Gingerbros and Crockpot Pufferfish.

Iiiiiiiit’s THAAAAAT TIME OF YEAAAARRRR…..

when the world calls a cab.

Yes it’s holiday party time. A time when people of all ilks converge at the year’s end to celebrate their beginnings, endings, festivals of lights, offerings of gratitude for family, health, making it this far without disowning crazy drunk Uncle Larry.   It’s a good time to be alive, this month of December.  Some people get bonuses from bosses.  Some people get to see long lost family or friends.  People propose.  People get served divorce papers…LOOK whatever is going on in your life, it’s time to drink, AMIRIGHT?!  And what better way than to have a gathering of coworkers, neighbors you just met, or people from your dodgeball team to get schnockered with?

I have come up with two must haves if you are hosting or even just showing up uninvited to a Holiday Party (PRO TIP…in case you are party crashing, always bring a 30 pack of beer and a bottle of liquor.    No one will turn you away.  No one.)  (PRO TIP…previous pro tip does not apply to church parties or children’s classroom parties).

BUY THESE THINGS:

For Crockpot Boozin (also known as Swedish Glögg)

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Bottle of Shiraz or Malbec.   THE BIG CHEAP ONE  – you know the one.

1/2 cup Brandy

1/4 cup Whisky

1/2 cup Apple Cider

Cloves stuck into a Peeled Orange, plus orange peels

Raisins

Dump all of these into a crock pot and let it warm (no boiling necessary) all day til party time.   You’ll thank the Swedes for 1) knowing how to make one helluva holiday drink 2) making your entire party house smell DIVINE and 3) you can tell everyone you’ve made poisonous puffer fish for dinner.

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Festive little guy.
MOVING ON-

A holiday cocktail that requires a little work is in order as well.  And I mean A LITTLE work.  You have so much schmoozy catch up fun to have that you do not want to complicate matters with cocktails.  TWO LIQUORS make this Gingerbread flavored drink, which we will call a Gingerbro.  Because.  GINGERBRO.  I mean…

*(this is crafted for the annual Hilty Christmas Party btw…  and my many lifelong friends that attend far far away – cheers to my brosties and besties)

BUY THESE THINGS.

gingerbro

RUMCHATA    and     FIREBALL

I only put the Coke bottle in the pic because it is caayute!  Unfortunately when shaken with Rumchata, it creates a jelled blob that you really don’t want.

This makes three options depending on how busy you are in hosting duties.

  1.  SHOTS!  SHOTS!  SHOTS!  SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS! –   pour equal parts Rumchata and Fireball into a shot glass.   Bottoms Up!
  2. Party Theme Drink –  in your shaker, pour equal parts Rumchata and Fireball over some cracked ice.  Add a dash of cream to lighten it up, and shake that Gingerbro up.   On a side plate, smash the ever-loving hell out of some Teddy Grahams until they are unrecognizable.  Wet the rim of a short or tall rocks glass and dip into the teddy dust.  If you have time order THESE as your swizzle stir sticks and no one will ever stop talking about how creative you are.
  3. Fancy Tini – in your shaker, equal parts Rumchata and Fireball over cracked ice.  Add a dash of cream, shake shake shake.  Rim the martini glass with the teddy dust (or cinnamon sugar if you prefer), and strain your shaker contents into the glass.

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On any of those, you find these little gingerbread cookies at Walgreen’s (inspired from this blog drink with a beautiful holiday Russian that you should also make some other time) and they make a super cute garnish with – AGAIN – no effort.  None.  Except going to Walgreen’s – and you needed to get a last minute Secret Santa gift anyway-  so – bonus!

YOU PARTY ANIMALS!   Get ta drinkin.  And eating.  And being merry.

 

For tomorrow we start election season.

 

 

 

 

Dranksgiving! The Cranberry Gobbler and Apple Pie Mule

We have arrived – the twilight of 2015!  Can you believe it?!  Neither can I.

It’s been a rough month – this November.  The world took a couple punches. That seemed to create a bit of divisiveness, division, fear among the great American social experiment.  I just so happen to be in what history crowns the birthplace of the first Thanksgiving – Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  And it just so happens that after the pilgrims landed here four hundred years ago (say that out loud…wow… FOUR HUNDRED) (yes technically 396 ya little fact checkers) – there was also divisiveness, division, and fear.

No matter how you want to crack that egg of history, you know what solved the problems they had?  Working together.   And a big fat harvest feast didn’t hurt. Many many thanks to Squanto who offered humanity and love and taught my own ancestors how to plant some corn and not die, and to people around the world who fight fear with love.

WHAT IS BETTER TO TOAST TO THAN THAT!?      Let’s get on with this drink business, shall we?  I made two very simple drinks – because Ain’t nobody got time for complex ANYTHING when you’re basting a turkey and making 25 unique sides you found on Pinterest.

