Monday, April 30, 2012

Sherri Shepherd and the Clorox Lounge

On Friday night Clorox presented the finale to their online comedy competition, The Last Comic Sitting. Hosted by the one and only Sherri Shepherd, and staring finalists Frances Dilorinzo and Justin Worsham, this was a Hollywood night not to be missed.

About an hour before for the show I had the opportunity to sit down with Sherri and ask her a few questions. The theatre was buzzing with activity and the assistants and PR team working with her made it clear that there was not much time to chit chat. But you'd never know that the clock was ticking from talking to Sherri. She is one of the most relaxed, down-to-earth celebrities I've ever met. Warm, sincere, beautiful, and so, so funny. Basically the kind of person you'd like as a best friend.

Sherri Shepherd
During our conversation she talked mostly about motherhood...balancing career with children, managing family time while rehearsing intensely for Dancing with the Stars, working on The View, staring in her own TV know, every mom's day-to-day stuff. But when I asked her if she has ever locked herself in the bathroom with a cocktail or a bottle of wine she said that no, she hadn't, mostly because her son is a little too clever to let her get away with it.

"...I do the latch and [Jeffrey] goes, 'mommy mommy mommy' and the door slides open slowly and I'm going, what happened? So no, I've never done it because Jeffrey know how to pick a lock."

Val C, Dilorinzo & Shepherd
I considered suggesting that she and her husband change the locking contraption on the bathroom doors, but Sherri seems to be so well balanced that she doesn't need to pull the shenanigans that the rest of us do to get through a weeknight. I should probably start watching The View more. Bet I'd learn a lot from her.

After we spoke I hit the bar for a drink and then found my seat amongst good friends to enjoy a fabulous evening of comedy. The stage had an actual toilet in the middle of it (unused during the show thank goodness), but the comedians were light on the potty talk. That kind of humor would have required something stronger than the Cabernet.

Clorox has more exciting things in the works, so be sure to visit their website for to find out about events like this one!

Friday, April 27, 2012

THIS GIRLS Pick of the WEEK: Titanic Ice Cubes

Has it been long enough to have a sense of humor about this? Fred & Friends certainly think so and so do I.

100 years ago this month the unsinkable luxury liner hit an iceberg and within hours sank to the bottom of the sea. If the ship's designers had demonstrated less hubris, if the Captain had slowed down even one knot, if the Californian had responded to the flares instead of confusing them for fireworks, if the life boats had been filled to capacity, if, if, if, the story would have a different ending.

But it doesn't and life goes on and we do have reasons to celebrate like frickin' socioeconomic equality in moments of crisis. Glad I got that off my chest.

Set the right tone at your next cocktail party with ice trays in shapes of ships and bergs and toast your own night to remember.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wine of the Week: Foxen Chardonnay

Nothing is better than the surprise, spectacular taste of an unfamiliar Chardonnay.

This week I opened a bottle of 2009 Foxen Chardonnay on the recommendation of another discriminating Wine House employee. The bottle has been chilling in my wine cooler for weeks now, just waiting to be enjoyed. For some strange reason watching Mission Impossible III seemed like the appropriate occasion to drink it.

The movie was thoroughly entertaining but definitely upstaged by this smooth, full-bodied Chardonnay, boasting flavors of "earthy grapefruit, green apple, spice and floral scents." It's one of the those noticeably impressive wines, even if you don't know the year, the vintage, or the cost.

Foxen's website, on the other hand, is unimpressive, so don't make any judgements about their wines based on their taste for web design. Instead, take the time to read their story and you'll learn that this family vineyard is anything but ordinary.

Moderately priced at $32.00, you'll enjoy this wine with any meal, and most action films. Enjoy.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April Showers Sangria Cuplettes

To continue with an April Showers theme, this white wine sangria recipe will be perfect for the next spring baby or bridal shower you throw. The batch serves about 6 but can easily be doubled or tripled to fill a larger drink dispenser. To add an extra touch, use recycled jam and condiment jars for the glasses, and cookie cutters to create different fruit shapes.

