Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Brujas and Peotches Halloween Cocktail

Here's a little something to get you going for Halloween. Tangy and sweet with a hidden bite. Muuaaaahhaaahaaahaaa. Happy Halloween my sweet little peotches. 

Brujas and Peotches Halloween Cocktail

2 shots peach (aka peotch) candy vodka

2 shots orange juice
topped with lemon lime soda

To  make the peach candy vodka, toss a good handful into a sealable glass jar along with about a cup or so of vodka. Let the candy get sauced for about 2 days, shaking the jar 3 times a day. Strain the vodka and you're ready to go.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

360 Double Chocolate Vodka

I missed National Vodka Day. That doesn't mean I don't have anything to share after the fact though.

THIS is a dangerous variety of vodka here. Yessirre.....it's so chocolately, so quafable, so smooth that you will have imbibed too much before you realize it. So, there is your warning.

Try it...oh my, by all means do try this particular flavor of 360 Vodka, but take it slowly!

Now let me tell you some interesting facts about the 360 Vodka brand.

It's roughly 40% ABV vodka from the United States and it is filtered with charcoal. It's also a company that is keen on environmental concerns. This vodka is produced by Earth Friendly Bottling Company. Labels are made with 100% post-consumer waste paper and the bottles (which are very pretty) are made with 85% recycled glass (70% post-consumer glass).

Much of this info I gleaned from the 360 website...I was checking out other products. Never hurts to do some online shopping before hitting the stores, right :-)

Here is a belated Happy National Vodka Day post.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cake Batter Martinis for National Vodka Day

It's National Vodka Day!  Why not grab a few girlfriends and get together with a batch of "girly" drinks and a chick-flick and celebrate it style!?
Cake Batter Martinis
source: girlichef

for rimming the glass:
Heavy Cream

for cocktail:
3 oz. Cupcake Vanilla Vodka (or use Cake or Whipped Vodka)
3 oz. Creme de Cacao (white)
2 oz. Amaretto
2 oz. Heavy Cream
1 oz. White Chocolate Liqueur (optional)

Start by rimming your martini glass: Pour a little heavy cream in a saucer. Pour some sprinkles in another saucer. Up-end your glass and dip the rim in the heavy cream. Now dip it in the sprinkles. Turn it right-side-up and shake up your cocktail.

Add some ice to a cocktail shaker. Add all of the ingredients for the martini. Put on the lid and shake for 30 seconds or until cold.


What are your favorite Vodka drinks?  "Girly" or otherwise...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Whiskey Spiked Tipsy Cherries

My son brought home a bottle of whiskey tipsy cherries a while back. Never had tried this brand before and I can say, I would certainly buy this cocktail garnish again. It added a bit of oomph to my Vodka Collins.

Starting at $10 per bottle, these long stemmed, whiskey soaked beauties add color and flavor to my drink. They would be quite tasty on a few scoops of ice cream too.

See, I am greedy……I always take double my share of cherries in my Collins.

From the website:
“For over 40 years Sable & Rosenfeld has created and distributed exceptional gourmet foods. Our wide variety of specialties includes cocktail garnishes, appetizers, condiments, and sauces, many of which are all-natural and kosher. Our proud heritage began in 1970 when the company was co-founded by Myra Sable and former partner, Carol Rosenfeld. Today, the Sable & Rosenfeld team has grown to over 200 dedicated associates supporting production and sales distribution internationally.”

I think I will have two more of the same.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Prickly Pear Margarita

It's one of those drinks that you have to try. Its the name. It's the color. It's the curiosity. And once you've tried it...

It's the love

Prickly Pear Margarita
4 prickly pears, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup water
3 1/2 cups crushed ice
3 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3 oz frozen limeade
6 oz silver tequila
4 1/2 oz triple sec (I used Citronge)
3 TB simple syrup
lime wedges and coarse salt to garnish

Once you have your prickly pears peeled and sliced, put them in your blender along with the 1/4 cup of water....and blend.

