Tag Archives: Cocktail

The Sage and Honey Cocktail… from Toronto, Canada!

Hello Fussy Readers…

Something a little different for you today!

So, I have been so utterly busy in recent times that I thought… why not have a Guest blogger write a post for a change?! As you all know I am very Fussy  about what I drink and eat (the clue is in the website address! lol), but i’m also fussy about what I write about! I haven’t written any posts in a while, not only because I haven’t had time, but because I haven’t had anything “jump out” at me as being worthy of a post.

Nick Stokes from D.W. Alexander, a popular Bar in Toronto, Canada, got in contact with me and sent a copy of their drink menu. (It is so great to see The Fussy One is being read all over the World!) There were several drinks on the list that seemed totally up my alley, but the following “Sage and Honey Cocktail” was the one that I felt drawn to the most. We all know I love a good egg white cocktail, and this twist on a sour would be my go to order if I walked in to D.W. Alexander in person.  Nick was kind enough to write the following post about this drink for you all to read.

A side note; Tiki Bitters are described as an exotic tropical blend of Cinnamon, allspice and distinctive island spices. I have never tried them myself, and Cinnamon is not my favorite flavor, but these bitters are supposed to add an enhanced flavor profile without dominating the palate which sounds interesting to me! Could be a good “Fall” drink option when the time comes.

Anyway… Here we have the “Sage and Honey Cocktail”, written by Guest Blogger Nick Stokes:

Good thing about cocktails is their versatility. You can create a sweet or sour cocktail, you can make a drink for guys or for girls, if you wish, you can mix various colors and get an amazing affect. They give us a great freedom to do whatever we wish with our alcohol and to have fun in the process. This is precisely why this industry developed so much. People who like to drink can get bored with their regular brand name alcohol. While we still love that drink, we would like to give it a special twist and to leave our own mark on it.

The Sage and Honey cocktail is quite specific. This drink was invented in D.W. Alexander, one of the popular Toronto bars in Canada. It has sage infused rum as its base giving it a nice and bitter taste with a hint of plant life within. Nowadays, infused drinks are becoming more and more popular, adding various tones to classic drinks. This in itself is a cocktail so let’s call it a good start. After adding lemon, egg white and honey, you will have a feeling that you are making a cake. The last ingredient is Tiki Bitters.  Although it is quite a new drink (created during the last decade) it is becoming increasingly popular as a good substitution for some other bitters or in some cases, such as this, as a basic ingredient for innovative cocktails. The cocktail is mostly sour, with nice plant undertones.

Sage and Honey Cocktail

Sage and Honey Cocktail

  • 2 oz sage infused rum
  • 5 oz Tiki bitters
  • 5 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 egg white

Mix all the ingredients together in a shaker filled with ice. After shaking vigorously for 20 seconds, strain it in a glass.

This cocktail is great for winter. It goes nicely with red meat and in some cases you will wish to use it instead of cough syrup because it clears sinuses quite nicely. This is a great choice for all the people who like bitters and would love to try something a bit sweeter.

Thanks Nick for this piece, and for those in Canada, or heading to Toronto, I recommend you try out D.W. Alexander. When we’re next in town, I know we will be making an appearance!

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Remember, remember the drinks of “Movember”!

For those of you who have boyfriends, fathers, husbands or friends growing magnificent facial hair for the month of November, but have never really known why, let me enlighten you.

prostate-cancer-movember

Movember“, is the month of November when men are encouraged to stop shaving their upper lip in order to increase awareness of men’s health issues.  The Movember Foundation was set up in 2004 (by some drunk Australians no less!) with an aim to create awareness for men to get check ups, which could lead to early cancer detection, diagnosis, effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths from Prostate and Testicular cancer.

Mo-Bros (Men taking part in the moustache growing) all across the World set up sponsorship funds on http://www.Movember.com and grow unsightly facial hair in order to raise money for cancer treatment as well as start a discussion about a very sensitive topic. Their slogan “Changing the face of mens health” is totally accurate, because I can’t tell you how many people have asked my male friends “is that moustache for Movember? What is Movember anyway?” this year. 

Only down side of the whole thing is, I personally hate facial hair. This year my man decided to take part, so I have been graced with the presence of a ‘ginger’ handlebar moustache for the past few weeks! I have to say, it was all worth it last Tuesday though, when he partook in a Movember Tiki event at La Descarga (one of my all time favorite bars in LA).La Descarga flyer

La Descarga has been doing Tiki Tuesdays for a while now, but the month of November has seen a percentage of those profits go to the Movember fund. Last week was sponsored by Bacardi Rum and the guest bartenders were Greg Bryson,  Gilbert Marquez and David Kupchinsky AKA Ol’ Man Winter.

