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Quinciple Cocktail Tasting: Rosemary, Mon Sherry

Tomorrow night, 7-9pm, Quinciple and Bit By a Fox are joining forces for another cocktail event! We’ll be at the very charming Dandelion Wine in Greenpoint, Brooklyn sipping on this aromatic cocktail inspired by the winter goodies going out in Quinciple’s Valentine’s Day box next week.

Rosemary, Mon Sherry Cocktail Recipe
Since Dandelion Wine doesn’t carry spirits, but has an excellent sherry selection, I was excited to create a cocktail using a dry sherry as a main cocktail ingredient. This fortified wine from Spain, long misunderstood and undervalued in the U.S, ranges from very sweet to bone dry and has become a favorite cocktail ingredient in the last few years behind the bars in New York and around the country. The reason? They tend to be extremely versatile, lend a different depth of flavors not found in spirits and can actually help when pairing cocktails with food. The Amontillado variety, that I’ll be using in the Rosemary, Mon Sherry cocktail, is dry (some can run sweeter) and very robust, with a nutty, almost savory quality.

rosemary heart.jpgWith Valentine’s Day right around the corner, this is the perfect time to get some tasty ideas for your sweetie or your sweet friends! We’ll be sampling cocktails and Quinciple treats, handing out recipe cards and discount codes. Don’t let this wintry mix dampen your spirits. Hang with us and feel the love!

Dandelion Wine 7-9pm
153 Franklin Brooklyn, NY

Quinciple Cocktail Tasting: Myer Farm Gin & The Bitter Sage Cocktail

Myer Farm DistillersOne of my favorite things about getting to know the ever-growing small batch, hand crafted spirits industry in this country is learning the back stories for each of the distillers involved – the road that has led them to this often risky venture and what it has taken to get to the point of finally producing quality booze in a bottle!

Myer Farm Distillery, in the heart of the Fingerlakes region in upstate New York, has only been in operation for a little over a year, but the farm itself has been in production for over 200 years. One of the largest and oldest organic farms in the Northeast, it has been in the family since 1789, making the current owners, brothers Joe and John Myer, 5th generation farmers. “From field to flask” is the farm slogan and they aren’t kidding around. Myer Farms produces a range of spirits, and all of the ingredients used to create their products, are grown on their farm. They “plant the seed and produce the spirit!”

Myer Farm Gin
Their award-winning London-style dry gin, distilled from 100% of the farm’s organic winter wheat, has a variety of botanicals, including juniper, coriander, cinnamon and citrus. The result is slightly floral with a hint of sweetness and a fuller, rounder body than typical London-style dry gins. This is a great gin to have on its own in a Martini or one in which you could play up the floral botanicals in a more complex cocktail. For tonight’s Quinciple event at Slope Cellars in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I decided to create a cocktail that did just that.

The Bitter Sage Cocktail employs fresh grapefruit juice, a touch of Yellow Chartreuse and sage leaves to enhance the sweet, bitter, herbal and floral components in this delicious gin. I’ve been a long time fan of Fever Tree sodas and tonics. They are all natural, not too sweet and are sufficiently effervescent. The Bitter Lemon Soda, flavored with quinine and Sicilian lemons, is probably my favorite in their line of products. It works really well with gin and grapefruit.

The Bitter Sage
2 oz Myer Farm Gin
1/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Fever Tree Bitter Lemon Soda
2 Fresh Sage Leaves
Garnish – 1 sprig of sage and 1 slice of grapefruit

Muddle the 2 sage leaves at the bottom of shaker. Add the gin, Chartreuse and grapefruit juice with cracked ice. Shake for 10-12 seconds, until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass with the lemon soda. Garnish with sage sprig and grapefruit slice.

Come out to Slope Cellars tonight anytime from 7-9pm to try this delicious cocktail created especially for Myer Farm Gin and Quinciple’s gorgeous grapefruits. Quinciple, the incredible weekly, curated food subscription service, will be showing off a sample box, giving out fun treats and will offer new customers a chance to pick up a discount code to get 10% off their first month of Quinciple. Come by tonight!

