Tag Archives: cocktail

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.

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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.

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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

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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!) 🙂

The Boulevardier

  • Servings: 1
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For a slightly-less sweet drink, add a touch more bourbon or reduce the amount of Campari a bit.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz campari
  • 1 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 glass; drop in the cherry.  Or serve it over the rocks – 1 big ice cube is best – in an old-fashioned glass.

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

Absinthe (makes the heart grow fonder?)

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Our version of a Sazerac calls for one jumbo ice cube

A Lagniappe edition, and how apropos.  We could use a strong drink about now.

I just finished the novel A Gentleman in Moscow, feeling like I’ve revisited my days as a college English major, reading the classics.  But Amor Towles’ novel isn’t one – yet.

I loved the segment where the delightful main character, Count Rostov, requests some absinthe at his hotel’s bar.  And, of course, that made me think of Louisiana and Sazeracs.  And, if you’ve read the book, you’ll know why I’m craving a fennel and clam bouillabaisse.

You might want to sip a Sazerac and watch 1942’s Casablanca with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman before reading the novel.  And then, just as you’ve finished reading the next-to-last chapter – fix yourself another Sazerac, curl up (maybe by a fire, as long as it’s in a fireplace), and, sipping your Sazerac, read “Afterword,” the final chapter.  It’s a marvelous ending.

Perhaps you should start your evening with Sondra Bernstein’s delicious and simple Pernod-scented Mussels recipe – similar to the Count’s bouillabaisse.  Better yet, come to Sonoma (if you aren’t already here), and enjoy the dish at Sondra’s restaurant, the girl & the fig.

“Keep Sonoma Strong.”

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Sazerac’s special ingredients: absinthe and Peychaud’s bitters

Sazerac

  • Servings: 1 cocktail
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A simple syrup is made by combining equal parts water and sugar, popping in the microwave until boiling, then cooling.  It makes sense to make more than 2 teaspoons.  If you combine 1/2 c water and 1/2 c sugar it will provide enough for numerous cocktails – and will keep in the refrigerator. If you don’t want to make the syrup, take either 1 tsp sugar or 1 sugar cube and muddle it very well with the bitters and rye.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp absinthe
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters (or use angostura bitters)
  • 1 1/2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 jumbo ice cube
  • a 2″ long lemon peel

Put the absinthe into an old-fashioned glass and swirl to coat the glass, then discard the absinthe (or use the remaining to swirl in a 2nd glass).

Add the ice cube, simple syrup and the bitters and rye whiskey to the absinthe-coated glass and stir until mixture is well chilled.

Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass and then twist it and drop it into the cocktail.  Serve.

You can leave out the ice cube and you’ll get a more-traditional (and more potent) drink.  Just be sure you stir the drink with ice cubes when you mix it and then remove the cubes before serving, since you want it served very cold.  Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

 

Kentucky Corpse Reviver

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If you’re celebrating the launch of a blog – or a Warriors’ win – or just getting through another day, we recommend a Kentucky Corpse Reviver!

And did you know that the cute beach town north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which is called “San Pancho” by locals is officially named San Francisco? That’s why Sara and Joe, our SF kiddos, named their bar Bar San Pancho.  How clever can you get.

Kentucky Corpse Reviver

  • Servings: 1
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Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Bourbon (my dad would have used Ancient Age; we use Bulleit)
  • 3/4 oz Curacao (Cointreau may be substituted)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (which you’ll love having on hand for warm summer evenings when a little apertif is needed)

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.  Add bourbon, curacao, lemon juice, and Lillet Blanc.  Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with a mint sprig.

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