Gilbert Martinez

Gilbert Marquez of El Carmen and Scopa made the following drinks:

Plantain Daiquiri-Daiquri

  • Bacardi 1909
  • Plantain Syrup
  • Lime
  • Vanilla

This Daquri which was a nice twist on a classic, the plantain gave a light banana flavor that worked well with the rum and vanilla.

La Guanabana- Bacardi 8, Cazadores, Lime, Maracuaya, guanabana, Mescal, Cinnamon, Bacardi Solera

Sangre Azul- Cazadores, Mezcal, Parfait Amour, Lime, Aguadiente mist

Greg Bryson

Greg Bryson, Bartender and Bar Manager of Coco Laurent and Hostaria Del Piccolo, put the followinh great drinks on the menu all with slang names for Moustache’s

The Lady Tickler- Bacardi 1909, Guava, Lemon, Honey, Angostura, Mint

Lip Weasel- Bacardi 1909, Jerk-Tamarind syrup, Lime

The Jerk-Tamarind syrup Greg made gave an interesting flavor that was very popular with guests, a little too spicy for me but overall a solid drink.

Captain Whiskers

Captain Whiskers-

  • Bacardi 8
  • Papaya Puree
  • Lemon
  • Pineapple

The Captain Whiskers was a deliciously tropical tasting drink and my personal favorite. It was sweet but refreshing too and I loved the flaming lime on top!

ol Man Winter

Ol’ Man Winter, Manager of Everleigh made a bold claim saying his ‘Hotel Nacional’ was the greatest…I have to say though, it was pretty bloody fantastic! Possibly my favorite drink of the night. It was sweet, balanced, strong, tropical and delicious. All words I like to associate with a Tiki drink.

World greatest Hotel Nacional-Hotel Nacional

  • Bacardi 1909
  • Apricot eau de vie
  • Lime
  • Pineapple
  • Sugar
  • Angostura

Worlds Greatest Singapore Sling- Bombay Sapphire, PX Sherry, Cherry Heering, Benedictine, Lime, Pineapple

The Gang

Overall the night was a huge success, the live band started to play and the whole bar was packed. It was wonderful to see such a support from the bar community for a great cause.

Three really strong bartenders killing it behind the bar at one of my favorite places in the city made for an amazing night. Great job guys!

If you want to donate to Movember, visit their website http://www.movember.com to learn more about how you can contribute.happy-movember-magnet

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Drink of the Week

Coquito CirocCiroc drink

1.5oz Ciroc Coconut
1/4oz Pineapple Juice
1/2oz Coconut cream
1oz Milk
1 Egg White
1 dash Cinnamon
1 dash Nutmeg
1 dash Allspice

Combine all ingredients. Shake and strain in to a Collins Glass

Garnish: Coconut Shavings

I was totally craving a Pina Colada the other day (no doubt missing Hawaii) when I recieved an email from Ciroc telling me about their signature holiday drinks.  As most of my readers know, I try not to advertise particular brands on this site (unless I think they are necessary for the drink) and I RARELY pick vodka as a base…however this one recipe spoke to me.

Minus the rum, it has all the makings of a Pina Colada but with all the spices and warmth of Fall.  It is creamy, refreshing and tropical but with that wonderful seasonal twist. Quite simply, this is a great Holiday drink that works particularly well for those of us stuck (oh it’s so hard! ;))in warmer climates in the holiday season eg. Australia/Los Angeles/Singapore etc… it tastes like Summer and Autumn in one! 

Ironically I don’t like Coconut shavings or cinnamon, yet I love coconut flavored drinks. This one calls for the shavings on top and the cinnamon is subtle enough so as not to overpower the drink.  If you are totally against flavored vodkas (I totally understand!) you can always substitute the Ciroc Coconut for Rum, Gin, Malibu or just plain vodka. It’s quite a versatile little drink. At the end of the day, the coconut cream and pineapple kind of mask the base spirit. Seeing as this recipe was created by Cicoc, I felt it only fair to write it as they intended but as you know, switching it up is always an option. 🙂

If you want to try something a little different this Winter, I say give this recipe a go.

Enjoy!

