A Halloween Cocktail: The Devil’s Bet

The Devil's Bet Cocktail

Halloween is just around the corner, you guys! We’re now in the final countdown. Are you ready? Are you surrounded by expertly carved jack-o-lanterns? Have you been celebrating all week in sexy hazmat suits? (please, no) Are you looking for a delicious Halloween cocktail that doesn’t involve candy corn? (please, yes!)

This cocktail, The Devil’s Bet, is a version of one I was making at the Phoenicia Flea a few weeks ago in order for people to try the coffee cocktail syrup. I love whisk(e)y and a sparkling hard cider together. And I was making this cocktail to demonstrate the versatility of coffee as a cocktail ingredient. The coffee syrup in this drink adds a rich and aromatic nuttiness. A perfect flavor for the colder seasons and great with brown spirits. People might not think to put these unexpected flavors together – Scotch whisky, coffee, cider & lemon - but it works really well.

The Devil's Bet

It’s also CIDER WEEK and I wanted to have a cocktail using a locally produced hard cider. I discovered this Rebel Reserve sparkling hard cider a few weekends ago during a day trip up to the Hudson Valley. After a hike cut short by inclement weather, we (pretty quickly) decided to change plans and take a tasting tour of the Brotherhood Winery, the oldest operating winery in America, instead! I highly recommend the next time you go on a hike and you’re just not feeling it, to take a winery tour and tasting instead. We were pretty happy with our decision. That mountain will still be there next weekend!

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I was also pretty excited to use Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition in this cocktail. Cutty Sark has always been an easy-drinking, lighter style blended Scotch whisky, different from the super smoky peat-heavy kinds most people identify Scotch with. But I think this is what makes it so great in a cocktail. A Scotch with tons of peat can be way too overwhelming in a drink with other ingredients that can’t compete. This new-ish release has taken notes from its prohibition past, with a beautiful sleek black bottle and a much higher proof than its usual 80 proof, coming in at 100 proof! But the higher proof version is remarkably smooth and has a pretty complex flavor profile. Musky and sweet with caramel, wood smoke and honey notes on the nose and palate with a bit of a salty and rye spice finish. And at $30 a pop, you won’t go broke on a bottle. Also, not gonna lie, the retro style design of the bottle is pretty damned sexy. Hellooo, Cutty Pro!

The Devil's Bet Recipe
The Devil’s Bet

2 1/2 oz Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition
1 oz Coffee Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3-4 oz Sparkling Hard Dry Apple Cider
Lemon Wheel for garnish

Add the whisky, syrup and lemon juice to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a highball or Collins glass filled with ice. Top with hard cider. Use a straw to mix well.

Rose Hip Syrup Giveaway Winner is…

cocktail syrup giveaway

Picked at random, Robin, who is new to the Bit by a Fox blog, will be getting a box of her very own cocktail syrups, with recipes to match! Congrats, Robin! Contact me at prose@bitbyafox to claim your prize and send your address and we’ll get these goodies off to you, stat!

Since she mentioned that she was planning on getting a cocktail night together with her friends, these might come in handy. I suspect Denver will get a whole lot boozier in the coming weeks!

Thank you to everyone who participated! By the way, it was so nice engaging with people in the comments section this week. Let’s do that more often! I foresee a lot more giveaways coming down the pike…Have a wonderful weekend!

Indian Summer Gimlet & Giveaway!

I talk about the weather a lot on this blog. And it really does make sense, because I like to create (and drink) cocktails according to the seasons. So, I’m not just rambling on about nonsense, people. But also, I’m a New Yorker…and that’s what we do. We live in a place of extremes. We’re constantly talking about it, mostly in short spurts; in elevators with strangers, to our doormen, the corner Bodega guy, our cabbie. We schvitz, we gripe, we blame the humidity, we bitch about the a.c., the wind “cuts right through” us, and the winter never seems to end. But in the beginning, we usually revel the shift in seasons. Especially FALL.

isg close text3I think we all can agree that fall is the best. We like to talk about that too. About how great the cool, crisp air feels, and how the garbage doesn’t hardly smell because of it! Also, about all the new foods we can make and eat and the clothes we can finally wear…to hide our cooler weather weight gain. We will flood your Instagram feed with colorful foliage and pumpkin spiced everything, and eat outside, shivering under a broken heat lamp until the cafés won’t serve us there anymore. It’s a fleeting time and New Yorkers really do try to get the most out of it. Because, winter. But luckily, this year, we’ve been having one of those unseasonably warm autumns. Not too warm, to make us forget what season it is. But, just right. Like, we can still eat dinner outside with a sweater or jacket on and get an ever-so-slight chill that is quickly quelled by an upturned collar or an extra tuck of a scarf and then is completely vanquished by the steaming, hot butternut squash soup that gets placed before you. I’m pretty sure this is what it means to have an “Indian Summer”. And I never want it to end.

