Cocktail Advent 19: Lady in the Garden


Here’s another cocktail idea courtesy of North Hollywood’s Bow & Truss Restaurant and Bar. They propose this as an alternative to eggnog.

Image via Bow & Truss

Image via Bow & Truss

Again, no measurements given, but we’re dealing with a twist on the classic Pisco Sour, so it’s not hard to figure out.

Lady in the Garden

  • 3 oz Pisco
  • 3 Basil leaves
  • 1 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 Egg White
  • Orange Blossom Water and a small Basil sprig for garnish

In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the basil in the pisco just enough to release some of the oils. Add in the orange juice, and the egg white and dry-shake (meaning, use no ice) for about 15 seconds or so. Then add ice to your cocktail shaker and shake again to chill. Strain into a prepared cocktail coupe and top with a few drops of orange blossom water and a pretty basil sprig.

If you’ve never tried Pisco before, it reminds me of tequila–they both have that innate warmth and rich mouth-feel to me. While I think it’s a stretch to call this an egg-nog substitute, I certainly wouldn’t turn one down if it were offered to me!

***This “recipe” was provided by a representative of Bow & Truss Restaurant and Bar. I am not affiliated with the establishment nor have I been compensated for the sharing of this recipe or image. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***


AlcoHOLidays | Mother’s Day | Lavender Lovely



I do apologize for missing last week’s AlcoHOLidays installment. It was a combination of an expected sponsored post falling through and me falling ill Thursday afternoon. It was, however, Cinco de Mayo last Sunday and I trust I’ve “trained” you well enough to know margaritas were in order, yes? Good!

This weekend, however, we are celebrating dear old (or not so old) Mom, as this Sunday, May 12, is the US observance of Mother’s Day.

While the Mother’s Day that is celebrated as a formal holiday the second Sunday in May was started by Anna Jarvis in 1909, there was another Mother’s Day that never really got off the ground. Back in 1870, after the American Civil War, Julia Ward Howe tried to start a Mother’s Day for Peace on June 2, though it was more about stopping the wars that were robbing mothers of their husbands and sons and promoting pacifism than it was honoring the institution of motherhood.

They say Jarvis was rather disgusted by the commercialism of Mother’s Day by the time the 1920s came around. Frankly, I can see her point. I will be glad when this weekend is over so that the incessant ads for flowers, cards, jewelry, dinners out, and anything else that could remotely please a mom. Do you know that Mother’s Day is the busiest restaurant day of the year? The automatic assumption is that Mom shouldn’t have to cook on Mother’s Day and heaven forbid someone else take her place in the kitchen.

But I digress…

The funny (read as: coincidental) thing about the post-Civil War Mother’s Day is that my favorite literary mother is Ellen O’Hara, from Gone with the Wind. And indelibly printing on my memory, just as it was Scarlett’s, is that she always smelled of Lemon Verbena.

Now, as I first read GWTW  when I was very young, possibly single digits-young, (and way before the Internet was commonplace in business, much less the home) my mind figured that lemon verbena must be some sort of perfume combining the scent of lemons and whateverthehell verbena was–probably a flower of some sort, I reasoned, and lavender somehow made it’s way into my mental estimation of the scent. Now, of course, I know that lemon verbena is a stand-alone plant in it’s own right, and that it smells like lemon and is used for its lemony oils, can be found in some teas, and does actually have small purple and white flowers.

Which is a very roundabout way of explaining the inspiration that went into today’s cocktail: lemon and lavender and all things lovely. Lemon and lavender are not exactly strangers to cocktails, as I’ve had a wonderful martini with those notes in the past. But I wanted less of a sweet, syrupy martini and more of a refreshing tall drink, one that would be at home on the back porch with a picnic or barbecue spread. Something that tasted like spring, and renewal–but without the bugs and dirt.

