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Posts tagged ‘cocktails’


labeled bar

Spring is officially here. The sun is shining, the days are longer, there are bright green leaves on the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. It’s the perfect time to pull out those bright Hawaiian shirts, Bermuda shorts, frilly summer dresses and strappy sandals. But all that outdoor wear can’t go to waste. Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s the perfect time for entertaining, and when I say entertaining, I mean entertaining outside.


Outdoor entertaining all starts this weekend with Passover and Easter. All those kids will be running around lawns hunting for Easter eggs anyway, so why not take the food and drink (especially the drink) outside as well? Now, some people may think that outdoor entertaining means paper plates, paper cups and plasticware, but that’s absolutely not true. Just because you’ve taken the party outside doesn’t mean you can’t take the china and crystal with you. I mean, you’re entertaining! You’ve got a yard full of guests. It’s a party! And there’s absolutely nothing classier than vintage china and glasses, especially when cocktails are involved.

You may have all the right ingredients to make the perfect Aperol Spritz, Mint Julep or Sea Breeze. But it loses something if it’s served up in a cheesy plastic cup. Instead, give your cocktails some panache by shaking them in a beautiful vintage cocktail shaker. Strain them into some stunning Depression Era glasses and then serve them up on a classic silver tray. Not only will you impress your guests, the beautiful barware can stay out long after your soirée has ended.

silver glasses

Something as simple as a pair of vintage ice tongs or a beautiful set of 50’s glasses can add a nice touch to your everyday decor and then be used for your next cocktail party. Hubs and I have a collection of vintage cocktail shakers that we use to break up our book shelves in the office. Then when we have guests (or if it’s just the 2 of us) we’ll grab one to shake up a quick martini or two. It definitely makes a small party or even a quiet night in, just a little more special.

cocktail shaker

Pisco Sour

labeled cocktail

Since we’re still smack dab in the middle of citrus season, I thought I’d continue with the Sour cocktails this week. So, today I’m bringing you the Pisco Sour. While I’m not usually a fan of the sour beverages because they are so sour, the Pisco is actually pretty sweet.

The sweetness can most likely be attributed to the Pisco itself. See, unlike the gin or whiskey of my previous Sour cocktails, Pisco is made from grapes. Both gin and whiskey are made from grains and then flavored with either botanicals or barrel aging respectively. But since grapes are inherently sweeter than grains, nothing’s added to create the brandy. They’re simply distilled like wine.

Even though the Pisco Sour is sweeter than the gin or whiskey version, the actual cocktail itself will have a different flavor depending on whether you use Chilean Pisco or Peruvian. While Peruvian Pisco uses anywhere from one to eight grape varieties that are distilled once in a steel or glass container, Chilean Pisco is made up of only three grape varieties and can be distilled several times in a wooden barrel. So, you can see how a Chilean Pisco Sour can taste totally different from a Peruvian Pisco Sour.

While most believe the Pisco Sour was created by Victor Morris at his bar in Lima, Peru sometime in the 20’s, a very similar cocktail was documented in a cookbook from 1903. So, why wasn’t the cocktail created in 1903? Well, said cocktail may have shared most (if not all) the same elements as the Pisco, but it wasn’t called a Pisco and it didn’t have any specific measurements. It was all according to taste. So, maybe Morris had tasted the cocktail and simply decided to give it name and add measurements or maybe the original auteur was never interested in writing down his concoction. How ever the Pisco Sour came into existence though, one thing is certain – it’s a delicious creation well worth it’s place in cocktail history.

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Pisco Sour


  • 1-1/2 ounces Pisco brandy
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 whole egg white
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters


  1. Combine the first four ingredients (through the egg white) in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for about a minute to make sure the egg white is nice and frothy.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Add the bitters and serve.

labeled razor

I know Fridays are usually my cocktail days, but since today is New Year’s Day and the day after New Year’s Eve, I thought I’d change things up and post my cocktail today. See, I had a feeling there might be a few of you who’d need a pick me up. You know… a drink that will help you get back on your feet after a night of seriously heavy drinking. Well, if anything will pick you (or wake you) up, the Holland Razor Blade is definitely it.

Made with gin, lemon juice and a dash or two of cayenne pepper, this hair of the dog, is sure to open up your eyes, get your blood pumping and get you back on your feet for the Rose Parade, the Rose Bowl or anything else you might have planned for today.

Hailing from 1931, this cocktail was introduced to Charles H. Baker by a Hollander on an international morning flight because he was in desperate need of a wake up call. Like most cocktails of its day, drinks created pre and during Prohibition were heavy on the liquor and light on the mixers. This cocktail is no different. It’s mostly gin, and a strong gin at that.

While most of us (me included) prefer English gin like Beefeater, Tanqueray or Old Tom, Holland gin like Genever has a bolder flavor and so packs a much bigger punch, hence its use in this pick me up. But if you don’t own any Dutch gins, an English gin is a fine substitute, as it’s really the cayenne pepper that gives this cocktail it’s eye-opening flavor.

So while you’re frying up those greasy eggs and bacon, make sure you pour yourself a Razor Blade. The eggs and bacon might settle your stomach, but this sharp blade will open your eyes.

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Holland Razor Blade


  • 2 oz. Holland gin (like Genever)
  • juice of half of lemon
  • 2 – 3 dashes of cayenne pepper


  1. Pour the gin and lemon juice into a cocktails shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into an old fashioned glass and dust with cayenne pepper. Serve.


