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Guest Blog

Hello Fussy Followers!

I have a couple of pieces I am working on for the Fussy One (taking a while to get together) and I will be posting soon, have no fear! In the mean time, I wanted to let you know I was asked to do a guest spot on someone else’s blog this week!

I received an email from Aryn, creator of giraffes+garlic+glamour website (great name) when I was sick in bed with flu and it made me so happy to hear from a fellow blogger and reader of my site.  She asked me to do a guest spot on her blog, which honestly is the most flattering thing a fellow blogger can ask, in my opinion. Her site is a really interesting read too, so I think a lot of you would enjoy it.

Please click HERE to see the piece I wrote for her, and see what she has to say about The Fussy One. ūüôā

As i’m sure you have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much recently. Life gets in the way of writing sometimes and before you know it another week has gone by and nothing is ready. ¬†I am so grateful for all my readers, and especially appreciative of a number of you who have written me private messages recently telling me how much you enjoy my site. I have fan mail! Yay!

Anyway, keep reading and making cocktails. I promise lots of posts will be coming soon…

The Fussy One xxx

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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

The Fussy One Cocktail

The Fussy One

  • 2oz Rum Blanco
  • 3/4oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4oz Vanilla syrup
  • 3/4oz Fresh Beet juice

Garnish: Lime wheel

Next week sees some big achievements for me. On Monday 28th January I will have been living in the States for 5 years…then on 30th January I will be celebrating my 1st ‘Bloggerversary’. ¬†Yep, this little¬†blog will be one year old on Wednesday!

The above drink recipe was created lovingly by my Beverage consultant boyfriend Greg Bryson, as a nod to me…and my fussiness! This drink is nothing short of delicious, and perfectly fits my personality. ¬†The use of beet juice gives it an almost healthy taste and vegetive flavors, for some reason the beet reminds me of carrots at times too. ¬†When Greg first met me (read about me) I would never have eaten a vegetable by choice, so¬†incorporating¬†it in a drink with my namesake is pretty smart and somewhat amusing.

This drink has everything I love combined. It has Rum as the base (my favorite), it’s Sweet, Strong, Pink, Fruity and Girly. (Add a dash of crazy and it would be describing my personality!)

In essence this drink could be described as a Vanilla Beet¬†Daiquiri, but I prefer to call it by it’s new name… “The Fussy One” ūüôā

Head on down to¬†Greg’s¬†new Venice location of Hostaria Del Piccolo on Wednesday for a drink to celebrate. Greg will be making this recipe as well as loads of his other creations, it’s going to be a fun night.

A big thanks to all my readers, keep following and commenting. I love your suggestions and feedback!

Here’s to many more years of eating, drinking and blogging…

The Fussy One xx

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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 Caf√© 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¬†Caf√© Royal Cocktail Book¬†was compiled by William Tarling, Head Bartender at the famous Caf√© 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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The cost of creation

I recently watched the video above (courtesy of Liquor.com) and it got me thinking about a few things, in particular, the cost factor of going out and doing what I do.

All the restaurants and bars that my boyfriend and I visit produce some of the finest food and drinks you can get, this doesn’t always mean the menu is expensive, but often times it can be.

Many of my friends and family don’t quite understand the point of spending a huge portion of our paychecks on food and alcohol, but people often forget that it’s the overall experience you’re paying for not just the products. I may be fussy and certainly not rich, but I honestly have no problem spending my money on a good restaurant/bar. If I enjoy the atmosphere of a place, the friendliness of the service and the quality of what i’m putting in my mouth..I will happily spend a small fortune in one night!

I have recently heard many more people complaining about the ridiculous cost of cocktails at Mixology bars. Many customers think it’s a ‘rip off’ that a drink can cost anything from $12 to $20, and they always want the bartender to ‘hook them up’ by giving drinks away for free or adding extra alcohol, but as the video explains there is so much more to a quality drink than just mixing. Not to mention, adding ‘more alcohol’ often upsets the ratio and balance so the customer probably wouldn’t enjoy the end result anyway.

If you are the kind of person who would rather have a cheap vodka soda or a bottled beer that’s fine too, ¬†just understand that a Mixology bar is not the place to get it!

“Mixology bars are like fine dining for drinks”

Having worked behind a bar myself, I have first hand experience of the horror of hand juicing boxes of limes only to yield a little over a quart of juice. You’d think managers would just buy their staff a juicer…this isn’t always the case.

My boyfriend is a Beverage Director so I witness daily, the time and effort that goes in to creating a new menu, inventing tinctures and working on infusions/barrel aged cocktails. This is also a factor to think about. The recipes on menus at these places aren’t thrown together in a blind frenzy, a substantial amount of time and money will have been spent on testing brands, factoring cost of products and experimenting with different recipes and ratios. At the end of the day, all the customer gets is a delicious drink in front of them but often doesn’t know the effort and preparation that went in to it’s creation.

