I always wanted to live in New York City. I can’t remember a time when I hadn’t ached to live in the big city with the bright lights, exotic people and constant movement. These fantasies were fed by old movies, family stories, and the TV show Fame, of course. As a young girl, I was lucky enough to have family to visit, to eat lunch at the Russian Tea room, visit the Met and see the Rockefeller Center magically lit up at Christmas time, further feeding my romantic notions of the city. In my teens, I sipped coffee in a tiny, crowded cafe in the east village surrounded by foreign accents. I saw a performance at St Mark’s Church, walked the snowy city streets, and it was then that I knew I had found my city and my people, that I would someday make this place my home. Just a few years after that visit I did. With a backpack and $300 to my name (borrowed from my very worried grandparents), I shared a bed with college friend for a month and then graduated to an egg foam mat in a filthy bachelor pad in Brooklyn for 8 months after that, scraping by on hard-earned tips from a bagel shop on Court Street. And I was smitten.
New York has surpassed those original romantic notions in so many ways. It is my big love and my biggest heart-break. It is my family and my heart…and it is magic. How do you leave your family and your heart and all of that magic? Knowing that you can’t ever really leave. Even though I grew up on the west coast and I’m so grateful for that, I am a very proud fourth generation New Yorker. I always will be, no matter where I live.
I wrote this mid-flight, straddling both coasts physically and psychologically, having just come off of a marathon of crying jags, and a flurry of mini panic attacks. I was finally able to address how I was feeling about leaving my home of 18 years. The truth is, it took up until the very last-minute for me to feel the heft of it all. I’ve been so excited about moving to LA and looking ahead, I wasn’t doing a lot of looking back. But packing up my entire adult life in New York City for the past five days straight into medium-sized cardboard boxes to be shipped over 2,000 miles away to an apartment I hadn’t even laid eyes on yet in real life, forced me to let it all sink in. And, hoo boy, did I! While I KNOW that I’ll be back regularly and it’s very important for me to stay connected to New York – it IS still the cocktail epicenter in many ways, I wanted to acknowledge the end of this particular chapter in my life. And because New York has been a huge part of this blog, I wanted to let you all in on that as well. It’s been a crazy, beautiful, mad love affair for nearly two decades, not without its bumps(!), but without any regrets.
Now I can really look ahead with the knowledge that I’ve floundered and flourished and everything in between in one of the greatest cities on earth. And I know there is life and a world outside of that. I’m so ready for what’s next. And to share this next journey here. Los Angeles, I’m coming for you.
All photos by Shannon Carpenter from This Aperture
You’d think it would be pretty difficult for me to flashback to this warm summer’s day on the Hudson River nearly 6 months ago now, with the Blizzard of the Century brewing in the mid-Atlantic and all…but I have a pretty active fantasy life. I mean, I’m very much in denial about the fact that my last week in New York may very well be me trapped inside my apartment, packing up my life, forced with the realization that I’ve been hoarding tote bags for the last ten years! Also, is it the magic year I toss all of these boxes of CDs from the 90s? (don’t answer that)
Soooo, let’s just forget about all that and take a look at what a perfect day THIS was.
Yes, it was August, and as is typical of the season in New York, it was pretty sweltering. But once we caught some wind in those sails and pushed off into the sparkling Hudson, it was perfection. Also, whisk(e)y and chocolate were promised, so this afternoon was just going to get better and better.
I booked this Whiskey and Chocolate Sail through a company called Cloud 9 Living, an experiential gifting site that features everything from food tours around your favorite city to hot air balloon rides and zipline canopy adventures. You can even learn how to fly a helicopter with expert instructors or dive out of planes! I think I’ll stick with sailboats, with whiskey on them, thanks.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I felt pretty fancy as we pulled out of the dock, and into the magical waters with a whiskey cocktail already in hand. This is LIFE! I do this all the time! Let me Instagram the h*ck out of this moment! (that was my internal dialogue, btw. also, my internal voice is clearly a braggart)
We were then offered flights of whiskey – one micro-distilled, one small-batch and one mass-produced, as well as chocolate truffles to pair with them. Our guide for this tasting was David Naczycz, Founder of Urban Oyster Tours, who clearly knew a thing or two about whiskey AND how to dress for a nautical adventure.
