Tag Archives: shoes and drinks for every occasion

Year in review

As we get ready for a new year, reflection is inevitable.  Of course every year brings some ups and downs, but those of us over here at S&C are an optimistic bunch.  We don’t have too many regrets.  After all, we’ve got a lot to be happy about — great family, good friends, our health, not too much economic misfortune.  Not to mention, this blog.  As we say goodbye to 2008, we leave you with a list of our favorites.

S&C 2008 Favoritesriding-boots

  • Favorite shoes:  Riding boots – so many colors, so many styles.  You can wear them with skinny jeans and tights.  Ms. S&C picked up a pair of really great patent leather ones and a pair of really, really cheap ones.  And, there are at least two more she’d like to have.
  • Favorite cocktail:  Black pepper gin rickey – gin has become Ms. S&C’s spirit of choice, and she can’t get over the combo of gin, lime and black pepper in this drink.  Message to Central: please put it back on the menu sometime in the new year.sangria
  • Favorite S&C-made cocktail:  Punches – Ms. S&C likes fixing cocktails for her friends, but a crowd of peeps can be intimidating and a ton of work.  Her sangrias and punches have been a life-saver.  And, she loves that they are so seasonal.
  • Favorite cocktail blog:  Since starting this whole blogging thing, the guys over at Scofflaws Den have been an inspiration. They are always up the latest cocktail trends, and they definitely know their way around the best bars in DC.
  • Favorite fashion blog:  another DC local, fashion is spinach is vintage-y, yet modern. We adore her personal style, and arespinachlong32 super happy that she’s joined Fashion Washington.
  • Favorite cocktail trend:  speakeasy-style cocktail barsHummingbird to Mars came and went during 2008, but fortunately, The Gibson has popped up as the new primo spot for innovative drinks and atmosphere.  Another trend that was a close second: election-themed cocktails, and we expect those to be revived, oh, sometime around Jan. 20.
  • Favorite fashion trend:  recession chic – while we do not dig the recession, we love the it-is-cool-to-be-cheap revolution, and we love bargains.

S&C wants to know: What are your 2008 favorites? Shoes, cocktails, or other — share a comment below!

Ein bier, bitte

What do you get when you combine bratwurst, sauerkraut, spaetzle, perfect fall weather, and lots of beer?  Oktoberfest! The world’s largest festival, concluded this weekend in Munich, Germany.

Fortunately, the rest of the world also likes to celebrate the Bavarian way of life.  Not only do we enjoy dining on traditional German delicacies, we love German beer.  Many breweries now offer their own seasonal Oktoberfest beer to commemorate the arrival of fall.  This rich malty lager, amber in color, usually has hints of caramel and toffee.  Hops are added for bitterness, and to balance the sweetness of the barley.  This style of beer is often referred to as Marzen,” because the beer is brewed in March, stored cold through the summer, and ready to drink at the arrival in autumn.

Oktoberfest originated with the marriage of a Bavarian prince in October 1810.  Citizens of Munich were invited to attend the festivities to celebrate the royal event.  Horse races marked the close of the event, and gave rise to the tradition of the Oktoberfest.  Subsequent years added an Agricultural Show, designed to boost Bavarian agriculture.  Visitors were able to quench their thirst at small beer stands, which grew to beer tents and halls.  Today, the Oktoberfest attracts over six million visitors from around the world.

S&C Oktoberfest Favorites: Brooklyn Brewery, Spaten, and Sam Adams

And, what shoes are appropriate for this occasion? Many German designers seem to follow the same philosophy — premium quality, best workmanship, and comfort. That’s what you’ll find in Birkenstock and Josef Seibel’s collections.

Prost!

posted by Ms. S&C

Party animals

In Washington, DC, elections are a good excuse to party.  Inaugural balls, primary-watching happy hours, election-results parties.  We’ve already shared some of the DNC-themed cocktails from the convention.  So naturally, they’ll be plenty of people with cocktail in hand watching tonight’s Vice Presidential train wreck debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.

