Tag Archives: London

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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Drinks fit for a Queen!

umm…No. Not that Queen.

That’s Better… I give you, Queen Elizabeth II

This week-end the Brits, Aussies and Canadians, (and many others) will be celebrating the Queens Diamond Jubilee.  Several people (mainly my American friends) have asked me in the last few days what this actually means…so for those who don’t know, let me enlighten you.

On June 2nd 2012 it will be 6o years (yes, you heard correctly…60 years!!!) since Queen Elizabeth II took over the throne.  This is a huge accomplishment and quite a rare feat, her reign is actually the second-longest for a British monarch; only Queen Victoria has reigned longer (so far).  Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI and was crowned as Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Other Realms and Territories on June 2, 1953 in the first televised Coronation service.

Sticking to my websites theme of Mixology and recipe history, I thought it would be a nice idea to put up some drink ideas to mark this momentous occasion.  There are many parties that will be going on throughout the World this week-end, and I know my family and friends in the UK will be relying on me to give some drink suggestions…so here we go.

Photo Credit: spiritedentertaining.com

Diamond Fizz

  • 2 oz London Dry Gin
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Powdered sugar
  • Fill with Chilled Champagne

Shake and strain ingredients in to a highball glass with ice, then fill with Champagne.

This drink works for two reasons, it has the perfect name to match the Diamond Jubilee year and it has champagne in it, which is the classic celebration tipple of choice!

Also known as a Champagne Fizz, this drink is similar to the classic Gin Fizz although it uses Champagne rather than soda water.  It follows the fizz characteristic of being served over ice, which is unusual for a champagne beverage.

The first printed reference to a fizz (spelled “fiz”) is in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide, which contains six fizz recipes including the Ramos Gin Fizz (A great Ramos Gin Punch Recipe can be found by clicking here.) The above recipe makes for a nice and refreshing celebratory drink.

The Coronation Cocktail

  • 3/4 oz dry vermouth
  • 3/4 oz sweet vermouth
  • 3/4 oz applejack or apple brandy
  • dash of apricot brandy

Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

There couldn’t be a more fitting drink name for this occasion than The Coronation Cocktail.  There are a few variations out there with the same name, however this is the one I found to be the most ‘Classic’ in it’s history as it comes from The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book by A.S. Crockett published in 1935.  

It is a vermouth drink from the old days of bartending and really simple to make. It won’t appeal to everyone, but for those who like a strong ‘stiff upper lip’ kind of drink, this is the one to choose.  It does have some sweetness from the apple brandy and a friend mentioned that a dash of peach bitters works well in it also.

Photo Credit: Telegraph

Jubilee Punch

  • 35ml Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 25ml home-made grapefruit-orange sherbet (see below)
  • 15ml fresh lemon juice
  • 10ml Orgeat syrup
  • 30ml Earl Grey tea
  • Champagne to top up

Combine the ingredients and shake over ice, top up with champagne.

The grapefruit-orange sherbet is made by mixing 200g sugar, 100ml pink grapefruit juice, the zest of an orange and a grapefruit, then simmering until the sugar is dissolved. Double strain and allow to cool completely.

Please note: This recipe provides the British measurement of ml, if you wish to have the recipe in US oz feel free to message me and I will give you the alternative.

This is clearly a complicated recipe to create at home but I wanted to include it because it’s creator is Erik Lorincz, head barman at America Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London.

When I was last back home in the UK, my boyfriend and I went to America Bar and had a wonderful experience. The drinks were balanced, the staff were knowledgable and the place itself was simply, beautiful.  The bartenders all wear suits there, the glassware is made of crystal and the overall feel of the place is classic, formal and elegant. I read that it was at The Savoy Hotel that Princess Elizabeth (before she was Queen), was first seen in public with Prince Philip in 1946. That summer, Prince Philip asked King George VI’s permission to marry his daughter. They married later that year…  isn’t history interesting!?

Photo Credit: Beefeater Gin

Beefeater Garden Party Punch

  • 3 parts Beefeater London Dry Gin
  • 3 parts sparkling English wine
  • 2 parts good quality pressed pear or apple juice
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part elderflower cordial
  • 1/2 part sugar syrup
Garnish: Pear and apple slices.
 
