Cocktailing: The Greyhound

The Greyhound | Liz Takes the World

What up, late winter. You go on with your bad self and your delicious citrus. Let’s make you into a cocktail that we can enjoy in the SUNLIGHT now available to us after work.

Real talk: this drink happened because I sat on a bunch of grapefruit for a little too long. More like they sat on my dining room table too long. Sometimes I am a person that likes to look at pretty things rather than eat them. I’m sure you understand.

In about seven minutes you too can juice some grapefruits, strain the juice into a carafe, mix it with gin, and be on with life. Do it. Your day will be better.

The grapefruit aftermath

The Greyhound

2 oz gin

4 oz grapefruit juice

Greyhounds are traditionally made with vodka but I find the herbal-y complexity of gin much more appealing.

Combine the gin and grapefruit juice over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a wedge of lime, grapefruit, or nothing at all.

Cocktailing: Apple Peel Bourbon

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Apple Peel Bourbon

Recipe: Apple Peel Bourbon by Food52

Let’s do this winter better. Let’s curl up with a few fingers of smooth and spicy bourbon to unwind from a rainy commute or catch up with friends. Let’s give better gifts. Let’s step up our home bar game. Let’s infuse some bourbon with scraps that normally end up in the compost.

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Peeled and prepped

This is easily the easiest infusion project I’ve attempted yet. The peels of 1.5 pounds of apples + a cinnamon stick + 5 cloves + a bottle of bourbon. Let the peels and bourbon set for a week but fish the cinnamon and cloves out after two days so they don’t overwhelm the flavor. I used an inexpensive bottle of bourbon (the Trader Joe’s private label Kentucky bourbon) because you’re going to modify the flavor of the bourbon anyway so no need to use something fancy. Everything got mixed together in an 5 qt container I already had on hand. Glasses swing top jars, like this one from IKEA, also work great for these types of projects. After a week of infusing in my coat closet I strained the bourbon into a pitcher through a fine mesh strainer and then used a funnel to rebottle the booze. Try a taste, it’s delicious.

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Ready to hang out

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Labeled to keep track

And what to do with those leftover apples? I made some applesauce. A pie would also be great. Or how about a pitcher cocktail to drink while you wait or bring to Thanksgiving?

London After Hours

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Social Eating Club, London

My brother and I are proud gluttons. We joke about our permanent membership in the Clean Plate Club, a club our parents invented to get us to eat dinner (as if that were ever a struggle). If the option is more Serrano, 9 times out of 10 we’re going to order another round of finely shaven pork. We savor, we relish, we order a third round of drinks.

London was a playground. I’m used to traveling alone and typically don’t drink much when I’m on my own in unfamiliar cities. With a companion we can conquer the cocktail menu in half the time and have someone to talk to while we do it. Bartending happens to be Mike’s profession so I also tag along as research assistant. Who is doing something interesting? What concepts work and which ones fall flat? Which ones could improve with tweaks? And most importantly, what tastes delicious? We met many great bartenders and visited many great bars in London. It’s hard to pick favorites so I included links to all the places we went to at the bottom. You can’t go wrong with any of them. And when in doubt, befriend a bartender and ask them for their suggestions. It is a strategy that has yet to fail me.

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Sexy flower bento box, Artesian, London

White Lyan, London | via Purple PR

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Blind Pig, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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Fuzzy sibs

We suggest: White Lyan | 69 Colebrooke Row | Artesian | ROKA | Sager + Wilde | Mission | Look Mum No Hands | On the Bap

Others We Tried: Happiness Forgets | Blind Pig

In the Kitchen: Megan’s Zucchini Pancakes with Tomato Sauce

Soundtrack: This Is All Yours by alt-J

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Megan’s Zucchini Pancakes with Tomato Sauce

I was totally just minding my own business, flipping through instagram, while waiting for the bus Friday afternoon. My New York buddy Megan of the kickass Kates in the Kitchen (New Yorkers, take note!) posted a picture of this insane egg yolk dripped over a pile of zucchini pancakes and suddenly I knew exactly what I was having for dinner.

