Tomorrow is National Moscow Mule Day and I thought for this week’s podcast episode, it would be fun to interview someone from the brand that originated this popular drink – Smirnoff Vodka.
I had a lovely interview with Jay Sethi, VP of Smirnoff Vodka, but unfortunately our Skype interview just didn’t take and so it had to be scrapped. What you have instead is an abbreviated version of the story from me, with an assist from Smirnoff corporate head, John Martin, one of the originators of the Moscow Mule in a vintage audio clip. Happy Moscow Mule Day! Here’s to that kick!
This past Saturday, I had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with nearly 1000 badass lady entrepreneurs in downtown Los Angeles serving up some Yerba Mate Tea Cocktails with Argentinian Yerba Mate.
Create & Cultivate, in its 6th year, is an uber hip conference, networking event, and lady fair for women looking to build their brand, meet likeminded women, and to draw on inspiration from the major success stories represented in the various panels and keynote speakers. Powerhouse leaders in the millennial landscape such as Hello Giggles Co-Founder Sophia Rossi, plus sized model, Tess Holiday and Chief Creative Officer of ban.do, Jen Gotch were a big draw for many attending. There was also some very heavy hitting celebs serving up some brand marketing and business advice, such as Lauren Conrad, Chrissy Teigan, and a little known social media personality, ahem, Kim Kardashian West.
With all that excitement, a lady tends to get thirsty! And so we were at the ready with a little yummy boost! We served three drinks during the course of the day, but our Yerba Mate Horchata was by far our most popular. People kept comparing it to a dirty chai latte or matcha…but better, of course, duh! Check out some of the Instagram love we have here!
For many people, it was their first time trying Yerba Mate, let alone tasting it in a cocktail! And I’m pretty sure they came away converts. In case you aren’t familiar with this national drink of Argentina, here’s some fun facts!
Yerba mate is a traditional South American tea-like drink made from the leaves of the yerba mate tree, which are native to the Misiones Province of Argentina. The production process of the leaves is 100% natural
Originally championed by the Guarani, an ancient people indigenous to the South American rainforests, the history of yerba mate can be traced back many centuries and today the delicious and versatile drink continues to be enjoyed across the globe.
Argentinian Yerba Mate is a rich source of powerful antioxidants – in fact, its antioxidant capacity has been shown to be even higher than green tea.
Its nutrient profile boasts B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and manganese, and its primary compound, chlorogenic acid, is a polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant in the body.
Yerba mate has been found to be ‘hepatoprotective’ which translates to: ‘protecting your liver cells’, as well as having shown potential as a digestive aid.
So, basically it’s SUPER healthy for you AND is a mild stimulant that gives you the boost similar to coffee but without the caffeine crash. (It’s also very yummy with booze, shhhhh)
You can find Argentinian Yerba Mate brands in specialty tea stores and in select Whole Foods Markets across the U.S. You can also purchase Argentinian Yerba Mate on Amazon.com.
YerbaMateHorchata – served over ice
4 oz YerbaMate, cooled
2 oz Unsweetened Almond milk 1/2 oz Cinnamon honey syrup* 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Garnish: cinnamon, cinnamon stick
(add 1 1/2 oz spiced rum for a cocktail)
Shake all ingredients over ice until nice and frothy. Pour into an ice-filled highball and garnish with a dash of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
* Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup honey and a tablespoon of ground cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, whisk until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 to a month.
On this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, we’re talking about Shots! Shots! Shots! And the occasional shooter. They’re never a good idea….Or are they?
Many of us have lots of feelings about shots and shooters and visceral, albeit, patchy memories associated with those little devils. How did the shot even come to be? And how have the trends evolved through the years, and what are people shooting dirty nowadays?
This Week’s Recipe is inspired by my favorite “Bartender’s Handshake” – a miniature daiquiri adorably called a snaquiri. It originated with bartender Karin Stanley at Dutch Kills in Queens, New York about 8 years ago and it’s guaranteed the best shooter around. It is meant to be gulped in one fell swig.
