A July 4th Cocktail – Blended Strawberry Daiquiri

I recently had the pleasure of guesting on Blender Babes cocktail hour. With the July 4th weekend in mind, Tarashaun (head babe) and I whipped up some yummy, blended strawberry daiquiris. They are a LOT simpler than you might think. We added some mint in the mix and a few blueberries for a patriotic garnish. Let’s be real, this is a smoothie with booze. It’s practically health food. So, enjoy!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Spirit of Gin – We Have a Winner!

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Thank you all so much for leaving comments about your favorite gin cocktails and brands of choice on last week’s post, as well as on Facebook. There were clearly some cocktails and brands that I still need to explore. I love learning about new products! Thank you. As promised, we have a winner! Picked at random, but also happened to be the very first commenter on the Summer of Gin post, Kathy Stevens is our Spirit of Gin Giveaway winner! Congrats, Kathy! You are now the proud owner of a beautiful, comprehensive ode to gin. Or, you will be, once you send me your address so I can get this stunning book shipped off to you: prose@bitbyafox.com

Kathy mentioned that she LOVES Jack Rabbit Gin from Beehive Distilling – Utah’s first (and only, at the moment) legally distilled gin since 1870. And, she described the Ginger Kick cocktail as her current fave – a combo of gin, lime, ginger and Habanero pepper. It sounds like my kind of cocktail! Since I am lucky enough to be in possession of this fantastic gin, I’ll be making a version of this very cocktail…and then share will all y’all. Then, we’re all winners, right?!

How’s your summer of gin going so far? I happen to be writing this from the land of gin – London! And, I am in no short supply of the stuff. Follow my Instagram exploits if you want to see what I’m drinking out here! Besides a lot of behind the scenes BBaF goings on, you are also likely to see the occasional sunset, plates of food stuff, and other random pretties…

 

The Summer of Gin! And Giveaway!

The Summer of Gin!Summer! It’s officially here! #yaaaaaasssss

I know we’re only two days in, but I am ALL about it. The sundresses and open toed sandals are in rotation, and my hair has already migrated as far away from my neck as possible, in various updos, where it will stay for the next 2-3 months. See you in the fall, bangs! I’ve got this summer on lock. I’m also going around making bold declarations like “This is the summer I will actually see all of the outdoor concerts I’ve marked on my calendar!”. And, “This summer I’ll finally catch up on my emails!” (I like to keep the bar fairly low so I don’t disappoint myself too much.) But one thing I know for certain:

THIS IS GOING TO BE THE SUMMER OF GIN!

The Summer of Gin!

Gin is IN, you guys. Gin is in.

Proclaiming it the Summer of Gin may not necessarily be revelatory (and I may have tried to make this happen in the past)…but it is an especially auspicious time for gin. There’s no question that we’ve been going through an international gin renaissance.

The Summer of Gin!

There are so many new gins that are constantly flooding the market, it’s difficult to keep up. And the familiar ones that have been our go-to Gs in our G&Ts for years like Tanqueray, Beefeater and Bombay Sapphire, continue to mix it up with different (old and new) styles and infusions; Companies like Hendrick’s and Martin Miller’s Gin go to great lengths to differentiate their spirits with unusual botanicals or pure, Icelandic water. And because of the classic cocktail revival, more and more people have come around to a spirit that they once were convinced wasn’t for them. Those vodka-only drinkers who once swore that gin was the work of the devil, now worship at the altar of juniper. Gin devotees even have their very own bible now, a beautiful tome released last fall, The Spirit of Gin: A Stirring Miscellany of the New Gin Revival,

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Matt Teacher’s The Spirit of Gin is a fully comprehensive guide for the modern-day gin drinker, cocktail enthusiast and history buff. He chronicles the history of gin, explains the distilling and production process, showcases nearly 100 different gins (accompanied by beautiful pictures and a fold out map of gin!), and brings us up to speed on the modern day gin revival that’s currently taking over the world. There are also interviews with top international mixologists and industry leaders, an international bar guide and even cocktail recipes!

The Summer of Gin!

In honor of the Summer of Gin, my new favorite multi-month holiday, by the way, I’ve decided to have a giveaway! This gorgeous gin opus could be yours. In the comments below just let us know what your favorite gin cocktail is to drink in the summer AND your brand(s) of choice. This will also be posted to Instagram and Facebook, so you can triple your chances if you’re chatty! I’ll then pick the winner at random by the end of the week. The winner will not only get The Spirit of Gin book, but will also get to see their cocktail of choice made with a Bit by a Fox spin featured on the blog!

