Libations to Liven Up the Party


Yesterday we took care of what to bring to a party you’re invited to, today we talk about a party that you’re hosting.

Stocking a bar can be a pretty expensive undertaking if you’re just starting out and a natural thing to do if you’re throwing a party. But here’s the thing: serving one or two fancy drinks–that only take a couple of ingredients each–for the night can give your party the feeling of abundance without cleaning out your bank account.

Thankfully, SVEDKA Vodka sent me over some suggestions for just this sort of occasion!

Future Freeze

1 1/2 oz SVEDKA Vodka
1 oz Blue Curacao
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
4 oz Sprite

Combine all ingredients over ice and shake until nice and chilly. Strain into a chilled martini glass and enjoy.

Naughty Bot

1/2 oz SVEDKA Vodka
1/2 oz Peppermint Schnapps
Splash of Melon Liqueur

Combine over ice and shimmy until cold. Strain into a chilled shot glass and enjoy.

Nice Bot

1 1/2 oz SVEDKA Vodka
3 oz Apple Cider or Juice
2 dashes of Cinnamon

Combine over ice and shake until it feels right. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

As always, remember to enjoy responsibly and if your guests have a little too much holiday cheer? Take their keys–it’s the friendly thing to do.

Recipes and images provided by Shadow PR for SVEDKA Vodka.

A Little Change of Plans


So, this week we were supposed to all be surprised with the fabulous E-Alphatini, right?

Yeah, about that, I’ve discovered my deadline for the cookbook project is coming up fast so a lot of my blogging time is taking a backseat for the month of August so I can get some serious, sloggy, un-fun data entry done.

In the mean time, why not make up a batch or two of this drink that was previously posted as part of a Food & Game Pairing over on What to Feed Your Raiding Party.

You sip, I’ll type, and we’ll all meet back here in 4 weeks to solve the mystery of the E-Alphatini!

Summer Monkey

1 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz Peach Schnapps
1 oz Banana Liqueur
Ginger ale

Combine the juice and liqueurs in a tall glass (highball, pint glass or even a hurricane will do) and stir to combine. Fill the glass 3/4 full with ice and fill will ginger ale. Stir with a straw and serve. Optionally, garnish with pineapple.


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!

Best of: Fruit[y] Cocktails


Since I’m still recovering from the impromptu trip last weekend and in honor of the holiday this coming weekend, here’s a couple of fun, fruity drinks to get you through the weekend. We’ll pick back up with our tasty tour of US History next Friday!


I’m not a girl who likes her liquor straight. On the contrary, I prefer mine well-mixered and my favorite class of mixer is fruit juice. Frou-frou umbrellas are not necessary and the blender can usually stay in the cabinet, but a good juice-to-booze ratio makes a happy camper of this cocktail chick.

I went flipping through my mixology books and found a promising “Mocktail” (a non-alcoholic cocktail, from the book of the same name) that I thought had potential. Even better, I had plenty of fresh strawberries and honeydew melon on hand that the recipe called for.

The one criticism I have for the original recipe is that the quantities are not specific. In school my chefs quickly figured out that I was definitely a baker (as opposed to a line cook) since I preferred (and always asked for) exact quantities, times and temperatures–everything that’s necessary for proper baking chemistry but more subjective for cooking on a line. How much is a “slice” of honeydew? What, to you, is a “part”? Since one ingredient was pineapple juice and the cans I keep on the bar are 6 oz. I decided that a “part” for this trial would be 3 oz. to prevent waste. (I decided to try the recipe two ways.) Here’s my version of the original:


6 strawberries, hulled and washed (halves are okay if the strawberries are very large)
6 1-inch balls of honeydew melon (I’d just finished a party and had extra melon balls, adjust as necessary)
3 oz orange juice
3 oz pineapple juice
1 c ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. This makes 1 tall smoothie or 2 short ones to share.

—adapted from Mocktails, David Biggs

Now, this was okay. Todd commented that it was all sort of mushed up together–no one flavor dominated. And that’s okay, really, but it doesn’t make the drink stand out. Even with the amount of liquid in this, it’s still very frothy and a bit chewy. If you, as the original recipe suggest, blend everything but the ice and then pour the mixture over crushed ice it may make a difference. I combined them for convenience.

So we have Fantasia, non-alcoholic and, frankly, G-rated. I was in the mood, however, for something with a little more kick and a little more flavor. This is our preferred version of this cocktail, still low-alcohol so safe for Summer consumption without fear of a hangover, but no longer safe for the kiddies:

CHF* Pink Elephants on Parade

6 strawberries, hulled and washed (halves are okay if the berries are large)
6 melon balls (for more kick, soak them in a little Midori)
3 oz orange juice
3 oz pineapple juice
1.5 oz spiced rum
1 c ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Makes 1 tall cocktail or 2 shorter ones: make a friend.

The spiced rum in the Pink Elephant version (does anyone else remember that scene from Dumbo? my favorites were the plaid ones) smooths out the flavor, warms it up even for being a blended ice-drink and gives a pleasant aftertaste.

Safe Sipping!

*Cocktail Hour Favorite. There may be only so many ingredients in a drink but there’s many ways to mix them.

Review: ChocoVine




On a recent wander through World Market I was headed for a freshly-opened check out line when I did a honest-to-Bacchus double take. Near the registers was a display of something that looked like chocolate milk in a wine bottle, selling for $11.99.

The cashier informed me that it was actually pretty good and I wavered. I figured, for twelve bucks I could give in to my curiosity.

From the label:


The taste of dutch chocolate and find red wine

Product of Holland * 14% Alcohol/Volume

Imported by Clever Imports LLC
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Consume within six months of opening.
Shake well, store in a cool dark place.
Do not mix with acidic drinks!

It was a couple of days before we had a chance to open it’s screw-top lid. Poured into glasses it still looked like chocolate milk and, when swirled, resembled oily chocolate milk. I know that doesn’t sound very appetizing and, yet…

The taste is distinctive–rich, definitely chocolate, with a hint of something stronger underneath. Todd suggested Kahlua and I had to agree that it was reminiscent of a Mudslide but further sipping made me think of a melted Wendy’s Frosty. Only spiked.

We’ve sipped it on two occasions and still have a third of a bottle left–it’s pretty potent stuff. Unlike a bottle of red wine which you could sip on over the course of an evening, CocoVine is a dessert in and of itself and best in small doses.