White Wine Sangria (serves 6)
1 bottle dry white wine
1 cup brandy
1 cup triple sec
4 cups sliced apples, limes, and oranges

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Manners Rule #16: Introducing Customers

You'd never let strangers mingle in your home without proper introductions and the same should go for your bar. When you have several regulars whom you know by name sitting next to each other at the bar, introduce them. They may not share another word, or they may become best friends. Either way, you did the right thing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Skinny Drinks with Plus Red Elixir

At only 10 calories an ounce, Plus Red Elixir is a great mixer for skinny drinks. Although it's considered an energy drink, it doesn't taste like any I've tried. It reminds me more of an extremely light, sparkling juice.

Pair it with any spirit and serve or add a little fresh fruit juice for extra flavor. Here are two recipes that I've been enjoying this week:

Skinny Plus Red Strawberry: 105 Calories
1 ounce vodka
2 ounces Plus Red Elixir Power
1 tablespoon fresh strawberry juice
Sugar rim

Skinny Plus Red Mixed Berry: 95 Calories
1 ounce rum
2 ounces Plus Red Elixir Rescue
1 tablespoon fresh raspberry and blueberry juice

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to Make Jello Shots!

The "Let's Mix" videos are up and running on the new Modern Mom channel. I never imagined that Jello shots would be so popular, but an amusing amount of traffic to this blog every day stems from "jello shot" searches. So here's a video for all of you who have been waiting all your life to make a batch of these bad boys. They're ridiculously easy, both to whip up and to down. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Springtime Mocktails

Whether you're looking for the perfect baby shower mocktail or just a fancy non-alcoholic drink, these springtime beverages are definite crowd pleasers. If you'd like to offer the cocktail version, I'd suggest adding rum or vodka, or even burbon for the Peach Sour.

Virgin Pineapple Coconut
2 ounces premium coconut water
2 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce tonic water
Squeeze of fresh lime wedge

Virgin Peach Sour
2 ounces peach nectar
2 ounces sweet and sour
1 ounce soda water

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Creating Custom Cocktails

I'm beginning to refer to one section of my kitchen as "the lab." There aren't any Bunsen burners fired up (yet) but with every spot on my stove heating simple syrups, various jars of infused spirits lining the counters, and a refrigerator stocked full of cocktail ready fruits and vegetables, there's no question that the science of mixology is in full swing. I love it!

My latest challenge was incorporating Plus Red Elixir into cocktails for a variety of events. I hadn't worked with a mixer like this before or a product with red marine algae (think super food), so it was exciting to create drinks using a more exotic list of ingredients. The results were darn delicious and I can't wait to share the recipes with you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Tax Day? Just Relax Day!

Tax day is April 15th but when it falls on a weekend, the deadline is extended to the following Monday. That is unless Monday happens to be District of Columbia's Emancipation Day, like today.

For most of us this is just a regular business day but for the IRS, this is a federal holiday honoring Lincoln's signing of the Compensated Emancipation, freeing slaves in the District of Columbia. The following January he would sign the famous Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves across the country.

My taxes are filed but on Tuesday I'll still be visiting my local BevMo to celebrate the close of the 2011 tax year with a good ol' American Brew. BevMo is hosting a beer tasting from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM at 101 of their locations, marking the end of another busy tax season. Stop in yourself and sample some fine American brews like Arrogant Bastard, Samuel Adams Seasonal, 21st Amendment Ales, and Bear Republic Ales, and revel in the fact that another year of taxes is behind you.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Non-Fiction Friday: A Random Act of Stupidity

I walked into the mountain base bar dressed in puffy snow-boarding clothes and wearing one of those giant astronaut looking snow helmets before they became main stream and fashionably smaller. The bar was extremely crowded, filled with rosy cheeked revelers.

My husband left to find a ski locker and I waited patiently at one of the few tables in this 40-seat bar to order two Toasted Almonds. While I waited I couldn't help but notice the tush of one of the female patrons who sat at the bar only a few feet from me. Her healthy-sized derriere was fully exposed save for a very scanty piece of underwear. Perhaps because I had yet to become a bartender, or perhaps it was my youthful naivete- I clearly wasn't sensitive to the tone or vibe of the bar crowd. At all.

