Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Do you miss us as much as we miss you?

It warmed our hearts to know that every day, hundreds of people like received our blog posts in their little ol' In Boxes. Now that we've moved to Wordpress with our fancy new website, our communication just hasn't been the same.

Subscribe to our new RSS feed HERE, or if you want a special "subscribe button," please let us know!

Here's what you may have missed...

Vampyre Vodka Recipes
Day of the Dead Corkscrew
Halloween Jell-O Shot Worms
What Your Drink Says About You
My Weekend in Wine Country
Upcoming Event in LA: Costume Ball

Coming this week...
Candy Corn Jell-O Shots
Non-Fiction Friday

Jordan and Jocelyn

Friday, October 5, 2012

Please Bookmark Our New Blog

Hi Everyone! We hope that you're enjoying our new home over on Wordpress. We've officially worked out all the kinks and will begin posting new content on Monday.

Please be sure to bookmark or re-subscribe to our new blog because this one will be shutting down soon.

Jordan & Jocelyn

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our New Website is Here!

We are beyond thrilled to debut our new website this week! Our visitors can finally stay in one place while reading the blog, buying books and accessories, watching cocktail videos, learning about upcoming events, and leaving us comments and questions. Make sure you have been redirected to for our latest content. The Blogger blog will disappear soon!

You'll see this post all week while we work out any unexpected kinks and busily prepare a ton of great Halloween posts for the rest of the month.  To celebrate our new website we'll also be giving away all sorts of goodies via our Facebook and Twitter pages. Just can call it a virtual scavenger hunt!

Tell us what you think and what you love most about our new look because we take compliments really well.

Jocelyn and Jordan

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fig & Thyme Cocktail

The figs I brought home this week were extremely tender, unusually sweet, and provided the inspiration for a few Fall cocktails. Here's one for today:

Fig & Thyme Cocktail
3 ounces vodka
1 ounce simple syrup
Squeeze of lemon
4 dashes orange bitters
Fresh, organic figs
Fresh thyme

Directions: Gently muddle the vodka, figs, and thyme. Filter a few times for clarity. Strain into a shaker and add simple syrup, lemon, and bitters. Shake well and pour into a martini glass or serve over ice.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Taste Test: Blue Ice Multi Grain Vodka

We had the opportunity to share Blue Ice Multi Grain Vodka with friends this week and it was a hit. Let's just start with the fact that it's made in America and considered multi grain. If that doesn't get you feeling good about drinking vodka then you're probably a snob.

It also uses a special distillation and advanced filtration system that yes, every company claims to employ, but with Blue Ice I feel like I can really taste the "special."

My friend who hosted was also the amazing mixologist of the night, whipping up perfect drink after drink. These are the recipes the guests enjoyed and I think you will too:

Hot Lemon Drop
2 ounces Blue Ice "g" vodka
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce homemade simple syrup
2 dashes cayenne pepper
Sugared rim

Limon Ginger Drop
2 ounces Blue Ice "g" vodka
1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
1 ounce homemade simple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ginger juice
Sugared rim

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

THIS GIRL'S Basic Bar Bites: Jambalaya

Prepare this meal when you're in a pinch for time or want to guarantee yourself some leftovers. I've adapted this Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and will make if for casual family dinners and pot lucks.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 package precooked, nitrate free spicy sausage
1 large onion, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
1 cup white rice
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
6 fresh thyme sprigs
1 can chicken broth (low sodium)
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (undrained)
2 organic chicken breasts, chopped

Cook the chopped chicken in the vegetable oil, then add the sausage and brown. Add the onion, celery and garlic until tender. Then add the rice, water, red pepper, thyme, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and then simmer about 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Remove the thyme sprigs. Stir in the can of diced tomatoes and add salt and pepper to taste.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

THIS GIRL'S Pick of the WEEK: Hi*Ball Sparkling Water

This soda slash energy drink was discovered Saturday on the sidelines of a 5-year-old's AYSO soccer game. It's definitely an unusual place to see a mom drinking from a can with the same name as the popular cocktail glass called a "highball," so I just had to ask her what it was and where I could get it.

A few hours later after shopping at Whole Foods I had three of the Hi-Ball flavors in my cart and guzzled a Vanilla Sparkling Energy Water on the way home. This morning I'm on my way to get more.

These are the most understated sodas I've tasted to date and I like them...a lot. For the zero-calorie, zero-sugar cans, imagine drinking soda water with the essence of grapefruit, wildberry, lemon-lime, or vanilla. Now visualize adding an ounce and a half of vodka, whiskey, or rum with a lemon twist and you've got yourself a skinny cocktail under 100 calories.