What you’ll be drinking tonight could say a lot about your political preference.  Here are a few amusing articles and surveys linking political preference to cocktails and bar behavior.  In short:

Democrats

  • Prefer clear spirits such as gin and vodka, and white wine
  • Tip better
  • Have better pick-up lines
  • Give better toasts

Republicans

  • Prefer darker spirits such as bourbon and scotch, and red wine
  • Are more likely to order a drink straight up
  • Are less likely to order a “fruity,” or pink drink
  • Will arrive first at happy hour

For more humorous comparisons, check out the New York Times’ You Might Be an Obama Supporter if…, and You Might Be a McCain Supporter if…

———————————–

If you are in need of ideas for election-themed cocktails, here are a few for you to enjoy, courtesy of Beam Global Spirits & Wine.

The Running Mate

• 2 parts bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
• 1 part simple syrup
• 2 wedges lemon
• 1 slice of watermelon

Muddle lemon and watermelon with simple syrup.  Add bourbon and ice.  Shake and strain into a large old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice.  Garnish with a slice watermelon and lemon wheel.

Recipe Source: James Lee, bartender at West End Tavern in Boulder, CO

The Donkey
Sounds similar to the Blackberry Bourbon Cobbler over at Central.

• 2 parts bourbon, preferably Knob Creek
• 1 part triple sec
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 6 mint sprigs
• Splash of raspberry schnapps
• Fresh raspberries and blueberries to garnish

Add sugar, bourbon and mint into an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice and muddle the fruit.  Garnish with berries and mint.

Recipe Source: Jim Hewes, bartender at Round Robin Bar, Willard InterContinental in Washington, DC

———————————–

In closing, join me and other chardonnay-swigging liberals in toasting:


Autumnal equinox

In honor of summer’s end and autumn’s arrival, we toasted the changing of the seasons with a large pitcher of sangria over the weekend. Many thanks to friends James and Nicole for the lovely fiesta.

This recipe is a modified version of ones adapted from The Recipe Girl and Cook’s Illustrated. Cook’s says you don’t need to go with the expensive stuff when making sangria. I trust them on that, so I picked up Tres Ojos Old Vine Garnacha from Whole Foods for $7 a bottle.

The Ingredients/Recipe:
(Recipe is for two bottles of wine)

  • Prepare at least 3 hours in advance (can be up to 24 hours in advance)
  • Slice 1 lemon, 1 lime, and 2 oranges in whole slices, then quarter
  • Place all citrus in a pitcher, add 2 bottles of red wine (preferrably Spanish)
  • Add 5-6 shots of orange liqueur
  • Refrigerate for several hours, to allow time for the fruit flavors to blend with wine
  • Pour and top, generously, 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, spoon in fruit mixture, then top with seltzer)

S&C’s also has a recipe for white wine sangria, if you’re interested.

Dry the rain

I am so coveting Tory Burch’s Winnie rain boot. Her whole fall collection is great (an interesting combo of bohemian chic and European riding wear). Made of rubber, with the brand signature in bright yellow at top — these sleek and stylish boots would sure brighten my rainy days, especially those that have me sloshing to and from the metro.

S&C advice–what to wear with my new shoes?

Dear Ms. Shoes and Cocktails,
Here’s a picture of my new shoes. I need to build an outfit around them, and a signature drink. I heart them.

Sincerely,
Ms. Z

——————————-

Dear Ms. Z,
These shoes are très chic! I love the unique “cognac” color. In fact, the shoes themselves are quite unusual, especially the over-sized button detail. You know the thing I love about unusual shoes? They can turn a very usual outfit into something special. For the work day, you can wear the same black shirt and plain, old cardigan. Add these shoes and an over-sized necklace (gold would be a lovely compliment to caramel color), and you’ve got a spectacular outfit. Plus, you’ll also be dressed and ready for that last minute happy hour.

When I’m having drinks after work, I’m usually in the Penn Quarter. One place in the neighborhood, that has delicious cocktails bold enough to compliment these pumps, is Oyamel. I need to meet the mixologist over there because the specialty drinks rotate. I had a mango cocktail with a jalapeno infusion awhile back. Spicy goodness. It is no longer there, but the same, fine ingredients such as agave nectar and tropical fruit juices are.

Finally, I’m still one for heels on the weekend. Pair these darlings with dark denim, and you’ll be ready for dinner and a movie or a Sunday afternoon brunch.