Strain into a bowl. You might need to get a spoon and help smoosh the fruit through the strainer. The only thing you want to leave behind are the seeds.
Place crushed ice in the blender. Add the prickly pear puree, lime juice, limeade, tequila, triple sec and simple syrup. Cover and pulse ingredients.
Garnish the rim of your glass with salt. Pour in the margarita. Add a lime wedge and serve

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Drink it Fast or Drink it Slow....

But your lips must touch the toe!

I totally need a severed toe for my bar.

And a crazy north Canadian pirate-like dude.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preparing for the Fall Harvest with Maker's Mark® Bourbon

Fall is in the air! Can you feel it?  Yes, my favorite season is starting to roll in and I am ready for cooler days and chilly nights.  What's better to accompany that chill than a good nip of bourbon?  Here are a few ways to prepare for the Fall Harvest days from  Maker's Mark® Bourbon.  Not only is it great to drink WITH your food, it is a wonderful compliment IN your food.

Apples and Bourbon 
recipe by: Elad Zvi (Co-Founder, Bar-Lab) 

1 ¾ parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon infused with apples 
½ part Aperol® Apertivo Liqueur 
¾ part lemon juice 
½ part thyme honey 
Dash maple bitters 

1. Add all ingredients into a shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously. 
2. Strain over ice into a rock glass. Garnish with thyme spring and apple slice 

Bourbon Chili 
recipe by: Tim Love (Owner & Chef, Lonesome Dove Western) 
Prep Time: 15 minutes. Cook Time: 4 hours. Level: Intermediate 
yield: serves 4-6 

2 pieces dried Ancho chilies 
1 piece dried Pasilla chile 
2 pieces dried Guajillo chilies 
2 pieces dried Chipotle chilies 
1 cup Maker’s Mark® Bourbon 
1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
2 lbs. boneless beef short ribs 
3 cups onion, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
½ teaspoon ground cumin 
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano 
½ teaspoon dried thyme 
¼ cup dark brown sugar 
¼ cup apple cider vinegar 
½ cup masa harina, if desired 
Salt and black pepper 
Additional Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, if desired 

1. Toast the chilies in a large, dry skillet over medium-low heat until lightly charred and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. 

2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and pour over the chilies. Weight the chilies down in the water and submerge with a paper towel. Allow the chilies to soften for about 20 minutes in the hot water. Drain the chilies once they are soft, reserving the soaking liquid. If you prefer your chili to be spicy, remove only the stem of the chilies, leaving the seeds intact. If you prefer a milder chili, take the time to open up the softened chili peppers and remove the seeds before adding the peppers to the blender. 

3. Add the softened chili peppers to the blender with 1 cup of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon. Puree until smooth. 

4. Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over high heat. Pat the short ribs dry with a paper towel and season them generously with salt and black pepper. Add the tablespoon of oil to the hot pan. Reduce the heat to medium high. Sear the short ribs on all sides until well browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the short ribs to a plate and pour off the browning liquid and fat into a small bowl. Return the pan to the heat. 

5. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 10 minutes, stirring often. 

6. Add the cumin, oregano, thyme, brown sugar, vinegar, browning liquid, chili water, and chili puree to the pot. Season with a heavy pinch of salt. Cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer over low heat until the meat is very tender, about 3 hours, turning the ribs every 30 minutes and adding water as necessary if the braise becomes too dry. 

7. Once the short ribs can break apart with a spoon, remove the ribs from the stew and break the short ribs apart into small chunks using two spoons or forks. 

8. The chili braise in the pot should be the consistency of a thick soup, reduce over low heat if necessary, or add more water to reach desired consistency. Skim any excess fat and oil from the surface of the chili and discard. Stir the pieces of short rib back into the chili braise. Add an extra splash of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon if you want. 

9. Thicken the stew with masa harina (fine cornmeal makes a great substitute) if you desire: Ladle 2 cups of chili into a bowl and stir in the masa harina. Return the mixture to the pot and stir in with the rest of the chili. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve the chili hot garnished with chopped scallions, cilantro, and/or sour cream. 

