- First, have you entered our Reader Survey yet? You could win a $50 gift card to Cocktail Kingdom just for telling us about yourself!
- We’ve got lots of Thanksgiving ideas for your week! Like how to dress up your bar cart.
- Here’s a Cranberry and Black Pepper Shrub
- Cranberry and Sherry are a fine match
- If you’re at your in-laws and you just have one bottle to work with, get the One Bottle Cocktail book!
- Serving wine and have NO IDEA what glasses to use. Check out this guide from Wine Enthusiast.
- Here’s some appetizer ideas to pair with wine for the day after Thanksgiving...
- If you have guests staying with you this week, make them happy with some Bourbon Salted Caramels. It’s easy to make. Promise!
- Flying out of town? Here’s how airlines are upping their beverage program.
- And finally, if you really want to be lazy and still have drinks for guests this week, just make some punch.
Picture this: a bunch of grumpy relatives are sitting around waiting hours for a meal, avoiding talking to each other pretending to watch football. You amble in, pushing a bar cart laden with cheese, snacks, and a giant punchbowl filled with holiday booze. Suddenly Uncle Don doesn’t seem like such a jerk anymore. And look!! People are talking and laughing and all that holiday stuff. Let’s plan that bar cart, shall we?
It’s Thanksgiving! Get yourself a cornucopia already! Stuff it with napkins and straws and get ready to look festive. But not my fancy napkins. The relatives get the punny ones. And if you’re using a cart to serve snacks, get yourself one with 3 shelves. It won’t be pretty shoving it all on two. And then hitting a bump in the rug and spilling everything. You’re already stressed, so just upgrade. And since you bought cranberry sauce in a can, fancy that sh*t up with some cranberry bitters. In fact, throw these bitters into everything you cook and drink. Don’t forget, cocktail picks do double duty as cheese picks too. And stock up on some ginger beer. Your stomach will thank you on Friday.
1. Punch Bowl 2. Orange Chevron Glasses 3. Turkey Napkins 4. Wild Turkey 101 5. Red Straws 6. New England Spiced Cranberry Bitters 7. Three Shelf Bar Cart 8. Cornucopia 9. Cocktail Picks 10. Ginger Beer
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
The last of the Halloween decorations made their way back into the garage this week. The hold outs were the two trick or treat buckets still filled with candy that were slow to empty. Of course, all the good stuff went immediately. And when I say that I mean that my husband and I ate a good portion of the better candy immediately after the kids went to bed. Then there were the thousands of lollipops, off brand candy, and miscellaneous stuff thrown into the buckets that hung around too long. So those got chucked and the buckets, to my children’s surprise, mysteriously disappeared along with all the rest of the decorations by morning.
- First! We have a reader survey going on through the end of the month where we want to hear from YOU! Stir and Strain website likes, dislikes, cool things about yourself you want to tell us. Also, one random reader will get a $50 gift card to Cocktail Kingdom as a Thank You (but really, thank you to everyone for participating)!
- Hey look! It’s Ross from Friends possibly stealing some beer!
- Intrigued by Reposado Mezcal? Us too! Here’s a list of 10 brands to check out!
- Also, if you’re looking to purchase a special bottle of whiskey for someone this holiday season and you’ve got some money in your pocket, here’s 13 bottles over $50 that won’t disappoint.
- A great read on the first soda pop—guess the flavor!—and the chemistry behind it (fun fact: I was going to be a chemistry major in college but decided to get a BFA instead).
- When bar patrons go wild...
- Someone let David Wondrich know I’d be more than happy to write a chapter on girl garage band songs that should be played in bars.
- Get your passports out! Here’s some new bar openings from around the world!
- And on a final note, we remember Tom Vaught, icon in the bar world.
This post was made in partnership with Loire Valley Wines. Recipes and ideas are my own.
The day after Thanksgiving I’m usually at my all time laziest. My slippers might not come off all day, and forget about those holiday sales… I am not leaving the house. But what happens when there is a house full of people still… at my house?! What will they eat?! The answer: leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. I’m a good host though. I may have slippers on, but I am going to provide a few meal options that are fresh, light, or just the right size for people who just ate their weight the previous day in turkey and pies.
