Combine vodka, Cointreau and honey in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously and pour into a white wine glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial.
MOËT BIJOU ROUGE
2 ounces Greenbrier gin 1 ounce Carpano (or a nice, sweet vermouth) 1/4 ounce Luxardo 1 tiny dash St. Elizabeth allspice dram bitters Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial
Combine gin, Carpano, Luxardo and dram bitters in a cocktail shaker. Stir very well with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérialand garnish with brandied cherry.
1 ounce gin
1/4 ounce dry curaçao
3/8 ounce sweet vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Brandied cherry garnish (with a touch of the brandied cherry syrup)
Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial
Combine sweet vermouth, gin and orange bitters in a cocktail shaker over ice and pour into a coupe glass. Top with Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial to taste and garnish with a brandied cherry.
The drink was created by the Impatient FoodieElettra Wiedemann. I would love to do this one day. Looks like so much fun and a great honor to be asked to curate a cocktail for a fancy bash such as the Golden Globes. Try one and share your thoughts.
People are always trying to find ways to update things to give them new life. Food and drink included. There are timeless recipes, but there are so many varieties of a recipe that can speak to someone’s unique palette. Whether it is adding herbs, spices, or deconstructing a dish, making any recipe your own is always encouraged.
I’ve been cooking since I was about 9 years old simply because I was a picky eater, and I was not a fan of boxed foods. So my single mother basically told me to do it myself. So, I looked at a package and found a basic recipe on the corn meal and did just that. I have been creating and altering recipes ever since. Even while in culinary school, I was always thinking of ways to change the standard recipes we were working with in class.
As I have gotten older, the same creative mind has worked in the world of cocktails. I came across a restaurant that was already in the lead for their unique take on Parisienne café fare, and their bartenders kept up with that creativity with the cocktails. Behind the bar I saw antique apothecary bottles with herbs and spices in them. I asked the bartender what it was and it was the first time I had heard of infusing spirits with herbs. I had come across some rare infused vodkas (not flavored, there is a huge difference) at a coworker’s dinner party once, and that was already mind blowing.
Now you can buy infused vodkas, although not common. You can buy infused liqueurs, which are more common. But sometimes, you can’t find the flavors you want when trying to create a unique craft cocktail.
Infusing vodka (or other spirits) is pretty simple. The process is fast and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Most time, creating the cocktail takes more effort than the infusing. I’ve talked about infusing before, but here are a couple of recipes for infusing herbs and fruits for creating something more creative cocktails.
Cucumber and lemon
Lemon, vanilla, mint
Rosemary, tarragon, mint
Ruby Red Grapefruit
Rosemary and mint
Quart jar with lid
4 cup capacity glass bottle with lid or cork
Now, you can choose any of these ingredients:
2oranges or lemons
1-2large sprigs of basil, or another favorite herb (rosemary, mint, etc.)
1 cupclean berries
1 cupfruit, cleaned and cut into chunks (pineapple, apple, melon, mango, etc.)
Now here’s the simple part. Take the herb, fruit, or vanilla bean and place in a jar. Pour the vodka in the jar, then put the top/cork on. Place in a dark place at room temperature for a few days. Fruits are stronger, so they will take less time (maybe 2 days). Herbs are a little more subtle and will take longer, maybe 3 days. Do NOT store them in the refrigerator. Pour the vodka through coffee filters set in a mesh strainer, and it’s ready to use.
Basil and herbs – roughly chop and add to jar.
Orange, lemons, melons, berries, fruits – Use citrus peels, no white pith. Cut fruits up roughly. Smash berries slightly leaving them in tact. Grapefruit and blood oranges can be added in pieces, rind and fruit.
Vanilla bean – Cut in half and remove the seeds. Add both the pod and seeds to the jar.
2 ounces rosemary-infused vodka
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
Lavender simple syrup
Dash of fresh lemon juice
Half of a vanilla bean
Lemon twist or wedge for garnish
Chop a half of a vanilla bean in small pieces width-wise and place it in a mixing glass. Add the lavender syrup and muddle, crushing the vanilla bean. Fill the glass with ice, add vodka and vermouth. Shake vigorously. Fine strain and serve either up in a cocktail glass or on the rocks in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or wedge.