Snaquiri – served in a mini coupe or cordial glass
1 oz dry white rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
Garnish: lime wheel
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the glass. Garnish with lime wheel. Shoot that Snaq!
This week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast episode is a really fun one. I sat down with my friend, food and drinks writer, Jason Horn and talked with him about his most recent story as drinks contributor for Playboy magazine. It’s a fascinating one; It involves booze! Penguins! Negative 80 degree temps!
The article (published next month on Playboy.com) titled “Drinking at the Bottom of the World”, is about the bars, booze and drinking culture at McMurdo Station, a US-run scientific research station in Antarctica.
One of Jason’s sources for this article was Laura Gerwin, a travel adventure guide and photographer who has spent 6 summers on the ice between 2009 and 2016. During that time, she captured these incredible pictures.
We discuss the three bars that operate at the research station, the (limited) products are available to the residents, and what the drink of choice is at the “bottom of the world”.
Which brings us to this week’s recipe: a highball with a heavy pour of Jameson Whiskey and ginger beer – with an indulgent squeeze of lime (not readily available in the Antarctic): The McMurdo Mule.
McMurdo Mule – served in a highball glass with ice
3 ounces of Jameson Whiskey
4 ounces of Mac’s Ginger Beer or Bunderberg is a good replacement
1 lime wedge (for authenticity, you can use bottled lime juice but I don’t think we have to go that far)
Fill your highball with ice. Add the whiskey & a squeeze of lime and drop in the glass. Then add the ginger beer and give it a good stir. Pretty sure a garnish is not necessary in this low maintenance high ball. So just enjoy.
Yeah, yeah, Valentine’s Day is in a few days and it’s totally a silly Hallmark holiday and LOVE should not be relegated to commercialization and candy hearts…but c’mon! I’m a sucker for that crap! Look at this pretty cocktail that I named The Red Velvet because it’s red and velvety and tastes like a bunch of ripe, luscious berries made sweet sweet love to a smooth as heck whiskey. The egg white gives it that velvety mouthfeel and the generous amount of lemon juice lends a tartness to counteract some of the sweet.
Speaking of sweet…I have just come to the end of my new favorite grenadine from Sonoma Syrup Co., which worked beautifully in this cocktail. I usually like to make by own but because I’ve been so busy recently that hasn’t really been an option. And this Pomegranate Syrup may just be better than anything I’ve ever made. It’s incredibly thick and concentrated and deeply flavored. Also great in non-alcoholic drinks, btw.
Whether you are coupled up or flying solo for this Valentine’s Day, I think we can all agree that a sumptuous cocktail that is essentially a sexy make-out sesh with a bunch of boozy berries, should be in all of our hands.
2 ounces Bourbon
3/4 ounce Chambord
1 ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Grenadine
Garnish: edible flowers or berries
Shake all the ingredients without ice first to emulsify the egg white and integrate all the ingredients. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with edible flowers or berries.
On this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast we’re talking about one of the most misunderstood elixirs ever created and consumed – The Green Fairy, La Fée Verte, Absinthe! The social lubricant of choice for 19th century bohemians, artists and creatives – said to have aided their creativity and yet, driven them mad. It has been made all the more mysterious by a worldwide ban of the stuff for nearly 100 years. The ban was lifted in the states almost eleven years ago now, but a lot of misunderstandings still surround this spirit.
Most likely, you’ve heard the dark stories…about how “real” absinthe will make you hallucinate, turn you violent and drive you mad if you have too much. But what is the real story of absinthe? Can we get an authentic version in the states? And why was it banned for so long if it is truly harmless? Hopefully we’ll be clearing all that up over the course of this podcast.
