5 Quick Tips for Entertaining this Labor Day Plus what you should be drinking!

Frozen Negroni Cocktail Slushies // stirandstrain.com

Uh-oh! You’re reading this a few hours before you decide to throw an impromptu party and need help?! First, take a shot of something, anything. Your significant other’s fancy whiskey they’re saving? Sure! Some cheap vodka you found in the freezer? Yeah, that will work. Fireball shots? Um, Ok I guess. Your kid’s cough syrup. NO. Don’t touch that. They’re all going back to school this month and breed germs, you’ll need that. Put it back.

You know what I hate? Entertaining tips that are totally useless. As we celebrate a day of rest, I hope these tips will take some of the work out of your Labor Day party.

  1. BATCH BATCH BATCH!
    What’s easier than measuring out cocktails with your measuring cups? Nothing. Bring out a punch bowl–it’s festive. Or bottle some cocktails up if you have the time. The point is that you want to make being at the party easy on yourself, and your guests, and self service is the way to go.
    Sparkling Pomegranate and Cocchi Rosa Cocktails // Smoky Sage Punch // Salted Peanut Bottled Old Fashioneds
  2. Pre-freeze your frozen cocktails
    Making frosé this year? If you want to cut down on the amount of ice in your frozen cocktails, you’ll want to stick them in the freezer the night before. This goes along with batching your cocktails, but this step means less watered down drinks. And that makes you a good host.
    Frozen Watermelon White Negroni // Frozen Blood and Sand // Peach and Tequila Frozen Cockails
  3. Label what your guests are drinking
    If you’re making a few drink options (or even if it’s just one), save yourself from having to repeat ALL the ingredients in something a hundred times by writing out the name and ingredients and sticking it on/next to/on top of the drink. You can get fancy and make something on the computer, or a scribbled on index card will also work just fine.
  4. Have your booze delivered
    Yes, it may seem a bit indulgent, but I’m trying to create less work for you guys. There’s a slew of great delivery apps/services out there who will bring you booze. And some even bring you food too. You decide how much $$$ you want to shell out.
    Saucey ($10 credit for you guys too) // Drizly // Instacart (also with $10 credit)
  5. Invest in a large cooler or mini fridge
    Not all your guests are going to want cocktails so you’ll need beer and water and whatever else people drink besides cocktails. You know what’s great? Your guests have access to all the drinks they want at arm’s length. You know what’s not great? Having people rifle through your fridge. Get a cooler.

If you’ve got a hot tip, let us know! Leave us a comment or reach out to us online. We’re listening.

Jakobsen Design Cocktail Glasses

Jakobsen Design Cool Cocktail Glasses and Carafes // stirandstrain.comMaybe it’s my background in the fine arts, or my love of good design that drew me to these hand blown glasses from Martin Jakobsen. Whatever it was, when I first laid eyes on them I HAD TO HAVE THEM. The possibility of making creative drinks had me running to their site to get some, and the price point wasn’t too hard on the wallet either.

Jakobsen Design Cool Cocktail Glasses and Carafes // stirandstrain.comThey’re super delicate and very elegant, but that doesn’t have to stop you from making a cocktail with a creature from the black lagoon inside. If you’re looking to get more creative with your cocktail glassware these just might inspire your inner artist.

Want to see how I styled my Halm glass? Check out my Cucumber Seas Cocktail.

Cocktail Hour Playing Cards

Cocktail Hour Playing Cards // stirandstrain.com
Cocktail Hour Playing Cards // stirandstrain.comOur house is a house that loves games. Whether it’s a board game with just my husband and me, or a few rounds of poker with friends, or even puzzle time with the wee one, we always make time for fun (and usually with a cocktail in hand).

Cocktail Hour Playing Cards // stirandstrain.com

Cocktail Hour Playing Cards // stirandstrain.comI came across these Cocktail Hour Playing Cards that just launched on Kickstarter this week and had to share. Their playful blend of cocktails and characters will hopefully be finding a home in our living room soon!

Instagramming Some Cocktail Quickies

So definitely for sure I can promise a recipe coming at you this week.

 

gt-tikidarkstormymint

 

But until then, you should head over to my Instagram account where I’ll be adding some photos of quick drink ideas. This is pretty much my “Cocktail Quickie” section, which I’ve now deemed not enough content for the blog (watch that change in two months…). However, I see it more like, you want a cocktail, but you want it NOW and you don’t need to pull a jigger out and make a mess. I’ll tell you how to be quick and dirty.

I don’t know how to make this super easy for you to click a link and it makes Instagram pop up in your phone. Just type out stirandstrain and you’re there.

Also, if you want more fun things to look at check out EVERYONE ELSE WHO WRITES A COCKTAIL BLOG attending Tales of the Cocktail right now. I’m trying to keep up with them at home, but if I keep at it I won’t make it into work tomorrow. For everyone there, be safe, have fun, hydrate. You lucky SOBs.

 

 

 

 

 

Building a Home Bar: Part Two

We’re totally making progress here people!