Mary Rose Cocktail
2 parts rosemary vodka
1/2 part creme de cassis
1/2 part cranberry juice
Splash of club soda
In a shaker, combine vodka, cranberry juice and cassis. Add ice and shake. Pour a splash of club soda into a chilled cocktail glass. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass, over the soda.
You can play around with flavors and combinations of flavors. Put them in decorative glass jars and give them as gifts. It’s funny how something handmade will make a hostess feel when you hand them a pretty and hand labeled jar.
Bridal showers were once seen as a formal event that required fancy food, toilet paper games, and an awkward gift opening session. These days, brides are choosing more personalized and unique ways to celebrate their upcoming nuptials with their girl friends and wedding party. Here are some ways to throw tradition out and have a creative and relaxed shower.
You have to get the guests there, so choose stationery and invitations that compliment the colors the bride has chosen for her big day. Be creative and less formal.
Location, location, location
Choose a location that is unique and special to you and your groom. I love historic spaces and gastropub type restaurants. The kind that serve craft cocktails and have communal seating. Places with character and culinary fare that goes beyond bruschetta and cheese and crackers.
If you are having your shower at a restaurant or public place, use their menu to your advantage. Takes that task off of you. You can usually get a restaurant to create a prix fixe menu for your guests, or a special variety of menu items just for your party. They will usually give you a deal with that type of set up, but don’t be afraid to ask them.
If you are having your shower at a private home, think of doing a family style set up or creative appetizers that people can walk around and get. That way they can get to know others at the party. One thing to do is to have the appetizers placed around the room and not in one spot because it will make your guests get up and mingle.
Your decor can help bring all the elements of your shower together. You can choose a theme that is either personal for you, or if you have a theme for your wedding day use that. It makes everything seem cohesive.
Chose things that aren’t fussy or formal as to keep the vibe relaxed and engaging for your guests.
Setting the table is nothing formal either. Unless you are having a high tea, there is no need for formal seating charts…unless you want to do so to mix up the guests. Be reasonable, you will be using the table a lot. So nothing fussy is really going to be functional.
Choose a special cocktail to represent some of your favorite flavors or a make up of your favorite cocktail. This is all based on preference. You can always have a non-alcoholic option for your child guests or designated drivers.
Display your cocktails in a manner that is easily accessed, classily displayed, and decorative. Try a drink dispenser or decorative glass pitchers.
Try one of these:
Grapefruit + Mint Mojito
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 ruby-red grapefruit
3/4 cup white rum
3 cups ice
1 cup seltzer
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add mint leaves. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, and discard mint. Let cool.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from grapefruit in long, wide strips. Place in a large glass, and add rum. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a large glass measure, and discard zest.
Cut away remaining pith from grapefruit. Cut between membranes to release segments. For each drink, place 2 to 3 segments in a glass. Top with 3/4 cup ice. Stir 3 tablespoons infused rum, 2 tablespoons mint syrup, and 1/4 cup seltzer in a glass measure, and pour over ice. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Sour Cherry Old Fashioned
24 frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup whiskey
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons kirsch
Thin lemon-zest strips (from 1 lemon)
Place cherries in a heatproof bowl. Stir water and sugar in small saucepan to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil, and pour over cherries. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Drain cherries, reserving syrup. Thread 4 cherries onto each of 6 skewers. Make 3 drinks at a time: Pour 6 tablespoons whiskey, 3 tablespoons kirsch, and 4 1/2 teaspoons reserved syrup in a cocktail shaker 3/4 filled with ice. Shake and pour into chilled glasses. Garnish each with a skewer and 2 to 3 strips lemon zest. Repeat for the second batch.
Social Media Buzz
Encourage your guests to use social media apps like Instagram, or the specialty app called the Wedding Party App. This app will allow your guests, at both your shower and wedding, to share their photos with other guests. This will create a great collage of photos and share the memories of others and your guest’s experience sharing in your festivities. Create a unique hashtag to distinguish your event and that way your guests can look back as well under that definer.
For your guests, try an alternative idea and ask guests to bring handmade, small, or specified gifts (i.e. preserves, favorite food items, wine, etc) for things you may want or need.
