- First, did you catch our post for Bastille Day? French wine and macaron towers can be enjoyed any day BTW.
- I don’t know if the French are better drinkers than us, but I do know that 3 tequilas equals floor.
- And since we have some bottles of wine open, here’s all the BBQ foods and their perfect wine pairings.
- Ice… has a history. Read all about it here.
- If you’re in LA soon, with your pup, here’s where you can drink!
- Boozy doughnuts for your breakfast!
- How the Cognac industry is combating climate change.
- Tales of the Cocktail starts tomorrow and Thirsty has some tips if you’re new to this event.
- Beer contracts allow you to sue flaky friends… and this isn’t even in the US!!
- And finally, here’s a great read on the science of sweetness in cocktails.
This post is brought to you by Louis Jadot wine. Recipes and ideas are my own.
We LOVE a reason to entertain around Stir and Strain headquarters, and while the fireworks have died down (mostly) around Los Angeles, we’re still seeing some blue, white, and red in our future as Sunday the 14th is Bastille Day. And what better way to celebrate than with some french wine— Louis Jadot to be exact, and a colorful macaron tower… that you get to build AND eat?!
If you plopped me somewhere in France today, with all the pastries and desserts laid out in front of me, my first instinct would be to sprint towards the macarons. Yes, sprint. Macarons are like tiny empty canvases waiting to be filled with delicious flavor combinations. Also, I find them hard to just have one, and a party becomes instantly better for me if a platter has been laid out. And if you’ve managed to create a tower of them I will gush about your party foreverrrrrr.
But why celebrate Bastille Day if you’re not in France, or not French? Because we just have a love of French food and culture. And we still have our 4th of July decorations up from last week (kidding). There’s also a lot of interesting history there as well. Personally, I am huge history buff and my favorite types of books delve into the intricacies of a country’s politics and culture. Bastille Day actual celebrates the storming of the Bastille, a prison, and the beginnings of the French Revolution and democracy in the country.
Interested to know a bit more? While there are numerous books one could read, recently I just finished the book A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel, a favorite author of mine, which follows the characters who made up the French Revolution and their lives through the revolutionary times. Funny at times, violent at others, it was an intense read about events I really knew little about. When speaking of the revolution in France, I think most Americans might recall Marie Antoinette saying “let them eat cake”, and they definitely will recall a guillotine or two, but wow, those times were so much more than that and I highly suggest this particular novel to get a real sense of the years that surrounded the changes in the country.
But let’s get back to entertaining. First, go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine. We’re pouring a Beaujolais and Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay from Louis Jadot. Both of the wines work well with desserts and are great party wines if you’re considering a spread of french foods like cheeses, seafoods, and light meats. The Beaujolais is 100% Gamay with juicy flavors of strawberry and black cherry with a little spicy black pepper. While the Chardonnay, made with 100% Chardonnay grapes, is more floral with apple and citrus aromas and slightly mineral notes. They are also both reasonably priced if you are looking for a few bottles or more to serve at your fête.
Now, the macaron tower. My biggest pet peeve about all the macaron towers out there is that the entire thing is not edible. Most are stuck on to a styrofoam tower, held in place with buttercream or a toothpick. While it can be impressive in height, I’d rather have a dessert tower that can be fully enjoyed by my guests. So, I decided to make this more of a “petit” tower, and have as my structure for the macarons to sit on be tiered vanilla cake. I mean, I wouldn’t be disappointed to be served a piece of cake with macarons covering it. This does mean baking a few small cakes (like, 3), but if you have the basic pantry staples around and a few small cake tins or even ramekins, this comes together quite quickly. And the macarons, while you most definitely can make those two, I just happen to have a favorite macaron shop here in Los Angeles I got mine from (and that is just far enough away I don’t visit them everyday… that would be dangerous for me).
If you’d like to make this taller, you can bake a larger base and build up from there. Height is totally up to you, but for me, I found three cake layers sufficient for a small party.
Et Voilà! Let’s pour another glass of wine, make some buttercream, and build a macaron tower for Bastille Day.
For the cakes
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg
1-1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350, and grease a 6″ round cake pan, a 4″ cake pan, and a 4 ounce ramekin. Line the bottom of the pans with a round of parchment paper.
- In a medium-size bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until creamy, 1-2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well-combined, about 15 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add half of the this to the batter and beat for just a few seconds before stirring in half of the buttermilk. Continue beating. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat, and then stir in the remaining milk.
- Divide the batter into the prepared pans, about 2/3 of the way up the pan. Bake smallest cake 16-18 minutes, and the larger cakes 35-37 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool on a wire rack in the pan. Carefully remove it from the pan, pulling away the parchment paper once it has cooled.
