Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Dragon Fire…and Comedy!

Dragon Fire Cocktail

Man, kids nowadays have it pretty good. I don’t know what school fundraisers looked like when you were in grade school but, when I was a kid, our fundraisers would usually consist of pretty weak bake sales, “talent” shows with questionable performances involving Casio keyboard solos and way too much spandex. And, if we were lucky, a raffle for a rib eye steak dinner at The Eagles Club downtown. Who knows how much money was raised during those olden days school fundraisers or if that money even translated into learning materials or fancy, new tetherballs (which is all I really cared about anyway), but I’m telling you! School fundraisers have turned a freaking corner! That is, at least, if you live in the land of sunshine and palm trees and…insanely talented parents (with insanely talented friends): Los Angeles, California. Because, then you can recruit those insanely talented people to perform at your school’s Comedy Night and put them to WERK. Look at this bonkers lineup:

comedy nightThis is a public school fundraiser, you guys! I bet they’ll make more money than two dozen batches of peanut butter rice crispy treats. Although, every bit as delightful, I’m sure! And, fingers crossed there is a little spandex and a Casio keyboard solo or two in one of these sets.

IF you happen to live in the Los Angeles area, and enjoy laughing A TON, and like the idea of wicked smart human kids around instead of a bunch of dum dums, and care about the future of our world, in general, you may want to consider attending this evening of LOLz this Saturday to benefit Ivanhoe Elementary. Another incentive? The Dragon Fire cocktail!

Dragon Fire Cocktail with Tito's Handmade VodkaBooze! For the children!

I’m not saying that it’s your DUTY to humanity to support the education of our youth, or anything, buuuut if you miss out on this laugh riot, you also miss out on this kicky delight. Tito’s Handmade Vodka, from Austin, Texas, has generously donated to this event, and I have created a few signature dragon themed (Ivanhoe’s mascot!) cocktails. The Dragon Fire is my favorite! The Red Zinger Tea syrup and grapefruit juice ups the zing-factor and the Tabasco lends the fire. This can be served with or without ice.

Dragon Fire
2 oz Tito’s Handmade Vodka
2 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Red Zinger Tea Syrup*
1/2 oz Lime Juice
Dash Tabasco
Seltzer

Place all the ingredients, except the seltzer in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass (without ice) or an ice-filled highball glass. Top with a splash of seltzer. Add a grapefruit peel to the cocktail glass or a lime wedge to the highball.

* Red Zinger Tea Syrup

1 cup water
5 Red Zinger Tea bags
1 cup sugar

Heat water in a saucepan until boiling and remove from heat. Place tea bags in hot water and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove tea bags. Add in sugar, and stir over heat until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool. Can keep for up to two weeks.

I am told that Comedy Night Too!, benefiting the amazing public school, Ivanhoe Elementary, still has a few tickets left for this Saturday. It’s hosted by The Sklar Brothers and features Jeff Garlin, Nick Kroll, TJ Miller, Kumail Nanjani, Al Madrigal, Rob Corddry and Cameron Esposito. And the Dragon Fire cocktail! That’s a HOT ticket! Get them HERE!

Cocktails! New York! Me! The FoodyDirect Interview You’ve All Been Waiting For!

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FoodyDirect, is an online marketplace that enables users to find and get food from top restaurants, bakeries and gourmet grocers delivered right to their home or office.

A curated restaurant row.

Want authentic Texas barbecue but live in Michigan? Or have a hankering for Detroit-style pizza and you live in Texas? Or maybe you want Maryland crab cakes, cannolis from Ferrara’s in New York’s Little Italy and lobster rolls from Brooklyn’s Red Hook Lobster Pound, all at one party and you don’t want to spend your life hunting down a way to get it all delivered to your door. Well, this company can save the day, and make your gastronomic dreams come true. Basically, they’re doing what Seamless and Grubhub do in New York, on a national scale. That sounds like a million dollar idea, eh? Wish I thought of it!

