The Time I Made A Lime Leaf-Infused Lime Daiquiri But Couldn’t Open The Cocktail Shaker

I’m a big fan of Simply Ming on PBS (in fact, I’m just a big fan of cooking shows on PBS in general).

But Simply Ming seems to be one of the only platforms on TV where real, heavyweight chefs can come and showcase a dish (Daniel Boulud and Shaun Hergatt were recent guests). And he always starts the show with a cocktail, usually something simple and elegantly-made, which he offers to the guest before they get cooking. When pastry chef extraordinaire Johnny Iuzzini was on the show recently, Ming made him one of his favorite cocktails–a cocktail that Johnny said he always orders at a new bar to see if they make it right–a simple daiquiri with white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup.

Something about that combo really intrigued me (and also the fact that it’s a classic cocktail) so the next time I was at Barkeep in Silverlake, I picked up a bottle of white rum, the one you see at the top of this post. I had the limes, I had the sugar and water, I also had (foreboding music) the cocktail shaker.

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Chocolate Malteds

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Most people who buy malt powder do so to make malteds, not homemade everything bagels. But days after making those bagels, I found myself with a perfectly good carton of malt powder and, having made a chickpea stew for dinner, I figured: “Hey, we deserve some chocolate malteds.” Here’s the thing about chocolate malteds: you don’t make them with chocolate ice cream. You make them with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

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The Porch Swing

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Looking for a refreshing summer drink? Try this one on for size. On Sunday night, we went over to our friends Mark and Diana’s and they served up a delightful twist on the Pimm’s Cup, a cocktail called The Porch Swing which they learned from Blue Smoke in New York (the restaurant that also catered their wedding). What’s nice about it is it’s not too sweet, it’s not too alcoholic, it’s not too bubbly, but it’s very satisfying on a hot day. Here’s how you make it.

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Hot Coffee Drink vs. Cold Coffee Drink

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There’s a funny website called “Is It Iced Coffee Weather?” that determines, based on your location, whether it’s iced coffee weather. The current prognosis for me is: “No. Try it hot.”

This is a question I’m often asking myself because I enjoy drinking coffee every day, so much so that I drink tea in the morning in order to save my coffee drink for later on when I can get it from a coffee shop. And when I get to the counter I have to decide if I want it hot or cold. Lately, I’ve come up with a good strategy.

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Tasting Notes: Flemish Sour Ale, Delirium Tremens, Centine Toscana

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My literary muscles have been flexed thoroughly on the subject of food, but not so beverages. And yet I drink beverages every day. I am drinking beverages right now! (An overly sweet Chai tea and a glass of water, for the record.) Last week I decided to throw my hat into the wine/beer writing ring by taking notes upon sipping from various bottles. What follows are my tasting notes for the various beverages I tried. I hope you will find them as useful and insightful as my regular work here. I hope to make this a regular feature.

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Smoothie Update: Coconut Water & Mint

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Hey, so I read all your comments on my smoothie post and you all have good smoothie ideas (though spinach in a smoothie still skeeves me out). The other day I had an idea of my own: instead of adding orange juice to my smoothie, I added a little box of coconut water. My goal was to make it taste like the coconut-infused smoothie from The Parker in Palm Springs and, sadly, the coconut water didn’t have that effect. (I’m thinking coconut sorbet might do the trick, or coconut milk.) Still: since coconut water is good for you, it was probably a smart choice. The best part was I added some fresh mint this time around and that really made things interesting. So give coconut water and fresh mint a try in your next smoothie… it’s refreshing!

Where Do You Escape For Pre-Dinner Cocktails?

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Here in 2012, cocktails are so omnipresent it’s almost impossible to imagine a restaurant meal without them. If you’re on a date, it might be tempting to have your cocktails and your dinner all at the same venue to save time and psychic energy deciding where to go. But that would be a mistake. Your date will only be enhanced by having your cocktail at a different venue: that way you double your conversation topics (the scenery, the waiter, the music, etc). So here are five cocktail joints that I highly recommend for your pre-dinner cocktails.

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