I’m continuing the citrus binge as it’s a remedy for the winter blasts we’ve been getting. My favorite vodka mixer had long been grapefruit juice—because I’m a fan of bitter. Bitter is good. But then those tangerines floated into the house and I have to say, The Robertson is one bright cocktail. But back to the basics now, on this busy, busy week, struggling with two manuscripts, a trip to DC to talk Schmaltz, Boston on Sunday, and a manuscript to finish. Something simple and refreshing to end the week. Please, now is the time, fresh grapefruit juice only. That’s what makes the drink. Squeeze it by hand if you don’t have a juicer or a reamer. It’s all about the freshness of the juice. Happy Friday, all. The Greyhound 2 ounces vodka 3 to Read On »

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It’s winter, which means citrus season approaches, one of the few bright spots in the otherwise endless gray of a Cleveland winter. Donna brought home some oranges with beautiful deep, deep orange-colored flesh. I’d needed them for a duck recipe I was developing. I asked her to get more next time, planning a Screwdriver post and a celebration of citrus. She returned with thick-skinned, stupid old navels, probably from last year. “Sorry,” she said. “That was all they had.” But she did pick up some tangerines because she thought they looked cool. Aha! I’d made a vodka–tangerine juice before and loved it. A helpful check on Twitter found no proper name for this very sunny elixir. It is sunny—sunny in the mouth. It made Donna smile and say, “Mmmmm! It feels healthy!” So, to brighten Read On »

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  It’s Friday in NYC, a week before Thanksgiving, and I’m concluding last leg of what seems a forever road trip, concluding at Miami Book Fair tomorrow (I’m told I was on NPR Morning Edition today but haven’t heard and will be on The Chew on Tuesday cooking kreplach with my pal Michael Symon). Per our tradition we’ll be driving to the Hudson Valley to celebrate Thanksgiving with Donna’s big and growing family—something like 21 adults, a few teenagers, and a few great grand-kids. Donna volunteered me for the gravy because, gravy is a no-brainer, I love making stock, and frozen, it will travel well. (Recipes for stock and Friday Cocktail below.) A no-brainer if you make excellent turkey stock now! I’ll be doubling or tripling the below recipe this year. When I’m home I’ll be Read On »

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Donna asked to shoot a cocktail. I said, “Go ahead.” She said, “I want to do a Sidecar.” I said, “It’s summertime and hot, how about something refreshing?” She remembered a bottle of limoncello that she’d bought in a moment of nostalgia, recalling a time when she’d enjoyed drinking it with my mom. “I want to shoot ice-cold shots of it,” she said. But then she tasted it straight. She found it cloyingly sweet and knew she’d never drink it like this (and wondered how she could have such fond memories of it). She did a little research and found a limoncello cocktail using gin. She tried it. The gin clashed with the limoncello. She found one calling for grilled thyme. I told her I didn’t like thyme in beverages, grilled or otherwise (grilled?!). She Read On »

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When I returned to the CIA in the fall of 1999, two years after the publication of Making of a Chef wherein I described the humiliating service experience on my first day at St. Andrew’s restaurant, and Chef Czack lofted an overly generous tip onto my table with a look of withering disdain for my shoddy performance, he himself hosted me at the Danny Kaye Theater for an interview. I had been provided a pink beverage, strangely, as one almost always is given water. Chef Czack held out his hand to the drink. “Can you tell us what this is?” he asked me. I looked blankly at it, took a sip, looked out at the audience as a deer into headlights. I had not been expecting a sucker punch and confessed ignorance. “A Sea Breeze,” said Chef Czack, Read On »

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