Oh, hey Guys! Howsit going out there?
No biggie…I’m just checking in, making sure you’re liking what you see, getting what you want from this blog relationship. I started this blog because I wanted to write about something I’m super jazzed about – Booze! More specifically, the changing small batch spirits industry, and the rich history and exciting future of COCKTAILS! You dig? Wait. DO YOU REALLY DIG IT? I’m asking for reals. It’s not like I’m so super insecure that I need a bunch of affirmations, I’d just love to get some feedback in terms of the direction that you, dear reader, would like to see this go. Are you into the original recipes? Would you like to see more classics featured, or learn about the story behind them? Is there something you’d like to see me focus on? Absinthe? Bitters? Hangover Remedies? Are the posts too infrequent? Is the font confusing? Are there too many pictures of sexy ladies? Do I use the word FOX too much?! I’m only slightly serious about that one. Fox is an awesome word. The point is, I’m open…to change. You can totally peer pressure me into writing what you want here! Within reason. I mean, I won’t be posting any Skinny Girl Cocktail recipes or anything involving Peach Schnapps or Southern Comfort (don’t ask, I can barely even write those last two words). But I’m willing to go where the blog populace wants me to. So, take a moment and leave me some comments. I’d love to hear from you. The comments section has been crickets lately and I’d like to change that up. So even if you want to swing by to tell me you don’t care for my enthusiastic use of exclamation points or frequent ellipsis abuse, I promise to take it all in. And I also promise never to ask if ‘you dig?’ again. This relationship is a work in progress…
In the 1800’s, Brooklyn was teeming with distilleries. Like much of the country, it was full-on hooch heaven. And the Red Hook neighborhood was its stairway to it. Gin, rum and whiskey stills lined the waterfront for years…that is, until prohibition. Well, legally, at least. Al Capone DID start his mob career here. But with the influx of all the micro-distilleries popping up in the area, it looks like we may finally be on our way back to that boozy boom.
Van Brunt Stillhouse is one of these pioneering distilleries part of this revival, and a stand out one at that. Specializing in small batch, quality spirits, they’ve only been open for about a year and a half – their first products hit the shelves in April of last year – and they’re already producing three fairly distinct spirits: an organic rum (the first coming out of New York since prohibition!) a grappa made from grapes from the North Fork of Long Island and the Fingerlakes region, and a lovely whiskey that I was lucky enough to get familiar with last Friday night when I made a Coffee Sazerac.
Van Brunt Stillhouse American Whiskey is made mostly from malted barley and wheat. It has a little bit of corn and a touch of rye and spends about five months in American oak barrels. And it worked beautifully in this cocktail. I love a well made Sazerac and the addition of coffee syrup united the absinthe and whiskey wonderfully without marring the classic flavors that are usually present.
During the tasting at Atlantic Cellars last week, I also got the chance to hang out with the creator and distiller behind these spirits, Daric Schlesselman. Although he has led a successful career as a television and film editor, his passion for distilling clearly has driven him to embark on the insane side career as distiller to multiple spirits and to create Van Brunt Stillhouse out of mere enthusiasm. And it continues to excite him. His devotion to creating quality products borders on obsession. He’s probably an excellent editor!
Try all three of these spirits. And try the American Whiskey in a Coffee Sazerac. AND keep your eye out for Van Brunt Stillhouse. After spending some time with Daric, I have no doubt there will be MUCH more to come from this distillery.
The end of summer is fast approaching, folks! Where did it all GO??? I only got to the beach once this summer. I didn’t make it up to the Catskills at all, and I never even got a chance to ride my baby blue Vespa through beach-y grass whilst bedecked with boho beads with my blonde bestie! Bummer.
While I normally don’t grieve this time of year because August is typically gross town USA in New York, and I usually welcome fall with open, desperate, sweaty arms…we’ve actually been having glorious, cooler than usual weather throughout the month, making me feel like I never want summer to ennnndddd. So let’s squeeze out the last few bits of the season that we can this next week, shall we? Making a delicious shandy is a good place to start!
