Monthly Archives: October 2012

Zingiber officinale

I have to say, one of the joys of writing this blog is discovering random and fascinating facts about the things I’m writing about.

Take, for instance, ginger. In doing a very minimal amount of research on this delicious root, I’ve learned that ginger is a “rhizome” of the plant Zingiber officinale. What’s a rhizome, you ask?! Well, I learned that too! A rhizome is, apparently, a “horizontal, underground plant stem capable of producing the shoot and root systems of a new plant.” And did you know that ginger is also part of the same plant family as turmeric and cardamom? Awesome. I really do love compiling sort of useless bits of information about random things, if only so I can pull them out at social gatherings and mildly impress people.

But I digress. As you’ve probably guessed by now, today’s cocktail does, in fact, contain ginger. Or more accurately, ginger beer. And man, is it tasty.

I call it The LIC, in honor of my former place of residence, since I sort of took a traditional Manhattan and turned it on its head and gave it a spicy ginger kick in the behind. Perhaps I’m blaspheming one of our most beloved traditional cocktails, but honestly, I don’t really care. It’s interesting and delicious, and honestly, isn’t that what matters in the end?


*1 part bourbon (I’ve been loving Bulleit in cocktails lately)
*1/2 part sweet vermouth
*1/2 part St. Germain
*A few dashes of aromatic bitters
*A few dashes of rose water
*Splash of lemon juice
*1 part ginger beer

Shake everything except the ginger beer together, pour into a nice, cool highball glass and then top it all off with that bubbly ginger beverage. Just the thing for that end-of-the-week celebration cocktail.

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Do you guys remember that soap opera Passions? Bear with me for a second here, because this is going to get weird. I swear, I’ll bring it around to a cocktail by the end.

In case you don’t remember, it basically involved a bunch of attractive people standing around in a minimal amount of clothing, but it also somehow involved a witch named Tabitha and her dwarf doll Timmy (before he was made into a real boy by “Little Angel Girl”?!). Here’s a classic scene, and go to the Timmy’s Wikipedia page if you want to see how Passions was apparently a soap opera version of Twin Peaks – the whole thing is very weird, and then it gets weirder. In 2002, they killed off the character of Timmy on the show. Incredibly…the GUY WHO PLAYED TIMMY DIED ON THE SAME DAY! My mind is being blown here, and I might need to do a dissertation on this entire phenomenon. It’s fascinating.

ANYwho, let’s bring this around to cocktails as I promised. I recently rediscovered my love for Tazo Passion tea and how fantastic in can be in cocktails…hence the musings on dwarves and witches. I’m also trying my hand at using wine in cocktails, so it’s getting all kinds of crazy here in this Savannah household. For this particular cocktail – I call it The Timmy Lenox – I used an amazing rosé by Muga. If you haven’t tried it, the price point is pretty great, and it’s totally delicious. Here ya go!

The Timmy Lenox

*1 part Rosé
*1/2 part Bourbon
*1/2 part St. Germain
*Splash of Fernet-Branca
*1 part Tazo Passion
*Splash of lemon juice
*2 dashes aromatic bitters

It may make you have dreams about witches and dwarves, but I swear it’s worth it. Until next time!

English with a Twang

I’m not sure if British folks and people from Kentucky (Kentuckians?) get along in the non-cocktail world. My guess is that, given Kentucky’s overwhelming support of Mitt Romney combined with said presidential candidate’s recent kind-of-disastrous trip to the fine city of London might not bode well for this relationship.

However! I guarantee that if the Brits and the bourbon makers would just sit down and share one of these delicious concoctions I’m about to share with you fine readers, they would let bygones be bygones and become the best of friends.
It’s called British Bluegrass, and it might just be my favorite cocktail yet. Who knew that combining the UK’s favorite herbal liqueur with Kentucky’s prodigal son, bourbon, would yield such spectacular results? But in the hands of this unemployed New York transplant, it somehow has. Here she is:

British Bluegrass

*1 part Pimm’s No. 1
*1/2 part bourbon (Bulleit worked juuust fine)
*1/2 part Esprit de June (a little French thrown in never hurt anyone)
*1 part apple juice (Simply Apple is my jam)
*Lime juice (a few splashes ought to do)
*2 dashes aromatic bitters

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Chillier Times

Even though it still feels like summer down here in Savannah – seriously you guys, it’s going to be a high of 82 on Thursday, and I’m not gonna hide my excitement – I understand that in most other places in the country, autumn is in full force. And I think I’ve just come up with the perfect drink for this particular time of year.

But before we get down to it, I need to take a second to talk about one of my new favorite things in life – plum bitters.

I just picked these up yesterday and boy oh boy, am I excited about the possibilities. These bitters are not messing around. Bold and unapologetic, this stuff will knock the socks off of your average cocktail. It’s present, unusual and most importantly, delicious if used in the right context and the right amount. And going with our theme of autumn here, I think they taste as close to a crisp fall day as you can get, this side of apple cider of course. I’m thrilled with the discovery.

So here it is, in all it’s autumnal glory, the cocktail in question. I call it, appropriately I think, Fall’s Arrival.

Fall’s Arrival

*1 part gin (honestly, I keep trying to give other gins a chance, but Hendrick’s always seems to come out on top)
*1/2 part St. Germain
*1/2 part Pimm’s No. 1
*1 part grapefruit juice (I know, I know…enough with the grapefruit juice. Obviously I have a problem)
*3 dashes plum bitters

Put all of that in your best cocktail shaker and go to town. I’m really proud of this one. It’s complex and interesting. The combo of the subtle spice of the Pimm’s and the boldness of the plum bitters really sing, and the St. Germain adds just the right amount of sweetness. So put on a light jacket, crunch some leaves under your feet, and then come home and make yourself up one of these. It’ll make that perfect fall day that much better.

