I was recently asked to create a signature cocktail for a very special birthday celebration. Since it was an important milestone for John, they wanted to make it personal.
John’s wife, Jenn (also, my former boss and all around bad ass), contacted me about a month before the party. She mentioned that their caterer, Nisa Lee, had already picked out a catchy name – The Green Mountain Cooler, in honor of John’s love of Vermont – and she had already purchased the green American Heritage Ball Mason Jars (featured on the blog!). But they still needed a fun, summer cocktail to fill them with! I was more than happy to help.
Because of their shared love of Vermont, and John’s recent penchant for Gin & Tonics once summer had hit, I thought the perfect spirit for the occasion would be Vermont-made Barr Hill Gin from Caledonia Spirits, profiled here back in January.
Coincidentally, they had just tried Barr Hill Gin the weekend before I suggested this, when a friend happened to bring a bottle over to their place. And they became instant fans! We decided to go for a fancified version of a G&T…
Below is the recipe I created for this signature cocktail based on a few other flavor favorites for the summer – cucumbers, lime and ginger!
Instead of regular tonic, I wanted to use one of my all time favorite mixers with gin – Fever Tree’s Bitter Lemon Soda. Because it is flavored with quinine, it has that familiar tonic bite. But this soda is all natural, not too sweet, is super effervescent and a little goes a long way. The Bitter Lemon Soda is also made with Sicilian lemons, so it’s just a little sexier than your average cocktail mixer. Add in some fresh made ginger syrup, muddled cucumbers and lime, and you have the perfect summer sipper. And a gorgeous accessory for your next rooftop summer party!
Thanks John and Jenn for letting me be a part of this special day!
Many apologies for this belated post. I attended this lovely event right before my vacation and I’ve been dying to share it ever since. But, like a good vacationer (and bad blogger!) I’ve been pretty unplugged for the last few weeks. Here it is, finally!
On June 17th, beloved French spirit, Cointreau transformed two floors of Soho’s Broome Hotel into La Maison Cointreau, a whimsical, orange-filled Parisian fantasy!
This immersive, one night only event was to celebrate the brand’s partnership with Grey Area founder Kyle Dewoody, interior designer/chef Athena Calderone and artist Kate Schelter, our hosts for the evening.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BFA/SAMANTHA DEITCH
This painfully cute orange Fiat, parked outside the hotel, set the tone for a fanciful eve…
And this belle homme, who greeted us upon our arrival, didn’t hurt the eyes either. Comment allez-VOUS!
A three story orange tree was constructed in the middle of the hotel’s courtyard.
And surrounding this towering homage to citrus, was a customized bar, filled with handsome French-y bartenders serving Cointreau cocktails all night long. Can I move in, please?
There was a pop up café serving macarons, delicate tea sandwiches and more Cointreau cocktails.
In another one of the rooms downstairs, Kyle Ford, Rémy Cointreau’s Cocktail and Spirits Expert and co-founder of Ford Mixology Lab, was instructing guests on how to make Cointreau Rickeys. (I put mint and strawberries in mine. Yum!)
The interactive event didn’t stop there. Upstairs, one room was transformed into a custom library where guests were invited to learn about Cointreau’s impressive history as told through vintage cocktail books…
While another room was transformed into an art and food station, where guests were encouraged to create watercolor paintings, pin sepia-toned pictures to mood boards and indulge in crostini recipe tutorials…Did I mention that I wanted to move in?
Seriously, what do I need to do so my life looks more like this?? I clearly need to drink more Cointreau! Mission accomplished, Rémy Cointreau! Count this lady a super fan!
Truth be told, I’ve been a lover of Cointreau for most of my adult life. What’s not to love? This 160 year old French spirit is one of the original triple secs, a liqueur made from dried bitter and sweet orange peels from all over the world. And, while a beautiful addition in cocktails, can stand on its own, neat or on the rocks. And at 80 proof, this liqueur can also be used as a base spirit in many classic cocktails, as in their signature cocktail, the Cointreau Rickey. Also to be noted, their early advertising utilized some of the most beautiful and avant garde artwork in the spirits industry at the time. And in terms of marketing themselves now, they clearly have not lost their touch! La Maison Cointreau was an orange-tinged dream…
Read about the history of Cointreau here. And pick up one of their beautiful bottles, lime & soda to make up some of your very own Cointreau Rickeys! Maybe you’ll be inspired to watercolor as well…
PHOTOGRAPHY BY NILAYA SABNIS
You may have noticed that this boozy blog has been unusually quiet lately…and for that, I apologize. But even booze bloggers need a break! I really had pictured myself writing exotic drink posts from various patios, over expertly made cappuccinos on the coast of Italy or from the Dalmatian Islands of Croatia…but I just have not been able to bring myself to sit in front of my laptop for any stretch of time these last couple of weeks. Also, WIFI has been slim to none. But, not to worry! I’ll be back after the 6th of July to give my full report on my drink experiences in this massively delicious part of the world. With tons of inspirations for summer cocktail flavors! Limoncello from the Amalfi Coast? Croatian Lavender? Italian bitters? Wine? Beer? Local spirits? It’s safe to say I’m eating and drinking my way through this vacation. If you want some annoying visual references (there is seriously a LOT of pics of aquamarine waters and sunsets), and proof that I’m not really just hiding out in my apartment for the last half of June, follow my Instagram!