Traditionally, shandys are half beer and half lemonade, lemon soda or ginger ale/beer. This one incorporates the lemon AND ginger and then adds the Italian bitter liqueur, Amaro CioCiaro for an extra kick. The French know this beer/amaro combo well. Picon Biere, a classic drink in some regions, is beer with a shot of Amer Picon. This bitter liqueur, unfortunately, is not available in the states but according to respected drinks historian (that’s a JOB, you guys!) David Wondrich, Amaro CioCiaro comes closest to the flavor profiles present in Amer Picon, with clean orange notes and less vegetal than some amari. And it works beautifully here!
So, strap on some boho beads, whip a few of these babies up and drink in the last few drops of summer!
A few week’s back I had the opportunity to experiment with an exciting, new-ish liqueur on the market, Sorel. Officially, only a little over a year old, this Brooklyn-made liqueur with intense notes of clove, nutmeg and ginger, has actually been in the works for over 15 years. Jackie Summers, the man behind this small batch, hibiscus-based liqueur, has been testing out the recipe that would eventually become Sorel on friends and family at parties and celebrations over the years, without any intention of ever bringing it to the masses. That is, until 2010 when he had a grim diagnosis after a golf-ball sized tumor was found inside his spine. Although the tumor was eventually removed and, thankfully, tested benign, Jack’s world, understandably, was flipped on its head. His fancy publishing career was pushed aside for one that mattered to him, and Sorel Liqueur and Jack From Brooklyn, the brand, was officially born.
We are all better off for this man’s life changing epiphany!
Not only was Jack extremely warm and charming upon first meeting him, I witnessed first hand how he is known for his charisma as well as his liqueur. Whether he was captivating a room full of ladies trying Sorel for the first time or inspiring a group of young men looking to be entrepreneurs themselves, there wasn’t one person that walked into Atlantic Cellars that didn’t get a little extra special Jackie Summers moment that night. He is a generous spirit and an AMAZING salesmen. Every bottle of the store’s Sorel inventory was sold out before the tasting was finished!
Inspired by his Caribbean roots, Sorel is made up of traditional flavors from the area – that’s where the hibiscus plant comes in – but with the addition of exotic spices from around the world. It is truly unusual but surprisingly versatile. And its lower alcohol content makes it a perfect addition to cocktails. The flavors may bring to mind fall and winter type drinks but I thought it was just lovely in this very simple and summery spiked lemonade:
Distribution for Sorel Liqueur is fast expanding outside of the Northeast. It’s already in Oregon and Illinois and Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana and Idaho are the newest states to be lucky enough to be getting this unique jewel toned liqueur. Check the website to see if you can locate a store near you.
This last Thursday, I was part of an amazing launch party for WHOA Travel, a boutique travel company that integrates charity work involving women around the world. ‘Every WHOA Adventure aims to bring personal discoveries to women while simultaneously having a positive impact on local women and their communities.’ Traveling around the world, having adventures and impacting communities for the better? Sounds incredible, right?! Sign me up!
This kick-off party included local female entrepreneurs from a variety of sectors, including Bit By a Fox!
I was honored to be included in this fun event, among such an enterprising and inspiring group of ladies. I was also SUPER grateful to have my dear friend, and fellow travelling buddy, Joy there, to help out with the signature cocktail of the night and to represent Bit By a Fox.
(photos by the insanely talented Tiffany Oelfke of Luciebelle Photography)
In keeping with the theme of celebrating dynamo business women in New York City, our cocktail of the evening featured Bridget Firtle’s Owney’s NYC Rum.
The signature cocktail for the WHOA Travel launch party: The Lady Hay Cooler!
The cocktail name was inspired by Lady Hay Drummond-Hay, the first woman to ever circumnavigate the globe by air. In a Zeppelin! With a bunch of dudes for 21 days! She deserved a cocktail named after her. Check out her fascinating story!
The lovely ladies of WHOA Travel, Allison and Danielle.
Look at these crazy cute cookies with the WHOA Travel logo made by Casue Sweets! This company was created by Carolyn and Susanne, identical twins, who are as adorable as their cookies.