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More bubbly

I’m on a prosecco kick these days, so I’m just going to run with it. It’s too delicious not to.

Look! It’s so delicious, the drink is almost gone!

Clearly, I don’t have a lot to say today, but just know that mixing delicious rye with St. Germain and champagne – and throwing a little Sriracha in for good spicy measure – will really make your day. I call it The Sassafras, for no good reason at all, really. But it’s a fun word to throw around and I’m not going to fight it. So without further ado…

The Sassafras

*1/2 part rye (bourbon should work here too)
*1/2 part St. Germain
*1 part grapefruit juice
*Splash of pomegranate juice
*Dash of orange bitters
*A few drops of Sriracha (not too many…maybe about 6?)
*1 part prosecco

Shake all ingredients except for the prosecco, pour into a glass and then stir in the prosecco. It’s pleasing to the palette, I promise.

I’m off to Atlanta for a few days, so I’ll likely be away from the blogosphere for a while. I’ll make sure to say hi to Andre 3000 while I’m there though. See ya!

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Esprit de Discovery

I love new discoveries. I recently stumbled across this in my local liquor store.

It’s called Esprit de June. Full disclosure…I definitely bought it because the bottle is really cool. I’m a slave to marketing, and I fully accept that.

But! It also happens to be delicious. According to the bottle, “Esprit de June is a rare liqueur crafted with ephemeral flowers from ugni-blanc, merlot and cabernet-sauvignon grape varietals.” While that may sound entirely bourgeoisie, I’m willing to accept the haughty nature of that description because it’s a very lovely, kind of exquisite liqueur. It reminds me a little bit of St. Germain, but it’s a little more subtle and not as sweet. And somehow it manages to be delicate while still being very present in a cocktail. I’m a really big fan, and not just because it reminds me of ladies from the 80s.

As soon as I tried Esprit de June, I knew it would pair extremely well with sparkling wine. And lo and behold, it does! If you’re looking to impress your friends and spice up your brunch cocktails, this will definitely do the trick. Honestly, I could probably put together five different champagne cocktails with just this and things I have hanging around the house. But here’s one that I thought was particularly delicious.

Esprit de Mimosa

*2 parts prosecco
*1/2 part Esprit de June
*1 part cranberry juice
*Dash of orange bitters
*Splash of lime juice

It’s guaranteed to make that brunch you’re hosting at your humble abode that much more fancy. And who doesn’t want a little more fancy?!

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More Voodoo

In the spirit of keeping my promises to you, my small group of faithful blog readers, I have forged ahead valiantly with an attempt to make a cocktail with the daunting Rogue Maple Bacon Ale that I posted about yesterday. And you know what?! It’s not half bad. I think it actually turned out pretty well, so without further ado, here it is:

The Voodoo Hound

*1 part Rye Whiskey (I used “ri” in this case – it’s less robust than a traditional rye, and bourbon could probably be substituted here – more on this in a minute)
*1 part St. Germain
*2 parts grapefruit juice (Hey assholes! Use the fancy stuff!)
*1 part Rogue Maple Bacon Ale
*1 part seltzer
*Lemon juice (a few splashes)
*2 dashes aromatic bitters

Put everything except the beer and seltzer in a cocktail shaker, shake it up, pour it into a highball glass and then add the beer and seltzer. It’s kind of a smoky, bacony, mapley delight.

And just a note on rye here. I tend to prefer rye that’s not entirely traditional. I find many ryes to be a little too harsh (Bulleit Rye comes to mind). But I know that’s just me, so if you’re a big fan of traditional ryes in all their robust glory, feel free to tell me to shut the hell up and use one of those instead. I’m merely here to guide and mildly entertain. Until next time.

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Hoodoo Voodoo

Hi everyone!

For all 7-10 of you who read this…I’m back! Sorry for the extended hiatus – I was in New York for the premiere of the PBS documentary project I just finished working on – Half the Sky, check it out! – so the blog took a bit of a backseat. But now that I’m back in the world of porch swings and unemployment – phew! – I’m back at it.

Lots of things to talk about in the next few days, but I had do a little review about this crazy concoction first:

That’s right – Bacon Maple Ale, brought to you by your friends at the Rogue Brewery AND Voodoo Doughnut, two longstanding residents of that lovely town of Portland, OR. For those of you who don’t know, Voodoo is a fantastic doughnut shop franchise in Portland, famous for its maple bacon doughnut above all. Amazing.

I saw this in my local gas station market – surprisingly good beer selection there…who knew?! – and my curiosity (and weakness for manipulative marketing AND love of bacon) got the best of me. I had to try it. I mean, look at that bottle!

The result is…well…I’m still trying to figure it out. My first taste was pretty shocking and unpleasant. It’s extremely smoky and yet sweet at the same time (not surprising, I suppose) and I can’t imagine drinking an entire bottle of it. I almost gave up on it since my first reaction was so visceral, but my perseverance won the day and I went back in for more. And you know, it’s not half bad. It’s strange, interesting and certainly adventurous. And it smells wonderful.

Ultimately, I don’t think it’s a success, but I commend the folks at both institutions for trying something pretty ballsy. And what the hell – I’m going to try to make a cocktail out of it before the bottle is done. It could be an utter disaster, but I enter into the adventure with reckless abandon, in the hopes that deliciousness will be had. I’ll report back soon!

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