First, and very importantly, here’s my wine tip for you holiday celebration. Buy your wine by the case! Lots of stores and wineries give you a case discount which means you don’t have to worry about running out during a meal, or even by Saturday. We’ve teamed up with Loire Valley Wines for our Thanksgiving meal as wines from this region are the most diverse, producing wines in every style to make sure you have the perfect one for your meal. If that makes you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry! Loire Valley Wines are ideal food wines with moderate alcohol levels, refreshing acidity and minerality so chances are most will work with your dinner. They’re also a great price point, so buying a case, mixing and matching styles, gives you even greater success at pairing for your holiday!
Bite Size Croque Monsieur Tartines
2 cups leftover gravy (or make your own bechamel sauce, see note below)
2 cups cooked turkey, shredded
10 slices bread, toasted
Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, grated
cranberry sauce for dipping
quail eggs, optional
Turn on broiler. Place toasted bread on a foil covered baking sheet. Spread desired amount of dijon mustard on bread slices (I used about a teaspoon per slice of bread). Sprinkle a handful of turkey next on the bread, followed by a dollop of gravy. Spread the gravy over the turkey and sprinkle cheese on top. Place under the broiler until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve with leftover cranberry sauce! If you’re feeling fancy, add a fried quail egg on top. They make these little bites even more adorable.
Note: to make a bechamel sauce, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a saucepan. Add in 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour and mix for a few minutes until combine. Slowly pour 2 cups hot milk into the butter/flour mixture and whisk continually until well combined. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, pinch of nutmeg, and 1/2 a cup of shredded Gruyere cheese. Use immediately.
For more information on all the Loire Valley Wines, please visit them at loirevalleywine.com
Whoa. Yeah, I know. It’s not Halloween anymore so what’s up with the “blood” in the title? Well, I’ll start the story at the beginning here by asking a simple question: Who Are You?
Years ago when I first started writing in the small space on the internet known as cocktail blogging, I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on who else was also writing in this space. And folks, this was pre-Instagram days, you had to sometimes do a little leg work to find the other folks. I also had a good grasp on who my readers were. Mainly because people talked a whole lot more on blogs than they do now. But this wasn’t my full time gig, I was creative directing for a living for a company here in Los Angeles and this site was just a fun hobby that I popped in and out of. What that meant was that I also wasn’t super consistent and would disappear for months at a time. Readers came and went and then social media got super crazy and this little space expanded SO much and SO rapidly that it no longer felt so intimate and cozy.
Lately then, when I do speak on here, it’s kinda just like yelling down a deep, dark well. And that’s no fun. I’m writing this for anyone who reads this site, and I’d like us to get to know each other just a little bit. So if you ever wanted to know a few tidbits about me, here you go:
- I have zero formal training as a bartender
- I have a fine arts background including photography
- I have a degree in Art History that concentrated on Mesoamerican Art History (which is how I know about blood rituals and chocolate and how they all tie in together and that’s how this particular mezcal Old Fashioned got its name)
- I have two kids that did not exist when I started writing about cocktails
- I get motion sickness scrolling on my phone sometimes
- I’m terrified of moths (and Ray Liotta and that’s still on my about me page which I should probably update)
- I used to DJ all vinyl 45s of girl group and girl garage bands based from the late 50s to the early 70s here in Los Angeles for years before taking a break in 2014
- I’m a morning person
- Heat Wave by NARS is my favorite lipstick
- I have ~75 bottles of bitters I will never use
- I wanted to be a race car driver when I was 8
- I had a blog in the early 2000’s about live music shows in Los Angeles. It’s still out there on the internet!
Ok, now you!!! I’ve got a super short survey for you all. You don’t even have to answer all the questions if you want! And to make it worth your while, everyone who responds and leaves an email will get the chance to win a $50 e-gift card to Cocktail Kingdom. I like my readers. And I know some of you like pretty cocktail accessories too.
Also! Old Fashioned Week is almost over so I thought I’d squeeze this recipe in before it’s too late. It’s rich and smoky and the chocolate comes through nicely. Don’t forget to express a little grapefruit oil with that garnish. It works best with that touch of bitter citrus.
Blood Ritual (A Chocolate Mezcal Old Fashioned)
In a mixing glass 2/3 with ice, stir together the mezcal, agave and both bitters. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Express the oil from the grapefruit peel over the drink and drop in the peel.
EDIT: giveaway is not affiliated with Cocktail Kingdom. Survey will close on November 26 and winner will be announced via email that week.
- First, remembering Dave Pickerell.
- Not concerned with climate change? Well, maybe you will be when your beer prices sky rocket (although you already should be concerned)!
