I’m dreaming of a….pink Christmas.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz pink peppercorn syrup
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.
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!
- 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!
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.
Bushwick, Brooklyn’s very own flea: SHWICK MARKET
This SATURDAY, December 6th, 11am-7pm
The location is at Six Charles Place, inside, off the J/M/Z Myrtle/Broadway stop. For directions click HERE.
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!
I met the folks behind the incredibly popular blog, Behind the Food Carts last May at Saveur Magazine’s Best Food Blog Awards in Las Vegas. Kim Pham, Philip Shen and Terri Phillips are incredibly talented, as you can see from their gorgeous pictures and intimate approach with the passionate people behind these mobile kitchens taking over the country. They are also incredibly sweet. So, when Philip asked if I wanted to take part in their virtual blog tour for their newly released book, Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook, there was no question I was in! It didn’t hurt that the cocktail featured in the book, The Post Bender, looked like something I could really get behind: coffee, beer, ginger, molasses? Dude. Get in my mouth.
Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook, released on November 4th, has over 100 authentic recipes from the food truck owners themselves.
There’s also a section for sips and tipples…
An excerpt from the book describing The Post Bender:
So you had a bit of fun last night. You had every intention of hitting the hay early, but here it is 7 a.m. and there’s no way you can hit the snooze button again. This drink combines a little hair of the dog with a pick-me-up. Combine a nice, dark porter with robust coffee and a bit of ginger, and you’ll have a clear head in no time. Perfect for those morning-afters telling tall tales of all your adventures.
THE POST BENDER – SERVES 2
HUBBUB COFFEE COMPANY—DREW CROCKETT—PHILADELPHIA, PA
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp zested ginger
1 ½ tsp sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup freshly brewed coffee, at room temperature
1 (12-oz bottle porter beer (has strong chocolate presence)
To make the simple syrup, combine the molasses, ginger, sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are combined and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Pour in the coffee and 2 to 4 tablespoons of the simple syrup and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 cocktail glasses and top with about 3 ounces of porter each.
This was as good as it sounds. Zingy and rich and malty and chocolate-y. This is what you call a full-bodied cocktail. I can see how this would do the trick the day after some major fox bites!
Everyone should check out Food Truck Road Trip: A Cookbook. And, if you haven’t yet made it over to Behind the Food Carts blog, you should do that as well. The stunning photography alone will make you want to chuck your job, pack your bags with elastic waist pants, and travel the country, one food cart at a time.
One lucky reader will have the chance to get a copy of Food Truck Road Trip: The Cookbook of their very own! Hot off the presses and sent directly to you…just in time for the holidays! Just comment on this post what YOUR go-to “Hair of the Fox” hangover remedy is the day after a night of getting bit…a bit too much! I swear by coconut water, myself…but I also won’t turn down a grilled cheese sammie…
Here it is, guys. I’ve come up with the perfect Turkey Day tipple. Old school meets new. Wood smoke and agave meets bright citrus and tart cranberries. Put everything else away for another day. This is what you’re drinking on Thanksgiving.
If you’re a whisk(e)y and classic cocktail enthusiast, like myself, the Old Fashioned is tops. Said to be one of the first cocktail recipes on record, and the very definition of “cocktail” – spirits, bitters, water and sugar. (This first documentation of a “cocktail” in 1806 is attributed to an editor’s response to a reader’s query asking to define “cocktail” in a local newspaper in upstate New York.) An Old Fashioned is simple, strong, and to be enjoyed slowly and preferably while luxuriating in front of a raging fire…with a golden retriever nearby. It’s a masculine drink. It’s Don Draper’s drink. It’s also usually made with whiskey.
The Old Fashioned recipe is rumored to have had many incarnations, however. Some involve liqueurs like orange curaçao, and others involve the muddling of many curious fruits, but most often oranges and cherries. But, rye whiskey was the most popular base spirit in the 1800s. Therefore, our current classic-cocktail-revival-landscape dictates that it is usually rye or bourbon used in Old Fashioned cocktails nowadays. But…sometimes it’s fun to mix it up!
