Thursday, January 29, 2009

Casino Royale

In celebration of my long birthday weekend, I will probably drink some martinis and maybe even watch a movie. What better movie to watch while indulging in martinis? A Bond movie! I do have to admit, I love a blond Bond, especially in Casino Royale. In Ian Fleming's 1953 novel, "Casino Royale", this martini is named for the femme fatale, Vesper Lynd. Bond orders a dry martini from the bartender by giving the recipe: "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?" Bond then explains "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name." So the Vesper is born...

Vesper Martini
  • 3 oz of dry gin (Gordon's)
  • 1 oz of vodka (James Bond and I both prefer 100 proof Stolichnaya vodka)
  • 1/2 oz Kina Lillet (A French aperitif made from a blend of wine, brandy, fruits and herbs)
  • lemon peel

Shake well with lots of ice until it is extremely cold, then pour into glass and add a large slice of lemon peel. Bond orders his drink to be poured into a deep champagne goblet but a martini glass works, too!

*Note* Since Kina Lillet is out of classic production to my knowledge, you can substitute dry vermouth or Lillet Blanc (Lillet Blonde)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Classics Are Back!

During these uncertain recession times, people are returning to the classics. I have seen such a resurgence of classic cocktails and homemade comfort foods . Campbell's Soups even has ads that claim their canned soups were the "Original Dollar Menu." A lot of these classic cocktails I see come from the Prohibition and Great Depression eras. These so called "Heritage Cocktails" are popping up on many bar and restaurant menus all over the country. Classics like the Manhattan, Sidecar, Singapore Sling, Vesper Martini and the Old Fashioned are warming up our burdened times. These vintage cocktails have heavy darker flavors than the light fruity flavors that were so popular such a short time ago. Think Bourbons, Cognacs, Blackberries and Honey are HOT and Pomegranate and Papaya are NOT. People need more bang for their buck these days so they may be skipping the trendy hotspots and drinking at home. However, most of the top alcohol companies are expected to increase annual profit growth this year, some even in the double digits. This means that people are not going to stop consuming but will experiment when they order drinks out as well as in their own kitchens. So next time you are feeling nostalgic try one of these options that would make your Grandparents and Great Grandparents proud!

  • 2 oz Cognac
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice

Fill shaker half full with ice, combine all ingredients and shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.


  • 3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 1/2 oz of Bourbon
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 twist of orange peel

Combine the vermouth, bourbon, bitters and ice in a mixing glass. Stir gently, don't bruise the spirits and cloud the drink. Place the cherry in a chilled cocktail glass and strain the whiskey mixture over the cherry. Rub the cut edge of the orange peel over the rim of the glass and twist it over the drink to release the oils but don't drop it in.

Old Fashioned

  • 2 oz Blended Whiskey
  • 1 cube sugar
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp of water
  • 1 slice of orange
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Muddle the orange, sugar, bitters and water in an old-fashioned glass until the sugar is almost dissolved. Fill the glass with ice and add blended whiskey. Garnish with a marachino cherry. Serve with a swizzle stick.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I dream of Hawaii...

Last night, I dreamt of Hawaii...Maybe it was a Hawaiian night on TV with Israel Kamakawiwo'ole gently humming in the background or the fact that Anthony Bourdain was cruising the streets of Waikiki on No Reservations or even the Weather Channel talking about the huge swells currently hitting the islands. Whatever is was, worked! I have Aloha on the brain!!! All of a sudden I want to eat macaroni salad, spam, ahi tuna, poi and then wash it all down with a Mai Tai or Zombie. Well, if you don't have 5 different rums on hand, try a yummy Pearl Harbor. Everyone has vodka on hand, right?

Pearl Harbor
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 2/3 ounce of melon liqueur
  • 1 ounce of pineapple juice

Shake the ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with any fruits from your kitchen, cocktail umbrellas, pink plastic swords, etc...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Guten Tag!

I was just speaking to a lovely lady of a youthful 75 years who wants to make her way back to Trier, Germany as her last big trip. She said she loved the ancient city and I think to myself "this must be some town!" So I do my research and actually Trier is Germany's oldest town. It is located in west central Germany, only 6 miles from the Luxembourg border. According to legend, the Assyrians established a colony here in 2000 BC. Later, in 16 BC, a Roman colony was founded under Augustus. Trier was favored by many Roman emperors and became known as "the second Rome." Trier was an imperial capital of Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman Emperor, and the Trier Cathedral he built there in the 4th century AD is Germany's oldest. Today Trier has a small town feel even with a population of 100,000. Many Catholics still make pilgrimages to honor the relic of the Holy Robe and the tomb of St. Matthias. Let's make a toast to the beautiful country of Germany with a yummy but not-so-authentic German Chocolate Cake shooter! What this shot may lack in authenticity it makes up for in its tastiness! "Prost!!!"

German Chocolate Cake Shooter:
  • 1 ounce Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 ounce Stoli Vanil vodka
  • lemon slices and sugar

Frost the rim of the shot glass with lemon and sugar. Shake the Frangelico and Stoli and pour into glass. Take the shot by licking the sugar rim, shooting the mixture and biting into a lemon slice.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Dead are coming!

After hearing that The Dead are doing a month long tour this Spring (for the first time in four years!), I started making my plans! I love the peace, love, happiness scene but get over yourself already! I am here for the music first and the booze second! Seriously...lice is not "natural" and your head is not "their home." But you know what kills bugs? Booze. Just don't dunk that nappiness in my tub of Purple Jesus. Anyways... So as I daydream about the Easter show in Greensboro, I sip on a lovely Sunshine Daydream Smile. "Going where the wind goes..."

Sunshine Daydream Smile
  • 2 ounces of Stoli Vanil vodka
  • 2 ounces of orange juice
  • chilled champagne

Shake Stoli and orange juice and strain into a champagne glass. Top with chilled champagne. Garnish with an orange slice

Friday, January 2, 2009


After reading about great last minute New Year's Eve party ideas over at Modern Renaissance, I realized that my friend and favorite blogger loves Poinsettias too!!! (She just may not fully know it yet!) Poinsettias have a very interesting history and even a link to our lovely South Carolina plantations!!! Joel Roberts Poinsett (1779-1851) was named the first US Ambassador to Mexico and as a result discovered the plant in Southern Mexico in 1828. Poinsett was enchanted with the brilliant red blooms and sent many plants back to his Greenville, South Carolina plantation. There in his SC hothouses he began propagating the plants and sending them to friends and botanical gardens! Even though Poinsett had a remarkable career as a US Congressman and ambassador he will most be remembered for introducing the "poinsettia" to the US! Let's toast to Congressman Poinsett with a fitting tribute!


  • 1/2 ounce of Grand Marnier or triple sec

  • 3 ounces of chilled cranberry juice

  • chilled Champagne

Pour the Grand Marnier and cranberry juice into a Champagne flute and top with champagne!