Category: Cocktails

The Seedy Side of the Holidays

What a success our Thanksgiving was this year! There were no misses on the table: A beautifully golden turkey–how is it that chefs on Top Chef can’t get that right?–sausage and apple stuffing; mashed potatoes and gravy; broccoli salad; roasted delicata squash with pomegranate seeds; roasted sunchokes–a conversation starter and a first for nearly everyone at our table–and pies, with salty caramel taking the, er, cake. The wine for the most part was a sparkling white made for Whole Foods that is a convincing stand-in for champagne called De Chanceny Cremant de Loire. All in all, a meal to be proud of.

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Reading the Fish Wrap: See, Reviewing Isn’t So Subjective

Turn your gaze away from the Sandy tribute in the New York Times dining section and read instead the Washington Post’s review of the new Logan Circle gastropub Drafting Table. Tom Sietsema’s take is very similar to mine. His title …

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I’ll Drink to Music City

When I decided to visit Nashville I knew I wanted to try some of the restaurants I’ve been reading so much about–Music City is Food City the headlines go. So after consulting Bon Appetit and Food & Wine and discovering I needed more than three weeks advance to get into The Catbird Seat, I booked at City House in Germantown. We had a good meal and outstanding cocktails in a bright, buzzy, happening space which I will get to, but these out-of-town forays always leave me thinking foremost about the District’s fare.

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All Fall’s Parties

Bon Appetit’s October issue covers a topic near and dear to me: home entertaining. I got several great ideas from the editors, but they almost lost me with this weird punch recipe. Well, weird in that it calls for peaches, which have already disappeared from the market. Once I got past that oddness, there’s a great idea here. Andrew Knowlton uses a bundt pan to make a drink-specific ice ring for the punch. In this case fresh peaches and thyme, which is absolutely beautiful, but you could use anything–limes, pineapple, raspberries, or if it’s fall maybe…apples and cinnamon sticks.

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You Becherovka!

When we asked the proprietor of Cairo Liquor in Dupont Circle if he carried this herbal liqueur, he asked if we were Czech. Not a lot of requests for the highly alcoholic anise/cinnamon flavored Becherovka from Bohemia. But there’s one …

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Drinking Summer: Watermelon Ice Cubes

While I don’t believe that my s’mores need homemade graham crackers a la the July cover of Martha Stewart Living, I must tip my hat to the MSL team for some of their great summer drinking and cooking ideas. (The New York Times had their drinks issue last week, and I fully support trying some more creative blends even if you always come back to your bourbon with sprig of mint [insert your go-to cocktail]. I recently tried a tequila, cucumber, basil, lime, and simple syrup recipe from Food & Wine. While not for me, it was consumed in short order by my guests and it did complement the refreshing quinoa tabbouleh from Bon Appetit I tried that night.) Here are some of the MSL suggestions: For a drink they call a Basil Gimlet Fizz, freeze cubes of watermelon for the “ice.” What a clever idea and it’s beautiful! The drink is gin, basil, lime, sugar, and selzer served over those red cubes. Also intriguing: grilled peaches with sugar, thyme, bitters, lime, and bourbon.

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Happy Hour: The Palm Spritz

Forget the highfalutin $200 juicers. Yes, fresh juice is good, but is it better than just eating that carrot or apple? I’d say not. You lose too much of the other benefit of eating whole fruits and vegetables. If you have to drink it, make a smoothie with yogurt and fruit. What you should invest is the $5 for a manual citrus juicer. There’s so much citrus this time of year and juicing it is a wonderful way to enjoy it. You might also get a batch so riddled with seeds that you deem them not worth the effort of peeling and segmenting.

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The Aperol Spritz Becomes a Classic

I’ve served this drink now for three cocktail parties and it has been a huge hit. I first read about it in Jason Wilson’s column in the Washington Post food section. He suggests it for people who don’t like cocktails, but I’m here to report that the cocktail enthusiasts also love the Aperol Spritz (and that you probably shouldn’t invite people who don’t like cocktails to a cocktail party).

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Feeling No Pain in the BVI

I’ve been enjoying traveling to Mexico in December the last few years. One of the primary draws for me is the food, which I never seem to tire of. Tiny tacos with a little grilled or stewed meat or fish with some pickled onion and a slice of lime. But why be coy, a pot of bubbling cheese is just as likely an order. Or those wonderful chicken enchiladas, which I can now make for myself. All washed down with hot sauce and beer. And that beer is the one thing I’d improve upon if I could. The first Sol is tasty, but it goes downhill from there.

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Reading the Fish Wrap: Thanksgiving End Game

The New York Times, after weeks of heated turkey talk, comes today with a caveat. The cover story about the perils of overeating gets input from a competitive eater, a bulky professional football player, and an eating disorder specialist. This piece will just make you sad, so focus instead on pie baking and cocktail mixing.

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