Sooo, these geniuses have apparently deemed me an “Expert”…in sipping cocktails, that is! And so, I did an interview with them where I talked a whole lot about it. I also talked a little about how the Bit by a Fox blog came about. So, if you ever wondered what I think makes a perfect bar, or what my favorite cold weather cocktails are, or how to order drinks like a pro, check this out. Bottom line, I like to gab about COCKTAILS!

‘Be Mixed’ Cocktail Mixers – Your New Secret Boozy Weapon

Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year? How’s that going for you? Now that we’re full-on into mid January, have you stuck to your guns or chucked those notions of perfection out the window? In the past, I’ve done the ‘Dry January’ thing and I considered doing it again this year, but then I was like…”no”.

bemixed bottle and cocktails

I’m not saying it’s a bad idea to take a break from the hard stuff after the booze-festation of the holidays, but going cold turkey may not be realistic. For me. Right now. Ok, I may do it in February! That’s a shorter month anyhow.

In any case, I am trying to make an effort to be healthier. While whiskey may be considered vitamin-enriched health food, cocktails, not so much. Mixed drinks tend to be high, calorically due to a lot of added sugar. I don’t care for super sweet cocktails and I tend to keep my recipes lower on the sugar spectrum, but in order to achieve a balanced drink, there does need to be a sweet element. A lot of times people reach for sugary sodas or pre-made mixers to fulfill this component. And, if they are trying to be “healthy”, they’ll use a diet soft drink or something with “skinny” in the name. Ugh. Please don’t do that. Whenever I hear the word skinny next to the word cocktail my hackles get raised. The ingredient list in those things is, undoubtedly, long, indecipherable and 100% garbage. Don’t mess with my cocktails, skinny bitches! LOLz. JK, I love skinny people.

But, not all low calorie, sugar-free cocktail mixers are created equal.

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Be Mixed is a single serving, bottled cocktail mixer that is zero calories, is sugar-free, and is actually pretty yummy. Best of all, it doesn’t have a bunch of chemicals in it masquerading as “skinny”. They use all natural ingredients, including monk fruit, long used in China for medicinal purposes and as a sweetener. Cristina Ros Blankfein and Jennifer Ross, the powerhouse ladies behind Be Mixed, which has been slowly launching since October, came up with their business idea while at Harvard Business School. Jennifer has Type 1 Diabetes and has spent a lifetime avoiding sugar. But not fun! It was important to both of them to create something that was not only enjoyable as a spirits mixer and easy to entertain with, but was also a product that was low in sugar and used natural ingredients.

Be Mixed founders

Their Ginger, Honey, Lime is the first mix they’ve rolled out with, and they are intending to reveal another by next month. The mini bottles are single serving portions. On the bottle itself, you are directed to mix the whole thing with a shot of your preferred spirit, and then you’re good to go! But, after getting my hands on a couple of these babies, I couldn’t help messing with them to create whole new cocktails! And to see if it could go with a variety of spirits. Turns out, it does!

bemixed bottle with whiskey

I wanted to experiment with a typically boozy cocktail like a Boulevardier, with the intention of lightening it up with the mixer and a little citrus. Testing out the recipe a few times, I decided to take out the vermouth, up the Italian bitter quotient with Cynar, and back off on the Campari so it wasn’t the dominant flavor.

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With equal parts Rittenhouse Rye and Be Mixed, and the addition of Campari, Cynar and lemon juice, The Bitter Rye turns into a decidedly different cocktail, but with remnants of that original pre-prohibition era inspiration.

whiskey cocktailThe Bitter Rye
2 oz Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey
2 oz Be Mixed Ginger, Honey, Lime
3/4 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 oz Lemon Juice

Shake all ingredients over ice until outside of shaker is nice and frosty. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

bemixed gin cocktail all.jpgFor a totally different cocktail using the same exact mixer, I made the The Hayworth Honey - a gin-based highball that uses the entire single serving bottle, as intended. Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin with raw Vermont honey, seemed like a perfect complement to the flavors in Be Mixed. I decided to mirror the other flavors in the mix as well, ginger and lime, by including Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur and fresh lime juice. The touch of Yellow Chartreuse helps to elevate the honey and herbaceous qualities, and the splash of bubbles makes this cocktail slightly effervescent.

gin cocktailThe Hayworth Honey
2 oz Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin
Bottle of Be Mixed Ginger, Honey, Lime
3/4 oz Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1/2 oz Lime Juice
Club Soda

Shake all the ingredients except the soda over ice and strain into an ice filled high ball glass. Top with club soda and give a stir with a straw to combine.

