Mixing drinks at home has never been a priority. We’ve been known to stir up a Negroni now and again — it’s such an easy drink, I basically eyeball it — but the days of Craig shaking up Sidecars at dinner parties has been in steep decline ever since I noticed how much more clean-up is involved (the shaker, the extra glassware, the jigger, etc). Plus Craig always leaves the bottles with the caps off on my cutting board as I’m trying to get dinner together and it drives me crazy.
All of that changed under our current circumstances. We’ve been mixing up cocktails on the regular, with Craig reclaiming the mantle as our resident mixologist. His favorite drink to make is a Paper Plane, which is a surprising combination of Aperol, Amaro, Bourbon, and lemon juice: producing a bright, summery drink despite the presence of a wintery spirit. He also makes a mean gin martini, a fizzy gin and tonic (the day he told me to buy “bespoke tonic water,” I knew we’d become monsters), and an excellent classic daiquiri. And now we’re making even more sophisticated cocktails with the arrival of David Lebovitz’s Drinking French.
One of the best things about starting this blog again is the help that I get from you, my loyal readers.
A commenter with a wonderful name, Adam, chimed in on my last post about cocktail-making (see: “The Time I Made A Lime-Leaf Infused Daiquiri But Couldn’t Open The Cocktail Shaker”) and suggested I try a Boston shaker. I read up on it, and the concept made sense to me: instead of a vertical, tightly-sealed bullet, the Boston shaker works at an angle. At least that’s how it seemed. Then I got confirmation of that yesterday when I popped into Barkeep in Silverlake to ask all about it…
Listen up, Negroni lovers. The other night I was with my parents at Hinoki and the Bird and, on the Negroni section of their drink menu, I spied a drink called The Kingston Negroni. The bartender heartily recommended it and so I gave my nod of approval. “Let’s do this thing,” I said, but not really, I didn’t really say that.
But this drink. This drink! It is so good. It’s a riff on a Negroni, not nearly as bitter, but just as bracing. The best part is you can easily recreate it at home with three ingredients: Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Gran Classico (a bitter Italian apertif similar to Campari), and Carpano sweet vermouth. Combine them in equal parts, serve over ice, and add some orange peel. Suddenly you’ll be whisked away to Jamaica by way of Italy and your dinner guests will be dazzled at your drink-making prowess. But really all you did was shop for unique liquors and then stir them together. Be careful, though…one too many of these and you may actually wake up in Jamaica.
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.
Recently, the L.A. restaurant Sotto invited me in to experience their new cocktail menu. Having been to Sotto before I knew I couldn’t just go there for cocktails, the food is too good. So I made an actual reservation and while the restaurant comped two cocktails (I had the grapefruit-y Modest Mouse with Espolon reposado tequila, Averna, Punt e Mes, Angostura orange bitters, Pamplemousse rose, and grapefruit oil; Diana, my date for the night, had the lovely Swept Away with Martin Millers Westbourne strength gin, Saler’s gentiane, Nardini amaro, Benedictine, and house orange bitters) the alcoholic highlight, by far, was the Amaro they let us try at evening’s end.
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!
Yes, I made this smoothie. I didn’t really use a recipe; though, if you shuffle through the contents of my brain, you’ll probably realize I memorized a recipe out of Mad Hungry that I blogged about once here. The key to it all is: instead of using ice? You use frozen berries. And the rest sort of happens willy-nilly.
Recently a friend (who shall remain nameless (John K.)) compared me to an “old lady” because I described my new morning routine: I make toast and I make tea. Tea and toast.
I’ve described the toast to you, but not the tea. I started with Harney & Sons but as that started to run out, I bought a box of PG Tips from my local Gelson’s. I first heard about PG Tips from my friend Morgan, who went to school in England and drank lots of tea; then I saw it again in April Bloomfield’s new book, where she describes drinking it with a splash of milk.