If by progress we’re talking about taping off the space where the bar should go. In some respects this was actually a big step; both of us finally decided on the shape after going back and forth with charts and graphs of why the other person is wrong. I had much more grandiose ideas but two problems were staring back at me.

1. Our space for the bar is small. The room is big, but a giant portion of this is taken up by the pool table that we blew the budget on last year. It’s funny really. The room has a pool table, a tv, and half a couch right now. I feel like I’m in college when I’m in that room.

2. My husband still has to build the bar. So no rounded marble tops.

Yes. Those are Presidents of the United States dressed up as pimps on our cute little wine fridge.

And so now we just need to come up with wood types, learn to make dovetail joints, and buy a power sander (I’m actually looking forward to that) among other things.

I started a board on Pinterest to keep ideas in for the project. Unfortunately it’s just becoming a catch-all for awesome bottle openers and glasses I want. You can check that out here Follow My Bar on Pinterest

As always, stayed tuned for updates. I have some awesome cocktails with tarragon I’ve been drinking lately. And apparently, my husband poking his head over my shoulder, just mentioned that he’s not so sure about the measurements for the bar. So there’s that.

Building a Home Bar: The Prequel

I’m just going to go ahead and file this under the “Clever Ideas” category.

Let me roll back a year and fill everyone in on how this came about. Last year we had some awful rains in L.A. and we noticed that there were some bubbles forming in the walls on one side of the house. And then we had more rain. And then suddenly the windows looked like they were going to fall out. This wasn’t a slow progression either. This was, on Monday there were a couple of bubbles in the plaster and on Wednesday THE FUCKING WINDOWS ARE GOING TO FALL OUT OF THE WALL CALL THE HOME INSURANCE NOW. Turns out part of our roof had flown off and water had been leaking in and 2 months later we gutted the entire downstairs and now we decided hey let’s put a bar down in there.

Present day. That was November when we finished up putting the flooring in and after having nonstop construction guys in our house from 6am to 7pm at night. We needed a break. Apparently that break was going to last for 7 months. And then my husband spoke up out of the blue that we could do it ourselves the other day. Part of the reason for building a bar ourselves is that there was nothing on the market we liked, and also, prices wildly shot off into areas neither of us could comprehend spending any money on. Both of us consider ourselves to be pretty handy. My dad does/makes cabinetry for a living and I have 4 years of a fine arts education behind me, long behind me but still visible in that distance. And also, I can use a bandsaw. This Old House was, and still is, a favorite show of mine.

So here is the space. To any of our friends who haven’t been downstairs since the construction, this used to be the kitchenette area. And yes, we still need to get a 5th bulb for that light.

Maybe putting this out here will kick start us into plowing full speed into the project. Or it will be a reminder a year from now that we broke down and spent money on a bar and boy, what the hell were we thinking….

Now This is Clever: Berry Digestif

I’m trying to remember to mark down ideas that I see in other places here so that I can just go back to one spot and find them all. So far I’ve been terrible at it. However, yesterday, with a mounting fresh fruit becoming overly ripe problem at the house (hello fruit flies!), I came across this recipe in one of the food blogs I read. Mmmm is all I said to myself when I read it.

 

 

Photo Via Yummy Supper

 

Could this be done with some too ripe peaches as well? Me thinks so! Overall I just love the simplicity of this and I think that is key for batches of summer drinks.

Now This Is Clever: Mrs. Lilien Dresses Up Your Drinks

Like most ladies who adore large hats and bejeweled crocodile brooches, I am an avid reader/looker-on of the Mrs. Lilien blog. For a little while now, with news of a cocktail book in the near future, she has released a series of outfits/accessories/etc. inspired by cocktails.

Now, if anyone has hit the target with me on exactly the right way to market, it’s this woman. Show me a chiffon gown with some shiny earrings, a beautiful goblet and name it all after a favorite cocktail of mine and BOOM. I’m sold. I recently was in Vegas for a couple of days and found myself staring at those scroll sunglasses from Prada and walked away only because they had sold out of the black ones. Even more odd was that my husband thought they looked cool. I’m still blinking confusedly thinking of that. I would never have known of their existence (or intense desire to HAVE THEM) until she put it out there as part of a clever ensemble.

Slam.

Crap. I believe that was most of the male readers leaving the room. For those men remaining I have a deep affection for scotch and cigars too. You’re day is coming soon.

My favorite of these featurettes is the Mrs. Negroni. Perhaps it’s the dress, or my love of orange (at the moment), but more likely it’s a love of that bitter Italian aperitif that is getting a workout around the house lately. The cocktails on the blog are not that obscure, but what I’d love to see is an outfit for a Rum Barrel, or a Samoan Fog Cutter- something that you can pair with a giant banana headdress. (I do love the Tiki Drinks). I’m just throwing that one out there…

 

Via Mrs. Lilien
http://blog.mrslilien.com/mrs-lilien-styling-house-blog/2011/5/31/mrs-negroni.html