Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday Manhattan

Hurrah for the Holidays!

We had friends visit earlier this week, and we discovered that our youngest guest had a real knack for finding sea glass. 

Take a five-year-old to the beach at Harkness if you want to find the good stuff!

Also good? The Holiday Manhattan that DP stirred up. 

A variation on the Wakeman's Air, it's delicious...

2 parts Bourbon
1 part Punt e Mes
1 heavy splash of Becherovka
2 dashes Angostura Bitters


Shake with ice (I know, you think it should be stirred, but sometimes a little extra ice water in the drink is just fine), garnish with a cherry (Luxardo Maraschinos, if you have them), and serve to everyone who has been worn out by running around with children all day long.
The Becherovka provides all the flavors of Christmas, and you know you can't go wrong with the other ingredients. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Kentucky Cocktail

Pineapple juice! I still haven't figured out a great way to get the juice out of the pineapple and into the cocktail, but I'm working on it. I've tried the blender (mostly pulp / best for frozen drinks) and the garlic press (thinking outside the box!), but my most successful method is the one I used with the Kentucky Cocktail...  

Chop the pineapple into chunks, put them into a sieve over a bowl, and press with a big ol' spoon. Juice comes out, pulp stays in the sieve, and everyone is happy as long as the sieve's mesh stays in place.

2 parts Bourbon
1 part Pineapple Juice


Shake with ice (because it has fruit juice) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
It's a sweet cocktail, just as you'd expect with bourbon and pineapple juice. Sweet, and tasty, but not very complex. We polished it off, and then DP decided to try to elevate the drink. He came up with a variation he's calling the Montenegro Mash...

1.5 oz Bourbon
1 oz Pineapple Juice
2 dashes Orange Bitters


Shake with ice, strain into your chilled cocktail glass, and enjoy!
The Amaro Montenegro has a not-quite-bitter orange thing going on that really enhances the pineapple by bringing out the flavor while cutting the sugar. If you're going to the trouble of squeezing your own pineapple juice you want to make sure to use it wisely, and with DP's Montenegro Mash you won't regret a thing!

In other news, all of the lilacs are planted, and most of our leaves are raked, and our cold weather lifted just in time for us to spend the afternoon at Harkness Memorial State Park. Five minutes from our front door, and this was our first visit. There's so much of Connecticut to explore!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kempinski Cocktail

According to the Guide, this one "probably originated at the Hotel Kempinski in Berlin." I'll need to see if our friend Snappy can confirm that. She's my Berlin expert.

The drink itself is a blast of Bacardi and grapefruit. "Serves Two!" says the Guide. Well, sure, if your inclined to share. If not, you're all set to enjoy a tasty treat, a bit of summer sunshine on a wintery day.

1 part Bacardi rum
1 part Cointreau (we used Triple Sec, because we're Cointreau-less at the moment)
2 parts Grapefruit Juice


Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.
And speaking of cherries, the cherry tree we'll be putting in the back yard hasn't arrived yet, but our lilac bushes have!

Well, 'bushes' is more of a future descriptive... Right now we have 25 little bare root sticks to plunk into the ground. But lilacs! I should make up a lilac colored cocktail to celebrate.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kangaroo Cocktail

It's a vodka martini. That's all. Just a vodka martini. 

Why is it called a Kangaroo Cocktail? Well, if the folks at Serious Eats (thanks, Grey!) don't know, no one knows.

The recipe in the Guide is as straightforward as it gets.

2 parts Vodka
1 part Dry Vermouth


Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
The lemon twist gives the drink a limoncello nose, but then it's vodka and vermouth all the way. And I'm not opposed to that! It's a different flavor profile than we're used to around here, and sometimes it's nice to stir things up.

Speaking of chilly things...  We finally got our first freeze a few days ago. Nothing compared to the icy temps everywhere else (it's crazy in Idaho!), but still - our first freeze!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Kahlúa Cocktail

We don't have Kahlúa in the house, and Crème de Noyaux is in short supply around these parts as well, so this cocktail isn't exactly what it seems. It's like Dawn Langley Simmons that way. But our version tastes pretty good!