- Uhhhhh….. looks like someone has been perusing my “adding aroma to cocktails” column on the site...
- Dinner party tidbit: why do we age spirits in oak barrels? VERY INTERESTING!
- A brief history on cocktails garnishes and maybe a push to get simpler again.
- And in case you missed it in the above article, please go read about punch biscuits and then everyone start making them.
- Ok, ok… servers? Is this true? Do you treat a guest like royalty if they give you their leftover wine?
- An argument for keeping the Old Fashioned simple.
- But since we don’t always like simple, just look at all the entries for The Old Fashioned Week over at TheOldReFashioned Instagram!
- Lastly, zero to do with cocktails but tomorrow are the midterm elections. Go vote. Go schedule it on your phone so you don’t forget. DO IT NOW.
- First, if you enjoy candy, and cocktails, we’ve got THREE drinks on the site that will satisfy your candy cravings without a trip to the dentist.
- Kate from Drinking with Chickens has a very moody, and very delicious cocktail you should drink. There’s also some spooky chicken feet in there.
- Drinking the rainbow is very on trend.
- Natalie from Arsenic Lace wins this week for most scary/awesome garnish game.
- Nope. Hard pass on Tesla flavored tequila.
- The folks over at Honestly Yum have a skeleton charcuterie board and no, it’s not cocktail related, but you should serve this at your next wine party!!!
- Charcoal in cocktails can be too spooky so Ashley from Craft and Cocktails would like to remind us that you can get black cocktails with squid ink.
- The Boozy Bungalow has a Halloween cocktail that looks like someone bled in your drink and just stop what you’re doing and check it out.
- Katie from the Garnish blog serves up some Day of the Dead inspired cocktails and an excuse to get some cute skull cocktail picks.
- And finally, what spooky sh*t is actually hiding in your can of La Croix?
This post was made in partnership with Master of Mixes. Recipes and ideas are my own.
The closer I get to Halloween, the more my brain starts chanting…candy candy candy candy candy. I mean, it’s actually Garfield chanting it, because I still think of that Halloween special from the ’80’s that I grew up on, and I still, to this day, identify with his love of sarcasm and, well, candy.
This year I made the exception and bought some candy a little early so I could make some treats for all of you! My readers! Working with Master of Mixes, I’ve crafted THREE tasty candy inspired cocktails you can make for yourself, or batch for your Halloween party this weekend. If you’re not familiar with them, Master of Mixes has been crafting high quality, delicious mixers for 40 years! They have more than 45 flavors in their catalog, but I narrowed down today to just three of my favorites: their Mint Syrup, Blood Orange Margarita Mixer, and Piña Colada Mixer. And my inspiration? Junior Mints, Sour Patch Kids, and Almond Joy.
First up is the Junior Mint inspired cocktail. And it’s ALL about that super mint flavor. Here I’ve used Master of Mixes Mint Syrup to give me a strong punch of mint flavor. Their syrup is made with Pacific Northwest Spearmint and has a clean, fresh taste. I’ve paired this with vodka, cream, and coffee liqueur to mimic the creaminess of the candy, and instead of the richness you’d get with the chocolate, I’ve opted to use a strong coffee liqueur to make this more sophisticated.
My love of sour drinks probably started with my love of Sour Patch Kids growing up. For this next cocktail, I’m taking the sweet and sour citrus flavors of the candy and crafting a Blood Orange Margarita with Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita Mixer. To get more citrus in, and to add a bitter element to this, I’ve mixed the blanco tequila with a touch of Dry Orange Curaçao. I’ve also created a “sour” sugar rim with citric acid and sugar to fool the taste buds. The blood orange mix is housed in an ice sphere that will make the cocktail sweeter as you drink it!
Junior Mint Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Master of Mixes Mint Syrup
3/4 ounce coffee liqueur
3/4 ounce cream
In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, pour in vodka, Master of Mixes Mint Syrup, coffee liqueur, and cream. Shake 20 seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Pop a couple Junior Mints.
Sour Patch Kids Cocktail
4 ounces Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita Mixer
2 ounces blanco tequila
1/2 ounce Dry Orange Curaçao
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
First, to make the Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita ice sphere, you will need a spherical ice mold like this. Alternatively, you could also use a large ice cube mold as well. Pour the mix in the mold and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight (depending on your freezer). Next, combine citric acid and sugar in a shallow bowl large enough to fit the rim of your glass. Moisten the rim of your glass with a lime wedge and roll in the prepared mixture. Then, in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in the tequila and Dry Orange Curaçao. Shake and strain into the prepared rocks glass. Add the Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita ice sphere to the drink and stir about 20 seconds to start melting the mix into the drink. Take a few sips and try not to pucker your lips too much.
