Pickleback (and the Randolph Handshake)

It seems pickle juice is all the rave in New York.  I have a feeling it will be a short-lived fad, so enjoy it while it lasts. The Pickleback is simply a shot of whiskey, followed by a half-shot of pickle brine.  It’s the only chaser that needs its own chaser, so a can of …

New Favorite Mixer: Aliseo Blood Orange Juice

I went looking for new and interesting mixers at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco this week, and my favorite was surprisingly simple.  Aliseo makes a boxed blood orange juice that tastes exactly like fresh-squeezed, which is nice, because blood oranges aren’t always easy to find depending on your location and time of year. …

The Cookbook Approach To Cocktail Design

Culinary cocktails, homemade mixers and fresh, local ingredients have been trendy in the bar industry for the past few years, and there is no reason you can’t take the same tack at home after work or hosting a party for friends. I most often resort to the “cookbook approach” when creating new cocktails.  When I …

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 …

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 …