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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Metropolitan-Cocktail@1020

Last week’s delicious Sidecar got me onto drinks featuring brandy. This, combined with my interest in how changing the spirit changes the name, brings me to today’s cocktail (photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman), the Metropolitan. The Manhattan is a beloved Ruhlman family cocktail; the Metropolitan is essentially a Manhattan made with brandy. This is a delicious cocktail, made especially fine with these genuine maraschino cherries. Donna says a single one of them can be considered an entire dessert. Indeed, this is a garnish that truly completes this cocktail, which is a complex mixture of brandy, sweet vermouth, bitters, a small bit of simple syrup, and the cherries. I’m happy again to feature Hella Bitters, from my downstairs neighbor in New York, Tobin Ludwig, currently visiting Cleveland I’m proud to note—and what a glorious day it Read On »

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Fritatta-X3@1020

  Egg promotion is winding down, but what a lot of attention it got! (NPR’s Steve Inskeep talked to me about it on Morning Edition. It inspired an egg-centric stroll through Manhattan with NYTimes reporter Alex Witchel. It was covered favorably in Sunday’s NYTBR by William Grimes. Debbi Snook covered it for my hometown paper. And the Wall Street Journal ran an excerpt on page one of its weekend section.) But now that the fun is subsiding, I reflect on where it began: for me with this humble frittata. In fourth grade someone told me or I saw on TV how to make one. And so, home alone with only four channels to entertain me, the video game Pong a blip on the horizon, and hungry, really hungry, I made the above. It was not just the creation itself that 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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