My guest Ted Breaux is a researcher, scientist, artisan distiller, and leading authority on absinthe. He created Lucid Absinthe Supérieure – the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the United States, and he had a major role in overturning the ban in America eleven years ago. He’ll be talking about how he first got interested in absinthe, was the first person to disprove any claims that absinthe was dangerous, and how he helped to overturn the ban.
Kellfire Desmond Bray, absinthe educator and co-host of a monthly absinthe celebration and awareness party in New York City called The Green Fairy at the Red Room, will be joining us towards the end of this episode to describe the Continental Pour – the proper way to consume this boozy elixir.
According to Bray and Breaux, you don’t really need the sugar. However, the traditional French Method does involve diluting sugar in the glass to sweeten it up a bit. This ritual is such a lovely one, I thought I’d share that as well.
This is what you’ll need to prepare absinthe using the traditional French Method:
Bottle of genuine absinthe
An absinthe spoon – a flat, perforated spoon or even a large fork can work!
Tall glass, large enough for 6 ounces
Carafe of ice water
Pour about one ounce of absinthe into the glass
Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon and lay the spoon across the rim of the glass
Slowly pour the very cold water over the sugar and saturate it
Wait a moment for the sugar to dissolve a bit
As the water dilutes the spirit, the botanical oils are released, herbal aromas “bloom” and the clear green liquid turns cloudy, a result that is called the “louche”
Continue to slowly pour the water over the sugar until you have poured in about 5 ounces and the sugar is mostly dissolved
Allow the louche to rest, and then stir in the remaining undissolved sugar
Soooo, my life has clearly been taken over by this weekly podcast and I PROMISE to post other content on the blog besides these podcast posts, buuuut in the meantime…It’s FriYAY! And that means there’s another Bit by a Fox Podcast heading right towards your earholes! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. If you ARE, then please write a snappy review, give it all the stars, and share with your frennnz. Self producing is a hustle!
This week we’re talking about The Dark Ages of Cocktails – that ill-fated time period between the late 1960s all the way through the late 1990s. When people happily drank garbage drinks like the ones pictured below.
Since launching the podcast, we’ve already talked a lot about the craft cocktail resurgence over the last 20 years, and we’ve touched on what it was like to come out of the sour-mix-drenched 90s where vodka was king and everyone’s palates were deadened by preservatives and sugar. But how did we get there in the first place?
In this week’s podcast, I go all the way back to prohibition and the following years that made it possible for drinks with names like Sex on the Beach, The Fuzzy Navel and Slippery Nipple to…become a thing. Hoo boy, it was a sexy and gross time.
For this episode, I thought I’d feature a cocktail that has a special place in my heart. One of the first drinks I’d order on the regular when I first started drinking cocktails, and at the time, was never NOT made with sour mix: The Amaretto Sour. But I wanted to share a better version – with fresh juice and more of a kick. This creation is from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the famed Portland, Oregon bartender of Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko. Jeffrey is considered to be one of the best bartenders out there, and I love the fact that he has made it a point these last few years to bring back the cocktails from the dark ages and improve upon them. I love his explanation for this version of his Amaretto Sour.
I’m really excited for you all to listen to this week’s episode of the Bit by a Fox podcast. It’s a special one. I spoke with my friend and author, and someone who has seen first hand the bloom of the cocktail movement in New York City and internationally, Georgette Moger-Petraske. Georgette is also the widow of the late Sasha Pestraske, the legendary bartender who opened a little speakeasy cocktail bar in the lower east side of Manhattan about 18 years ago called Milk & Honey. Sasha and his bar are really responsible for much of what we’ve come to know about modern day craft cocktails. Milk & Honey has been called one of this century’s most influential drinking dens. Sasha was extremely well regarded as a leader in the industry until his untimely death in 2015. He was 42.
Georgette and Sasha had only been married for a few months at the time of his death – interrupting their life together as well the cocktail book they were to create together. Only a brief outline existed when Georgette made the decision to write what was to be Sasha’s first cocktail book, Regarding Cocktails. I wanted to talk to Georgette about her story, how she met Sasha, her husband’s legacy, his iconic bar Milk & Honey, and how Regarding Cocktails is a tribute to him as a man and also a love letter to all he contributed to the cocktail world.