2 oz Kahlúa (or Tia Maria, because that's kind of close)
2 dashes Crème de Noyaux (or Nocello in a pinch - it's awfully tasty!)
1/2 tsp Cream (go ahead and free hand it - I won't tell)


Fill an Old Fashioned glass half way with crushed ice, and pour in the Tia Maria and Nocello. Top with that cream that's about to expire, because you bought it a month ago in anticipation of making this cocktail, but you thought that a long string of Manhattans would be better and you made them instead. Enjoy!
The coffee of the Tia Maira and the walnut hazelnut of the Nocello blend together really well, and when you top it with cream you get a delicious dessert-for-breakfast sort of thing going on. I would never, never had made this if it weren't the next drink in the Guide, but you know what? I'm kind of glad I did!

Other news:  We had ten trick-or-treaters, and nine of them were dressed as Elsa. Our neighbor's garage burnt down, and we didn't even notice until our street was filled with firetrucks and sirens and flashing lights. We haven't had a frost yet, which seems to have given our landscaping a chance to get established. And our friend Grey was absolutely right about Headlight Restoration...  it really works!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aviation Cocktail

It's a 'get things done in the back yard' sort of day around here! Our tree guy is also a landscape guy, and he's tackling the 30+ years of wisteria roots that have tangled up everything, everywhere. The previous owners had taken a lot out before we came on the scene, but remnants can be found. Believe me, the remnants can be found. 

In other news, I figured out how to turn on the heat this morning (yes, it's a sign of moral failure to turn on the heat in October, but when the inside temps drop below 60 degrees, something must be done!) 

I was convinced that I would need to figure out how to flip valves on the furnace, and get water going through the pipes, and bleed the radiators, and, and, and...

And I turned the cute little round thermometer up to where I wanted it, and everything worked perfectly without me doing anything at all. Hurrah!

But we still have the Heating Oil folks coming out on Thursday to make sure everything is truly in order.

Anyway, our friend Amherst came to visit a few weeks back with her girls, and while the girls enjoyed DPs very delicious pasta with cheese, the adults in the crowd enjoyed the Aviation cocktail.

That light blue color, that purple jelly bean flavor, that sweet tart on the tongue...

What's not to love about an Aviation?
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Maraschino
1/4 oz Crème de Violette

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
A really nice way to celebrate the end of summer.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

New London Photo in Place of a Cocktail

I totally meant to post this yesterday, but I was too busy taking down trees with my trusty chainsaw. I only got it stuck in a stump one time, and I didn't lose any limbs at all. 

I know!

New London Photo in Place of a Cocktail - Victorian Colors

Now next winter's wood pile is growing, and our backyard is slightly less disorganized. Amazing!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

New London Negronino

We celebrated the end of September by taking the train in to the city for a long weekend, enjoyed perfect weather and Midtown adventures (adventures that featured a great cast, including 'The Hotel Clerk Who Thinks That DP Is A Secret Service Agent' and 'The Woman Who Claimed To Have An OpenTable Reservation But Probably Did Not'), and returned to a gray and rainy Connecticut. One big bonus: the leaves are starting to turn, and the red and gold is already flaming outside our windows.

So it's definitely Autumn in our part of the world, but I'm not ready to let Summer go just yet. Mostly because I need to catch up on some of our Summer cocktails. 

Like our very first cocktail in New London, the Negronino!


4 parts Amaro Nonino
2 parts Campari
5 parts Gin
5 parts Sweet Vermouth (go ahead, use the Carpano Antica, even if you have to go to New Haven to replenish your supply...  You can stop at Trader Joe's and LL Bean while you're in the neighborhood)


Stir with ice and serve over an enormous ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Enjoy on your front porch while recovering from unpacking your newly arrived POD.
I know it's been less than three months, but it already feels like a million years ago.

