BBaF Podcast Episode 15: Kala Maxym and Song & Tonic

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast episode I spoke with Kala Maxym, A professionally-trained opera singer and the Founder and Chief Event Composer of Five Senses Tastings, an LA-based event experience that pairs live music with a wine.

Kala and I have recently joined forces to create a similar events company around cocktails and music called Song & Tonic.

Listen to Episode 15: Kala Maxym & Song & Tonic” – me

We discussed her musical beginnings, what drew her to the wine world, and how we eventually came together to form Song & Tonic.

We also discussed an upcoming Song & Tonic event we have planned for May 6th at Feastly LA here in Venice, California. We have partnered with chef Luis Pechan of Hundred Miles LA and The Spirit Guild, a boutique distillery making gins and vodkas from distilling local clementines.

This event is a love letter to La La Land! Inspired by Chef Louis’s dedication to using hyper local ingredients, Song & Tonic will tell the story of Los Angeles by pairing and deconstructing three LA inspired songs with three artisan cocktails featuring LA-based distillery, The Spirit Guild. Each cocktail ingredient will be paired with an instrument, harmony, or melody from the featured song. As we mix, shake & stir, musicians play melodies and sounds that emulate the ingredients and explore their relation to the full song. And THEN we’ll sit down to a 10-course family style dinner prepared by Chef Louis.

For more information and to purchase tix, head HERE. Use this Foxy Friend discount code to get $25 off: SONGANDTONIC25

For this week’s recipe we decided to share one from our upcoming event, the La La Lemon Drop featuring The Spirit Guild’s Vapid Vodka.

La La Lemon Drop
2 oz Vodka (preferably The Spirit Guild’s Vapid Vodka)
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon curd
2 fresh basil leaves (preferably wild black sage which is indigenous to California)

Add the vodka, lemon juice and lemon curd to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into an icy cold coupe glass, and garnish with fresh basil leaves.


Photography by Leslie Rodriguez  on behalf of Feastly.SaveSave

BBaF Podcast Episode 14: Lost Spirits Distillery

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast episode I spoke with Bryan Davis, founder of  Lost Spirits Distillery here in Los Angeles. Recently named one of the best distillery tours in the world, I had to go down the rabbit hole myself…

This phantasmagoric distillery is like no other – part theme park and mad science lab…with booze, this is where computer technology, molecular mixology and amusement park fantasy converge. Lost Spirits is making award-winning rums and whiskeys using cutting edge distilling techniques and helping to disrupt the industry along the way. Come along for the ride!

Listen to Episode 14: Lost Spirits Distillery” – me

Bryan’s recommended cocktail was a Painkiller made with Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum 61.

Navy Strength Painkiller 
2 oz Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum 61
4 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz cream of coconut
Garnish: grated nutmeg and pineapple wedge

Add all of the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled. strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish wth nutmeg and pineapple wedge.

Restart Your Spring with a Cocktail Inspired by a Spa Visit: Sparkle & Glow with Chareau!

I love the whole idea of Spring being a time of rebirth and renewal. There’s no better time to shake off the winter cobwebs and refresh your whole jam. I always feel especially inspired this time of year. Those ideas that may be lying dormant during the winter months finally have a chance to come out of hibernation..

It is often the little things that provoke inspiration –  like tasting the first in-season spring peas, or enjoying sunshine on your bare shoulders after months of covering up. I had two different experiences recently that inspired this fresh, spring cocktail pictured here.

I recently indulged in a facial with Melissa Lekus Skincare Consulting here in Los Angeles, and was reminded that I need more of that in my life. Melissa, my new SKIN LIFE COACH, slathered the most heavenly combo of ingredients onto my face and neck – like strawberry enzymes, honey, citrus, cooling aloe serum and cucumber toner. Don’t tell me that’s not a recipe for a delicious cocktail!

Melissa Lekus. Photo by Susanica Tam

Not only did it leave me glowing for days and feeling like I got a total life reboot, but I (of course!) came away wanting to create something yummy from that experience.

