Friday, December 31, 2010

Mulled Wine

What would winter be without mulled wine? It is the perfect antidote to frozen toes and a stuffy nose and that peculiar sadness from a before-dinner sundown.

A nice bottle of your favourite vino, simmered with warming spices, is the perfect thing to thaw your heart and, as a bonus, make your home smell wonderful. Lana simmers hers on the stove, you can also make this in your crock pot.




    * 750ml red fruity wine, like Zinfandel or Argentine Malbec
    * 3-4 Tbsp sugar
    * 1 orange, peeled, cut in slices
    * 3-4 whole cloves
    * 1 star anise (optional)


Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and heat to boil on high. Turn the temperature to low and simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes. Serve in glasses with a piece of cinnamon and a piece of orange peel.

From: Lana of Bibberche

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Side Car Martini

Ready to shrug off the craziness of the last couple of days? Maybe you need to nurse the bone chilling cold of staying up all night outside of an electronics shop for the boxing day sales. Maybe, just maybe, you were one of the unlucky few who had to actually work the sales.

Well then, clearly you need a cocktail. Or four. With about 4.5 ounces of alcohol. Each.

Do not operate any heavy machinery after consuming one of these very tasty side car martinis. Nothing, not even the phone. Okay, maybe the remote. But that's it!

Side Car Martini
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
for I Heart Cooking Clubs December Pot Luck


    * 1/2 cup sugar
    * 1 lime, zested
    * 1 lime wedge
    * 10 ounces cognac (recommended: Hennessy)
    * 4 ounces Triple Sec liqueur (recommended: Cointreau)
    * 4 ounces sweet and sour mix
    * 4 ounces Limoncello
    * 2 ounces lime juice
    * Ice


Chill 4 martini glasses. In a small shallow dish combine the sugar and the lime zest. Run the lime wedge around the rim of each glass. Dip in the sugar and zest mixture.

In a cocktail shaker mix the cognac, Triple Sec, sweet and sour mix, Limoncello, and lime juice over ice. Shake to chill.

Pour the Side Car Martinis into the glasses and serve immediately.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter-Spiced Vodka

This amber, glowing, golden-hued vodka is infused with the warmth of chile, cinnamon and other spices to shake off the chill on a cold winters day.  Or night.  You choose.  Throw back a shot, mix it into a Bloody Mary for an extra kick, or make a festive Martini.  It's also a fun idea for holiday gifts because stored in a cool, dark place, it will keep well for at least a year!
Winter-Spiced Vodka
makes 2 c.

1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods, bruised
½ tsp. whole cumin seed
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole dried chile
2 c. vodka

Begin by sterilizing your bottle(s) and let them cool.  Then simply slide all of your spices into the prepared bottle and pour the vodka in...either using a funnel or your fantastic free-flow skills like I did.  Because of course my funnel is lost.  Seal it.  Set it aside to steep in a cool, dark place.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scotch Holiday Sour

I don't want to give you the wrong idea, we are not always making fruity girlie drinks - although quite often we are - they just go down so darned easy!

But it is the holidays and that Scotch drinker in your life needs a little festive cocktail, man-style. Heck, Santa would probably appreciate one or two of these himself - all that milk can't be good for an old man and a little Scotch will keep him warm. Don't worry, Rudolph can drive.

Scotch Holiday Sour
from Snooth

1 ½ oz Scotch Whiskey
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cherry Brandy
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
1 slice of Lemon
Shake all ingredients (except lemon slice) with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Add the slice of lemon and serve. 
It's the holiday! Wrap that lemon slice around a cherry. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pam's Cranberry Liqueur!

After such great response from Pam's Orange Liqueur, we decided to run her Cranberry Liqueur. Perfect for this time of year!

