Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hendrick's Gin x Dempsey & Carroll Stationery Giveaway!

I'm running a really fun giveaway on my Instagram account this weekend - a set of Hendrick's Gin stationery made in collaboration with Dempsey & Carroll! There are penny-farthing notecards that come with Hendrick's themed envelopes, Rose and Cucumber Coasters, diamond shaped Gin Tags with martini glasses, and (my personal favorite) a 2017 desk calendar that features a different botanical for every month. 

Click through to enter to win! 

Check out the whole collection on the Dempsey & Carroll website. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

O.M.G - Gastronomista Nominated for Best Culinary Blog!

I am so incredibly excited to share this news - Gastronomista is a finalist for the Best Culinary Blog category in the Taste Talks Food & Drink Awards!!!! 

I am completely over the moon with this news - I never imagined that this little drinks blog could be up for such a prestigious award.  The awards ceremony is on September 26th, so everyone cross your fingers and send some good juju into the sky until then.

In the mean time, check out the complete list of nominees - there are some major heavy hitters on this list!!!

As always, thank you for reading, thank you for all of your likes, comments, emojis - your endless support is what keeps the wheels turning here at Gastro HQ.  Thanks to all of you for inspiring me on this amazing, boozy journey!

Here are a few of my favorite culinary inspired cocktail recipes:

Artichoke Negroni - Artichoke Gin, Cynar, Cardamaro, Fresh Grapefruit

Arsenic and Old Lace - Absinthe, Crème de Violette, Gin, Vermouth

Molegroni - Black Walnut Whiskey, Campari, Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Sweet Vermouth

Cardamom Old Fashioned - White Whiskey, Cardamom, Simple Syrup
Aquavit Margarita - Tequila, Aquavit, Lime, Agave, Jicama, Celery Bitters

Celery + Pepper Martini - Celery Gin, Dry Vermouth, Garden Party Bitters, Pepper

Cherry Vodka Old Fashioned - Roasted Cherries, Cherry Infused Vodka, Amaro, Barrel Aged Bitters

Ramp Gibson - Vodka, Dry Vermouth, Ramp Pickle Brine, Pickled Ramps

Sous Vide Bloody Mary - Tomatoes, Bloody Mary Spices, Vodka

My whole recipe index is listed here>>



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

My Summer 2016 Cocktail - The Bastille Day Boisson

I had this cocktail for a Bastille Day preview party for Ricard, the traditional French Apéritif, and it has since become a mainstay in my summer repertoire.  This cocktail is light and refreshing, and has a wonderful balance of sweetness, bubbles, and summer herbal flavors from the Ricard and from the fresh Herbs de Provence that garnish the drink.  This is a gorgeous little number that will help get you through the dog days of summer! Enjoy!

Bastille Day Boisson

Created by Jamie Gordon

1 oz Ricard
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Pineapple Juice
2 dashes Scrappy Lavender Bitters
Topped with San Pallegrino Aranciata Rosso
Garnished with Fresh Herbs de Provence

Build in a glass with ice and enjoy all day long!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Reyka Vending Machine - Tales of the Cocktail

It's been a few weeks since Tales of the Cocktail - the booze industry's largest, booziest, and sweatiest cocktail convention.  Tales is one of my favorite weeks of the year, and it is always filled with friends new and old, new products, epic parties, and more delicious drinks than one can count.  It's always hot, exhausting, exhilarating, and more than anything, inspiring.

There is always one thing that pulls at my heart strings - and this year it was the Reyka Vending Machine, a late night event hosted in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone. 

This isn't just *any* vending machine - it's a magical vending machine that spits out Cocktail Shakers, Bottles of Icelandic Bitters, T-Shirts, Wooly Hats, Slices of Pizza, Fried Chicken Sandwiches, Enormous Swedish Sour Fish, and more.  It's one of the most hilarious branded events I've ever seen - lighthearted and fun

One can credit all the fun to Trevor Schneider, the US Reyka Vodka Ambassador who has boundless energy at every event.  He's fucking incredible.

Trevor In A Rare Moment of Zen - Photo by Alain Hain
When Trevor is on, he is ON.  He's jumping around, dancing, juggling ice balls - he is the party. 

The Reyka Vending Machine starts out as a brilliant idea, but Trevor brings it to life. 

The vending machine's wood token is a meagre toll for transport into his world - you are suddenly a player in his theater.  One by one, people are chosen for their turn at the machine, to take their chance for a prize. 

It was late, and I was hoping for Pizza. 

When I was selected I hinted (loudly) to Trevor (and to the man behind the curtain - er plastic vending machine front) that I would love a slice of pizza.  Instead, Trevor fed me his slice of pizza.  Whatta gent!

Photo by Alain Hain
I dropped my token into the machine and selected a button identified in Icelandic.  (Spoiler alert - I don't speak Icelandic).  I might as well have pressed "Chicken Fried Rice" or "Pickled Herring" I have no idea.