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This drink was inspired by this Indian Summer we seem to be having. Gin is often associated with summer, but the Bombay Sapphire East, infused with Vietnamese black peppercorn and Thai lemongrass, lends an exotic, any-season quality to a cocktail. I’ve been wanting to use limoncello in a recipe ever since my travels through Italy this past summer and I’ve since gotten my hands on one of the most popular ones coming out of The Boot: Limoncello di Capri. I thought this might be my last chance in a while to use this sunny ingredient. And, since I had decided to make rose hip syrup for the Phoenicia Flea a few weekends ago, I thought the tart and tangy flavor of this syrup would work beautifully in a gimlet with these other ingredients…

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isg med allAnd rose hips are very much of the season! While I’ve used these little fruits in dried form, this happens to be rose hip harvesting season. In the UK, and other parts of the world, people often stock up on these little beauties to ward off colds in the winter because of their high level of Vitamin C - 20 x more than oranges! They have a wonderful tea-like quality and in the Indian Summer cocktail, the acidity helps to bring out the botanicals in the gin and is a great match for the limoncello.

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Indian Summer Gimlet
2 1/2 oz Bombay Sapphire East Gin
1/4 oz Limoncello di Capri
3/4 oz Rose Hip Syrup
1/2 oz Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake until the outside of the shaker is ice cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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The Giveaway!!!
To make this cocktail, you’ll need rose hip syrup, of course. You can either make it yourself, OR you can enter to win two bottles of Bit by a Fox Rose Hip Cocktail Syrups! To enter the contest, simply write in the comments section below your absolute favorite thing(s) about fall where ever YOU are!  And I’ll pick a winner by the end of the week. That’s it! Easy as pumpkin pie! ← One of MY favorite things about fall!

Fall In The Catskills & The Phoenicia Flea

Check out our spectacular fall weekend in the Catskills last week! 

Could that montage be any more autumnal?! Can’t you just smell the wood smoke in your scarf, hear the crunchy leaves underfoot and taste the hot, spiced apple cider and whiskey cocktails I was concocting?? If you weren’t transported by that explosion of earth tones and woodsy landscapes, I’ll break it down for you….

pf foxes den2This was our cute set up for the Phoenicia FleaPrizes For Arla and Bit by a Fox joined forces to create our own little, fashionably boozy corner: The Foxes Den.

pf foxes denWe were a little worried about the weather right before the weekend, because our stupid iPhones were predicting a dump of rain on us all day Saturday. But after a little sprinkling during the set-up in the morning, the sun came out and remained there the entire weekend. The sky was bright and clear, the air was cool, and everyone was thrilled to be there – vendors, locals and weekenders alike!

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pf lights and boothsIf you hadn’t read last week’s post, you might not be clued into what I was doing up in this charming town, other than soaking in my favorite season. I was making cocktails, of course!

pf prBut I was also selling seasonal cocktail syrups that I usually make this time of year to go into those yummy cocktails…so people can make their own at home!

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pf menu
pfThere were cocktail recipe cards from the blog for each of the syrups – Coffee, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Ginger & Rose Hip - for people to take with them.

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pf table syrups g&rhI was also mixing some of those seasonal tipples up for people to try, including a hot version of Whiskey & Spice & Everything Nice.

pf pps syrupThere were also a couple of cocktails created especially for the Phoenicia Flea last weekend! Like the Indian Summer Gimlet with Rose Hip Syrup, Bombay Sapphire East and Limoncello…and, a yet-to-be named tipple with Coffee Syrup, sparkling hard cider, bourbon and lemon. I’ll be posting recipes for both of these cocktails in the next week. So, look out for those AND a cocktail syrup giveaway! We had an amazing weekend so I only have a few bottles left, but I’d LOVE to give them to my readers so they can concoct their own boozy, fall delights!

Thank you, The Graham & Co, Phoenicia Flea, and our uber charming host and man of moving parts, James for having us! We met the most delightful vendors, spent some of our hard-earned cash on beautiful hand-made goods, and had the best time. We hope to do it again next spring!

pf lightsMany of these photos are courtesy of the unofficial third member of the Foxes Den, the very talented Morgan Visconti

The Foxes Den at Phoenicia Flea!