Best of luck, foxy friends! And Happy Summer of Gin!

The Art of Patron Contest & My Crafty Fox!

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You guys! I crafted! I may have had a few sips of Patrón while I transformed one of their bottles into a little, portly fox…but it didn’t turn out horribly! Ok, I know it’s not NEARLY as impressive as some of the other creations that have come out of the Art of Patrón contest in year’s past, but I’m pretty proud of that little guy.

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As I mentioned last monthPatrón Tequila is in the midst of a bottle art competition, Art of Patrón. The contest is giving fans and artisans across the country the opportunity to get some actual cash money from their Patrón bottle creations…

 For years people have been re-purposing these iconic bottles, giving them a second life in the form of unique artwork and functional items. Recognizing this trend, the brand decided to get in on the game. By PAYING you for your creative brilliance! The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 and nine finalists $1,000 each.

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As soon as I heard about this contest I knew that my creation would somehow involve a fox. A little gold spray paint, a deconstructed fox ornament, glue, some copper ribbon and voila! I’m a crafter! In your face, Pinterest!

I’m pretty sure it’s not winning the $10,000 prize or anything, but it will brighten up my liquor shelves. And remind me that I’m always a bottle away from getting Bit by a Fox!

Hey, are you inspired? You have until July 17th to throw your hat in the ring.  Check out their site for details and official rules. And, best of luck!

Special thanks to photographer Shannon Carpenter from This Aperture for her expert pics!


Sponsored: This post was made possible by Patrón and this project was fueled by Tequila.

Bartender Style – Lucinda Sterling

Bartender Style is a collaboration between Bit by a Fox and photographer Rose Callahan. This monthly series, exclusively on the Bit by a Fox blog, will explore and document the personal style of some of the best bartenders in New York City and beyond. This month, we’ve featured the lovely and talented cocktail maven behind New York City’s Middle Branch, Lucinda Sterling.

Bartenders are intimidating. In the world of the service industry, there is no question that the bartender is at the top of the food chain. A bartender has complete control of your panacea for the evening and when and how it is to be delivered to you. Their status seems to elevate the more skilled they are…and the thirstier you are! And if they’re highly attractive? Oof, forget it. You’ll be pining all night.

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It’s rare that you want to be friends with your waiter over the course of a meal. But your bartender? You’ll most likely want to be BFFs right away. Even if it’s just for the night. Because, booze. Also, there is just a coolness factor that is created by that 30-40 inch separation of bar top. They have something that you want. Again, booze. Also, attitude. There are few things more satisfying than finally winning over that cool kid bartender who seemed a little elusive, slightly standoffish at the beginning of the night.

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Lucinda Sterling, bartender and managing partner of Murray Hill’s beloved cocktail den, Middle Branch, is far from chilly. But her cool as a cucumber demeanor helps to give her an air of intimidation. She’s actually, self-admittedly, fairly shy, but is in a business that challenges that at every turn. Upon meeting Lucinda for the first time, she comes off as a straight shooter, a lady who means business and someone who knows her stuff. She’s also a total babe. So, yeah, she’s sort of intimidating.

But then she cracks that all wide open with a full-bodied, throaty laugh and a smile that ups the wattage in the room, and you realize pretty quickly that there’s a lovely little goofball under that elegant veneer. A few sips into one of her craftily made, knock-em-out-of-the-park cocktails doesn’t hurt to warm things up! The cool girl behind the bar just got even cooler.

051215_3889_rt_finalThis dichotomy of characteristics – reserved yet approachable, conservative, with a wild streak, introverted in a highly sociable industry – is what makes Lucinda’s style as a top bartender in the city so unique. Lucinda is a delectable cocktail, herself; Her diverse ethnic mix of German, Irish, Polish, French, Chinese and Cambodian has certainly resulted in a lovely mug, but may also be responsible for these contrasting qualities. Whatever it is, we’re smitten.

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Lucinda is a fan of color…in her glass and behind the bar. She likes to wear dresses that highlight her figure in bold colors. But she is careful about showing too much skin when she’s on duty, choosing dresses with sleeves and covered décolletage. Form and function are equally important to Lucinda. Comfort is key.

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That idea of comfort extends to her footwear. She prefers heels but chooses the support of Aerosoles, which, she claims “saves bartender’s feet”.