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Shredded and strained zucchini

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Megan’s Zucchini Pancakes

Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce is a darling of the food internet. It is heralded as magically rich and insanely easy. I’ve wanted to try it for some time….but just never did? Who knows? Won’t make that mistake again. This sauce is divine. It smells amazing, tastes amazing, is amazing. And unfairly easy. If you can turn your stovetop on and wield a can opener you are set.to.jet. Use the 45 minutes the sauce takes to simmer to prep and cook the zucchini pancakes and everything will be ready at the same time. Dinner perfected.

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Smell-a-vision required.

Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce

Originally from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, now found everywhere on the internet

28 oz diced tomatoes (get good ones)

1 medium onion, peeled and halved

5 tbsp unsalted butter

Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot and cook over a low simmer for at least 45 minutes. Stir and break up tomatoes as needed.

Most variations of this recipe instruct you to remove the onion when the sauce is complete and “use it for something else”. I ate it with a fork and knife all on its own. Recommended.

Megan’s Zucchini Pancakes

From Foodie Can’t Fail

1 large zucchini, grated and squeezed of excess liquid

1/4 cup flour

1 egg

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp baking power

Salt and pepper to taste

Drain the shredded zucchini and remove as much additional liquid as possible. I like to lightly salt the zucchini and then prep the rest of the ingredients to help remove additional moisture. Heat 1/4 inch of oil in a saucepan.

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with a fork until evenly blended. Using damp hands, form patties and slip into heated oil. Fry on each side until golden and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel covered plate to absorb excess oil.

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Friday’s sunset

Cocktailing: Bourbon Slushies

Recipe: Bourbon Slush Punch from Smitten Kitchen

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Making summer better

Well folks, here’s your homework this weekend. Never fear it’s scary easy and insanely delicious. This summer has been a non-stop parade of everything amazing: sailing with my dad, working on my tan on Siiri’s rooftop deck, frolicking at the lake across the street from our house. I’m ready to embrace August like a warm, sweaty hug and never let summer go.

Kat and I have been hosting weekly Friday night BBQs lovingly dubbed Patio Friday. Originally conceived as a casual way to chill out with friends, they’ve also proven to be a great testing ground of all manner of booze experimenting. This blended punch is everything you think it’s going to be: cool, refreshing, really easy to drink, and a little cheeky.

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Prepping the slushie base

Did I mention it’s basically no work to bring together? We made a double batch (our first rodeo this is not) which meant about 10 minutes of squeezing fresh juice followed by two minutes of measuring and pouring iced tea and bourbon into a pitcher. That’s all your prep, folks. I had every intention of prepping the base the night before and was initially a little stressed when that didn’t happen. Not to fear, I assembled the base, did all the dishes, and retired to the patio before the first guest arrived. When you’re ready to drink you just blend the base with ice and serve.

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Such an attractive couple

I’m off to my ten year high school reunion this weekend. Facebook has taken much of the mystery and anticipation out these events. But no meet up would be complete without some amount of hand wringing. Pipers, see your beautiful faces Saturday! What are your plans for your late summer nights?

Cocktailing: Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

Soundtrack: Queen Bey playlist by the NYT Magazine

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Cheers!

It’s summer time in the city, kids! It’s been sunny and in the mid 70s for weeks now. The sun is setting after 9pm. It’s all bare legs and sunglasses all the time. Life is good.

The lime shortage forced Kat and I to tweak our approach to the G&T. Not being independently wealthy, stocking limes that may go half unused was not an option. We needed something that could bring depth to the drink without sharp citrus. Enter: rhubarb bitters.

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Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

This drink is simple and straightforward. You don’t even have to measure (but you can if you want, we don’t judge). This drink is ideal for low key weeknights and picnics in the park. The truly ambitious among us would make a thermos and bring it to an outdoor movie. I believe in your great choices. (Please invite me along.)