Phoenicea Flea logo
This up-coming weekend, October 11th & 12th, Bit by a Fox will be taking part in the Phoenicia Flea Makers Market in one of my favorite little towns in the Catskills! I’ll be sharing a booth with the vintage treasure trove Prizes For Arla. So, naturally, our booth is called The Foxes Den! I’ll be selling seasonal cocktail syrups, shaking up some fall tipples and handing out recipes next to PFA’s handmade leather goods and foxy finds. If you happen to be heading up to that neck of the woods next weekend, or are considering a Catskills get-away, be sure to stop by The Foxes Den at the Phoenicia Flea! Have a drink, buy some stuff and check out all of the other amazing vendors.

phoenicia fleaThe Graham & Co. is pleased to announce the return of the Phoenicia Flea Makers Market to kick off the fall holiday season. We invited a well edited group of artisans to join us on our hotel property in celebration of small business and local trade. It will be the very best the region has to offer in handcrafted food, drink, confection, jewelry, accessories, apothecary, housewares, vintage and more. Straw and Gold will be there on both October 11th and 12th with artists and makers from the S&G family. Come shop, drink, eat and enjoy the Catskills!

11 AM – 7 PM

The Bonfire Brew

Bonfire Brew flask title logoAs I mentioned on Saturday, I was on my way to a camping weekend extravaganza in beautiful rural Pennsylvania…

Lesterfest BonfireIt did not disappoint. The weather was beyond beautiful.

Lesterfest treesThe camp was packed with a fabulous mix of folks as usual.

Lesterfest tentsWe even had our own hashtag. Nailed to a tree.

Lesterfest hashtagYep, we were in nature but we were far from roughing it…check out this Chinese lantern rave!

Lesterfest Instagram

Instagram highlights clockwise: Fall has touched down in PA; A pizza oven on the campground; Bloody Mary bar in the morning; Every camping weekend should be capped off with fireworks!

And then there was the official camp cocktail…The Bonfire Brew!

Bonfire Brew at campAs you can see, this was not a fancy-pants set up. But it DID sort of taste fancy! And there WERE fun straws!

Bonfire Brew at camp2I wanted to riff off of a beer cocktail I created last year with whiskey and Italian Amaro, The Shandy CioCiaro. I knew there would be a bunch of kegs there and that brewsky would be most people’s drink of choice for the weekend. But maybe people would want to mix it up, so to speak!

Bonfire Brew allWe were at the tail end of National Bourbon Heritage Month, so good ol’ Wild Turkey seemed like a good addition. And, in keeping with the seasonal shift into Autumnal glory, I threw some apple cider into the mix!

Bonfire Brew antlersThe Bonfire Brew – single serving
Build in a large, ice-filled pint glass:

3 oz pale ale or lager type beer
2 oz bourbon
2 oz apple cider
1 oz spicy ginger beer
1 oz Italian Amaro
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Stir well with long spoon or straw.

Large Batch – serves 12-15 people
In a gallon-sized canister combine the following ingredients:

5 cups beer
1 standard sized bottle Bourbon
3 cups apple cider
1.5 cups ginger beer
1.5 cups Amaro
6.5 oz lemon juice
Pour mixture over an ice-filled pint glass. Enjoy!

Lesterfest fox

Gone Glamping!


image via

I’ve got camping on the brain. In just a few short hours, this New Yorker will be hitting the road for rural Pennsylvania to commune with nature for an entire weekend. It’s true! We’ll be grilling various things outdoors, sitting around an absurdly large bonfire and sleeping under the stars, like you do. That’s camping, guys! And trying to avoid bears. I’m into seeing them from a distance but don’t come knocking on my tent, guy. To be fair, this is a rather glamorous version of camping. I mean, there’s a pizza oven on the property, a docking station for smart phones and even a Porta Potty not too far from camp. And last year, we had an unbelievable fireworks show that made me feel like I was in a movie version of my life. Because I had such an amazing experience last year, I wanted to contribute something that the rest of the group could enjoy. So…booze.

But, what to make for a large group of people with varying tastes? That is the magic question. Too bad I can’t bring this Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Woody Trailer with me. But alas, $150,000 is a lot of clams for a once a year excursion!

Bulleitt Bourbon Woodie TailgaterSince it’s still National Bourbon Heritage Month and we WILL be celebrating this beautiful land, America’s “Native Spirit” should be represented, right? I was also thinking of a shandy type drink since beer will be a popular bevvy…and whatever I make shouldn’t be too serious. Alright, I better figure it out! I still have to pack my camping outfits! Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas! I’ll check back in after the weekend to share my results. Bonfire Brew, here we come!