Friday, September 26, 2014

New London Photo in Place of a Cocktail

I played tourist in my own town today, and wandered around the Hempstead Historic District. Such a gorgeous autumn day! And there I was, the only tourist to be found.

New London Photo in Place of a Cocktail - Hempsted Houses

The 17th and 18th century Hempsted Houses were closed; the streets around were empty, and lined with unrenovated 19th century housing stock. So strange - it must be what Charleston was like, back in the day!

And then I went around the corner to Fiddleheads to pick up some hot fennel garlic sausage (Orsini's, of course!) to use with pizza tonight (maybe with the kale from the Farmer's Market? no, DP just suggested using the beet greens, which will be great!), and things seemed much livelier. 

So I should just appreciate 'undiscovered' New London, and be grateful to be missing the hordes of tourists pouring off the cruise ships? Probably. It does make navigating traffic easier...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sound and Slurry

I had a birthday - yay! 

DP's sister and brother-in-law know me too well, and got me the gift of Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist

Super fun, and perfect for those of us who are having a bit of a struggle pushing through the next few drinks in the Guide

Despite the outrageous price of citrus in these parts (one lemon, one dollar?) we shook up The Sound And The Slurry, the book's tribute to The Sound And The Fury. Because a little bit of Southern inspiration is welcome when the Autumn nights start to get cool.
Tim Federle's Sound and Slurry

4 parts Gin
1 part Crème de Cassis
1 part Lemon Juice


Shake and strain into your chilled cocktail glass, or serve on the rocks
Do you like Gin? Good! Then this is totally the drink for you...  a blast of juniper and floral notes from the Gin, sharpened by the citrus twist and sweetened just a bit by that hit of blackcurrant from the Crème de Cassis. You won't be chilly anymore!

Other things that will keep you from being chilly...  Creating a built-in desk from scratch; yanking an ancient air-conditioner out of a wall and replacing it with a new window; stacking a few cords of wood; weeding, weeding, and always weeding.  The good news is that our electricity has been upgraded, our wood stove is working, and a new driveway is in the works! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brandied Ginger Gold

Wednesday is Farmers' Market day in our neck of New London (sometimes, unlike in Charleston, it almost seems to be a singular Farmer's Market, but today there were half a dozen stands set up). I walked up this afternoon to stock up on tomatoes (just coming in), and eggs, and blueberries...  and Ginger Gold apples, the first apples of the season!

I can't tell you how excited I am to be in New England for apple season. Lots of cider awaits!

Ginger Gold apples naturally got me thinking of Ginger cocktails, and back in the day we made a Brandied Ginger that called out for a Curtain Call.  The recipe in the Guide called for too much brandy and not enough ginger, so this time around I shook up the recipe as you'll find it online

Well, mostly as you'll find it online...  After my years working with the Guide, I'm a firm believer in a healthy sized drink, and I decided to triple the online recipe in order to make two cocktails.

My recipe for two glasses of Brandied Ginger:

3 oz Brandy
1.5 oz Ginger Brandy
.5 oz Lime Juice
.5 oz Orange Juice


Shake with ice and pour into two chilled cocktail glasses. Go ahead, garnish with a lime slice if you don't happen to have any preserved ginger in the house.
Ramping up the ginger flavor was absolutely the way to go, and makes a much spicier drink than the Brandied Ginger of the Guide. A nice cocktail to share on an autumnal evening like the one we're having here in Connecticut!

Tomorrow we'll be in need of a cocktail by the time the hour rolls around, but I don't think I'll be able to post it as soon as we make it...  We're going without power tomorrow in order to switch out our screw-in fuses with a new and improved panel.

All part of the fun of settling into a new house.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Manhattan to New London

When our friends Snappy and Grey came to visit us, they came up from Manhattan (our first visitors by train! And it works really well! The industrial scene across the water in Groton looks positively magical in the summer twilight!), so it seemed only right and proper to stir up some Manhattans in honor of their appearance.

