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The Piña Sparkler – A New Year’s Eve Cocktail

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Pineapples in the winter! Aren’t they a heavenly sight?! Despite the less than frigid temps in New York this holiday season, it’s still fun to bring a little tropical flair to the proceedings this time of year. And because pineapples have long been known as a welcoming symbol and a sign of wealth and luck, I thought it would be perfect to incorporate this into our New Year’s Eve cocktail!

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I’ve been a big fan of Tres Agaves Tequila ever since I had the chance to taste it and really learn about its production and speak with the passionate Founder & President of Tres Agaves, Barry Augus last July at Tales of the Cocktail. They have created quality tequilas that are designed to be in cocktails.

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Tres Agaves Tequila is only about 5 years old but is produced at one of the last family-owned distilleries in Jalisco, Mexico, which began production in 1900. The agave forward Añejo is aged in American Oak Bourbon barrels for 18 months which produces a rich, smooth tequila with a black peppery punch. Since pineapple juice can be an overwhelming flavor, this cocktail needs a heavier añejo tequila like this one. It also needs to stand up to the fantastic, new Cynar 70. The heavily-anticipated Cynar 70-proof is now available everywhere, thankfully, because I can’t get enough of it! Already a fan of the original Cynar, one of my favorites in the Italian bitter amaro category, this new bottling is more than twice the original formula’s ABV and makes for an incredible cocktail ingredient. It is earthy and spicy and subtly sweet with hints of chocolate. And is really wonderful as the only sweet element in this cocktail.

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And Champagne! We are celebrating the New Year after all. We can’t forget the champers! Don’t go insane buying the most expensive bottle out there but spring for a little quality bubbly for this. Moët & Chandon tastes like what you think Champagne should taste like – extremely effervescent, dry and toasty with hints of stone fruit and honey. In other words, happiness in a glass. It’s also such a lovely, festive bottle!

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So, don your festive apparel, invite over your sparkliest of friends and sip on this bubbly delight! Let’s light up 2016, y’all! Here’s to welcoming the new year surrounded by pineapples and sparklers and glittery pom-poms. (that’s the girliest thing I think I’ve ever written) Happy New Year, foxy friends!

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The Piña Sparkler – makes 3-4 cocktails
2 ounces Añejo Tequila (Tres Agave Añejo)
2 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ounce Cynar 70
1/2 lime juice
Champagne split (1/4 regular sized bottle) (Moët & Chandon)

Add the tequila, Cynar 70 and juices to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain even amounts into coupe glasses and top with Champagne. Pom-pom stirrers and sparklers optional!

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!

The Bit By a Fox New Year’s Eve Party Prep

Ladies –  Tease the Coiffure:

patti-boyd-1960s-hairstyle-tricks-for-long-hair.jpgGentlemen – Do whatever Jimmy Darmody does:

jimmy darmodyDon’t forget to pick up some noise makers and funny hats:

vintage_new_yearAnd, of course, some bubbly!

champagne 4 + Marilyn Monroe + Tom Ewell + Seven Year ItchThen get ready to arrive in style!


EV003000I hope everyone has a safe and fabulous New Year’s eve tonight. I’ll be making a punch version of my Holiday Highball cocktail tonight, with Champagne instead of club soda. Because, it’s a FANCY night! For any of you in need of sparkling wine cocktail inspirations for tonight, check out these blog posts about bubbly here!

From Crémant to Cava to…Champagne. Sparkling Wines to Ring in the New Year!

Can you believe it? We are just days away from the year coming to a close and a fresh new one beginning. Such a great time to create a clean slate! Begin anew! And mix things up a little! I thought this New Year’s post should follow suit!

While I love, love, LOVE creating sparkling cocktails for a New Year’s celebration, and I’ve made a few in the past for this here blog, we all know that when the clock strikes midnight, most people turn to the bubbly stuff all on its own. This year I decided to focus on those bottles that will be the most bang for your buck – those that look festive and taste special, but won’t break the bank, especially if you want to get multiple bottles for you and your guests.