From Sidewalk Shoes:

Cranberry Liqueur
Please place this recipe in the better-late-than-never category.  Why?  Because I first came across this recipe in the Cooking Light Recipes Annual from 2004.  It was the very last recipe of the book. I remember showing it to my husband and insisting that he run out and buy some vodka.  Then, I’m not quite sure what happened.  Fast forward five years, I’m glancing through the book again, and there it is.  I insist my husband run out and buy some vodka and this time, I stand in the kitchen waiting for him, cranberries in hand. 

Cranberry Liqueur
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries (or one of the 8 or so you have in your freezer)
  • 3 cups vodka
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and over medium heat cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Place cranberries in food processor and process for about 2 minutes or until finely chopped. Combine the sugar mixture, cranberries, and vodka in a large bowl.  Pour into clean jars with lids and let sit in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, shaking every other day (or whenever you remember).

Strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl and discard solids.  Pour into clean jars or bottles, and sit back and admire!

Note: Liqueur can be stored refrigerated or at room temperature for a year.

SERVING SUGGESTION – Cranberry Cosmopolitan – Place crushed ice in a cocktail shaker.  Add 1/2 cup cranberry liqueur, 1/4 cup Cointreau, and 2 tablespoons lime juice; strain into martini glasses.  Yields 2 cocktails.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

After Eight Martini

And yes, thank goodness, it is always after eight somewhere. I assume they mean p.m., but I don't judge. Especially after a couple of After Eight martinis. They go down easy, pack a punch, and gosh darnit - they look fabulous. Christmassy even. Especially when you plop a red cherry in there. I'm all about the holidays. Holiday cocktails I mean. They make everything seem soft and glowy. Think I'll have another...

After Eight Martini
from The Martini Collection

1 part Vodka
2 parts Bailey's
1 part green Crème de Menthe

Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into chilled martini glasses. (Or cosmo glasses!) Garnish with a cherry.

Many thanks to the Guide to Culinary Schools for naming us the best cocktail blog!
I'll raise a glass to that. Maybe two.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pam's Orange Liqueur

Orange Liqueur
From Sidewalk Shoes:

Well, last Friday was Cranberry Liqueur and this Friday is Orange Liqueur!  You know what they say…one can never have too much liqueur.  Wait.  They don’t say that?  Well they should.
Like the squirrels, I have been putting away for winter.  Unlike the squirrels, I have lots more options than just nuts and seeds.  As I contemplate winter, I envision myself sitting in front of the fire, a steamy mug of something laced with a little something.  What better to lace a steaming mug of something than some homemade fruity liqueur?

So, I turned to one of my favorite, putting things up book, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projectsby Karen Solomon.  This orange liqueur caught my eye.  Unlike my cranberry, it is a two step process, but since time does all the work, I’m there! 

Orange-Flavored Vodka
  • 1 quart inexpensive vodka
  • 4 sweet oranges, like navel (organic preferably)
Pour the vodka into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.   Wash the oranges and slice them into 4 to 6 pieces and submerge them in the vodka.  Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking it once a day.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth.  Return the vodka to a jar, and put it back in it’s cool, dark place to age for 3 weeks to mature the flavor.
Orange Liqueur
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups orange-flavored vodka
Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Cool completely.
Pour the vodka into a jar, start by adding 3/4 cup of the simple syrup and taste.  Add more if you want it sweeter, but it will get sweeter as it ages.  Label it, cover tightly and stor in a cook dark place for 6 weeks. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Creamsicles for the Adult in you

I've discovered a benefit....when you're mixing alcohol and such to match a mental flavor....well, let's just say, things get a little fun! 
Believe it or not, I purchased some orange liqueur for a bread recipe. While I was at the store, Cocktail Puppy popped into my mind and I realized I had yet to post a cocktail recipe of sorts. Well, one thing lead to another and I found myself purchasing, tequila, orange juice, heavy whipping cream and creme soda. 

I brought it all  home, and started mixing. Then I thought...hmm, someone MUST have tried this before, right? I mean...Dreamsicles, Creamsicles....these are very popular childhood desserts. And yes...there are recipes for an alcohol beverage to resemble the ever so popular popsicles. But they weren't quite the same.'s my version of an adult Creamsicle. It's orange, creamy, vanilla-ish...and it will kick your such a good way.