Thanks for sharing!
Ms. S&C

In need of Shoes & Cocktail advice? Send Ms. S&C a note at: shoesandcocktails(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Making history

Tonight, history is being made. On the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the first African American candidate, Barack Obama, accepts the nomination for president. What cocktail will you have in hand to celebrate? If you’re in Denver, CO, the city of the Democratic National Convention (or, damn nice cocktails), you’re taking advantage of a receptive audience with the “Obamapolitan” and the “Rodham Sockem.” Wherever you are, “Cheers!”

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

The beach bum

The Drink: Sea Breeze

Erase any preconceived notions you have about fruity cocktails. Fruity drinks are not just for girls, or those with undeveloped palates, and they are definitely not just for drinking out of cheap plastic cups at the beach.

The Sea Breeze, like its sister cocktails the Bay Breeze and Cape Cod, is an often overlooked drink. You’re thinking vodka, juice – been there, done that, like when I was sixteen. Well, I say you should give this super refreshing and deliciously tart cocktail another chance. The mixture of fresh citrus and happy color make it a perfect companion on a summer day, beach or no beach. And, the balance of fruit juice to vodka means that you won’t wipe you out after you’ve had just one. So, don’t feel bad about two. Okay, three.

The Occasion:

Whether you are seaside, poolside, lakeside, or yardside, pull out your white linen skirt, grab your straw hat, and infuse some color by slipping on a pair of super cute sandals like the ones below.

The Shoes: Sandals

Nothing says summer footware like sandals. And, there’s so much variety: T-straps, ankle-straps, gladiators, or slides. I picked up these pretty little things in black over at Endless.com. Now, I’m so regretting I didn’t get them in green. The patent-like sheen on the straps and the cork-like insole means a little comfort, but a lot of fancy.

The Ingredients/Recipe:

We all know that the fresher the ingredients, the better the taste. Consider buying fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, or juice them yourself.

  • Fill cocktail glass with ice
  • Mix 2 parts vodka, 3 parts cranberry juice, 2 parts grapefruit juice, and squeeze half a lime (my addition for extra tartness)
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or grapefruit slice

Here’s a bonus tip: add color and fun into your drink by using flavored ice cubes. The ones below are made with lemon and lime zest. All you do is zest citrus fruit (orange works too), add to your ice tray, add water and freeze.

Shoes & Cocktails wants to know: what’s your summer favorite? Shoes or cocktails. Make a comment below.

posted by Ms. S&C

About this blog

I love shoes and I love cocktails.

I’m one of those people that use clothing to say something about myself. I’m not artistic, I can’t paint or sing or play an instrument. I’m not writing the great American novel any time soon. I can’t even get the New Yorker to choose my captions for their cartoon contests. And, I’m not super clever or witty, (though I think I am after a few cocktails!).

Back in college, I remember my husband (who cares zero about what he wears) telling a co-worker, at the bar where we both worked, that he thought I had great style. I was flattered. He still tells me, and I’m still flattered. Maybe I have some image issues, I don’t know. I just know that I like clothes and I want to look my best. This somehow brings me to shoes. I think shoes are the #1 accessory. You can make a great argument that its handbags, but I’m still going with shoes – you always have them on. On a day when I’m not sure what to wear and nothing seems to be working, I can slip on a black dress or black trousers, pop on my gold mary jane peep toes or my animal print pumps, and I’ve still got a great outfit.

Now for cocktails – like shoes, there’s one for every occasion. White wine spritzers for that afternoon wedding, manhattans on that early fall night. Margaritas with Mexican food, Cabernet with your steak. Cocktail hour may be my favorite time of the day. Work is over, and there’s nothing better than relaxing and chatting with friends, over a drink. I love that almost every Friday, my husband and I meet at our neighborhood bar to toast to the weekend. Before the bartenders knew our names, we were called the scotch and martini couple.

So, why a blog? Well, I’m going to be presumptuous and assume there people out there that a) may want to read about shoes and cocktails at the same time, and b) may actually like what I say about them both. Third, it’s kinda cool to interact with others that have the same interests. If you’ve found a great pair of shoes – share them! If you make a great cocktail, or have a fave restaurant or bar for cocktails – I’d love to hear it!

I’ll leave you with this picture that’s hanging in my office. It was purchased before I dreamed up this blog idea. Serendipity?