This weekend I’m torn between being outside as much as humanly possible, going to yoga, living life and watching all of the second season of Orange is the New Black. I’m not willing to place odds on what will win because I’m not ready to admit what kind of person I truly am. What big plans do you have?

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Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

3 dashes rhubarb bitters

2 oz gin

Tonic water

Place several ice cubes in a high ball glass. Combine rhubarb bitters with gin and top with tonic water. Cheers!

Cocktailing: Liz’s Champagne Cocktail

Cocktail Week comes to a close with a delightfully festive drink for your end of the year celebration. Here’s a 2014 full of adventure and growth! Happy New Year!

You’ll need:

Champagne (or other sparkling wine)

Sugar cube

Rhubarb bitters (I use Fee Brothers)

Note: a tradition champagne cocktail uses Angostura bitters and makes a fine drink. I was gifted rhubarb bitters and found the tart bite appealing. You do your thing. I trust your judgement.

Place sugar cube in the bottom of a champagne flute. Splash 2-3 dashes of bitters directly onto the sugar cube and let soak for a moment; the sugar cube will begin to break down. Pop open chilled champagne and pour over sugar cube into glass. Make a toast and drink!

Curious about variations? Cooking Light has some fun idea ideas.

Cocktailing: Hot Toddy

Welcome to Monday. It’s another wonky holiday week. Let’s not get too stressed about things. Stress is for New Years Eve plans and how to accessorize when you need to factor in tights and a coat. The last minute run to Forever 21 can wait until tomorrow. Tonight, you need to sit on your couch and drink a toddy.

You’ll need:

2oz bourbon

3/4oz fresh lemon juice (make it right, use fresh!)

3/4oz honey syrup

Lemon wedge, whole cloves, cinnamon stick (for garnish)

In a sturdy mug combine the bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup. Top with 2-3oz (depending on how strong you like your drink) hot water. Stir lightly to combine. Garnish with a clove-studded lemon wedge and cinnamon stick. Cheers!

More of a gin fan? Shutterbean has you covered.

Cocktailing: Emilia’s Lion Tale

Today’s cocktail comes to us from my beautiful and talented friend, Emilia of Emilia Jane Photography in Chicago and New York. Emilia has great taste in everything and her cocktails are no exception. She made the best date for my trip to the Aviary to see my brother in all his glory. Take it away, Em!

My absolute favorite winter drink, meet the Lion’s Tale. I originally tried this drink at the Violet Hour, though I don’t think it’s ever been on the menu. It’s a classic cocktail with a whiskey base and St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram which is one of the most delicious, flavorful things in the world.

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Photo by Emilia Jane Photography. Used with permission.

Here’s what you need:

Whiskey (I use Weller 107 or Weller Reserve because it’s smoother, and I am not normally a huge whiskey fan)

St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram

One fresh lime. Yes, it does NEED to be fresh. Don’t squeeze lime juice from the bottle into this, you’d regret it.

Simple syrup (which is easy to make…but look at the cute bottle!)

Angostura bitters (available anywhere you get cocktail supplies)

You will also need a jigger to properly measure, a shaker, and strainer. And if you want to get fancy, the proper glass is a coupe.

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Photo by Emilia Jane Photography. Used with permission.

Please note, I have modified the recipe just a wee bit because I don’t LOVE whiskey and wanted the drink to be smoother. Start with 1 1/2 ounces of the Weller 107 or other whiskey of your choice, pour this into the shaker (original recipe calls for 2 oz).

Add 1/2 ounce of Allspice Dram (original recipe calls for 3/4 oz), then 1/2 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice, and 1/2 oz of simple syrup.

Add ice, put the top on the shaker, and shake hard for about 20 seconds. The bottom of the shaker will look and feel much colder as you can see above on the right.

From here, strain out the drink into a coupe or other glass of choice, add 2 dashes of Angosura bitters to the top, cheers with someone you love, and drink up!

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Photo by Emilia Jane Photography. Used with permission.