(this will make enough for about 4 - 6 cocktails...or more. Depends on how small your glass is)

12 oz orange concentrate (no pulp, defrosted)
12 oz orange liqueur (I used Patron Citronge)
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
6 oz tequila
12 oz cream soda
More Cream Soda to top off the glass

Combine the orange concentrate, orange liqueur, whipping cream and tequila...mix well. Add the 12 oz of cream soda and stir. Serve your guests or just yourself and top off the glass with a bit (1 or 2 oz) more of the cream soda.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Natalie MacLean's Top Ten Wines for Holiday Gift-Giving

Want to know the perfect holiday wines for the people in your life?

Natalie MacLean offers her advice on how to pair the perfect bottle with each person on your list.

From Natalie MacLean's Wine Blog:
Here are the specific wines that I recommend for the tough-to-buy-for people on your holiday gift list. Click on the links for the full review, including tasting notes, score, food matches, bottle shots and complementary recipes.

1. Hairdresser: Fuss-free Rose

2. Psychiatrist: Balanced Pinot

3. The Boss: Boss Bordeaux

4. Personal Trainer: Light Riesling

5. Financial Planner: Long-Term Port

6. Travel Agent: Plug in your region here to find a local wine

7. Teacher: Learned Sherry

8. Mail Deliverer: Dependable Shiraz

9. Mechanic: Auto Wine

10. Online Date: Play-it-Safe Merlot

Monday, November 22, 2010

In the mood for throwing back a few Snowballs!?

While the snow may not be flying here in Northern Indiana yet, that doesn't mean I can't throw back a few Snowballs!  I remembered seeing the Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson make these on an episode of Nigella Express.  She said they tasted like a grown-up ice cream soda.  Ummmm....yes, please!  Although the original recipe calls for Advocaat, I wasn't able to find any, so I just subbed in some eggnog and rum.  It worked!  It tasted just like an ice cream soda...all creamy and delicious and definitely a bit of "Christmas in a glass"!  Let's hang out, Nigella.

Ice Cubes
1 part Advocaat  I used a storebought eggnog spiked with a good deal of RUM
3 parts chilled lemonade  I used an effervescent one...very  nice
squeeze of lime juice to taste

Fill a highball glass with ice.  Add the advocaat or eggnog and rum and top off with the lemonade.  Spritz in the lime juice to taste.

Whaddaya say?  Want to come over and throw back a few Snowballs?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Not Just Another Rum and Coke

It's true, we are tired at the end of the day, and although we might have spent a good part of it making a fan-freaking-tabulous meal, everything made from scratch - no, not just from scratch but home grown and lovingly crafted... when it's time for a drink we go for the tried and true and... easy. Open a bottle of wine, a beer, or even go as far as a rum and coke.

Fine. I get it. I do it too. A lot. I look at the pretty bottles on my bar and then grab a beer.

Those bottles, they don't even complain. They just keep showing their pretty faces, making my bar look very.. bar-ish, and wait til next time.

But I'm not just mixing for myself here - today I am mixing for a friend in need. A friend who wants to try new things but keeps going back to her rum and cokes. So - why not tart up the rum and coke? Not with anything as exhausting as slicing a lime, but by using coconut rum and hey, maybe a splash of Crème de Banane. True, you do have to twist a second top, but think of the muscles you will build.

So, for my friend, awesome chica that she is, I made a California Monkey. Try it at home!

California Monkey
from 10,000 Drinks by Paul Knorr
(2 down and 9,998 to go)

1½ parts Coconut-Flavoured Rum
½ part Crème de Banane


Fill a Collins glass with ice and build drink, stir.