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Lucinda credits a couple of people for getting her involved in the bar industry. The most obvious is her mentor and partner in Middle Branch, Sasha Petraske, the legendary bartender and proprietor responsible for helping to revive the craft cocktail movement in New York City. You could say, Lucinda is a Petraske loyalist. She got her start at Sasha’s first bar in New York, Milk & Honey in 2005 as a server. And a few years later, she decided to hone her skills behind the bar at his next venture, Little Branch. While still a server at Milk & Honey, Lucinda was inspired by her pastry chef boyfriend at the time, James Beard Award Winner, Johnny Iuzzini. She had been watching him do stints as a guest bartender at famed New York speakeasy PDT, and it wasn’t even his chosen field! Her competitive nature pushed her forward. She was then encouraged to take the leap behind the stick herself.

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By 2012 Lucinda had proven herself as a formidable player in the bar industry and became full managing partner in Petraske’s latest cocktail empire extension, Middle Branch. Besides running the day-to-day operations, she has also been able to have a hand in the design of the bar. From the charming pineapple light fixtures…

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…to the family photos placed throughout the bar. (The below is a photo of Sterling’s mother)

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Lucinda’s classic leaning style is peppered throughout…

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And let’s not forget Lucinda’s creative mark on the stunning cocktails that go out night after night!

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As with Lucinda’s personal style, her drinks are equal parts form and function, beautiful and delicious! She shared with us three very different, seasonal cocktails from Middle Branch’s recent menu. I loved all of them and it was pretty difficult to choose a favorite, but the Northern Lights, a gin and grapefruit based tipple, narrowly won out.

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Not to mention, this is the PERFECT sipper for this time of year. It’s approachable and very easy to make at home. Nothing to be intimidated of here!

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Northern Lights
1 1/2 oz Tanqueray 10
3/4 oz Lillet Rose
1/2 oz Curacao
1 grapefruit
1/2 lime

Method: Add all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into chilled glass.
Glass: sour glass
Garnish: grapefruit twist

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Get Ready For Negroni Week with The Cajun Negroni

You’re about to get burned so good.

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You guys! It’s already the end of MAY! Summer is practically heavy breathing down our necks (oh, hello there, summer), and I haven’t even switched out my closet yet! #SmallClosetProbs!!! On top of all that, it’s Negroni Week NEXT week and I’m SUPER late to the party! Buuuut, not too late. Let’s just say, I’m just being fashionable. Because, let’s be real, we all know you can show up any damn time you want to the party if you are brangin’ it. And by “it”, I mean booze. And by “booze”, I mean a game changer of a cocktail. It hasn’t even happened yet, but I’m pretty sure I straight up killed Negroni Week, you guys. Murdered. Dead. Dunzo. The end. Oh, it’s not a competition, you say? It’s “…a celebration of one of the world’s great cocktails AND an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world”?? Well, that’s just the cherry on top of this Campari zinger, my friends. Because I am here to tell you that yes, you can go out and support all of those bars and restaurants in your area generously participating in this week-long event, and you definitely should, but then you can go home and make this Cajun cutie, get your bitter burn on and thank the cocktail gods for aligning the stars to bring these flavors together. Or…you can just thank me. Awww, YOU’RE WELCOME!

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re all, “Hey P Rose! So what, you made a Negroni, which is practically perfect already, and then you threw some TABASCO® in there and a little bubbly water, and you think you’re a genius?? Big whoop! Who the eff are you?!” Ouch. Harsh, guys. Well, guess what? Sometimes it’s the subtlest tweaks that can make a world of difference, that can transform something from amazing to aMAHzing. Those three to four generous dashes of TABASCO® not only give this Negroni some delightful heat, but also adds a little salt and acid (from the vinegar) that this cocktail can most definitely benefit from. And topping this drink off with a little sparkling water will just lighten up the entire drink, guaranteeing a steady rotation on your home cocktail menu all summer long.

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I wanted to keep the Negroni recipe classic, for the most part, because we can all get a little crazy trying to think outside the box for Negroni week…and then we end up with something that barely resembles the original cocktail. So, the ratio is still equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, stirred over ice with an orange twist. Keeping it classic, also makes the addition of TABASCO® and sparkling water feel like a major bonus to an already enchanting cocktail. These additions only enhance the original cocktail as a whole. Who says you can’t improve upon perfection??

Cajun Negroni

Cajun Negroni
1 ounce Gin
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Dolin Vermouth Rouge
3-4 dashes of TABASCO® Original Red Sauce
Sparkling Water
Orange Peel garnish

Add the Gin, Campari and Sweet Vermouth to an ice-filled mixing glass. Add the TABASCO® and stir with a cocktail spoon until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with large cubed ice. Top with 1/2-1 ounce sparkling water. Twist a large orange peel over drink and add to glass for garnish.