For the buttercream
1 cup unsalted butter
4-5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
salt to taste
In a stand mixer, beat butter until creamy, 1-2 minutes and then slowly pour in 4 cups of the powdered sugar. Add in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Beat mixture until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. If mixture is too soft, add in more powdered sugar up to 1 cup, a quarter cup at a time. Beat in a pinch of salt. Set aside.
(these can be any flavor, we are just looking for the blue, white, and red of the French flag)
11 blue macarons
8 white macarons
8-9 red macarons
Once cakes have cooled, lightly frost outside of cakes. Add an extra dollop of buttercream between each layer of cake to secure each layer. Next fill a piping bag with the remaining buttercream and pipe a quarter sized dot around the edges of each cake layer. Secure a macaron in place, pressing lightly to hold. Place a small dollop on the very top layer and secure 2-3 macarons in place at an angle. Enjoy with a glass of Louis Jadot wine!
- First, YAY and congrats to Ashley Rose Conway’s fun summer cocktail book Celebrate Rosé. Which is what I plan to do this summer with a cocktail or two.
- Oh HELLO, I’d like a Breakfast Martini please.
- There’s been a number of distilleries catching fire and now Jim Beam is suffering a major loss.
- And then there was “Dry July”...
- I mean, if your beer tastes like blood you should definitely toss it.
- Pink gin is apparently just as bad as drinking soda.
- Come for the whiskey, stay for the…slide?!
- I’ll take a Negroni with a “coconut blast” please and thanks.
- Steeped in nostalgia, this punch will get you and 30 of your friends blasted.
- And lastly, science says having four friends you meet up with twice a week to have drinks with means you’ll live longer. Or something like that.
- First, if you’ve got a case of the summertime sniffles, let this Low Rent Cocktail of the Month help you out (p.s. I’m not a doctor).
- If you’re not turning a watermelon into a serving vessel then what are you even doing with your summer?!
- Do you call bars with a hidden entrance a speakeasy? I stopped doing that. Usually just refer to them has having an annoying way to get in.
- What wines should you drink this week and all summer long? Maybe start with these...
- When it’s too hot for clothes but you still want to drink, you should try this pub.
- Folks, we now have yet another option when it comes to replacing egg whites in cocktails. You might need to break out some crackers.
- Spirited Award nominees are up on the site! Taking bets on winners...
- Wasps… they’re good for California wine.
- Negroni Week has wrapped up for 2019 and the drink just celebrated its 100th birthday.
- And finally, last year’s roundup of 4th of July drinks still works for this year.
It’s been forever since I’ve handed out a Low Rent Cocktails to you all. So, I thought I’d throw you one for all the dads out there since we just celebrated Father’s Day. The dads just trying to get through the night with a sick kid. I bring you… The Dr. Dad.
Guys, this was my father’s cure for whatever ails myself or my sister had when he had the misfortune of having to watch us while my mom was working second shift. I mean, I’m not sure it’s super acceptable to give your 6 year old the equivalent of snake oil from the 1860s, but, you know, I turned out JUST FINE what with me writing about booze for a career. And now I give my toddler real medicine from the drugstore and withhold this prescription for mama.
So, do you have the summer sniffles? Are your allergies acting up? Do you suffer from male pattern baldness or shingles? This might not cure any of those things but darnit this stuff is tasty. And easy! Got a shot glass or juice cup nearby? You’re already halfway there.
1 ounce of whiskey
1/2 ounce of honey
squeeze of lemon
Combine in a shot glass. Microwave for 10 seconds. Shoot it back. Repeat if necessary.
The Low Rent Cocktail series is an occasional column on Stir and Strain where the boundaries of “good taste” are pushed to the limit, or more often than not, pushed out the window. Enjoy at your own risk.
- First, give a listen to how we owe a lot to Filipino bartenders for the tiki bars we know and love today.
- Yeast, fermentation… it’s how scotch gets its FLAVOR.
- There’s booze INSIDE Disneyland now! If you can get a reservation that is...
- Go to Tokyo, dress like a ninja, throw some sharp pointy things, and DRINK!!!!
- Ever wonder when all those barrel aged cocktails started appearing everywhere? Here’s the history on that.
- That favorite cocktail history story… is probably wrong. Learn all about those myths and some great recipes in this book.
- I’m ALL about the boozy popsicles this summer and I think these Piña Colada pops need to get made STAT.
- What wine to drink this summer. From Whole Foods.
- Do you have a desert island booze bottle? Check out these picks from some booze experts.
- And finally, click here if you want $20 off the chance to beat the crap out of a giant piñata until it rains booze.
- First, have you all checked out our summer bar cart and beyond picks?! You need Negroni socks.
- Also, we have Blue Hawaii Popsicles and you should really already be enjoying them.
- I like the idea of drinking “weird” rosés instead of just plain old rosés.
- I love cider and I’d love to see it explode onto the market.
