a glass, muddle the lime, sugar, and mint until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and bourbon. Stir well. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

Bonus Tip: Growing mint is perfect for a beginning gardener. It is hardy and fast-growing, and thrives in all kinds of conditions. But, it should be contained. Seriously, use a pot, because this lovely aromatic herb spreads quickly, and will take over your yard.

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!


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


  • 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

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!

Knives down, hands up

Top Chef has begun!  Season 5 brings the culinary contestants to New York City, which should make for some awesome challenges.  The first episode starts with 17 contestants, so I can hardly remember who’s who.  I know there’s a group of three two that call themselves “Team Rainbow.”  I think I’ll start calling the German and Italian dudes “Team Europe;” its clear they’ve bonded pretty well.  Then, there’s a faceboy I’ve named “Mr. Hair.”  And, other than our Washington, DC gal, I think everyone else is pretty much from New York or California.

The Quick Fire Challenge has the contestants peeling apples, chopping apples, and cooking with apples.  And then, just like that, we’re down to 16.  Lauren-with-the-overbearing-personality has to hop right back on the boat and head home.  Now, its time for the Elimination Challenge.  The remaining 16 go head-to-head and chose one of eight New York City ethnic neighborhoods to find inspiration for their next dish.  The neighborhoods include:

  • Astoria (Greek)
  • Brighton Beach (Russian)
  • Chinatown
  • Little Italy
  • Little India
  • Long Island City (Middle Eastern)
  • Queens (Jamaican)
  • Ozone Park (Latin)

stefan_dish2Stefan of “Team Europe” wins with his classic Middle Eastern fare, and Patrick of “Team Rainbow” loses with his clichéd Chinese dish.  Stefan served up a lamb chop with tabouli and beef skewers with caramelized onions and hummus.  Guest judge, Jean George Vongerichten, kept commenting on the great lemon flavor found in the dish.  While I would likely be drinking red wine with this meal, here’s a cocktail that may complement nicely.  Given that I love Lillet and lemon these days, and thyme being a natural accompaniment, I think it would pair well, or at least serve as a pretty good aperitif.

This drink is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive!


  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Lillet blanc
  • 1 part Lemon Juice
  • 1 part Thyme-Infused Simple Syrup

For the simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup sugar, and a teaspoon of thyme in a saucepan.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Strain spices from syrup.  Combine all ingredients and shake well.  Serve over ice.   Garnish with lemon twist and sprig of fresh thyme.

Feeling inspired

The Drink: Sangria blanca

There were several inspirations for this cocktail. Friends Jason and Amy recently introduced us to frozen grapes – a delightful and refreshing snack for the dogs days of summer. I knew immediately after trying those frozen nuggets that I would put them in a Sangria. Not only did I love the sweetness, I loved that they could be used as flavored ice cubes for a cocktail.

Then, my high school friend, Emily, emailed asking for a drink recommendation to serve adults at her one year old’s birthday barbeque. She said she would like to serve wine, or maybe champagne. Bingo.

I’ve been playing with variations of white wine sprizters all summer long, but surprisingly, I’ve never made Sangria. Sangria, a popular “wine punch” from Spain and Portugal, offers a lot of versatility. You can adjust for your own taste and use a variety of fruit, depending on what’s in season. Knowing that my farmers markets has the most incredible peaches and nectarines right now, they were given in this cocktail.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

This version of Sangria blanca is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive!

(Recipe is for two bottles of wine)

  • Prepare night before – frozen grapes (freeze 2 large handfuls of seedless, white grapes)
  • Prepare at least 3 hours in advance (can be up to 24 hours in advance) – slice 2 peaches and/or nectarines in wedges
  • Slice 1 lemon in whole slices, then quarter
  • Place peaches and lemons in pitcher or carafe, add 2 bottles of white wine (preferably a Spanish white or another dry white wine)
  • Refrigerate for several hours, to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with wine
  • Add frozen grapes to carafe, and stir
  • Add raspberries, and any remaining grapes, to individual glasses
  • Pour white wine and top with seltzer water (note: it can be very tricky to pour and get an adequate mixture of fruit in each glass; recommend that you pour the wine first and then spoon in fruit mixture)

The Occasion:

Attention supper club friends! I am totally making this sangria for the next dinner party. Let’s hold it soon, while peaches are in their prime.

Whether you are planning your one year old’s birthday party, supper club, or you need to use the left-overs from your trip to the farmers market, look no further than Sangria blanca. This cocktail is light, refreshing, and quite a show-stopper. Which is why I plan on pairing it with these striking paisley print pumps.

The Shoes: My Paisley Peep-toe Pumps

I’ve had these Nine West pumps for almost three years, and I continue to get compliments. Strangers literally stop me on the street. The peep-toe pump is a tried and true design. And though I haven’t highlighted them yet, Nine West, continues to be my go-to brand for everyday shoes. They are affordable, decently well-made, and there’s always a good selection. The hint of raspberry goes perfectly with the Sangria, no?

posted by Ms. S&C

Song of the summer

The Drink: Watermelon Lemonade

No self-respecting cocktail enthusiast can go through the summer season without using watermelon in a delicious beverage. The bright color and watery texture are ideal components for drinks. Martinis, margaritas, sangria – you can’t go wrong with this ingredient!




The Ingredients/Recipe:

This version of Watermelon Lemonade is a Shoes & Cocktails exclusive! And, it is actually quite good minus the booze, if you want to go that route.

(Recipe makes 3-4 drinks)

  • Cut ½ of a small watermelon into large chunks (do yourself a favor and get a seedless melon)
  • Puree in a blender, then strain into a pitcher (you should have enough liquid for a 3 to 1 alcohol ratio)
  • Add juice of two lemons
  • Add 3 or 4 shots vodka, preferably Absolut Citron
  • Mix well, then pour over ice
  • Garnish with fresh basil

Modifications: I generally prefer things tart rather than sweet. If this recipe is too tart for your liking, I recommend adding more watermelon, or 1 to 2 ounces of triple sec, Cointreau, or some other form of simple syrup. You can also garnish with mint, and/or lemon or watermelon wedges. I prefer basil because it is growing outside my backdoor, and nothing beats that smell in the summer!

Bonus tip: Here’s another perfect opportunity for using flavored ice cubes. Pour watermelon puree into your ice tray and freeze.

The Occasion:

Summer is a very important time for one’s social agenda. Picnics, backyard barbeques, trips to the lake, the beach – there are endless opportunities for enjoying cocktails with friends. I say, download these summer hits to your IPod, fire up the grill, slip on any number of yellow shoes because they will perfectly accessorize the watermelon cocktail in your hand.

The Shoes: Yellow Shoes

Yellow shoes are this season’s hot item for your warm weather wardrobe. Practically every brand has its own version; there are so many choices and so many styles. I personally like my friend LC’s shown below because (a) the quilting texture is unique, (b) they are wedges (and we all know the benefits of wearing wedges for those summer outdoor activities), and (c) check out the super-cool clear wedge heel. Great find!


posted by Ms. S&C