Buy these things:  tgives5

Cape Cod Cranberry Soda, Stoli Gala Apple (any apple vodka is fine), Apple Cider, Peach Schnapps, Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer (ginger beer is much stronger in flavor), nips of Fireball cinnamon whiskey and lime vodka.   One giant Mum flower dressed as a turkey (optional).  One toothpick holder of Wampanoag natives and pilgrims holding hands (required).

We’ll begin with the Cranberry Gobbler – tgives2

This is an easy drink to make – you can build in the glass, and I recommend a cinnamon sugar rim – just rub some of the apple slice around the rim – it’ll do the stick trick – and dip the rim onto a plate of cin/sugar.   If you want this to be fancier, shake and strain into a martini glass and plop some fresh cranberries in.

STEPS:      Rim the glass first.  It is REALLY hard to rim the glass later.     Fill some tall glasses with ice cubes, one or two shots of apple vodka, one shot of peach schnapps (the peach will overpower the flavors, so do not go more than one shot),  fill to the top with cranberry soda.  Drizzle some Fireball cinnamon whiskey on top (to taste).   You can garnish with an apple slice pierced with a Craisin, like I did, or cinnamon sticks are fun.   It’s light and fruity and a good sipper while you cook.

Next!  The Apple Pie Mule!

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I made this for two reasons – I recently acquired a mule mug, and I love apple pie everything.   Mules are all the rage – and simple as pie, quite frankly.  The copper mug is important, but honestly if you don’t have one I will not tell a soul.  Call it an ‘apple pie donkey’ and be good with it.

STEPS:  Crushed ice is best in this drink.  Fill a mug 2/3 with ice.  In your shaker, fill a solid half with apple vodka and half apple cider.  Swish it around to blend.  Fill your mug halfway with the swish, drizzle some lime vodka (or squeeze a lime if you have a fresh one), and fill with Ginger beer.  (I used ginger ale this time around and it isn’t quite as authentic.  Use ginger beer – it’ll taste zestier).  Pop an apple and a cinnamon stick on that bad boy and serve these up.

I wish wonderful warm bountiful goodness on all of you this Thanksgiving.  We are all very lucky indeed, to celebrate the open arm embrace of our heritage.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

tgives1

 

 

The Ghostbuster and a Black & Orange

Who is READY FOR HALLOWEEN!?  One week away … So you better be hot gluegunning the last bling onto your “Sexy Bernie Sanders” costumes today, ladies and gents.

I am watching Nightmare Before Christmas for the first time.  I know…I know. Somehow in all the years of OWNING Halloween, I have missed this crucial piece.   No time like the present! Are you back from the pumpkin patch today?  If so I bet you need a beer.  And I bet you’re sick of pumpkin everything.  Well breathe a sigh of relief, it’s almost over.

BUT NOT TODAY.

Buy these things: IMG_20151023_183830

I split a Guinness with my favorite pumpkin beer from Magic Hat today, but found a really cool Harpoon Coriander and Orange a’Peel to make my Black and Orange!  Remember the Pope Floats technique?  Same thing!  Guinness floats on light beers, and while it is a perfect fall beer on it’s own, it is heavy…the meal of beers, so splitting it makes it fun and drinkable for non Irish 😉.  You can layer just about any light beer you enjoy.  This works ASHMAZINGLY with ciders and shandys bee tee dubs.   Pick your favorite fall flavor and go nuts!  Here is the Black and Orange :

PhotoGrid_1445655533979HOW:  Fill a pint glass halfway with your beer choice.  Take that spoon, lay across the glass with end touching the inside. Crack a can of Guinness open, let it foam out the top a little, pour over the rounded part of the spoon.  It will “settle” onto your beer and look like this:

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Ok, enjoy that out of your Guinness glass (Get a set. . . Take that as you wish.)

So let’s get to the good stuff.   You want a shot?  A real shot?! A drop shot of epic proportions, cats and dogs… living together!? Mass hysteria?

Then you want The Ghostbuster.

PhotoGrid_1445655690066You’ll need:  

Bailey’s (I used a salted caramel flavor and it was rad).  Kahlua. Triple Sec. Crown Royal.  Cola.  

In a rocks glass pour yourself a shot of crown and fill the glass halfway with cola.  In a shot glass, fill 1/3 with Kahlua, 1/3 Triple Sec, and top with Bailey’s (it will float automatically)…

Now…this is a drop shot so prepare as many of these as you like, have everyone hold their glasses at ready, and drop the shot into the glass of crown and coke. You can watch the ghouls come alive in the glass, but hurry and chug or you’ll get slimed! That Bailey’s curdles up in cola if left to it’s own defenses.

