Mint-Julip-2

It’s the Derby weekend so herewith, again, my preferred method for making a great mint julep with a truly minty, clean taste and a color that announces what it is. You can use either a blender or a mortar and pestle (I prefer the latter for the mintiest flavor, pix and recipe here). Of course, I’m still fond of my first julep(s) made by still my dearest pal, Blake Bailey, and the story surrounding it. Blake was initially too mortified to be named at the time, but since he wrote about the event in his searing memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned, the story is out. Happy Derby Day, all! (And don’t forget to have a look at my newest book, How to Saute: Foolproof Techniques and Recipes For the Home Cook. And feel free to enter the Read On »

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Boulevardier-cocktail-2

  Happy Friday, all. Reposting this cocktail as I’ve been ordering it recently and enjoying it immensely. It remains a perfect cocktail for a chilly spring evening. I love how various flavoring components (bitters, vermouths) become different cocktails when you change the spirit. How the Manhattan becomes a Rob Roy when you change the bourbon to scotch (as opposed to a lame-sounding “Scotch Manhattan”), or how a Martini becomes a … um, never mind about that #lostcause (Paulius, can we hope for Darwinian selection here?). I love the elasticity of a solid cocktail, how the addition of apple brandy turns a Clover Club into a Pink Lady. Here, one of my favorite cocktails, the Negroni, becomes a Boulevardier when bourbon replaces the gin. A couple of recent essays (Tmagblog, Imbibe) have wondered why this cocktail isn’t Read On »

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Eggnog-2009

I am traveling once again, but when I arrive back home I’ll be making my aged eggnog in preparation for the holidays. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. -MR Plan ahead! Not long after I began this blog in 2006, I wrote about and made aged eggnog upon reading about it at CHOW. Two years later Donna photographed it. A year after that, we finished the batch. It was a little funky and that was part of its deliciousness. I’m writing about it now so that you can, if you plan ahead, make it this weekend or next, for this holiday season, and the next, and, if you have the discipline, for December 2016. It needs at least 30 days for the aged flavor and for the alcohol to take care of Read On »

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Mint-Julip-2

The first shoots of mint have sprung through the soil as if sensing the approach of the Kentucky Derby. The sun is out here in Cleveland, the birds are chirping, and the Browns made sensible draft choices.  All of which call for a mint julep this weekend. In my first post on this drink several springs ago, I served a somewhat unconventional julep and was roundly taken to task for it (no crushed ice? in a glass?). Deservedly. So herewith an almost traditional version, which is simply mint leaves, muddled with sugar, and bourbon, served over crushed ice in a silver cup. My only variation is for serving multiple juleps. A great strategy if you’ve invited people for Derby Day. Some may find the verdant hue unnerving but it’s worth it for the clean mint flavor Read On »

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Derby cocktail. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

I’m on my annual foray to my beloved mom’s in West Palm Beach and enjoying blue sky, blue water, and lazy days, so here this repost from 10/4/13 of an overlooked but most excellent cocktail.—M.R. When I opened to the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s wonderful and expanded food section, I was delighted to find a handful of bartenders offering cocktails. The Derby, offered by Lindsey Hawes, who mixes drinks at The Willeyville in the Cleveland Flats, caught my eye (here she is making another fave of mine, The Dark & Stormy). The Derby  caught my eye for its straightforwardness and lack of frou. I immediately thought of the Brown Derby, a restaurant chain that flourished here in the 1970s, where I first encountered what was called a salad bar, back in the pre-sneeze guard days (God, how Read On »

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