Wish you were heeeeerrrrreeeee!
I’m not much of a beer drinker. But occasionally a tall, cold one really hits the spot. There’s usually pizza and organized sports involved. And a summer-induced thirst. Beer just isn’t my go-to unless I’m crazy thirsty. Like, hiking-all-day-in-the-blazing-hot-sun-and-running-out-of-water-halfway-like-a-punk, kind of thirsty. Or sweating-it-out-on-a-steamy-city-beach-in-the-middle-of-July-without-an-umbrella-like-a-dumb-dumb, kind of thirsty. So, I basically chug that first pint down without tasting it, all the while proclaiming it to be the best thing I’ve ever had in my life because I’m desperate for something that is cold, bubbly and better than water. But, it’s during that second frosty one that I’m always surprised by how much I really enjoy beer. Like I’ve just discovered it for the first time and that maybe, just maybe, I’ll start keeping six packs of the stuff around, expand my regular drinking repertoire, and start talking about hops and barley and the difference between porters and stouts on the blog. And then I realize it’s just a fleeting affair and, while delicious in the moment, spirits and cocktails still have my heart (and other vital organs, most likely). Also, I really don’t know anything. So, there’s that. And the Thirsty Wench and The Beeroness have that beer world creatively and expertly covered. I’ll just stick to what I know! Like beer cocktails, for instance…
I love a beer cocktail! And this one, The Staycation, served at last Friday’s Backyard Summer Spirits event, was a favorite. Four ingredient cocktails are also pretty great. But when so few ingredients are involved, the quality of those ingredients is pretty important. Luckily, I got to use two top notch craft spirits, Suerte Tequila Blanco and Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur for this amber beauty. Fresh lime juice and a crisp, clean pilsner or pale ale round out this beer cocktail that will most likely be your summer BBQ beverage of choice. Not kidding, this sucker is a breeze to make, not too sweet, and a crowd pleaser. The Staycation is a thirst quencher…with a kick!
Welp. This has been the rainiest week we’ve had in ages, and it’s been one helleva nail biter leading up tonight’s event. Buuut, it looks like the sun is out right now and the birds are tentatively chirping. And we’ve just confirmed an indoor space at the same location, so WE GOOD! I mean, look at all the cocktails we have cooking up for all y’all. A little rain is NOT going to stop this boozy train from coming in. Backyard or not!
So, look over these summer-inspired tipples with local spirit goodness, and figure out which one you’re going to try first! But if you can’t make it tonight to try these in person, for some reason, each one of these recipe will be up on the blog in the next couple of days.
See you later!
If you are in the New York City area, make sure to save the date for next Friday night, June 13th for an over the top, outdoor summer spirits event in Brooklyn: Backyard Summer Spirits 2014. My favorite local booze makers and spirits of all time will be participating in this tasting slash block party slash neighborhood hang in Clinton Hill. And the best part? It’s FREE!!! Seriously doesn’t get any better than that! The amazing neighborhood wine and spirits shop Atlantic Cellars, along with booze delivery service Minibar, and yours truly, have all joined forces with these incredible distillers to bring you an epic spirits event to kick off the summer in a big way. And if you’ve ever eaten at Bed Stuy’s Alice’s Arbor restaurant, you know that the food at this shindig is going to be top notch. AND, I’ll be mixing up some yummy cocktails to wash that grub down. Did I mention this is FREE? Oh, and cigars from Blew Smoke Lounge to go with that New York made whiskey? Dude. You can’t AFFORD to miss this.
So, mark your calendars, clear your schedule and coordinate with your friends. This can be your very own private/public backyard party in the sunshine…and all on our dime. But since this is FREE, you should make sure to RSVP to guarantee that you’re in. And get there early to pick up some extra goodies!
See you next FRIDAY!