The economy is bad, yes, but if you’re going to go to a nice place…understand what it is you’re paying for, and thank your lucky stars you’re not in Europe where the price is (no joke) double!

That’s all I have to say about that ūüôā

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Drink of the Week

Miyabi (From Eclipse Bar)

1oz Spiced Sailor Jerry rum
1oz Xanté pear cognac (Pear Brandy works even better)
3/4oz Syrup d’Antilles
3/4oz Fresh apple and pear juice
    
Served tall over ice.
 
            

“Nothing brings the neighbours together like a Solar eclipse does!”

That’s what myself and many others discovered yesterday when standing out on our driveways looking up at our big bright star. ¬†My boyfriends father had so cleverly decided to purchase some welders glass for the event, making the view pretty spectacular without damaging our retinas! ¬†Sadly in Southern California we didn’t get to see the ‘Ring of Fire’ due to our positioning on the planet, but it was still a great sight to witness and one that won’t happen again in Los Angeles for another 59 years!

I felt inspired to look for a drink that would match this rare occasion. ¬†I found a couple of recipes that had Astronomical names, but decided to go with the above recipe as it was created at a bar, named appropriately, ‘Eclipse’ in London. ¬†This bar on Old Brompton Road (which I visited when I lived in the area) offers a range of cocktails from classics, like the Aviation and the Vesper, to a selection of modern options including the Miyabi (above) and the ‘Eclipse’ made with Vodka, Watermelon and Kaffir-lime.

I couldn’t get the exact measurements that they use at the bar itself, so my mixologist boyfriend FutureGreg played with ratios and the above recipe is the version that we feel works best. Ideally use a good Pear brandy in replacement of the Xante (a product neither of us particularly likes).

This is a sweet, refreshing and strong tasting drink that is great on a hot day… also an ideal beverage to sip on when watching the sun get covered by our moon ūüôā

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Drink of the Week

Lava Flow

2 oz Light Rum (I like Flor de Cana)
1/2 oz Coconut Cream
2 Strawberries
1/4 Banana
2 oz Pineapple Juice

Garnish: Pineapple Wedge

The key to making this drink look good is to blend the ingredients separately. ¬†Blend the strawberries and rum together and pour in to a Hurricane glass. Next rinse out the blender and blend the banana, pineapple juice and coconut cream in ice. ¬†Add the creamy mix on top of the strawberry rum mix. ¬†When you blow down your straw, or stir the drink it simulates a ‘lava flow’. ¬†Very fun!

I’m writing this post from Vegas, and was inspired by the drinks by the pool today. Obviously this slushy style beverage doesn’t showcase the best of mixology like the usual drinks I post on here, it is however a fun and fruity option that gets you in a tropical mood. ¬†It is on the sweeter side, but the pineapple and coconut combination works perfectly. The lava flow is basically a colorful variation of a Pina Colada and a version I personally prefer, it reminds me of ¬†relaxing in Hawaii every time I drink it. ¬†Simply put it is a great drink for summer or lazing by the pool. (Remove the Rum for a great Virgin version for kids)

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Drink of the Week

Spring Tax Back

2oz Brandy
3/4oz Apple juice (fresh pressed)
1/4oz Lemon Juice
1 tbsp Honey Apple Butter (Trader Joes)
 
Shake and serve over crushed ice in round goblet
Garnish: Green Apple Peel twist
 

Seeing as my boyfriends punch was such a huge success last week (thank you to all those who wrote me messages and re-blogged the drink) I decided this week I would ask him to create me another drink, this time with Tax season as the theme.  He played with a few ideas, green chartruese came in to discussion a few times (he wanted the drink to be Green; the color of money!)  After much deliberation and tasting, this was the recipe that worked the best.

It’s a great, slightly sweet ‘Spring time’ drink that utilizes the refreshing citric flavors of apple and lemon. ¬†The brandy works nicely with the sweetness of the apple, and the crushed ice makes it almost like a slushy…great for the Summer months around the corner. ¬†The Apple Butter that we used in this recipe is available at Trader Joes, however it is basically blended apple,honey and sugar so theoretically you could make it yourself if you don’t have access to the brand. The above is the final recipe created by Greg Bryson AKA FutureGreg. Taxes are usually due on April 15th, but seeing as that fell on a Sunday this year you have until April 17th to file.

Enjoy your ‘Spring Tax Back’ whilst you wait for Uncle Sam to send your refund! ūüôā

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Sprinkles at all hours?…Yes, please!

Sprinkles Cupcakes
9635 South Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA, 90210
310 274 8765
.

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.‚ÄĚ 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.
.

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 ChocolateРMadagascar 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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