Lastly, give your guests something to remember the day by. Give anything useful and small, but something that says ‘thank you for coming and sharing that moment’ with you. Again, be creative, but practical.
Whatever type of bridal shower you have, enjoy your friends and family, and be in that moment. Have fun!
Today is the French equivalent to Independence Day, better known as Bastille Day. It commemorates the day that the Bastille prison was stormed and signifies the end of complete monarchy, the birth of the sovereign, and would eventually lead to the creation of the (First) Republic.
Like the 4th of July, food is an important part of the celebration. Sometimes French food can be seen as fussy and complicated, but here are a couple options that aren’t.
2 shots gin (Hendrick’s is a good choice)
2 shots Cointreau
squeeze of lime
1 to 2 tsp sugar
Sparkling wine (Champagne or Prosecco), chilled
Add enough ice to your cocktail shaker to fill it about a third of the way.
Add the gin, Cointreau, lime, and sugar, then cover and shake well. Strain the drink into tumblers chilled with ice.
Finish off each glass with a big splash of sparkling wine. An additional lime wedge is optional.
Keep pouring ‘em.
These Raspberry, Blueberry, and Champagne Cream Macarons are a great option for any occasion. Not to be confused with macaroons, which are lovely coconut or ground almonds circular cakes often mistaken for macarons. Macarons are tiny bits of decadence. They come in many flavors and shades, but when done right they are divine!
Ham Baguette with Arugula and Camembert
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoonsfig jam
2 tablespoonswhole-grain mustard
4 ouncesthinly sliced jambon de Paris
3 ouncesCamembert, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 cupbaby arugula
Slice the baguette in half lengthwise, cutting about three-quarters of the way through.
Evenly coat the cut sides with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
Spread the fig jam & mustard over the butter on both sides.
Layer the ham, Camembert and arugula on the bottom half of the baguette.
Fold over the top half of the baguette and press gently to close.
Cut the sandwich into the desired number of pieces and serve.
Today is the beginning of the weekend, and for me it’s been a long week. A very emotional and stressful, at times, week full of roller coaster ups and downs. So, I thought it would be a generous act to share a few craft cocktails with you on this #FabulousFriday.
Scrappy’s Bitters first hit the bitters scene around 2008 when crafting wasn’t very widespread. Today, crafting while making cocktails has exploded the mixology industry and the sale of and demand for bitters has grown exponentially. Part of their success can be attributed to their commitment to organic ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors. Scrappy’s “craft” bitters are perfect representations of the ingredients they contain along with a balance of carefully selected herbs and spices. Here is a recipe using the crafted bitters that is sure to pique the interest of a cocktail voyeur.
1 oz Old Tom Gin
2 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Scrappy’s Orange Bitters
1/8 oz Maraschino
Add all ingredients to cocktail mixing glass filled with ice. Stir for 30-45 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
Devil in Disguise
2 oz Arco Blanco
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz Cranberry Juice
.75 oz Hibiscus Syrup
2 oz house-made Amaro
3 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
¼ oz Calvados
Whatever your preferences are in match ups, enjoy and have a safe weekend. Happy #FabulousFriday.
Well there’s so much going on today. Today marks Cinco de Mayo, a day of independence of sorts for the Latino community. Today is also the night of the famed and fashionable MET Ball.
The Met Gala started back in 1971, and the themes have always been intriguing. This year’s theme is Beyond Fashion, andI’m interested to see how the stars interpret this theme tonight.
Here is a taste of the stars at Met Galas past:
Anne Hathaway with Valentino 2013
Blake Lively 2010
Cameron Diaz 2012
David and Victoria Beckham 2008
Jamie King 2013
Karolina Kurkova 2012
Today is also Cinco de Mayo, the day that many Mexican-Americans celebrate the battle of freedom and democracy. What better way to celebrate than food and drink.
The Ultimate Margarita
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 1 large lime
1/4 cup silver 100 percent agave tequila
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 cup coarsely cracked ice cube
Refrigerate the glasses if desired. In a shaker, combine the lime juice, tequila, and orange liqueur. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds, then strain into the prepared glasses.
You can use salt or sugar on the rim, but I prefer mine plain with just a lime to garnish.
