We’re signing off through the end of the year to enjoy some much needed time with family and friends. Thank you to all of you who have stopped by the site, made a drink, and checked in with our weekly Booze News. You are all appreciated so much. See you in 2020!
What you drink out of is almost as important as what you’re drinking.
So make it nice! Elevate your glasses this year with elegant coupes, gilt edges, and shiny copper. Even your water glasses could use a refresh. Maybe a statement glass or two that didn’t come from your uncle’s basement. And don’t forget the disco balls.
We put some pretty sweet stuff in your stocking this year.
This stocking is filled with wine but if it wasn’t, you could fit tiny cans of cocktails inside along with your samples of Japanese Whisky. A thimble sized cocktail shaker necklace is my idea of the perfect accessory, followed by boozy chickens, and a stylish telescoping metal straw. And don’t forget the home goods. I don’t have time for anything but fancy coasters, and excuse me, I’m taking a shower with my Negroni now.
1. Drinking with Chickens Pin 2. Whiskey Tasting Subscription 3. YAY! Stirrers 4. Cocktail Shaker Necklace 5. Negroni Soap 6. Capper 7. Lux Straw 8. Stocking Flask 9. Coasters 10. Rock and Rye Canned Cocktails
- First, we had a full week of cocktails with our Cocktail Pantry Twists. Find your new pantry staple favorite here!
- Second, it’s time to start thinking about making some homemade gifts for the holidays. This is a good place to start.
- Have you tried aging your eggnog? You should! It’s not as hard as it sounds either.
- Then again, if you need some Nog right now, everyone’s drinking this particular recipe.
- And then if you need that hot drink fix, you should have a Tom & Jerry too!
- OOh! Like coconuts?! Tropical holiday drinks coming right up!
- Spices and pears are so good in a cocktail this time of year. Try this one!
- Tiny ice wreaths are something you should be putting in all your Christmas cocktails this year.
- Need a dessert cocktail? You’re in luck. Here’s a sweet sipper for after dinner.
- And finally, if you’re serving up a big batch of cocktails at this year’s holiday party. I think you need to go the full Griswold route.
The Cocktail Pantry Twists Series is made in partnership with Stonewall Kitchen. Recipe and ideas are my own.
Hello and welcome to the third installment of the Cocktail Pantry Twists series with Stonewall Kitchen. Alas, it is our final day here… in my pantry. Which is fine. I was starting to get claustrophobic anyways. But as it’s the final day, as promised we’ve got a giveaway on our Instagram page today, so you should definitely head over there at 7am PST (or head over there now, turn on notifications, and let your phone tell you when the post is live!). All the details will be there about who can enter and what you’re getting. So check it out!
And we’ve got a very delicious, creamy, after dinner, or anytime-you-want-it cocktail today. We have to duck into the kitchen to grab an egg, but hey, if you’ve got farm fresh eggs laying around then you might just have some in your pantry! It’s a Maple Gingerbread Butter Flip made with Stonewall Kitchen Gingerbread Butter and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup. December is cookie season for me and after making batches of gingerbread cookies, I think it might be time to drink up those flavors instead. And this gingerbread butter delivers! With three kinds of ginger, the cocktail gets a nice kick of spice, reminiscent of those baking spices you might be using for holiday baking. And unlike some of the fruit butters out there, this is a lot thinner and smoother, so it incorporates into your drinks seamlessly. And if you want to just take a nip of the Gingerbread Butter by itself in between making drinks, that’s totally acceptable. I might have also done that once or twice…
Now, if you’re not familiar with flips, you have to use a whole egg. No, not the shell too, but these rich cocktails require the white AND the yolk. I will state that there is always a risk with any uncooked egg health-wise, but I know where my eggs come from and I’m comfortable using them raw. You personally can make that choice for yourself.
This cocktail is so smooth, so rich, and such a holiday treat. There’s no “eggy” taste to the drink, instead it’s silky smooth with that deep richness from the Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple syrup, and earthy, nutty, and spicy notes from the Gingerbread Butter. The lemon’s tartness cuts through the sweetness and balances out the drink.
And speaking of fresh lemon. Even though winter is the season for citrus, if it’s not available where you are, check out these alternatives!