Photo by Alain Hain
What emerged out of the machine to my surprise and delight was a Crystal Ball - and I was whisked off to the middle of the lobby where a table was set up and a "Fortune Teller" (read, actor - or perhaps just a poor bartender eager to make a buck) read my future.  Again, I hinted (loudly) that I might become a multi-millionaire, but instead he told me that the next day I would have an excruciating hangover.  More Pizza Please.

Photo by Alain Hain
On I went into the swirls of the night, clenching my Crystal Ball and my heart full of gratitude that for just a moment, I too could be part of the show. 

The Crystal Ball has found a home on my altar of collected treasures from this crazy booze blogging adventure.  It's surrounded by shiny pineapples, cacti, flasks, telescopes, bottle openers, and vintage cocktail shakers.  I'm sure they make my husband crazy, but every day they remind me of why this community matters, and how this blog has given me a way to meet amazing people and to see the planet.  More than anything, all my chotchkies are reminders of the creativity and the magic that fills the spirits industry, and that I am lucky to be a part of it.

William Grant & Sons sponsored my trip to Tales of The Cocktail.  Thank you for helping a girl out.  All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible

Friday, August 5, 2016

ICYMI - Gastronomista - Best Cocktail Instagram Feed!

Over the weekend I found out that I was included in Chowhound's roundup of the Best Cocktail Instagram Accounts!!  Thank you Chowhound! 

I love Instagram.  I find so much inspiration on my feed every day, and I LOVE sharing my latest work and adventures with all of you.  But most of all, I love the community of instagrams - all of your positive comments give me so much motivation to continue to pursue my love of libations.  Thank you.

Check out the story here.  More importantly, follow me on Instagram HERE.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Gastronomista x SKYY Vodka Pool Party!

I'm so excited to *finally* share some of the photos from the party I hosted with SKYY Vodka last week!  It was a magical night - and I am eternally grateful to everyone who came out to support me.  Thank you.

This summer has been brutal in New York, and what a treat it was to hang out at the Sixty LES pool all night sipping on frozen fruity cocktails, all Gastronomista creations!! 

I know you're dying for the recipes, so here they are:

Frozen Strawberry Hibiscus Lemonade
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
2 oz Frozen Strawberries
2 oz Mint Simple Syrup
2 oz Hibiscus Tea
1 oz SKYY Infusions Strawberry Vodka

Blend with ice and pour into a lowball glass.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint and a lemon wheel.

Green Tea Pear Punch
Created by Gastronomista

Makes 6 cocktails

4 Cups Water
4 Green Tea Bags
1-1/2 C Pear Juice
1 Cup Mint Simple Syrup
1 Cup Sparking Water
1/4 Cup Pear Brandy
1 Cup SKYY Infusions Pear Vodka

Boil the water in a small pot.  Let cool for just a few moments, and then add the green tea bags.  Steep for 5 minutes or so depending on your preference, then remove the tea bags and discard.

In another pot boil 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar until the sugar is dissolved.  Turn off the heat, and add a handful of fresh mint.  Let steep for 10 minutes, then remove the mint leaves and discard.  Transfer to a non-reactive glass bottle for chilling.

In a large pitcher mix all the ingredients together and stir.  Serve into individual glasses and garnish with a festive straw.

Grilled Pineapple Chi Chi
Created by Gastronomista

2 Chunks Grilled Pineapple
1/2 oz Creamed Coconut
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 oz SKYY Infusions Pineapple Vodka
4 Dashes Memphis BBQ Bitters

Blend with ice and pour into a highball glass.  Garnish with a pineapple slice and a fresh orchid.

Guests even got to go home with a goodie bag packed with recipe cards, SKYY sunnies, custom Skyy Straws, and a pretty sweet beach bag. 

Big thanks to SKYY Vodka for supporting Gastronomista and throwing this party in my honor - it was such a fun night! 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of SKYY Vodka. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Campari America Spirited Interview Series - Bob Peters

My next series of Campari America interviews focuses on bartenders who live outside of major cities, talented creatives who are killing it in their local markets.  First up, Bob Peters.

Bob Peters is the head bartender at The Punch Room located on the top level of the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he is bringing serious cocktail game to the Queen City.  I discovered Bob Peters through Instagram - he has mastered social media as a means to promote his bar and to share his drinks with the world.  He is now an Instagram powerhouse with over 35k followers.  I must admit, I have studied his posts carefully, often needing to wipe the drool off of my phone afterwards (and I don't think I am alone). 

Last month I was fortunate to be able to visit him at The Punch Room, and he showed me his rooftop garden where he harvests fresh herbs, honey, and garnishes for his drinks, and made me a few of his favorite cocktails from the summer menu.  It is undeniable - Peters is making sophisticated cocktails that could hang in any major cocktail city -cocktails that are delightfully whimsical and light-hearted in nature.  He often creates cocktails around childhood memories, finding inspiration from visceral moments of pure happiness.