My picks range from the number one selling Prosecco in Italy priced around $15, to an award-winning Blanc de Blanc Champagne priced under $50, to a Spanish Cava made in the traditional Champagne style that you won’t believe is under $15.

The sparkling wine category has grown steadily year after year, especially in the U.S. almost primarily due to the Prosecco trend. It has nearly eclipsed Champagne in recent years. Clever marketing and the lower price point has been key, of course. And while there has been a glut of questionable quality Proseccos that have flooded the market, there are still many brands that have been able to rival Champagne in taste.

Out of the five featured sparklers featured here, I’ve included two Proseccos. They are both from the same producer – Valdo, crafted in the heart of Prosecco–Valdobbiadene, are both made from 100% Glera grapes, and are priced similarly – around $15. But each one has a slightly different appeal. The Valdo Brut Prosecco DOC is the number one Prosecco consumed in Italy and it is pretty clear why. It goes down incredibly easy; It is slightly drier and has a touch higher alcohol content than the Valdo Oro Puro Prosecco DOCG – the fruitier and toastier of the two. The Oro Puro is aged a bit longer in the bottle and delivers a more complex profile than its modest price might suggest. The fat, elegant shape of the bottle also gives it a little more gravitas than the Brut. Spring for both and serve the Brut with food and then graduate to the Oro Puro to toast afterwards.

If you want to go French but would like to explore something other than traditional Champagne, a good quality Crémant may be just what you’re looking for. It is made using a second fermentation method like Champagne, but is not from the Champagne region. There is more freedom in terms of what grapes to use for Crémant, but they still adhere to fairly strict guidelines during production. The “Côté Mas” Crémant de Limoux Brut St. Hilaire from Languedoc in southwest France is the kind of bottle that Champagne producers don’t want you to know about. In fact, the Limoux appellation has been producing sparkling wines even longer than the Champagne region, having produced the first sparkling wine on record. The Côté Mas has silkier and more delicate bubbles than a traditional Champagne. Citrus, honey and stone fruit come through reflecting the dominant grapes of Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. This delicious sparkler is just under $15 a bottle and your guests will never be the wiser.

Spanish Cava has long been known as the poor man’s Champagne substitute. (Prosecco has since taken that title but they somehow have made it sexier!) While Cava production has increased over the years, it still does not get the love it deserves. This is by far the most bang for your buck that you’re going to get. The Paul Cheneau line, produced in the Penedès region, takes a lot of influence from the French style and is made in a classic Champagne method but using Spanish grape varietals. The result is a lively and fresh, almost floral quality. The lengthy age comes through in a silky mouthfeel and a nice round finish. At about $14 a bottle this may be one of the best deals in the bunch.

Of course a list of sparklers to ring in the new year would not be complete without mentioning a Champers. Almost all Champagnes are made with a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, but Blanc de Blancs are made entirely from white grapes. It may not be traditional exactly, but it happens to be my Champagne of choice!

Because Blanc de Blanc is made with only white grapes, it tends to be a little more austere and crisp and have a little more minerality than most other Champagnes. But André Jacquart Champagne Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Brut Experience goes in a different direction. It is lush and rich, heavier than you’d think when just using 100% Chardonnay grapes. The minerality is still there and it even has a touch of green apple but the depth of flavor and complexity in this Blanc de Blanc belies its single grape. Consistently rated in the top percentage of wines in the world, the $50 per bottle price tag seems like a steal.

Whatever you pick to toast the new year, I hope you get your hands on some if not all of these bottles at some point. With these prices, you can do your own taste test and see which ones are your faves. Because there is always an excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly!


Tequila Sunrise Sparkler – A New Year’s Cocktail!

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

Sunsets seem to get all the glory, with all their Instagram ‘likes’ and devoted hashtags and people gathering at piers and promenades to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ and clap like dorks (I’ve totally done this, btw) when that fiery ball of light finally disappears on the horizon. But there’s something particularly magical about a sunrise – the birth of something unfamiliar, a fresh start, the promise of a new day. It’s sort of how I feel about a new year…but like on a much bigger scale.