For those of you who want to try something a little more adventurous, try jello shots. Not just any jello shot, flavored cocktail jello shots. I’ve featured these before from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.
Cucumber-Lime Margarita Jelly Shot
Recommended Pan: 1-pound loaf pan (approximately 8” x 4”/20 x 10 cm)
Implements: Muddler and a cocktail shaker
3/4 cup agave tequila
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate (thawed)
2 envelopes Knox gelatin
1/4 cup Cointreau
Cucumber ribbons and Cayenne Sprinkle for garnish, if desired (recipe below)
Cut a three inch length of cucumber and coarsely chop (set remaining cucumber aside to make cucumber ribbons). Place the chopped cucumber in cocktail shaker and muddle vigorously. Add the tequila to the cocktail shaker, shake for a minute or so and set aside (no ice is needed). Pour water and limeade concentrate into a small saucepan and sprinkle with the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to soak for a minute or two. Heat over very low heat until gelatin is dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Strain the tequila mixture, and stir into gelatin mixture along with the Cointreau. Pour mixture into loaf pan. Place in refrigerator to set (several hours or overnight).
To serve, cut into desired shapes. To make the cucumber ribbons, peel the length of the remaining cucumber with a vegetable peeler. Tie each jelly shot with a ribbon. Trim ends to desired length.
Makes 18 to 24 jelly shots.
1 tbsp large crystal sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix ingredients, and place in small bowl for dipping.
Now many of you know I’m a foodie and culinary school graduate, so food is the most fun part of any celebration. And Mexican dishes are some of my favorite to eat and cook. But since it’s Monday, and not all of us have a ton of time to cook a labor intensive meal, I suggest trying something simple: Nachos!
All you need is some ground meat, I prefer turkey, and seasonings of your choice. Heat and add to tortilla chips with all the toppings you love.
However you celebrate, be safe. What’s your favorite Mexican dish?
Are you going to be watching out for the stars’ fashion on the red carpet tonight at the Met Gala? We will be watching to see who’s wearing what. Who are you looking forward to seeing?
Today is Fabulous Friday!! It’s been a while since I have written a post on this, but I figured the new season changing is a perfect time to start back to talking about things that make you feel awesome and fabulous.
It doesn’t have to be the holiday to celebrate a special occasion or a new year for champagne or glitter. Sometimes you just want to see something sparkly and bright.
This DIY project from Handspire will add some sparkle to your champagne bottles for any event. Whether it’s a birthday party or a special announcement event, you want a little shine to your tables.
Try adding glitter to champagne flutes. It’s really simple and uncomplicated, and it only requires a few steps and tools.
These instructions from Sheknows take only one minute! Seriously, one minute!
You can use the same technique on wine glasses, Mason jars or your favorite style of glass. We grabbed a pack of eight basic Champagne flutes from Wal-Mart for just $24. You can check your local dollar store for glasses, too, or use what’s already in your cupboard.
Using Scotch blue painter’s tape, tape around the stem of the glass where you want the glitter to end — in this case, about a finger’s width below the bottom of the glass. Next, apply standard Mod Podge with a foam brush, being sure to cover all of the stem and base of the glass — especially the edges. Then sprinkle basic gold craft glitter all over the stem. Twist, and sprinkle some more! Set the glasses on wax paper to dry and voila! A super glam look for about $3 a glass, if not less.
And of course you have to have something to wear. Maybe not for an everyday outfit, but adding some sparkle for a special occasion try this site for affordable dresses for any event.
For everyday uses, glitter can be added to something small like your manicure. I love OPI and China Glaze polishes. Glitter manicures are just cool to look at and really can make you feel happy any time you look at your hands.
Whatever you choose to make you feel fabulous, make it your own. Enjoy your weekend and enjoy being fabulous!
It’s time again for the new season of Mad Men to begin, and this is the beginning of the end. The final season comes on tomorrow night and it’s definitely cause for a celebration.
What better way to celebrate than to throw a little themed party to start the new season off. We’re going to share with you some retro inspired treats and some classic cocktails, as well as fun decor touches to add to your party.
1. Pink Deviled Eggs – Something that I haven’t seen in a while are the colored deviled eggs that were prominent at a 60’s dinner party (via The Year in Food). Thought of as chic and modern back then is still classy and fancy today. Their pink hue comes from beet juice!
