Martini-Not-stirred-cocktai

On September 24, 1993, I walked out of the offices of the publisher Henry Holt, having just gotten my first book contract. Donna was with me to share my elation. It was my dad’s 55th birthday (he shared that day, BTW, with my literary hero, though not role model, Scott Fitzgerald)—an auspicious day. We could hardly believe it. Even Donna said it out loud to herself, a little incredulously, “My husband has a book contract.” I was thirty and had been trying to write books for nine years and had been writing daily since sixth grade. We walked uptown to tell a friend the good news. I was sure I’d get hit by a bus. That’s me. When something this good happens, something worse has to happen as well. On Park Avenue, a taxi with a flat 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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Ramos-Gin-Fiz-cocktail-2

I’ll be doing a couple cocktails featuring the egg as this is the month of Egg, my new book exploring the world’s most versatile ingredient. The stuff of life. Seriously. We’re lucky each time we eat one (unless you’re Paul Newman playing Cool Hand Luke). We’re luckier still every time we drink one! They are great in cocktails. Last week I featured the whiskey sour. A favorite of my Grandma Spamer, who would have been 97 today. Though by the time I saw her drink them, they were made with frozen lime concentrate or some such, and certainly no egg white. And frankly a sour doesn’t have to have an egg white. Oh, but add an egg white and they become substantial. They are more satisfying on every level, with real body to carry that Read On »

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Gin-Hound-Cocktail-2

  I awoke to a morning so deathly gray I felt I’d awakened in a cave. It wasn’t early, 7:30, not school-time early as spring break is still in effect. So the sun had surely risen but had there been no clock, it would have been anybody’s guess. Deep Cleveland winter drags on. Donna, light-sensitive and not used to such long sun withdrawals, is particularly affected by that light disorder thing, whose acronym I don’t even like to write, and wants to hibernate like a bear till May. Skip the cruelest month altogether. The grayness not only deepens the hay-hue of dull dead grass, freed from the snow at last, the brown tree branches, it dulls the senses as well. The wind outside my window, and inside my chest, blows with a kind of Last Read On »

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