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

With that in mind, I thought a Tequila Sunrise would make for a fantastic New Year’s cocktail! Everyone seems to know about this drink but I’m guessing you haven’t actually sipped on one of these old timers unless you’ve attended some sort of 70s disco party recently…oooor you actually drank through the 70s and 80s (for that, I’m sorry). I would also hazard the guess that it wasn’t that great. But what happens when you use top shelf ingredients, fresh squeezed juice, and then add Champagne for good measure? Something delightful, that’s what!

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

With the recent release of the Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition – a beautiful 1 liter bottle inspired by Mexico’s rich heritage with art deco design, I had my special tequila.

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

And by using the juice from tiny, sweet mandarins instead of reg ol’ OJ, homemade grenadine, and topping it all off with Champers, we kicked this baby up so many notches. Not to mention those Love & Victory highball glasses made this Tequila Sunrise really Sparkle!

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

Tequila Sunrise Sparkler
1 1/2 oz Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition
3 oz Freshly Squeezed Mandarin Juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 oz Champagne

In an ice-filled highball glass add the grenadine, juice and tequila. Top with Champagne and garnish with brandied cherry and mandarin slice.

Year's Cocktail! With Patron Silver 2016 Limited Edition Tequila, Mandarin Juice, Homemade grenadine and Champagne! | Bit by a Fox Blog

Here’s to a beautiful fresh start in 2016. May your fancy highballs always be filled with hope and dreams and top shelf tequila!

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic is Under New Management. Meet the Man Behind The Booziest Fest in Town.

Update! It looks as though this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic 2015 is cancelled.

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Courtesy Manhattan Cocktail Classic

It’s now that most heavenly (and fleeting) time of year again. With New York finally thawing to a survivable temp, the daylight hours stretching into the evening, and the perfumed air of blossoming flowers and trees accompanying our daily walks to the subway, it feels like New York City is in the throes of a full-on springtime celebration. It is truly happy making. Another sign that winter is behind us and we are allowed to set fire to those puffy coats and ratchet looking snow boots? The return of New York’s Boozith Fair, Gotham’s Cocktailapalooza, the City’s Boozeachella…I’m talking about The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, you guyssss! It is back! And it’s a pretty big deal. It is also pretty happy making.

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Courtesy Manhattan Cocktail Classic

While we are almost exactly a month away, this year’s MCC runs from May 16-19, tickets have been getting scooped up for a few weeks now…

Part annual cocktail convention, part gigantic, city-wide cocktail party, it is a fully comprehensive peek into the current and exciting spirits industry. If you are someone involved in the booze biz in any way or if you’re just a New Yorker who appreciates a well made cocktail, you have most likely taken part in this enormous industry event that includes distillery tours, spirits tastings, seminars and panels, and even drinks specials throughout the city! It’s a marvelous time of year. But the most exciting, glamorous, and most inclusive event that isn’t dominated by industry people, would be MCC’s Opening Night Gala. This black tie extravaganza, the ultimate cocktail party, welcomes upwards of 3,000 people all dressed to the nines and surrounded by just about any tipple that their heart’s desire.

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Courtesy Manhattan Cocktail Classic

In its 6th year, the MCC is under new management and they have bigger and boozier plans than ever. The most notable change is that they have moved the Gala taking place this year on Saturday, May 16th from the Great Hall at the New York Public Library to the iconic and newly renovated Cipriani Wall Street.

Courtesy Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Cocktail Classic Productions LLC, the organization that has taken the reigns of MCC this year, is led by CEO and visionary Michael Blatter. He is the driving force behind this year’s event and the future of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. I recently had the chance to interview Michael about his vision for the MCC and the changes to come. Read it! Get your tix! And then get excited to go to this four-day festival celebrating all things cocktail!

Michael Blatter
Courtesy Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Given your background, the Manhattan Cocktail classic, especially the opening night gala event, seems like the perfect fit. Had you attended MCC in the past? And was there anything that stood out that you knew that you wanted to keep or change?