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Tabasco Adventures on Avery Island

If you’ve been following my social media recently, then you know that I made a trip out to Louisiana last month to visit the TABASCO® headquarters on beautiful Avery Island.

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welcomeI was lucky enough to be invited with eight other food and drinks bloggers to experience the unique production of the legendary pepper sauce, TABASCO®, firsthand, in the place where it was birthed by Edmund McIlhenny over 150 years ago. The recipe of crushed red hot peppers, vinegar and salt hasn’t changed in all of that time (except the higher quality vinegar used and the barrel aging is quite a bit longer). Despite its worldwide notoriety and mass distribution, this devotion to consistency and quality control may be due to the fact that the company is still family owned five generations later. And that family, the McIlhenny’s, invited us into their world…

We really got to see and experience the entire process for how TABASCO® is made from seed…

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to mash…

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The mash consists of just peppers and salt and is aged up to three years in white oak barrels.

…to barrel aging.

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We even witnessed fifth generation President and CEO, Anthony “Tony” Simmons, testing out the pepper mash as he does every morning at 9am. Talk about hands on! Our sinuses were VERY clear after this visit!

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Then we went on the factory line.

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We were then given a guided tasting of all of the TABASCO® flavors with Tony Simmons and Charlie Chang, TABASCO’S brilliant in-house food scientist and flavor creator.

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To get the full Cajun experience, we were taken into town to New Iberia’s Boiling Point restaurant, and treated to massive amounts of crawfish and indulged in Louisiana delicacies like gator balls and po boys. With extra TABASCO® on the side, of course!

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Avery Island, is a magical and historic place – home to TABASCO® as well as nearly half the company’s 200 employees, many of whom are 3rd and 4th generation workers themselves.

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The Marsh House – original family home and where many of us stayed while in Avery Island.

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Ancient oaks dripping with Spanish moss, rare birds, and indigenous plants pepper the island. A gigantic nature preserve takes up much of the island and serves as a sanctuary for birds and alligators alike! We saw both! Guess which one I squealed the most about….

It is also a popular destination for visitors coming to tour the TABASCO® factory and have a stroll and a picnic afterwards.

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This shrine houses a centuries old Buddha given as a gift to E. A. McIlhenny in 1936.

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For our last night on Avery Island, we were treated to an insanely delicious multi-course dinner menu inspired by all things TABASCO® , created by celebrity chef, Aáron Sánchez.

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That afternoon, we got a sneak peek at what was to come when Aáron had a cooking demo for us with his gulf snapper ceviche marinated with TABASCO® Green Jalapeño Sauce. Thank goodness we were able to have a full dish to ourselves as a starter later that night!

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But, one of the highlights of the trip had to be a cocktail demo with bartender Nick Detrich of New Orleans’ Cane & Table, named one of five best new cocktail bars in America from Bon Appetit last year. He created two original cocktails using TABASCO® as a highlighted ingredient, and they were both amazing.

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But, of the two cocktails Nick prepared, my favorite had to be the Scotch and Salt. A stirred Scotch drink with a grapefruit TABASCO® shrub, vermouth and a TABASCO® salt solution. The recipe looks a little involved but Nick made large batches of the shrub and salt solution that made the recipe a lot easier for us to handle individually. Not to mention, this drink is totally worth it! I’ve provided the recipe below so you can try to give this one a shot!

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Scotch &Salt – makes one cocktail
Created by Nick Detrich of Cane & Table

Ingredients
For the shrub:
1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice, strained
1/2 cup Tabasco® Green Jalapeño Sauce
2 cups demerara sugar

For the salt solution:
1 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup Tabasco® Spicy Salt
1/4 cup Louisiana Smoked Pecan Salt

For the cocktail:
1 1/2 ounces blended scotch whiskey (Dewars preferred)
3/4 ounce Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso
1/2 ounce Kina Avion D’Or
1/4 ounce grapefruit shrub
4 drops salt solution

Orange peel, for garnish

Preparation
For the shrub:
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine grapefruit juice and Tabasco Green Jalapeño Sauce until heated through. Remove from heat, add sugar and stir to incorporate. For the salt solution: Blend all ingredients in a blender until incorporated.

For the cocktail:
In an Old Fashioned glass with ice, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Garnish with orange peel.