I’ve been looking to use the fairly new to market Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila in a cocktail for a while now. This tequila wants to be a whiskey. In order to reflect distinct whiskey qualities, this tequila is uniquely aged in traditional American Oak barrels for 12 months before being transferred into two separate, and specially toasted barrels for an additional 6 months. That time in the heavily charred and toasted oak barrels really imparts the color and qualities one would associate with a whiskey, but Hornitos Black Barrel is still very much a tequila. I enjoyed this on its own so much more than I thought I would. The black pepper, agave and oak works really well together.
For the sweet element of this version of an Old Fashioned, I used the Original Strong Tonic Syrup. This syrup is actually a perfect match for tequila, since agave nectar, in addition to cane syrup, is their sweetener.*
German based company, The Bitter Truth makes an amazing Creole Bitters. Cherry red in color, this bitters has distinct dried fruit and floral notes, with a hint of anise and spice. And cranberries! It has cranberries in it! Also, how pretty is that bottle?**
Cranberry Añejo Old Fashioned
2 oz Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila
3/4 oz Original Strong Tonic Syrup*
3 dashes The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters**
Splash Club Soda
To Muddle: 1 large mandarin peel and 4-5 fresh cranberries
Garnish: 3 mandarin wedges and 3-4 fresh cranberries
Add the mandarin peel, cranberries, bitters and syrup to a mixing glass. Muddle well. Add the tequila and splash of club soda and fill with ice. Stir mixture until well chilled. Strain into an Old Fashioned or rocks glass. Garnish with skewered cranberries and mandarin wedges.
* If you’re unable to find Strong Tonic where you are, you can substitute 1/2 oz maple syrup or agave nectar.
** If you’re unable to find The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters where you are, you can use Peychaud’s Bitters or another aromatic bitters.
CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITH SAVEUR
On Saturday, December 13th SAVEUR will be hosting a one-day holiday bonanza at Astor Center in New York City where the food and drink obsessed can…
From 11am until 7pm there will be a selection of intimate sessions led by some of New York’s top culinary talent. Classes include: Scotch Cocktails with Dev Johnson from Employees Only, Craft Cocktails by Chris Wertz and Peter Fornatale, Authors of Brooklyn Spirits, His-and-Hers Wine Tasting from The NoMad and The Breslin, Fancy Desserts with Del Posto’s Brooks Headley, Portuguese Cuisine with Aldea’s George Mendes, Hanukkah Brunch with Black Seed Bagel’s Eli Sussman, and many more. Seats are limited in their learning sessions so be sure to reserve soon!
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to SAVEUR’s charity partner, Citymeals-on-Wheels.
Check out SAVEUR’S events page for ticket sale information, as well as Learn class descriptions and schedule, a round-up of Shop purveyors, and Taste selections.
And, look out for me during the evening session, 5-7pm, shopping, drinking and eating my face off! Bring on the holidays!
I kind of hate to admit it, because I like to think of myself as a free-spirited, anything-goes type of person, but the truth is I’m a rule follower. It gratifies the Virgo in me to know that there is some order to the universe. For instance, if there is a line forming at a checkout counter and some wise guy decides to create another one or sneakily jumps the line entirely, I’m usually the first one to speak up. Yep, I’m that person. “There are rules here, guy!”
There are, of course, exceptions to a lot of rules, but I’m of the mind that it is only when you know the rules inside and out that you are allowed to break them. Take, for example, shaken martinis. People certainly have a lot of opinions about whether or not to shake or stir a martini. Why? Because shaking a martini goes against the rules of cocktail making. But if James Bond likes them shaken, they can’t be all that bad.
So what are the rules of shaking and stirring a cocktail, anyway?
To get the full story as well as recipes for a classic shaken and stirred cocktail, head on over to eHow. I’m now officially contributing boozy content to that incredibly helpful site! Need to know how to string a guitar, frost a cake or know when to shake or stir your cocktail?? eHow is a pretty great resource for just about anything! Check it out, share, tweet and LOVE!
If you’ve never had the chance to sidle up to the curvy swervy, beyond sexy bar at Manhattan’s Employees Only, and witness the beautiful precision and dance that occurs on the other side of that gorgeous slab of wood, and experience everything it takes to create a single drink made purely for your enjoyment, you are truly missing out, my cocktail lovers. Part of me does envy those of you who have yet to experience this; because that first time is like no other. And you’ll never forget it. Or…you might, depending on how many drinks you pour down your gullet.
