Not-so-classic Strawberry Rhubarb Fizz and making blogging a business

Not-So-Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIt’s one thing to feel inspired and be compelled to create, and then there’s the “oh crap, this is a business too and I have to find out about federal tax numbers” side to running a website full time. If you asked me what the scariest thing I’ve done in the past 6 months was, almost instantly from my mouth I’d spit out that clicking send on creating my LLC was it. That was a terrifying moment in my life; it made all of this REAL.

Now, before I get the onslaught of questioning smirks, let me clarify that just posting blog posts on here is not the whole of my business. If it was, there would be posts every day and my liver would need to get replaced every other year. I freelance outside of this space, write for other publications, create custom cocktails for parties and private events and sometimes even for people I never meet over the internet. Also, soon, like in less than a month, the first monthly Tiki of yesteryear inspired Supper Club starts up (if you’re in Los Angeles, sign up here for details). In just 5 months my life went from a steady 9 to 5 to a hodgepodge of randomly occurring activities that on most days feels out of control.Not-So-Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

When you go from having a boss to being your boss you need to try not to crack up… daily.

You also need to get an editorial calendar, consider your brand, and try and put pants on by 11am. This past week, again, I took in a wealth of information in the form of a conference. This time my focus is on being a business lady. Can I mention how much I love the hashtag #bizlady? No? Move on? Ok.

Creating an LLC, was a big, big, big step. And then you move on and the next step is getting serious about having and maintaining a business. Did I know about incorporating and pass-through sole proprietorships last month? No. But now I do. Did I give a second to consider creating a media kit to send out to potential advertisers and sponsors? No. But now I’m on top of that. If you want to get serious about business, the worst thing you can do is be in the dark on these things. Then you’re just sitting around in yoga pants at 2 in the afternoon hating on people and that’s not a good look for you.

Attending an online conference is almost as exhausting as attending a face to face conference, especially if the information being presented to you is relevant and makes your brain work overtime. It also means you’re sitting in a chair trolling the internet between classes catching up on missed tweets and the fact that everyone else has access to rhubarb except you. Seriously, what the hell?Not-So-Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

This recipe bordered on being an Instagram photo and just another “Cocktail Quickie”, except I was muddling the strawberries and thought to myself: it deserved its own post. Also, this was the only way it seemed I would get rhubarbs up onto this site.

1-1/2 ouces G’Vine Gin*
3 medium strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/2″ ginger, peeled and sliced
4-6 ounces Dry Rhubarb Soda

  • In the bottom of a shaker, muddle strawberries and ginger. Add gin and ice. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top with soda.

Slight bite from the ginger and a pop of berry flavor to start with a whole lot of effervescent rhubarb. This gin is unique in that it is grape-based and has the most wonderful floral aroma and flavor. It all combines into a refreshing, spring-y cocktail.

Keeping some good quality sodas on hand means instant boozy refresher, FYI. Keep cool everyone!

*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

Cocktail Quickie: Róse “Champagne” Cocktail

Róse Champagne Cocktail // stirandstrain.comYou’d be correct to say I’m on a bit of a rose kick right now. Earlier this week I had posted the Roses in the Snow cocktail, and that’s not the first time rose has made an appearance around these parts. I’d say I’m also on a róse kick, but frankly, I’d drink a good bottle of one any time of year.

Last week a bottle of Chandon Róse fell into my hands and instead of just cracking it open right then, I thought I’d get a wee bit creative and use it in a cocktail. Most of the “cocktail quickies” end up on Instagram and not on here, but I thought that if you need to impress someone real quick on Friday then this might work in your favor.Róse Champagne Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Here’s a tip: invest in a big box of sugar cubes. If you make classic cocktails at home, you may have noticed that several recipes require them, such as this or in an Old Fashioned. I’ve had the same box hanging around the house since I started this blog and they are in the same condition now as they were when I opened the box. That means that they are always on hand. Also, sometimes when I want to be fancy and my in-laws are over I break them out when I do tea service (because Christopher’s mother does do tea time, every day, at 4pm).Róse Champagne Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Róse Champagne Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Now let’s get fancy!

1 sugar cube
10 to 15 drops Bitter Tears Hina Hibiscus Rose Bitters
4 to 6 oz. Chandon Róse*
grapefruit peel

Soak the sugar cube with the bitters by dropping the liquid over the cube until desired amount is reached (the rose scent is strong, so take some whiffs after the first few drops). Add the sugar cube to the bottom of a champagne flute and top with the róse. Add grapefruit peel to the glass.