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Drink of the Week

Hot Whiskey Toddyzacapa-hot-toddy-290x290

  • 2oz Bourbon
  • 1/2oz Lemon
  • 3/4oz Honey
  • Boiling hot water
  • 3 Cloves

Garnish: Lemon Wedge

You must put in the spirits before the hot water, then stir with a spoon. Use a Toddy glass if you have one.

It is officially flu season, and sadly today I am writing this post from the comfort of my bed with a horrible sore throat and a stuffy nose! HOWEVER a silver lining can be found in the above drink which is great when you’re feeling a little under the weather.

Honey and lemon are very soothing for a sore throat, and the alcohol will kill some of those germs…even if I just made all that up, the drink tastes great and you will at least feel better from drinking it!

The original recipe of a toddy calls for Brandy as the base, however Bourbon has become a popular alternative and American standard for the recipe. It is a really old drink so the origins are complicated and a little unclear, however Jerry Thomas writes about the Brandy Toddy and Whiskey Toddy in his book “How to mix drinks or the Bon-Vivant’s companion”  1862.

The Brandy Toddy being the one described with hot water, the Whiskey toddy says to use ice. I personally like using Whiskey in a hot toddy, although it is unclear why Jerry Thomas favored Brandy as the base for the hot version.  A Whiskey toddy is mentioned in Charles Dickens first book ‘The pickwick papers” which was written in 1867, so we know the late 1800s saw it as a fairly popular drink for cold nights.

Just so you know, a Toddy glass is a heat resistant glass mug that is perfect for Irish coffees as well as Toddy’s.  It is always a good idea to warm the glass before pouring in the boiling liquid, to prevent any risk of cracking.   If you don’t have a toddy mug in your collection, I recommend getting one because they are always useful to have around for hot drinks.

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Repeal Day Drink

Cameron’s KickCameronsKick

  • 1 oz Blended Scotch
  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Orgeat

Garnish: Lemon peel

Shake and strain in to a chilled cocktail glass.

(The image chosen shows this drink in a coupe, however the cocktail glass became particularly popular in the 30’s and is probably a more appropriate glass for this drink.)

Repeal Day

December 5th is known in the US as ‘Repeal Day’ and is a huge day for celebration (for those who enjoy a good drink anyway!)

Most people around the World know or have heard of Prohibition in the United States.  It was a national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, in place from 1920 to 1933. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution and the Volstead Act were what set down the rules for enforcing the ban during this time, and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. Prohibition ended with the approval of the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment, on December 5, 1933…hence the name Repeal day!!!

nolips

The original thought process of banning alcohol was so that crime would go down and people would live a more ‘Christian life’, it was pushed mainly by the women at the time who felt that their men became ‘devils’ when they drank.  Banning alcohol altogether of course, did the exact opposite of what they had hoped for.  The thirteen years of Prohibition were a dark time for the United States, and led to the rise of highly organized crime, viscious mafia gangs and turf wars.

The cocktail community in particular likes to celebrate Repeal Day because December 5th marks a return of skills that might have been lost had Prohibition continued, like craft fermentation and distillation.  It also helped to legitimize the American bartender once again as a contributor to society and social customs.  Before Prohibition the term ‘Bartender’ was not frowned upon or seen as a ‘job on the side until you pick a career’, it was a career in itself and one that was respected as part of the culinary arts.

I chose this drink because I felt that  a Scotch drink  from the 1930’s seemed the most appropriate.  Scotch (in particular Dewar’s Scotch) was the first legal whisky to arrive in the States and hit New York’s South Street Seaport docks the moment the law was put into action. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. (JFK’s father) happened to be the US agent for the brand and for a company named Somerset Importers. Somerset owned the exclusive rights to import Dewar’s Scotch and Gordon’s Gin, and right before Repeal Day they stocked up. Once Prohibition was over, they sold the premium liquors for a huge profit!

The Cameron’s Kick is delicious!  The two types of whiskey compliment each other rather than compete and with the lemon juice and orgeat it kind of tastes like a whisky sour mixed with a marzipan flavor.  Orgeat is an almond syrup scented with orange blossoms and I think tastes like liquid marzipan!  The drink itself is refreshing though and very tasty.  I should mention that the orgeat you buy in stores tends to be way sweeter than ones made at home or in bars, if you don’t want to make your own (which I admit is a time consuming process) then use just 1/2oz of the store brand orgeat to keep the sweetness down.