And then of course there's the energy factor. Each soda contains a small amount of caffeine, guarana, and ginseng to keep you going without all the junk. Remember nine years ago when a vodka Red Bull was all the rage? Clearly we've come a long way from that, and ordering a vodka Hi-Ball just sounds better.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Whiskey

This is a very simple drink to make, especially if you buy the pre-made, store-bought lemonade that I did. Otherwise you can create a homemade mix with equal parts fresh lemons, raspberries, sugar, and water. Using clear corn whiskey makes this drink interesting but substituting vodka or rum will work just fine too.

2 ounces whiskey
2 ounces raspberry lemonade
Squeeze of one lemon wedge

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lost Feedburner Subscribers

Dear Email Readers,
Due to an error with Feedburner, all subscriptions have been lost. We hope that Feedburner fixes this problem on their end soon and that on Monday our blog post is delivered to your email box once again. This has affected thousands of bloggers. As soon as we know more, we'll let you know.
Jocelyn and Jordan

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mixology 101: Strawberry Simple Syrup

This strawberry simple syrup tastes like the fresh version of the syrup that accompanies frozen sweetened strawberries. I like to add it to vodka and bourbon drinks, but you can always use it as a regular syrup as well over pancakes, ice cream, or fresh fruit.

1 cup organic strawberries
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

Directions Boil the strawberries in the water and sugar for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and strain the strawberries to capture the syrup. Store chilled up to a week.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Strawberry & Blueberry Whiskey Cocktail

My rum and gin has been pushed to the back of the bar for a break while we focus on whiskey, scotch, and bourbon. I can't yet shake the desire to include fresh fruit yet, so for the rest of the month we'll share more drinks with a summer & fall hybrid.

2 ounces clear corn whiskey (such as Moonshine)
1 ounce strawberry simple syrup
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
Strawberry for garnish

Directions Muddle the strawberries with the whiskey and strain into a shaker. Add the simple syrup and ice, and shake well. Strain into a low ball filled with ice or into a martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Menu for Fall Mixology Parties

Fall seems to be nowhere in the air here in Southern California but that hasn't stopped dozens of people from landing at our blog after conducting "Halloween drinks" and "candy-corn martini" searches.

We have several private mixology parties lined up in the coming months and I have to say that those types of drinks just won't be on the menu. I'm not too proud to design festive and themed cocktails, but there's something about charging people to dissect marshmallow peeps that feels unethical. People sign up to learn the art of bartending and cocktail construction, not how to make candy corn jello shots (though that recipe will be posted here in October). Ha!

Instead I'll continue trying to move people from the comfort and safety of vodka while still trying to satisfy those less adventurous pallets. Bourbons, scotches, and whiskeys mixed with fruits and sweet liqueurs will dominate the menu and hopefully become a new staple in my clients' home bars.

It is so satisfying to hear people say, "I can't wait to make this for my next party," and "this is so much easier than I thought." I'd rather those comments be attached to an adult drink and not something made with trick-or-treating ingredients. Don't worry- plenty of pumpkin, cloves, cinnamon, and maple will be used to satisfy the kid in all of us.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Clementine Vanilla Cocktail

I don't know if it's the heat here or the endless supply of clementines in my fruit basket that have me on a mission to find cool, refreshing citrus drinks. Clementines are so sweet you can basically add them to any spirit and call it a cocktail, but sometimes a little sweet boost doesn't hurt either.

Clementine Vanilla Cocktail
3 ounces fresh squeezed clementines
2 ounces vodka
1 tablespoon vanilla premium gourmet syrup
Citrus sugar rim (orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Setting The Bar: Filming Has Started!

Amanda & Crew
Filming for the cocktail-themed show Setting The Bar has started! Jordan will be co-producing this fun series with Amanda Salem, her cocktail video partner for the AOL Patch series you may have seen.

Last week the crew inspected the primary location of the first episode and took footage of our "host's" home. The planning that goes into putting something like this together has a steep learning curve but it truly is a thrill of a ride to be on.