The grapefruit peel provides a great waft of aroma in the glass followed by a deliciously sweet berry-cherry flavor from the róse. The rose-hibiscus soaked sugar cube sends up little bubbles of mostly rose to accent the other flavors. It’s a quick drink for this Friday (Valentine’s Day), or like me, sitting around in the afternoon sipping one outside.

 

Watch that pour!
Watch that pour!

 

*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Cocktail Quickie: Aquavit & Dill Bloody Mary

My house is a house that loves a well made Bloody Mary. From home-made tomato water to every bottled version of tomato base under the sun, we’ve tried and tested a great deal of these. Some day I will get around to posting a listing of my top mixes, and those I beg you to stay away from. But it’s far from complete at the moment.

What am I drinking right now? My top favorite Bloody Mary mixes currently are McClure’s Spicy Mix, Lefty O’Doul’s San Francisco Original Mix, and Zing Zang’s Mix. One important factor is trying to find a mix where high fructose corn syrup is not the second ingredient or even exists at all. It’s added sweetener where sweetener need not be. All of these are around this ballpark. McClure’s has a taste all its own. Known for their pickles, this mix is kinda like drinking a spicy tomato pickle brine. I love it, however, it’s definitely not for everyone. It really has a nice bite too, because honestly, when a Bloody Mary mix says spicy, I mostly disagree with that statement. The other two mixes here are good to have around if you have a crowd that varies in levels of ‘heat’ they want in their drink. One can drink them as is, or doctor them up. I prefer these for cocktail making for that reason. They make a great base where the flavor can be taken in sudden and unexpected directions (for a Bloody Mary).

This post is mainly just that. A quick way to ‘doctor up’ if you will a pretty solid base into a more complex drink with just a few touches. Also, why I’m including it into the ‘quickie’ section here.

Your standard Bloody Mary will call for vodka, but if I have a bottle of Aquavit around, I will always substitute that liquor instead. Why? For me, it gives the drink more body, more meat. And there is a subtle caraway flavor that it also imparts on the drink that is a nice match for the briny, tomato base. And hand in hand with this Scandinavian liquor goes dill. I will also stick that in if I’m making the Aquavit version.

Players

One detail that you will see in restaurants and bars that many people will skip at home is rimming the glass with some house devised salt and/or pepper mix. For a satisfying Bloody Mary at home I don’t see the point in missing this. You can get a whole other layer of flavor just by quickly combining some spices and adding that to the glass.

If you think this is the part where I have you add a giant stick of celery to the drink, you’re wrong. Personal preference has me sit that ingredient out. I find the smell of fresh celery simply too overpowering and it ruins the flavors of the drink. However, a stick of cucumber? Oh yeah, throw one in. That flavor is a match with the dill.

I do a lot of eye-balling when I make this for myself, but for consistency I will give measurements here. As always, adjust for your taste, you gotta drink it.

2 oz. Aquavit
4 oz. Bloody Mary Mix
1/2 medium lime
1 sprig of dill
2-3 dashes of hot sauce (Tapatío is my preferred hot sauce)

For Garnishes:
1 tbsp of smoked sea salt flakes
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
cucumber slice
olive
small sprig of dill

Let’s make some garnishes first. For the skewer, peel alternate patches of skin from a cucumber lengthwise for a zebra stripe effect. Cut a round from the cucumber and slice in half for a half round. Cut a spear of cucumber and set aside. Add the half round, a small sprig of dill and an olive to a skewer. Set aside.

For the salt rim: Add smoked sea salt, fennel seeds, black pepper and some of the dill fronds into a mortar (bowl) and using a pestle (or end of a wooden spoon), crush all of the ingredients until they are all roughly around the same size, not quite a powder with some crunchy bits left behind. Pour out the salt mixture onto a saucer and set aside.

Cut the lime in half and use one half to rim a highball glass with the juice. Immediately dip the glass into the salt mixture, turning to coat the entire outside rim of the glass. Many debate whether to actually stick the whole rim into your mixture, or just turn the outside around in the mixture so nothing gets inside the glass. I’ll leave this step up to your discretion. Squeeze both halves into the glass, add dill sprig and muddle both just to combine and break up the dill a bit. Add ice cubes and build the rest of your drink by adding Aquavit, Bloody Mary mix, hot sauce, spear of cucumber and your skewer.

As I mentioned earlier, that salt mixture just adds another level to your drink. It has a nice smoky and sweet smell and tastes the same too. Fennel works well with both caraway and dill, and I find it a better addition than say, celery salt. If you’re going to make yourself a quick drink at home, why not spend a few extra minutes to give it an extra shot of flavor? This may seem like a lot, but it really just takes a couple minutes to put together.