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.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tales of the Cocktail 2016 - Meet the Makers - Featuring Gastronomista!

For anyone traveling to Tales of the Cocktail next week, I have some exciting news!!

Gastronomista Cocktail Necklaces will be for sale in the TOTC shop, including some new designs inspired by New Orleans such as Daiquiri, Vieux Carré, Mint Julep, Gin Fizz, Moscow Mule, and Gin and Tonic!

Most of exciting of all - I will be hosting my very own Meet the Makers event at Tales of the Cocktail on Wednesday, July 20 from 4pm - 5:30pm.  If you are in town for this epic cocktail conference, please stop by and say hi.  I'm excited to meet all of you IRL (in real life)!

These are the pieces that will be for sale in the TOTC shop:

Vieux Carré - Limited Edition - Only Available at TOTC

Gin Fizz - Only Available at TOTC

Moscow Mule - Only Available at TOTC

Daiquiri - One of My Favorites

Mint Julep


French 75 - A New Orleans Classic

Swing by the TOTC shop and pick up your favorite!


Friday, July 8, 2016

Campari America Women Cocktail & Spirits Writer Interview Series - Kara Newman

Next up in my Campari America Women Spirits Writer series is a woman I have always admired and looked up to, Kara Newman.  Kara is not only one of the nicest people in the cocktail game, but she is one of the sharpest.  She sees trends months before other writers, knows all the best bartenders (and knows how to learn their secrets), and is always up for exploring new cities and discovering new cocktails.  If you aren't following her already, I recommend you start immediately, and while you're at it, pick up her new book Shake. Stir. Sip - 40 Effortless Cocktails Made in Equal Parts.

Photo by Daryl-Ann Saunders
Gastronomista:  Kara, you weren't always a prominent cocktail and spirits writer, how did you get your start?
Kara Newman:  I've always been a writer/editor, but my subject focus has changed a few times. My first jobs were writing about financial topics, covering stocks and bonds, very different from what I cover now.

Looking back, I didn't set out to write about booze, but there were a few key events along the way. I developed an interest in cooking and collecting old cookbooks, and started dabbling in food writing. I joined the Culinary Historians of New York, and attended a CHNY talk about the history of cocktails given by Dave Wondrich and Audrey Saunders, who was still with Bemelman Bar at the time. That was an eye-opener, I had never really considered cocktail history before that.

Around the same time, I was writing for Chile Pepper magazine and my editor asked, "can you write a column about spicy cocktails?" I had zero clue, but of course I said yes, sure, no problem. Dave and Audrey were some of my first interviews for that column, and I'm sure I asked some embarrassingly basic questions. That was when the cocktail movement was just starting to pick up speed, and there was so much going on and very few writers covering the industry yet. That column turned into my first cocktail book, Spice & Ice. That was published in 2009, and the same year I started writing about cocktails & spirits full-time.

Gastronomista:  What have been some of your favorite bars to visit and why?
Kara Newman:  I love bars with history behind them, including bars in grand old hotels like Peacock Alley inside the Waldorf and the Old King Cole Bar in the St Regis. I'm waiting impatiently for the Plaza to re-open the Oak Bar.

Gastronomista:  What kinds of cocktail programs inspire you the most?  Are there any innovative cocktail programs that haven't received the buzz they deserve?
Kara Newman:  I'm inspired by cocktail programs that respect the classics but continue to innovate. Pouring Ribbons does a great job with that -- they constantly roll out new, over-the-top menus that make you take a step back and wonder what could possibly come next. But you can still push aside the menu and order, say, a Sazerac and it will be an excellent drink.

Gastronomista:  Bitters and Amaro are a booming trend, how have you seen this trend change cocktail menus in bars and restaurants?
Kara Newman:  I'm seeing more amaro-forward drinks all over the country. Everyone has a Negroni variation, everyone now has a collection of bitters on the bars. Drinks have become more complex.

Gastronomista:  What other cocktail writers inspire you and why?
Kara Newman:  Dave Wondrich, of course. Let's see how many more times I can drop his name in this interview. Rosie Schaap, because when she's writing about drinks she's writing about other things too. Robert Simonson. I'm reading his new book now, and I'm very excited about it. Paul Clarke, who excels at making complex ideas accessible. Some of the best writing about cocktails and spirits right now comes from people who aren't necessarily "cocktail writers," either, and I'm inspired by that too.

Gastronomista:  You have a new book coming out called Shake.Stir.Sip. , what was the best cocktail tip or trick you learned while writing your book?
Kara Newman:  The book is all about cocktails made in equal parts, and the best tip I picked up is that with drinks like that, you don't have to have a proper jigger or fancy equipment to make a decent drink. As a friend said to me, “You could use a Quaker Oatmeal can, as long as you use it for all the ingredients, it’s still equal parts.” That scenario hadn't occurred to me -- but good to know!

Gastronomista:  What is your favorite bar in New York City, and favorite bars around the world?
Kara Newman:  That changes all the time. The last great drink I had in NYC was at Pouring Ribbons. The last great drink I had outside of NYC was in Nashville at Husk, in the bar downstairs. And the last great drink I had outside of the U.S. was in Havana, at the rooftop bar at the Hotel Ambos Mundos.