Serve in a punch bowl over a large ice block

This last recipe is one I came across when googling the term ‘Jubilee drink ideas’.  I found out that Beefeater Gin has teamed up with mixologists Nick Strangeway and Dre Masso to create cocktails and punches to celebrate the Queen and her jubilee milestone.

This recipe looks the best to me and although I have not yet tried it, I think it sounds tasty and is the one I plan to make this coming week-end.  I love Elderflower in any drink with apple, so I think this recipe will have a very fresh and floral quality that is reminiscent of England.  Yet another drink ideal for the occasion and a punch is always a great option for large parties.

To all my fellow Brits who plan to celebrate this week-end, to my Fussy One followers and to everyone who plans to try one of the above cocktails… Enjoy, Be safe,  and as we say in England… Bottoms Up! 🙂

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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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Sprinkles at all hours?…Yes, please!

Sprinkles Cupcakes
9635 South Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
310 274 8765
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Unlike my usual reviews this is not for a fine Los Angeles restaurant, a fun filled Hollywood event or an exciting new Mixology bar. It is in fact a review about a bakery that serves “little pieces of Heaven” 24 hours a day, in the heart of Beverly Hills.  I am talking, of course, about the delicious Sprinkles Cupcakes.

I have been coming to this location (the original) since the first month I moved to Los Angeles, and the irony is that I don’t actually like cupcakes normally. I’m serious, cake in general is not my favorite dessert because it is often either too spongey or too dry for my tastes, and the style of frosting isn’t the same in the States as the butter icing I like in the UK.  I am true to my ‘fussy’ name when it comes to cupcakes.  So how did I end up at Sprinkles? Well, 4 years ago I saw an episode of ‘Girls of the Playboy Mansion’ in which Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend (now ex) Bridget went there and got a cute little box of cupcakes for a party, as well as mini ones for her dogs.

So in true tourist fashion, when I first move to Los Angeles it was one of the places I went to have my photo taken at.  I didn’t think i’d like it much but when I took my first bite I couldn’t believe what I tasted.  Sprinkles cupcakes are ALWAYS soft, moist and fluffy cakes with the most incredibly sweet but creamy style frostings. I became an instant fan, so much so that when I lived in the South Bay I would still drive the 35mins+ drive to Beverly Hills just to get my favorite (Vanilla Milk Chocolate) and drive back home. They really are that good.

Word to the wise, if you don’t like sugary treats so much then this may not be your thing.  The one complaint (that you’ll never hear from me) that i’ve ever heard of these cupcakes is that the frostings are too sweet, but I think they are just right and there are some other flavors like the Red Velvet with a less sugary cream cheese icing.

History

Sprinkles Cupcakes Company was founded by Candace Nelson and her husband in 2002.  After visiting ‘Magnolia Bakery’ in New York they decided they could do better and decided to open their own cupcake bakery in Beverly Hills. Candace is said to have stated;

 “It was time for cupcakes to stop being the back up dancer to cakes”.

After endorsements from celebrities like Paris Hilton, Tyra Banks and Barbra Streisand (one of their first customers) Oprah Winfrey got hold of a box and requested 300 more for her “Breakfast with Oprah” show in Chicago.  The next day sales went up 50% and have continued to have a stream of constant customers ever since.  The thing about this place, in my opinion, is that many people go there because of the press it gets, but almost everyone returns because of the product.  When the quality is there, people will come!

The bakery building itself is sleek and minimalistic in design, painted a simple chocolate brown with a neon pink ‘icing font’ Sprinkles sign in the far corner. The packaging is also simple and elegant and anyone who knows them would recognize the jagged edges of a Sprinkles sticker anywhere. The brand now has 10 locations throughout the United States, with plans to open in 15 more cities including London and Tokyo. The Nelsons also started a traveling “Sprinklesmobile”, a Mercedes Sprinter van that i’ve seen driving around.  They sell a line of cupcake mixes, t-shirts and other merchandise with their logo on at their stores.

New to the Beverly Hills location just this past week is the cupcake ATM. Wait, what was that? Yes, you heard me right. They added an ‘Automated Teller Machine’ that shoots out cupcakes instead of money.


