Simple Citrus Cocktail

This easy cocktail is a light and delicious drink for brunch or anytime. Just stir 1 1/2 oz. Ketel One Botanicals Peach & Orange Blossom vodka into 4 oz. Spindrift Orange Mango sparkling water. Garnish with an orange wedge for a simple and yummy serve!

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Nashville’s Coolest Cocktail Bar

My husband and I were in Nashville last weekend and got the chance to do a lot of fun things. One of my favorite experiences was our visit to hip cocktail bar Old Glory, a woman-owned bar in what used to be the boiler room for White Way steam cleaners. Located on the edge of Music Row and Edgehill, this spot is tucked away in a complex that also houses upscale retail, a taco shop, wine bar and barbershop.

The interior is expansive, yet intimate, with multiple corners tucked away throughout the space to enjoy creative cocktails with friends while a dj plays hip-hop music.

We started with a classic Paper Plane – Four Roses Bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol and lemon juice (for me, the bourbon drinker) and a Saturn – Ford’s Gin, passionfruit puree, falernum, orgeat and lemon juice (for my husband, the gin drinker). Both were top notch. The other two cocktails we tried were the Night Shift – Buffalo Trace bourbon, Don Q Anejo rum, ginger, passionfruit liqueur, citrus and Fernet Branca – and the Airmail – Don Q white rum, honey, lime juice and cava. The drinks were expertly mixed from a bar stocked with plenty of homemade infusions and tinctures.

Of all the bars we visited in Nashville, Old Glory was definitely our favorite. Broadway is fun if you like honky tonk’s and lots of people. Printer’s Alley had a cool vibe too. But this spot was the perfect combination of rustic, classic and modern. Next time you’re in Nashville, check it out!

Cocktail Experiments

If you’re playing Red Dead Redemption like my husband is, you may have come across a recipe for the St. Denis Sazerac. This was delicious to sip while watching my husband play the game.

This classic is made by rinsing a glass with absinthe, then dropping in some ice. Shake 2 oz. cognac or brandy, 1 cube of sugar and 2 dashes bitters in a shaker with ice, then strain into the absinthe-washed glass.

For my second cocktail of the evening, I wanted to give a new spin to an old favorite: the Manhattan. I substituted vermouth for PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and maraschino cherries for pomegranate arils in this Pomegranate Manhattan. Mix 2 oz. rye whiskey, 1/2 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur and a couple dashes of bitters in a shaker with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass and garnish with pomegranate arils. Cheers!

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New Year’s Magic Cocktail

This sweet and tart champagne cocktail is the perfect way to ring in 2019.

New Years Magic Cocktail

New Year’s Magic Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. cranberry juice
  • 2 1/2 oz. Champagne
  • Dried or fresh cranberries

Preparation:

  • Muddle dried or fresh cranberries and St. Germain gently at bottom of a champagne flute with a thin spoon.
  • Pour in cranberry juice and give a quick stir.
  • Top with champagne.
  • Toast and enjoy!

Best wishes to all in 2019! May the New Year bring you love, light and success.

DC’s Emporiyum at Union Market’s Dock 5

This past weekend, foodie mecca The Emporiyum returned to Union Market’s Dock 5, and there were plenty of delicious dishes and drinks to try!

Having attended the event in Baltimore a few years ago, my husband and I were excited to see the many food and beverage vendors and the Dock 5 layout. The space was a combo of indoor and outdoor vendors, with a large tent set up outside Dock 5.

First things first: a drink was in order. One Eight Distilling was happy to oblige. They had a short cocktail menu featuring their gins. I tried the Figetta Bout It, made with District Made Barrel-Rested Gin and a bunch of fall flavors.

Next on the agenda: fresh biscuits from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit. We visited this classic southern biscuit bakery in the Charleston City Market while on vacation this summer and wanted to enjoy their delicious biscuits again. I got a biscuit with cinnamon sugar butter and my husband got his with spicy pimento cheese.

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Next we wanted to try the Instagram-worthy Chick’nCone, but when we realized the line that snaked through the venue was not moving, we gave up and decided to explore the other vendors. I’m so glad we did, because we tried samples of Hiatus Cheesecake’s delectable cheesecakes and were instant fans. Their Corn and Berries cheesecake was so good, with a cornmeal base, dense creamy cheesecake and fresh berry topping.

We got to try so many delicious foods and drinks, from Old Fashioned’s made with Buffalo Bergen mixers and Wild Turkey Longbranch bourbon to Indian dishes, Ketel One’s new line of botanical flavored vodkas, all-natural energy drinks, Chincoteague Island-made beer and butters, mustards and honeys made with truffles.

The event was a great chance to check out some really interesting Mid-Atlantic specialty food vendors, and to bring home some delicious treats, like Call Your Mother Deli‘s bagels and The Dough Jar‘s edible cookie dough. We had a great time exploring the market and trying all the different products.

Highlights from a weekend trip to New York City

New York City is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s like an onion with so many layers of history to peel. Every time I visit, I discover something new.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I got to take a weekend trip to NYC for a concert at Irving Plaza. We stayed at our favorite “secret” hotel, the Comfort Inn Lower East Side. This inexpensive hotel on the edge of Chinatown has a parking garage at the back of the block that you can reserve via the BestParking app and get great weekend rates. There’s free wifi and a free continental breakfast, and it’s easy to get in and out of Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge.

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We found a tiny seafood bar just down the street from the venue in the East Village, Bait & Hook, that had delicious fried oysters. We grabbed a couple of picklebacks and some Guinness before we headed back to the hotel.

We spent Saturday exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art, particularly the Egyptian and European art wings.

While heading back to the subway, we found a cute brewpub in Hell’s Kitchen for lunch. NY Beer Company had paninis, burgers and other sandwiches, pizza and a huge selection of beers, including a bunch of local New York options.

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My last (and favorite) discovery was the most charming little bar right down the street from our hotel. Les Enfants de Boheme is a French bar and restaurant with a full cocktail menu, cheese and charcuterie boards, mussels and various entrees. The Saturday night we visited, NYC was hit by a snowstorm, so we hung out at the bar, soaked up the atmosphere and watched the snow fall. It was New York magical.

My Favorite Old-Fashioned

Some classic cocktail enthusiasts may not know this, but the Old Fashioned was originally created as a gin cocktail. In 1862, renowned bartender Jerry Thomas published his “Bartenders’ Guide.” In it, he described the Old Fashioned Holland Gin cocktail as containing sugar, water, ice, Angostura bitters, a small piece of lemon peel and a jigger of Holland gin. A few years later in 1880, Louisville bartender James E. Pepper made his version of the drink, exchanging the gin for bourbon. The rest was history.

Bartenders around the world have created their own versions of this classic drink, substituting various types of liquors and garnishes, but the bones of the Old Fashioned remain the same: sugar or syrup, water, ice, bitters, citrus and liquor.

Here’s how I make my favorite:  Rub a slice of orange peel around the rim of a highball glass, then drop it in the glass. Add 1/2 oz. of Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar simple syrup and a splash of water. Muddle and mix. Add a large ice cube. Add 1 1/2 to 2 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey. Drop in a Filthy Foods Red or Black Cherry and a barspoon of cherry juice and stir. Voila!

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