A girl and her book. Georgette and Regarding Cocktails outside Paris bookstore La Belle Hortense. (taken by moi)
Recent photos from Paris Cocktail Week taken by Philippe Levy.
We ended our episode this week with the Gin & It cocktail, a favorite of the couple’s – so much so it was passed out in mini mason jars at their wedding.
Gin & It – served up in a coupe glass
2 oz Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
garnish: lemon twist
Stir the gin and vermouth in an ice-filled mixing glass until sufficiently chilled. Strain into an chilled coupe glass. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to extract the oils. Then garnish the drink with the twist.
How is it Friday already?! This week has sped by at such an unusually fast clip that it’s already time for another Bit by a Fox Podcast! Can you believe it?? The 30-ish minutes you never knew you needed so desperately in your life! This week is a treat. Boozy journalist, mad scientist and all around cocktail nerd, Camper English has joined us to talk all things Gin & Tonic.
His recent book Tonic Water: AKA G&T WTF dives into this surprisingly fascinating subject with equal parts intense research, fun facts, and silly doodles. Over the course of our half hour conversation we discuss the medicinal roots of tonic and its ties to malaria, how the combo of gin and tonic came to be, and what country is the largest consumer of gin in the world (hint: it’s not in the UK).
With each episode we’ll include a cocktail recipe at the end. This week was clearly the Gin & Tonic, so I made one of my favorite versions – a 1:2 ratio of Beefeater London Dry Gin and Bitter Lemon Fever Tree Tonic, with a generous squeeze of lime. Check out the recipe below.
Gin & Tonic – served in a highball glass with ice
3 ounces of Beefeater London Dry Gin
4 ounces of Fever Tree Tonic Water (Bitter Lemon Tonic)
3 lime wedges
Fill your highball with ice. Add the gin & squeeze two limes for a little juice before plopping them in the glass. Then add tonic and give it a good stir. You can garnish with a lime wedge or an orange to bring out the Seville oranges in the Beefeater Gin.
Drumroll please! Get ready to listen to the dulcet tones of someone attempting to avoid the dreaded vocal fry as much as possible…because Bit by a Fox is now a weekly podcast!
It’s true! As an extension of this boozy blog, I’ll be giving you all a weekly dose of audio realness. This has been a long time coming and we are SO stoked to finally get this baby out there. “We” meaning me and my producing partner, Anna Tivell, who is also editor, engineer and all around badass. She makes me sound so much better than IRL! It’s like she’s Facetuned my voice and I never want to speak in real life again.
Why a podcast? The thing about this subject matter is that it’s so rich. The history and culture of drinking lends itself so well to the storytelling medium that podcasts have become. We have a lot of exciting episodes in the works, including interviews with some of my favorites in the cocktail and spirits industry. It’ll be a little mix of history, alchemy and geekdom. And FUN, of course! This inaugural episode is short and sweet, an intro to me and the show.
I’ll be posting the episode link and info here every Friday along with a cocktail recipe that is featured at the end of each episode.
For our first end-of-episode cocktail, I thought it only fitting to feature the OG of classic cocktails, The Old Fashioned. See below for my recipe and then listen to the podcast! Give it a million stars and rave reviews and tell your friends and post to all the social medias!
Old Fashioned – served in a rocks glass
2 oz rye or bourbon
1 sugar cube or teaspoon of loose sugar or ¼ oz of simple syrup
Place the sugar cube in rocks glass, add 3-4 dashes of bitters and a splash of club soda. Muddle to assimilate into the liquids. Add a large ice-cube or a couple smaller ones. Pour in whiskey. Stir until well mixed and chilled. Garnish with an orange peel, a lemon peel, or if you’re old school, an orange wheel and cherry.