Thanksgiving Countdown: Quinciple & Classic Cocktails With a Cranberry Twist

thanksgiving vintage ann sheridan turkey

It is now less than a week until Turkey Day!! And for many of you hosting, you may be in full on planning mode…or panic mode, depending on your level of hosting duties or stress management skills! Whether you are hosting a house full of family and friends, or your plans next week involve apartment hopping various Friendsgivings before sneaking off to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire alone, we can probably all agree on one thing: The holidays are MUCH easier to handle with a few adult beverages on hand. But what do you serve your picky aunt Debbie, your wine snob friends or that late-blooming college buddy people still refer to as PBR Pete? Most likely, you won’t be able to please everyone, but there are a few sure-fire, seasonal tipples that I thought are worth sharing!

Every day until Thanksgiving, I’ll be featuring a cocktail that you can serve while waiting for that turkey to plump or alongside those marshmallow, sweet potatoes. And beyond. Each of the cocktails that were created for last Saturday’s pre-holiday Brooklyn spirits event will be featured as well a few others that seem appropriate. These were all designed to be simple to make, with minimal ingredients. But, still crowd pleasing. Low maintainance cocktails with high maintainance results!

The first cocktails featured in this Thanksgiving Countdown series are two recipes that I’ve created for Quinciple’s Thanksgiving box going out next week. If you live in New York and don’t know about Quinciple yet, you MUST check it out. It’s a locally based subscription service of finely curated farmer’s market ingredients, as well as products from specialty food purveyors. It maintains the ethos, convenience and quality of farm fresh ingredients that you might get in a CSA but also includes higher end products from their favorite bakeries, cheese makers and small producers. And they also always include recipes!

cranberriesKate Galassi, the dynamo behind Quinciple, wanted a few cranberry-inspired cocktail recipes to accompany the gorgeous, hand-picked, heirloom, no-spray cranberries that are to be included in their special Thanksgiving box. I was more than happy to oblige! I also included the recipe for my cranberry citrus syrup that can be used with booze, soda or drizzled over vanilla ice cream, for post-turkey gobbling!

cranberry fontHarvest Old Fashioned (featured on Quinciple’s blog)
12 Fresh Cranberries
Large Slice Orange Peel
3-4 dashes – Regan’s Orange Bitters or Aromatic Bitters
tsp – Maple Syrup
3 oz – Bourbon or Rye
Club Soda
Orange Wedge

At the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle 10 cranberries, orange peel, bitters and maple syrup with a splash of club soda. Add large cubes of ice and stir in whiskey. Optional – Top with a splash of soda, garnish with speared orange wedge and cranberry.

Cranberry 75
1 oz. – Gin
1/2 oz – Cranberry Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Sparkling Wine
3 Fresh Cranberries

Combine gin, syrup and lemon juice in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake 10-12 seconds. Strain into champagne flute or coupe glass. Fill rest of glass with dry sparkling wine. Garnish with floating cranberries.

Cranberry Citrus Syrup

Cinco de Mayo & The Bitter Paloma

Cinco de Mayo is less than a week away. Are you ready to worship at the alter of Tequila and all things ending with ‘rita or ‘mole or…’aco? I mean, this is what the Mexicans fought for, right??

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According to just about every food and drink publication as of late, you’re either in the Margarita or the Paloma camp. At least this is what the booze bullies WANT us to think! Don’t make me choose between these two agave delights, mind police! You are not the boss of me, mainstream media!

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The Margarita continues to be the most popular cocktail in the states; You can pretty much get one anywhere. It might be a technicolor monstrosity made with crappy sour mix and served with an upside down bottle of cheap tequila bobbing out of it, but you’re likely able to find a Margarita pretty much anywhere hard liquor is served. And when it is made correctly, it’s pretty much the perfect cocktail. I will defend the Margarita, people! The Paloma (Spanish for dove) on the other hand, while even simpler to make – tequila & grapefruit soda, maybe a squeeze of lime, has always been a little off the radar. But it’s been getting more popular all the time, hence the Paloma/Margarita battles we’ve been seeing so much of these days. And everyone loves an underdog. But you don’t have to give up one to love another. That’s what I keep telling myself. I may have commitment issues…

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So, here we are: The Bitter Paloma, a little Italiano twist with the addition of bittersweet Campari and aromatic basil. This pink-hued refresher will have you dreaming of luxuriating in the coastal town of Veracruz, in the gulf of Mexico, where there happens to be a very large Italo-Mexican population. See what I did there? I think I made that work, right?

