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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The refreshing Paloma: tequila, lime, grapefruit soda. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Why do I continue to think work will ease up, give me a chance to catch my breath? I’m not complaining. I love all my work and feel lucky in too many ways to count. I don’t feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill. I feel like the rock. Accelerating down the hill, a long hill, and the longer it rolls the faster it goes and the more unstoppable it becomes. I’m just hoping that’s not a big wall way down there. As I type this, designs for my own kitchen scale are downloading—it’s going to be a very cool scale. I have to work on and approve packaging we’re designing for a few of our tools to be able to get them in stores. This site is still under maintenance. I have Read On »

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Rye Whiskey Smash/photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

With Derby Day upon us, our annual excuse to start drinking bourbon early on a Saturday, I must of course give a nod to a great cocktail, the mint julep—bourbon, sweetened, flavored and garnished with mint. My pal Blake Bailey, who introduced me to the drink one ill-fated spring day long ago (read about that day in his gripping new memoir The Splendid Things We Planned) would insist on crushed ice and I wouldn’t disagree, especially if you have swell julep glasses. But my copyeditor, Karen Wise, sent me an article from the Boston Globe on four different cocktails in the Smash family. It’s not a common term, Smash, and there seems to be little definitive consensus. (“A smash is a julep, but a julep isn’t always a smash,” for instance, from Imbibe’s muddled history Read On »

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