I gotta say, this was a pretty romantic experience. The sunshine reflecting off the water and the New York City skyline, the lapping of the waves and salty air…and the chocolate and whiskey, of course(!), made for a very romantique afternoon! And it got me to thinking about Valentine’s Day coming up. I love giving the gift of experiences for all kinds of occasions. But this experience would be a really perfect one to share with a love. Same with that hot air balloon ride one…or maybe the glass blowing class! There are so many good ones!
Also, now that I’m facing the reality of all of the STUFF that I’ve collected over the years, and if I’m going to hold onto it for another ten plus years or toss it to the curb, I’m very happy to avoid getting any more stuff for the rest of my life. (moving is hard you guys, it’s very existential).
So, instead of spending your money on more stuff for your sweetheart this year, put that hard-earned cashola towards something the both of you can experience together!
Great news, lovers! I have a Valentine’s Day gift to you, my dear readers! To help you stretch those dollars of love, I’ve got a special customized promo code from the good folks at Cloud 9 Living. Please see below for how you can get $15 off your order with them! Bisous!
Bit by a Fox Valentine’s Day promo code details:
- Code: VDAYFOX15
- Good for: $15 off total order value from http://www.cloud9living.com
- Limits: one code per order; one code per customer
- Valid thru: February 15, 2016
Yep, this New York City gal is heading to the City of Angels, Tinseltown, La-La-Land, Hollyweird (there sure are a lot of nicknames for LA!). I may be switching out my home-base from the Big Apple (now that’s a solid nickname) to Los Angeles, I aim to be bi-coastal. While I’ve decided to let go of my rent controlled apartment in a lovely part of Brooklyn (I KNOW), and I’ve informed my Facebook friends of the big move (that always makes it official, right?!), after nearly 2 decades in New York, it’s very difficult to TOTALLY commit to another town! So let’s just say, I’m testing out the “Angeleno” moniker for now. No one is revoking this New Yorker’s title just yet!
But here’s the thing: I’m pretty psyched. And terrified. More excited than scared but, as I just mentioned, I haven’t lived anywhere else in a very long time. But I’m so looking forward to exploring a brand new, very sunshine-y world. I’m ready for a big change. And palm trees. I’m pretty into palm trees. And did I mention the sunshine? It’s no coincidence that I’m leaving right before winter really gets into all of our bones and goes in for the three-month soul crush. April is still cold, guys, I know we don’t ever want to believe it!
So, it’s official. The countdown has begun. Hopefully this time next month I’ll have a house with a yard out back with twinkly lights and enough room for a fire pit and some super Instagram-able cocktail moments. I’ll still be sharing original recipes, my favorite spirits, mixers, books and barware, and covering what’s going on in the cocktail and bar world, but I also really look forward to sharing this new adventure with all of you. I better start getting packing. This is going to be a huge undertaking. Seriously, do you know how much booze I have??
Pineapples in the winter! Aren’t they a heavenly sight?! Despite the less than frigid temps in New York this holiday season, it’s still fun to bring a little tropical flair to the proceedings this time of year. And because pineapples have long been known as a welcoming symbol and a sign of wealth and luck, I thought it would be perfect to incorporate this into our New Year’s Eve cocktail!
I’ve been a big fan of Tres Agaves Tequila ever since I had the chance to taste it and really learn about its production and speak with the passionate Founder & President of Tres Agaves, Barry Augus last July at Tales of the Cocktail. They have created quality tequilas that are designed to be in cocktails.
Tres Agaves Tequila is only about 5 years old but is produced at one of the last family-owned distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico, which began production in 1900. The agave forward Añejo is aged in American Oak Bourbon barrels for 18 months which produces a rich, smooth tequila with a black peppery punch. Since pineapple juice can be an overwhelming flavor, this cocktail needs a heavier añejo tequila like this one. It also needs to stand up to the fantastic, new Cynar 70. The heavily-anticipated Cynar 70-proof is now available everywhere, thankfully, because I can’t get enough of it! Already a fan of the original Cynar, one of my favorites in the Italian bitter amaro category, this new bottling is more than twice the original formula’s ABV and makes for an incredible cocktail ingredient. It is earthy and spicy and subtly sweet with hints of chocolate. And is really wonderful as the only sweet element in this cocktail.
And Champagne! We are celebrating the New Year after all. We can’t forget the champers! Don’t go insane buying the most expensive bottle out there but spring for a little quality bubbly for this. Moët & Chandon tastes like what you think Champagne should taste like – extremely effervescent, dry and toasty with hints of stone fruit and honey. In other words, happiness in a glass. It’s also such a lovely, festive bottle!