I garnished them with suns as I figure it is always sunny in California. Unlike Canada in late November, which is dark by 4:30pm. Sigh. Another drink?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Peach Slider - It's What's for Dessert

Had an amazing dinner? Good wine? Fairly stuffed but still want dessert?

May I suggest something of the liquid variety? This Peach Slider is like liquid ice cream. Cool, creamy and delicious with a kick of naughty. There, doesn't that sound good? I thought so.

Peach Slider
from 10,000 Drinks by Paul Knorr (which I found on clearance for $5.99!! One down and 9,999 to go.)

1 part Peach Schnapps
½ part Amaretto
½ part Vanilla Liqueur
1 part Cream

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Garnish with a candy stick, if you wish.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Hot Apple Cider Strudel

Sweet apple and spicy cinnamon will warm you to the bones in this Hot Apple Cider Strudel. A mix of apple cider and vodka, together with a dash of cinnamon, are heated until warm to the touch. The rim of the glass is dipped in powdered sugar and a slice of apple, coated in caramel sauce, adorns the top. A very tasty way to celebrate autumn.

Hot Apple Cider Strudel

Adapted from
* 1 oz. vodka
* 4 to 5 oz. apple cider
* ground cinnamon
* powdered sugar
* 1 apple
* caramel apple dipping sauce
* ice
Fill a shaker with ice. Add vodka and apple cider. Add one dash of ground cinnamon.
Strain into a microwave-safe container. Microwave until hot, but not boiling (about 30-60 seconds).Rim a coffee mug or other hot beverage glass with powdered sugar. Transfer warm beverage to rimmed glass. Garnish with a second dash of cinnamon and an apple slice that has been coated with caramel apple dipping sauce.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hibiscus Tea with Citrus and Vodka

(FoodTV, Giada De Laurentiis)

A fabulous twist on hard iced tea!

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups (2 ounces) dried hibiscus flowers or dried rose petals*
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup vodka chilled
  • 1 cup ice
*Can be found at specialty Latin markets

In a medium saucepan combine the water, hibiscus flowers, and sugar over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool for 25 minutes. Add the lemon juice, lime juice, and vodka.
Place the ice in a tall pitcher. Strain the hibiscus tea into the pitcher and discard the flowers. Refrigerate until ready to use.

NOTES: I thought the beverage was a bit too sweet, but Husband liked it just fine (he is from Georgia, so I forgive him). Would be the best served after the meal, not as an aperitif.

Submitted to Cocktail Puppy by Lana of Bibberche, check out her original post here(And read why she doesn't drink Pepsi!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Now that I Have Made Hot Pepper Infused Vodka, What Can I Make With It?

A little while we made homemade hot pepper infused vodka. Cool, eh? Looks really good in the jar on the shelf. But some of you may be wondering what to do with it, now that you have such a cool hot concoction on hand. We scanned the good old internet and found a few spicy recipes. Start your weekend off right, turn up the heat!

Where you read brand-name infused vodkas, try subbing in your own home-made infused ones! Feel free to take a pic and send it in if you try one of these at home. 

Dirty Bloody Martini recipe

2 oz Inferno® Pepper Pot vodka
1 oz dry vermouth
2 oz clamato juice
1 tbsp olive juice
2 olives
2 ice cubes

Put all ingredients into a shaker, except olives, and shake until shaker is frosted. Pour into cocktail glass, add olives and serve.

Heaven and Hell recipe

1 oz Skyy® vodka
1 oz Inferno® Pepper Pot vodka

Shake ingredients together in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Strain into a shot glass, and serve.

Fahrenheit 5000 recipe
1/2 oz Firewater® cinnamon schnapps
1/2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 dash Tabasco® sauce

Cover bottom of shot glass with tabasco sauce and then fill with half firewater and half absolut peppar.

Nestle recipe
3 cl Absolut® Peppar vodka
3 cl Midori® melon liqueur

Combine in a shot glass and serve.

Zhivago's Revenge recipe
1/2 oz cinnamon schnapps
1/2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
3 drops Tabasco® sauce

Carefully layer into a shot glass in the above order.