Happy New Year!

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I hope everyone enjoyed their night, whether you blew the roof off da club or decided to cozy  up with some Netflix and take out…or experienced anything in between! Thank you all for coming on this boozy journey with me this past year. It’s been an epic, fox-filled year. Here’s to a fabulous new day, and new year with a bright future full of beautiful possibilities. I raise a glass to all of you!

Auld Lang Syne – A New Year’s Eve Cocktail

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You didn’t think I forgot about New Year’s Eve, did you? It is, of course, the time of year when ALL of the foxes are out just lying in wait to bite the beejesus out of every last one of us. That is why I usually like to keep my imbibing low-key, lest I join the amateurs who have just discovered that booze can make you happy and uninhibited and…loud and sloppy. Mistakes can be made. Things can be broken. Tears can be shed. I’m not a stranger to those mistakes, my friends! But now, I can see to the other side! I like to think there is an art to truly celebrating. So tonight, let’s create some f*%&ing ART!

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When midnight strikes tonight, the Scottish folk song, Auld Lang Syne will be played throughout the globe and, although most people do not know the words, some will try to sing along. I love the nostalgic sentiment – to remember the past, appreciate old friends and toast the passing of time. Because of this major Scottish influence on our lives once a year, I thought we all deserved a Scottish influenced drink to toast with while we rock and sway to this tune later on tonight. And Highland Park Single Malt Scotch 12 Year seemed appropriately classic for the occasion.

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Highland Park is not the only time-honored bottle here, however. It wouldn’t be a New Year’s Eve cocktail without some champers, and Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne is about as iconic as it gets. Grand Marnier Liqueur also knows a thing or two about quality and resilience and all around bad-ass deliciousness.

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According to the Greeks, Pomegranates are luck fruit and in many cultures they represent life, fertility, prosperity and health. And they’re also lovely floating around in a bubbly coupe glass! So, let’s throw a few of those beauties into our cocktail for good measure!

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Auld Lang Syne
1/2 oz Highland Park Scotch 12 Year
1/2 oz Grand Marnier Liqueur
1/4 oz Lemon Juice
Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne
Pomegranate Seeds for Garnish

In an ice filled shaker, combine the first three ingredients. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Top with Champagne and pomegranate seeds.

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Foxy ones, enjoy your night tonight, toast the new year, appreciate the lessons from the past and keep it klassy! Most of all, celebrate the h*ck out of this night. Bring it, 2015!

Merry Christmas!

I hope every last one of you foxy mofos gets everything your heart desires this year! I’ll just be hanging out next to this raging fire in my leopard print cat suit until the new year. Feliz Navidad, my foxes!

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Last Minute Gift Idea: Cocktail Culture Class Featuring Pappy Van Winkle!

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Hey slackers! Still not done with your holiday shopping? I feel you. I don’t know how it happened, but here we are, days away from Jolly St. Nick busting down the chimney and I’m not exactly ready for visitors. But, Christmas is happening whether we’re prepared or not. That dude does NOT take a rain check. Instead of more STUFF this year, how about dropping some KNOWLEDGE on your nearest and dearest? How about 4 weeks of interactive classes all about cocktails, for instance?! The Cocktail Culture Class with Bit by a Fox starts January 15th at the esteemed neighborhood wine & spirits shop, Brooklyn Wine Exchange:

We are thrilled to host Prairie Rose from noted cocktail blog Bit By a Fox for a four-part interactive mixology series beginning Thursday, January 15! Each week, Prairie will show you how to make classic cocktails and explain the history and chemistry behind each drink. A cocktail tool and shaker kit is included with the purchase of a seat! Class begins at 7pm and lasts approx. 2 hours.