8. Advertising – Of course you can’t have a Mad Men party without advertisements. This ad shows the culture of advertising at the time of the show.
9. Mad Men Masks – Set up your own photo booth for your guests to have a little fun before the show, or between commercials. These printable masks are like an instant costume, or you can just use them as decorations (via AMC).
10. Classic Martini – You can’t have a Mad Men viewing party without a martini. This is a classic martini recipe. It’s simple and just perfect (via AMC).
I’m sad that this is the last season of Mad Men, but I will be sure to watch the madness of Sterling Cooper & Partners. Who is your favorite character? What’s your favorite cocktail? How will you watch tomorrow?
Well the past couple weeks have been trying. A drain backup in my basement, basketball games, after school tutoring, shoveling snow, ice storms, and snow days….I’m truly over this winter!
So now that it’s February, Valentine’s day is upon us. A day to celebrate your love for someone special. Some think it’s a Hallmark holiday, but others think it has a more meaningful significance.
Whether you celebrate it or not or don’t have someone special, it’s good to just do something nice for someone else. Give a little card or a piece of candy. Something to make someone’s day.
I remember as a kid we used to have Valentine’s parties and you could buy little cards for your friends in school. Or the little two-sided perforated cards that you bought for your classmates with the conversation hearts that came in a box. You were all excited to go to school the next day with your goodies to share with your friends. Those were the days. Now days, schools have dances and sell roses or cards. That’s all fun and good, but there’s nothing like writing your own little note on the back of the card personalized for your friends.
If you want to be more romantic, try cooking a special meal for your loved one or making them a card by hand. Something personalized shows you took time to really think and feel about them.
Try a special cocktail to share together. Or even better, a signature cocktail or even a jello shot recipe from Jelly Shot Test Kitchen.
They have recipes for all occasions for all tastes. If you are adventurous and want to try something different, here is a recipe that will get you started. It’s simple and fun, and you could even get your Valentine in on the fun.
Valentines Jelly Pops
1/2 cup boiling water
1 3 oz package strawberry flavored gelatin dessert (sugar free dissolves very easily)
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 envelopes plain gelatin
1 6 oz container strawberry yogurt
1/3 cup cold water
1 envelope less 1/2 tsp plain gelatin
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
8 each wooden coffee stirrers, cut into 2 inch lengths for garnish, if desired
These pops are super cute whether they’re made in a silicon mold, or set in a baking pan (I’d use a standard loaf pan – about 8″ x 4″)and cut into squares. If using a silicone mold, prepare mold by spraying lightly with cooking spray, then wiping each mold cavity clean with a paper towel. This will leave a slight residue to aid in un-molding without affecting the taste or appearance of the jelly pops. If setting in a glass or non-reactive metal baking pan, no prep is needed. The instructions below are for molds – so if you’re setting in a pan, just pour in the layers!
Red Layer: Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Add cold water. Pour 1 tsp. of the gelatin into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 20 minutes). While the red layer is chilling, prepare Pink Layer.
Pink Layer: Pour water into small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Allow to cool to room temperature – you may want to pop the gelatin in the fridge or freezer for a minute or two to help it along. Pour 1 tbsp into each mold cavity. Refrigerate until firm but not fully set (should be fairly firm, but still slightly sticky when touched – about 15 to 20 minutes). While the pink layer is chilling, Prepare White Layer.
White Layer: Pour water into a small saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour approximately 2 tsp. into each mold cavity.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight, until fully set. (Overnight is ideal as it allows the layers to fully bond.) Garnish each jelly pop with a coffee stirrer segment to make the “popsicle” handle, if desired.
You know that saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, for this holiday, use those lemons to make Limoncello. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur made of lemon peels and vodka. When I first came across Limoncello, I thought it was something fancy and only Italians were privileged enough to know the formula. Well I came across a few recipes and realized how simple it is to make your own limoncello.
A while back, I posted a recipe I learned in culinary school for making vanilla extract. Well, yeah it’s that simple. All you need are lemon peels (no piths…white layer under the peel) and a good, stiff vodka.