I watched as the crew planned out where the cameras would go, which windows would need to be covered to keep out the bright sunlight, which doors would need to be removed for easier maneuvering,  where cameras would be stationed for continuous filming, and what not to wear. I didn't want to put on red anyway.
Jordan and Amanda

The next update on this endeavor will be at the end of October, but you can subscribe early to our YouTube Channel at Setting the Bar TV!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

End of Summer - PICNIC STIX

One of my favorite memories from last summer was enjoying an outdoor concert in the grass at the Huntington Library lawn in Pasadena, CA. Everyone brought lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and a stash of goodies including wine. If only I had known about Picnic Stix then, I would not have spilled my perfectly chilled glass of Chardonnay while searching for a hard surface to place it on.

Picnic Stix allows you to set your glass and even an entire bottle into these nifty yard sticks that anchor securely into the grass. Now if only that couple next to me hadn't practically set up camp on my lap, it would have been a perfect evening!

For other fantastic picnic accessories, check out...
The Corkcicle
Stacked Wines

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

End of Summer Picnic - STACKED WINES

I'm sorry, but this product is genius. GENIUS! Stacked Wines has come up with a wine bottle comprised of four individual glass servings of wine (187ml), all stacked up on each other, perfect for a party of four, a picnic or an outdoor concert.

Never again will that last little trickle of wine at the bottom of the bottle end up in your glass while everyone else's is practically to the rim.

Beautifully packaged and available in three California varieties: Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Grigio, Stacked is affordable at only $14.99.

For other items that make a perfect picnic, check out...
Wine sticks
The Corkcicle

Monday, September 10, 2012

End of Summer Picnic - CORKCICLE

Our friend Beth introduced us to Corkcicle, a useful gadget that helps keep your white wines chilled from the inside of the bottle. Say you're entertaining outdoors, and rather than hauling a bucket of ice with you, simply insert this cleverly designed device into your bottle to maintain the chill for up to an hour. Corkcicle can also be used to maintain the temperature of red wine, if say your bottle warms up too much.

The Corkcicle website is beautifully designed, as is the product itself. Choose from the classic Corkcicle, with a cork top, or select from an array of colors—to match your lipstick or shoes perhaps? The website boasts a very thorough and informative (aka long) video if you need further persuasion that this is one hell-of-a-great hostess gift! I'm sold.

Beth found hers at Uncorked, a great little wine bar/shop in Hermosa Beach, CA, however it's also available directly from the Corkcicle site.

For other amazing picnic items, try these...
Stacked Wine
Picnic Stix

Friday, September 7, 2012

THIS GIRL's Pick of the WEEK

There are skid marks from my shopping cart on the Whole Foods floor where I first spotted Tommy's Famous Maragarita Mix. I'm constantly hunting for a store-bought mix that can rival a homemade batch of sweet n' sour. This one comes damn close. Made only with lime and a little agave nectar, it's extremely sour, but in a good way (pieces of lime are swimming around the container to remind you how fresh it is). There may not be any enamel left on my teeth by the time I finish with this bottle, but I could seriously drink it straight from the jug without even touching the tequila. Cruise over to your local Whole Foods and for $8.99, you may just get yourself your new favorite Margarita mixer.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

15 Tips for Planning the Bar... at your Wedding

Not too long ago I discussed these wedding tips during a Twitter party with BevMo. But my recent conversation with a dear friend about her wedding this Fall made me remember how much planning goes into a wedding, and many important decisions must be made about the big, non-refundable day. I of course think the bar is the most important part of a wedding, and most guests would probably agree. ;) 

1. Don't just plan for enough alcohol; plan for more than enough. For most parties you would bank on each guest enjoying two cocktails over the course of an evening. Because people tend to be at weddings longer, prepare for each guest to have 3-4 drinks. You don't want the bar to run dry.

2. If you are on a budget, don't forgo your favorite quality brands. Instead, look for great deals and sales, and join membership programs for a larger discount at the register.

3. Unless your wedding site is permitted to only serve beer and wine, always include the basic spirits at your wedding's bar. Vodka, gin, tequila, rum and whiskey are a must. Or be able to offer several cocktails built around one spirit or signature cocktail.

4. A cash bar at a wedding is usually frowned upon. If you are truly concerned about the bar bill, consider picking up the tab for a set time period. Treat your guests to wine, beer, and cocktails during the reception and dinner, and then switch to a no-host bar after dinner is served.

5. Don't shy away from offering premium spirits at your wedding. You may be surprised to learn that the cost per person doesn't vary as much as you would think when serving premium brands instead of the bottom shelf.

6. Create a custom cocktail for your event that your friends will enjoy and include the recipe on your wedding website or on cards at the bar. Ask us if you need help with this!

7. Be strategic about where you have your bar set up. Make sure that the bartender doesn't have too far to go to restock glasses, ice, or spirits. You don't want your guests standing around for a drink.

