Tag Archives: cocktail

I Like the Lady Horses Best

We’ve been pretty focused on dogs lately here at BigLittleMeals. But a couple of things got me off of dogs and (back) to horses (there’s nothing quite like being on the back – bareback, of course – of a horse). While I’m back to horses, Andy in Andy’s Corner is back to Sociology – AND horses. How clever!

First, I saw this article in The Atlantic about the evolution and domestication of horses. According to the author, “They say dogs are man’s best friend, but horses could also claim that title.” It’s a fascinating analysis of horse history and puts dogs and horses – as our helpers and pals – in more of a perspective. For example, did you know that dogs were domesticated 15,000 years ago – and horses weren’t domesticated until almost 10,000 years later?

Then came Mother’s Day and I got a call from my son, Travis, offering to bet on the Kentucky Derby for me in lieu of Mother’s Day flowers! Now I’m not a horse-racing fan, but the decision was simple. Who wants flowers…at least inside and in a vase and from a florist (my apologies to all of you flower-loving mamas out there. To each her own.)?

Rich Strike – the very long shot Derby winner for 2022

You know Andy and I have a ton of fun doing these blogs. We can jump all over the place and there’s no teacher or professor or editor – except ourselves – to tell us that our writing sucks. So I’d like to share the next sequence of events that resulted in this blog so you know just how random our reading and research is.

  1. After Travis placed my $10 bet on Epicenter (yup – way cheaper than flowers!), I started wondering if I should have bet on a filly.
  2. There were no fillies in the Derby this year to bet on – so I researched whether a filly had ever won the Kentucky Derby.
  3. The last (of only 3 fillies) to win the Derby was Winning Colors back in 1988 – 34 years ago!
1988: Winning Colors (a filly) besting Forty-Niner (ironic!) in the Derby
  1. Why don’t fillies win – or even enter?
  2. The answer to the above question is somewhat complicated. Fillies mature later than stallions, so a 3-year-old filly isn’t as strong as a 3-year-old male, and only 3-year-olds run in the Derby. Plus, there’s the “stud” thing. A winner stallion has the potential to bring in way more money as a stud than a mare does as a producer of a foal/year. Finally, the Derby instituted a point system back in 2013 that helps out European and Japanese bred stallions but does nothing to help fillies.

Stay with me here; it’s getting more random 🙂

  1. A week or so ago I skimmed an article in the NYTimes about a 46-year-old poet by the name of Ada Limón and happened to see that she grew up in Glen Ellen (our current home town) and Sonoma – and she lives now in Kentucky. So I read some of her poetry. My favorite? About fillies – and girls. It’s great.
  1. How perfect can this all be…except this is a food/life blog, and I’ve got to factor in food.
  2. I can’t possibly do horse meat – but why?
  3. Why don’t we eat horse meat, at least here in the U.S.? Mr. Beat – who is a YouTube-ing high school teacher in Kansas – has a video about that.

Since I can’t enthusiastically include a recipe for horse meat – or dog – or even cat meat – we’ve got a recipe for a variation on the go-to cocktail while watching horse-racing: the Mint Julep! We’ve even got a Mock Mint Julep recipe. But might I suggest that you enjoy it while you watch next year’s Kentucky Oaks, NOT the Kentucky Derby. It’s a race specifically for 3-year-old fillies. I’ll bet you’ll like “the lady horse swagger.”

My horse Besties, hanging out in the back acreage of our Ft Collins, CO, home in the late 1950’s. Patches – a black and white, pinto, part draft-horse, unregistered gelding, and Fleet – a palomino, purebred, registered Quarter Horse mare. To be perfectly honest, I loved them both equally.