Lavender Lovely

3/4 oz Simple Syrup
1 barspoon dried Lavender
1 tsp Rosewater
1 oz Pisco
6 oz Sparkling Lemon Soda

In the bottom of a tall glass, muddle the syrup and lavender–you don’t need to crush the flowers into oblivion, you just want them to release some of their heady oils. Add the rosewater, Pisco, and enough ice to make the glass 3/4 full and give it a few stirs with the aforementioned barspoon, then stir in the lemon soda until chilled. Because the lavender will float on the top of the drink, I suggest serving this one with a straw!

I was debating base spirits on this one between rum and vodka, briefly considered cachaca for something a little different before I was reminded of the wonderful floral notes in KAPPA Pisco and there was suddenly no more deliberating! Pisco was the perfect choice for this cocktail but for those mom’s who are still expecting, I’m willing to bet that just using a bit more of the lemon soda (mine was California Juice Company Sparkling Meyer Lemon from Cost Plus/World Market) to make up for the missing Pisco would result in a lovely, all-ages sipper. If you’re short of sparkling lemon soda, I’d say some Lemon Perrier, the juice of one lemon, and a little extra simple syrup would do the trick.

Granted, I won’t be serving this to my own mother this weekend as she doesn’t drink any alcohol and overly-floral things give her a headache. Our tradition over the last several years has been to tour the local Parade of Homes on the Saturday before Mother’s Day and then go for a late lunch/early supper somewhere. It works for us.


Review | KAPPA Pisco



If you are a cocktail enthusiast (which you must be if you’re hanging around here, right?) you’ve probably at least heard of that classic drink, the Pisco Sour. You may have even browsed the recipe, thinking it was something you’d like to try, only to pull up sort when you saw it requires a raw egg white.

Before you think me cavalier on the subject, I consider food-born illness pretty high on the list of things to avoid. Memories of my Safety & Sanitation class are still vividly imprinted on my brain, even though it’s been almost 15 years! Salmonella is the bacterial baddie that could be in a raw egg, but the chances of that happening with a properly processed and stored egg is about 1 in 20,000 or 30,000. Hence, I have no issue at all eating the occasional raw egg white.

Granted, it’s usually in something like Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, or the occasional scoop of raw cookie dough (quality control, I assure you), but shaking one into a cocktail isn’t really that alien of a concept to me.

But plenty of classic cocktails make use of an egg white, what else is it about the Pisco Sour that makes it one of those drinks so many of the cocktail curious set skip?

Namely, the Pisco.

What is it and, more importantly, what does it taste like?

Pisco is a grape-based brandy from Peru or Chile, possibly named for the port city of the former. I was fortunate enough to receive a bottle of KAPPA Pisco from the same house that makes the fabulous Grand Marnier, Marnier-Lapostolle.

Before I get into tasting notes, can we just take a moment to admire that gorgeous bottle?! I fully admit that I’ve been known to purchase spirits for the beauty of the bottle alone, and this one is just a feast for the eyes. Apparently it’s designed by Ora-Ito (I might just have a new design crush) and at first I though the silvery sides were mirrored or some trick of a bottle within a bottle–then I realize it was just sections of clear glass letting the clear, crisp liquor shine through. It’s still a sexy as hell bottle.

When I opened said bottle I was reminded of tequila–that warm, enveloping sense of comfort that tequila evoke–but the taste is nothing like tequila. I found KAPPA Pisco both sweet and tart with a decided flavor of rosewater, like the perfumed French candies from the import stores. Todd found the flavors way too strong on its own, but I was pleasantly surprised by just how palatable it was neat.

Of course I had to try the classic sour with the KAPPA twist:


2 oz KAPPA Pisco
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 egg white

Combine KAPPA Pisco and rest of the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into a small champagne flute.  Top with tree drops, or half dashes, of Angostura bitters (to create the shape of the Southern Cross).

And how was it?

Amazing. The lemon juice amplifies the refreshing tartness of the KAPPA and the heady floral notes are toned down–though whether from the additional citrus or the egg white I’m not sure. As for the egg white, shaking it creates a head for the cocktail somewhere between a beer’s foam and a meringue and the texture it adds to the cocktail is just wonderful. Overall, the KAPPA Sour might just become my new favorite summer cocktail!


I received a bottle of KAPPA Pisco for purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.