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And because this is a special occasion with Cinco de Mayo and all, I wanted to use a very special tequila, Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia.

This limited edition bottle is something special, considered the world’s first extra-añejo tequila and the finest bottle coming from the Jose Cuervo family’s private collection.

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Each bottle is handcrafted, numbered, dated and sealed in wax, and every year the Cuervo family commissions a different Mexican artist to design the new collectible box for Reserva de la Familia. The artwork on the box of this edition was created by Carlos Aguirre.

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I had a chance to try Reserva de la Familia for the first time just last week at an event introducing this year’s limited edition bottle and the art inspired by the brand. This tequila is the real deal. As I mentioned on Instagram, it has an almost fine Cognac quality, definitely meant for sipping and savoring. So, why would I put this in a cocktail, you ask? I’m sure the purists out there are tsk tsking all over their computer screens right now. But, why WOULDN’T I want to try this in a cocktail?! It only makes a cocktail THAT much better to have a top-tier spirit added. With fresh squeezed Marsh White grapefruit juice and the brightest, greenest basil you ever did see from this week’s box from Quinciple, this is one top shelf Paloma, my amigos. You can recreate it using another tequila, but I strongly recommend going for quality.

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The Bitter Paloma
1 1/2 oz Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Familia Tequila
1/2 oz Campari
1/2 White Grapefruit (juiced)
1/2 oz Lime Juice (lime wedge for garnish)
1/2 oz Agave Nectar
3-4 leaves Basil
Soda Water

Combine the tequila, Campari, grapefruit and lime juice, agave nectar and 2 basil leaves in an ice-filled shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a glass filled with ice, top with soda water, and garnish with lime wedge and basil leaves.

Salud!

My Bloody Valentine!

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I heart blood orangesIt happens every year, like clockwork. Once February rolls around, I always fall madly, deeply, head over heels in love…with blood oranges! For last Thursday’s cocktail tasting with Quinciple, I cut up and juiced so many of these beauties that by the end of the night, the cocktail station looked like a gorgeous slaughter had taken place. It seemed pretty fitting that this grisly scene was the inspiration for today’s Valentine’s Day cocktail something a little bloody but sweet, with just a touch of bitterness. Like LOVE!

Whether you enjoy this holiday or not, we can all agree, the day goes down a little easier with a delicious beverage (or two) at the ready.

Bit By a Fox Sweethearts.jpg
When I was developing this recipe, I knew that I wanted to make a flip type cocktail, The tang of orange and bite of Campari is tamed by the whole egg. The addition of yolk and white ends up smoothing out the flavors for a bright, rich and creamy result. For more info (or concerns) about using eggs in cocktails, the necessary ‘dry shake’ and what a flip cocktail technically IS, read my previous post about all that!

I tried to freehand a heart with an arrow in the foam with Peychaud’s bitters and I sort of did it. The heart may be leaning more towards an abstract anatomical interpretation:

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My Bloody Valentine

1 Whole Egg
2 oz White Rum
2 oz Blood Orange Juice
1/2 oz Campari
3/4 oz Grand Marnier
2-3 shakes Peychaud’s Bitters

Dry shake all ingredients for 15-20 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 15-20 seconds. Strain slowly into a large coupe glass. Add a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters on top of the foam. And if you’re feeling creative, make a heart, or a heart with a sword in it or your cat’s face. Whatever flips your skirt on this Valentine’s Day! It is guaranteed to look better than my weirdo heart!

Have a lovely day, you foxy foxes. My heart will always belong to you!
xoxo

Bit By a Fox Hearts

12 Days of Cocktails: Day Four

I am excited to announce that Bit By a Fox and Quinciple – the weekly, curated food subscription service that I wrote about and created Thanksgiving cocktails for last month – will be joining forces for some upcoming events in the next few months at a variety of locations around Brooklyn.

Quinciple

I will be creating seasonal cocktails out of some of the finely curated items featured in Quinciple’s weekly box of goodies. How fun is that?! And our first event is this Thursday! We’ll be at Bed-Vyne Wine, a boutique wine shop in the heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn.

