Monday Booze News: the Bloody Mary turns 80, Tiki is still not dead and is that olive oil in your drink


Very, very early birthday gift of ancient stir sticks.
Very, very early birthday gift of ancient stir sticks.

Monday Booze News: the secret language of bartenders, Chinese New Year cocktails, and an awesome bar spoon

Fernet-Branca sent me a Valentine. I ate it in two seconds.
Fernet-Branca sent me a Valentine. I ate it in two seconds.



Do you have some news to share? Leave it below in the comments section and enlighten us all!

Monday Booze News: drinks on fire, expensive cocktails, and the 2014 trend forecast

Booze News // stirandstrain.comIt pains me to say this, but I find that more and more lately I hear breaking news reports through…twitter. For the longest time I resisted this social media program, until my day job forced me into it. And by forced, I mean realized that if we were not utilizing it for our business then we were dumb and behind the times. So I signed us up.

Initially when food trucks were all the rage (are they still they rage or have we moved on?), twitter was my source for looking up where I might find my favorite hotdog/french fry/whathaveyou vehicle. Then I got swallowed up in it and never escaped. On the other hand, I find out about current events usually AS THEY HAPPEN, and I can go to my grave now knowing what twerking is (apparently not something to do with drugs like I thought) and that I don’t care about ever trying a cronut (can’t we just eat some pie?).

So here’s some boozy news to peruse while you drink your morning coffee and try to look like you’re working. Courtesy of the internet.

Barrel Aging Cocktails (without a real wood barrel)

Barrel Aging Cocktails // stirandstrain.comScience Magic! The idea of ingredients going into something and coming out weeks later transformed into something else is a culinary world of mystery that intrigues me. When the concept of barrel aging your own cocktails became a trend I was all on board. It was yet one more way I could control and experiment with drinks.

Here in Los Angeles barrel aged cocktails are now familiar faces on menus but that’s where they seem to stay. I guess there isn’t really a consumer market for large barrels of one cocktail.

Wait. There is at MY house.

For some time now I’ve been dying to try barrel aging at home since it seemed like a DIY project that was very hands off. Step 1, booze goes into barrel. Step 2, wait around a bit. Step 3, uncork and enjoy. Pretty easy, right?

I thought so and accepted the challenge from Uncommon Goods* to try out barrel aging on a small scale (meaning without a barrel). Instead a barrel stave is stuck in the jar with the cocktail ingredients. It’s still all an easy to handle project scale. It’s also a cheaper alternative to buying a barrel and needing to explain to Christopher that the hallway closet is now the home of said barrel and nothing else.

The big question now is…. WHAT TO MAKE IN IT??? I could go for a Manhattan or a Negroni but really, I’ve had those barrel aged versions so many times out at bars that there has got to be a better cocktail to age. I’m wavering between a Hanky Panky and a Martinez. Can someone out there help me pick? Would a Martinez get too soft in there, or a Hanky Panky get too.. herbal?

If you all would like to try your hand at some DIY cocktail and boozy projects, Uncommon goods has a bunch of fun sets on their site over here. In the meantime, I’m going to weigh the pros and cons of what to make and if someone has a better idea, I’ll think about that too.

Stay tuned to find out who made it into the barrel the week of February 24th! And if you’re in L.A. I might invite you over for a taste.


*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. Uncommon Goods are supporters of independent artisans and place importance on the designer. Got a design you think they might like? Check out their design challenges. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

The Golden State of Cocktails Starts Tomorrow…

gsc_logo_yellowLos Angeles has their first full-blown cocktail happening starting tomorrow, January 28th. The Golden State of Cocktails will take place in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday through Thursday (my liver is crying in anticipation of the fully packed program) this week and I will be there covering as much ground as possible.

If you’re lucky enough to make it, please stop me and say hi! If you just want to kick back with your own cocktail and watch through the internet, you can follow along through various social media accounts. Here are mine for reference:


Cocktails on the Fly // Updates!

Elanabean is now Stirandstrain // stirandstrain.comIf you’ve been following along with me on Instagram lately you would know I have no idea what this “Dryunary” nonsense is all about. Not drink? For a month? Why not just drink better and don’t overdo it so you don’t have to end up explaining to your boss you’re two hours late for work because you passed out on the floor of a taxi and the driver forgot you were in there when he parked it in the garage overnight?

Drink better. That’s my resolution. Also, clean up my various social media presences. This weekend everything is changing to the /stirandstrain/ handle. It makes sense when that’s your brand and most people spell your name wrong anyway. So that means twitter, instagram and pinterest.

How about making your next resolution to click on all those links and follow along in the Stir & Strain universe? No pressure. You can also click on all those other web links and check out some awesome sites that may be new to you. New year, new you and stuff.

In the Garden UPDATE

garden-plantsJust a quick update here. Having 6 weeks off this winter was wonderful for the blog, but now that’s come to an end so posts might slow down a bit here for awhile until I get back into functioning with life. I.e. that 2 hour commute and not being able to make cocktails whenever I want.

Anyway, we have some new additions in the garden for the spring which I’m excited about! We’re trying tomatoes again (now that I’ve learned how not to kill them), also some Mexican limes and cilantro. All for cocktails. Ok, mostly for cocktails- we do cook a lot around my house.

I’m kind of obsessing with punches and sangrias lately, so I’d expect to see some of those here in the next month or so. And yes, I’ll find a way to stick serranos and edible flowers in there.

Stay tuned!

Happy National Margarita Day!

When did we, the world, decide to make almost every day of the year a food/drink holiday? Sometime in 2010?

Hey, I’m not going to pass up a day dedicated to tacos or, in this case, Margaritas. I’m just going to go with it.

Need some inspirational cocktail recipes? Here are my two takes on the Margarita. Cheers!

El Jardín de mi Abuela


The Bar Keeper Margarita


Want even more Margarita inspiration? Check out my Stir & Strain Pinterest board for some recipes I pinned.

In the Garden

Just a quick update.

If you look up ^^ you may have noticed that the “On the Shelves” section now has the longer title of “On the Shelves/In the Garden”. I wanted to include what I am growing at home because these ingredients make up the seasonal nature of some of the drinks I make. It’s a goal of mine to expand greatly upon this section.

Besides the rewarding nature of actually producing something from a seed, it’s also satisfying to go outside, pick something from a garden and then use it as a star in whatever that day’s drink (or food) is.

I’m seriously looking forward to picking these guys when they’re ready:
And making a Bloody Mary with them.

Check back for updates. I’ll be changing stuff out seasonally.

…and we’re back

If you happened to pop over here and, well, couldn’t. That’s because the site got kinda lost for a bit. BUT! It’s back! With some recipes this week too. One of which I think I’ll be drinking all summer long.


Stay tuned!