Tag Archives: honey

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

The Dark Crystal PunchDark Crystal Punch

  • 350ml Rum (we used Mount Gay)
  • 150ml Runny Honey
  • 150ml Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup of Blueberries
  • 6 Sage Leaves

Muddle berries in to the fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey and rum (we cheated and put it all in the blender..but both works).

Strain in to a punch bowl making sure there are no bits.

  • Top with 200ml Pink Moscato D’asti (bubbly moscato)

Serve in a Punch Bowl with large Ice Cube, sprinkle in the Sage leaves and stir before serving.

Yesterday was Crystal Bryson‘s Birthday (my boyfriends mum) and in honor of the occasion, as well as Super Bowl Sunday, Greg Bryson created this delicious punch.

Ice Cube

It was a beautiful mix of flavors with the sage, honey and lemon. The blueberries gave it a gorgeous pink color too.

The punch itself is sweet from the moscato and honey, herbaceous from the sage and strong too. I love Rum punches so I was a definite fan and everyone else seemed to love it also.

This was easy to make and great for large parties. Serves about 8 people, possibly more.

Enjoy!

Party Punch

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Drink of the Week

Guavamiele

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 1 oz Guava juice
  • 3/4 oz Lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Honey
  • Top with dash of Angostura bitters

I am pleased to report that today is officially ‘National Rum Day’, which just so happens to be my favorite genre of alcohol!  Who knew?!

The above recipe is a wonderfully refreshing and summery concoction created by Greg Bryson and currently available for your tasting pleasure on the summer menu at Hostaria Del Piccolo in Santa Monica.

If you don’t live within reach of Hostaria then I highly suggest buying the ingredients and making this drink at home.  I personally prefer Matusalem Rum in this drink, and that’s what they use at Hostaria. It is a tropical, sweet and really easy to make tiki style drink.

Have a Happy Rum Day Everyone!!!

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Drink of the Week

The Penicillin

2 oz Blended Scotch
1/4oz Islay Scotch
3/4 oz Lemon juice
3/40z Honey-Ginger syrup

Garnish: Candied ginger piece

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Strain into rock glass, ideally with one very large ice cube (dilutes the drink slowly.)

For those of you who know me personally, you will undoubtedly be aware of my trip to the hospital this week.  Don’t worry everyone, I am fine…but being on bed rest and taking a variety of medicines has inspired me to write about a ‘Modern day Classic’, The Penicillin.  First of all, the Honey-Ginger syrup in the recipe above is easy to make.  Combine honey and a little less than equal parts water into a small saucepan and heat, add large slices of peeled fresh ginger, bring to the boil then allow mixture to cool. Remove the ginger pieces and strain into a container.

As I said before, this is a definite ‘Modern Classic’.  In fact until last week I would have bet money it was created back in the days of Jerry Thomas. However, I happened to be at Comme Ca last week in Hollywood for a reunion of the original bar staff and discovered that Sam Ross, a previous employee, is the creator of this drink. Obviously, it is NOT from the pre-prohibition era at all, but in fact from 2005 created for the legendary bar Milk & Honey in New York.

I was fortunate enough to have the drinks creator make it for me, and it was definitely the best version I have ever tasted.  I sadly can’t drink a whole one because I am allergic to raw ginger, but what I did taste was sweet, a little smoky, spicy and full of complexity.  The peaty whiskey comes through the honey sweetness, the lemon and ginger are noticeable flavors  but don’t compete, they just blend nicely together.

This is certainly a great drink if you’re feeling a little under the weather, but even if you’re feeling just fine I suggest you give it a try.

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Piccolo Ristorante

Piccolo Ristorante

5 Dudley Ave

Venice Beach, CA 90291

(310) 314-3222

My boyfriend (FG) took me here on Valentines Eve this year and having never been before I was excited to be trying somewhere new, especially an Italian restaurant.

Italian is officially my favorite cuisine. I am not a huge fan of Venice beach and honestly find it particularly scary at night, especially down some of the graffiti ridden dark alley ways.  Sadly this restaurant is in a slightly less than desirable area, and less than a block from the building I was convinced I was watching a hardcore drug deal go down!

However I was utterly shocked and excited by the restaurant that emerged once I turned the corner.  The restaurant Piccolo is beautiful, aesthetically it is a really lovely looking space. Great attention to detail has been made from the elegant glassware down to the tasteful green glass candle holders on every table which are decorative and beautiful.
.

The decor is Venetian inspired (as in Venice, Italy not Venice Beach) decorative masks and tasteful black and white shots of the canals adorn the walls. There is a roaring fire on the side and a wall of wine at the back. As soon as we entered we were greeted by a friendly host who took us straight to the table. There is no host stand or bar area, which makes me wonder where you would stand/sit to wait if you arrived sooner than your reservation. Fortunately for us our table was ready straight away and we sat straight down. The owner Vittorio Viotti came over and said hello (he has worked with FG in the past and is a lovely Italian man from Rome).  The menu allows you to do a set meal called ‘In bobo we trust’ this is a great option if you’ve never been as the Executive Chef Roberto Ivan (Bobo) will choose a ‘Six-course tasting for $80’ or ‘Ten-course tasting for $100’ Two people minimum and entire table only.  Seeing as we didn’t want quite so many courses we decided to just pick ourselves, with the occasional recommendation from Vittorio and our server.

