The Sidecar

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a bit of a history nerd – especially when it comes to my favourite branch of history: Cocktail History.  I find it fascinating to delve into the mystery and legends surrounding the Golden Era of Cocktails.  (And by “Golden Era” I, of course, mean prohibition era, whence all the best cocktails originated.)  It’s always useful to have a few fun facts up my sleeve about what I’m serving, if only to pull out as a bit of small talk to liven up the conversation should it happen to run dry. 

In the canon of classic cocktails, the Sidecar tends to get a bad rap or is simply overlooked as a stuffy libation lost in the smoke from bars of the past.  I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because no one on Instagram has endeavored to make it “cool” again in the way they have the Negroni or the monotonous Margarita, but it seems to me that the Sidecar has been pushed to the side in favour of more socially lucrative drinks.  Strange, because a drink with such an elegant blend of fine French liqueurs seems like it should warrant a little more “Insta-attention,” don’t you think? Continue reading “The Sidecar”

Earl Grey Hot Toddy

I’m kicking off the weekend with an Earl Grey Hot Toddy and a few good books.  Old books are my weakness.  I can’t resist. Sorry e-readers, nothing beats holding a real, hardbound book in your hands.  The weight.  The texture of each page between your fingers.  The smell of a time long forgotten, pressed between the pages and preserved in the spine.

It’s been my dream, ever since I was a little girl, to have my own library, overflowing with antique books.  All of the classics – Hemingway, Twain, Longfellow, Capote, Hugo, Verne, Mitchell – really, I could go on forever! Continue reading “Earl Grey Hot Toddy”

Watermelon Mojitos

If there’s one thing you will always find on my counter or kitchen table in the summer, it’s a watermelon – the bigger the better.  Like a basket of apples in the fall, or pumpkins in winter, it’s an iconic part of our ever-changing “kitchen table still life.”  I will let it sit there, getting riper by the second in the afternoon heat while I admire its variegated jade and emerald skin, until someone reminds me that I really should cut it so that we can enjoy it with more than just our eyes.  And then the boasting starts.  Who can eat the most? Who will take the title of Watermelon Master?  This contest is almost always initiated by my husband, Rich, who claims to be able to eat the entire watermelon in one sitting.  I don’t doubt that he would, if given the chance, but it’s an accolade that the kids are not willing to let him have.  While I certainly don’t condone these brutish, gluttonous brag-fests, I have to admit, they’re wildly entertaining. Continue reading “Watermelon Mojitos”

Moscow Mule + Ginger Beer Tonic

I’m a bit selective when it comes to bringing items into our home.  My husband would argue that I’m just paralyzingly picky. I blame it on my tendency toward perfectionism. I spent a year scouring antique shops and flea markets for a painting for our dining room.  Something with a bohemian flare to fit with the rest of the house, in soothing hues of blue and green to match the green walls in the room, which, I should mention are not yet green.  When I finally found it – an antique reproduction of a John Audubon blue heron – I knew intuitively that it was the one.  But about the green walls – that is to say, the walls which are currently just a vision of a painting project we planned three years ago. I can’t seem to find just the right shade. Green, but not too green – more of a silvery-teal, like Tuscan kale after it has just been washed.  I’ve been through dozens of paint swatches, each an infinitesimal variation on the same shade, of which my husband claims to see no difference.  I haven’t settled on the right one. Selective or just picky?  The problem, I think, lies in the curtains. Continue reading “Moscow Mule + Ginger Beer Tonic”

Green Tea and Rose Spritzer

We all know the rules: drink 8 glasses of water a day, limit alcohol and caffeine, cut out refined sugar, etc, but I believe that what we are drinking is more important than what we’re not.

I’ve written a lot about my inside-out approach to skin care.  While I try not to obsess over what I eat (or drink), and I thoroughly subscribe to the notion of everything in moderation, including moderation, I do like to make conscious decisions and choices that naturally nourish my skin from the inside out.  I don’t spring back from a day of eating junk food or a night out drinking as easily as I did in my twenties, and it shows on my skin. Continue reading “Green Tea and Rose Spritzer”

Cerise Chérie Cocktail

August 1997.

I was in a floral print mini skirt and a black leather bomber jacket that smelled of cigarettes and musky perfume (Malibu Musk, to be exact).  The jacket matched my favourite combat boots and a scarf in the same print as the skirt held my hair back in a high pony tail in that 1950s-preppy-meets-punk-rock-grunge style that was so popular in the 90’s.  A pair of Ray-Bans perched atop my head.  I felt so grown up at 17. Continue reading “Cerise Chérie Cocktail”

Chocola’Tita

Have you ever watched a film or read a book that spoke so deeply to you (good or bad) that you found yourself thinking about it months, even years, later? When the opening scene of a movie shows a woman giving birth on the kitchen table while the cook frantically tries to collect all the amniotic fluid in pots so that it can be dried and the remaining salt used to season the food, you know it’s going to be one of those movies. Like Water for Chocolate came out in 1992 but I only just watched the whole movie a few years ago.  To be honest, after the first scene I turn it off, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it until I made myself watch the entire thing, and I’m so glad I did, though I sill relive the scenes in my mind. Continue reading “Chocola’Tita”

Chambord and Rose Martini

The French Martini is a vodka-based drink made with Chambord and a splash of fruit juice.  I’ve seen recipes for it made with everything from pineapple juice to lemon juice. I don’t know how “French” this martini actually is, but using Chambord makes everything a bit more elegant. Chambord is a liqueur from the Loire Valley of France and, while the brand is fairly new (founded in 1982), it’s crafted after the 17th century liqueur that was a favourite of France’s aristocracy at the time.  It’s made with blackberries, raspberries and black currants which are meticulously blended with Cognac and vanilla.   Continue reading “Chambord and Rose Martini”

Blueberry Martini

Happy New Year!  I hope yours is off to a fantastic start!  For the last few months I’ve taken a break from posting my weekly cocktail recipes, but I thought it would be fun to get back in the swing of things and start the start the year off with a new martini.  This blueberry vodka martini is made with an organic blueberry-lemon syrup, sweetened with local honey.   It reminds me of the freshness of Spring – wildflowers, sunshine, warm afternoons and cool evenings.  Here’s to longer days and the perfect cocktail to get us through the rest of winter! Continue reading “Blueberry Martini”

7 Winter Cocktails to Drink Now

Let’s play a little game.  Imagine, for a second, that it’s a few days before Christmas.  Your significant other has surprised you with tickets to the symphony (or Opera… or John Legend’s Legendary Christmas Tour… you choose!).  It’s a bitter cold evening; snow is in the forecast.  The wind cuts through your jacket with its icy fingers as you walk with your lover, arm-in-arm, toward the warm lights of the theatre doors.  Your partner feels you shiver and presses closer as the doorman throws wide the massive glass doors and you step into a whirlwind of theater-goers; the room is a dizzying and disorienting blur of tuxedo blacks and showy holiday evening gowns.  You arrive a little early so your partner takes you by the hand and whisks you through the swirling crowd to the bar at the far end of the lobby where the smell of tobacco and Dior J’adore hangs in the air like the London fog.  You are handed a beautifully crafted cocktail menu, curated, you’re told, by none other than the theatre manager himself, who dabbles in the art of mixology on the side.  Each drink is designed to chase away winter’s cold and lull you into a state of ultimate contentedness against the symphonic backdrop of the evening’s performance.  The only question now is, which one will you choose? Continue reading “7 Winter Cocktails to Drink Now”