Gastronomista: Bob, you are the head bartender at the Punch Room in Charlotte, how did you land such an prestigious position?  What has changed for you since you have been there?

Bob Peters: Before I started at the Punch Room, I was the head bartender at an amazing sushi restaurant Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge here in Charlotte, NC.  While I was there we were able to accomplish some amazing things with the bar program, including some national recognition.  When you can pull off accomplishments like that, it can open some pretty substantial doors.  In my case The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte came knocking with the Punch Room project.  I couldn’t turn down the opportunity of a lifetime.  It is such a honor to work for a company with such a rich history of impeccable service and incomparable quality. 

Gastronomista: What bars do you frequent in Charlotte?  Are there any innovative cocktail programs that excite you?

Peters: I love all my local watering holes, however Soul Gastrolounge, Heist, The Cotton Room, Dogwood Southern Table & Bar all have very exciting bar programs.  I love walking into these places just to see what they are up to, but having a drink is a huge bonus.

Gastronomista: If you were to visit any bar anywhere in the world, at any point in history, what bar would you visit?  Who would you have a drink with?

Peters: I think if I could sit at any bar in history I would sit at the Savoy Hotel in London about 85 years ago.  About that time Harry Craddock and Ada Coleman were two of the first rockstar bartenders who are actually still very influential on our cocktail culture today.  The cool thing is that they worked at the same place at same time behind the same bar. Being able to watch them work together and interact would be so incredibly amazing, like listening to Bach & Beethoven on the same stage in concert. If I could pick anyone to take with me, I might like to sit there and have cocktail or three with Miles Davis. Could you ever have a cooler wing man than Miles Davis?  I can’t imagine anything more enjoyable than sipping a Corpse Reviver #2 or a Hanky Panky made by the people that created them, or chatting about jazz with Miles Davis!  Yeah, that’s cool.

Gastronomista: Bitters and Amaro are a booming trend, how have you seen this trend affect your bar menu and the preference of your customers?

Peters: I love the fact that bitters and Amaro are trendy right now. I think it is interesting and refreshing to work bitter into mix. The typical American palate leans toward salty and sweet, but with a little patience, bitter is a flavor that people can learn to enjoy.  Recently, I’ve seen more and more people that are familiar with requesting bitter liqueurs.  I personally enjoy using bittering agents in cocktail recipes because of how well they balance sweetness so effectively while adding depth at the same time.  I can’t help but to have several cocktails with some form of Amaro in each and every cocktail list that I create at the Punch Room.

Re-arranged Pisco Sour - Pisco, Lemon, Lime, St. Germain Egg Foam

Gastronomista: What other Mixologists inspire you and why?

Peters: I am typically inspired by chefs.  I love how really successful chefs have an incredibly strong point of view.  Their commitment to the experience they want to share with their guest is incredible.  I’m inspired by the energy that chefs pour onto a plate.  I love the passion that you can see in someone’s eyes as they are working.  That singular focus that blocks out everything else in the world, while trying to make sure that whatever they are working on, however minute, is nothing short of perfect. I am inspired by the boundless knowledge of food and flavors. I am inspired by love.  I am inspired by people that understand that they can never really master their craft but are willing to die trying.

Strange Brew - Smooth Ambler Bourbon, Hazelnut Milk, Double Brewed Coffee Ice Cube
Gastronomista: I love the Strange Brew cocktail made with bourbon, ice coffee, and hazelnut milk at the Punch Room - what exciting flavor combinations are you working on? What ingredients are exciting you right now?

Peters: Right now in North Carolina there are so many beautiful fruits that are in season, and they are all very exciting to me.  We are now in the hottest parts of the summer so I find myself being drawn to watermelon right now.   There is nothing better than an ice cold slice of watermelon when it is 100 degrees outside.  I can remember eating watermelon as a kid thinking that it was the most perfect fruit for the summer because it cooled you off and quenched your thirst at the same time.  On my current summer cocktail menu I have a Cardinal gin, watermelon, salted basil cocktail that I’m kind of obsessed with. It is garnished with a pickled watermelon rind "ribbon" that pushes the cocktail over the top of delicious.

Gastronomista: The presentation of your drinks is always so beautiful - do you have any tips on how to style and serve beautiful drinks?

Peters: I think presentation is very important.  Just like food, people eat (or drink) with their eyes first, so the visual appeal of a drink affects the guest’s enjoyment of a cocktail.  My opinion on garnishing is super simple.  1. Everything must be edible.  2. Less is more.  There is nothing more beautiful than simplicity.

Gastronomista: Campari America is sponsoring this series on up and coming Mixologists.  Can you recommend a great recipe with some of their products?

