I pay for a service called SaneBox to deal with email overload, so much of it mass PR mail. Somehow a diligent soul, Sally Alfis of M Booth, who represents the company’s spirit clients, got though the barricades. Having seen my Friday cocktail hour posts, she asked if she could send me some premium hooch. I never turn down free premium hooch. Thus, the most excellent rum in the photo (it’s very good). Surprisingly, though, she continues to read Friday posts and, following my hasty Negroni post (no link, Donna unhappy with photo), sent me a new cocktail made by Scott Fitzgerald (no, relation, though he does beat on, like all the rest of us boats) of the Mulberry Project in NYC. What got me about Fitzgerald’s lovely cocktail was its variation on a personal fave, the Negroni (thus Sally’s clever suggestion—she Read On »

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Some cocktails are spontaneous given what’s at hand. I happened to be making nougat, the French confection created by pouring cooked sugar and honey into whipped egg whites, then folding in nuts and dried fruits. The pix were so stunning in the Bouchon Bakery book, I simply had to give it a go and attempt a paired down version for the home cook. I considered adding rum-soaked dried cherries and so prepared these. But by the time the eggs whites and sugar had cooled to glossy perfection, I worried that the red-tinted rum, attracted by the sugar, would leach into the stunning whiteness of the nougat. When the shooting was done for the day, I had a bowlful of rum soaked cherries. Hmmm. How to put to use? “Donna! Don’t put your camera away!” I shouted, Read On »

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A couple weeks ago, inspired by my BFF Blake Bailey’s latest bio, Farther and Wilder (boffo WSJ review here), I offered a Tom Collins, gin-lemon-soda. But on retrospect it was only OK—it would be the perfect libation on a hot summer evening, but it was March. Also, I could hardly taste the gin, and what’s the point of that unless you’re drinking the cheap shit? Just to check, I ordered one last weekend at a restaurant and it was so bad I didn’t even finish it (which is not like me, that’s how bad it was—how do you screw up something as simple as that?). But I loved the idea of the heavy lemon. I loved the idea of, every now and then, not being aware of the alcohol in my drink. What does this lead to? Read On »

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I’ve been traveling and hobnobbing with entertainment industry folks this week, so work and body clock are all off. Now I’m back in the deep Cleveland gray and longing for the fine days of cooking in Key West, so I’m reposting this most excellent cocktail that started off all those long lovely boozy nights in the southernmost with my sailing family, the Dark & Stormy: Gosling’s rum, ginger beer, and lime. I like equal parts rum and ginger beer, because that’s me; the traditional ratio is 2:1 beer to rum. This time I’d like to stress the use of lime. There should be plenty in the perfect Dark & Stormy or the drink is cloying after the first sip or two. Don’t give a desultory squeeze but rather an aggressive one, as much as half Read On »

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This blast of arctic air and wind and snow and gray has me longing for the lovely afternoons and evenings of the Key West I left a week ago. Nine full days there, writing, cooking, carousing with the sailing droogs. Sigh. So, to cheer myself, I made some Key Lime Daiquiris—proper daiquiris, with nothing but rum, citrus, and simple syrup. The frozen daiquiri and the frozen margarita are yet more travesties America has made of previously fine libations. I think I was in my thirties when I learned that a daiquiri wasn’t a slushie with alcohol. So I fight off these, the worst weeks of the year, with memories of Key West, rum, and Key limes (and thanks to you, Rob and Ab!). Yes, that’s blue Ohio winter in the background of Donna’s shot, but Read On »

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