The cherry was the flaw in the plan, however. We used up the last of our Luxardo maraschino cherries before leaving Charleston, and even there in the midst of a foodie revolution we had trouble locating them locally.

Williams-Sonoma on King Street carried them at one time, but then dropped them from the inventory when they moved up to their smaller digs near Calhoun.

In New London we really were at a loss - we haven't gotten to know any liquor stores well, and the ones that we have been checking out are strong in lots of ways (great selections of amari!) but weak when it comes to cherries.

But! As we were exploring downtown New London with Snappy and Grey, we stumbled across Thames River Wine and Spirits on State Street.

Such a great place! The bottles of Jack Rudy Tonic that I saw when we came in the door (so nice to find some more Charleston in New London!) were just the first of many great finds - including jars of Luxardo cherries. Hurrah!

It was Manhattans all around before we headed back downtown to the Garde to see Snowpiercer (and some of us were leery beforehand - I'm looking at you, Grey - but the plot hurtled right past the logic and swept any disbelief away).
2 parts Old Overholt Rye
1 part Carpano Antica vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters  
1 Luxardo maraschino cherry
Stir liquid ingredients with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
Loved having our friends visit!

Loved our Manhattans in New London.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

After the Waterfront

Our friends Snappy and Grey came to stay with us last week (yay!), a visit perfectly timed to give us a chance to play tourists - and we were more than ready to take a break from moving in. 

We plunged into the waters of Ocean Beach after soaking up the sun on the sand... We spent a morning at the Book Barn(s) and then headed back for more after lunch... We wandered Mystic and had beers in lieu of pizza...  

And Snappy and Grey treated us to an outstanding dinner On the Waterfront.

It was Linguine with Clams for me, melt in your mouth Swordfish for DP (yes, it's sustainable), the Scallops of Stonington for Snappy (take some home to use in a scramble in the morning, per Grey), and an array of fish for Grey. So good! And by the time we got home, we were ready for some sort of digestif...

'After the Waterfront' is what we're calling the one we made up:

1 part Lime Juice
1 part Brandy
1 part Dimmi Liquore di Milano
1 part Green Chartreuse


Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I've been iffy about Dimmi in the past, but it works so well in this concoction. Tart lime, sweet herbaceousness from the Chartreuse, and what I've been tasting as sour orange in the Dimmi comes into its own with an almost apricot floral note. 

A delicious end to an evening!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cocktails in Connecticut


How has your summer been? 

Who, me? Well, we've had a little bit of excitement, too...  

You didn't hear? No... it's just that DP and I got married. In May.

In Connecticut.

I know! And then it turns out that our Connecticut marriage isn't recognized in South Carolina.

Who knew, right? So weird! 

Anyway, we can't stay in Charleston, obviously. So we bought a place in New London, and we've been exploring the area, and hosting Charleston guests, and getting ready to drink more cocktails.

In 2010, I started Cocktails in Charleston by saying... 
I've got my boyfriend's trusty copy of the New International Bartender's Guide, 1984 edition (which - side-rant - 'boyfriend' sounds as if we've been on an extended date - and that's sweet, but infantilizing, and it's not like I can use Dear Husband / DH in South Carolina for the foreseeable future, so I'm going to go with Dear Partner / DP from here on out).  So here's the goal: I'll work my way through the Guide, start to finish, maybe 3 or 4 drinks a week, commenting as I go.
Now that my boyfriend is officially my husband, Cocktails in Charleston is turning into Cocktails in Connecticut.  We'd only made it to the 'J' cocktails in Charleston, you know. It's time to move on!

Oh, and one more change. I'm taking on a new pseudonym in Connecticut. James Jacks, my 5th great-grandfather, will be staying in Charleston, the city that he loved, and I'll borrow a name from my 9th great-grandfather, Samuel Bebee, who moved to New London himself way, way back in the day.

It's always fun to shake things up!