Absolut Redhead recipe
1 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 dash grenadine syrup
juice of 1/2 limes

Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass.

Cooch Behar recipe
2 oz pepper vodka
4 oz cold tomato juice

Pour into an old-fashioned glass three-quarters filled with broken ice, and serve.

Dirty Bloody Martini recipe
2 oz Inferno® Pepper Pot vodka
1 oz dry vermouth
2 oz clamato juice
1 tbsp olive juice
2 olives
2 ice cubes

Put all ingredients into a shaker, except olives, and shake until shaker is frosted. Pour into cocktail glass, add olives and serve.

Fucking Hot recipe
1 1/2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 1/2 oz DeKuyper® Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps

Pour both ingredients into an old-fashioned glass, stir briefly and serve.

Hell's Mary recipe
2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 tbsp horseradish
6 oz Spicy Hot V8 Juice
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper corns
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Tabasco® sauce

Add all ingredients (except vodka) to a blender. Blend and add Absolut Peppar vodka. Blend again to stir in vodka. Pour into a whiskey sour glass half-filled with ice. Add a stick of celery, and serve.

Hot and Dirty Martini recipe
3 oz pepper vodka
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 tsp olive juice

Pour the pepper vodka, dry vermouth and olive brine into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an olive stuffed with a pickled jalapeno pepper, and serve.

Hot Spicy Banana recipe
1 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 oz DeKuyper® Hot Damn cinnamon schnapps
1 oz 99 Bananas® banana schnapps
1 splash 90 proof peppermint schnapps

In a chilled old fashioned glass mix the first three ingredients, then place a single ice cube in the drink and splash the peppermint schnapps on the ice cube. Serve.

La Vida Loca recipe
3 - 4 oz Absolut® pepper vodka
3 - 4 oz pineapple juice
1 - 2 tsp chili peppers

Cut the chili into small pieces. Put one or two teaspoons of chopped chili in the glass. Fill the glass with ice (not all the way up, gotta save some space for the vodka). Mix the ice and chili well. Pour vodka and pineapple juice in the glass, mix again. Serve with a straw.

Moscow Chill recipe
1 1/2 oz Stoli® Pertsovka vodka
4 oz Dr. Pepper® soda

Pour the Stoli pepper vodka (Pertsovka) into a champagne saucer filled with shaved ice. Fill with Dr. Pepper soda, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

Neva Cocktail recipe
1 1/2 oz Stoli® Pertsovka vodka
1/2 oz tomato juice
1/2 oz orange juice

Pour the Stoli pepper vodka (Pertsovka), tomato juice and orange juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, strain into a cocktail glass with a small amount of crushed ice, and serve.

Pepper Manhattan recipe
1 1/2 oz Stoli® Pertsovka vodka
1/2 oz sweet vermouth

Pour the Stoli pepper vodka (Pertsovka) and sweet vermouth into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, and serve.

Peppermint Martini recipe
3 oz pepper vodka
1 oz white creme de menthe

Pour both ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint, and serve.

Peppertini recipe
1 1/2 oz Stoli® Pertsovka vodka
1/2 oz dry vermouth

Pour the Stoli pepper vodka (Pertsovka) and dry vermouth into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well, and pour into an old-fashioned glass over several ice cubes. Garnish with an olive, and serve.

Ricky Martini recipe
1 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
1 oz Absolut® Mandrin vodka
1 splash Cointreau® orange liqueur
1 splash cranberry juice
1 dash Rose's® lime juice

Shake with ice until frothy. Pour into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a jalepeno stuffed olive.
Salt and Pepper Martini recipe
1/8 oz vermouth
2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka

Combine vermouth and absolut peppar in a mixing glass over ice. Stir, strain into a salt-rimmed cocktail glass, and serve.

From the website

Wow, is it getting hot in here or is it just me? 
I need a drink!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lana's Cosmo Therapy

Sometimes you have a no-good-very-bad-day.