Cupcake A.T.M

I couldn’t leave on my last visit without a purchase from the new ATM.  I thought I would document the occasion step by step for all those interested.  It’s pretty straight forward.  After waiting in line (and there will be a line) you get to a bubble gum pink machine that reads ’24hour Sprinkles’. A fun and girly song about Sprinkles cupcakes is playing, then you touch the screen and are given a list of your cupcake choices.

  1. Scroll through the choices of cupcakes available at the machine
  2. Click on the cupcake of choice. (I went for the Irish Chocolate seeing as it’s nearly St.Patricks Day.)
  3. Read the detailed description of cupcake you’ve chosen
  4. Confirm selection
  5. Pay with a debit or credit card
  6. Watch a live video feed of a suction arm collecting your chosen flavor
  7. Collect your beautifully boxed cupcake from the tray
  8. Enjoy it’s deliciousness!

                

They bake and fill the machine all day then an extra 600 is added to stock up through the night time.  Funnily enough my friend in the UK was shocked when I told her this and said “600? They can’t possibly expect to sell that many in a night”, from the looks of things so far 600 cupcakes may not be enough.

I was going to go the other night at 1am until I saw a tweet by blogger Caroline on Crack saying “wtf? This late? I wonder when there won’t be a line. @Sprinkles ATM has a line around the block! Insane.” It doesn’t surprise me that much.  There is almost always a line outside the Sprinkles bakery itself, partly due to the small size of the building but mainly because of the sheer number of customers.  I am told people are coming by at 3am after the bars close to get a sweet fix before they head home.  That’s actually sort of how this idea started too.  The owner would crave cupcakes in the middle of the night (not drunk though, she was in fact pregnant!) and would be upset that the store was closed.  She decided there should be an option to get them at all hours. Proved to be a genius move because now the ATM is in operation it is clear that it is going to be a success.
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Flavors

The flavor option availability changes daily, although classics like Vanilla Milk Chocolate, Red Velvet and Black & White are always being made. They also try out new and seasonal flavors all the time and with St.Patricks day around the corner they created an ‘Irish Chocolate’ which is what I got on this trip.  It tasted like it had a subtle Whiskey flavor in the frosting as well as vanilla notes throughout the cake. There are too many options in rotation for me to review, although I think I have nearly tried every one of them.  The choices are in the picture at the bottom of this post and they put a little sticker next to those that are available that day. Check out their Facebook for daily deals too.

I am going to talk quickly about my favorite flavor here the The Vanilla Milk Chocolate.  This is the one I get by the box load for my birthday and parties, it is by far my favorite although the boyfriend finds this flavor to be on the sweeter side.  It comes with the option of sprinkles of no sprinkles. I always say do the sprinkles, but each to their own.

Vanilla Milk Chocolate– Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with fudge milk chocolate frosting

The cake has a hint of vanilla to it and is soft and moist. The chocolate frosting is like no other i’ve found in the States. Sweet, creamy and fudgy. Pure chocolate decadence. It is just a perfect little cupcake and saves well too. These cupcakes don’t taste terrible the next day, my boyfriend actually prefers them a day old.  So there you have it. Sprinkles Cupcakes are so far the best i’ve found in the World.  In fact, my writing of this review has given me the bright idea to head back there right now and get one! If you’re in the area…I suggest you do the same.

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Drink of the Week

The Leap Year Cocktail

  • 2oz Gin
  • 1/2oz Grand Marnier
  • 1/2oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dash lemon juice

Add Ice, Shake and Strain in to a cocktail glass

Garnish: Lemon twist

Next Wednesday is the 29th February…and what does that mean?…You guessed it, it’s a Leap Year!!! I thought you all might want something fun and different to order/try over the week-end with this upcoming theme in mind.

This classic drink was created by Harry Craddock for the Leap Year celebrations at The Savoy Hotel, London on 29th February 1928. If you’re a Gin drinker you’re bound to enjoy it. I personally like it with Hendricks Gin (as Hess suggests in the video clip below) but a London dry Gin will also work, and is slightly more appropriate considering the drink itself originated in London.

You can order this classic at Bar Chloe in Santa Monica starting today (Friday 24th)  I urge you to head down there and get the Leap Year festivites rolling early!

You can watch this drink being made by Robert Hess below;

Happy Leap Year!

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