Cocktails & Drinks
I know I’ve said it before, but I’m a seasonal drinker. It seems that whenever the month changes on the calendar, my palate changes with it.
November is my month for Old Fashioneds. I never used to consider myself a good “mixologist” or “cocktailer,” but about five years ago, I got so into Old Fashioneds, I figured I needed to learn to make them. Plus, when you make things yourself, you can make them perfectly to your taste every. single. time. For a foodie like myself, that’s truly a heavenly experience.
One November evening, after I learned how to make these drinks, I found myself at a bar with some friends. I ordered an Old Fashioned and the girl looked at me with a (slightly terrified) totally blank stare. I realized this bartender working at a new semi-hip bar, didn’t know how to make one of THE classic drinks of the 20th Century!!! (Though, to be fair, it’s likely she’d only been alive a couple of years of the 20th Century, and she certainly wasn’t drinking then. But still–she was the bartender.) In the era where “Mad Men” is one of the most popular shows on television, it was surprising that she hadn’t heard of it….
I love the autumn. I’m always reminded of the line from “You’ve Got Mail,” “I would give you a bouquet of sharpened pencils…” It reverberates with me almost every September, and I’ve always related to it. I love flowers, but in the autumn I would appreciate a bouquet of sharpened pencils as a way to mark the start of the fall even more than I’d appreciate a bouquet of roses (my favorite, btw).
In college, I didn’t have a great start. I was homesick, bored, and sortof lost. But even as a young person fall flavors always comforted me.
Before I could cook, I still had one thing I’d make that my college friends still request ten years later: Spiced Cider.
This is one of those “recipes” that is so easy, I often wonder if it isn’t the care and comfort I impose on a cup of this cider that makes it so good rather than the actual drink. It always seems shocking to me that such a simple, quick, blending of fall flavors could make me feel so loved, comforted, and at home.
As soon as Starbucks got on the pumpkin bandwagon with their Pumpkin Spice Latte, I was hooked. It got so bad that every year I’d look forward to September 1 simply because I couldn’t wait to go to Starbucks to get my first pumpkin spice Frappuccino. Seriously, if I had been at Hogwarts, it would have been like, “Sorry, I know the Express is cool and we’re starting school and all, but if you’ll excuse me I may have to miss the train because it’s Pumpkin Spice Latte day.”
When I got into law school, though, I was moving to one of the most expensive cities in the country and, as such, I swore I would learn to cook before I left so I could save some money rather than eating out all the time. When September rolled around, I still got my PSL’s but I knew I was spending a fortune and I was starting to like my coffee at home better than any at the coffee shops. I turned to my new recipe BFF (the internet) to see if I could get some help….
My mom makes the best flavored martinis. For some reason, she’s just super good at it. I’m always a bit shy to try a new cocktail recipe. I think it’s probably because liquor is so expensive that I’m afraid of messing it up, so I seem to get one right and just stick with it for long periods of time. Haha. My mom is awesome at it though. She finds a flavor she likes, adopts it, adapts it, and it comes out tasting delicious!
I have to admit, I, like so many others, am totally on the pumpkin train. I had a friend whose mom used to make pumpkin bread every year for as long as I can remember, and I always liked it. But when Starbucks came out with their Pumpkin Spice Latte (“PSL”), it was all over for me. I love pumpkin everything now, and right around August 15, I start to crave it in a big way.
***If you’re interested, below is a link to purchase the book.
We’ve talked about my tendency toward cocktailing by season. So when sweet tea vodka became “a thing,” my deep Summer drink was forever changed to this Southern inspired spirit.
However, as time passed, and I have gotten more and more interested in paying attention to what is in the food I consume, I started to wonder just what was in the Sweet Tea Vodkas I was buying at the store. Combine that with a serious wheat allergy, and I felt it was time to learn to make this awesome Summer Spirit myself. Turns out, I’m so sorry I didn’t learn earlier as this is seriously. So. Easy. Maybe the next thing I learn to do is make the lemonade that mixes with it! 😉
Earlier this year, my cousin and I had a very serious conversation–about our favorite beverages and the seasons in which we like to consume them. Hahaha. Ok, so it wasn’t THAT serious, but we thought it was all super interesting. And then we started talking about summer and she started to laugh. I have a major sweet tooth–and this does not abandon me in the face of choosing libations…. Especially in the Summer.
- 1 Copper Mug Full of Ice
- Juice of 1 Lime
- 2 Shots Vodka (I use Tito’s as I’m allergic to wheat, but any mid-range vodka will do)
- 1/2 Can Cock N’ Bull Ginger Beer (some Ginger Beers, so I’ve been told, have actual alcohol in them… This one does not, but the flavor’s great. If you add the alcoholic ginger, feel free to adjust the Vodka if you see fit.
- Garnish with Lime Wedge
Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with that, to me, comes the official start of summer. Now, for those of you who know me and know where I live, this is funny because really, summer in Reno doesn’t really come to stay until approximately the middle of July. Until then, it could literally snow on any given day. Still, I tend to be a seasonal eater/drinker, so when May starts, my taste buds begin to beg for my summer favorites, cocktail-wise. One that reminds me of summer is Carlo Rossi Red Wine Coolers.