If you’ve been following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you know that I’ve just spent this past week whooping it up in Vegas, baby! The 5th Annual Saveur Best Food Blog Awards was a whirlwind ride, made in foodie heaven. And it was pretty rad. We were given a behind the scenes tour of the Bellagio Hotel from the executive chefs, Master Patisserie Chef, sous chefs, Master Sommelier and the top mixologists on the property. We got to see the intricate dim sum operation at Jasmine - the beautiful, traditional Chinese restaurant that overlooks Bellagio’s famous fountains. We witnessed the incredible process that goes into the candy and chocolate creations for all of the property. There was a Highland Park Whisky tasting and food pairing, followed by a super boozy meatball tutorial. I thought that was a brilliant maneuver. Meatballs covered in sauce and melty cheese = pretty much exactly what you want when you are day drinking a variety of premium glasses of scotch. And as a topper, our table of bloggers won the meatball making contest! We may have celebrated with another cocktail or two. Let’s just say, when the tuturial was over, I accidently walked out of the test kitchen with a glass in one hand, a box of whisk(e)y chocolates in the other and my test kitchen apron still firmly tied around my waist. I was bit by a fox! And my mom called me out on it. Yep, I was the only one who brought their mother. Because I know how to party in Vegas. Shyeah! (also, she’s awesome)
The best part of it all was meeting the incredible talent behind all of the beautiful blogs that were deemed “The Best” by Saveur Magazine. I was, of course, immediately drawn to my boozy compatriots: Raul from Death To Sour Mix, Elana from Stir and Strain, Jackie from The Beeroness, Robin from The Thirsty Wench and Whitney from Brunellos Have More Fun. But I was also introduced to a variety of food bloggers from all over the world! Bakers, vegans, Canadians, oh my! And they were all so incredibly sweet and supportive of one another. It was humbling to be a part of this group, to say the least. It was also wonderful to finally meet the Saveur team behind all this glitz and hoopla. Again, everyone was super kind and complementary.
The whole, beautiful affair was topped with an over the top, multiple course dinner made especially for us by the folks at Bellagio! The dinner came out of their test kitchen and we were able to try dishes that had not yet made it to their fancy pants menus. They wanted our opinions first! Did anyone tell them there were some booze bloggers in the mix that may or may not have the most refined palates? I wasn’t about to! I wanted to get my face in there!
And for our “awards” we each received our very own engraved Le Creuset pans!
I’m the shy one in the front. :/
The lovely, Stephanie from i am a food blog (how great is that name, btw?) won Saveur’s first ever Blog of the Year award. Make sure to read her recap of the events last week and follow her blog as well! In fact, follow them all! I can’t tell you how much I liked these kids! And I’m looking forward to seeing great things from all of them.
Thanks again, to all of you who voted and supported me throughout this process. None of this would have happened without the support of all of you!
By the way, If you want to see more pics from last week, check out my Instagram page!
Negroni Week is almost upon us! And I’ve been tasked to come up with my own spin on this near perfect and increasingly popular cocktail from the folks helping to sponsor this fun and charitable event, Imbibe Magazine. Pretty tall order, since the original recipe is basically flawless: 1 part gin, 1 part Campari and 1 part sweet vermouth. But, I love a Boulevardier, and I’ve had other variations on this classic recipe that I’ve been into, so I was more than willing to give it a shot!
As I mentioned a few days ago, the Negroni is rumored to have been created in the 1920s when Count Camillo Negroni asked his favorite bartender at Cafe Casoni in Florence, Italy to stiffen up his Americano with gin, and to take out that silly bubbly water, because…more booze. Duh. You know that dude was just getting bit by a fleet of foxes on the regular. But what about Countess Negroni? Did she exist? Was she fabulous? (I suppose I could research this…but, that’s an internet wormhole I think I’ll stay away from now.) In any case, I like to imagine she had a bit of fun too. This cocktail was created with her in mind. Take that, Count! Your lady, who may or may not have existed, has a drink now too!
The Countess Negroni
1 1/2 oz Owney’s Rum
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 oz Campari
3/4 oz Armadillo Cake Atsby Vermouth
grapefruit peel for garnish
All ingredients can be stirred with ice until well chilled. Strain into a short glass with a few rocks and garnish with grapefruit peel.
Even though most Negroni fans can agree that this drink can be sipped year round, since Negroni Week is from June 2nd to June 8th, I wanted to put more of a summery spin on my version. Grapefruit and Campari is like a marriage made in citrus heaven. And white rum always makes me think of summer! Naturally, I wanted to use a BBaF favorite, Brooklyn-made, Owney’s Rum. This deliciously smooth rum works so well in this riff on a Negroni because it’s not overly sweet, has a little spice and works well with citrus and bitter flavors. It also happens to be made by my favorite lady booze maker, Bridget Firtle from The Noble Experiment. It seemed like the perfect fit for this viva la femme cocktail. Keeping it local, I was excited to use a different kind of vermouth, instead of the standard Italian sweet vermouth. And I opted for Atsby “Armadillo Cake” Vermouth. This modern, aromatic vermouth is less sweet and bitter than what most people are used to. It’s earthy and sexy and floral, with a hint of chamomile. I’ve also paired these two local spirits before and loved the result!
photo by luciebelle photography
I hope you get out there next week for Negroni Week! Bars around the world will be mixing up this beloved cocktail and donating proceeds to their favorite charities. Check out the participating bars and drink your charitable ass off!