OooOOOoooOooOoh.

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The Ghostbuster!   I’ll warn you now I’ve put big bad men into a trance with this shot. It sneaks up on you…so, only one.  We all know sequels are never what they’re cracked up to be.

…I can’t feel my face when I’m with you…but I love it.

Happy Halloweening! 🎃

 

Pope Floats

WHAT A WEEK.   Here on the East Coast we close up shop for a three day weekend – and for all intents and purposes, we’ll call it Indigenous People’s Day.   I’m taking off on a field trip tomorrow to Salem, Massachusetts, and will have a wonderful witchy concoction for you when I return.

Since it IS Friday and you might just want a fun little something to start your night out with – I’ll give you a quick, easy tutorial on layering Bailey’s on top of just about any sweet spirit.  (Bailey’s is a notorious curdler in things like colas and fruit based lemony snickety stuff…so stick to things like Amaretto, Kahlua – and syrupy dense sweet schnapps…  then when we WANT it to curdle I’ll show you that too!  I know, what?  it happens…)

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Did you catch that?  …..   See it’s all in the spoon – but what you’ll find floating Bailey’s on top of Amaretto is that it kind of just bloops up to the top anyway…but for a pretty separation use a spoon.   Also, chill these puppies because those two liquors taste kind of blech when warm…

So there…. the Pope Floats.   Float-y Bailey’s on top of Italian Amaretto (I almost went for a Brazilian liquor but I figured I’d honor the Vatican as a whole…I’m sure they would approve.  😉 )    Shoot one tonight before dancing the night away, or before watching Shark Tank.  It’s your life.

Back soon with THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF SALEM!

*jumps on broom and takes off!

The Dirty Martini

Welcome, shakers of the weekend!

What a week it has been.   Autumn is crisping up leaves.  Pope Francis rode in a little Fiat around our nation.  Olivia Pope is back in biz with Scandal.  Joaquin the tropical stormacane is headed up the East Coast.  I finally have my first official post ready!!!

There are 8.7 billion drink recipes online right now.  Google it.  Lavender boysenberry spritzed pisco rimmed with saffron and licorice twizzle set afire by a kiss of Bacardi 101 floated on the tears of a Tibetan monk.

It’s all out there, and we’ll get our hands sticky with as many as I can try.  But for this FIRST drink, I want to begin where I began, cocktailing at a hotel bar in the Southwest that hosted bands resting between arena shows, elected officials puffing cigars (when that was still allowed), and karaoke collegiates downing Long Island Ice Teas (when that was still allowed).   In the hours before the old timers left and the crowds rushed in, I worked with some really, really good bartenders who taught me how to craft a drink.  It matters HOW you build a drink.  The order you do things in matters, and the presentation matters.  The first drink they taught me to make, and it will forever be my favorite, was the dirty martini.

THE SHOPPING:             martini1

I am a vodka martini girl.  Gin makes a man mean, or so they say, and I’m mean enough, so in this martini I am going to use Grey Goose vodka.  It’s smooth and inoffensive to guests  (Note: my go-to favorite is Stolichnaya).  There are two billion vodkas, there are 100 thousand gins, and ALL of this is best when you find the one that really fits your taste.   A solid punchy gin is Bombay Sapphire.   I will stress – in a drink of elegance such as the martini do not buy those plastic bottles on the bottom shelf…shell out a little more and feel fancy.  If you have the means to buy very expensive spirits, remember that sometimes they are charging for the bottle and not the contents.   You can only distill a potato so much before it all tastes the same.  Find your happy place on the spirit.

You will need DRY vermouth.  (not sweet.  That is for a Manhattan, and that is for another weekend).   You will also need olives (big clean Spanish olives), a lemon if you like a twist (limes are not for this, nor are oranges but you do you), and if you think both those ideas are gross pick up little pickled pearl onions (You’ll wind up with a Gibson – it’s fantastic).

Are you having a group over?  Line up your stash on your table or bar area – always put garnishes out in a little bowl (NO THEY ARE NOT SNACKS PUT THAT DOWN) – Fill and chill a large carafe of strained martini that you can just stir up and pour into the glasses.  Don’t put ice in the carafe or you’ll have a watery mess.

