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Halloween Party Cocktails

It's a question we get asked every year: What cocktail should I feature at my Halloween party? There are a lot different answers depending on what is important for your situation. We usually answer with a series of questions. How much work do you want to do ahead of time? How much work do you want to do during the party? Do you want to make something spirit-driven or citrus-based? How important is it for your theme to be represented (either in name or ingredients)? Your answers to these questions can be determining factors, so here's a list of possibilities with summaries and links to the specific details.

Batches and Bowls We usually always refer folks to large-volume solutions like Punch, Sangria, and Morganthaler's Gallon of Margaritas. We covered all of these in this post back in January. Even if none of them are for you, it's a good

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Batches and Bowls

Whether you are prepping for a weekend party or a spring picnic (we are probably several months early for that), you may be looking for ways to enjoy the event and the company of your guests without spending time mixing individual cocktails on request. Beer and wine are easy options, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice good flavors and quality ingredients just because you'd rather join the party instead of busily shaking craft cocktails. As log as you are willing to do some preparation a day or so ahead of time, you don't need to play bartender. We are talking about batched cocktails—a common request we get from friends who are either searching for the perfect recipe or are interested in techniques they can leverage to make the process easier once guests arrive.

For us, the Super Bowl refers to any vessel large enough to hold a batch of Philadelphia

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Egg Nog

For several years running we have resisted making egg nog after we read about a process that includes aging. This possibly ill-conceived idea starts with a basic egg, dairy and brandy recipe that accompanies an understanding that the alcohol will fortify the mixture and protect it from going bad during the weeks or months it is allowed to age. Although we have seen other references to aged egg nog, we never completely understood why aging is even necessary. Do eggs and dairy improve with time? Certainly, flavors can develop as ingredients are allowed to combine, but aging a homemade recipe with raw eggs and milk doesn't sound very appealing. Such a notion seems borrowed from the 1988 sci-fi film Alien Nation in which Newcomer Sam Francisco (a humanoid extra-terrestrial played by Mandy Patinkin) guzzles past-due cartons of sour milk as though it were fine wine, checking the sell-by-date and proclaiming

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Le Coco

We love the "hunt" for ingredients to reproduce something delicious at home. Even after amassing an embarrassingly complete inventory of possibilities, this drink forced us to collect a few things we were missing. We recognize that not everyone will have the ingredients to make this cocktail—in fact, most of you probably won't—but for those of you adventurous enough chase down a few items—even if it means making some creative substitutions—please join us and share what you think of this unique creation.

First, we need to credit the drink's inventor, Tom Lindstedt, bar manager at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, OR. There are so many fantastic places to eat in Portland that it's almost impossible to justify returning to the same place twice, but we keep going back to Little Bird. So far, we have never had a single bite that wasn't totally satisfying and delicious (the cassoulet is wonderful!).

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Raspberry Shrub

The concept of balancing sweet with sour in cocktails has been around for a very long time. Most of us associate lemons and limes with the acid side of that formula, but there are more ways than citrus to add sour to beverages. One solution common in the culinary world is vinegar. Coupled with fruit and sugar, this is known as a gastrique, but in liquid culture we call it a shrub.

Shrubs or drinking vinegars may not sound like a good idea to many people. We think this negativity probably comes from the idea that when a wine turns bad, it transforms into vinegar, and you don't want to be sipping bad wine! And yet, nobody has a problem using it to make salad dressing. The truth is, shrubs have been an important part of drinking history since the 15th century. And although the origins may be traced back

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Drink of the Week: Absinthe Frappe

Chances are, if your local liquor store even has absinthe for sale they probably have a limited selection. And by limited, we mean one or maybe two different brands. Absinthe isn't cheap, so when you finally do take the plunge and add a bottle to your cabinet, it's nice to have several options given the wide range of international possibilities these days. Even if you do have several choices, it's not like shops are breaking out their selection to hold absinthe tasting for their customers. So, how to you choose? We were excited to find out that at least one online retailer is doing something about that.

If you start doing a little research you quickly realize that unless you know exactly what you want, buying spirits online isn't any easier than browsing a storefront full of sealed bottles. But the folks at Click here and take a bigger gulp of this article. . .

Drink Of The Week: Mojito

There's more than one recipe for the Mojito. I even posted a different one a while back to accompany a fine article I wrote about simple syrup. It's a refreshing summer drink and a great way to hide some rum inside a few mint leaves, lime and sugar. So, I figured it was about time I featured it as the Drink of the Week.

It's not my favorite cocktail, but a lot of people love it, and why wouldn't they? Rum, sugar, lime, mint—what's not to love? I suppose you could consider the Mojito a cross between a Julep and a Daiquiri, but by that logic, every cocktail is just a combination of something else. I was going to get into some of the historic details about this Cuban classic, but I decided

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