I have been creating large-scale events for decades, including many for spirits clients, and worked in nightlife and hospitality for numerous years. I was very familiar with the MCC and a long-time fan and I also enjoy a cocktail or two. When the opportunity came to take the reins, I jumped at the chance. It was a natural fit. I’m looking forward to leveraging my expertise in consumer engagement to make this edition the best one ever. My intention is to build upon the integrity and excitement of the MCC to date and, ultimately, I want to ramp up to take the MCC to other U.S. cities and eventually abroad.

What do you think the biggest advantage is in changing the venue for the opening night gala this year from the New York Public Library to the newly renovated Cipriani Wall Street? Do you think will be you’ll be attracting a different audience?

There are several advantages to Cipriani Wall Street. First, it is downtown, where the city’s past and future are coming together. There are many new projects in motion downtown and we wanted to be a part of its energy. Second, we chose Cipriani Wall Street for the Gala because it is a magnificent and iconic Greek Revival structure. The Grand Ballroom has a vast dome and we’ve obtained rare access to its secret subterranean club that includes a screening room, barbershop and billiards room, as well as large vaults from when it was a bank. We expect a lot of MCC regulars, since the festival has become an annual tradition for so many people. That said, we also hope to attract new cocktail fans to attend and become future regulars.

What do you think will be the biggest difference in the MCC with the change in management?

The biggest difference with the MCC’s change in management is the organization’s evolution into a full-scale production company with plans to host a variety of cocktail events in New York and around the country. I’m backed by a team of comprised of MCC veterans, seasoned cocktail experts, spirits industry luminaries and event professionals who are committed to building on the festival’s integrity and enriching the experience for both consumers, as well as partners within and beyond the wider hospitality sector.

You seem to already have established relationships with many of the brands represented at the gala. Are there any new guys that you’re bringing in? Any particular spirits brands/venues/cocktail personalities that you’re especially excited to work with?

Every brand brings something unique to the MCC and we’re excited to work with all of them. We are working with brands of every size, both festival veterans, as well as newcomers. We want to build on existing relationships and widen the field to create new ones.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge so far since taking over the reigns of MCC?

The biggest challenge so far since taking over the reins has been the timing. There are a lot of moving pieces to coordinate, but given my decades of event experience, I’m totally in my element and I have the exact team in place to execute everything smoothly.

What are you looking most forward to in May?

In May, I’m looking forward to staging a spectacular and truly memorable MCC and to attendees and brands saying that this one was the best MCC ever.

‘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”.

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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!

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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.

Employees Only’s Steve Schneider & The Signal Fire with Bacardi Heritage

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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.

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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 sSteve 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.

steve s shakess bacardi

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.  

signal fire bar

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!

signal fire recipe

Signal Fire
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…

Campari Women Cocktail & Spirits Writer Interview Series with Gastronomista

In partnership with Campari and JUST in time for the last day of Women’s History Month, Emily Arden Wells from Gastronomista, one of my favorites in this industry and my Boozy Babes partner in crime, has started a series of interviews with women Cocktail and Spirits writers on her blog. And I’m so honored to kick it off with the first interview!

If you ever wondered what my journey has been into this crazy spirited world, you can check it out here. I also talk about some of the spirits writers who inspired me when I first was getting into the booze industry, and what I think of the LA cocktail scene so far! (hint: I have a long way to go!) You can also get my recipe for the festive Piña Sparkler, originally created for New Year’s Eve but so easy and delicious any time of year! Check out the interview on her site and check back in to see the rest of the series. Ladies in the hoooouuuusssse!


photo by This Aperture

The Long Kiss Goodnight featured on Behind the Bar | Design*Sponge

Long Kiss Goodnight Cocktail

photo by Kristina Gill

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I created a make-out of a cocktail called The Long Kiss Goodnight for Design*Sponge’s Behind the Bar column. It’s actually a riff off of our New Year’s Eve tipple, the Auld Lang Syne. Instead of scotch, we used bourbon and the lemon juice was swapped for blood orange juice. We kept the bubbly, Grand Marnier and those float-y pomegranate seeds, but this drink just got a WHOLE lot sexier. Check out the full recipe here and see why I love this cocktail so much.

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