Cocktail Advent 29: Electric Blanket


‘Fun’ fact about me: I’m scared of electric blankets. Well, not so much scared of the blankets themselves, but of the possibility, especially overnight, of them catching fire. I realize that oodles of people use them every day with no issues, but I’ve never been able to let the soothing warmth cancel out my fire hazard fears. After all, I’m the girl who turned around and drove home after arriving at work more than once because I couldn’t remember if I turned my makeup mirror off.

Those light get hot!

What I’m not scared of is today’s drink. Cranberry hot cocoa? Totally down for that!

The Electric Blanket
Source: Manny Hinojosa

  • • 1 oz. Cognac or Brandy
  • • 1 1/2 oz. The Perfect Purée Cranberry Puree, thawed
  • • 5 oz. hot cocoa
  • • 1/8 oz. vanilla extract
  • • Whipped cream
  • • Dash of cinnamon sugar
  • • Orange peel (for garnish)

In a coffee mug combine hot cocoa, cranberry puree, Cognac and vanilla extract. Stir and top with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar. Garnish with orange twist.

Sounds good, right? Remember, just because we’ve gotten past Christmas doesn’t mean things are getting warmer anytime soon. Keep this recipe handy.

***This recipe was submitted by a representative of The Perfect Puree. I am not affiliated with the company nor was I compensated for this post, not even with review samples. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Cocktail Advent 3: Candy Cane Cooler


I can generally take-or-leave candy canes, but the soft, pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth peppermints that this cocktail uses are one of the few “hard” candies that I truly love.

Image via NoMa Social

Image via NoMa Social

Candy Cane Cooler


  • 1 tbs crushed soft peppermint candy
  • 1½ fl oz vodka
  • splash of white creme de menthe
  • ¼ fl oz brandy
  • ½ fl oz half-and-half
  • Crushed ice
  • Peppermint stick for garnish
  • Mint sprig for garnish



Combine the vodka and crushed peppermint.  Stir to dissolve.  Add the remaining ingredients, stir and garnish.

This recipe comes courtesy of NoMa Social, a restaurant in New Rochelle, NY, who is running a 4×4 promotion between 4 and 8 pm each evening throughout the “winter season.” While I understand the potential global reach of blogging, I generally don’t post promos from restaurants outside of my little corner of the continent since I cannot vouch for them, personally. So this Cocktail Advent series is really the only time a pitch like this would ever see the pixels of day here on ScrapsOfLife!

I’m fairly certain you could sub any non-dairy milk for the half-and-half in this recipe and that it would scale quite well into an entire pitcher of peppermint pink-ness. Maybe switch the garnish to a peppermint patty for whenever you plan to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas special?

***This recipe was submitted by a representative of NoMa Social. I am in no way affiliated with this restaurant nor have I been compensated in any way. As always, we promote responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Cosmic Cocktails | Scorpio | What A Tail


What a Tail Scorpio-inspired astrological cocktailApologies for the lack of update last Friday: preparations for the book launch took more time than I expected them to. Isn’t it always the way?

But now we’re back! From outer space, we just walked in–

No, no, no, we’re not channeling Gloria Gaynor, here, not the least because she was a Virgo, not a Scorpio, though the done-with-you attitude of the song would fit a scorned Scorp just fine (if you could manage to get rid of one in the first place, that is).

Maybe I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, though.

This week we’re utterly fascinated by the inscrutable Scorpio–mysterious, private, maybe a little brooding and withdrawn. Very physical, someone with their sun-sign in Scorpio is likely to need a lot of physical outlets for their energy, be it sports or exercise of a non-competitive nature (yes, that too, Scorpio is often considered the most highly-sexed sign of the zodiac). Sitting still is not something they like to do very often, preferring to be on the move.

Excellent in business, they learn quickly, take easy command of a situation, and have excellent instincts about finance. The Scorpio mind is like a steel strap, once something goes in it’s in for good, just waiting for it’s opportunity to pop out.

That said, you’re average Scorpio is not one to show their cards, wear their heart on their sleeve, or otherwise give away what’s going on behind the sometimes-moody eyes. This is probably why they make excellent confidants–until you piss them off, that is, and it’s time to get revenge. Remember there’s a stinger on the end of that magnificent tail.

In cocktail parlance, a Scorpion bowl is a rather loaded communal drink, often served in a volcano bowl featuring flames or dry ice for that extra special touch. The classic Scoripion cocktail–different from the bowl–is a little more reasonable for single drinking, but no less powerful. Meanwhile, we’ve got the Stinger, a popular after-dinner drink of brandy and creme de menthe that one of the Vanderbilt’s made acceptable for pre-dinner drinks back in the 1920s (per Esquire).

Not wanting to ignore those cocktail giants which would seem to lend themselves oh-so-well to this week’s cocktail, and knowing that strong flavors are associated with Scorpios in general, I present this cocktail in their honor.

What a Tail

Juice of 1/2 an orange
1 oz Spiced Rum
3/4 oz Brandy
1/4 oz Amaretto

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled, thinking secret thoughts. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry or two.