A week after that dream facial, I came across another inspiring moment; I tried California made spirit Chareau for the first time. This aloe liqueur is made from an eu de vie created from California grapes; Cucumbers, spearmint, muskmelon and citrus – all harvested in the southern California area – make up the main ingredients. And then fresh aloe vera juice is added at the end to create such a delicious and unusual and fresh tasting spirit. It is like tasting California in a glass. It is also like a little spa visit in a glass.

The mint and cucumber really shine through this liqueur, while the aloe creates a silky texture that gives it some heft. I knew this had to be part of my cocktail inspired by my luscious facial!  It all came together for the Sparkle & Glow…

In conclusion, my recommendation for a Spring life refresh is to treat yourself to a luxurious (but also VERY reasonably priced) facial from Melissa Lekus Skincare Consulting, get yourself a bottle of the gorgeous Chareau (available nationwide), and make yourself this spa inspired cocktail. You’ll be sparkling and glowing in no time!

Sparkle & Glow
2 oz Chareau Aloe Liqueur 
4 cucumber slices (1 for garnish)
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 TBS strawberry preserves
3-4 oz sparkling wine

In a shaker tin, add strawberry preserves, cucumber slices and lemon juice. Muddle all ingredients well. Add Chareau and ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a large coupe glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with single cucumber.

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BBaF Podcast Episode 13: Wine Travels with Lauren Mowery

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, I spoke with journalist, award-winning wine blogger, photographer, Masters of Wine candidate, and newly appointed Travel Editor for Wine Enthusiast, Lauren Mowery.

As we sipped from a bottle of bubbly from an up-and-coming wine region (that Lauren brought along to the podcast studio), we discussed her exciting new role as Travel Editor for Wine Enthusiast. She gave us some great travel tips, what regions she’s most looking forward to visiting this next year, and which wines should be on our radar.

I love Lauren’s relatable  approach to wine, her insatiable curiosity about the world, and never-ending wanderlust. It was so great to have her on for this episode and to get a chance to celebrate her enviable new job!

Listen to Episode 13: Wine Travels with Lauren Mowery” – me

Lauren’s recommended cocktail was a simple one that included wine, of course!

Sauternes is a type of sweet wine from the Bordeaux region in France. They can be incredibly cost prohibitive because the grapes are hand picked and the cost of production is very high. However, there are affordable bottles to be had with a little searching. It is SO worth it, I assure you! This Sauternes Aperitif is a wonderful way to enjoy one of these bottles come spring and summer…

Sauternes Aperitif
Pour 5-6 ounces of chilled Sauternes over ice, twist the orange over the glass and drop into the drink. Enjoy!

BBaF Podcast Episode 12: Mezcal with Cecilia Rios Murrieta

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, we dive into Mezcal, the wild and smoky and often misunderstood cousin of tequila. I spoke with Cecilia Rios Murrieta, founder of Oaxacan brand, La Niña del Mezcal.

Cecilia established one of the first blogs about Mezcal and the culture that surrounds it. She is a certified Mezcalier, and a proponent of preserving the traditional production processes of artisan Mezcal.

Listen to Episode 12: Mezcal with Cecilia Rios Murrieta” – me

We spoke about the basics of Mezcal, what differentiates it from tequila, the proper way to drink it, and how she first fell in love with agave spirits.

Cecilia shared with us her favorite cocktail using La Niña del Mezcal Espadin – a Mezcal Old Fashioned. 

On the podcast I refer to this recipe as a Oaxaca Old Fashioned, but that is actually a cocktail created by bartender Phil Ward in 2007 at New York’s Death & Co. and also includes tequila. This version is more of a traditional Old Fashioned recipe with the Mezcal as the base spirit and agave nectar as the sweetening agent.

Mezcal Old Fashioned – served in a rocks glass with ice
2 oz La Niña del Mezcal Espadin
Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz agave syrup
garnish: Orange Peel

Add the agave syrup to your rocks glass, 3-4 dashes of bitters and a large ice cube or a couple of smaller ones. Then pour in about 2 oz mezcal. You can give that a good old stir to make sure everything gets mixed properly and cooled down a bit. Rub the rim of the glass with an orange peel, twist and garnish.

Boozy BOM BOM Egg Cream Sodas

Spring has sprung and some bunny has been verrry busy…*hic*

This holiday weekend it is all about boozy egg cream sodas – the grown up treat you WISH appeared in your Easter basket come Sunday morning. I mean, nothing says Easter like chocolate and egg things….and booze. Amirite?!