Cocktail Tasting: Walking On Sunshine!

Tomorrow, Saturday September 20th, from 4-6pm, we’ll be tasting the Walking On Sunshine cocktail at Tipsy in Brooklyn.

WOS Title

It’s only three days until fall is officially here and I don’t know about you all but I feel like…I’m walking on sunshine! Whoa, yeah. And don’t it feel good?

All right now.

For serious, this summer-straddling-fall weather in New York is the MOTHEREFFING BEST. I’m pretty much taking every opportunity I can to rub it in the faces of everyone I know in Southern California (where they are having a horrible heat wave and drought), not because I’m a garbage person, but because… c’mon! We never get to brag about the weather here. Give us that. I mean, fall is our jam! The northeast does exploding Autumnal gorgeousness like nobody’s business. But we’re not quite there yet. We’re just in that heavenly limbo of slightly cooler days and crisper nights and never-ending, amber-hued sunshine-y sunshine. I moved to NYC from the west coast in the middle of a glorious month of September. And I’ll never forget it. The city wooed me hardcore. And those perfect first few weeks sealed the deal on my torrid love affair with the place. If I had moved just a month earlier, during the dog days of August or just a few months after, when the bone chilling cold starts to set in, who knows where I might have ended up? I mean, no one moves to New York for the weather…but I like to think that this city eased me into it’s clutches in order to trap me forever and ever. Because, that’s sort of romantic, right??

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This is also the time of year that I start dreaming up whiskey cocktails. And, luckily, I had few fun excuses to come up with this bourbon/prosecco/hibiscus mash-up, that is basically September sunshine in a glass…

WOS tonic decanter logoI’m super excited to announce that effective immediately, I’ll be participating in a sort of cocktail residency with the Strong Tonic folks out in Oklahoma City. These new, hand crafted tonics are not only delicious, but are made with all-natural ingredients and were inspired by and created for forward thinking cocktails – the kind of new-fangled tipples that show up on this here blog all the time! As well as the classics. So, I’ll be creating an original cocktail, once a month using their yummy products and then will feature the recipes here. I’ll also keep you updated on any new products from them coming down the pike. As you might have noticed, this is not the first time Strong Tonic has appeared on this site. And it won’t be the last!

WOS above close logoSo, in honor of this most perfect time of year, the cocktail tasting tomorrow at Tipsy, my love of Four Roses Bourbon and the first official Bit by a Fox cocktail for Strong Tonic, I’ve created Walking On Sunshine! Think of this cocktail like that favorite light jacket of yours that you can finally wear during that in-between time of summer and fall.

The Hibiscus Tonic, prosecco and lemon juice keeps this cocktail bright, floral and citrus-y, with some caramel, warm spice and woodsy notes coming from the Four Roses Bourbon to help usher in Fall!

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Walking on Sunshine 
2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
3/4 oz Hibiscus Strong Tonic
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Agave Syrup
1 oz Prosecco
lemon peel garnish

Add the bourbon, tonic, lemon juice and agave syrup to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a large, ice-filled rocks glass and top with about an ounce of Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon peel.

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#prosebdaybarnbash barn

#prosebdaybarnbash bar day

#prosebdaybarnbash t&pr

#prosebdaybarnbash cake tif

It’s been over two weeks since my last post, and I honestly don’t have a good excuse. The only thing that I can really claim right now is a small case of…blog fatigue. Is that a thing? Well, that coupled with a gigantic side of laziness. Also…True Detective. I willingly got sucked into that brilliant creep-show, and you know how that goes. Next thing I know my constructive Sunday night gets sabotaged by my never-ending jones for just one more episode and suddenly it’s 2-ish in the morning and I’ve screwed my entire week. Not to mention, I’m for sure going to have dirty, McConaughey-shaped nightmares until the Mindy Project starts back up. And not in a good way.

On the flip side, one of the other reasons I am a little more burned out than usual is that I’ve been a part of some amazing events lately. One of them was a beautiful wedding in Brooklyn (my first!) that I designed cocktails for (pics to come soon!) and another was a big birthday gathering in the Catskills area of Upstate New York…that I threw for myself! haha. I’m pretty into birthdays, you guys. Especially my own! And this one was pretty special. Soooo, since there were some amazing photogs in the group who captured the magical weekend so well, I thought I’d share some of my favorite shots. Who doesn’t want to look at pretty pictures of a big, beautiful barn in the trees with twinkly lights?? And cake! Cakes in many forms! And to make this relevant to this boozy blog, there was a weekend cocktail, of course!