To make the nifty s-flag garnish I started with a slice of orange, cut from the center out in one place and threaded it onto the cocktail pick (from Trader Vic’s, in honor of the tiki-ness of today’s drink) in this order: one part of the cut side, a cherry, the uncut side in the middle, another cherry and twisting the other half of the cut side onto the end.


No, really, brooding Scorpio, cheer up a bit: it’s Friday!

The Cure for What Ails You


Or, at the very least, something to make you more comfortable while nature takes its course.

I’m a bit under the weather, this week, so designing a cocktail for the Dakotas isn’t on the menu anymore. Not only does a case of the sniffles interfere with the tasting functions, booze is contraindicated with my current cough medicine.

Meanwhile, for those not on cold meds or just looking for an easy way to warm up from Winter’s chill, there is a recipe that can come in handy:

The Hot Toddy

1.5 oz Brandy
.5 oz Simple Syrup
2.5 oz Water

Combine the brandy and simple syrup in a heat-safe glass or mug. Warm the water until almost boiling and pour over the brandy mixture and stir until combined.

That’s the basic toddy from A.J. Rathbun’s Good Spirits. Some variations on the theme are to use a cinnamon stick as your swizzle stick, dropping in a slice of lemon or substituting a brandy-based liqueur (like I did in the Tuaca Toddy, Oct. 09).

Until next time, stay warm & healthy!

50 Shots of America–Connecticut


Our fifth state, the Constitution State (so-named because they had the very first one), ratified the big Constitution on January 9, 1788, and gets it’s name from the Mohegan word for “place of long tidal river.”

As I researched the state I got the impression that they really aren’t into the wild and wacky, up there (even if they are home to the country’s oldest amusement park, Lake Compounce ). Lots of industry, economics (thanks, again, to favorable tax conditions for certain types of businesses; namely hedge funds in Greenwich), and lots and lots of schools from private day and boarding schools to numerous colleges including the uber-ivy league Yale University, home of the first football game (American football, of course).

Scads of famous folks came out of the Provision State: Noah Webster (he of the Dictionary), Eli Whitney, PT Barnum (and, therefore, the Circus as we know it), Harriet Beecher Stowe, the beautiful Katherine Hepburn and America’s first traitor: Benedict Arnold. The “Land of Steady Habits” apparently counted inventions among a habit to pursue, as this state was the birthplace of the Hamburger (1895), the Polaroid camera (1934), the helicopter (1939) and the color television (1948), just to name a few. In fact, 2 years before the Wright Brothers made Kitty Hawk famous, Gustav Whitehead was making aviation history in Bridgeport.

But where does that leave us for the cocktail? Don’t worry, I managed to work something out with what I was given. You see, Connecticut is also known as the Nutmeg state. Not because they produce nutmeg or trade in it or anything, no. The story goes that some peddlers would whittle knobs of wood into a nutmeg shape (which is easy to see how that could happen, it being a brown seed and all) and sell them to unsuspecting customers. That’s one of 3 theories I read for the name but none are 100% certain. Still, it’s interesting enough to make it drink worthy!

the Yankee 78

1 oz Milk
.5 oz Brandy
.5 oz Nutmeg syrup*

Combine all ingredients over ice in a small cocktail shaker and shake until nice and cold. Strain into a pretty cordial glass for maximum effect. You can add a very light dusting of freshly grated nutmeg to the top of the milk foam but, I assure you, it’s not necessary.

As mentioned, the shaken milk produces a great, foamy head that contrasts nicely with the off-white to mocha color of the rest of the drink speckled with bits of nutmeg. (The color depends on how dark your sugar syrup ends up.) As there is a considerable dairy industry in Connecticut and milk punches and brandies always strike me as incredibly Colonial, this seemed the perfect vehicle for the nutmeg flavor without it overpowering the drink.

I made the test drinks with fat free milk because that’s what I drink but I think using 2% would add a nice layer of richness to the drink–if I were making these for a group, I certainly would.

The drink is named after two other bits of information I discovered about the state. One, that the state song is Yankee Doodle and it’s residents are sometimes considered the first Yankees. Two, that there are only 78 hours out of every week that you can purchase beer and liquor from stores (restaurants and bars are allowed broader hours), and less than that to purchase wine if I read the statutes correctly! Stores can only sell alcohol between 8 am and 9 pm Monday through Saturday, not on Sunday and not on certain holidays. If, for instance, Independence Day falls on a Sunday (a dry holiday on a dry day) then the following Monday becomes dry, too!

I guess we’re spoiled down here with our wine and beer in 24-hour supermarkets and late-night liquor stores!

*To make Nutmeg Syrup

.5 c white sugar
1.5 Tbsp ground nutmeg
.5 c water

Combine in a saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. You may have to guess a bit because the nutmeg has a tendency to float on the top and obscure the view. Avoid breathing in the fumes as the mixture cooks, that nutmeg can be quite potent! Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth (layers given a quarter turn each to trap as much of the ground spice as possible) once. Some nutmeg will pass through the straining but you’ll catch most of it.

The leftover syrup (this barely makes a cup after straining) can be stored in an airtight contained in the fridge for quite some time. Obviously an excellent addition to eggnog, this syrup would go well in Tiki-style drinks and practically anything that called for rum! For an even richer taste, make it with brown sugar instead of white.