8. If you would like a self-serve area of the bar, opt for a covered beverage dispenser instead of open pitchers or punch bowls.

9. Think about including a non-alcoholic option other than soda or water, like a sparkling juice or a mocktail. 

10. If you are leaving wine bottles on the tables for people to self serve, uncork them ahead of time to avoid any accidents or injuries.

11. Hire a professional bartender. Don't leave it up to Uncle Joey to wing it behind the bar. Free help doesn't necessarily mean better help.

12. Check with the catering company to find out if they will be staffing your bar with trained bartenders or waiters acting as bartenders, or actors acting as bartenders.

13. Decide ahead of time what kind of glassware you will need. If you have your heart set on a certain style of wine or cocktail glass, you won't be able to make that happen at the last minute.

14. Be vocal about what you do and don't want on your bar's counter. Is a tip jar acceptable? Cocktail straws? The bartender's business card? Don't wait to find out about what was solicited when you get your wedding photos.

15. Demand that a pitcher of water is ready to serve your guests at all times, especially as the night wares on. Dancing the night away requires some serious hydration, and vodka just ain't the same as water.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mixology 101: Vermouth Infused Olives

Ordering a martini with vermouth is generational. If you're over 60, there's a strong chance you expect vermouth to be part of the drink. If you're 59 or younger, you've either become accustomed to ordering your martinis without vermouth, or you just assume the drink is made without it.

My dirty little secret is that I almost always made my martinis without this popular fortified wine, and you can read about that here. But what I didn't use until many years later were vermouth infused olives, which seem like the perfect solution for the traditional martini drinkers, and the youngsters. You have just a hint of it instead of a measured out amount.

Purchase a jar of your favorite olives, dump the water out, and rinse them in a colander. Pour the olives back into the jar and replace the liquid with vermouth. Refrigerate for 24-48 for ideal marination time and then serve. The olives will keep for a while, possibly until you start asking for vermouth in your martini.

Monday, September 3, 2012

How to Prepare for The Taste of Los Angeles

Jocelyn & Jordan
On Saturday night we went to one segment of The Taste, an annual event sponsored by The Los Angeles Times. Jocelyn and I always have a blast together, even when the function we're attending isn't topping our "Best Ever" list. While we enjoyed many aspects of Cocktail Confidential, we do have a few suggestions for those who attend next year.

Jocelyn "tagging" the chalk board
1. Eat something before you go The title of the event could not be more appropriate. We stood in line for 10 minutes to enjoy one chip with a tablespoon of guacamole. So buy your ticket early and you won't feel bitter about leaving hungry. We got our tickets about a month in advance for $40 and avoided forking out $75 at the door. Of course if I include the $10 parking fee and the $7.00 I spent at In-N-Out on the way home to shut my stomach up, it was actually a $57.00 event.

Very excited to eat a cupcake
2. Wear comfortable shoes There is plenty of seating once you're inside The Taste, but the walk from your car to the center of the Paramount Lot is seriously like 20 minutes long. And then of course you have to walk or crawl back at the end of the night.

3. Plan your wine and spirit theme You'll move from wine to Skinny Girl to whiskey to Prosecco to vodka to tequila to scotch to booze-filled cupcakes. Don't try it all. Go in with a plan to try all the bourbon drinks or every winery. I suppose you could try it all if you're disciplined enough to sample the teeniest, tiniest amounts.

We were JUST there!
4. Take notes You'll have the program for reference but after tasting so much good food and wine it will all be a blur by the end of the night. Take notes, photograph your favorite vendors, tweet out the best of the best, or voice memo your first impressions.

5. Prioritize your goals Our number one priority was to watch the cocktail competition so we definitely met our objective. However, it was an hour and a half long mixology contest and we ended up missing a lot of vendors by sticking it out to the bitter end (congrats Marcos Tello!).  I suspect that the organizers will reorganize the structure of the competition for next year to maintain interest and a crowd.

Major Cocktailoreanism happening here
6. Be Prepared to Be Dazzled The cocktails we sampled were crazy good. If you like something you taste, don't be shy about asking for the recipe. Every mixology we met was extremely friendly and forthcoming with their drink secrets.

7. Ask The Taste Staff & You Shall Receive The staff running the event was friendly, courteous, and helpful. They helped us navigate around to particular tents, cleared our plates at just the right moments, took photos for us, and one amazing dude even brought me a Margarita while I was watching the cocktail competition.