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This was an incredible trip! A gorgeous immersion into southern Louisiana and a peek into the production of one of the most iconic brands in the world. I loved meeting everyone associated with the company as well as getting to know the other bloggers invited on this trip. Over the course of the next couple of months, you’ll see cocktail recipes from me inspired by TABASCO® and the captivating world of gators and bayous. Look out for a classic cocktail this Friday with a decidedly spicy twist!

Y’all come back now, y’hear?!


Disclosure: This trip and this post was made possible by TABASCO®  in conjunction with the TABASCO® Tastemakers program. This is the first in a series of posts over the next several months that will feature the Tabasco Family of Flavors in cocktail recipes. As always, all opinions are my own!

The Art of Patrón Contest!

Calling all boozy crafters! Or crafty boozers! Or just creative types who enjoy a challenge and ALSO like the idea of lining their pockets with dollar, dollar bills, y’all…

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Important News: Patrón Tequila has launched a bottle art competition called Art of Patrón, where fans and artisans across the country are called upon to create pieces of art using the iconic glass bottles. For years people have been re-purposing Patrón bottles, giving them a second life in the form of unique artwork and functional items. Recognizing this trend, the brand decided to get in on the game. By PAYING you for your creative brilliance! The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 and nine finalists $1,000 each. So…what are you waiting for?? To find out how you can enter your artistic masterpiece to the Art of Patrón check out their site for details and official rules.

This silver beauty will be your canvas:

PATRON_SILVER_2015_Bottle_Front_750ml_CMYK_012215For inspiration, check out last year’s winning entry from Brandon Montgomery. His creation, Batalla de los Espiritus is a custom chessboard supported by 20 bottles and topped with 32 mini Patrón bottles and 16 hand carved corks. ¡Bravo! Brandon was not kidding around.

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courtesy of Patrón

I’m even getting in on the action! Check out my starter kit! This might be my most favorite box of items ever – arts and crafts supplies AND booze?!

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I just have to make sure I don’t sip and craft too much at the same time. I’d like for my creation to come out more cute and less hot mess. But, you all can be the judge of that! I’ll be revealing my Patrón bottle makeover in a couple of weeks to, hopefully, inspire those of you interested in throwing your hat in the ring. What do you think I’m going to come up with?? Gold stars (and perhaps a boozy prize!) to the first person to call it!

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The last day to submit your piece of art to is July 17th. They will announce the finalists and begin the voting process on or around August 10th. The winner will then be announced on or around August 28, 2015.

Best of luck!


Sponsored: This post was made possible by Patrón and this project will most likely be fueled by tequila! Stay tuned!

The Harvey Wallbanger Slushy

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The Harvey Wallbanger is one of those cocktails that people don’t really order anymore. But in the golden days of disco, this drink was huge. In the 1970s, every stone fox in town thought this drink was far out, out of site…copacetic, ya dig? Ok, maybe not EVERYone loved this cocktail (or talked like that), but it WAS hugely popular and then it all but disappeared from our cocktail lexicon until fairly recently. And, even then, it’s still not a go-to drink for most people. The simple recipe is basically a screw driver – orange juice and vodka, with the addition of Italian Liqueur Galliano floated on top. Maybe it just needed some re-tooling…

For this slushy (and sparkling) version, we’ve upped the flavor profile by using blood orange sorbet instead of orange juice, and blended it with vodka, Galliano Liqueur and ice.

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And for that extra, fizzy zing, we top it all off with Perrier L’Orange, the newest addition to the brand’s all-natural line of sparkling mineral waters, which also includes Original, Citron, Lime and Pink Grapefruit.

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Perrier L’Orange is infused with natural orange essence, has the tiny sparkling bubbles (a purported 50 million bubbles per serving!) that they are so famous for, and is a sugar and calorie free alternative to sweet sodas. The delicate balance of minerals and carbonation creates a crisp, clean and distinctive taste. It’s a perfect addition to this cocktail that would otherwise be much too sweet and heavy. It lightens it up in a number of ways.

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To make two drinks at a time, start out with about 3/4 cup of sorbet and 2-3 ice cubes.

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Add 3 ounces of vodka and 1 ounce of Galliano and blend until it reaches a slushy consistency.

Pour the blended mix into highball glasses about halfway.

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Top with Perrier L’Orange.

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Stir with a straw to combine the mixture.

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You can add an extra scoop of sorbet for a float and an orange wedge for garnish!

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As the temps start rising, slushy cocktails are LIFE. And, this recipe is an easy one to expand and pre-batch for a group of people. Memorial Day BBQs, anyone? Key parties?? Ok, you don’t have to get too thematic…Now, don’t be a jive turkey, man, and just make this!