- I’m fine with having a bite to eat at a winery but don’t make me sit through a GD comedy show there too.
- Yeah, sure, dress my salad with a Margarita. I’m cool with that.
- Looking for the prettiest cocktails in Boston? There’s a list for that.
- It’s summer so you need to know how to pair wine and watermelon.
- I’m all for choosing to drink or not drink or however you’d like to live your life, but really, sober curious just sounds dumb to me.
- And finally, I’m totally fine with a baby opossum accompanying my $1 Applebees cocktails thank you.
There are so many events you need to buy things for during the summer. I think we covered them all here. Let’s make a drink…
You’re going to most likely be outside this summer…a lot. So take happy hour with you with an outdoor bar cart. And fill it with cans of rosé and a few summery bar tools. Need to take your cocktails to the beach, or a lake, or, I dunno, a forest? You’ll never lose your spot with a bright, sunny cooler. And if you plan to just live in the water all summer long: floating cup holders! Oh, and did you remember to buy Dad sometime for Father’s Day Sunday? Send him some socks… Negroni socks.
Catch up on all the gift guides here!
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
If you’re a regular reader around here then you know I am a big fan of all things tiki. And if you’re new, well, I’m a big fan of all things tiki! So, for our latest round of Boozy Popsicles for summer, I decided to revisit the very first tiki drink that I made years ago for our very first tiki party: The Blue Hawaii cocktail. This is a memorable drink for its bright blue hue thanks to Blue Curacao, and this kind of technicolor drink is what many people might associate tiki drinks with (along with tiny paper umbrellas).
At the time of the party I went out and bought one of those giant drink dispensers. Standing around making tiki drinks to order was not how I wanted to spend my entire evening. I filled it with this drink thinking to myself, this is way too much; no one is going to consume this much of a blue drink. Well, to my surprise they did, and there were a number of people bummed when it was all gone. Why? Because it’s just a great, easy drinking cocktail: rum, blue curaçao, citrus, pineapple, and coconut cream. And this winning combo easily translates into a flavorful popsicle.
To sweeten up these popsicles, we’re using Truvia® Natural Sweetener packets along with fresh citrus instead of the bottled sweet and sour mix that is usually called for in this recipe. That means your popsicles will have fewer calories, and none of that gross synthetic stuff, thanks to zero-calorie Truvia. And they will taste just as sweet! I love using the Truvia packets for these recipes because it means one less thing I have to measure, just count out a few packets and you’re done.
Also, if you’re looking to make these non-alcoholic, just sub the white rum with a bit more pineapple juice and coconut cream. Or add in a few more pineapple chunks! These jewel-toned popsicles are so beautiful everyone’s going to be asking for one!
Now, the look of these popsicles will change depending on what kind of popsicle mold you have. I have a lay-flat kind like this, however, you might have the kind that is vertical. You can layer these any way you’d like. Or even just mix everything together and freeze. It’s really up to you and won’t change the taste.
Ok, let’s make some popsicles! Tiny paper umbrellas optional!
Blue Hawaii Popsicles
makes 5, 3-1/2 ounce popsicles
5 ounces coconut cream
4 Truvia Natural Sweetener packets
10 pineapple chunks
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
4 ounces white rum
3 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
3-1/2 ounces pineapple juice
blue food dye
- Mix together the coconut cream and Truvia Natural Sweetener packets. Set aside.
- If you have the lay-flat molds, insert popsicle sticks. If not, skip this step for now.
- Place pineapple chunks in the mold and then pour in coconut cream evenly between molds.
- Freeze for about an hour.
- While the cream layer is freezing, mix the blue layer by combining lime juice, white rum, lemon juice, pineapple juice and blue dye.
- Remove popsicle molds from freezer, pour in blue mixture, add popsicle sticks if using vertical molds, and place back into freezer. Freeze at least 8 hours or overnight.
- To serve, remove from freezer and let stand about 5 minutes. Gently remove and serve!
- First, ICYMI: Spiked Horchata is one of our new favorite drinks for summer!
- But I don’t WANT to say goodbye to Caña Brava rum...
- Apparently yeast lasts a much longer time than I suspected. AND you can make beer from the ancient stuff.
- Wine lovers rejoice! There’s a beer for you.
- World Gin Day was this past weekend, and if you need a dictionary about gin, this is your book (also the illustrations are lovely).
- Oh and hey it was also National Rosé Day so you should definitely preorder Ashley Rose Conway’s book about ROSÉ!
- Have you heard of Träkál?! Patagonia is bringing us something new.
- How many of you out there are drinking Bloody Marys at airport bars? My usual order is a double whiskey on the rocks.
- Come for Bloomingdale’s white sale, stay for the craft brewery next door!
- And finally, Kristin over at Dine By Design did a through written job on lots of the topics we talked about in our IGTV segment on cocktail gardens. Head over to her page and check it out!