Each of the guests were picking their fantasy adventure for the night and mine was Southeast Asia. Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand are definitely on my bucket list. I’d love to do it with WHOA Travel and give back along the way!
Here’s the recipe for The Lady Hay Cooler.
Shake this up, sit back and dream up your next adventure!
This amazingly refreshing tequila cocktail is another one of my all time favorites and so it was, of COURSE going to be included in last Friday’s launch menu. In the past I’ve always used Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur but I was excited to try Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur for a number of reasons: 1) I hadn’t tried it before 2) It’s made in Brooklyn! 3) I’ve heard amazing things about it and 4) The maker of this new, buzzed about liqueur and I have friends in common! I was not disappointed. I look forward to experimenting more with this spicy number.
For the launch I had made recipe cards with a slightly different ratio, closer in taste to a margarita. But this is what I actually MADE at the launch, and the way I actually prefer it. The coconut water smooths out the cucumber, tequila, ginger and citrus, and the end result is a bright blend of some of my favorite summer flavors. I’d love to hear your feedback if you do decide to make this or a variation on it. Brighton Beach it up this weekend!
Like a fiery, Italian bombshell in a Spaghetti Western, this little rye whiskey cocktail goes down real easy. Wait. That sounded….um.
Ok. All you need to know about The Whiskey Cardinale is this cocktail, or a slight variation on this recipe, was my go-to, after work sipper for like a year straight. And continues to be one of my all time favorites. I have used bourbon and maple syrup in the winter months and have most recently used English tea syrup as the sweetener. But the ratio of whiskey, Italian Amaro, coconut water, lemon juice and sweetener always stays the same. And is spot on, if I do say so myself.
Like Claudia Cardinale, this stunner has international flair, a hot blooded Italian side and a sexy, sweet quality. I’m now going to stop making horrible analogies. Just make this and drink it and thank me later. KTHXBAI!
Thanks to all who came out to Atlantic Cellars in Brooklyn last Friday to help me celebrate the official launch of Bit By a Fox – blog, events and cocktail design. Here are some shots from the night!
How cute are these cocktail spears? Perfect for boozy cupcakes!
The cocktails: The Whiskey Cardinale with Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and The Brighton Beachcomber with Don Julio Tequila and Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur. Guests were treated to recipe cards for the cocktails & Bit By a Fox Cocktail Syrups.
The spread. Everyone should bartend in white eyelet.
I have some extremely sweet (and talented!) supporters.
After 160 cocktails served, my fair share of spills and shaker mishaps and a filled-to-the-gills liquor store, I was grateful for a number of things: 1) This wasn’t during a heatwave 2) I pre-batched all those cocktails 3) None of the bottles broke in the store and 4) the incredible support and love I felt from friends, friends of friends and complete strangers! After the last party goer left, I was so happy to have enjoyed the night with so many people from all corners of my life. I felt really lucky to be right there at that moment. And to finally change into flip flops.
Tonight is the night! And these are the cocktails. Why so much coconut water you ask? Well, I happen to think it’s a divine cocktail mixer (and it’s hydrating!) It’s still summer and although the heatwave may have broken around here, I’m still craving summer flavors. And both of these cocktails, which are truly very different, just happen to be my faves that have come from my booze brain. Coconut water haters, not to worry. I’ve served both of these cocktails to people who are all like, ‘that stuff is totally gag-city’ but THEN they LOVED it mixed in with boozy deliciousness! I dare say, I’ve converted a few people.
I’ve mixed them both up a bit for the occasion, using English Tea Syrup instead of a simple syrup in The Whiskey Cardinale and the new locally made Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur instead of my usual Domaine de Canton in The Brighton Beachcomber. I’ll share the recipes for both in a few days. But if you come tonight, you’ll get your very own recipe cards with Bit By a Fox syrup to boot! Hope to see you all there!
Click here or here for more info.
Save the Date…to get Bit By a Fox!
Enjoy some summer cocktails & crunchy, salty things while helping me celebrate the official launch of Bit By a Fox, blog, events and cocktail design. Goodie bags! RSVP in the comments here, the Bit By a Fox Facebook page or to email@example.com
Let’s get bit together!