Employees Only is considered to be one of the best bars in the world. It is a pretty special place. But if it’s your first time, make sure you go early in the week and earlier in the night. You’re more likely to have the chance to chat up one of the handsome blokes decked out in chefs jackets behind the bar, pore over the carefully curated menu, reflect on that perfectly balanced creation in front of you, and savor it for as long as possible. Most likely, however, that cocktail will disappear much faster than you expected. And that quiet reflection won’t last long. Because that place gets turnt! Even on a Tuesday night. It may start out as an elegant and sedate speakeasy. But that well-mannered atmosphere is guaranteed to turn on a dime. The mood and temperature gets elevated a few drinks in and a few people deep. Something hypnotic happens when that pressed-tin ceiling heats up, the psychic in the front starts doling out some real world wisdom and the 80s tunes are on blast. The inhabitants crammed inside that railroad style bar all start to feel like they’re on the ride of their lives. THIS is a night to remember. If you can. It’s no wonder people often get lucky after spending a night at Employees Only. This bar is made for “connecting” with your fellow neighbor…if you know what I mean.
A huge part of why a night at EO can be so damned enjoyable can be attributed to those dapper dans behind the bar. They may be having more fun than you are. This place is their stage and this is where they shine. One of their brightest stars right now is principal bartender, Steve Schneider. Check out this beautiful video in the Bacardi Untameable Series about how bartending at EO literally helped to save his life.
Steve’s story is an inspiring one. So much so that he ended up being one of two bartenders profiled in last year’s, Hey Bartender, a movie about the re-emergence of the craft cocktail, and the folks behind it. Beyond the inspiring story of a former marine who comes back from near death to become an international bar superstar, Steve is the real deal – a dynamite bartender, well respected in the community and sweet as pie.
While I’ve frequented EO since their opening ten years ago and Steve and I both live in New York, I hadn’t formally met him until we both were on a private island in Puerto Rico last weekend.
No, we weren’t taking part in some debaucherous reality show, although, the abundance of booze, beautiful people and cameras might tell you differently as the party footage slowly emerges; We were there for a little thing you might know something about from my giddy hashtag abuse on social media last week – a gigantic music and rum event set in the tropics called the Bacardi Triangle. The night we met was the last night of the event and he had just finished helping to set up all of the bars on Palomino Island that would service a crowd of 1,862 guests. It should also be noted that he capped off each night that week working the after party until 5am. Needless to say, this dude didn’t get many zzzs in those 5 days. But I have a feeling he’s a little used to this kind of schedule, crowds and hard work. This is someone who loves what he does. He actually seemed energized by the whole thing.
Steve and I had a chance to connect again three days later, this time, in his “home”, Employees Only. While he would only be there for a day or so before he was to jet off to his next international bartending adventure, he made it clear that this is where his heart was. This is the place where he was reborn after a life threatening injury put his military career on hold. This is the place where he served and charmed filmmaker Douglas Tirola, who then put him in a starring role in his documentary, Hey Bartender. And this is where he plans to stay until he eventually opens up his own place down the road.
Since we had just come off of this fantastical rum-infused adventure in Puerto Rico, it was only appropriate that we continue the theme. Steve made me one of his signature, award-winning Bacardi cocktails, Signal Fire.
This is a fantastic cocktail with Bacardi Heritage Rum, pineapple-honey-pink peppercorn syrup, pineapple juice, lime and Hellfire Bitters. It’s got a kick and is surprisingly not too sweet. It can also be recreated at home pretty easily. Steve was kind enough to share the recipe!
2 oz Bacardi Heritage
1 oz honey syrup (2:1)
3/4 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
3 dashes Hellfire Bitters
3 pink peppercorns
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker, shake until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a dusting of pink peppercorns.
Thank you, Steve, for taking time out of your regular booze slinging, globe-trotting calendar to hang out and fix me a drink! And letting me get my hands on one of those signature ice hammers! Look out for a custom line of these suckers in the coming year. How else are you going to crush your ice and feel like a powerful Norse god?!