It was definitely a memorable night worth a return trip next Labor Day weekend.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Upcoming Events: Los Angeles Times "The Taste"

This Labor Weekend the Los Angeles Times is proudly sponsoring a three-day food, wine, and spirit extravaganza on the Paramount Pictures Studios Lot called "The Taste." Tickets are still available for a few of the events and priced at a remarkable $65, which includes unlimited food and drink.

Here's a breakdown of the events:

Saturday: "Field to Fork" hosted by Russ Parsons and Ray Garcia from 11:00 - 3:00
Saturday Night: "Cocktail Confidential" hosted by Jessica Gelt and Julian Cox from 8:00 - 11:00
Sunday: "Flavors of L.A." Hosted by Jonathan Gold and Evan Kleiman from 11:00 - 3:00
Sunday Night: "Dinner & Drinks" Hosted by Betty Hallock & The Beer Chicks 8:00 - 11:00
Monday: "Labor Day Picnic" Hosted by Noelle Carter & Zoe Nathan

Serious restaurateurs, celebrity chefs and mixologists, award-winning journalists, and of course...yours truly will be there. So look for us and let's have a drink together!

Product Spotlight: Jefferson's Bourbon

Printed on the label of Jefferson's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky are the words in all caps, "VERY SMALL BATCH." I'd argue that they don't even need to spell it out for people because you can taste the quality and the caliber of this bourbon in every sip.

The bottle is as beautifully designed as the rest of their series: Jefferson's, Jefferson's Reserve, Jefferson's 18 Year Old Presidential Select, and Jefferson's 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey.

This Labor Day Weekend, toast your own contributions to the American workforce with a well-deserved Presidential bourbon.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

American Coffee Coco Cocktail

This Labor Day weekend when you're sitting around the campfire in the mountains or at the beach, or languishing at home over the thought of summer ending, drink a cup of spiked hot coco. Hot chocolate conjures up all sorts of happy feelings, so just wait until there's butterscotch in the mix.

1 packet Starbucks VIA Decaf Italian Roast
8 ounces boiling water
3 tablespoons hot coco powder
3 ounces butterscotch schnapps

Directions Mix 8 ounces of boiling water with a packet of Starbucks VIA in a coffee mug. Add the coco powder and butterscotch schnapps, stirring well. Top witt marshmallows, whipped cream, or both and serve.

For more coffee cocktails, try...
Mexican Coffee Cocktail
Keoko Cocktail
Iced Caramel Coffee with Blackberry Liqueur

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mexican Coffee Cocktail

Find a way to make this recipe in your office coffee pot and besides becoming employee of the week year you'll have one hell of a great day. The smell of the cinnamon alone is enough to put your boss in a Christmas-bonus-kinda-mood and make the staff crazy with productivity. I dare you to make it happen.

The other less exciting option is to sip it after dinner while reading a really good book. Luckily it tastes the same either way.

Provecho mis amigos!

6 ounces Starbucks VIA Italian Dark Roast
2 ounces Kahlua Mexican Coffee Liqueur
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for garnish

For other great coffee drinks, try...
American Coffee Coco Cocktail
Iced Caramel Coffee with Blackberry Liqueur
Keoko Coffee

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keoke Coffee

Without a doubt, the most popular coffee cocktail I made behind the bar was the Keoke Coffee Cocktail. The only downside was using coffee that would rarely qualify as "freshly brewed," or waiting for what seemed like an eternity for a fresh pot to brew.

This is when an instant coffee comes to the rescue. At home it only takes a few minutes to boil the small quantity of water you need, and in a restaurant there's often a pot of hot water ready for those tea drinkers.

Make sure the coffee is of high quality and rich; I prefer the dark roasts for use in any cocktail recipes.

1 ounce coffee liqueur
1/2 ounce creme de cacao
1/2 ounce brandy
8 ounces VIA Italian Dark Roast coffee
Whipped creme

Directions Pour a packet of VIA into a large coffee cup and add 8 ounces of boiling water.  Pour the coffee liqueur, creme de cacao, and brandy into the coffee and stir well. Top with fresh whipped creme.

Why VIA? Read here.

