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April 2012

Posts from March 2012

Booze You Can Use: Tequila

Mark your calendars for these two upcoming events benefiting the Tequila Interchange Project. First, a four course spirited dinner at Mayahuel on Sunday, April 1st with cocktails by Jim Meehan of PDT, Misty Kalkofen of Brick and Mortar, Bobby Huegal of Anvil, and Philip Ward of Mayahuel. Dinner is $75, and you can RSVP at Mayahuel: 212-253-5888.

If you can't make it Sunday, head to Astor Center on Tuesday, April 3rd from 7 to 10 for an evening of tequila and mezcal cocktails. Your $25 ticket entitles you to try drinks made by Bobby Heugel (Anvil, Houston), Misty Kalkofen (Brick & Mortar, Boston), Don Lee (Cocktail Kingdom), Joaquin Simo (Death & Co.), Kelley Slagle (Cocktail Kingdom) and Phil Ward (Mayahuel), and benefits the important work TIP is doing to ensure the sustainability of biodiversity and culture in agave distillate production. Tickets are available online:

See you there!


I saw a friend this weekend whom I hadn't seen in probably three years, although we Skype from time to time. Over the course of our visit, we came to the frightening yet strangely comforting revelation that we've known each other for close to twenty years -- we met in 1995. So much has happened during that time, both in our own separate lives, and in the evolution of our relationship, yet it's still such a comfort to spend time together and know that we're still there for each other.

I feel so lucky to have Christopher and many others who have been in my life for 20+ years -- here's hoping we'll stick it out for at least another 20. Love you all!

Booze You Can Use: Have a Sidecar

20100121sidecarPhoto courtesy Lush Life Productions

The Sidecar has long been one of my favorite cocktails, and I realized earlier this week after reading this article about P.J. Clarke's bartender Doug Frost (who claims to make the best Sidecar in the world and is convenently located downstairs from my office) that I've been neglecting it lately. Will rectify that this weekend after I buy some lemons.

1 1/2 ounces cognac
3/4 ounce lemon juice
3/4 ounce Cointreau

Shake over ice and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.

Booze You Can Use: Cognac, Champagne and Chocolate



Three delicious things all in one place! is closing off the top floor of the Brandy Library for this private event on Monday, March 26, 2012 from 6:30-8:30pm. 

You'll be able to walk around and visit the six tasting tables to sip and learn more about Cognac (hint: it's not just for sipping in front of a fireplace).  You'll also find cocktails at the bar, two champagnes, cheese, charcuterie, and a “cocoa sommelier” to help you pair the perfect chocolate with your beverages. As an extra bonus (and one of my favorite reasons to drink), a portion of the evening's proceeds will benefit City Harvest.

Tickets are $55 and are available online.  Hope to see you there!


This has been my go-to brownie recipe for well over 20 years. I originally copied it from the back of a package of Nestle Toll House morsels onto an index card, which I have long since lost, but the recipe has remained in my repertoire. They are simple, rich, easily tricked out to your liking, and always get rave reviews. You can thank me (and/or curse me) later.

¾ cup unsifted flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1⁄3 cup butter
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 (12 ounce) packages Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
½ cup nuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and water.
Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
Add 6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate morsels and vanilla extract.
Stir until morsels melt and mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a large bowl (I often skip this step and just do it all in the saucepan).
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Gradually blend in flour mixture.
Stir in remaining 6 ounces (1 cup) of chocolate morsels and the nuts.
Spread into a greased 9-inch square baking pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool completely before cutting.

Booze You Can Use: Swap Your Spirits


If you're not feeling particularly creative but want to try something a little different, take a basic cocktail and swap out the base spirit. For example, take a Manhattan, replace the whiskey with Scotch (I like a blended Scotch like Famous Grouse, or Black Grouse for a touch of peat), and you've got yourself a Rob Roy. Make an Old Fashioned, but use an aged rum (I like Zacapa, but have several others on hand that will work as well) as your base spirit and you've got a lovely Rum Old Fashioned like the one pictured above.

Rum Old Fashioned
1.5 ounces Zacapa 23 rum
1 scant barspoon simple syrup
2-3 dashes of bitters (I use either Angostura, Regan's Orange, or Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, or some combination thereof)

Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice until well chilled, then strain into a rocks glass, preferrably with one large ice cube (try this). Garnish with an orange twist. If you're feeling lazy, just do it all in your rocks glass.

Booze You Can Use: Manhattan Cocktail Classic Presale!

Go to your computer RIGHT NOW and get yourself some presale tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. If you "like" their Facebook page, you'll get the presale code. Otherwise, tickets go on sale at high noon tomorrow. My suggestions? The opening night Gala at the New York Public Library and the British Invasion at the NoMad Roof. I have to miss them both this year, so it's up to you to enjoy them for me.