Although I had unbuckled my chin-strap, I was still in my Michelin get-up as I approached the girl to gently tap her on the shoulder. The face that whipped around to greet me was weathered, cross-eyed with intoxication, and absolutely furious at the interruption.

"What?!" She blurted with a grunt.
In a small voice I managed, "Um, I just wanted to tell you that, well, your pants are down in the back."

Knowing that I had just made a colossal error, I wished my orange tinted goggles were still over my eyes to protect them from a different kind of glare. And as much as I wanted to move, I remained involuntarily frozen in place. Sensing an opportunity to seize my shame and expose it to everyone, the girl stood up and shouted to the bartender at the far end, "Hey Jimmy! This BITCH here is staring at my ASS!" The place went very, very quiet. Of course the bartender shouted back, "She said what?"

As I collected my mittens and scarf in a hurry, the interaction between us was repeated to the larger audience, this time with the assistance of other customers who had witnessed the account first hand. The laughter, pointing and name calling seemed to explode all around me. So when my husband walked into the room, ready to relax and enjoy a well-deserved cocktail, I intercepted him faster than a high-speed chair lift and escorted him outside to the snow.

Later that night, as we sipped beers by our cabin fire, we laughed about my horribly executed and quite honestly, stupid decision. "Live and learn," I chuckled.

It's been many years since that day but the experience still brings a smile to my face. Here's to living and learning.

Jordan Catapano

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jordan Vineyard & Winery's 40th

Hadid Gallery
Last night in Los Angeles Jordan Vineyard & Winery continued their 40th year anniversary celebration with the 4 on 4 Art Competition. Local artists created work that reflected "the elegance of Jordan wines with the flavor of each city" in the hopes that their piece may be selected as either the critic's winner, or the guest's favorite.
Jordan Wine

Events in Miami and New York preceded this one, but the cross country affair certainly didn't lose any momentum. The West Hollywood gallery Hadid was packed with people clamoring to see the artwork, and of course, taste the ever-so-famous wine.

Jordan Cabernet and Chardonnay was poured, and interesting little appetizers from Chef Joe Miller were sampled by a ravenous crowd.  I couldn't imagine a better place to be as my friend Amanda and I slowly made our way around the gallery to take in each artist's entry, prompting lively conversation about the visual interpretations of our town, and one of our most favorite wines.

Amanda Salem & Jordan Catapano

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

VIDEO: How to Make a Sex on the Beach

Though this cocktail is commonly ordered at the bar (read my opinions about that here), I believe that this is one of those drinks best made at home. The history of the name "Sex on the Beach" eludes me, but  follow this quick demonstration on my "Let's Mix" show from the ModernMom Channel, and maybe you  can provide an explanation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

THIS GIRL'S Hot Pick of the the Week: Gear Shift Bottle Stopper

True Fabrications has done it again with this imaginative bottle stopper for all the car aficionados out there.  Nascar's Sprint Cup is this Saturday, so surprise your spouse, host, or main squeeze with one of these spirited accessories.

It also makes for a great Father's Day gift, which is right around the corner. I'm sure Danica Patrick would approve.

True Fabrications $14.98

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Manners: Rule #97: Split Tips Fairly

If you and a friend, or several friends are out for a meal and decide to split the check evenly, the tip should also be split and represent 15% - 20% of the bill.

Here are a few reminders:

1. If a friend asks what amount you are going to tip, it is completely acceptable share that information. However, it is not appropriate to tell your friend that you'll be leaving $6 and then change your tip to $7, no matter how competitive you are.

2. If you were dissatisfied with the service, and want to leave less than 15%, you need to ask for a separate bill, and not tip on a split check. Otherwise it is not fair to your friend who did not have issues with the service, and shouldn't have to tip more to make up for your grievance.

3. When the check will be split between friends, you are entitled to leave more than 15% - 20% without having to announce your generosity.

4. Tips and tabs should always be divided up fairly when the items ordered are dramatically different in price. It is the responsibility of the person who ordered the more more expensive food or wine item to take the initiative on this. For example, if you ordered a steak and two glasses of wine, and your friend had a cup of soup and a salad, the check should not be split in half. And if it is, you must make sure your friend does not share the cost of your meal or the tip.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Fizz Cocktail

Serve one of the classic cocktails at your Easter brunch or as an aperitif before Easter dinner. The egg and cream soften the brandy's edge and the sugar provides just the right amount of sweetness. If you haven't made a drink using egg before, it's time.