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…well, many cocktails, duh.

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…and plenty of rosé! It was Labor Day weekend. Our last summer hurrah!

#prosebdaybarnbash michael

And, did I mention twinkly lights?!

#prosebdaybarnbash barn lights

#prosebdaybarnbash barn night

#prosebdaybarnbash games above

#prosebdaybarnbash deck

#prosebdaybarnbash dinner tableALL of the twinkly lights.

There was also a pizza oven in the middle of the barn. Some people found this hilarious. The rest of us found it very delicious.

#prosebdaybarnbash pizza oven

Apparently, one can also cook two whole chickens in a pizza oven! And if Bryan is manning the stove, they will turn out beautifully.

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#prosebdaybarnbash dinner

The birthday cakes came in many forms…(I DID have a 9 year old birthday buddy sharing these cakes with me over the weekend, BTW. I don’t make weird cake demands, people!)

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#prosebdaybarnbash teri cake

#prosebdaybarnbash cupcakes

It was all so heavenly. And exactly what I wanted – to be surrounded by so many of my favorite people, in one of my most favorite places in the whole world, the beautiful Catskills.

#prosebdaybarnbash flowers

#prosebdaybarnbash windmill

swing#prosebdaybarnbash trees

#prosebdaybarnbash m&c

#prosebdaybarnbash mountains

#prosebdaybarnbash games

#prosebdaybarnbash r&pr

So…what was in that signature birthday cocktail, you may wonder? Well, since I had just posted the Last Drop of Summer punch the day that we got to the barn, there had been a special request for it. Which was perfect because I could easily batch a large amount and everyone could help themselves. But, because the weather upstate was already starting to feel like fall, instead of Tequila, we used equal parts Canadian whiskey. Bam! A whole new herbaceous, peach tea cocktail! I highly recommend this version.

#prosebdaybarnbash punch

Thank you for indulging me and letting me relive this special weekend with all of you…and thanks to all of the sparkly folks who made it so special! I miss the misty trees already!

#prosebdaybarnbash c&pr

Pictures taken by Tiffany of luciebelle photography, Morganyours truly.

The Last Drop of Summer

last drop of summer ingredientsYou guys! Summer is fast coming to a close. Whaaaaa happened?! I barely broke out my bathing suit, my feet hardly touched anything that resembles sand, and I didn’t eat nearly enough grilled meats al fresco. Summer, I hardly knew ye.  Every year, it’s always at this exact time, at the onset of Labor Day weekend, I try to cram as much summer-time goodness into those last remaining days.

It’s always a mixed bag at this time of year, here in the northeast. It’s either disgustingly humid or a rainy sog-fest. But we’ve been so lucky for most of August. It’s been pretty dreamy.

Last Drop of Summer James and KristineTake the other night, for instance, at a heavenly dinner under the Williamsburg Bridge at the North Brooklyn Farm – an urban farm that has transformed a vacant lot into a thriving, green space that grows actual food, that they then sell at a pick your own farm stand and also serve for a three course farm to table sunset dinner. I’ve been to a few of these dinners since they started last year and they are always pretty magical. Especially when the weather is so divine. And we couldn’t have asked for better weather. To celebrate the last few never-ending, sun-soaked days of the year, I thought we all deserved a cocktail to salute the occasion.

Last Drop of Summer AboveI knew that I wanted to use peaches and basil and, somehow incorporate the artichoke based Italian bitter liqueur, Cynar. An agave-sweetened peach tea made an excellent base for this. I also wanted a super easy drink to pre-batch for a large group…

Last Drop of Summer CannisterThe Last Drop of Summer
8 cups cooled peach or apricot tea sweetened with 4 ounce agave
1 bottle Tequila Partida Blanco
1 bottle St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
2 cups Cynar
1 cup lemon juice
2 liters club soda
3 peaches, diced
1 bunch of fresh basil

Pour the sweetened tea, tequila, liqueur and lemon juice into a large canister. Add the chopped peaches and half the basil leaves. Let sit for about 20 minutes. Ladle over ice-filled glasses, top with club soda and garnish with basil.

Last Drop of SummerLast Drop of Summer JamesLast Drop of Summer Nickie

Our hosts at the North Brooklyn Farm, Henry and Emma.

Our hosts at the North Brooklyn Farm, Henry and Emma.

So, drink in these last few days of summer. And drink this actual cocktail, The Last Drop of Summer! May all of your days and nights be filled with amazing food, great friends and spiked aromatic peach tea.

Last Drop of Summer Dinner

photos by Morgan Visconti and Prairie Rose

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