Holiday Cocktail Party in Vermont (with Hot Punch Recipe)

I’ve been tasked with bringing my cocktail knowledge back to Vermont this month, where I can attest, a good drink is scarcer than hen’s teeth, as they say in the Northeast, and finding a bottle of Fernet Branca is harder than Chinese algebra (another favorite Vermont colloquialism).  My parents have asked me to play bartender …

Stocking The Home Bar

The LibationLab guide to stocking your home bar.  There are “minimum” (to avoid embarrassment) and “expanded” (to impress others) versions in each of 4 categories with notes.  It works well as a shopping list/checklist. 1. Alcohol Respectable Minimum: Keep a bottle each of whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, tequila, brandy, Cointreau, dry and sweet vermouth. Expanded …

How Do You Take It?

Simple vocab guide for commonly confused terms used when ordering spirits: neat or straight: served at room temperature, without water or ice, in a short, stemless glass. straight up or up: shaken or stirred with ice, strained, and served in a chilled, stemmed cocktail glass. Of course, on the rocks is on the rocks.

Spiked Juice

I have fondest memories of drinking Sturm at  Raschhofer Rossbräu, a bar/restaurant I frequented while living in Austria a decade ago, give or take a month.  It’s an effervescent,  not fully fermented red wine, which is cloudy and available only in the autumn.  Federweisser is the general term for this category of quick-fermented grape juice, …

Throwback: The Frozen Piña Colada

Last night, we were checking out the Blackbird, a new bar on Market Street between Home and Lucky 13, and encountered the unexpected.  They have a frozen piña colada on the menu, and despite the cool weather and heightened kitsch factor, it was really good. Tip: the quickest way to end a brain freeze is …

Firewater and the Too Bloody Hot

One Saturday last spring,  there was little new or unique, let alone thrilling, at the Ferry Building farmer’s market,  while dodging strollers and tourists was beginning to try my patience, so I settled on a packet of dried spicy peppers to macerate in vodka. The cellophane bag held a mix of habanero, Thai, cayenne and …