Bourbon Cornbread 
recipe by: Lee Anne Wong (Chef and Maker’s Mark® Cookbook Editor) 

1 cup cornmeal 
1 cup all-purpose flour 
¼ cup sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
½ teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark® Bourbon 
1½ cups whole milk 
4 eggs 
½ cup vegetable oil 
1 cup sweet corn kernels, pulsed in a food processor 

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, milk, eggs, oil, and shredded corn. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir until well combined. 

3. Pour the batter into a greased pan (loaf or cake pan). Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before using. 

How will you welcome Autumn with Maker’s Mark® Bourbon?

*recipes re-printed with permission of Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Margarita Clasica

- from the kitchen of JamieK - Cooking Through the Clippings

Salud!  That's what everyone is saying over at I Heart Cooking Clubs!  Hop on over there and try the fun libations everyone mixed up.  Selecting Rick Bayless' classic margarita was a no brainer for me.  I like 'em on the rocks or neat, like these.

And, in Rick's words, "Just remember:  They're strong."

Here's what you start with.  A good tequila, Cointreau (or other orange liqueur), fresh limes, a little sugar, and optional salt for rimming your glass.  Oh yes, and ice.

Allow me to say a little something about the tequila you select.  Make sure it is 100% Agave.  I can't tell you how many years it took for me to realize that the reason I had headaches after drinking tequila was because the cheapos I always used were half grain alcohol.  Select a nice quality tequila to keep in your liquor cabinet.

Prepare your glass if you like it rimmed with salt.  It's also nice to start out with a chilled glass.  Use a 6 ounce martini glass or if you have some of those cute cactus glasses those are fun too.  Run a slice of lime around the rim of the glass.

Dip the rim in salt.

Put ice, tequila-Cointreau-lime juice mixture and sugar i(if needed) in a cocktail shaker.  Put lid on and shake away.
Pour into your prepared glass and enjoy!  Sister Mary Margarita these are good!

Margarita Clasica
From Rick Bayless' Mexican Kitchen
Makes 4 generous drinks


1 cup tequila
1/2 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice, plus a wedge for moistening the rims of glasses
A little sugar if necessary
1/3 cup coarse (kosher) salt for crushing the rims of the glasses
About 3 cups medium ice cubes

Mise en place:

  • measure out tequila and Cointreau
  • squeeze juice from fresh limes
  • spread salt onto a plate that is large enough to accommodate the rim of your glass
  • have some sugar on hand in case you would like to sweeten your drink
  • measure out ice cubes then set in freezer
In a small pitcher, combine the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.  Taste and add more lime or a touch of sugar if desired (keep in mind that it will taste a little tangier once it's been shaken).

Moisten the rims of four 6-ounce martini glasses with a little lime juice (if you have a cut lime, even an already-squeezed one, just moisten the rims by running it around them).  Dip the rim of each glass in the salt, creating a thin, even crust all around the rim.

Pour half of the margarita mixture into a cocktail shaker, add half of the ice cubes and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds (this is important to achieve the perfect strength -- some of the ice needs to melt into the margarita -- and the right degree of frostiness).  Strain into two of the prepared glasses, then repeat with the remaining margarita mixture.

I'm sharing this recipe at IHCC

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chocolate Margarita

Ok... imagine a world.....dripping in chocolate and puddled with tequila.

Welcome to my world.

Chocolate Margarita
Chocolate Syrup
Finely chopped Mexican chocolate or bittersweet chocolate
1 cup tequila
3/4 cup chocolate liqueur (aka creme de cocoa)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup orange liqueur
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Generously w et the rim of your glass with the chocolate syrup. Don't be shy....lather up that glass rim! Then coat it with the chopped chocolate.

In a pitcher, combine the remaining ingredients. Working in batches, add the mixture to a shaker full of ice...shake, pour into prepared glass, and serve.

Monday, August 6, 2012


Olympic-Rings drink.jpg
Cheers to the friggin' Olympics!

Drunklympics: The 2012 Summer Olympics Drinking Game

If there was one thing you were thinking during Olympic beach volleyball action yesterday, it was, "Sports bra over a sleeved shirt and pants? Dangit." If there were two things you were thinking, they were, 1) "Sports bra over a sleeved shirt and pants? Dangit." 2) "I need a drink." We're here to help with number two. (We hear it, and we don't care.)