The Kitchn suggests 100 proof, or higher grain-alcohol, for best results. The reason why is purely scientific. The higher proof the alcohol, the more flavor will be extracted to yield a smoother flavor.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in long strips (reserve the lemons for another use). Using a small sharp knife, trim away the white pith from the lemon peels; discard the pith. Place the lemon peels in a 2-quart pitcher. Pour the vodka over the peels and cover with plastic wrap. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for 4 days at room temperature.
Stir the water and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Cool completely. Pour the sugar syrup over the vodka mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature overnight. Strain the limoncello through a mesh strainer. Discard the peels. Transfer the limoncello to bottles. Seal the bottles and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
Since it’s the holiday season, this recipe is good for hostess gifts or little guest take-aways. Use swing-top bottles to store and share. They keep well and look presentable too.
If you want to be fancy, try using specialty labels and personalize them to your specifications. I think anyone would be glad to get this gift.
They can sip the limoncello on its own over ice, or in a specialty cocktail. Try adding the limoncello to sparkling wine or sparkling water.
Stripped zest from 2 oranges and 2 lemons, plus more zest for garnish
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Tie the cloves and nutmeg pieces in a small square of cheesecloth, or put them in a large metal tea ball.
In a large nonaluminum pot, combine the wine, sugar, orange and lemon zests, orange and lemon juices, and cinnamon sticks. Add the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Heat over medium-low heat until steam begins to rise from the pot and the mixture is hot, about 10 minutes; do not let it boil. Remove the clove-and-nutmeg bundle. Keep the wine warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
Ladle the wine into cups or heatproof glasses, garnish with the citrus zest and serve warm. Serves 8 to 10.
*Note: Try Williams-Sonoma Mulling Spices to make things a little simpler.
For this Merry Monday what better way to start than with a holiday adult cocoa. A rich and luxurious chocolate drink is soothing, but a little brandy makes everything better. Try this brandied cocoa from Epicurious.com
The thickness and bitterness of your drink will depend on your chocolate’s level of cacao, which varies among brands. Epicurious used Lindt to good effect, but added more cornstarch for extra thickening. Chocolate with more than 60 percent cacao will be too bitter.
Brandied Hot Chocolate
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water
10 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)
2 tablespoons brandy (optional), or to taste
Whisk together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons milk.
Bring water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, then reduce heat to moderately low and add chopped chocolate and a pinch of salt, whisking until smooth.
Add cream and remaining milk (1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons) and increase heat to moderate, then cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture is smooth and heated through. Taste; for a deeper chocolate flavor, whisk in cocoa.
Whisk cornstarch mixture, then add half to chocolate mixture and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add brandy (if using) and remaining cornstarch mixture to thicken if desired, then simmer, whisking, 1 minute.
This could turn out to be a drink you share with company or a special someone, but whatever moment you share this drink in will be a good one. Create lasting memories this holiday. Share a drink with someone special.
OK, so it’s been a while since I’ve talked about weddings, but I have been immersing myself in colors for the graphic arts program I just finished. I learned about colors, the ‘science’ colors and their spectrums. Color can insite energy, feelings, and emotions. I know I have discussed before colors and how they play an important role in weddings. People are starting to be more bold with their color choices for their wedding.
One palette that I have become fond of is chartreuse, gray, and white. The bright punch of color with two simple colors that go with everything, gray and white. With the summer coming to an end, using a bright pop of color with two simpler subdued colors is like throwing one last summer sunshine in the middle of your wedding.
I love pops of color that can shake things up. A bright and fun color added to a wedding will give your special day a little twist. A color like chartreuse is one of those colors that adds a little burst of sunshine to a wedding, an already cheerful day. Adding gray and a simple white palette to such a punch of color will just create a great foundation for the chartreuse.
I love the contrast of a bright color with a dark color, or a simple white. The bright color can accent your special day just like you will in a bright chartreuse dress….
Ok, well maybe you don’t want to go that far, but hey live a little. Do something special that represents you and your new spouse. Take a canoe ride between your ceremony and reception, or ride your bike to your reception. Riding a tandem bike will help pedal you to a beginning of working together.