Lemon Juice Alternatives
- Citric acid
- Organic, all natural bottled lime juice
- Tamarind paste
I hope you’ve enjoyed this deep dive into how to use a few pantry staples in your cocktails, and I hope this one in particular gets made for you this holiday season. Remember to follow over on Instagram today and Stonewall Kitchen’s Hot Pepper Cranberry Jelly, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, Gingerbread Butter, and Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup can all be yours!
Happy entertaining and GOOD LUCK!
Maple Gingerbread Butter Flip
1-1/2 ounces bourbon
1 tablespoon Stonewall Kitchen Gingerbread Butter
3/4 ounce Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (or alternative from list above)
1/2 ounce coconut milk (not light) or heavy cream
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 whole egg
cinnamon and crystalized ginger for garnish
In a shaker, add the bourbon, Stonewall Kitchen Gingerbread Butter, Stonewall Kitchen Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice, cream, bitters, and egg. Shake hard about 20 seconds to combine the egg with the other ingredients (my secret weapon here is to use an electric hand whisk so that everything mixes well together and I only have to shake once!). Next, add ice to the shaker, and then shake hard about 30 seconds to chill everything and to make sure it is all well combined. Strain into a coupe, and then garnish with a dusting of cinnamon and a piece of crystalized ginger. Cheers!
Check out all the posts in our Cocktail Pantry Twists series here!
Instead of hitting the Black Friday sales today (and let’s face it, it’s slim picking at this point since they all started on Monday anyways), let’s hit the home bar and think ahead towards the next several weeks. It’s going to be busy… you should have some cocktails ready.
Now, I named this spin on a Black Manhattan “Black Christmas” because it’s mostly a Black Manhattan with a touch of Allspice Liqueur, which is pretty much Christmas in a bottle. I did not name it to coincide with the remake of Black Christmas that is being released in a few weeks. If anything, I may have had the original Black Christmas movie in my head when naming it, not a remake, let’s be clear on this.
And this drink really is the brooding, moody sister to your classic Manhattan, except in a holiday sweater. The baking spices from the allspice liqueur provide a warm finish to the drink, which is a bit spicy from the rye at the start. The bittersweet Averna lends a nice balance to that spiciness (If you can’t find Averna near you, choose an amaro that leans a little on the sweeter side and not too vegetal. Ramazzotti would also work here.) Those baking spices give this inky drink an unexpected extra layer as well, which I appreciate. If you remember to add a brandied cherry then you’re really in for a treat.
And the best part of all this? It’s bottled with a water dilution so it just needs to chill and it’s ready to serve. No ice needed! No stirring! No fuss! Just what you need around the holidays to give you a few extra minutes of peace.
One thing to note: if you can wait a few weeks, age it all in the fridge. Letting it sit for about 4 weeks really allows the flavors to intermingle and I found the mouthfeel to be extra velvety. However, if you can’t wait, it’s great the same day as well. Just make sure it’s chilled well first.
Black Christmas Bottled Cocktail
8 ounces Rye
4 ounces Averna
2 ounces Allspice Liqueur (can’t find it where you are? MAKE IT!)
4 dashes Angostura bitters, or another aromatic bitters
4 dashes orange bitters
2 ounces water
brandied cherry garnish, optional
Combine all the ingredients in a large, spouted mixing glass, like Pyrex, that can accommodate at least 16 ounces, stir to combine, and then funnel into a swing top bottle. Store refrigerated until ready to serve. For one cocktail, portion out ~3.25 ounces into a cocktail coupe. Optionally top with a brandied cherry.
Roll on up Turkey Day with this gilded bar cart. It’s more impressive than your Granny’s stuffing.
This year I’ve decided to do away with the rustic red and brown tones of November and step it up a notch with a gilded, glittering bar cart. From golden bar tools, to shiny embroidered napkins, to 22 karat dipped tumblers, it’ll definitely add a little sparkle to your holiday table. And of course the bubbly will be golden too. Just try not to knock over the champagne tower.
1. 22 Karat Gold Dipped Tumbler 2. Liquid Gold Bitters 3. Gold Jigger 4. Gold Wine Opener 5. Gold Embroidered Napkins 6. Gold Dipped Carafe 7. Gold Rimmed Glass and Ice Set 8. Bubbly Cocktail Book 9. Gold Champagne 10. Champagne Tower Glasses 11. Gold Bar Cart
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!
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!