It's time for the Olympics Drinking Game. We hope you've been training all year, so you can go for the Goldschlager.

The 2012 Summer Olympics Drinking Game
1) Anytime you hear the name "Destinee Hooker," drink. This should be obvious. Not only is she awesome at volleyball, Hooker's name is also freaking amazing. Her parents shouldn't just be cheered, they should be repeatedly cheers-ed.

Wikipedia Creative Commons
Congrats on the radical name, Destinee

2) Every time Missy Franklin intimidates you (and/or makes you crave Franklin BBQ), drink.

Flickr Team USA
She's tall. She's fast. She makes you want brisket.

3) The Olympic Wedgie. It's bound to happen. Let's toast to an Olympic tradition. When you see a wedgie, drink.

gabby douglas.jpg
Cheers to you, Olympic Wedgie. There's nothing more Olympian than you.

4) Every time you see an Olympian's mom cry, drink. If she closes her eyes, drink. If she cusses, chug. (We saw a Aly Raisman's parents freak out the other day, which got us totally hammered.) If you see that P&G commercial about how Olympian moms are awesome, drink. (If it makes you cry, chug.)

5) When Bob Costas says "hard" and "semi" in the same sentence, do a shot. If Costas winks at you while saying "semis," run into the bathroom, lock the door and stay there for a while. If he says "semis" without the wink, just take a drink.

Wikipedia Creative Commons

6) Any moment you sigh loudly, throw your palms in the air or rub your forehead humbly over the ridiculous, Mythological-god-esque physique of the a) water polo teams or b) swimmers or c) volleyball teams: take one full shot and pour it on top of nachos. Eat it.

Flickr user Marcopako

7) Drink right now -- like pick something up off your desk and drink it -- if you know what the hell handball is without Wikipedia.

Flickr user Thomas Faivre-Duboz
What the hell is going on here.

8) Take a drink for any Olympics-related tweet that matches the following themes: staunch racism, Harry Potter, James Bond, a joke about the queen actually parachuting into the opening ceremonies, and the Swiss.

Hey guys, did you know the Olympics were in London? 

*Bonus drink: take a big drink any time you have an event's outcome spoiled in advance of the event (thanks to NBC's tape-delayed coverage).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Watermelon Mojitos

Need to cool down? I thought so.

It is about a billion degrees out there and we all need a little something to take the edge off. Preferably something with some booze in it. To help me forget that Canada feels a little too tropical lately.

And seriously, what is the most refreshing summer fruit? Watermelon! Mix that watermelon with lime, mint and rum? You have yourself a delicious deck cooler while you sit strategically under your umbrella, trying not to be actually incinerated by the sun's rays. Better keep the pitcher close, you are going to need refills.

Watermelon Mojitos
Mojito de Sandia
Recipe from "Fiesta at Rick's" cookbook
Online recipe source - rickbayless.com

Makes 8 12-ounce drinks
(as there are only 2 of us, I made the remainder in a pitcher)


8 large sprigs of fresh mint
4 cups cubed seedless watermelon—3/4-inch cubes are perfect here
1/2  cup Simple Syrup (below)
Ice cubes (you’ll need about 2 quarts)
2 cups white rum (Rick likes D’Aristi rum from Yucatan)
1/2 cup lime juice
Sparkling water or club soda


Set out 8 tall 12-ounce glasses.  Into each glass strip off the leaves from a single sprig of mint—you’ll need about 10 leaves for each drink—and top with 1/2 cup watermelon cubes.  Divide the Simple Syrup among the glasses (1 tablespoon - 1/2 ounce per glass).  Use a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon or a long-handle ice tea spoon—though neither is anywhere near as effective) to crush the mint and watermelon, releasing their flavor into the syrup—the more muddling, the fuller the flavors.   Fill each glass with ice.  Measure in the rum (1/4 cup - 2 ounces per glass) and the lime juice (1 tablespoon - 1/2 ounce per glass).  Use a long-handle ice tea spoon to mix everything together.  Top off each glass with a little sparkling water or soda and you’re ready to serve.

