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Posts from April 2010

Derby Day

The56Julep_small Last year I missed the Derby for reasons I won't bother getting into, but this year I am all over the juleps.  My go-to julep can be found at Blue Smoke, and they make great ones at Eleven Madison Park (at least during the Big Apple BBQ Block Party).  I usually drink juleps w/my good friend Rob, who is currently living in London, so I will be sure to drink at least one in his honor -- I'll be at Rye House for their Derby Party (after a bike ride and a run, of course).

The following julep recipe comes from Wild Turkey Bourbon Master Distiller Jimmy Russell.  He's been in the industry for 56 years and has refined his recipe over the years to come up with his version of the perfect mint julep -- make a few and drink them regardless of whether or not you actually watch the race!

2.5 oz. Wild Turkey 101
3 sprigs of mint (six to eight mature-sized leaves)
1.5 teaspoons brown sugar
.5 cup crushed ice

In a traditional silver julep cup or double old fashioned glass, muddle two sprigs of mint with the brown sugar and one ounce of Wild Turkey 101 for a few minutes, crushing the mint leaves with a spoon. Add the crushed ice, the remaining bourbon, and garnish with sprig of mint.

In other julep fun, watch Jason Littrell make a mint julep in this video.

Rant of the Day

Please stop sending me emails with that damn red exclamation point !.  If it's that important, CALL ME -- I get hundreds of email per day and no stupid red exclamation point is going to make me read your email first or drop what I'm in the middle of doing to handle whatever it is you're asking me to do.

Thanks for listening.  Carry on.

Nourishing My Inner Diva

As some of you know, I am a performer.  Okay, maybe not for a living or anything, but I was involved in theatre and singing for, well, as long as I can remember, really.  Chorus, stage band, musicals, a cappella, bands, cabaret shows -- a constant parade of belting it out in front of an audience, from my youngest years to just after law school.  Since then, it's been a little tougher to find a way to find performance opportunities.  In NYC, either you do it professionally, or you do it catch as catch can.  For me, when I'm jonesing for a taste of the stage, it generally means one thing -- karaoke.  Lucky for my, the city is filled with karaoke bars of every flavor, from private rooms to dive bars where you can sing to your heart's delight.  Of course, given my nature, I prefer the more public venues to the private rooms, and I've recently discovered (thanks to @NYCBaby) the joy of live band karaoke, where you get up and sing with a live rock band backing you up.  One good dose of "Goodbye to You" with Bunnie England & the New Originals (which I got in last Thursday) and my inner diva is rejuvenated for at least a few weeks (plus that particular song has the added bonus of getting rid of those clingy bits of ex-boyfriend remnants that stick around beyond their welcome).  That said, I'm still hitting this up on Sunday, because hey -- no one is going to nourish my inner diva except for me!

I am SUCH a Girl

Actually, I'm generally not one of those girly-girls.  I do like to keep my toenails painted, but I'm not so great about manicures.  I am by no means a shop-a-holic or a clothes horse and I can't handle spending a lot of money on purses.  I don't tend to wear a lot of makeup, but do like the pop of bright red lipstick every so often.  It's true that I like cute shoes, as long as they're comfy, and I think I look better in skirts and dresses than in pants, but I am not really all that girly.

Except that even though I've lived in New York since 1994 and I shouldn't be at all surprised after 15+ years, I still let out the most ridiculous girly gasp every time I see a rat.  I suppose it's hardwired or something.

Drop 10 Update -- 5.6 Down, 4.4 to Go

#drop10beforetri This week I lost 1.8 lbs, putting me at a total of 5.6 pounds lost -- more than halfway to my goal of losing 10 pounds before the triathlon.  This week, I ate out a few times, went to a dive bar crawl and a cocktail event, but when I wasn't doing those things, and even when I was, I made very careful choices about what and how much I ingested.  I also worked out a ton and am tearing through my case of seltzer.

I'm excited about this as it makes me realize that when I make conscientious choices about what and how much I eat and drink that it matters.  It also makes me realize that I don't have to deprive myself completely in order to drop a few pounds.  That said, I plan to work hard to make sure the scale continues to show progress in the right direction, and if I reach my goal before the tri (July 18th), I may go for five more.  But let's cross that bridge when we come to it, shall we?

Weekend Wrapup

Evoe "Cocktails de Paris" event with @Daisy17 & @Cocktailspirit followed by red sauce dinner at Bread Tribeca; First Skype to Skype call (free! yay!), workout, "The Foodie's Dilemma" Times Talks panel with Mom, featuring Bobby Flay, Daniel Humm, Alex Guarnaschelli and moderated by Frank Bruni, the 11th Annual Epicurian Dive Bar Crawl; a run in Astoria with Sara, tasting cocktails at Blue Hill, a quick nap, dinner at Choptank with @Cocktailspirit, and much-needed laundry.

To start your Monday off right, a cocktail recipe from Friday's event: the Twentieth Century Cocktail.

1 1/2 ounces Beefeater gin

3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc

1/4 ounce creme de cacao

3/4 ounce lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve with a lemon twist.

Booze News

I've got all kinds of info to pass along that doesn't fit into my weekly Serious Eats NY cocktail columns, so here you go:

You think it's easy to be a mixologist (Bill, I'm looking at you)?  If so, it's time for you to give it a shot.  Louis 649 is holding a Consumer Cocktail Competition, inviting patrons to step around to the other side of the bar.  

The winning cocktail of Louis 649's first "Anyone Can Be A Mixologist" Consumer Cocktail Competition will be highlighted on their upcoming Spring Menu and credited to the winner. The winner will also receive a much coveted Plymouth Gin Bartending Kit, a 1-Year Subscription to Imbibe Magazine and a $100 Gift Card to your friendly neighborhood Louis 649.

