Stinger-cocktail-@1020

Friday Cocktail Hour today is devoted to the memory of my dad, who hated to see guests leave and always asked if they’d stay for a nightcap, saying, “Can I make you a Stinger?” The Stinger, a cocktail that dates to the early 20th century is a combination of brandy and crème de menthe, indeed a refreshing cocktail after a meal. Rip would have used an inexpensive brandy for this mixed drink and he always served them over crushed ice (we owned an actual crusher that sat on the back kitchen counter next to the toaster oven and the Mr. Coffee). But it’s also a drink, according to The Philadelphia Story (one of my favorite movies), that is a great hair-of-the-dog solution. This I’ve never tried, but surely in the future shall. My father died of Read On »

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Metropolitan-Cocktail@1020

Last week’s delicious Sidecar got me onto drinks featuring brandy. This, combined with my interest in how changing the spirit changes the name, brings me to today’s cocktail (photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman), the Metropolitan. The Manhattan is a beloved Ruhlman family cocktail; the Metropolitan is essentially a Manhattan made with brandy. This is a delicious cocktail, made especially fine with these genuine maraschino cherries. Donna says a single one of them can be considered an entire dessert. Indeed, this is a garnish that truly completes this cocktail, which is a complex mixture of brandy, sweet vermouth, bitters, a small bit of simple syrup, and the cherries. I’m happy again to feature Hella Bitters, from my downstairs neighbor in New York, Tobin Ludwig, currently visiting Cleveland I’m proud to note—and what a glorious day it Read On »

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Sidecar-cocktail-@1020

When we lived in Florida, Donna and I darkened many a thrift shop door. It was Palm Beach, and you never knew what you might uncover. We were also terribly romantic for the Old World, which to us could be the 1950s, ’40s, or the Jazz Age, but especially the latter. Visions of Old Palm Beach were everywhere, and they were all so much finer to believe in than our everyday lives, my crappy temp jobs and cheap-Scotch hangovers, struggling to be F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was Fitzgerald who wrote one of the most gorgeous paragraphs ever about the island in his day. I could actually stand on my mother’s balcony in West Palm, which overlooked the Intercoastal, aka Lake Worth, with its beautiful view of the island, the Breakers Hotel and the ocean in Read On »

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Martinez-2@540

                                                          I’m in Chicago this weekend interviewing and hanging out with Grant Achatz. Grant, executive chef of Chicago’s Alinea, Next, and the innovative cocktail hub Aviary, is of course one of the most talented cooks and chefs in the country, but what makes this relationship special for me is that I first met Grant at the French Laundry, where he was, when I arrived to discuss writing The French Laundry Cookbook with Thomas Keller, a 23-year-old working garde manger station. I think I’ll be reflecting on all that’s happened in this nearly two-decade span. Until then, a repost of one of my favorite cocktails, of my own creation and named Read On »

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Pimm's-Cup

It’s 45 goddam degrees as I write this—morning but it’s only supposed to go up 6 more degrees by midday, and I am so tired of this cold gloomy weather I’ve decided to offer one of the great warm-weather libations, the Pimm’s Cup. It was downright hot last week, and the lilacs and dogwood are in bloom, so I make today’s Friday cocktail a harbinger of the warm weather to come. And for those of you who live where’s it’s already hot. Also, I now have a new fave of all Donna’s cocktail shots. Nice lighting on that pour, hon! (Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.) My first encounter with Pimm’s Cup came once again from my dear old pal Blake. It was even before we were living together, when he was holed up trying to Read On »

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