Simple Syrup
Makes 2 cups


1½ cups granulated sugar (the syrup tastes best made with organic evaporated cane juice)
1½  cups water
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and lime juice.  Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar granules.  Remove from the heat, cool and store in a closed container, preferably in the refrigerator for optimal freshness.

This syrup will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator.

My friend and I♥CC partner Deb of Kahakai Kitchen made the very same delicious cocktail this week, with wonderfully creative garnishes for a patriotic cocktail. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrate Independence Day in Style!

Celebrate Independence Day in Style!

This year, step away from the ordinary beverage of choice—July 4th is the largest beer consuming holiday in America—and create fun and festive cocktails for adults and mocktails that partyers of all ages can enjoy!

Red, White and Blueberry
Created by Lee Anne Wong
Serves 3

¼ part lime juice, freshly squeezed and strained
¼ part lemon juice, freshly squeezed and strained
½ part orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained
4 parts Maker’s Mark® Bourbon
1 part simple syrup
4 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
Assorted berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries
Splash club soda


Combine the juices, Maker’s Mark® Bourbon, simple syrup, and mint leaves in a large shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into 3 tall glasses over ice and add a splash of soda. Cut berries and mint leaves as garnish. Serve immediately.

Pisco Fireworks


1 part Portón
1 part of Drambuie
¼ part of Campari
¼ part lime juice


Combine and chill all ingredients. Serve in a martini glass with an orange wedge and twist of lime.

The Summer Escape
Image: Linda Bergonia/FollowSpot Media 


2 parts Tequila Avión Reposado
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
4 One-Inch Cubes Fresh Watermelon
Squeeze Agave Nectar


Muddle watermelon with agave nectar in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients, and shake vigorously with ice. Fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish as desired.

And for the kids…

American Mockarita


1 SLAP FROZEN Energy Strawberry-Frost


Empty one frozen SLAP FROZEN Energy pouch into a margarita glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Raspberries and Cream

In my obsession with Chambord, I wanted needed to try a creamy version of the deliciousness of my new found love. I was seeking the more delicate side. Not that Chambord isn't delicate as is...but adding cream to anything just makes it more so. In the presences of this sweet, innocent looking cocktail you'll feel young again as it is, in my opinion, the perfect dessert drink. But be careful, because it sneaks up ya. You're dealing with a wolf in sheep's clothing.

1/2  - 1 oz spiced rum (depending on your personal tolerance)
3/4 oz Chambord
3 oz Raspberry mix (2/3 cup pureed frozen raspberries mixed with 1 cup simple syrup)
2 oz heavy cream
Fresh raspberries to garnish

Combine and serve

Oh...and if you're mind is fast forwarding and you're wondering about Strawberries and Cream? Ya...it's just as good. Although I don't have strawberry liqueur...that's my next mission.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Chambord Lemonade

I have been introduced to the new love of my life....CHAMBORD! The deliciously fantastic raspberry liqueur. If you're ever looking for that true raspberry taste in your drink, look no further.

Chambord Lemonade

1 shot Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
1 shot fresh lemon juice
1 shot vodka
1 shot simple syrup
2 shots Sprite (or other lemon/lime soda)
Lemon slice to garnish

Mix together the first 4 ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake to chill, pour into glass and top with Sprite. Garnish with lemon slice.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

Cocktail Puppy wishes all its American friends a safe and peaceful Memorial Day and thanks all the brave men and women who defend their country and try to make the world a safer place.

Many people celebrate with family, friends and good food and drink. May you all have a joyful day of thanks and remembrance, and good times with the ones you love.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Avoid the Confusion this Cinco de Mayo – Go with the World’s Greatest Margarita!

Margaritas come in all shapes, sizes, and in a variety of ways –from mango to strawberry, to frozen or straight up. With all of these types of margaritas available, deciding which to drink on Cinco de Mayo can be tricky. So why not save yourself the trouble and go with the best?