These are not your grandma’s egg creams, which traditionally have neither eggs nor cream…nor booze for that matter! But we’re bucking tradition with these spiked versions because there’s a new cream liqueur in town, and their fun flavors are just begging to be turned into egg cream sodas.

BOM BOM, which means “good good” in Portuguese and is slang for “my sweetie” in Spain,  launched a year and a half ago and they currently market two products: Coco Mochanut – a blend of chocolate, coffee, coconut and Caribbean rum, and Nilli Vanilli, made with rum, almond milk and vanilla cookie flavors. BOM BOM is now sold in 11 states, and growing, and it sounds like a third flavor is on the horizon very soon.

The Coco Mochanut Liqueur was the first flavor BOM BOM released. It is basically an adult version of chocolate milk. The coconut and hazelnut flavors are fairly subtle but what really rounds this combo out is the little unexpected coffee kick. When I tried this for the first time I thought it was great on its own but no doubt aMAHzing in a Coconut Mocha Egg Cream!

Coconut Mocha Egg Cream
2 oz BOM BOM Coco Mochanut Liqueur
2 oz Whole Milk
1 oz Gold Rum
1 oz Chocolate Syrup
Seltzer

In a chilled 16 oz glass, pour in syrup, milk, rum, and BOM BOM Coco Mochanut Liqueur. Add ice and then top with seltzer and stir until there is a light foam on top.

Technically, a cream liqueur is just a liqueur with cream added to it. Even though Nilli Vanilli  Liqueur is actually dairy free it was recently named the #1 Cream Liqueur for 2017 by the International Review of Spirits. The almond milk keeps it lighter than most cream liqueurs and the vanilla cookie flavor thankfully tastes like real vanilla and is not too sweet. Perfect for the Cookies & Egg Cream Soda!

Cookies & Egg Cream Soda
2 oz BOM BOM Nilli Vanilli Liqueur
2 oz Almond Milk
1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Vanilla Syrup
Seltzer

In a chilled 16 oz glass, pour in syrup, almond milk, vodka, and BOM BOM Nilli Vanilli Liqueur. Add ice and then top with seltzer and stir until there is a light foam on top.

BBaF Podcast Episode 11: Chicago Style Cocktail Conference

The Chicago Style Cocktail Conference is not your typical booze-fest. The three women founders behind this new cocktail conference coming to Chicago in May – coinciding with the James Beard Awards – are making it a point to address some much needed issues in the cocktail community – such as diversity, sexism and inclusion. They will even touch on substance abuse and sustainability in their featured panels.

Sharon Bronstein, director of marketing for the 86 Co. – a spirits & importing company, Shelby Allison, owner of the celebrated Chicago tiki bar Lost Lake, and Caitlin Laman, decorated bartender and beverage director at the Ace Hotel Chicago are the women behind this forward thinking cocktail conference that is already getting a ton of buzz.

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast I spoke with Shelby Allison, a James Beard Award nominee, and one of the founders of Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.

Listen to Episode 11: Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.” – me

Shelby also revealed to us her current go-to, pre-batched cocktail that she keeps in the fridge for a moment’s notice – The Florentine – an equal parts cocktail created at NYC bar, Attaboy.

In the spirit of the Negroni, this equal parts drink has vermouth and a bitter-sweet Italian liqueur. But in this stirred cocktail, the vermouth is dry and is accompanied by a low ABV (alcohol by volume) aperitif wine – Cocchi Americano. Cynar – an Amaro made from artichokes – is much darker and herbaceous than its Italian relative, Campari. This aromatic combo makes for a complex, rich and bittersweet sipper.

The Florentine created at New York’s Attaboy
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, and then strain into a cocktail glass. Optional garnish: orange peel.

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Put a ‘Spring’ in Your Step with Yerba Mate Cooler!