That’s right, not only will we cover the stirred and shaken, as well as the fizzes, flips and bubbles that make up the cocktail family, but everyone will get their very own shaker and cocktail tool kit to take home with them. The last class will be a cocktail throw-down where the students will have a chance to come up with their own original recipe. The first class, Stirred Cocktails, however, will be a very special one: We’re kicking this four-part class off right – with a Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Manhattan. If you’re a bourbon fan, you’re already familiar with PVW’s cult-like following and the fandom that surrounds this rare-to-find Kentucky whiskey. Brooklyn Wine Exchange has acquired a small allocation of the highly sought-after Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Whiskeys this year and they are ready to spread the love.

Seats are limited, so be sure to register online, call 718-855-9463 or stop by the shop to pick up a ticket for yourself or your favorite (aspiring) cocktail nerds.

Mention that you are a Bit by a Fox reader and you can get $25 off the $150 ticket price!

Rose de Noël

I’m dreaming of a….pink Christmas.

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Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

The Rose de Noël is a take on one of my favorite festive cocktails, the French 75: Vodka replaces the gin, pink peppercorn syrup takes the place of simple syrup or a sugar cube, and a sparkling rosé is used instead of reg ol’ bubbly. And, a dusting of sugar and crushed pink peppercorns on the rim of the champagne flute, takes this drink up a few flavor-filled notches. You’ll be dreaming of a pink Christmas too!

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Vodka is normally not my go-to spirit, but I’ve always said I’m an equal opportunist in more ways than one! It’s such a versatile spirit, there is no wonder why it is still so wildly popular. When I do events, I always include a vodka cocktail. The Holiday Highball will never not be one of the most popular drinks at a holiday party. During a recent, intimate gathering hosted by All’Onda Restaurant and the good folks behind Snow Leopard Vodka, I experienced, firsthand, just how versatile this spirit can be, especially when it is of quality. We had a delicious milk punch that night, as well as an Italian-style cocktail with bitter liqueur and citrus. It was a great way to demonstrate Snow Leopard Vodka’s adaptability in very different cocktails, and a perfect introduction for many of us to this new product.

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Aside from delivering an award-winning product, the first luxury vodka made with Spelt grain, Snow Leopard Vodka also donates part of their proceeds to saving endangered Snow Leopards!

With less than 3,500 snow leopards estimated to be remaining in the wild it is our mission to help save this critically endangered species from extinction and to help improve the livelihoods of the poor herder families who share their home range.

15% of all our profits, and monies raised by our fundraising activities, are given directly to snow leopard conservation projects through the Snow Leopard Trust.

Our goal is to sell 150,000 cases of Snow Leopard vodka annually, generating enough revenue and awareness to safeguard the Snow Leopard’s future.

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Le Grand Courtâge Brut Rosé, a fairly new sparkling wine made in Burgundy with a blend of Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, and Gamay, works well in the Rose de Noël cocktail. Acidic and dry, fruity and floral, with distinct strawberry flavors on the nose and palate. And, at $22 a bottle, it won’t break the bank when you are feeling festive!

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

A note about the elegant bar tools, tray, shaker and coasters featured in this post. They are all from the Harrison Collection from Pottery Barn. Aren’t they the shiniest things you’ve ever seen? The entire line is based on the style of French champagne buckets, and, ooh la la, they absolutely glow! These are not only show pieces that you’ll want hanging out on the top of your bar or displayed alongside pretty glassware and elegant bottles on a credenza, they are fully functional AND radiant. My favorite combo.

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Try the Rose de Noël for the holidays and into the new year! For the super easy pink peppercorn syrup recipe, you can go to this previous post.