2 ounces brandy
1 egg white
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 ounce cream or half n' half
Ground nutmeg

Except for the nutmeg, pour all of the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice, and shake hard until a thin froth forms. Strain into a lowball or martini glass and dust with a sprinkling of nutmeg.

(Scared to handle raw egg? Click here are a few guidelines!)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Using Raw Eggs for Cocktails

Cocktails that require raw eggs are most popular during Easter and the holiday season. There are definitely a lot of dangers associated with raw eggs, but that doesn't mean you have to ban them from your diet forever. People eat them every day and live to tell about it.

But there are some guidelines you should follow. I first read about them on Christmas Eve after serving my entire family the best chocolate mousse I'd ever made only to disappear into the furthest bathroom for 20 minutes with my Joy of Cooking cookbook, panicked that I'd poisoned everyone. They were all still alive when I came back downstairs, and the dessert ramekins were licked clean.

This is what you should consider before cracking one into a cocktail:

1. Is it fresh? It should basically be the newest carton of eggs that the market has to offer. And while you're inspecting the date on the carton, do what you usually do and check for cracks and foreign substances on the egg shells.

2. Joy of Cooking suggests that you only buy eggs from a "refrigerated case" instead of a "room-temperature display." The eggs I usually purchase to cook are from one of those doorless, refrigerated shelves. The eggs I'm going to use raw must be behind a glass door. But that's just me, and it's also an inconvenience. Not all stores keep their eggs this way.

3. A few other things I learned from my cooking bible: toss eggs with runny whites, eggs that float, and eggs that smell like anything at all (unless you think eggs smell like something in the first place, which I do not).

4. Trust your instincts. If you feel like the egg is no good, even if it passes all your other tests, toss it and make the egg drink another time. Your eggless cocktail will still taste just as good!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Egg Jello Shots

Liven up Easter Sunday with some tasty Easter Egg Jello Shots. I'm not suggesting you should pass them out at church, but it sure makes for a fun, adult Easter egg hunt once you get home for brunch. Choose your favorite spirit, preferred gelatin flavor, and mix up the best batch of wobbly cocktails your grandmother has ever tasted.

1 package of Jello
1 cup of vodka/rum/gin/...
1 cup of boiling water

Mix all three ingredients together, then let the liquid sit for about 15 minutes. Pour into plastic Easter eggs (be sure to choose eggs without a tiny hole on the end!) and chill in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finalist for Saveur Magazine!

Today the finalists for Saveur Magazine's 2012 Best Food Blog Awards were announced. We are delighted to be selected as one of the six finalists! So thanks to all of you who got us to this point and thanks in advance to all y'all who are going to help us win this dang thing.

Yes, it's a votie likie kinda thing, which means click on over and vote for us already! (JUST REMEMBER that you need to create an account to vote! Simply clicking with seeing a red check mark does not count).

PS We are in amazing company, so you just have to check out all of the other blogs in our Best Cocktail Blog category. Then cruise over to all the other categories and you'll likely find a few new blogs to follow.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Modern Mom Channel Launches!

You won't believe all of the amazing shows now available on Modern Mom's new YouTube channel which launched today! From my cocktail show "Lets Mix" to the work out videos with Brooke Burke to the cooking segment "Lets Cook," there is something for everyone. Be sure to subscribe to the channel, leave your comments, and share!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Snowboarding Work Week

I'm heading off the mountains for a few days to snowboard my brains out. That's me on the left. Joke. The skies are blue here and the high today will be 52*. That spells awesomeness (I'm trying to fit in with the early 20-something crowd I overheard at the bar last night. Not working for me is it). It also spells raccoon eyes if I'm not careful. But I have a new board, boots, and sassy Roxy goggles. So even if I have to butt slide down a slope, as least I'll look good doing it.

I do have a few fun drinks planned for the post-mountain evenings so stayed tuned for those. And while you wait, here's that Non-Fiction Friday story you may have missed about one of my trips here a long time ago.