You can also use the food or other elements of your day to infuse color into. Individual cakes in a bright chartreuse will definitely be a conversation starter with your guests. Wouldn’t a chartreuse cake make you want to say something. If you aren’t going to have a cake or grand 5-tier spectacle, go the simple route with cupcakes. They’re fun, easy to eat, and just plain old economical. Chartreuse icing would definitely be an interesting food experience.
So, where you eat also is important. Adding a bright color doesn’t have to be overpowering. You can use the more subdued colors in your palette and take the route of using the bright color as an accent. This table focuses on the white and gray, using chartreuse as a pop of color in the centerpieces.
Chartreuse flowers maybe…
A very fancy and extravagant table setting…
How about getting people there. You have to have invitations. Color will definitely get some attention.
Be creative in your invites. Give the information plainly and clearly. State the details, the basics, and use a little graphic design in the layout. Try something other than the plain scripted fonts and traditional layout.
Make sure your invites represent you and your spouse-to-be, your personalities and something fun and eye-catching.
Ok, so lastly…the way to get any party going, cocktails. Color can be infused into cocktails/beverages as well. So, in case you didn’t know, there is an actual liqueur called Chartreuse.
Chartreuse is a French-made liqueur made by Carthusian monks since 1737. It is made of distilled alcohol, aged with a variety of 130 herbs, plants and flowers. The name Chartreuse comes from the name of the monastery, Grande Chartreuse, which is located in the Chartreuse Mountains. It is one of the few liquors that continues to age and improve in the bottle. Chartreuse would be an acquired taste by itself. It tends to be very sweet, and becomes spicy and pungent. But have no fear, the color of this liqueur (which comes in both yellow and green, as well as a white chartreuse) can add that special touch to your wedding day cocktails.
One of those cocktails is something I love the history on:
The Last Word cocktail was created back in the time of Prohibition in the lovely city of Detroit. Created by a Vaudeville director at the Detroit Athletic Club during Prohibition, “The Last Word” was essentially forgotten until recent years. It consists of a seamless blend of gin, lime juice, green chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur. Makers of the masterpiece are told to shake well with ice, shut up, and drink. Cliff Bell’s is one of the few places you can imbibe the drink in Detroit. So the next time you’re, out check out Detroit’s very own “The Last Word” and, as the bartenders of old used to say, shut up and drink – because no matter the era, Detroit always has its final say.
This is a simple way to add a bit of chartreuse literally and visually to your special day. Something classic and timeless, with a little bit of history to it.
And with that, however you choose to use color in your special day, enjoy the moment and those around you to share in your moment. Take your shoes off and dance, or keep them on if you have comfortable shoes.
The country’s birthday is in a week or so, and the patriotic colors will probably be all the rave for people who want to celebrate the 4th of July. This holiday is commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.
Celebrating the birthday of the country has grown into a big business when it comes to party decorations, and the colors are simply the colors of the United States…red, white, and blue.
These three colors have been placed on plates, cups, banners, cupcakes, and even people. Many of us have parties with friends and family. So here are some decoration and food ideas to have for your patriotic party.
Here are some cocktails that can go along with that family bbq or gathering.
Stars and Stripes
1/4 oz. Lucid Absinthe
1 oz. Blueberry Vodka
1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
Splash of Lemon Juice
Drizzle of Raspberry Liqueur
Muddle fresh blueberries and add syrup, Lucid, juice and vodka. Add ice and shake and pour into highball glass. Drizzle Liqueur and top with Ginger Beer. Garnish with one sugar cube.
1/2 cup white crème de cacao (or white chocolate liqueur)
Lightly spray bundt pan or gelatin mold (10 cup volume) with non stick cooking spray. Wipe off the excess spray with a paper towel. A slight residue should remain, just enough to help unmold your gelatin, without affecting the taste or appearance.
Have 9 clean bowls ready to prepare your layers.
Prepare the red and blue layers, in separate pans. Pour the gelatin dessert mix into medium-sized bowls. Pour the water in a small saucepan, and sprinkle each with the envelope of plain gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Pour the warm water/gelatin mixture into the bowls containing the gelatin dessert mix. Stir until dissolved (about 2 minutes each). Remove from heat. Pour in the liquor, and stir well. Set aside and prepare the white gelatin.