Happy Memorial Day, everyone! If you’re in New York, I hope you’ve been basking in the heaven-sent sunshine that decided to make a comeback just in time to usher us all into the summer season. While it’s not technically summer, this is the weekend that always kicks things off. And, it also marks the beginning of my months long obsession with the Aperol Spritz. Or “spreetz” as they are called in Venice, Italy. (You have to say that, when ordering, with a super heavy Italian accent, by they way, otherwise it won’t be as fun.) Normally, during this time of year, I’m sampling this traditional Italian aperitif cocktail all over town, and this year is no different, except my obsession is exacerbated by the fact that I’m heading to Italy in a couple of weeks…and I can’t get enough. Aperol Spritzers all day every day! I’m having a hard time NOT telling my bartender/server/person I’m with every time I order one of these that I’m just prepping for when I can get a “real” one in Venice in a couple of weeks. But…I try not to be an asshole when I’m in public, so I’ve been abstaining from commenting at all.
The Americano cocktail (Campari, Sweet Vermouth, Club Soda) is also a delightfully low alcohol, refreshing tipple during the warmer season. But I can never remember to order it. It’s the Aperol Spritz that always comes to mind when I’m craving orange-y, bitter Italian liqueur and bubbles. But, I thought for this Memorial Day post, I’d do a mash-up of an Aperol Spritz and an Americano cocktail. Fun fact: The Americano was the first cocktail ordered by James Bond in the very first book, Casino Royale, and is so named because of its popularity with American tourists during Prohibition. And…is rumored to have been the inspiration behind the Negroni cocktail. Supposedly, Count Camillo Negroni asked his bartender to strengthen his favorite cocktail by adding gin instead of soda water. Dude really wanted to get bit by a fox!
3-4 oz Brut Prosecco
2 oz Aperol
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Club Soda
Pour the Aperol and dry vermouth into a large, high ball glass with some ice. Top with prosecco and club soda. Garnish with cherry, lemon wheel or little flag!
Make this drink today or any day this summer. Also, it’s your patriotic duty to watch Little Edie perform her flag dance. Enjoy!
I can hardly believe that it’s been a whole year since I started this boozy blog. SOOO many cocktails created! Favorite spirits sipped, shaken and discussed! Vintage photos stolen from the internet! Events thrown and attended! Restaurants and bars crushed on! Fuzzy pictures of drinks posted! And SO many foxes. Seriously. I’ve gotten so many adorable, foxy things from friends and family since I started this thing: teacups, stationary, earrings, pins, figurines, dishes and hand drawn cards. And I still can’t get enough! I’m turning into a crazy, fox lady. And I don’t caaaaare. I mean…
C’mon!!! Look at those faces. All the better to bite you with, my dear!
So, instead of posting a cocktail recipe for the one year anniversary of this blog, I thought I’d share with you, my foxy friends, what I envision for the Bit by a Fox site this coming year.
- Cocktails! (of course) – more pics, searchable and printable recipes
- Video content
- Guest bloggers and Q&As with special boozy guests
- Visitor Interaction - recipe sharing, cocktail discussions, feedback on posts
- Cocktail Style – featured bar ware, bar carts, foxy duds
- Fox on the Town – documenting our favorite bars, restaurants and events in New York City & beyond
- Distillery tours – a behind the scenes look at how our booze is made
Sooo, that’s a lot! But it won’t be all at once. And I’ll be introducing most of this stuff soon after the redesign of the site. This fox needs a little make-over! And I’m super excited to discover all of these changes with all of you!
Next week, at this time, I’ll be in Las Vegas for the Fifth Annual Saveur Magazine Best Food Blog Awards at the Bellagio Hotel. I’m so beyond excited, I can barely stand it. It’s such an incredible honor because I’ll be there with some of the most talented food and drinks bloggers around right now. It’s really these guys that have made me want to up my game. I hope you’ve had a chance to check out all of the winners, as well as the folks nominated in each category. It will send you down a crazy, food blogging wormhole where you’ll emerge incredibly hungry, inspired to go exotic spice shopping, and overcome with the need to take pictures of every luscious crumb on your plate. It’s head-spinning how beautiful these blogs are. You guys! I’ve spent the entire year posting pictures of cocktails with my iPhone! Woops! Instagram filters don’t really translate that well off of the phone and onto a big computer screen. So, yeah, I finally bought a camera. Duh. Viva la Cannon! So that’s the first change around here, and it starts NOW (those pics above are my first!)
So, thank you for sticking with me through all of the grainy shots…and insane rants about the weather, suggestive vintage pictures that have nothing to do with booze, holiday countdown obsessions and epically long posts. It really means a lot.
Cheers to another year of getting Bit by a Fox!