A last minute footnote: Depending upon your feelings about racehorses, you’ll be happy – or sad – to learn that UC Davis has just decided to replace their “elite” racehorse mascot with…ta-da!…a cow. 🙂

Mint Julep con Limón – Cocktail or Mocktail

Mint Julep con Limón - Cocktail or Mocktail

Don’t wait for the Kentucky Derby or the Kentucky Oaks to enjoy this.  It’s the perfect summertime drink – with or without Kentucky bourbon.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 cups loosely packed mint leaves
  • The juice and a little zest from 3 lemons (about 1/2 c lemon juice and 1 T zest)
  • bourbon – if making Mint Juleps; ginger ale or tonic water – if making Mock Mint Juleps
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Make the mint syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar together until the mixture boils and the sugar dissolves completely. Add 2 cups of the mint leaves to the syrup and allow the mint to steep as the syrup cools. When cool, strain (or pick) out the mint leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Refrigerate.

You’ll need a lot of crushed ice for this drink – enough to fill each glass almost to the top. We crush our ice in the blender.

Serve the drinks in cups or old-fashioned glasses. To serve mix the remaining cup of mint leaves into the crushed ice and fill each cup almost to the top with ice. Pour about 1/4 cup of the lemon syrup over the ice (more or less to taste). Add 2 oz of bourbon to each glass if making Mint Juleps; add Ginger Ale or Tonic water to each glass, if making Mock Mint Juleps. Stir a little and serve.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

And Just Like That

And just like that – 2021 is coming to an end. Whew. And Sex and the City has returned – rebooted and renamed And Just Like That.

I won’t be snarky and give you my assessment of this new version of Sex and the City, but I am enjoying revisiting and falling in love again with the gorgeous song that concluded the 2008 movie of Sex and the City.

It’s New Year’s Eve and Carrie Bradshaw is dashing through the snow and cold (in her fancy fur coat and Chanel boots) to Miranda’s house so that neither will be alone at the strike of midnight – and we see all of the other SATC characters celebrating the approach of the New Year in their own special ways.

The scenes are fascinating – but it’s the music that makes it. Mairi Campbell, a Scottish singer, sings a version of “Auld Lang Syne” that is breathtakingly beautiful…so much lovelier than our standard version of the song.

This is Mairi Campbell singing her beautiful Auld Lang Syne – the same version as heard in the movie. Be sure to watch the video until the end. It’s so so sweet when the children join in.

Of course, hearing that song makes me think of old acquaintances (and in Andy’s Corner, Andy, upon hearing that song, has questions about it). Speaking of old (auld?) acquaintances, Janet, a special friend from college and my roomie during our 1st year out of college when we lived in Upland, California, just sent me a recipe from her Aunt Mable, whom I was lucky enough to meet when she visited us in Colorado Springs in 1966.

HBR stands for Hot-Buttered Rum! La duh. 🙂

When I asked Janet why her aunt had put (“Sh!”) beside the “HBR”, she asked Mable’s daughter, Ann, who recalled that their home state of Oklahoma had not ended prohibition until 1959, even though the U.S. had ended it in 1933! Ann wrote, “Mab certainly wouldn’t have wanted people to think she was pushing booze since it wasn’t legal in Oklahoma, so she put her finger to her lips and said, ‘shhhh.'” 

And Ann continues, “I just finished using the recipe to ward off the chill of a dark and dreary early evening at my good house!

So – just like that – we’re ready to toast to a new (and surely better) year – with Aunt Mable’s Hot Buttered Rum. It’s legal now…even in Oklahoma.

Here’s to old and new acquaintances – and to 2022!

Continue reading

The Birds and the Bees

First, a disclaimer: I don’t want you to be disappointed.  This blog has nothing to do with (wink wink) “THE birds and the bees” but it has lots to do with birds and bees.

We collect bird art – and we didn’t even know that we collected bird art until spending the last 3 months isolating in-house because of the coronavirus.  A quick survey indicates that about half of our art work focuses on a bird of some kind or another.  Mind you, we’re not collectors of fine pieces by well-known artists, but we do love the funky/fun pieces of art we pick up here and there.  We have some abstract pieces, a few landscapes, numerous depictions of couples…and birds.