Photo by Gastronomista
Gastronomista:  Campari America is sponsoring this series on women writers in the spirits industry.  Can you recommend a great recipe with some of their products?
Kara Newman:  I love a good Boulevardier: equal parts bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth. I take mine strained and served up in a coupe glass, with as many brandied cherries as can fit on a toothpick.

Photo by Gastronomista
Photo by Gastronomista


1 part Campari
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Bourbon

Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe, and garnish with brandied cherries.

Styling Notes
Coupes - Riedel Veritas Coupes
Cocktail Picks - West Elm

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

Friday, July 1, 2016

Watermelon Chili Margarita


Summer is finally upon us, which means, Summer Cocktails are also upon us!  Fresh fruit is in season, which means its a perfect time to mix freshly squeezed juices into your cocktails.  One of my favorite summer fruits is Watermelon, especially when mixed into a refreshing Margarita!   Watermelon is a bit of a strange fruit, if you're not careful it can lose its flavor really easily, so it is often best to fortify it with another flavor.  Today, I'm feeling some spice.

I've added a touch of Ancho Chili Liqueur, as well as a chili-salt rim to give this cocktail a bit of extra kick.  I prepared this Watermelon Margarita with Altos Plata Tequila, my favorite of the Altos Tequilas because it is salty and has such lovely vegetal flavors.  I love putting salt on watermelon, and I thought it would taste nice in a cocktail too.  I was right.  The result is a sweet and savory cocktail that is refreshing and incredibly satisfying, especially as we head into those dog-days of summer.


Watermelon Chili Margarita
Created by Gastronomista
Makes 4 Cocktails
6 oz Altos Plata Tequila
4 C Watermelon Juice
2 Freshly Squeezed Limes
4 oz Ancho Chili Liqueur
Salt and Chili Powder Mix for Rimming

Swirl Lime around the edge of your glass and then dip into your salt and Chili mixture.  Set glasses aside.

In a blender, add Tequila, Watermelon Juice, Lime Juice, and Chili Liqueur with 2 Cups of Ice.  Blend until smooth and pour into your cocktail classes.  Garnish with a small wedge of watermelon, a wedge of lime, and a touch of Cayenne Pepper on the surface of the drink.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Unexpected Uses for Cocktail Cherries

Any cocktail enthusiast will tell you that a better cherry will seriously up your cocktail game, but how about your food game??  The answer is yes, and I'm here to prove it to you.

I'm a firm believer that Luxardo makes the best cocktail cherry on the surface of the earth, and so naturally, these cherries have been creeping into all sorts of other recipes.  Breakfast?  Yes please.  Ice cream?  Hell yes.  Cheese Platters?  Bring. It. On.

Today I will be showing you 3 unexpected ways to use cocktail cherries, and therein, change your life.

First up: The Cherry Ice Cream Float

Ice cream floats are insanely delicious to begin with - but when you add a heavy drizzle of Luxardo syrup, they become nothing less than pure bliss.  I love this recipe because it replaces any artificial sweeteners or flavorings, and it is incredibly simple to make.  I also appreciate that it uses the leftover syrup of the cocktail cherries themselves, which is a shame to waste.

Cherry Ice Cream Float
Created by Gastronomista

1 oz Luxardo Cherry Syrup (From the Jar of Cherries)
1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream
Soda Water
Luxardo Cherries to Garnish

Build syrup and ice cream in a low ball cocktail glass, and top with soda water.  Serve with a metal straw, a spoon, and garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry or two.

Another favorite place to use cocktail cherries?  Breakfast

Luxardo Cherries are fabulous on a bowl of Greek Yogurt, especially when loaded up with granola, fresh fruit, toasted coconut flakes, and spiced chickpeas.  Add a drizzle of the cherry syrup for more sweetness, and enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Yogurt Bowl

Greek Yogurt
5-6 Luxardo Cherries (whole or diced)
1 T Toasted Coconut Flakes
1 T Spiced Chickpeas
1 T Granola
2 T Fresh Fruit
1/2 oz Luxardo Cherry Sryrup

Scoop fruit into a bowl and top with fruit, granola, coconut, chickpeas, and cherries.  Drizzle with cherry syrup and enjoy!

Last, but certainly not least, I want to share another entertaining tip and an unexpected use for cocktail cherries: Paired with Cheese!  I sneak Luxardo cherries into my cheese boards and pair with elegant white creamy cheeses like white gouda, ripened goats milk cheese, and even a creamy blue cheese.

Creamy cheeses pair really well with the sweetness of the cherries, and it can replace any other sweetener you would typically serve on a cheese plate (honey, jam, quince...).  Just remember, presentation is everything: build a decadent cheese platter with loads of crackers, fresh fruit, meats, nuts, and a selection of a few different cheeses.

Here are a few cheeses I recommend that pair beautifully with the cocktail cherries:

Jasper Hill Harbison – A soft-ripened cheese with a rustic bloomy ring

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon – Goat’s Milk from Northern California

Cypress Grove Bermuda Triangle – Goat’s Milk Soft Ripened Cheese with an Ash Rub

Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese – Cow’s Milk Blue Cheese aged in Roquefort Modeled Caves

Président Triple Cream Brie - Creamy Brie that is easily found in any grocery store

Luxardo Sources
Cherries 400g Jar - $23
Cherries 6 lb Tin - $77

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

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