Almond Joy Cocktail
2 ounces vanilla vodka
bar spoon of almond extract
4 ounces Master of Mixes Piña Colada Mixer
1 – 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (or if you’re feeling extra fancy, then try it with the chocolate liqueur of your choice!)
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in vanilla vodka, almond extract, and Master of Mixes Piña Colada Mixer. Shake 20 seconds and pour everything into a highball glass. Using the back of a spoon, float chocolate syrup on top of the drink. Grab a reusable straw and gently mix it together, or not. Cause sometimes you feel like mixing, sometimes you don’t.
For more information on Master of Mixes, loads of cocktail recipes, and more how-to’s, please visit them at MixologyPro.com
A few days ago I grabbed my phone, opened Instagram, scrolled down to a fellow cocktail blogger I follow and wrote something to the effect of “this is cozy AF” to describe their photo. And it was super cozy! But it got me thinking, when did we collectively decide that we want to curse, or rather, give the illusion of cursing, so frequently on social media?
Now, I’m a seasoned swearer in my day-to-day life. Well, before I had children, and now I’ve adapted to effectively cursing with substitute words as if I was actually dropping an f-bomb (like when I screamed OH FUDGE immediately following a head-butt to my chin rattling my jaws shut the other night while trying to wrestle a kid into pajamas.). However, I have chosen, for the most part, to refrain from using obscenities on my blog or social media sites because it just felt… not necessary. However, there has been a subtle shift with our acronym usage over the past several years where I might not have spelled it out, but I definitely let a WTF slide into a conversation that was being publicly broadcast over twitter. And now, commenting nonchalantly that someone’s fall-themed cocktail is definitely cozy enough to warrant an “AF”.
This masked profanity usage made me do a second glance at an email recently as an online course in social media was being promoted as, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Make your photos cool AF on Instagram”. I mean, sure, I’d like my photos to be professional, cool even. But this marketing ploy felt kinda clumsy, and definitely not geared towards a level I would consider spending money on to become an expert. I half expect the course would show you how to incorporate some animated gifs of cats vomiting rainbows or the like.
All of this, while I accept it, still feels strange. Maybe it’s a turning tide of age lines, and that I have been doing this blogging thing for a while now and there’s a new crop of DGAF social media personalities that don’t want to be too polite (but polite enough not to spell out that they are, in fact, swearing). Or are they even aware that what they’re shortening is a curse word? Or maybe with our collective need for brevity we would all be cursing at each other but we just don’t have the attention span, or time. Well…shit. What do you guys think?
Before we conclude, I actually AM feeling some fall feelings finally and since it got into the low 70s in Los Angeles this past week, I made myself a Hot Toddy! I’ve had “turmeric hot toddy” scribbled on a note for some time now ever since I started making a tea with ground turmeric, black pepper, honey and almond milk. How on trend you might be thinking. But! It actually came from my Indian mother-in-law who grew up drinking something similar when she was sick and suggested I drink it the last time I came down with a cold. Turmeric is supposed to help with inflammation along with the addition of black pepper, and improve immune functions, and blah blah blah, this isn’t WebMD so I can’t say any of this works for sure. What I can say, with certainty, since this is a cocktail blog, that it is very tasty with the addition of rum and apricot liqueur. The earthiness of the turmeric is balanced out nicely with the sweetness from the apricot and honey, then the sharp citrus cuts through so that it doesn’t lean too much toward the sweet side. The aged rum give the whole drink flavors of spice and vanilla.
I might even go so far to say it’s tasty AF.
Turmeric Rum Hot Toddy
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
pinch of freshly ground black pepper (2 turns on coarse in a mill)
1 tsp honey
3/4 ounce freshly squeeze lemon juice
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur, Giffard used here
2 ounces rum, Appleton Estate Rare Blend 12 year used here
3-4 ounces hot water
In a heat proof mug, pour in turmeric powder, black pepper and honey. Mix together until a paste forms. Then add in lemon juice, apricot liqueur and rum. Pour hot water into the mug and then carefully stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon peel.