I look forward to returning soon for one of those epic Employees Only nights. Maybe I’ll bring someone who’s never been…
Hey, New Yorkers! Are you as excited as me about the Autumnal explosion that has unleashed itself all around us? And all of the yummy flavors that go along with this season? Do you like to support neighborhood businesses and local booze makers? Do you want to take your cocktail skillz and holiday entertaining to the next level? Are you into free cocktails and ALSO the idea of hanging out with me for an afternoon?? That’s a silly question, I’m sorry. Of COURSE YOU ARE. Well, this Saturday you can have the chance to get a big dose of all of those things! Learn some of my favorite cocktails to make this time of year AND try them out. For FREE! It’s true!
Beloved neighborhood wine & spirits shop, Brooklyn Wine Exchange, has been hosting wine and spirits tastings as well as cocktail classes, in their beautiful back room for a number of years now. They host weekly, free classes that seat up to 40 people, and are also offering a series of classes that get more in depth, for a fee. I’ll be teaching one of these series in January. And I’m pretty excited. But I wanted to do a free class to introduce myself to the store’s regular clientele, recruit some new faces, and warm up for that series in a few months! Check it out:
This afternoon, Prairie will present flavors, spices and spirits of the season, and mix up several tasty “Harvest Cocktails” which will highlight New York distillers and seasonal ingredients from local sources. The class will also serve as an introduction for Prairie’s four part cocktail series beginning in January here at Brooklyn Wine Exchange.
I’d LOVE to see some of my Foxy Friends this Saturday. The class starts at 4pm and all you have to do is show up thirsty. For knowledge and cocktails. Well, for delicious cocktails, mostly. I can guarantee at least that!
If you’d like to attend, please email Spirits Director, Kyle Devine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Halloween is just around the corner, you guys! We’re now in the final countdown. Are you ready? Are you surrounded by expertly carved jack-o-lanterns? Have you been celebrating all week in sexy hazmat suits? (please, no) Are you looking for a delicious Halloween cocktail that doesn’t involve candy corn? (please, yes!)
This cocktail, The Devil’s Bet, is a version of one I was making at the Phoenicia Flea a few weeks ago in order for people to try the coffee cocktail syrup. I love whisk(e)y and a sparkling hard cider together. And I was making this cocktail to demonstrate the versatility of coffee as a cocktail ingredient. The coffee syrup in this drink adds a rich and aromatic nuttiness. A perfect flavor for the colder seasons and great with brown spirits. People might not think to put these unexpected flavors together – Scotch whisky, coffee, cider & lemon – but it works really well.
It’s also CIDER WEEK and I wanted to have a cocktail using a locally produced hard cider. I discovered this Rebel Reserve sparkling hard cider a few weekends ago during a day trip up to the Hudson Valley. After a hike cut short by inclement weather, we (pretty quickly) decided to change plans and take a tasting tour of the Brotherhood Winery, the oldest operating winery in America, instead! I highly recommend the next time you go on a hike and you’re just not feeling it, to take a winery tour and tasting instead. We were pretty happy with our decision. That mountain will still be there next weekend!
I was also pretty excited to use Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition in this cocktail. Cutty Sark has always been an easy-drinking, lighter style blended Scotch whisky, different from the super smoky peat-heavy kinds most people identify Scotch with. But I think this is what makes it so great in a cocktail. A Scotch with tons of peat can be way too overwhelming in a drink with other ingredients that can’t compete. This new-ish release has taken notes from its prohibition past, with a beautiful sleek black bottle and a much higher proof than its usual 80 proof, coming in at 100 proof! But the higher proof version is remarkably smooth and has a pretty complex flavor profile. Musky and sweet with caramel, wood smoke and honey notes on the nose and palate with a bit of a salty and rye spice finish. And at $30 a pop, you won’t go broke on a bottle. Also, not gonna lie, the retro style design of the bottle is pretty damned sexy. Hellooo, Cutty Pro!
The Devil’s Bet
2 1/2 oz Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition
1 oz Coffee Syrup
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3-4 oz Sparkling Hard Dry Apple Cider
Lemon Wheel for garnish
Add the whisky, syrup and lemon juice to an ice-filled shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a highball or Collins glass filled with ice. Top with hard cider. Use a straw to mix well.