Rose de Noël Cocktail from the Bit by a Fox blog

Rose de Noël
1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz pink peppercorn syrup
sparkling rosé
Garnish: pink peppercorn syrup, crushed pink peppercorns and sugar blend

To garnish the glass, dip the rim of a flute glass in a little bit of the pink peppercorn syrup and then the pink peppercorn/sugar mixture. Build the first three ingredients in the glass. Top it all off with sparkling rosé.

The Winter Trickster – A Bit by a Fox Cocktail Kit from Crafted Taste

Winter Trickster

Crafted Taste, founded in 2013 by Kat Rudberg, based in Indianapolis, is one of those brilliant companies that you wished you came up with. It’s like Birchbox for cocktails! It delivers beautiful, curated craft cocktail kits as a subscription or as individual kits.

Our customers get to discover a new drink, master the prep, and play around with the unique ingredients included in each kit. Award winning spirits, small batch syrups, unique bitters,  and other premium ingredients are proudly featured in our kits.

Every kit will contain the ingredients needed to create the featured cocktail at home, along with a recipe card, instructions, additional cocktail ideas, and recommended food pairings.

I’m so honored to be able to curate a Bit by a Fox kit especially for them! And just in time for the holidays! While this kit won’t be shipped until January, if you DO want to give this as a gift before then, the recipient will receive a lovely digital gift card about the gift, with a picture of all the goodies and the estimated shipping date. It’s a gift that keeps on giving! It’s also a perfect winter cocktail kit that includes some pretty amazing foxy finds. This is what I wrote about it:

The Winter Trickster is a play off of the legendary fox mythology: sly and sweet and a little unpredictable!

I loved putting this cocktail kit together for Crafted Taste! It includes some of my favorite Brooklyn-made products and winter flavors – a malty, honey-rich American whiskey is spiced up with a clove, hibiscus and ginger liqueur, and warmed even further with ginger syrup and a dash of cinnamon. The lemon balances out the sweet and helps to highlight the spice. Blended together, The Winter Trickster is a cocktail glass full of winter magic! This cocktail kit is MADE for your foxiest of friends!

THE WINTER TRICKSTER COCKTAIL KIT INCLUDES:

  • Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey (350ml)
  • Jack from Brooklyn Sorel Liqueur (750ml)
  • Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup (8oz)
  • Bread and Badger Fox Rocks Glasses (2)
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Cocktail napkins and Glitter Ball Drink Stirrers
  • Featured cocktail recipe card, as well as additional whiskey cocktail recipes & food pairing ideas

Also, those fox glasses! And those glitter ball stirrers! Swoon. This was so fun to put together. I hope some of you take advantage of the Winter Trickster this season. And let me know if you do! I’d love to see some pics of the finished cocktails! Check out the cocktail kit on the Crafted Taste site HERE. Cheers!

This Saturday, In Brooklyn, The Foxes Den!

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Whether you are like me and have barely given holiday shopping a passing THOUGHT, or if you are some crazy person and did it all in one fell swoop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday or some other made up marketing ploy to separate us all from our hard earned cash, I’m CERTAIN that you’ll still want to pick up some lovely, hand-made goods at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s brand new flea market, Shwick Market! Look at this hipster fantasia:

If the whole idea of battling the ravenous department store crowds in Manhattan puts your stomach in knots and you’d really prefer to support small businesses and locally made products and artisans, then this market is for you! But, the real incentive for all of you NYC foxes to go on Saturday should be that we’re getting the band back together! That’s right, The Foxes Den is back! I’ll be, once again, alongside fancy-vintage-cool-girl shop Prizes For Arla, selling seasonal cocktail syrups, shaking up some winter tipple samples and handing out my fave winter cocktail recipes.

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In summation…

WHAT?
Bushwick, Brooklyn’s very own flea: SHWICK MARKET

WHEN?
This SATURDAY, December 6th, 11am-7pm

WHERE?
The location is at Six Charles Place, inside, off the J/M/Z Myrtle/Broadway stop. For directions click HERE.

WHY?
Because you like to support your local economy, you still haven’t found a gift yet for your picky sister and….cocktails, duh.

Hope to see some foxy faces this weekend!

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