I don’t know what it’s like where you are but around these parts I’m FEELING the spring pretty profoundly this year. The birds are chirping up a storm, blossoms are exploding onto the mean streets of La La Land, and there are hints that the unusually cool winter we’ve had in SoCal is making it’s way to warmer days. Which makes sense since tomorrow is officially the first day of spring! What better way to celebrate the Spring Equinox than with an adult bevvie that will put a spring in your step…literally!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago with the Yerba Mate Horchata cocktail, Argentinian Yerba Mate can be a delicious and welcome addition to a mixed drink. It’s slightly stimulating, with about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but is also a rich source of powerful antioxidants, even higher than green tea. It boasts B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and manganese…there’s a reason why the people of South America have been sipping on this stuff for centuries. And as I’ve discovered recently, it’s delicious in cocktails! This is the second cocktail out of four I’ll be sharing with you guys as a recent resident recipe creator for Argentina Yerba Mate…and one of my favorites.

The Yerba Mate Cooler was the later afternoon drink we served a few weeks back at the Create & Cultivate Conference here in LA. But this drink makes even more sense now that we are on the cusp of spring.

Fresh squeezed grapefruit and lime juice, a kick of ginger, and blanco tequila compliments the herbaceous almost woodsy notes of the Argentinian yerba mate tea. And topping it all off with bubbles makes this especially refreshing.

Yerba Mate Cooler – served over ice
2 oz Argentinian Yerba Mate, cooled
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
2 oz Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Ginger Syrup*
1/2 oz Lime Juice
Sparkling Water
Garnish: lime wheel, candied ginger

Shake all ingredients except sparkling water over ice until well chilled. Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge and candied ginger.

* Ginger Syrup – makes about 1.5 cups

1 cup of chopped ginger (no need to peel for this)
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar

In a large stockpot, bring the ginger, water and sugar to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let everything steep and cool to room temperature. When the syrup has completely cooled, strain the syrup, pressing the ginger to release as much liquid as possible. After straining, you can set aside the ginger solids for other uses, or discard. Store the syrup in the fridge until you are ready to use. Should keep for about 3 weeks.


This post was sponsored (and powered!) by Argentinian Yerba Mate

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BBaF Podcast Episode 10: Irish Whiskey with Tim Herlihy

Since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to make sure we had a decent intro to Irish whiskey on the Bit by a Fox Podcast for the occasion. And I couldn’t think of anyone better than Irishman, Irish whiskey expert and Tullamore D.E.W. brand ambassador,Tim Herlihy to charm us through this Irish whiskey lesson.

In this week’s episode, Tim breaks down what the difference is between Irish whiskey and other whiskey categories, he fills us in on a bit of history and what makes Irish whiskey so special. We also learn exactly how the Irish truly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Hint – it doesn’t involve green beer. Tim also shared with us his favorite Irish whiskey cocktail, The Tipperary.

Listen to Episode 10: Irish Whiskey with Tim Herlihy” – me

The Tipperary
1.5 oz Irish Whiskey
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
2 dashes of aromatic Bitters
Orange Twist for garnish

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, and then strain into a cocktail glass. Express the oils of the orange peel over the glass and garnish.

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BBaF Podcast Episode 9: Spirited Women with Ashley Rose Conway

March is National Women’s Month and on the podcast we’re celebrating ladies in the booze industry for much of this month! First up is an interview with Ashley Rose Conway of popular cocktail blog Craft + Cocktails. In honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, Ashley launched a new column on her site called Spirited Women, a platform from which she can share stories about the badass ladies in the spirits industry. During my interview with Ashley we discuss what led her to this launch and why it is so important to highlight these women in an industry that has long been dominated by men.

Listen to Episode 9: Spirited Women with Ashley Rose Conway” – me

Ashley shared her recent go-to cocktail of the moment – a seasonal and simple sherry cobbler. This low alcohol sipper is refreshing and absolutely gorgeous.

Blood Orange Sherry Cobbler
3 1/2 oz sherry
1 oz blood orange juice
1 oz meyer lemon juice, or .75 oz of regular lemon juice
1 lemon peal
Garnish: dash nutmeg, mint sprig, blood orange slice, Meyer lemon slice

Add crushed ice to a collins or flute glass. Add all of the liquids and lemon peel into a shaker and shake. Strain into the glass. Add more crushed ice to fill the glass. Grate nutmeg over the glass. Garnish with mint sprig and fruit slices.

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