Need a few more coffee drinks? Try...
American Coffee Coco Cocktail
Iced Caramel Coffee with Blackberry Liqueur
Mexican Coffee Cocktail

Monday, August 27, 2012

Iced Caramel Coffee with Blackberry Liqueur

Extend summer with this easy, instant coffee drink. Try a variety of liqueurs such as apricot, strawberry, or chocolate for a new flavor every afternoon of the week.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
16 ounces of ice water
4 ounces of Chambord
Ice cubes

Directions Empty the VIA Caramel packet into a 20-ounce pitcher, then add 16 ounces of water. Mix until the coffee is diluted. Add 4 ounces of blackberry liqueur like Chambord (or more if desired) and stir well. Pack your glassware with ice and add the coffee cocktail.

For other coffee drinks, try...
American Coffee Coco Cocktail
Keoke Coffee Cocktail

A Week of Coffee Cocktails Because I Heart Starbucks

Every morning after my bar shifts I'd wake up early and walk to Starbucks for a coffee and a pastry. I was one of those lucky customers who witnessed my drink go into production as soon as I got in line, and proudly knew all the Starbucks employee names (some still work at that particular location after over ten years).

With cash lining my pockets from the night before, I'd always add to the tip jar, and took pride in leaving an extra special "thank you" after my biggest nights at the bar. What goes around, comes around, right? The friendly, personable Starbucks staff helped me wake up and get back home to a day writing at the computer before another bar shift began.

My first job out of college was working as a barista and I still credit that position for preparing me for what bartendering would be like.  You've got to move fast, remember dozens of drink recipes, and remain calm, collected, and social, all while completing an order to perfection.

My home is now too far to walk to a Starbucks, but I do tear open a packet of VIA every single morning before cracking open the lap top. This week is dedicated to coffee cocktail recipes because I owe them a little "thank you" for helping me get up early to finish writing my first bartending book, and now, a second.

Leave a comment for your favorite cocktail this week either here or on our Facebook page, and win a 28-day supply of Starbucks VIA. Your coffee will be so easy to make that you may even find yourself with the extra time to write that book you've been thinking about.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Non-Fiction Friday: What Do You Really Want To Do?

The 2nd most popular question I'd get while behind the bar (the 1st being, "How do I get a bartending job) was, "So what do you really want to do?" I hated that question. It implied that I was somehow unhappy, unfulfilled, or wasting my life away by working as a bartender. I loved the job.

There were definitely those moments, don't get me wrong. Like the time that guy vomited on the bar or the homeless woman threw a glass at my head. But for the most part, it was a truly fabulous job (did I ever tell you what Bradley Cooper said to me?). So when someone asked what I really wanted to do with my life I said, "Be a bartender." The more they pressed me the more convincing I was.

Of course it was a lie. But telling people in Los Angeles that you want to be a writer while you're shaking their martini is a sad, sad cliche that I was not willing to put a face on. Sharing what you really want to do...that's too personal. Would you share your ambitions and dreams with the first stranger who asked? Is it a question you'd feel comfortable just casually throwing out at your bank teller or grocery checker?

I did open up a few times over the course of my career and usually got an earful in return or a snide remark that would ruin my night.

"You can't make a living at it."
"If you were really serious about writing you'd find a way not to work this job."
"What'll it be- the next great American novel? Good luck!"

It took me a while to realize that these people weren't actually speaking to me at all. They were speaking to themselves.  Pulling out and dusting off the excuse they'd become so accustomed to hearing in their own head and perhaps wishing I'd free them from it by taking it on as my own toxic self-doubt loaded baggage. 

What would I say to those people now? I'd open up but not until they did first. I'd turn the questions right back at them and ask, "Are you doing what you really want to do?" And then I'd listen. Without judgement or jealously or fear. I'd find the opportunity to be supportive, to say, "Hey, maybe you're not doing it today, but you can certainly start towards that goal tomorrow. Because then maybe one day down the road, when someone asks if you're happy, fulfilled, and embracing every moment of life, you can say, yes. Yes!" Then I'd refill their drink and ask more questions.

So...what do you really want to do?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mixology 101: Ginger Simple Syrup

I will probably keep a container of ginger simple syrup in the refrigerator for the rest of my life because it's just that good and complements an enormous number of spirits.

This simple syrup is also delicious in hot tea, over green tea ice cream, in a tall glass of lemonade ice tea, or over pancakes.

1 medium ginger root
2 cups water
1.5 cups sugar*

Directions Peel a medium sized ginger root and slice into pieces. In a saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and ginger and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved, about 30 minutes. *Add more sugar if you desire a thicker consistency. Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain into a container. Cool, and refrigerate up to a week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Find My Tap App

I recently installed the free Find my Tap App to my iphone. It allows you to find out where your favorite beer is served on tap, whether you're near home or out and about looking to saddle up for a nice cold brew. Plug in your favorite beer and all the bars serving it near you will pop up. Plus, you can read bar reviews, or add your favorite bars to the growing list. Beer festivals and events are also listed so you're sure to have weekend plans with friends through the rest of the summer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Drinking Wine for a Good Cause

One day wine is good for you, the next day it's not. If you're keeping track of the pros and cons then here's some information to encourage you to unabashedly uncork and pour.

TerraCycle is an unbelievable recycling program that gives you every reason to grant your trash a second life. From corks to cell phones to candy wrappers to hummus containers, TerraCycle will take it and turn it into something (sort of) new and (possibly) shiny.

You can send it in the mail or drop it off at a collection site and raise money for your favorite organization. Turn that pile of corks into something other than a pile of corks, like a park bench or garbage can. The only thing that should be lying around in your home is unopened wine.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Product Spotlight: Kahlua Iced Coffee Drinks

You noticed on Facebook  how excited we were to receive these petite cans of Kahlua iced coffee drinks . Well, the enthusiasm continues, even though they are now tragically empty.

The decorative cans each boast a unique design and are small enough to fit in a compact fridge, hotel mini bar, or your purse. It was tough to choose a favorite between Cinnamon Spice, Iced Espresso, and Iced Mocha, but with a weakness for all things chocolate, the Mocha took the gold.

They are all delicious, and we suspect you'll enjoy each one, poured over a tall glass of ice.

Friday, August 17, 2012

THIS GIRL'S Hot Pick of the WEEK

A teeny tiny white board with an itty bitty dry erase marker to make a big bold statement about your wines. A great item for parties, wine games, or just marking your territory.

Now you can ditch the wine charms and just claim an entire bottle for yourself with one of these signs. You'll never have to worry about someone finishing off your favorite Merlot again.

Available here!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tasty Brand Gummie Give Away

To compliment our week of back-to-school inspired cocktails, we have boxes of Tasty Brand Gummies to give away to 5 lucky winners!

Just leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page about which drink you like best and why. Then on Monday, we will randomly choose 5 winners to a send a box too. Good luck!

Gummie Punch
Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cocktail
Mandarine Orange Vodka Cup
Cotton Candy Cookie Cocktail

And if you don't win, don't fret. Tasty Brand is now at your local California Costco store (even in Hawaii). Our SoCal fans can grab a stash from Huntington Beach, Irvine, Burbank, Simi Valley, and dozens of other cities for your next cocktail party!

Back to School Week: Pack That Drink This...Fruit Gummies

No lunch is complete without fruit gummies. Lucky for us Tasty Brand makes pouches of these organic fruit snacks for your cocktailing creativity. They're so delicious that I'd garnish a bottle of beer with them. Just try not to dump the whole lot in your mouth at once. It's such a waste of a pleasant experience and true foodies always savor their food, even when eating gummies.

Gummie infused vodka tastes like fruit punch so once you've made a batch, experiment with a variety of juices until you find your perfect drink. This cocktail is really going to connect you with your inner child. But not the real child because he's sitting comfortably on the bus when you're making these, right?

Gummie Punch
1 pouch Tasty Brand Organic Fruit Snacks
3 ounces vodka
Splash cranberry juice
Splash orange juice
Splash pineapple juice

Add gummies to the vodka and set aside until dissolved. Pout the vodka into a shaker and add the juices. Shake well with ice and strain into a martini shaker. Garnish with, duh...gummies.

For more back-to-school drinks, try...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Art & Cocktails

As children, our mother took us to the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park just about every Sunday. It was either that or the beaches of La Jolla Shores or Coronado. You can probably guess which activity we preferred, but fortunately museum visits often ended with an ice cream from the food cart on the lawn outside, which made things much more interesting for us kids (and Dad too). Had we been 21+, and SDMA hosted soirées similar to the one taking place this Thursday, trips to the museum would have been a breeze. Art Mix, A Curated Cocktail Party starts at 7:00pm, August 16, and offers innovative libations and pairing stations throughout the exhibit halls. Peruse Moroccan tapestries while sampling street food from Tangier, and create your own culinary concoction while sipping original cocktails.

ArtMix, SDMA’s new event series has the right idea by allowing art to be enjoyed in a lively and festive atmosphere. My next visit to the San Diego Museum of Art will be nostalgic, but I’ll appreciate the artwork on a new, more “adult” level — with cocktail in-hand.

For more information, visit

Back to School Week: Pack This Drink That...Chocolate Sandwich Cremes

Although this sugary delight once topped many "most unhealthy foods" lists, the knock-off version is currently sold at Whole Foods under the name "Chocolate Sandwich Cremes."Therefor, you can take comfort in the fact that it's actually healthy for you and eating triple your serving size may even be beneficial to your health.
*It may be time to add some small print to our blog.

If you are challenged with only eating a few of these treats, indulge in a Chocolate Creme Cocktail instead. Trust us. You'll only need one.

Chocolate Creme Cocktail
1 ounce cake vodka
1 ounce chocolate liqueur
1 ounce vanilla almond milk
2 tablespoons finely chopped chocolate cookie

Mix all of the liquid ingredients together in a shaker with ice and shake hard. Coat the rim of a cocktail glass with simple syrup or regular syrup and immerse into the mound of cookie crumbs. Strain the liquids into the glass and serve.

For more back-to-school drinks, try
Cotton Candy Sugar Cookie Cocktail
Mandarine Orange Vodka Cup
Fruit Gummie Cocktail

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Back to School Week: Pack This Drink That...Mandarine Orange Jell-O Cups

Wasn't the original name for these lunch snacks "fruit cocktail?" Definitely not PC these days. I remember going through the lunch line and being served a soupy ladle of miscellaneous fruit pieces only remotely identifiable by their shape and whatever texture was left after soaking in a jar for possibly decades. It's gotten better...well except for the individual, disposable plastic servings being chucked in landfills. But just look at the color. Aren't they pretty?

Mandarine Orange Vodka Jell-O Cups
1 box of orange Jell-O mix
1 cup Mandarine orange vodka
1 cup boiling water
1 can Mandarine oranges

Directions In a large, glass measuring pitcher, mix the Jell-o mix with one cup of boiling water and one cup of orange vodka until all the powder dissolves. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, then add the Mandarine fruit pieces. Pour the mixture into martini glasses and chill until the Jell-o is solid. Serve with a spoon or ladle.

For more Pack This Drink That Cocktails, try...
Cotton Candy Cookie Cocktail
Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cocktail
Fruit Gummie Cocktail

Monday, August 13, 2012

Back to School Week: Pack This Drink That...Sugar Cookies

The morning rush is unbelievably hectic and you almost never make it out the door in time. But here's a little inspiration as you pack lunches and wave tearful goodbyes to the school bus. Stay in your robe a little longer, put on the soap opera you've been dying to catch up on all summer long, and sip something sweet.

Sugar Cookie
Cotton Candy Sugar Cookies
The ingredients in each cookie are unpronounceable yet who can stop at just one? The frosting is the best and worst you've ever tasted and the dough teeters between perfectly soft and raw.  These mini cookies are irresistible and give the inspiration to force that those yucky carrots.

Cotton Candy Cocktail

Cotton Candy Cocktail
3 ounces cotton candy vodka
Splash pink lemonade
Splash cranberry juice
Sugar sprinkles for garnish

Combine the juice with ice into a shaker and mix well. Strain into a martini glass with a sugar coated rim.

For more Pack This Drink That cocktails, try...
Mandarine Vodka Jell-O Cups
Chocolate Creme Sandwich Cocktail
Fruit Gummie Cocktail

Friday, August 10, 2012

3-Ingredient Cocktails: Coco Cafe & Rum

For the final drink in this week's collection of 3-ingredient summer cocktails, we give you the balanced, sweet taste of cafe latte, coconut, hazelnut, and rum. This is the kind of drink that tastes especially good on a summer day starting well before 5 o'clock.

Coco Cafe & Rum
2 ounces Coco Cafe: Coconut Water Cafe Latte
2 ounces light rum
1 ounce Frangelico

Shake ingredients together and strain into a martini glass or pour over ice.

For more 3-ingredient drinks, try...
Gourmet Hard Lemonade
Ginger Nectarine Cocktail
Watermelon Vodka

Thursday, August 9, 2012

3-Ingredient Cocktails: Gourmet Hard Lemonade

Today the Easy Summer Drinks theme continues with a batch of good ol' fashioned hard lemonade: gourmet style. This recipe will keep beautifully in your fridge for as long as a week, so if you like your neighbors, multiply the recipe by 10 and prepare for repeat customers.

Gourmet Hard Lemonade
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces organic pink lemonade
1 ounce homemade, organic sweet and sour

For other 3-Ingredient cocktails, try...
Ginger Nectarine Cocktail
Vodka & (Fancy) Soda
Pina Colada