1321983938-repeal-day2

There are a couple of exciting events going on in Los Angeles on Wednesday, many bars offering drinks at repeal day prices too.  Sassafras,  Thirsty CrowBigfoot Lodge,  and Oldfield’s Liquor Room are selling some cocktails for 50 cents, yep you heard me, 50 cents!!! So be sure to check them out.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson…get drinking this week and be glad we don’t live in 1920s America!!!

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Drink of the Week

Acero

  • 2oz Rye
  • 3/4oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4oz Maple Syrup (Organic Grade B)
  • 1 Egg white

Garnish: Bacon piece

This drink was created by Greg Bryson for the new Fall menu that just rolled out at Hostaria Del Piccolo in Santa Monica (it will also be featured at their new location in Venice, which opens next month). The recipe was inspired by a drink called the Woodstock, which uses Gin as the base, orange bitters, Maple and Lemon juice.  I couldn’t find ANY notable history on The Woodstock i’m afraid, however the history of the Acero is simple. Greg wanted a drink using Maple Syrup for his Fall menu and after several variations found the above combination of ingredients to be the best! Hostaria Del Piccolo is an Italian Restaurant, therefore they named the drink ‘Acero’ which means ‘Maple’ in Italian.

I love this drink because it’s deliciously sweet, has a creamy texture from the egg white and the lemon balances with the Rye and Maple flavors perfectly.  The bacon garnish tastes great too, and the sweet salty pairing is a great combo.  It basically has a Whiskey Sour taste to it, only more autumnal because of the maple syrup.

I am told it does make a difference with the kind of maple syrup you use, Greg specifies to use Organic Grade B because other grades can end up being too sweet and throw the balance off.

Have a go making this at home (a great option for Thanksgiving dinner) or if you’re in Los Angeles, make a point to head over to Hostaria Del Piccolo in the coming months to try this and other great new drinks off of their menu.

ENJOY!

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Drink of the Week

Jack Rose

  • 2oz AppleJack Brandy
  • 3/4oz Fresh Lime juice (or Lemon juice)
  • 3/4oz Real Grenadine

Garnish: Lime or Lemon (depending on juice chosen)

Please Note: The photo above has been borrowed from YMN, and was not taken by myself.  It was the best looking image of the Jack Rose I could find.

This is such a simple drink to make at home, and such a great option for Fall.  I have been thinking about Autumnal drinks all week, and will be posting several more as my favorite bartenders roll out their fall cocktail menus.  The Jack Rose is a classic from the 1920s, we know it dates back at least this far because in Ernest Hemingway‘s 1926 classic, The Sun Also Rises, the narrator Jake drinks a Jack Rose in the Crillon Paris hotel bar.

As with many of the drinks I learn about, this too has many theories and stories of it’s origin. There are a slew of ideas that relate to it’s name, some say it is named after Gambler Bald Jack Rose, others suggested that the name was invented by Joseph P. Rose, a  New Jersey restaurateur with the nickname Jack, who once held the title of “World’s Champion Mixologist.”

There are other theories, although Wikipedia (of all places) suggests the most likely explanation of the name is the fact that it is made with applejack and is rose colored from the grenadine. This makes the most sense to me, maybe there is no dramatic reason for it’s name at all…perhaps people get so caught up in the stories they can’t see the wood for the trees!

My boyfriend just informed me that there is also a genre of drink called the ‘Rose’ which is simply a Sour with grenadine, there is a Tequila Rose, A Rye rose etc. and this drink is a an Applejack rose! The same still applies though, the drink is rose colored from the grenadine.

This is a very tasty drink with apple notes that come through from the apple brandy. I suggest using Lairds Bonded Applejack if you can get it, it works the best for me and under no circumstances use a fake grenadine like Rose’s, it will ruin the flavor profile. Take the time to make your own grenadine (pomegranate juice to equal parts sugar and a dash orange blossom water) you won’t regret it!

The Jack Rose itself is a benchmark brandy drink because of how well it pairs with the citrus and grenadine.  There is some debate as to whether it is supposed to be with lemon or lime juice, I personally prefer it with lemon but my boyfriend says lime juice works better. To each his own!

The drink is mildly sweet, strong and perfect for the Fall season we’re now in. Give it a go!

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Drink of the Week

 The Avenue Cocktail

  • 1 oz Calvados (Henry Querville)
  • 1 oz Bourbon (Woodford reserve)
  • 1 oz Passion fruit juice
  • 1 dash real Pomegranate grenadine
  • 1 dash Orange flower water

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I heard about this drink through The Lonsdale, a fantastic UK bar in Nottinghill, London.  They got the recipe themselves from a very rare but classic cocktail book called ‘The Café Royal Bar Book’, which became a particularly popular edition during the American prohibition period when the London cocktail scene really came to life.