Recipe Submission Guidelines
1) Submission DEADLINE is April 18th
2) Send all recipes to [email protected]
3) Be creative, but not over the top. Please remember, we have to make this cocktail all Spring.
4) You must use one of the following spirits as your base ingredient:
- Beefeater Gin
- Becherovka Herbal Liqueur
- Chivas Regal 12yr Scotch
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Luksusowa Vodka
- Martell Cognac
- Pernod Absinthe
- Plymouth Gin
- Ramazzotti Amaro
- Ricard Pastis

5) All other ingredients are up to you, but refer back to Rule #3

On April 21st, ten semi-finalists will be invited to Louis 649 to prepare your cocktails in front of a panel of bartenders who will then decide the winning cocktail based on criteria the recipe’s creativity, ease of preparation, flavor and balance.


On April 25th, The Dizzy Fizz and Nosalikes today announced a partnership with Tales of the Cocktail to host a benefit at The Delancey, 168 Delancey St., for relief efforts in Haiti and rebuilding efforts in New Orleans.

The Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, will be the featured cocktail, along with Oloffson’s Punch, invented at the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince and made with the famous Rhum Barbancourt of Haiti.

The suggested donation will be $5 per person during an open bar from 7 to 8 p.m., and $10 per person from 8 to 11 p.m. Drink specials will be in effect throughout the night. All proceeds will be split between the SOS Children’s Villages of Haiti and United Saints Recovery Project of New Orleans.


One more late addition:  Tickets are now on sale for the Three Hour Cruise (a.k.a. the Three Hour Tour, Around the World in Five Cocktails), part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic

First of all, kids, it's on a BOAT, so you're not going to want to miss it.  Jason Littrell of Death & Company and Dram and Gianfranco Verga of Louis 649 have put together an amazing event sponsored by Moet Hennessy and The Tippling Point.  "You'll drink delicious cocktails made by some of the country's most talented bartenders: Jacqueline Patterson of Heaven's Dog (San Francisco), Thomas Waugh of Death & Co. (New York City), John Lermayer of The Florida Room (Miami), Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills & Pain Killer (New York City), and Danny Valdez of Cure (New Orleans). Pause on this majestic journey and use your passport to enter some of the world's most intriguing ports: sip authentic 10 Cane Rum in tropical Trinidad, Ardbeg Scotch in mythical Islay, Belvedere Vodka on the banks of the Baltic Sea, and indulge in Hennessy Privilege in the sunny South of France and Grand Marnier in lively Paris." 

And did I mention it's ON A BOAT?  Sunday, May 16th, 5:30pm - 9:00pm, tickets available online.

Ten Before the Tri

#drop10beforetri I've told some of my friends and family in person, but I have another goal to hit before the triathlon.  I'd like to drop 10 pounds.  These 10 pounds have crept on over the past 10 years, an average of one pound per year, which isn't bad, but I figure if I have the discipline to do a triathlon for the fourth year in a row, I can probably get rid of ten measly pounds.

But most of you know me, and know my love for food and drink.  And not just food and drink -- tasty, high-quality, non-processed, but often high-caloric food and drink.  And I'm not one to eat light or "lite" anything (the one exception is that I gravitate to skim milk and fat-free yogurt, and I can tolerate part-skim cheeses in certain contexts); I go for the foie gras, the butter, the bacon, the cheese.  I don't plan to give these things up completely, but indulge in them less frequently and in limited quantities. 

I'm following Weight Watchers Online, where every food/drink item gets a limited number of points.  You are allotted a certain number of points per day based on your height -- being a small person, I get 18 points.  When I did my cocktail column last week, I meticulously looked up the calorie count for every ingredient and was horrified to learn that it had a value of 5 points -- almost a third of my calories for the day!!  The good news is that I exercise a lot, which gives me more wiggle room, as you earn points for exercise. 

This week was hard. VERY HARD.  Brunch with the beach house girls at Bar Artisanal was like a mini exercise in torture (no cheese? no fondue? I settled on the pork belly hash w/poached eggs and hollandaise ON THE DAMN SIDE and a green salad with dressing ON THE DAMN SIDE, nursing my prosecco to make it last longer), and I struggle every day to get the recommended servings of calcium and fruit/veggies.  At Roman's on Sunday I split some dishes with my brother and had a delicious, but small meal.  I went out for a great meal Tuesday night at Marlow & Sons and luckily, the brick chicken sounded more appealing to me and my dining companion than the rib eye, but there was still chicken liver and sopressata involved.  I balanced it out with some kale, and likely ate less of everything than I normally would.  Each day I dutifully tracked in the points values, even when I realized I'd be over my limit for the week.

But, I weighed myself this morning and  . . . drumroll please . . . I'm down 3.8 pounds.  No joke.  And that's really only a week and a half of being more mindful about what and how much I eat and drink.

Lessons learned:  1) pack in the fruits, veggies and water.  They're filling and they help keep the system running smoothly.  2) you can eat the indulgent stuff, just less of it.  A LOT less.  Some of you have heard me say that I am a little person and I need to learn to eat like a little person -- this is in full effect at the moment, but feeling deprived isn't going to work, at least not for me. 3) This is not easy for me, but every single meal means choices, and if I know I big meal is coming later in the day, my breakfast and lunch need to be adjusted accordingly.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I need your support.  Don't look at me funny when I behave strangely in a restaurant -- for me this means that I don't order the foie gras or the bacon.  I may even order a dish and ask them to wrap half of it before they serve it (and this hasn't happened yet, but it might; I'd rather just convince you to share an entree with me).  Say yes when I ask you to meet up for a run, bike, or walk before our meal.  You've all supported me so much in my life, I know that I don't really have to ask, but I'm just letting you know what's going on.

This could be harder than the triathlon, at least for me.  Seriously.