For the white gelatin, pour the water into a saucepan and sprinkle with the 6 envelopes of plain gelatin. Allow to soak for a minute or two. Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is dissolved (about 5 minutes). Stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat, and stir in the liquors. Set aside.
Grab the 9 clean bowls, and prepare the layers by mixing gelatin as shown in the chart below.
1 ½ cups blue
2/3 cup blue & 1/3 cup white
1/3 blue & 2/3 white
1 cup white & 1 tbsp blue
1 cup white
1 cup white & 1 tbsp red
1/3 cup red & 2/3 cup white
2/3 cup red & 1/3 cup white
Remaining red gelatin
Add the first layer to the prepared mold. refrigerate about 15 minutes or until gelatin is set but not firm (it should stick to finger when touched.) Gently spoon the gelatin for the next layer over the set gelatin, and return the pan to the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. As the layers progress, the setting time will become shorter as the pan and gelatin becomes colder, and the layers become thinner as more are added to the mold.
Repeat steps with remaining gelatin layers, for a total of 9 layers. If you find the gelatin is setting up before its ready to go in the mold, just microwave for 5 to 10 seconds and stir well before adding to the mold. After completing all the layers, refrigerate the gelatin overnight.
To unmold, fill a larger container or clean sink with warm water (not too hot!). With clean fingers, loosen the gelatin around the edges of the mold cavities. Next, dip the mold almost to the edge into the warm water for just a few seconds (10 seconds worked for me). Dry the bottom of the mold with a towel and check the edges to see if they are loose, if not, repeat the dip for just a few seconds. Place your serving plate on top of the mold and invert.
Working with three colors actually make planning a party pretty simple. Celebrating with family and friends means having fun and creating memories. So whatever you plan or do to commemorate the independence of the country, enjoy!
Mad Men returns tonight for its sixth season. I only started watching the show last season, and I was hooked after the first episode I watched. The show is engaging and reaches back to a period of mystery and style.
I love the clothes and the office setting of the show the most. I think of that period as classy and elegant, the hair and attention to style is admirable. The flashy house dresses with the busy and bright prints, the fitted pencil skirts and silk blouses, the chunky and matte costume jewels, and the phenomenal hairstyles.
This season looks like there won’t be any disappointment with the style and drama based on the new pre-season photo shoot.
I don’t think the drama storyline will disappoint either. Tonight we will find out the future of Don and Megan. What’s Joan going to do with her new ‘power’. What will be Peggy’s next move without the Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price firm. Also, what’s that lingering effect of the first Mrs. Draper is having on Don.
If you’re having a viewing party, try some of these cocktail or menu recipes.
The traditional dirty martini:
2½ oz gin
1½ oz dry vermouth
½ oz olive juice
3-4 green olives stuffed with blue cheese
Add dry vermouth to the martini glass, rinse, and pour out. Pour gin, olive juice and ice into mixing glass and shake until chilled. Strain in the martini glass and drop the 3 to 4 olives as garnish.
Or a simple whiskey sour: INGREDIENTS
2 oz whiskey
½ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz tsp sugar
½ lemon slice
Put all ingredients in mixing glass and add ice cubes. Strain into highball glass. Add lemon slice and cherry to garnish.
Also, here are some basics that you should have on hand:
plenty of ice for drinks (plan on about 11 pounds of ice for every 10 guests)
cups for beverages (plan on at least 4 per person)
lots of cocktail napkins & hors d’oeuvres plates
a cocktail shaker, jigger, strainer & ice bucket
soda, tonic water & non-alcoholic drinks
cranberry, orange, pineapple & grapefruit juices
grenadine syrup & lime cordial
orange, melon & crème de menthe liqueurs
limes, lemons & oranges for garnish
dark & light rums
jars of cocktail olives & cherries
gin, vodka, bourbon, scotch & brandy
coffee & tea
red wine & chilled white/sparkling wines
chips & dip or salted nuts
For food items, here are some recipes to try:
tuna salad-filled cherry tomatoes
the period-classic pimento cheese spread on Ritz crackers
Whatever you choose to celebrate the premiere with, enjoy all the show’s liveliness and drama. Happy viewing!
The two-hour season premiere starts at 9p.m. EST on AMC!