We’ve been thinking about birds because one bird in the hood is about to drive us both bat-shit crazy – or crazier than we already are after months of singular togetherness.  Andy reveals all in today’s Andy’s Corner.

Even if we’re not enamored with every bird “song,” there’s something very soothing about having the time to just sit and appreciate birds – especially as they enjoy a bird bath. Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think wrote a nice piece for the NY Times about bird-watching during COVID-19.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 11.41.51 AM

Am I a bad person for having a favorite bird? 🙂  Acorn Woodpeckers at our birdbath.

While bumble bees and honey bees may not be quite as vocal or colorful or as amusing as birds, it’s fun to spot them in our flower gardens, knowing how badly we need to be encouraging and helping them.  While native bloomers are better than hybridized plants for attracting bees (here’s a great article with more suggestions), we’ve had an amazing number of bees AND hummingbirds on this ‘Kudo’s Gold’ agastache.   Note – you shouldn’t just plant one or two bloomers and be done with it; you need a lot, blooming at various times, to do your best for these little pollinators.

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 2.03.08 PM

A bee on our agastache ‘Kudos Gold’

There are about 4000 bee species just in North America, but only a few species make honey.  And don’t we love them for it?  To honor those bees, we’ve got three sweet little recipes to share: a Bee’s Knees Honey Cocktail, Honey Challah, and Honey Brownies.  Then continue your love affair with honey by trying our previously-posted 20 Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp, Deb’s Granola, and Pork and Brussels Sprouts with Chile Lime Sauce.

While you cook up a honey-heavy storm, I recommend listening to Judy Collins’ 1973 “Cook with Honey.” And enjoy the amazing Sweet Honey in the Rock.  I’ve loved that group ever since 1988 when I got their album Breaths.  A song from that album, “Ella’s Song” could have been written about today’s world.   This isn’t the original rendition, but it’s lovely.  Be sure to read the all-too-relevant lyrics, too. Continue reading

Mezcal-licious

We’re over soup and cold weather and are off to Oaxaca, where it’s sunny with highs near 80.  And we’re looking forward to doing a Mezcal tasting at In Situ.  To get in some essential pre-trip conditioning, we decided to buy some Mezcal in Sonoma.  We know nothing about good mezcal but do know that the label of one of the bottles on the shelf was speaking to us.  It was imported by “Sazerac Company, Inc.” located in Metairie, LA, and was produced and bottled in Oaxaca!  Not only did we live in Louisiana for 27 years, we have blogged about Sazerac cocktails, and we’re heading for Oaxaca.  We had no choice but to buy it.Mezcal Bottle

We solicited a suggestion for a mezcal cocktail from our son-in-law and Tacolicious‘ El Jefe, Joe.  We tried it last night, and it was delicious.  So if you want a mezcal cocktail – without going to Oaxaca – this will do the trick. Continue reading

A Toast to December

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 3.06.43 PM

If you want to feel very cosmopolitan (but don’t want a Cosmopolitan), try a Boulevardier  – especially if you’re tired of Negronis.  The cocktail – pronounced “boo-luh-var-dyay” – dates back to Paris and the 1920s. Its festive color makes the Boulevardier the perfect cocktail for the holiday season (please do note how artfully Andy has found greenery to accompany the red in the drink!) 🙂

Boulevardier Cocktail

  • Servings: 2
  • Print
For a slightly-less sweet drink, add a touch more bourbon or reduce the amount of Campari a bit.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 oz bourbon
  • 1  1/2 oz campari
  • 2 oz sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula is wonderful – and pricey – but it’s versatile; try it as an aperitif or in your Negroni)
  • a cherry (don’t use old-fashioned maraschinos.  Yuck.  Instead, use something like Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries)

Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass, stir well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glasses; drop in the cherry.  Or serve it over the rocks – 1 big ice cube is best – in old-fashioned glasses.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann

%d bloggers like this: