Friday, July 29, 2011

This Girl's Text Messaging Glossary for Bartenders

SBMAD: Somebody buy me a drink

HNBB: Help! Need bathroom break!

ITID: I think I'm drunk

IBS: I've been stiffed

TCHASSP: That creep has a serious staring problem

86TAJ: 86 that ass jacket

OMGLWJSD: Oh my God look who just sat down

TGWMNYON: That guy wants my number yes or no

ITIFILP: I think I'm falling in love. Purrrrrr.

WAWGAT: Where are we going after this

MFH: My feet hurt

IHTJIT: I've hit the jackpot in tips

LDS: Let's do shots

ILMJ: I love my job

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Van Gogh Vodka Root Beer Float

Van Gogh's Oranje Vodka was the first flavored vodka I tried during my early years of bartending. I was enticed by the beautiful bottle and sold on the subtle essence of citrus.  Drinking it chilled with a squeeze of orange is so delicious and simple that it should be a staple in every home bar for those last minute entertaining needs. 

If you are in the mood for something more decadent, Van Gogh Vodka has some fantastic cocktail recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try this one to cool down on a sweltering summer afternoon or serve it to your guests as a childhood dessert with a grownup twist. It was created by top mixologist Jonathan Pogash.

Dutch Root Beer Float
2 oz. Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
6 oz. chilled root beer
Add the vodka directly to a tall glass, then top with root beer, and lastly the ice cream (add slowly, as it has a tendency to overflow).  
Garnish with a milkshake straw and enjoy!

For those of you watching your waistline, there is an easy low-cal version. Just trade in fat-free ice cream and diet root beer!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jordan's Book Club: Kara Newman Author Spotlight

Kara Newman's cocktail book Spice & Ice was a wonderful discovery several months ago and may be the only drink book of its kind. The heading is appropriately titled "60 Tongue-Tingling Cocktails" with recipes that will introduce you to an entirely new genre of cocktails.

I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Newman a few questions about her book and her experiences as a writer and mixologist.                                                                                                                            
What is the very first cocktail you tried and at what age?                                            

Southern Comfort and OJ, at a college fraternity party, from a friend's flask. It was just incredibly sickly-sweet, but it was still better than drinking skunky beer.                                                                                          
When did you discover your affinity for cocktails with some heat?
I didn't know they existed until I started writing for Chile Pepper magazine. I think the first one I tried was a jalapeno-spiked Margarita - just a light touch, and it was wonderfully addictive.

The drinks in your book are gorgeously photographed by Antonis Achilleos. Did you sample every drink before it was photographed?
Thanks, I love the photos too! Sadly, no, I wasn't there for the photo session. However, I did test out Every. Last. Drink. for the book, either at home or at formal testing sessions with friends. (OK, they weren't formal for long).

Do you ever request one of your cocktails when you go out for drinks?
No, but I always scan the drink menu to see what they have with a little kick to it.

When you don't order a drink with a little heat, what's your "usual?"
It depends on the bar. I'm in a gin phase right now, and I love a good Corpse Reviver No. 2. But if it's not a "cocktail bar," I go for Bourbon and ginger ale, with a squeeze of lime.

Which drink in "Spice & Ice" would you suggest for someone who prefers mild heat in their drink?
Anything with ginger is usually a good choice - the Sparkling Ginger Daisy seems to be a crowd-pleaser, since it has just a gentle zing, and everyone loves bubbles.

According to your website, a new book is underway. What can you share with our readers about your current project?
Oh boy, you did your homework. It's not a cocktail book - it's about agricultural commodities, like pork bellies. It's called "The Secret Financial Life of Food," and the publisher is Columbia University Press. And after that... I have another cocktail book planned, but that's all I can say on that right now.

What's one of the books that you've selected for your summer reading?
I'm reading "Cosmopolitan," by Toby Cecchini. He signed a copy for me at Drink.Think (he was a featured reader), and I'm really enjoying it.

The next time I'm in New York City, which bar would you suggest I head to right off the plane?
Do I have to pick just one?  I've been recommending Ward III in Tribeca lately. It's fun to challenge the bartender with their "Bespoke Drinks" menu. And they have a great spicy cocktail called "The Sweeter Heater." If I remember it correctly, it had bourbon, raspberries, and chile peppers. Maybe it was tequila. You might want to double check that one -- that was a long night.

Follow Newman at or on Twitter @Karanewman

Friday, July 22, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Celebrity Response Protocol

Maybe I've lived in Los Angeles for too long, but celebrities are just regular people who happen to be famous. But I have seen customers and fellow restaurant staffers lose their marbles when a recognizable face strolls through the door, causing us all a bit of embarrassment.

Here are a few rules to help those of you who may not know how to act.

1. Don't ask for an autograph.  Just please don't do it. Because you're an adult and what the hell are you going to do with a signed cocktail napkin. Seriously.

2. Do not helicopter. The water doesn't need to be refilled after every sip. The napkin doesn't need to be replaced after each wipe. The silverware does not need to be polished after each bite.

3. Don't tell him that he has always been your favorite actor. He has already assumed that you're in love with him. He's a celebrity, remember?