For this Thursday’s cocktail, I was tasked to create a wine-based tipple using some lovely clementines, also known as “Christmas Oranges”, that will be included in this next week’s Quinciple box. I thought I’d share this recipe with all of you for the Fourth Day of Cocktails and whet your appetites for this Thursday! Because you’re all coming!!!

Oh My Darling

After a week of holiday partying, this light, bubbly, glass of sunshine is a pretty refreshing respite. Come out to Bed-Vyne Wine this Thursday, 12/19 anytime from 7-9pm to try this seasonal cocktail in person, hang out with ME and learn more about Quinciple’s brilliant food delivery service!

Using Eggs in Cocktails

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Raw eggs in a cocktail?? What’re we, training for a heavyweight title? ADRIAN!

Well, if you’re into classic cocktails you already know the magic that happens when you add egg white to a drink: Froth City! Not to mention, a beautiful, silky texture. And if you add an entire egg? It’s froth city and an even richer, silky texture with a slightly creamy, vanilla flavor. Using an egg in a cocktail also can round out some otherwise intense flavors like Chartreuse, absinthe or orange flower water, a key ingredient in a Ramos Gin Fizz. But if you’re unfamiliar with this arm-fatiguing practice (there’s a LOT of shaking involved!), it may sound sort of gross, or risky to you. If you’re a child or with child, you should probably avoid raw eggs. But if you fall into either of those categories, you should probably avoid boozing it up anyway! Also, if you have a compromised immune system or are very elderly, you might want to stay away from egg filled cocktails. But the risk of contracting Salmonella from ingesting raw eggs is extremely low for the rest of us. You have a higher likelihood of contracting it from cantaloupe. According to a recent study done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only one in every 30,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella. But there is still a risk, so you may want to look into egg safety before adding huevo to your el cóctel. The short list is that you should always use fresh, clean, unbroken (duh) eggs, preferably from a local, organic farm versus a factory farm. And if you’re still concerned about the risks, opt for pasteurized eggs. But you may want to opt out altogether because the taste and foam volume will most likely be compromised.

separating egg yolkLet’s Get Crackin’! 
There are plenty of classic cocktails besides the Ramos Gin Fizz that use either whole eggs or just the whites. Eggnog, of course comes to mind, but there is also the Pisco Sour, Clover Club, Pink Lady, Tom & Jerry and the later rendition of the Flip cocktail. Since the addition of eggs create a heavier drink, you see more of these kinds of cocktails start to pop up on menus during the fall and winter months. 

The key to successfully adding egg to any cocktail is a dry shake. That is, adding all of your ingredients to the shaker, including the egg, but without ice. You then shake, shake, shake to emulsify all of the ingredients. It takes some extra work to integrate all of the booze, acid and egg together as well as form a frothy consistency. To emulsify the egg even quicker, you can take the spring off of a Hawthorne strainer and add it to the shaker for the dry shake. Then you add ice and shake again. Your arms will get a workout, but you will be rewarded for your hard work with a silky, foamy delight!

Violet City Fizz


I recently came up with two very different cocktails using egg. The first one is a fizz type drink served in a highball glass using just the egg white:

Violette City Fizz
3 oz Industry Standard Vodka

1 oz Pink Peppercorn Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice

1/4 oz Creme de Violette
1/4 oz Sambuca
Egg White
Soda

Load all ingredients into shaker except soda. Shake without ice, 15-20 seconds. Add ice, shake again for 15-20 seconds. Pour into a highball glass with or without ice. Top with soda and stir to foam even more. 

Violette City Fizz
This fizzy ambrosia clearly filled me with glee.

The other cocktail with egg was inspired by some delightful quince syrup I received from Kate Galassi from Quinciple.
quince syrupI ended up creating a cross between a sour and a flip type drink.

Quinciple Flip Cocktail Ingredients

Citrusy, acidic flavors played a starring role here, but using a whole egg for a super creamy finish, qualified it as a flip.

The Quinciple Flip

The Quinciple Flip
2 oz Owneys NYC Rum
1 oz American Fruits Pear Brandy
1/4 oz Frangelico Liqueur 
1/2 oz Quince Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Whole Egg

Dry shake all ingredients for 15-20 seconds. Add ice and shake for another 15-20 seconds. Strain slowly into a large coupe glass. Rim and garnish with lemon peel.