Today I thought I’d spice things up a bit… literally. I know it’s usually my cocktail day, but since summer’s drawing to a close, I thought I’d do something that goes in one of those classic cocktails instead of the cocktail itself. Other than the liquor what could possibly go into a classic cocktail? Ice of course.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to teach you how to make ice cubes as I’m sure you all know how to do that. But why use plain old ordinary water ice cubes when you could add some flavor? Or better yet, some heat? How can you add heat to an ice cube? By making chile ice cubes of course. Hatch Chile ice cubes.  Flavored ice cubes may sound odd, but isn’t a flavored cube really just a small popsicle? Of course it is. But unlike the standard popsicle, these icy treats slowly add flavor to the cocktail as they melt thereby enhancing the drink even further.

Why am I talking about Hatch Chiles? Because it’s Hatch Chile season and now’s the time to strike as these lovely little green chiles are around for a very short time. See, Hatch season starts in August and only goes for five or six weeks. After that, you’ll have to wait until next year to get your hatch chile on… Unless you freeze them, then you’ll have them year round. But if you’re worried you won’t like the chiles because you’re like me and not a fan of spice, I have news for you. The Hatch chiles come in various heats. That’s right, there are mild chiles, medium chiles, hot chiles and ridiculously hot chiles. As a matter of fact, Hatch chiles are the only chile that’s actually grown according to it’s heat.  There’s only one problem: they all look the same. So, if you’re concerned about getting the right temperature, make sure you ask your produce department.

I used hot Hatch Chiles for my ice cubes because I thought the heat from the chiles would balance nicely with the ice cold tomato juice and cucumber vodka in my bloody mary. I was right. But beware, the spice got more and more intense as the ice cubes melted. It was still delicious, but by the end of my drink, I did need a couple tissues as my nose was beginning to run.

How did I come up with the idea for chile ice cubes? I must admit, it wasn’t mine. Melissa’s Produce, who was nice enough to give me the chiles, recently came out with a cookbook that’s all about Hatch Chiles. They have everything in that book from appetizers to desserts, including these wonderful chile ice cubes. But here’s the awesome part: they gave me an extra cookbook, some dried chiles and some chile powder to share with you!

Want this scorching prize pack? Here’s how you win: (Main entry required.) THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Congratulations to Jane (Wehaf) Valentine for winning all the chile goodness.

Leave a comment here telling me how hot you like your chiles. Are you like me and prefer just a little tang or do you like to have a box of tissues nearby for when your eyes start to water and your nose starts to run?

Want extra entries?

Each item you do will get you one chance to win (for a total of five chances). If you already do any of these things they do count! So make sure to leave a separate comment for each item.

  1. Follow @kitchycooker on Twitter and tweet the following with a link back in the comments to your tweet: “I just entered to win a #hatchchile prize pack from @kitchycooker and @melissasproduce. Have you?
  2. Like my facebook page.
  3. Like Melissa’s facebook page.
  4. Subscribe to the Kitchy Cooking RSS feed.

The Fine Print

  • This giveaway is only open to residents of the 50 United States. (Sorry, shipping to Europe and Canada’s pricey.)
  • Giveaway will end on Friday, August 23rd at 11:59 pm PST. One winner with a valid entry will be chosen via a random number generator at  The winner will then be notified via the e-mail they provide when they leave a comment.
  • Winner has until August 26th at 10 pm PST to claim their prize or I’ll pick another winner.

Now that I’ve laid out all the nitty gritty details, here’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the recipe for these hot ice cubes.

Hatch Chile Ice Cubes


  • 5 cups water
  • 2 Hatch Chiles, roasted, peeled, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped.


  1. Combine the water and the Hatch Chiles in a blender and blend until the chiles are fully incorporated. Let the chile water sit for about 4 minutes.
  2. Skim off any froth that rises to the top, then pour the chile water into ice cube trays and freeze.
  3. Once the ice cubes are ready, add them to any of your favorite cocktails or mocktails.

PLEASE NOTE: Melissa’s provided me with the cookbook and the chile powder. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

And we’re back! Last week I took a break from my weekly cocktail post so I could participate in Lucky Leaf’s virtual summer potluck. So, if you were concerned that I would no longer be making retro cocktails and sharing their history with you, don’t fret because today it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming. And what better way to come back than with a Boulevardier.

Two weeks ago I shared the Negroni with you, an Italian cocktail created shortly after WWI. Well today’s cocktail is the American cousin. It’s also made with Campari and Sweet Vermouth, but instead of gin, we get to use my favorite booze: bourbon! It’s just as potent as the Negroni but if you’re like me and prefer bourbon over gin, you’ll probably appreciate this drink a little more.

As I mentioned the Negroni was created in Italy just after WWI. Well, the Boulevardier was created around the same time, during Prohibition to be precise. See, the Volstead Act created two different types of bartenders: those that relished in adventure and creating new drinks out of bathtub gin and those that preferred the real stuff. Those that preferred real cocktails made with real alcohol moved to Europe where they could continue their trade without the fear of imprisonment. One such bartender was Harry McElhone who ran the bar at the Plaza Hotel in New York. By the time Prohibition hit Harry was already across the pond. He settled in Paris, France and opened up Harry’s New York Bar.  There he was able to continue making all the drinks he’d come to know and love as well as create some new ones using ingredients that could be only found in Europe; ingredients like Campari. Of course Harry knew of and made Negronis, but since he was an American first and foremost and Americans love their bourbon, Harry decided to substitute the bourbon for the gin and thus the Boulevardier was born.

So no matter whether you like bourbon or gin, if you’re a fan of Campari, both drinks are definitely worth a try.

Boulevardier Cocktail


  • 1-1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. Campari
  • 1 oz. sweet vermouth


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for a minute and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist and serve.