We are now in the full throes of summer, and there is no better cocktail to conclude a summer’s day than a gin and tonic. It is simplicity itself. It can be made extra-special if you use an excellent gin and, more importantly, an excellent tonic. But an inexpensive gin and some diet Schweppes will do the trick if that and a lime is all you have or want. This is a seasonal drink. The bitter and bubbles refresh, the gin eases, and the citrus brightens. I like to use both lime and lemon, because lemon makes just about anything better and the bright color makes the glass more inviting. If you want to simply enjoy a cooling cocktail at the end of a hot day, then I encourage economy over quality. But if you Read On »

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I was about 24 hours into my vegan experiment, planning to prepare pasta with asparagus and olive oil. In Ruhlman’s Twenty, I write about what a felicitous pairing scallops and asparagus are and make a sauce by pureeing the stems and mounting the puree with butter, serving the reheated tips as garnish. Finding myself with a good bunch of asparagus, I thought, “I’ll bet pureed asparagus makes an excellent sauce for pasta. But still it’s going to need a little oomph. Hmmm. Perhaps some freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Oops, not strictly vegan. But maybe just a few shaving, it’ll taste sooo much better.” I was hungry, and the dish needed a little extra something, which in so many instances is solved simply by adding an egg. Oh hell, why not mount a good deal of butter into Read On »

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We’ve been on the road visiting our son at camp and have returned to the usual sea of email and backlog of work. So forgive me for reposting this classic, the Mojito. I’m not sure if everyone has seen the nightly news, but there are reports of a widespread heat wave. Just wanted to make sure you all knew. So if you’re in just about any place in the Lower 48, I definitely recommend preparing this cocktail in its traditional manner, in a highball glass, topped with soda water, plenty of it if temps are in the high nineties where you are. Originally posted June 8, 2012 I’ve loved seeing the mutability of cocktails simply by changing the spirit during these Friday Cocktail Hour posts. This cocktail is in effect a mint julep made with Read On »

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One of the lucky perks about being an independent writer is that I can occasionally entertain invitations to exotic locales on someone else’s dime. Not long ago I was asked by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (institute! sounds academic, no? must be good for you) to visit Alaska. Several of the junkets were no longer available so I was clearly a last-minute fill-in invite. But this was not why I said no. It’s a busy summer is all (thus the 2 posts a week, and a repeat cocktail coming up). But the kind lady who invited me, one Christine Fanning, a senior communications specialist with Schiedermayer Alaska in Anchorage, asked if she could send me some of the finest fish coming off the Alaskan fishing boats. That, Christine, is good communications! Sister Carri had brought Read On »

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This has become my favorite of Donna’s cocktail shots because it so accurately reflects the experience of drinking it. And as she’s on the road, playing hooky from her camera, I’m reposting this perfect summer cocktail. It’s dry and hot here in Clevelandtown, and these are seriously refreshing. Tequila, lime juice, and grapefruit soda. Couldn’t be simpler. I love Tequila Ocho Reposado. Normally I save the good stuff for straight-up drinking, but it’s worth using in the Paloma because the lime and grapefruit flavors intermingle with and elevate, rather than obscure, the flavor of the tequila. And I make it strong, so I can taste it, goddammit. Izze is excellent soda (not too sweet, lots of carbonation) and it’s what my grocery store carries. Jarritos is the brand most often recommended. But half grapefruit juice and half soda Read On »

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