Originally published in 1937, The Café Royal Cocktail Book was compiled by William Tarling, Head Bartender at the famous Café Royal in London. I haven’t seen it myself but I hear this is a great little vintage cocktail book that goes over a vast array of drinks during the early 20th Century in London. It not only has classic recipes but gives details of the history and culture of the London bar scene at the time it was printed.  This book has become somewhat of a collectors item because it only has one edition that was then reprinted in 2008 when the actual Cafe Royal Bar closed down.

The brand choices I have used in the above recipe are simply the ones that The Lonsdale selected, but other options will work nicely…feel free to experiment! The important thing to note is the fact that the book was pretty specific that the recipe uses Orange flower water (not Orange blossom water) and passion fruit juice as opposed to puree, syrup or nectar.

You get so many flavors when you try this drink. The passion fruit, orange blossom and Calvados slightly compete on the tongue but somehow work together at the end with the bourbon. The orange flower is certainly the most obvious aroma and the drink has been described by many as being intriguing due to the constant changing of flavors on the tongue. I have to admit I agree, there is a lot going on in this cocktail but it is a really tasty drink that comes together at the end. If you have the ingredients at home, I would certainly give it a go.


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Drink of the Week

Between the sheets

  • 1 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Brandy
  • 3/4oz Cointreau
  • 3/4oz Lemon Juice

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Shake and strain in to a Martini glass.

I love the name of this drink just as much as I enjoy the flavors.  It’s basically a Side Car with the addition of Rum, which is probably why I prefer this version.  It is a very easy-to-drink, balanced and tasty beverage.

I had assumed this drink was a pretty recent creation, but from what i’ve been able to find out it was actually invented by Harry MacElhone, bartender at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, in the 1930’s.  There is some debate that it originated before this in 1920s London, but the name ‘Between the sheets’ appears first in the Paris bar, so this is the one i’m sticking with! If someone believes this to be incorrect, please get in touch because i’d be interested to hear other thoughts on the matter…this is one of the first drinks i’ve tried to research and not been able to find that much information on.

Anyway, this is certainly a strong (has 3 different liquors) but refreshing option for hot summer days. As the heat wave continues here in Los Angeles I will continue to order this until the Autumn arrives! 🙂

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Crafted to perfection

Craft
10100 Constellation Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
90067
310.279.4180 
 

Monday date night last week led us to a restaurant just minutes from our house, yet neither my boyfriend (FG) or I had been there before.  The list of drinks and food on offer all looked appealing and appetizing, and the decor of the bar area was inviting and warm when we entered. We decided to sit at the CraftBar which is separate from the restaurant itself and has a different food menu, but we decided to mix and match and got a few bar menu items and then our entree from the regular restaurant menu.

FG informed me that the “Craft” team pay a purveyor a lot of money just to travel the country in search of the best produce for all three of their locations. Only the best, organic, fresh and seasonal products are used so the menu changes constantly with what is and isn’t available.

Front Porch: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Peach, Lemon and Iced Tea $11

I started the night off with the ‘Front porch’ drink after our bartender (Scott) pointed out that peaches were at their best right now. It was wonderful, like a deliciously peachy ice tea with bourbon! It was sweet, strong and fruity.

FG had the ‘Here today… gone amaro’ which was just as tasty as the name was imaginative!  FG best described it as a Manhattan with a subtle sweet bitterness at the end. Rabarbaro Zuca is an amaro made with Rhubarb, which I have only seen on a menu once before, ironically in my boyfriends drink ‘Maguey after Amaro’. I like it when places use unusual ingredients though.

Here Today…Gone Amaro: Old Overholt Rye, Chai Tea infused Carpano Antica Vermouth, Cio Ciaro and Rabarbaro $14

FG was intrigued by the number of Amari they had on the back bar, including the Cio Ciaro (he’d never heard of) which he sampled and described as having a burnt caramel flavor with a slow bitter finish.  Craft also makes a home made velvet falernum which was delicious, sweet and zesty.

Negroni Mio: Aviation Gin, Campari, Americano, Cocchi Vermouth di Tornio, Prosecco & Strawberry. $13

FG’s second drink was the Negroni Mio, this was a good drink, but not great. It sounded amazing on paper (they barrel aged the Negroni then bottle age it with strawberries), but the flavors really came through as simply a Negroni with aperol.