Sponsored: The Harvey Wallbanger Slushy was designed exclusively for Perrier’s newest flavored sparking mineral water, Perrier L’Orange, available at retailers nationwide. Perrier products provided, however all opinions are my own.

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Bartender Style – Masa Urushido

Bartender Style is a collaboration between Bit by a Fox and photographer Rose Callahan. This monthly series, exclusively on the Bit by a Fox blog, will explore and document the personal style of some of the best bartenders in New York City and beyond. This month, we’ve featured the brilliant Masahiro Urushido of Manhattan’s Saxon + Parole.

New York City is home to some of the most stylish people around. And, there is no shortage of creative expression, sartorially and otherwise, exhibited behind the many cocktail bars peppering this city. There are stylish bartenders aplenty…

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An exhibitionist persona, a peacock quality must be assumed by the bartender before taking the stage behind the stick to perform for the evening. Presentation is key. Not only for the meticulously crafted drinks involved, but for the presenter as well.

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But we all know that it’s only when style and substance converge that something sublime really happens.

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As we hone in on some of the city’s standouts for this Bartender Style series, we are discovering how skill and presentation behind the bar, along with self-expression are combined to create a bartender’s personal style. Masa Urushido, Bar Manager at Saxon + Parole and the reigning Chivas Masters Global Bartending Champion, is a perfect example of this skill/style convergence.

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015One of the things we love about Masa’s personal style, besides his dazzling smile, incredible warmth and all around sparkly personality, is his ability to make it all seem so effortless.

From his clean and classic Americana aesthetic…

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…to his swift and masterful ice carving skills.

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Masa has perfected a sense of ease and confidence behind the bar

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…and he looks damn sharp doing it!

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Growing up in Nagano, Japan, spending his days snow boarding and delivering pizza, little did young Masa know that in just a few short years after finishing high school in Toyko, he’d be working his way up from food runner to head bartender at one of the hottest spots in town, Tableaux. It was there where his passion for cocktails took root. Over the next 6 years, Masa immersed himself in the craft, learned the art of ice carving, and gained the necessary skills to compete against some of the best bartenders in the area. In 2008 at the age of 26, Masa made the move to New York City to go to school. But before his big move, his former boss reached out to Paul Franich, brand ambassador of 42Below Vodka, who then connected him to famed mixologist, Naren Young. That relationship turned out to be a fortuitous one; Naren became Masa’s mentor and then invited him to be a part of the award-winning bar program at Saxon + Parole.

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015In 2013, Saxon + Parole won World’s “Best Restaurant Bar” at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Esquire named it one of The Best Bars in America, 2014, and the beverage program continues to be recognized as one of the best in the country.

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Masa is drawn to sturdy, often U.S. made pieces that last. He rarely buys clothes but when he does, he is willing to spend on quality. His wardrobe skews to the utilitarian, slightly sentimental, and well worn. The same can be said for his bar tools.

Some of Masa’s favorite tools of the trade are his Hawthorne strainer with extra tight coils, so it catches all of the little bits, a Japanese knife specific for ice carving, with his name engraved on it, given to him in London from his friend Theo Watt, and a bar spoon gifted to him from top Shanghai bartender, Cross Yu

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

…and we can’t forget his Moleskine notebook that he uses to sketch out cocktail recipes. He keeps one a year and has total of 10 kept over the course of his bartending career.

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

The day that we came into Saxon + Parole for Masa’s photo-shoot, they were just about to roll out the gorgeous spring cocktail menu.

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Of course, we needed to sample them all! The Spring Daiquiri, Agave Cooler and the Russian Spring Punch were not only stunning but crazy delicious. Our absolute favorite was the fresh and bright green Spring Daiquiri with muddled snap peas and lemon thyme syrup.

Spring Daiquiri Recipe - Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Luckily Masa was willing to share the recipe with all of us!

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

Spring Daiquiri Recipe - Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

The Spring Daiquiri
2 oz Cana Brava Rum
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Nardini Cedro
1/2 oz lemon thyme simple syrup
3 fresh sugar snap peas
tarragon salt

Method: muddle sugar snap peas in the lemon thyme simple syrup. Add all ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain into frozen glass.
Glass: large coupe
Garnish: halved sugar snap peas and tarragon salt (half rim)

Bartender Style - Masa Urushido - Saxon + Parole - Rose Callahan Photography - Bit by a Fox blog - May 2015

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