4. Don't tell her you wanted to be an actress when you were little. If she's nice and actually engages in that conversation, she honestly doesn't give two hoots that you were Lucy in the 3rd grade Christmas play.

5. Don't tweet anything negative or snarky until long after he's gone. Celebs use the "Near By Tweets" too you know, and will expose you faster than a fake Louis Vuitton.

6. If she overtips you, don't gush. It's embarrassing for everyone. If she stiffs you, channel your rage to Twitter.

7. When he asks you to sleep with him, try to get him to explain exactly what it is that makes you different from the other bartenders and waitresses. Was it the way you said, "do you like it on the rocks or neat?" Because you need to know what makes you special.

8. Do not take the celebrities order last and then put it in before your other tables. If it's Prince William and Princess Kate, then duh, put that in first. Otherwise you'll piss off the regulars and screw your tips up.

9. Do not give him a handshake, hug, or kiss when he gets up to leave. Unless he initiates it. And if he's the one to start things off then pull him into the liquor closet and get down girl.

10. If he buys you a drink, accept it, but don't confuse it with the key to his Malibu beach house. So go ahead and unpack that bag you just mentally assembled and think HARD-TO-GET.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Article or

ModernMom.comEver wondered if a bartender is judging you by the drink you order? Or how you may come across to others when you select a certain cocktail? Well, it happens all the time!

Today's posting was written for See if your drink is listed here and what it may say about your personality.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tell It Tuesdays: Cabo Cantina | West Los Angeles

Restaurant: Cabo Cantina
                  11829 Wilshire Blvd.
                  Los Angeles, CA 90025

Drink Damage: $18 | Super Margarita

Interior Swag: If you can score one of the giant half-moon booths in the back then you've got the most comfortable spot in the house. A steady breeze of fresh air flows through the wall-less street side of the restaurant. If you take a photo in the booth with the wall in the background, your friends will believe you're actually south of the border. A few too many televisions for a non-sports bar, so maybe not the best spot for a first date. And enough cheesy happy hour banners outside to make you feel a bit embarrassed for even walking in. However, still worth the trip.

Grub: The chicken nachos are AMAZING. Then again, everything there is completely delicious.

Booze: The double marg is not for beginners. Drink with caution.Oh, and ask for extra limes.

Service: The waitresses are always super mellow and laid back but right there when you need them.

Go-Back-Again-Ness: It's a hot spot for happy hour, so try visiting in the early afternoon to get a good seat.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Manners Rule #57: Taking Advantage of Drunks

Rule #57: Don't take advantage of a drunk's lack of coherency

If he's at the point where you are serving him a water martini with olives and he cannot taste the difference between vodka and H2O, it does not mean you can still charge for a martini. Or if he has already paid his check but tries to pay again with cash, accepting the payment isn't exactly ethical, no matter how adamant he is about settling his bill...again.

Sometimes a bartender's job is to protect people from themselves. Excel at it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

IT'S OFFICIAL! Our Book Has Arrived!!!

We are so excited to announce that our book has arrived!!! It is available right this very second on Amazon and will soon be at a store near you!! And thanks again everyone for your amazing support!!

Jordan & Jocelyn

Cocktails & Playdates: Guidelines for a Good Time has published my guidelines drinking & playdates. Is it okay for moms to be drinking while caring for their kids? How should you respond when another mom offers you a cocktail? Are playdates turning into happy-dates?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Manners: Rule #9: Don't Change the Classics

Rule #9: Classic drink recipes shouldn't be altered in secret

A Manhattan is not made with cloves. A Margarita shouldn't have mint leaves floating in it. At least not in the traditional recipes. When it comes to creating original cocktails, I don't care if you mix in spaghetti and meatballs. But if your guest wants a Manhattan and you make it with cloves, you need to print that in the cocktail menu or alert her to the additional ingredient when she places the order. The consequence can be a wasted drink when she sends it back or the loss of a returning customer.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jordan's Book Club Pairings: Through Eyes Like Mine

BOOK: Through Eyes Like Mine by Noriko Nakada

WINE: Cloudline Oregon Pinot Noir 2008

Through Eyes Like Mine is a beautifully written memoir narrated from the perspective of Ms. Nakada as a child growing up in Bend, Oregon. Born to a Japanese father and an Anglo mother, Nakada observes her world through a slightly different lens than the other neighborhood kids. Her life is punctuated from an early age with the adoption of her brother, the death of a friend from school, and the strains her parents feel while trying to make ends meet and provide for four children.

Nakada's writing is loaded with such wonderful imagery that each chapter, or vignette rather, engulfs the reader, making it feel as if you are standing right beside her, experiencing exactly what she does. Through Eyes Like Mine definitely transports one to another place and at the end leaves you wanting to tag along for a little more of Nakada's journey.

Perfect to drink with Nakada's book is a Cloudline Oregon Pinot Noir. I absolutely loved this wine and would venture to say that it will compliment a lot more than a good book. Described as a "deep ruby red...with a delightful core of cherries and red fruits," it satisfies the palate in a variety of ways.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Finding True Love in a Bar

Soon after Princess Diana passed away, my friends and I volunteered as hostesses at an event for Princess Diana's charities where the necklace from the Titanic was being auctioned. I can't remember if it was the authentic necklace or the paste one used for the movie but I do remember that the celebrity guests were real as could be.