Sometimes you have lots of them.

Sure, you could pay for expensive therapy, but Lana has a better idea. Mental health through the judicious use of vodka. Take two and call her in the morning.

  • 2 oz good quality vodka of your choice (Stolichnaya would be my drug of choice)
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 1 oz Triple Sec orange liqueur (Cointreau if you want to make it top shelf)
  • 0.5 oz lime juice (Freshly squeezed… meaning the juice was still in the lime when you poured the vodka)
Place 7-8 ice cubes in a shaker. Add all the ingredients and shake vigorously for several seconds. Pour through the strainer into a martini glass, kick back and let the healing begin.

To see the rest of her story, click here


Friday, October 29, 2010

Vampire Cosmo

Just in time for the Halloween weekend, a vampire-inspired Cosmo, rimmed with cherry-flavored sugar and garnished with a pair of red-waxed fangs. Whether you are hosting a party, going to a party, or staying in, this blood-red cocktail is sure to get things started.

Vampire Cosmo
Adapted from Dylan's Candy Bar - Unwrap Your Sweet Life by Dylan Lauren
Serves 1

* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
* Red sugar ("Pucker Powder") or a cherry Pixy Stix
* 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) vodka
* 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) triple sec
* 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) cranberry juice
* Ice cubes
* Glassware: cosmopolitan glass
* Garnish: red-waxed fangs

Dip the rim of a cosmo glass into the lime juice and then dip again into the cherry-flavored colored sugar. Pour the vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, and lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into the glass and attach the wax fang to the rim.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Piña Coladas are Always in Season

...if you're not into yoga...

And let's face it, I'm not. I see no point in bendy body positions when I can have bendy straws instead.
And a little piña colada mix stashed in the bar fridge for emergencies is never a bad thing...

Sometimes you just want a girly drink. Something fruity. And icy. To make you forget that it is now dark before 6pm and that Mad Men is over until next August. Sigh. Do you really think he'll marry her? 

Strawberry Colada
 per drink:

2-3 oz rum
4 oz piña colada mix
3 large fresh or frozen strawberries
1 tsp strawberry schnapps or liqueur *optional

Mix all the ingredients, except the strawberry schnapps, in a blender with cracked ice. Pour into a hurricane glass and garnish with a strawberry. Top with a tsp of strawberry schnapps, if you like.

New puppies in the litter!

Cocktail Puppy is now a group effort! What's a party without friends? Stay tuned for new voices and new concoctions. Cheers!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

From AMC's Mad Men - How to Throw the Perfect Season Finale Party!

How to Throw the Perfect Season 4 Finale Party

mm406-joan-roger-325.jpg Mad Men's Season 4 finale airs on Sunday night and there's no better way to watch it than with a '60s-inspired festivity that captures the era with period perfect cocktails, outfits and decor. Check out the links below for tips on throwing the smartest party possible while watching Don, Pete, Peggy and all the rest.

Epicurious suggests: Buy a vintage suit/dress, drink too much, and practice your sexism while serving a menu featuring caramelized-onion dip with cilantro-garlic pita crisps (remember the chip-and-dip?) and Beef Wellington (ordered by Roger after a Season 1 tryst with Joan). A classic drink selection should include Old Fashioneds, Brandy Alexanders and Dry Martinis. Also recommended: Vintage serving pieces "to help create the look and feel of the period--consider using a decanter, for example."

Oprah gets into the act too, suggesting the one appetizer "no '60s party would be complete without." The site encourages Cuba Libres ("an essential drink of the '60s") or Mint Juleps (Derby Day) as well as lamb kebabs ("all the rage in the '60s") and shrimp cocktail ("drenched in vodka").