Many of the food options looked interesting but we started with the cheddar hush puppies that came with a smoked maple syrup to dip in. Delicious maple flavor from the sauce altho the puppies had little spicy kick to them.  The cheese didn’t come through for me but still the dish was very tasty.

Cheddar Hushpuppies & Smoked Maple Syrup $6

The risotto balls were also on the spicy side with a marinara type sauce named romesco, the crispy thin layer on the outside of each ball made them not too rich and another good starter dish.

Risotto Fritters & Romesco $6

They also brought a bread basket out with delicious breads in.  The dark loaf was incredibly different and hearty. In fact Scott gave us an extra loaf to take home, as he informed me it is the perfect bread to make french toast with the next day.  I loved the wooden box the bread came in too, the presentation of all the dishes was exquisite and although this was a slightly more expensive place than we’d usually go just for monday date night, it became clear very quickly why they deserved to charge so much.

For our main course we agreed on a steak (like always!) and decided to share the dry aged sirloin. When it arrived I realized just how incredibly large 22 ounces of meat is and worried we’d way over ordered!

We also chose some sides, the sugar snap peas (which i’m really in to recently, so sweet and crunchy) and the yukon puree.  I had wanted a potato but couldn’t decide what kind, Scott had said these were “deliciously decadent.”  Of course, alarm bells should go off when you hear a server/bartender describe something as decadent…it usually means, extremely fatty and high in calories.  We didn’t care though, it was an indulgent night.  

The potato was certainly nothing less than decadent! Creamy, rich and full of flavor.  It was like a very soft buttery mash but still had a lightness to it, I couldn’t eat too much but it paired beautifully with the earthy flavor of the steak.  I’m not sure i’d had dry aged beef before but it gave the meat a much stronger fuller flavor.  The meat came with a bone marrow on the side, which greg emptied out on to a piece of remaining bread.

I think bone marrow is definitely an acquired taste, it reminded me of chicken dripping my mum would keep to put on sandwiches after a roast dinner. Not that it tasted like chicken, it just had a very greasy and fatty texture that reminded me of that.  I didn’t like it at all, Greg devoured the whole bone full.

Roasted dry aged sirloin 22oz $56

Sugar snap peas $11

Yukon Gold Puree $10

To finish we saw the wonderful dessert list but felt too full to get anything (believe it or not, we had at this point eaten the entire steak and sides!!!). Scott brought us some little bites from the pastry chef which included some caramel popcorn and little nectarine upside down cakes.  They were the perfect touch of sweetness to end the evening.

Before we left Scott gave us a little pack of complimentary Craft Granola for the next day. FGs parents went the following week and were given some complimentary Craft muffins, it changes daily what you’ll get but I think it’s such a cute and unique idea to give something like that for breakfast. When we ate the granola the next morning (which was great) it had us remembering our wonderful evening the night previous. Very smart marketing move!

Drinks here get my rating of 4 out of 5 Clover Clubs.

My peach cocktail was fantastic, and FG certainly enjoyed his two drinks also.  Scott was professional and informative behind the bar, and the look of the place was welcoming and attractive.  The only negative of the drinks was the Negroni Mio that wasn’t as flavorful as the ingredients suggested, overall it was a close to excellent bar program. They also had an extensive wine list, for those not as excited by cocktails!

My Food Rating here is 5 out of 5 Platters

Overall this place had it all, relaxing music, a nice chill vibe and excellent professional service.  The food was fantastic, it was different and adventurous without being too overwhelming for a fussy person like myself.  The only negative, which i’m not even sure is fair to give, was the high prices of this place.  I hadn’t expected it to be on the higher end, having said that it really was worth the extra expense. The service really was amazing, and my boyfriends parents decided to go a few days later and had the exact same reaction. For that reason, this is the first place i’m giving 5 out of 5. Watch out Bottega Louie (our most popular location), Craft may soon take over as our favorite place to go for dinner in LA!

All in all, Craft (and Craft Bar) are an excellent night out.  I highly recommend anyone looking for a romantic, quality restaurant in Los Angeles to head there.

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Drink of the Week

Negroni

  • 1oz Gin
  • 1oz Italian Sweet Vermouth
  • 1oz Campari

Garnish: Orange peel

Shake and strain over ice.

