Get your tiki on!

First, I hope you all had a marvelous holiday! Mele Kalikimaka! Happy Christmakuh! Etc.

The rest of this post is long overdue. Heather and I went to New Orleans in July. It was a marvelous get away, despite being all too quick. But it had a purpose, besides going to one of the most fun cities that we’ve been so far: I wanted to shoot some new pictures for the RAF On The Side Expo. As the incoming president (current president, given it’s December!) of the board of the RAF, I was super excited about our first partnership with the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, and I wanted to have some new work to highlight. It was a show for RAF members to share the artwork they do “on the side”, or those things that aren’t paid work.

What does that have to do with tiki drinks? Latitude 29 is one of the coolest places in NOLA, and we went there. Twice. It served as great inspiration, even 5 months later, to create this post (and tomorrow’s, where you can see more).

Here are a few pictures from the On The Side show.

These are the 4 pieces that were in the show along with 2 others in the series. Reflections of Abe and Spirits of the Bar sold during the show!

Here are a few other highlights from our trip.

 

And last but not least, your tiki inspiration! This is my take on the huge variation of Mai Tai recipes that are out there.

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  • The Mai Tai
  • 2 ounces Don Q Cristal or other light rum
  • 2 ounces Blackwell rum
  • 2 ounces Myers’s Dark rum
  • 1 ounce Grand Mariner
  • 1 ounce fresh pineapple juice
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • splash of grenadine

Mix all ingredients well (except grenadine) and pour over crushed ice in a  hurricane glass. Top with a splash of grenadine. Playfully garnish and serve with a straw. Cheers!

It’s wild out there!

Only as wild as the vines in our back yard. Every year the wild black raspberry vines creep a little closer. It’s almost overwhelming to keep up with, but this time of year it’s all good. Because there is pie (made by our friend Dan) and wild black raspberry mojitos! The pie was gone from the 4th of July party before I got a picture, but the mojitos made their debut this evening.

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See the recipe here. Just add a handful of black raspberries after the limes…and muddle them in as well. Cheers!

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Happy Negroni week!

Did you know that this week is Negroni week? If you didn’t, you know now (and it’s the last day)! I hope you’ve had one, if not because they are awesome….at least because it’s for a good cause. I had a couple at The Revelry the other day, as you can see from my Instagram post. (I’d love to have you follow along!) And also from Shannon’s post!

I wanted to share a variation on the classic Negroni that I make on occasion. It’s fun to swap out different ingredients to see what you can come up with. In this case, tequila for gin, and Ancho Reyes for vermouth. Cheers….enjoy!

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Ancho Tequila Negroni
– 2 ounce reposado tequila
– 1 ounce Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
– 1 ounce Campari
– 2 dashes Fee Brothers Grapefruit Bitters
– wedge of ruby red grapefruit for garnish
– chili powder and sugar for rim
Rub the rim of your glass against a cut grapefruit and dip in a mixture of chili powder and sugar to coat rim. Add ingredients over ice and stir well. Garnish with wedge of grapefruit.

 

An elegant ending to Easter

Happy Easter! I hope the Easter bunny brought you some chocolate almonds (Piedras de Chocolate from Spain). They came all the way from Wegmans in our case. (If not, malted chocolate eggs will probably work okay, too.) Pair them with a Twisted Sidecar by the fire (as it was snowing today!) for a relaxing and elegant ending to your Easter.

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Twisted Sidecar

  • 1 1/2 ounces Pierre Ferrand Ambre cognac
  • 3/4 ounce Cointrau
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh orange juice
  • Demerara sugar for rim

Run a lemon wedge around the top of your glass, then dip it in a small amount of Demerara sugar to coat the rim. In a shaker over ice mix ingredients and shake well. Strain into glass and garnish with twists of lemon and orange (twisted together).

2eat2drink_pierre ferrand ambre

Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac is an awesome value. For $40 you’ll get a blended cognac aged, on average, 10 years. It’s smooth, light, and bright with flavors of vanilla, honey, oak, and a mix of citrus and flowers. It’s very nice on its own, and excellent in cocktails.

Cheers!

Merry (Holiday of your choice)!

Whatever holiday you are celebrating this Christmas eve, I’m sure this will make it better. It’s a little treat brought to you in a round-about way from 1961 Vodka, Restaurant 2Vine, my friend Ann, and Heather and me, called the Queen Ann.

2B_1961 Queen Ann

I mentioned 1961 Vodka a few posts back, here. I was working with Ann on all of the cocktail and bottle photography for 1961Vodka.com, which I recommend you check out…as I helped develop the recipes, too. (It was a fun shoot!) It’s fabulous vodka, I suggest you look for a bottle!

Restaurant 2Vine created the cocktail in Ann’s honor. Just for fun, I decided to photograph it in a similar fashion to the others. Pour one ounce 1961 Vodka and 1 ounce strawberry puree in a champagne glass. Top with sparkling wine, garnish with a strawberry, and celebrate. Cheers!

Happy Haunting from the Vieux Carré

All Hallows Eve will be filled with hauntings, especially in the Vieux Carré, or French Quarter. But…we will be protected with our voodoo doll for protection from evil spirits and phantoms. While we drink sazeracs (and eat candy.)

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I thought a Halloween post would be the perfect way to introduce the Sazerac, a drink that is as much a part of New Orleans as Halloween celebrations are. Its roots can be traced back to a French Quarter apothecary, Antoine Peychaud, in the early 1800s. But the drink was modified to its current recipe in the early 1900s to feature Rye instead of Cognac. It’s extremely flavorful and highly recommended.

Our voodoo doll came from Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo on Bourbon Street. It’s a  great little shop with many voodoo dolls, talismans, and charms.

There are many variations on the Sazerac recipe, but I chose to base mine on Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure, an excellent absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling. Start by chilling an old fashioned glass by filling it with ice, then gather your ingredients.

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey. I used Russel’s Reserve small batch.
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure
  • lemon

In a separate glass, over ice, mix the rye, simple syrup and bitters. Stir until chilled. Dump the ice from the old fashioned glass and give it an absinth rinse. Pour in enough to coat the entire inside of the glass, dumping if there is a lot of excess. Strain other ingredients into glass. Garnish with some lemon peel twisted over the glass. Sip to appease the spirits (and yourself). Á votre santé!

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Typical French Quarter halloween decorations adorning 2 balconies. The top photo is complete with a bubble machine. The bottom photo is complete with an undead Boston Red Sox fan, which is very fitting for today. Congratulations to the World Champions!

The Aviation. Purple drinks are cool!

Purple is a cool color….so I think a purple drink is cool too! We were introduced to this cocktail in New Orleans at the Green Goddess. As we sat and watched one being made, we couldn’t help but ask about it. Which led us to try one and realize how good it is! It is perfectly refreshing on a warm evening!

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I did a fair amount of research to find the right recipe for this. There are many variations and theories on when it was invented. But most lead back to the start of the twentieth century and Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin’s recipe called for 1½ oz. El Bart gin, ¾ oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette. I settled on the NY Times recipe and added a touch of simple syrup to balance out the citrus. I like it both ways, but since I’m generally creating cocktails for Heather this is the official 2eat2drink recipe!

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Violette

FIll a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice, Luxardo and simple syrup. Shake to chill, then strain into a martini glass. Slowly pour Crème de Violette into the glass to create a purple swirl that settles near the bottom. Garnish with a twist of lemon or a flamed lemon peel.

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It’s experiment time! I created an animated gif of the pour. It may only work if you click on it, based on my preview. Let’s see what happens…

Click to animate!

Click to animate!

Cheers!