Tag Archives: Cocktails

Cheers to 2013!

[Ed. Note: I'm in India and have already celebrated the new year, but I wanted to share a post from my biffle Milan. While I'm more than content to ring in 2013 with a cold bottle of cava, she's a whiskey girl through and through, so I asked her to share her favorite winter cocktails, along with some of the history of this storied spirit. Enjoy, and happy new year!]

Whiskey, derived from the Gaelic “usquebaugh,” or the “water of life,” is my favorite beverage second only to water. Its versatility, colors, scents, and of course, tastes, all make any of its variants precious to me. There is, also, the matter of its incredible ability to warm me up from the inside out. So, now that it’s finally chilly in Cali, it seems only natural that I open up the bottles of whiskey, bourbon, and my truest love, scotch, to ring in the new year.

This year, I intend to celebrate the end of a fairly brutal 12 months in a hot tub with some hot drinks — we can start with the obligatory bubbly, revel in bourbon hot cocoa, and end with either a hot toddy or my treasure, Laphroaig.

All Drinks

First, let me break down whiskey: whiskey is the overarching term for the various types of liquors derived from mashed up grains such as barley, rye, wheat, corn, etc. Irish whiskey, bourbon and scotch are the subcategories of whiskey, and each type of liquor has its own unique history. Continue Reading →

Fresh Blackberry Brambles

It feels like the year has completely flown by. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I was making beer cheese and complaining about the cold?

Well, apparently not, because now it’s summer. After four straight days of rain and clouds (in which I progressively got more and more gray-sky grumpy, culminating in a full-on temper tantrum on Thursday night), I flew the coop to sunny Maryland and a bottle of gin my family.

Blackberry brambles are a specialty of a friend of mine, who introduced them to me last summer knowing that gin is my drink of choice. He mixed gin, ice, fresh blackberries, sugar and Sprite in a shaker, poured it into a Solo cup (I like to keep it classy … ) and made me a very happy lady. He mentioned the specific recipe to me at one point that night, but I obviously forgot it instantaneously and instead, spent the rest of the summer trying to explain the drink to bartenders, getting frustrated and sticking to my standby* instead.

The original bramble was created in London in the ’80s and floats crème de mûre (a blackberry liqueur) on a mix of gin, simple sugar syrup and lime juice. But with the full disclaimer that I’ve never tried a “real” bramble, I like having fresh fruit in mine. (I especially like eating the “drunk” fruit that’s been soaking in gin at the bottom of my glass.)

Though this is less traditional, the mix of fresh blackberries, lime and seltzer creates something tart and bright and fizzy, with a slight hint of sweet. Add a shot of gin and you’ve created summer in a glass, in a pretty garnet color to boot.

So while you’re grilling or picnic-ing or just lounging around on the deck this weekend, do it with a bramble in hand. It is the start of summer, after all — what better reason to celebrate?

*Are you as amused as I am that the G&T has its own Wikipedia? It’s literally just gin and tonic water. Reminds me of the Peggy line from Mad Men: You need three ingredients for a cocktail. Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.” Apparently some emergencies get their own Wiki … Continue Reading →

Micheladas: Mexico’s Answer to Summer

Micheladas seem ubiquitous this summer. They showed up in the New York Times magazine last week and quickly appeared on the Huffington Post’s food blog soon after. They were on the menu at my graduation dinner at Rosa Mexicano and have been a part of the brunch deal at Roots & Vines, the coffee shop around the corner from Keith’s apartment, for as long as I’ve gotten my iced coffees there.

The michelada’s omnipresence makes sense: a spicy beer cocktail is a great way to cool off when it’s hot. Traditionally, micheladas consist of some form of beer (to keep it traditional, the Mexican Tecate), tomato juice, a few drops of Worcestershire or Tabasco, lime juice and some mix of cayenne or jalapeño powder, with a seasoned-salt rim. There’s a million ways to make it, which makes it all the more perfect for a sweltering summer day. Continue Reading →