Today is my boyfriend FutureGregs (FG) birthday, so it only seemed fitting that I put up one of his all time favorite drinks.  The Negroni cocktail is made of equal parts gin, vermouth (Italian, semi-sweet), and bitters, traditionally Campari. It is considered an apéritif and has a bitter sweet flavor profile.

I admit, this is not a personal favorite of mine, in fact it’s quite the contrary!  This is a very strong and particularly bitter drink, one that I feel you really have to become acustomed to.  FG loves the bitterness of any amaro (after dinner digestif) in a drink, so this is a great option for him. He often chooses to use Cynar (an Italian bitter apéritif liqueur made from herbs, plants and artichoke) instead of the traditional Campari, which I believe makes it taste even more bitter!

The Negroni has, like many cocktails, an often disputed history.  The most common belief is that it was created and named after Count Cammillo Negroni in 1919 when he ordered an Americano with gin at Cafe Casoni in Florence, Italy.  When discussing this with FG he did point out that there are other accounts that suggest this was already another drink, however Count Negroni was the one who made it famous and therefore has his name attached to it.

Whatever it’s origins, this is a good option before or after a meal as the bitters have medicinal qualities that will help settle your stomach.

PARTY PEOPLE

By the way, for those of you who know and love my boyfriend, we will be celebrating tonight (23rd August) at Bagatelle in Hollywood.  The theme is ‘Black and White’, so make sure you come in those colors and dress to impress!  There will be a punch bowl, a Dj, many beautiful women, lots of handsome men and a special priced drinks list for those prepared to celebrate with us.  Come on down at 9pm. We’ll be there til 2am…or until Greg passes out!

Ps. For those of you who don’t know my boyfriend, please note he is actually a very attractive and intelligent man…not the dumbfounded gormless creature I have portrayed him as on this invite. I simply chose this photo because it is so damn funny! Happy Birthday my darling! xxx

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Drink of the Week

The Singapore Sling

  • 1 oz. London dry gin
  • 1 oz. Bols Cherry brandy or Cherry Heering
  • 1 oz. Bénédictine
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. soda water
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all ingredients except soda water and bitters and shake in ice.  Strain in an ice-filled collins glass and top with soda water. Dash with Angostura bitters.

Today is my Dads birthday, so I thought it would be a fun idea to put up a drink in his honor. 🙂

This is a drink that has specific memories to me from my childhood. I used to go with my family to Australia almost every year and on a number of occasions we would stop over in Singapore for a few days. I can remember my dad was always excited when he arrived, he would get unpacked then announce to the family “I’m heading down to the bar for the first Singapore sling of the trip.”  As we were fortunate enough to stay at the gorgeous Raffles Hotel on many occasions, it is easy to understand why this was his recurring drink of choice.

When I first decided to write about the Singapore Sling, I hadn’t quite appreciated how much confusion revolved around its recipe. The drink itself is fairly well documented and most would agreed that the first recipe was created by Ngiam Tong Boon at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel, Singapore, between 1900 and 1915.

However, there is suggestion that the drink may have existed already under the name ‘Straits Sling’ before Tong Boon brought it over to Raffles.  The original recipe has always been disputed, because there are numerous variations in existence that call for different ratios and ingredients.  The above recipe is from research by David Wondrich on the Sling, but if you were to go to Raffles 20 years ago you would receive another version most likely changed sometime in the 1970s by Ngiam Tong Boon’s nephew.

According to Wondrich, new data in the form of a searchable archive of Singapore newspapers shows the earliest reference to a sling is from 1897, nearly 20 years before the Raffles Hotel supposedly created it.  Today, many of the “Singapore Slings” served at Raffles Hotel have been pre-mixed and made using an automatic dispenser that combines alcohol and pineapple juice at pre-set volumes. They are then blended instead of shaken and include pineapple juice to make them more appealing to the ‘American tourists’ in a Tiki style drink.

I always remember seeing a ‘Recipe Card’ in the lobby of Raffles hotel that I believed to be the original recipe, however my research has shown that The Raffles Hotel management has always admitted that the original recipe card was in fact lost at some point during the 20th century.  The recipe in the photo above is variation 26!

With or without pineapple juice, with Cherry Heering or with Dry Cherry Brandy instead, this drink has a lot of history, is refreshing, flavorful and ideal for hot sticky summers in Singapore.

For me the appeal is its sentimental value because of the fond memories I have of my father sitting in the lobby of Raffles enjoying his pink drink.  If I ever return to Singapore in the future i’m sure I will make a point of stopping in at Raffles to order one for myself, if only to keep up the tradition.