• The key to an authentic party? We heart this advises: Think "Would Don Draper approve?" Any guest who shows up in jeans should be sent home! "Now is the time to pull out your good china, best serving platters, fancy tablecloths and fabric napkins. Betty wouldn't have scrimped, neither should you." You might also invest in a bar cart supplied with creme de menthe on hand for Grasshoppers. Above all else, keep the food light so "as to not detract from the smoking and drinking."

Reposted from AMC's Mad Men Blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bitchin' Kitchen: I'm Never Drinking Like That Again

Partied too hard last night? Hungover? Bitchin' Kitchen feels you. This song is all about those famous words: "I'm Never Drinking Like That Again".

Featured in 'Rehab Recipes' episode on Food Network Canada's 'Bitchin' Kitchen' TV show. (Now also on the Cooking Channel!)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Red Hot

Looking to add a little heat to your cocktails?
Maybe it's cooling down where you live, and winter can't be far off. You're going to need something to snuggle up with to keep warm. Like vodka.

Oh sure, there are lots of flavoured vodkas out there, personally I tend to throw one in the cart whenever we are at the liquor store - but do I ever have the right flavour for whatever recipe has caught my eye? Never.
I must have close to ten, goodness knows how many varieties exist, but I think they just keep coming out with new ones - clearly just to mess with me.
And of course the ones I read about are never the ones I see in the store. (Though that doesn't stop me from throwing another one in the cart..)

Fear not! What's stopping you from flavouring your own vodka from time to time? Like with hot peppers. Three kinds of peppers. To quote that Hilton gal, "That's Hot!".
Okay, I promise never to quote her again. Back to the vodka.

Triple Pepper Vodka

In a mason jar:
2 cups vodka
4 dried long hot peppers
4 dried round hot peppers
1 tsp pink peppercorns
Combine and seal, and let sit in a cool, dark place for 2 months.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Liven Up Your Party - With The Games Bible!

Bored by the average grown-up party? Wondering why you don't have as much fun as you used to? So was Leigh Anderson, author of The Games Bible, until inspired to add gaming to all her social events. Leigh gives an exhaustive selection of every kind of game you can imagine, and a few that you can't, guaranteed to add levity to your next get-together.

There is something for everyone in this large book;
  • Putting the Fun Back Into Parties
  • Icebreakers
  • Guessing Games
  • Indoor Frolics
  • Conversation Games
  • Literary and Word Games
  • Games of General Cleverness
  • Victorian Parlor Games
  • Holiday Games
  • Games for Gamblers and Bluffers
  • Trivia Games
  • A Card-Game Refresher
  • Brainy Games for Two
  • Games for a Weekend Away
  • Impromptu Games
  • Outdoor Games
  • Lawn Games
If you can't find something to put a smile on your face.. well, there may be no hope for you. ☺

Some of the games may be young in nature and some may be played with children, but the book was written with adults in mind. So the next time you pop by, I may make you a cosmo.. and challenge you to a game of Psychological Scavenger Hunt, Shag, Marry, Cliff, or Trivia Fictionary! Hilarity guaranteed to ensue. Especially after that second cosmo...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bye Bye Bitty. A Manhattan for our New Yorker!

Dear Bitty, I feel I can call you Bitty after cooking with you these last six months, thank you so much for all that you have taught me. Your range and palate are commendable, as is your commitment to simplicity and sustainability. I have loved getting to know you better, and will continue to cook from your books on a regular basis.
So, my favourite minimalist, cheers to you. I made you a Manhattan.

adapted from How to Cook Everything Mark Bittman
Serves 4

6 oz rye or blended whiskey
3 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash bitters, or to taste
4 maraschino cherries, for garnish

Combine the liquids in a shaker or pitcher with plenty of ice and shake or stir to combine and chill. Strain into glasses, garnish and serve. (Or serve on the rocks, as I did)

For a Rob Roy, substitute Scotch for the whiskey or rye.