Tequila Avión certainly proved to be the best at this year’s renowned, trend-setting San Francisco World Spirits Competition with five awards. In addition to winning Double Gold and Best Tequila, Tequila Avión Silver stole the Best Unaged White Spirit category—beating all other vodkas, gins, and rums who dared to compete. And really, how can they? Tequila is setting the spirits industry ablaze, while blanco tequila specifically is rising to be one of the top spirits trends of 2012. Who can argue, when Tequila Avión is the secret ingredient to the crowned World’s Greatest Margarita at last year’s Sixth Annual World Margarita Championship held in Tucson, AZ.

Tequila Avión is taste elevated; produced with only the finest Blue Weber Agave found in the highest regions of Jalisco, Mexico. Sourced from the world’s highest quality agave and produced through a rare distillation process, Tequila Avión offers Añejo, Reposado, and Silver expressions to choose from.

Tamarindo Margarita

Judges' choice for the World's Greatest Margarita

·         2 oz. Tequila Avión Silver

·         1 oz. Grand Marnier

·         1/2 oz. lime juice

·         1/2 oz. orange juice

·         1/2 tsp. tamarindo puree

·         1 tsp. sugar

·         Rim glass with coarse salt and chili powder

·         Lime wheel and tamarindo peel for garnish


Combine tequila, Grand Marnier, lime juice, orange juice, tamarindo purée and sugar in a shaker with ice. Strain into a Margarita glass and garnish with a lime peel.

Tamarino purée: To make enough purée to prepare four Margaritas, begin with 1½ pounds of fresh tamarindos. Boil the fruit for approximately 45 minutes or until they are tender. Allow the fruit to cool and strain to remove the seeds. Add ½ tsp. of salt and sugar and then blend the fruit pulp until a purée.

Now being served at fine bars and restaurants, including La Fuente Restaurant in Tuscon, AZ.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Garlic Basil Infused Vodka

Apparently vodka is very impressionable. There are so many different things you can infuse it with. Here's a little something fun to do...

Garlic Basil Infused Vodka. 

1 bulb of garlic (bulb...not clove)
2 large sprigs of fresh basil
750 ml premium vodka
32 oz jar with a lid

Separate the cloves of garlic and remove all the skins. Combine the garlic, basil and vodka in the jar.
Cover and store in a dark place, at room temperature, for 4 days. Strain it though a coffee filter.
Store in a pretty little jar the same way you'd store your regular vodka.

Note: The garlic flavor is strong. You have to really like garlic to appreciate this infusion. Of course you could use less garlic in the process to tone it down if you must....but why?! 

And once that's done....make yourself one heck of a martini!

Vampire's Hell Martini

1.5 oz Garlic Basil Infused Vodka
.25 oz Dry Vermouth
Lemon Zest to garnish 
Olive to garnish

Shake or stir the vodka and vermouth with ice. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with lemon zest and an olive if desired. 


*Adapted from About.com*

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mothers and Fathers can both Toast this New Wine Mobile App

Find the perfect wine pairings 
for Mother’s Day brunch and Father’s Day barbecue

Toronto, April 13, 2012 – A new free mobile application will change the way that parents feel appreciated this May and June. Adult offspring eager to please their parents can find the perfect wine matches for Mother’s Day brunch and Father’s Day barbecues on the Wine Picks & Pairings: Natalie MacLean app.

“Please stop buying your parents soap and neckties; they’re just being polite when they say ‘thank-you dear’,” pleads Natalie MacLean, editor of Ontario’s largest wine site at www.nataliemaclean.com. “You can still be Mommy’s or Daddy’s little helper even though you’re all grown up. Give them a terrific bottle of wine that you can share as you cringe at those old vacation photos together.”