Happy Birthday Dad!

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Pimms Jelly (Jello!) Sundaes

The following post is not my own creation, however it has certainly sparked some interesting recipe ideas in my boyfriend.

I felt the need to re-blog it because it looks delicious, is a pretty unique dessert style drink and a great option for Summer! 🙂

Just so all my readers understand, in England ‘Jelly’ is what Americans call ‘Jello’, and what Americans refer to as ‘Jelly’ (like in a peanut butter & jelly sandwich) is what the British would call ‘Jam’.

The title of this post is ‘Jelly Sundaes’, however the original writer Hayley is in fact referring to the British sense of the word…I do hope that helps avoid any confusion!

                             British                     American

Jelly          =          Jello

Jam           =          Jelly

 

You will notice a number of British words like ‘a bit’ and ‘dollop’ in this post, which is one of the reasons I like it so much. Living in Los Angeles as a Brit can make me miss the little things sometimes. Check out the blog this post is taken from by clicking here.

Enjoy!

Pimms Jelly Sundaes

 

I realise that the past few recipes I’ve uploaded have been alcohol based. This is not because my diet consists of booze, honest! After making my Mailbu and pineapple jellies, my Pimms infused mind conjured up a creation in my head, and the Pimms Jelly Sundae was born!

These are refreshing, delicious, fat-free summer desserts, perfect for barbecues. They’re so different, and taste as gorgeous as they look. They’re also easy, and take minutes to make, so are great for dinner parties too. Have I said enough?! Okay, one more perk is the fact that it involves Pimms for crying out loud!

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of lemon jelly
  • 3/4 pt of lemonade
  • Pimms
  • 5 large strawberries, or 10 small ones
  • 10 grapes
  • a handful of blueberries
  • 1 orange
  • Mint

Make up your lemon jelly by using 1/4 pt of boiling water, and 3/4 pt of lemonade.

Image

While the jelly is cooling, wash and prepare your fruit, and divide it between individual glasses.

Now it’s time for the main event…All hail Pimms!

Add a one cap and a drop more of Pimms to the fruit…

then add your fizzy jelly.

Now your jelly, Pimms, and fruit need to be acquainted with each other, so use the sprigs of mint to give it a stir, then leave the mint in the jelly for about 30 – 60 seconds.

Now they’re ready for the fridge. If your fridge is rubbish like my mum’s, you’ll need these to set for a good seven or eight hours, if it’s fierce like my one at uni was, five hours should do it.

Ta-Dah! Summer in a glass.

Garnish with mint, and serve.

If you fancy making this a bit naughty, serve with a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream.

Now that’s more like it.

A  perfect dessert to give to your in-laws/boss/anyone you want to like you, because once they’ve tasted this, they’ll be wanting to see you a lot more!

Feel free to use different fruit, but not kiwi, papaya or fresh pineapple (tinned is fine), as the water molecules in these fruits prevent the jelly from setting, and will result in wasting Pimms.

Summer is finally here, Britain (for now)!

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Drink of the Week

French 75

  • 1 1/2oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Fill with Champagne

Garnish: Lemon Twist

Today I found myself celebrating Bastille Day at Bagatelle in Hollywood.  Bastille Day is the name given in English-speaking countries to ‘French National Day’ which is celebrated on the 14th of July each year.

In France, it is formally called La Fête Nationale and commemorates the storming of Bastille Fortress-prison on 14 July 1789.  The act of storming Bastille was seen as the uprising of the modern nation during the French Revolution and has been celebrated every year in France on the Anniversary of the event, since 1790.

They had created quite a party at Bagatelle.  Girls were dancing on table tops, French flags where flying everywhere and champagne was flowing heavily!

Zach gets in to character!

Zach Patterson (Head barman) had made an interesting version of the French 75 for the party and used ‘Lavender honey’ instead of simple syrup, which added an interesting floral note to the drink.

Both recipes (Zachs and the original above) are very similar in taste.  They’re both refreshing, bubbly, sweet and slightly citric drinks. Great options for Summer and a nice alternative to plain champagne for celebrations.

If you feel like getting in on some French action yourself this evening, have a go making the above recipe at home or head in to Bar Chloe in Santa Monica where they’ll be making them all night (for those who know to ask!)

Oui, Oui… ont une bonne soirée!

 (Yes, Yes… Have a good evening!)

Happy Bastille Day!

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