Because it was a black tie affair we were dressed up in ball gowns and adorned with diamonds. Well, prom dresses and costume jewelry is more specific. Not exactly fitting for the Regent Beverly Wilshire but when you look like you're 17 you can get away with a lot.

After the evening ended one of my friends suggested we go have a drink. I hadn't touched alcohol since that night I drank all the beer under my mom and dad's kitchen sink, but I was up for making a visit to a bar and excited at the prospect of having a cocktail.

We sat down in a big booth like three Cinderellas at a Mexican restaurant with a piano player named Monte pumping out Sinatra hits in the background. Looking back, the Midori Sour I ordered reflected the inexperience of the night. Despite being glared at and surrounded by hipsters and transplants (thanks Joce for giving me the right vocab) the three of us were at ease and having fun, drinking bright green cocktails that tasted like snow cones.

What I never imagined at the time is that my life would forever change that night. Three young men walked into that busy bar in tuxedos after attending a black tie wedding at the Bel Air Hotel. And when men in tuxedos and women in ball gowns are both in a crowded bar on a Saturday night, destiny takes over.

And so it goes that I met my husband that night, and have lived happily ever after ever since.

Yes my friends, true love can be found in a bar.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry Lemonade Cocktail

July 4th has passed and we are full swing into summer. This strawberry lemonade cocktail is perfect to serve at family gatherings because the non-alcoholic version is just as festive and will be enjoyed by the kids and young adults.

Cocktail Ingredients

2 ounces vodka
2 ounces organic strawberry lemonade
1 ounce lemon zest
Lemon sugar for rim

Directions: Shake the vodka, strawberry lemonade and lemon zest together with ice in a martini shaker until frothy. Strain into a sugar-rimed martini glass and serve.

Kid's Drink
4 ounces organic strawberry lemonade
1 ounce lemon zest
Lemon sugar for rim

Directions: In a clean shaker, mix the juice and lemon zest together. Coat the rim of a cup with sugar and strain the drink in. Garnish with a strawberry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Gadget Wednesday: Sur La Table Sale

Thanks to online shopping you do not need to live near a Sur la Table to take advantage of their little barware sale that is happening right now. I've picked out a few of my favorite items which I suggest you scoop up before your neighbor does (I'm competitive like that).

Beverage Jar As most of you know, I love making sangria. It's one of those recipes that's hard to ruin, allowing you to get as creative with the ingredients (and their shapes) as you want. This beverage jar is so classic and timeless that you'll have it forever. And the cute little sign will save you the trouble of repeating the ingredients all night long.

Plastic Cups Why bring a tacky red plastic cup down to the pool when you can bring these classy shatter-proof BPA-free high balls? For those of you who are still catching up on your green vocab, BPA is short for Bisphenol-A, a dangerous chemical found in way too many household products to list here. No one deserves a cocktail with a splash of toxins, so load up on these cups to drink in health and in style.

Carafes Wine carafes aerate the wine while dressing up even the most casual of picnic tables. Pick up a set for your own home and an extra order for the next hostess or house-warming gift. I feel like this is an item that people don't usually buy for themselves, making it a gift they will truly enjoy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

July 4th White Wine Sangria

July 4th is one of my favorite holidays. The day is shared with family and friends and filled with lots of great food and delicious drinks. This white wine sangria tastes amazing and is equally aesthetically pleasing. Oh, and it will take you 10 minutes to make!

Ingredients (Serves 4-6)

2 bottles white wine
2 cups brandy
2 cups peach schnapps
1/2 cup sugar
4 apples
1 package strawberries
                                       1 package blueberries

Use a star-shaped cookie cutter for the apples. Mix in the liquid ingredients followed by the fruit. Layer the blueberries first, then the apples, and then the strawberries (red, white and blue!).  Refrigerate the sangria for at least six hours. Gently stir periodically to dissolve the sugar. If you'd prefer to keep the fruit layered, gently push the fruit up and down with a wide wooden spoon.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Non-Fiction Friday: Creative Circle

The past six months have been a whirlwind. In December, when my sister and I went full steam ahead with our book and a business plan I never thought that during the process we would meet so many new people and invite all these new friendships into our lives.

Here we are today, with the debut of our book only days away, and I couldn't feel more supported by the creative community. This group is so positive and encouraging and sincere. I've had dinners and drinks with novelists and memoir writers and mommy bloggers and journalists and shrewd tweeters, all who have opened up about the methodology of their writing or what nourishes them creatively. Irish foodies and high school English teachers and aspiring actresses have contributed their wonderfully crafted true stories to our blog, expanding our audience and helping us to reach new readers. And words of encouragement from people in Australia, England, Canada, and all over the US have landed in our inbox, reminding us that this creative circle truly encompasses the globe.

I'm so grateful to be part of this circle and warmed by the thought that it just has no end.