Here's a video of Bitty talking about his cocktail theory. 
Booze + Sweet + Sour = Cocktail. He's not called the Minimalist for nothing.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Deb's Thai-Flavoured Mojito

From Kahakai Kitchen:

Lacking any desire or ability to plan this week, I found myself sitting on the lanai in deep contemplation about what to make for this week's Simple Sipper. Looking to my herbs for inspiration, I noticed that the Thai basil needed some harvesting and the mint could use a little snipping too. Since I had purchased several little local limes that needed to be used, it quickly became apparent that a Thai-Flavored Mojito was the way to go.

I just mixed a little bit of everything in my fridge and bar together--the herbs, coconut water, limes, ginger syrup, coconut rum and a little soda water and of course, ice. ;-)

Thai-Flavored Mojito
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Recipe for 1 cocktail)

5-6 Thai basil leaves
5-6 mint leaves
3 lime wedges
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 Tbsp ginger syrup
2 oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
3 oz coconut rum (or rum of choice)
3 oz coconut water
3 oz tonic water

In the bottom of a tall glass, combine the mint, Thai basil, lime wedges and agave and muddle until mixed together and fragrant. Add ginger syrup, lime juice, coconut rum, coconut water and ice, then top off with the soda water. Stir gently to combine ingredients. Garnish with a lime slice and a couple of extra herbs. Enjoy! (Preferably outside on a warm evening.)

Notes/Results: Ahhh... perfectly refreshing, tangy and good. The Thai basil and mint combine nicely with the coconut, ginger and lime. I used agave syrup which gave it a touch of sweetness, but it is more tangy than sweet. You could do this without the coconut rum and coconut water, but it adds a nice touch. I will make these again.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Cocktail for Your Sore Throat -The Moscow Mule

I think it might even be travelling through the internet, this cough and cold that seems to be flattening my friends, no matter where they live. Clearly this is no ordinary cold, and, as such, calls for drastic measures. For every occasion there is a cocktail, even the occasional sore throat.

My own other half, who sort of resembles this photo, I guess, has been suffering from a particular harsh cough. As I am a doctor.. of alcohol (what? it's a thing..) I prescribed ginger. And lime. Bubbles. And ice. Don't forget the vodka... A Moscow Mule!

Moscow Mule
2-3 oz. vodka
Juice of ½ lime
Real Jamaican ginger beer

Get yourself a tall glass. Squeeze in the lime juice, more if you think they need extra vitamin C, add ice, vodka, and top with real Jamaican ginger beer. Add bendy straws. Serve to your patient. That ought to shut them up for a while.
Might as well make yourself one while you're at it..
Take two and call me in the morning. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day After Birthday Cocktail - Strawberry Mimosa

As some of you may know, my birthday was this weekend. Yesterday to be exact. A little anti-climactic as Charles is quite sick with the flu, but we can't always plan these things. And I am older, and I don't really need to celebrate.. but it was one of those birthdays that end in a zero. That leaves you feeling different. And old. Yesterday it took some getting used to. There were tears. My own, of course. But at the risk of sounding over-dramatic - I have been a birthday crier since the beginning.

But I was in good company. Even though Charles was down for the count for much of the day, I had Jack, above, and Leonard, below. Two very comforting fellows.

I can listen to Leonard for hours on end. Light candles and incense - nag champa is perfect. Patchouli and sandalwood are also appropriate. Close the blinds and settle into an over-stuffed chair and stare into the flickering light, moving only to bring the Jack to your lips as Leonard washes over you.
The puppies understand. They lay, unmoving, on the couch. Lulled by the troubadour's tones. Charles understands too. He can sit, and stare, and wait. For me.

And then.
It is the next day. And the pressure is off. And I can celebrate and be lighter. With bubbles. And strawberries.

Strawberry Mimosa
8oz freshly squeezed orange juice
10 strawberries, stemmed
3 ice cubes
Sparkling wine - I used Cava. Prosecco, or champagne would also be excellent.

Blend orange juice, strawberries, and ice until puréed. Pour halfway up two chilled champagne flutes. Top with sparkling wine. Feel your spirits getting lighter already.