Only need one or two (or three)?  Then do this:

  1. Set out your martini glass – place ice in glass – pour a small amount of dry vermouth into the glass – set aside to chill.                                                      martini2
  2. In your shaker, put one scoop of crushed ice – pour two or three shots per drink of vodka or gin – shot glass to measure or the bartender count (one… two… three…stop).  For a DRY martini – put a dash of vermouth into the mix.   For a MEDIUM martini – put a glug (half shot) into the mix.  For a WET martini – put a shot of vermouth into the mix.  The more vermouth, the less the zing of the vodka or gin will be on your tongue.   For a dirty martini – a glug of olive juice from the jar.  DO NOT USE A TON OF OLIVE JUICE IN THERE – you want a martini, not a sip of the Atlantic Ocean.  Add it in to taste.
  3. Shake it.   Because Bond,   James Bond.
  4. Remember your little martini glass sitting alone over there, chillin?  Swirl the ice melt and vermouth around and around in it, and dump it into the sink – BAM!  You’ve just “painted your glass” – you can use that phrase to impress people.   It’s fancy and puts a little hug of vermouth around your glass.
  5. Strain that puppy into your glass.    (This fuzzy little pic that will drive all my photographer friends mad shows the Boston method.  HEY one handed pour plus pic snapping.  I think I did okay…)                                                                  martini5
  6. GARNISH!   Garnish is the difference between meh and WOW.  Don’t you dare make a mehtini!  You can drop olives into stuff some other time.  Get some nice little picks and give your guest two or three olives.  One is the pits, speaking of… No pits!  DO NOT USE CHEESE STUFFED OLIVES.  Who doesn’t love a chunk of feta floating in your drink?  EVERYONE doesn’t.  That’s the answer.  DO use Jalapeno stuffed olives.  DO say “Ima get jala-peno martini” as you plunk them on picks into your guest’s drink.    Or don’t.  Know your audience.                                    martini6
  7. DRINK!       I have a dearly beloved who insists on gulping down martinis. It drives me mad.  Sip them.  They are meant to be lingered over while lunching with a Senator and discussing policy changes, or waiting at the charity ball for your turn to give accolades.  Treat that tini with respect!    tini

And treat yourself with respect.  Enjoy – Don’t drink and drive.

Ain’t gonna hurt nobody.    We just dancin y’all.

Bar Basics (barsics)

Before our big jaunt into spilling and shaking and pouring tomorrow, you’ll need to stock up on some bar gear.

If you have two glasses and ice you can make a nice drink, so don’t worry if you don’t have a bar set yet, but they are wonderful additions to a kitchen.  Bed Bath & Beyond has a great 9 pc. one for thirty dollars from Libbey:  bar set

Wayfair.com/Overstock/Target…your Mom’s basement – you’ll find something fun.   Just make sure you have a shaker, a strainer, a muddler, and a shot glass.

Martini, High Ball, Rocks, Daiquiri – they all have a reason, a history…some of them are just irritating (don’t get me started on my disdain for the sloshy Margarita glass)…but they are all worth a try.  Collect as you go.

DID YOU KNOW- there are three types of shakers:

The Boston (this is what you see at a good ol dive bar, and it’s my favorite) – metal bottom, pint glass top, crack like an egg to strain.

The Cobbler – metal bottom, metal top with strainer in it, third cap to measure shots.   Attempt to crack but it won’t because it freezes together EVERY TIME and you yank and pull and run water on it and throw it at a wall and now your guests have left and you FAIL.

The French –  My tipsy shaker is a hammered copper fronch shaker my parents found in the seventies at a little Nantucket shop!  It is the best thing I’ve ever mixed a drink in.   The French is a metal bottom (you can use the half from the Cobbler you threw at the wall), a metal top or plastic top (it doesn’t look pretty but won’t freeze to the bottom), and a separate strainer ring that slaps on the bottom and works very well at keeping icebergs out of your tini.

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Get a shaker that you like, but I’m very seriously warning you about that Cobbler.  I’ve never enjoyed them.  They are not used in bars.  There is a good reason.

SO…get your gear.  Get excited.  Let’s light this candle!

Cheers and welcome!

Is there a better joy than gathering with friends and sharing a special libation and a weekly catch-up? For my past (cough cough) two decades, that was Friday happy hour.

Years of bartending and soiree throwing gave me some really great tips on crafting drinks, and lifelong friends with a humorous take on the whys and whos and hows of the universe.

With the birth of my son and a move to a New England coastal community, I traded my bar rag for the legal field, and a fully stocked liquor cabinet for a weekly craft beer find in the fridge.

Since my baby shower gifts did not include a full time nanny – and I bet yours didn’t either – I’ve taken to making stay at home weekends fun by mixing a drink based on the season, the holiday, the whim. I’d like to share those ideas with you – show you what on earth “painting the glass” really means, what ice is best in a rum and coke, how to get that salt to stick to your margarita rim, and how to mix for a party. Cocktails can be art, and the breakdown makes them fun AND easy for anyone to join me in creating. Hide that old bottle of red for a night (or break it out for Sangria week) and check out the wow you can make for yourself or friends.

Shake up your weekend!