So, don your festive apparel, invite over your sparkliest of friends and sip on this bubbly delight! Let’s light up 2016, y’all! Here’s to welcoming the new year surrounded by pineapples and sparklers and glittery pom-poms. (that’s the girliest thing I think I’ve ever written) Happy New Year, foxy friends!
The Piña Sparkler – makes 3-4 cocktails
2 ounces Añejo Tequila (Tres Agave Añejo)
2 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ounce Cynar 70
1/2 lime juice
Champagne split (1/4 regular sized bottle) (Moët & Chandon)
Add the tequila, Cynar 70 and juices to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain even amounts into coupe glasses and top with Champagne. Pom-pom stirrers and sparklers optional!
Merry Christmas, foxy ones! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season and you’re surrounded by loved ones, comfort and joy! And cocktails! Let’s not forget the booze. Cheers!
ATTN: Give Bit by a Fox some LOOOVE! Vote on the Maker’s Mark Instagram page with your likes and comments! You have until December 18th, 3pm (EST) to vote for this take on a traditional Eggnog!
Ah, eggnog…one of the most divisive holiday treats. It’s up there with candy corn and fruitcake and sweet Manischewitz wine. It’s traditional and has to be included in holiday roundups, but do people really like it??
I, for one, am a fan of the homemade stuff and I’ve made it for years to rave reviews. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s basically a flip cocktail with dairy. Some of the biggest complaints about eggnog is the viscous texture and the high fat content, which tends to be much worse with the store-bought versions. The homemade version is definitely less thick and smoother, but there’s no question it is a heavy drink, especially when full fat heavy cream is involved. This Almond Milk Bourbon Eggnog recipe takes care of those concerns. It’s lighter and, if you have a sensitivity to dairy, is easier on the tummy. It’s also always nice to have options! I’m really big into almond milk even though I also consume dairy. You know what I’m also really big into? Bourbon, duh.
Maker’s 46 is so great in this because it’s an especially robust bourbon. The dried orange peel and holiday spices manage to come through. And the rich oak, caramel and vanilla is only slightly tempered, and is crucial to the overall finish of the nog.
Best of all, this eggnog recipe is EASY. There is no cooking of egg yolks to create a custard, or whisking of egg whites to craft a frothy top. This is all done in a blender. And can be consumed soon after it is whipped up. Perfect for that holiday party you’ve been stressing over. Make a batch of this, pour into a pitcher or punch bowl and you are a holiday hero to all of your guests whether they are dairy free or not!
Almond Milk Bourbon Eggnog – Yields about 8 drinks
1 1/2 cups raw sugar
4 cups Almond Milk
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg (make sure there’s also some to grate over the finished drink)
1 cup Maker’s 46
1 teaspoon salt
Place the eggs in a blender by themselves and beat for just under a minute. Add the sugar for another 40 seconds, until blended and then add the rest of the ingredients. Blend until it looks like everything is well combined. After the mixture has a chance to chill for at least an hour, you are ready to get your nog on! You can serve this drink up in a coupe or a teacup or you can add a few cubes of ice to lighten it up. But remember the freshly grated nutmeg for the topper.
Samples were received for this blog post without payment. As usual, all opinions are my own.
Founded in 1823 by Irish refugees settling in the Scottish Lowlands, on the edge of Glasgow, Auchentoshan, (pronounced ‘OKKen-TOSHan’) is a single malt whisky that is triple distilled, resulting in a delicate, approachable, and very mixable Scotch whisky; The perfect gateway Scotch for people who may be intimidated by the stuff, or who tend to favor lighter, Irish-style whiskies.
Art of Auchentoshan is all about our journey to perfection. Our triple-distilled process to craft the smoothest single malt whisky. But it’s about more than just our approach to making our whisky. It’s about what we value. Attention to detail. Crafting our own course. Driven to be the best.”
Last month, during Portland Cocktail Week, Auchentoshan Single Malt Scotch Whisky announced their Art of Auchentoshan program conceived to celebrate the art that bartenders create when they’re NOT behind the bar. This national campaign, in association with the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, is a year-long call to action for bartenders to share all forms of their original art, from music to photography, painting and sculpture, and every artistic expression in between. From now until September 2016, a panel of art experts will be evaluating submissions and will then choose a number of pieces to be exhibited or performed at a gallery.