As cocktail drinkers I was sad to discover they don’t have a mixed drink list here, however the wine choice is beyond impressive. There is an extensive wine list in a leather bound book with huge range of Italian wines organized by area (a little map of Italy colored in to represent regions).  Almost all the wines are by the bottle, but Greg went for one of the reds by the glass and I had a prosecco.  The red was smoky and rich with a tobacco finish, perfect for FG and my prosecco was light with a hint of sweetness. Great start to a romantic fine dining experience.

A bread basket came out with bread sticks, olive ciabatta and baguette inside. Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore good bread.  This bread was warm with a freshly baked crisp crust and fluffy inside, just how I like it.  Came with olive oil for dipping but I told myself not to fill up on bread so I mainly munched on the sticks which were a not so filling alternative. Great idea.

Antipasti Freddi

The first dishes we chose from the ‘Antipasti’ section of the menu were the Prosciutto and Carpaccio (see item descriptions below).

The presentation for all our dishes was nothing short of pure elegance,  I really like duck but it was actually a little rich for my taste.  It had a herbaceous celery/watercress dressing on top though which was light and creamy and helped dilute the richness of the meat slightly.

Prosciutto d’anatra– Homemade duck proscuitto, fresh watercress drizzle $17

The Carpaccio FG ordered was delicious. I should mention that I hadn’t eaten lamb since I was around 11 years old and saved a lamb from drowning in a river in Wales, strange reason I know, but I just never found myself wanting to order it since then.  I did however try some of the carpaccio this evening. I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed it, it wasn’t gamey but complimented wonderfully by the truffle and celery shavings.

Carpaccio di agnello– Seared lamb, thinly sliced,  celery, piave shavings, truffle shaving $17

Antipasti Caldi

The next dish we ordered were the Scallops.  Now, if you haven’t read the ‘about me’ section, I suggest you do it now, because it will astound you that someone as fussy about food like myself would ever like sea food let alone Scallops.  The scallops were nothing short of divine.  To go from not trying a salad to devouring scallops is quite a dramatic change, but my goodness did I enjoy these.

Delicious on every front. Texture, sauce, cooked to perfection. The cheese sauce was very light but the little addition of truffles was all the richness it needed. Ironically I don’t like parmesan or truffles for that matter but adored this.  My only complaint was portion size, but this restaurant is more tapas (small plate) style. I could have easily gone for at least 8 of those beauties! This dish came with 2 scallops and they were nice enough they split our dishes without us even asking, we just told them we’d be sharing everything.

Capesante scottate– Seared sea scallops, parmesan-truffle fondue, truffle shaving $17

Primi

The second section of the menu had dishes that were created using their own hand-crafted fresh pasta prepared with organic eggs.  FG had the Tagliatelle which was certainly interesting, but tasted a little like christmas in my opinion. The use of cloves/all spice in the aromatic spices I believe is what gave this affect, the venison was a little overpowered by the spices but was well cooked.

I went for the black kale and beef tenderloin filled ravioli.  It was rich but very tasty.  I couldn’t taste the kale itself, but the dish altogether was flavorful and very good.

Agnolotti al cavolo nero– Tuscan black kale-beef tenderloin filled ravioli roasted garlic, rosemary, parmesan $24

Ragu di capriolo– Tagliatelle, slow braised venison ragu, aromatic spices, red wine $24

Secondi

The Duck from the final section of the menu was delicious and my favorite ‘main’ course.  The honey truffle sauce was light but had the perfect level of sweetness.  The meat was cooked to perfection, and they don’t ask for a temperature because they know how it should be cooked (seemed about medium/rare).  I had no complaints, juicy and perfectly tender duck slices.

Germano reale al miele tartufato– Breast of mallard (wild duck) pan-seared, truffle-honey sauce $34

Please note the photos of the duck and scallops are ‘half’ the regular portion size as the plates were split for our convenience.

Dessert

I don’t know how but we managed to squeeze in a little dessert at the end.  Bobo chose the Bignole and the Tortino. The tortino was soft and light with a slightly unusual lightly orange taste (reminded me of a children’s medicine in Uk called Calpol actually).  I preferred the little pastry chocolate puff balls. They had a crisp pastry surrounding a sweet, soft chocolate truffle center. Very delicious and a great end to the meal.

    

Tortino- Ricotta and mascarpone torte. Saffron coulis

Bignole- Puffs filled with belgian gianduja chocolate

I’m giving Piccolo 4.5 out of 5 Platters

All in all this restaurant was truly excellent. The service was friendly and fast, but not rushed. The food was beautifully presented and tasted great.  The only down side of this place is it’s location, although the interior strongly makes up for it. The pasta dishes were my least favorite, but I will happily return to try other dishes on the extensive menu.  I felt the food was pretty reasonably priced although I know it may seem a little pricey for some, especially when the dishes aren’t huge portions. It is fine-dining however and for a romantic night out is well worth the cost when the quality is there. Definitely worth a visit!

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