The Penrose And Pickle Martinis

One of the highlights of this weekend: a long, chilled-out afternoon at The Penrose with one of my very favorite people, Nadine Jolie (Dad and Baby showed up towards the end).

I’ve been sort of gazing longly at The Penrose since it opened a few weeks ago - it’s right around the corner from me, and is a total anomaly on the UES, the land of Bud Light-soaked sports bars (not that that’s a bad thing, but variety is nice).

It’s all house-made everything and cool small plates and raw wood and bartenders with Irish accents and cocktails like homemade root beer with whiskey. I’m not even really a “cocktail” person - I generally stick to wine or beer - but the cocktails at The Penrose are unmissable.

Jolie and Baby Ramshackle and bottle #ramshackleglam

Jolie and Baby and bottle

Pickle martinis and pickle oyster sliders and pickles and pickles (w @nadinejoliebeauty at The Penrose) #ramshackleglam

Pickle martinis and pickle oyster sliders and pickles and pickles

SPICY PICKLE MARTINI (a.k.a. My Favorite Drink In The World)

It’s so good. It sounds so bad. But it’s so good.

In a shaker, combine 3 oz good vodka (I like Ketel One), 3 tbsp pickle juice (important: use really top-quality pickle juice, like McClure’s Spicy Pickle Juice), and ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a pickle spear.

Summery Red Sangria

Since yesterday’s park picnic with friends was a last-minute thing (the forecast said thunderstorms until about 11AM, and our original plan was an indoor restaurant), we kept it simple: takeout from Southern Hospitality (pulled pork, yum) and BYO beverages. Dogs and babies optional, but encouraged.

What I made: red sangria. I completely forgot to take a picture of it (which is probably OK, since we toted it along in a Poland Spring jug and it was much more delicious than it was photogenic)…but that stock image up there should do nicely.

Here’s how you make my version:


2 bottles fruity red wine (can be inexpensive)

1/2 cup brandy

3/4 cup orange juice

1 small orange, sliced

1 lemon, sliced

1 lime, sliced

1 apple, diced

1 can ginger ale

Combine all ingredients except for ginger ale in a large pitcher (or Poland Spring jug, whatever works) and refrigerate overnight. Add ginger ale just before serving, mix well, and serve over ice.

Garden Party Must: Mason Jar Cocktails

Pre-mixed cocktails in Mason jars with screw-on lids perched in an enormous galvanized-metal bucket.

I mean, obviously.

Moving beyond garden parties: if you’re having a summer wedding, I’m going to go ahead and insist that you do something like this (with alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, whichever you prefer) pre-ceremony; so fun, and I think it’s such a nice touch to give your guests something to sip on while they wait to watch you walk down the aisle.

Coconut-Lime Lemonade

Rum Punch

Pink Lemonade Spritzer

Sake Cocktails

St. Germain Cocktail (my personal favorite)

Fiesta Cups!

I’m going to call these “Fiesta Cups” because it’s my personal belief that when you serve tequila in hollowed-out fruit set on a retro deviled egg platter…well, that’s a party, right there.


1. Hollow out halved limes (reserve the juice and pulp). This is vastly easier if you happen to have a grapefruit spoon laying around. I don’t, so I used a serrated knife, which seemed both unnecessarily messy and surely dangerous. Don’t do that.

2. Dip the rims of each halved lime in coarse salt.

3.  Set the salted limes in your fabulous Fire King egg platter. (If you don’t happen to own one already, try eBay; if you’re feeling impatient, Crate & Barrel carries a pretty, simple version.)

4. Carefully strain a little bit of fresh lime juice into each hollowed-out lime, and then top with good-quality tequila.

Note: If you’d prefer to serve these on a regular (flat) platter, make sure to take a little slice off of the underside of each halved lime, so that they sit upright.

Oh, and if you’d rather fill your deviled egg platter with deviled eggs than with tequila, click here for some tips.

Inspiration via Pinterest.

What Is A Michelada?

I was wondering the same thing when I ordered one at brunch yesterday. But I am now full of information on the topic, thanks to our very helpful waitress, so I’ll tell you.

It’s a Mexican cocktail that consists of a beer poured over a mixture of lime, salt, and various hot sauces or chiles. It’s served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass, and is considered an excellent cure for a hangover. I have no idea why I ordered one; I’m really not a hot-sauce kinda girl, but what can I say? I was feeling frisky.

Anyway, it tasted like spicy ocean water. Not my thing. But Kendrick seems to like them.

(It’s pictured above with the pomegranate-rubbed skirt steak tacos at MXCO, which were way better.)

Summer Cocktail: Garden Party

Above, one of the cocktails featured at the 7 For All Mankind Spring 2012 launch. I had one (just one, because me and tequila are not friends), and it was delicious. Very summery. Excited for summer.


2 oz Patron Silver

1 oz simple syrup

Splash of fresh lime juice

5 mint leaves

A couple of strawberries.

Muddle all ingredients and shake over ice. Pour over fresh ice and add 1 oz lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a strawberry.

Click here for many more cocktail ideas.

Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles

I’m sorry, maybe you didn’t hear me.


I know, I know: vodka doesn’t freeze, you say. But I once asked the chef at SPiN NYC (where they serve freezy pops filled with various liquors) about this, and it is possible if you proportion it correctly with freezable ingredients - like the tonic water that’s in these.

I don’t even care that it’s not summer. First strawberries I see are getting popsicle-d.

Click here for more Boozy Pop inspiration.

Via Endless Simmer.

Non-Alcoholic Punch / Excellent Champagne Topper


Raspberry tea

Frozen orange juice

Splash of lemonade

Mint leaves

Sliced lime

(Can be used to top off champagne as a fun twist on a mimosa for the non-pregnant.)

*Can’t take credit for this one; it was Melissa’s creation and it was delicious. 

Winter White Sangria

I first made this white sangria years ago, for an L.A. friend’s birthday party, and on New Year’s Eve I decided to revisit the recipe, this time using sparkling wine rather than regular old pinot.

Above, the wine I chose for the sangria’s base.


In a large pitcher, combine 2 bottles of sparkling white wine, 1/2 lb seedless, halved green grapes, and 2 thinly sliced Red Delicious apples. Let sit for an hour or so, and then pour in a cup of apple juice and a cup of pineapple juice. Serve over ice garnished with a few grape halves and apple slices.

Elderflower Christmas Cocktail

Let me start by saying that this drink is much prettier if you serve it in a highball or Collins glass and garnish as it should be garnished, with a curled lemon peel. A couple of cranberries (fresh or sugared) would also be welcome here. Basically, anything but a strawberry, which, while quite delicious, makes very little sense in the company of a holiday drink.

But we worked with what we had, and this drink is seriously wonderful and festive - just the tiniest bit sweet and citrusy, and easy to make stronger (use champagne) or weaker (use club soda) according to your preferences.


In a highball glass (over ice or not; up to you), pour 4 oz dry white wine (I used pinot grigio). Add 1 oz. St. Germain elderflower cordial, 1/2 tsp lemon juice, and top with a little champagne or club soda.

One Major Benefit Of Cold Weather

That "turn" thing I was talking about?


The major problem with this weather is that it makes me hate my dogs, and they didn’t do anything to me except for look cute and need to pee in a place that is not my floor.

But anyway.

Cold weather does have its benefits, and one major one is that you get to make things like mulled wine and call it “cooking” (what? you do it on a stove).

So here’s a mulled wine recipe to make you (and me) happy on this wintry weekend.


In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the following:

1 bottle fruity wine (I used flipflop pinot noir, about $7 - it has notes of cherry and spice, so it’s perfect for mulled wine)

1/2 cup sugar

1 mini bottle of brandy (or more to taste)

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 apple, sliced

1/2 orange, sliced

1 tsp allspice

Place the saucepan over very low heat, and let it warm slowly, giving it an occasional stir - you don’t want it to come to a boil.

When the pot is steaming, your mulled wine is ready! Use a ladle to serve (leaving the solids in the pot) and garnish each glass with a cinnamon stick and orange peel twist.

My suggestion: Leave the wine over low heat all afternoon and let your guests serve themselves at will. But if you do this, remember to remove the fruit slices after about half an hour; there’ll be plenty of flavor already, and you don’t want the apples and oranges to absorb too much of the liquid.

Berries and Bourbon and…Bacon?!

Excuse me, what?

I mean, yes yes yes yes yes.

I found this recipe on The Conscientious Carnivore, and am now thinking a) is it Happy Hour yet? and b) bacon-infused bourbon would make for a pretty spectacular Christmas gift for a very special man in my life.

Bacon-Infused Bourbon:

Add 1 1/2 oz rendered bacon fat to 1/2 bottle of bourbon and let it stand at room temperature for at least four hours. Stick it in the freezer until the fat has solidified on the top, skim off the fat, and strain the bourbon through a coffee filter into a glass container.

Blackberry & Bacon Cocktail:

1. Squeeze the juice from 8-10 blackberries and set aside.

2. Muddle a few more raspberries in a glass.

3. Fill glass with ice, and add 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz blackberry juice, 2 tsp honey, and dash of bitters.

4. Garnish with…wait for it…a bacon swizzle stick. OMG.

For more liquor-type infusions, click here.

Recipe & photo via.

Halloween Decor: Dead Man’s Icy Hands

An easy, low-cost way to add a splash of scary to your party: make a Dead Man’s Icy Hand. Just fill a clean non-latex glove (some people are allergic to latex) with water, tie off the end, and stick it in your freezer for a few hours. Peel off the plastic, and you’re done.

To make the punch pictured above, combine 1 chilled bottle of vodka and 2 chilled 2-liter bottles of Sprite in a punch bowl. Add some red food coloring to make it bloody-looking, and then stick your dead hand right in the center (in the past, mine have tended to fall over and float around in the punch; whatever, it still gets the point across). Add some marshmallows, and then squirt more red food coloring over the whole mess to make it even bloodier.

I’ll admit, it’s not exactly a gourmet beverage, but it’s certainly…festive.

Yum yum yum.
2 parts Absolut Berry Acai
3/4 part simple syrup
1 part fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries and a sprig of mint.

Yum yum yum.


2 parts Absolut Berry Acai

3/4 part simple syrup

1 part fresh lemon juice

Shake and strain into rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries and a sprig of mint.