Crazy Russ - Photo Courtesy of The Punch Room

Crazy Russ
Created by Bob Peters

2 oz of Russell's Reserve
1/2 oz of Campari
1 1/2 oz of NODA Brewery’s Coco Loco Porter (Coco Nib Porter)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with an expressed orange rind.

For more follow Bob Peters on Instagram: @Bob_Peters

Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Entertaining Guide - Pairing Kettle Brand Potato Chips & Cocktails

We've all been there.  You have guests coming over in 30 minutes, you have been stuck in meetings all day with no time for party prep.  What's a busy working gal to do?  Don't panic.  One of the greatest cocktail pairings of all time is still available to you - Potato Chips.

Don't believe me?  How many times have you ordered French Fries at a bar after a few libations, which without fail, always taste amazing.  There's something magical about the combination of spirit, fried potatoes, and salt.  It's a holy trinity. 

Fortunately for those who do not have a restaurant kitchen and a deep fryer, there are Kettle Brand Chips, which are everything you have ever wanted in a potato chip.  (Disclaimer: in the process of working on this story I have probably consumed 6 bags of these incredible chips, and I loved every minute of it.)  Today I have prepared three cocktail pairings with Kettle Brand Chips for your imbibing pleasure - but with flavors such as Sriracha, Cheddar Beer, Red Curry, and Honey Dijon, the possibilities are endless.

My first pairing is the traditional Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper Krinkle Cut chips (Krinkle, because I swear they magically hold more flavor) with a Celery + Pepper Martini, a play on a salt and pepper martini.  I used Rutte Celery Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, and Garden Party Bitters from Canada's Black Cloud Bitters, garnished with a few grinds of black peppercorn and a celery heart.  This martini is refreshing with a nice salinity from the celery gin.  The black pepper pairs gorgeously with the chips, and the gin cuts through the oil of the chips. 

Celery + Pepper Martini
Created by Gastronomista

2 oz Rutte Celery Gin
1 oz Dolin
5 Dashes Black Cloud Garden Party Bitters
2 Grinds Black Pepper
5 Whole Black Pepper Corns
Garnished with a Celery Heart

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish and Enjoy!

- - - - -

My second pairing is with Backyard Barbeque Chips (one of my all time favorite flavors) and pairs with a Barbeque Cherry Pisco Sour.  The flavors are similar - sweet, smoky, and savory, but the pisco sour is bright and refreshing thanks to the squeeze of lime.  The cocktail is made using La Caravedo Pisco, made by the same makers of Pisco Porton, a Peruvian grape based Pisco.  The Cherry flavor comes from 1/2 oz of Luxardo Sangue Morlacco, a macerated cherry liqueur.  A spritz of Memphis BBQ Bitters on the surface of the drink gives it a nice savory smokiness that pairs perfectly with the Barbeque chips. 

Barbeque Cherry Pisco Sour
Created by Gastronomista

1-1/2 oz Pisco
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White
2 Sprays Memphis Barbeque Bitters using an Atomizer
Luxardo Cocktail Cherry

Dry shake the Pisco, Lime Juice, Luxardo, Simple Syrup, and Egg White in a Boston Shaker for 30 seconds.  Open, add a large ice cube, shake vigorously for 30 seconds.  Garnish with a Luxardo Cocktail Cherry and 2 sprays of Barbeque Bitters on to the surface of the drink.

- - - - -

For the last of my cocktail and potato chip pairings I selected the Jalapeño Chips and paired them with a Jalapeño Cilantro Mezcal Margarita, because I love my snacks and my cocktails spicy!  I used El Silencio Mezcal - one of my favorites as of late because it has such a nice balance of smoke, earthy flavors, and salty minerality.   Muddle the cilantro, sliced jalapenos, and agave in a cocktail tin, and shake with fresh lime juice to make this wonderfully summery margarita. 

Jalapeño Cilantro Mezcal Margarita
Created by Gastronomista

1-1/2 oz El Silencio Mezcal
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Agave Syrup
3 Slices Jalapeno
10 Cilantro Leaves
4 Dashes Miracle Mile Celery Bitters
Black Salt for Rimming

Swipe a lime wedge on the rim of a glass and dip into black salt.  Set aside.  Muddle Agave, Jalapenos, Cilantro, and bitters in a Boston Shaker.  Add Mezcal, lime juice, and ice.  Shake and strain into your pre-rimmed glass.  Garnish with a lime wheel, a slice of jalapeno, and a sprig of fresh cilantro. 

Happy party planning, fellow imbibers.  I hope you enjoy these pairings as much as I do.

Styling Notes
Silver Platters / Dishes - Vintage
Gold Cocktail Pick - Parched Penguin
Martini Glasses - Riedel
Harmonie Tumblers - Baccarat

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kettle Brand Potato Chips. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

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