Under the Pairings tab of the wine app, you’ll find Natalie’s top 5 matches for Mother’s Day Brunch:

1. Spanish omelette with Pinot Grigio
2. Spinach and bacon quiche with Sauvignon Blanc
3. Crepes Suzette with Icewine
4. French toast and raspberries with Champagne
5. Smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagels with Pinot Noir

Natalie’s top 5 wine matches for Father’s Day barbecue:

1. Seared Pepper Steak with Shiraz
2. Planked Salmon with Riesling
3. Flame-Broiled Hamburgers with Zinfandel
6. Grilled Chicken with Chardonnay
9. BBQ Pork Chops with Merlot

The new Wine Picks & Pairings app is the next generation of Natalie’s mobile app, and is the only Canadian wine app featured on Apple’s iTunes store under App Essentials for “Apps for Foodies” and “Pocket Sommelier.” The app is also available for Android and BlackBerry. Other smartphones can access the mobile site. Those who don't have a smartphone can still browse thousands of wine reviews and pairings to create custom shopping lists on the web site.

The app’s key features allow you to:

- Instantly access tasting notes, scores, prices, recipes and food pairings via a point-and-click bar code scanner

- Search 150,000 wines at the LCBO and other wine retailers across the country

- Find out how many bottles of each wine are in stock at the LCBO you’re in as well as nearby stores via GPS real-time inventory search

- Track your purchases in your virtual cellar log with just a few clicks or add them with one click of the bar code scanner

- Create a wine journal with your own wine notes and pictures in the app

- Create custom shopping lists for special occasions and favourite wines

- Share your wines and pairings on Twitter and Facebook

You can download the app for iPhone and iPod Touch, Android and BlackBerry. Other smartphones can use the mobile site.

About Natalie

Natalie MacLean is the Ontario author of Red, White and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search for the World’s Best Bargain Wines, which Amazon chose as one of the Best Books of 2011. She connects with more than 135,000 wine and food lovers who get her free e-newsletter. Natalie is the only person to have won both the M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award from the James Beard Foundation and the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing from Les Dames d'Escoffier International. She was named the World’s Best Drinks Writer at the World Food Media Awards. More bio bunk here: www.nataliemaclean.com/bio.

Connect with Nat on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google +.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Maker’s Mark’s Perfect Mint Julep Recipe for Derby Day

It’s time to press your seersucker suit and unpack your fanciest hat because racing around the corner comes the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby on May 5th! More than just a sporting event, Derby is as much about fashion and sipping mint juleps as it is horse racing. So, what exactly is a mint julep? It sounds simple – ice, bourbon, sugar and mint – but the truth is there’s a lot of prep that goes into making this iconic drink correctly.

Maker’s Mark is one of Kentucky’s finest premium bourbons, handcrafted at the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world. Rob Samuels, eighth generation distiller and grandson of Maker’s Mark Founder Bill Samuels Sr., has happily offered up his family’s personal recipe for The Perfect Mint Julep so that you can share it with our readers. (See below)

For those who don’t have enough time to make juleps, Rob suggests trying Maker’s 46 – the first new bourbon from Maker’s Mark in 52 years. Best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, Maker’s 46 is finished with seared French oak staves and offers a bolder and more complex taste than the original Maker’s Mark. It has a rich, creamy caramel and vanilla flavor with a big, oaky finish. 

“The Perfect Mint Julep”
(Serves 14-16) or Natashya, either one.


1 liter Maker’s Mark® Bourbon

Lots of fresh spearmint

Distilled water

Granulated sugar

Powdered sugar

    To prepare the mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves – wash and place in a small mixing bowl.  Cover with 3 ounces of Maker’s Mark.  Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes.  Then, gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky.  Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times.  Then set aside.

    To prepare the simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a cooking pot.  Heat to dissolve the sugar.  Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn.  Set aside to cool.

    To prepare the mint julep mixture, pour 3 ½ cups of Maker’s Mark into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher.  (Pour the remaining whisky from the liter bottle into another container and save it for another purpose).  Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the Maker’s Mark.

    Now, begin adding the mint extract a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture.  Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added.  You may have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose.  The tendency is to use too much mint.  You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste – generally about 3 tablespoons.

    When you think its right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to “marry” the flavors.

    To serve the mint julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) half full with shaved ice.  Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup.  Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.

    When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice, add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice and serve.

For other great cocktail recipes using Maker’s Mark Bourbon, visit www.makersmark.com