To help celebrate this exciting, creative launch, a handful of spirits writers, media and photographers were given the incredible opportunity to learn how to blow their very own whisk(e)y glass at Brooklyn’s UrbanGlass. It was terrifying because, hi I’m a super clutz, but so fun. And, just look at how pretty it turned out!
I MADE this with molten glass, a long tube and my own powerful lungs!!! (And a LOT of assistance from Esteban). A lovely “A” for Auchentoshan was etched onto the glass after it had cooled – I clearly didn’t do that part, but I was still pretty proud of what I had done!
I was SO excited to see the finished product when I finally got this in the mail recently. The perfect vessel for my Auchentoshan whisky!
If you are a bartender and interested in submitting your artwork to Art of Auchentoshan, you’ll need to share a visual representation of your art in either a photograph or 15-second video on Instagram and tag #ArtofAuchentoshan. Once submitted, the image or video will be ‘on view’ on the dedicated Auchentoshan Tumblr site.
For more information, including all terms and conditions, visit http://www.ArtofAuchentoshan.com.
Here’s to a wonderful day filled with lots of love, yummy food and spectacular cocktails!
Just in time for the holidays, Patrón has released its first-ever 1-liter Patrón Silver tequila bottle. This limited edition, larger bottle is decorated with the iconic bee design made from pure pewter, and is topped with an elegant glass stopper.
In the spirit of the Art of Patrón program, to help celebrate this launch, I created another DIY spin on this new bottle. It’s no Crafty Fox, but it DID get me pretty excited about setting the table for Thanksgiving by creating a fall-inspired, floral centerpiece. Disclosure – I DID get a healthy assist from one of my favorite flower shops, Stems Brooklyn. But I did have to edit down the flowers so they could fit! How beautiful does this all look?!
Don’t worry, no tequila was harmed in the creation of this project. All of that lovely Patrón Silver has just been transferred to another air tight vessel, albeit, not quite as pretty! This would be perfect to bring over for a host/hostess gift this time of year. When the guests have devoured the inside of the bottle, the outside can live on as a centerpiece throughout the holiday season!
Sponsored: This post was made possible by Patrón and this project was fueled by Tequila. As usual, all opinions are my own.
The Thanksgiving countdown is underway! T-minus seven days until the turkey frenzy takes over America’s kitchens and tummys and couches and zzzzz. I cannot WAIT to be a lazy mofo for three days straight! Who’s with me?! (super lethargic virtual high-five) Maybe you’ve sorted out your main menu. Maybe you’re gonna wing it like an insane person. But have you figured out the most important item to be ingested of the day?! What are you drinking?? Well, now you have. Presenting The Green Pear Sparkler, a cocktail that you can have with your family or at your epic Friendsgiving feast! Let’s talk about it!
Hard cider is having a moment. It’s been the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category for the last three years in a row. And there are more and more cider cocktails popping up on menus in craft cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants alike. Trend watchers point to the craft beer industry and rising foodie culture for helping the popularity of hard ciders.
For many years, I’ve found hard cider to be a great addition to a cocktail, using it as a secondary ingredient, as you would with champagne or beer in a cocktail, to add some dryness and bubbles. And occasionally I’ve used it as a star ingredient. And very dry, Normandy style pear cider is one of my favorites to use. Especially this time of year.
For The Green Pear Sparkler, the hard cider is an important component, but is well-integrated with the other ingredients – rye whiskey, maple syrup and some healthy dashes of Tabasco’s Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce. The result is an easily drinkable cocktail that SCREAMS autumn.
The green pepper spice from the Tabasco and the sage garnish brightens up this cocktail and lends a “green-ness” to the overall drink. Quality maple syrup and a good, spicy rye whiskey like the newly released Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye is also important for this. It’s the holidays, guys! Treat yourself right!
The Green Pear Sparkler
2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz maple syrup
4-5 dashes (to taste) Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
3 oz Hard Pear Cider
Garnish: pear slices and sage
Add all ingredients except cider to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled tumbler and top with cider. Garnish with pear slices and sage.
Sponsored: This post was made possible by TABASCO® in conjunction with the TABASCO® Tastemakers program. This is the fourth and final cocktail in a series of posts that feature the Tabasco Family of Flavors in cocktail recipes. As always, all opinions are my own!