Formally trained at the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust), as well as on the floors of various restaurants and bars around the country, Prairie Rose is a Los Angeles-based cocktail and spirits writer, events producer, marketer, consultant, and gal about town. The Bit by a Fox blog won Saveur Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Best Cocktail Blog in 2014.
I don’t know what it’s like where you are but around these parts I’m FEELING the spring pretty profoundly this year. The birds are chirping up a storm, blossoms are exploding onto the mean streets of La La Land, and there are hints that the unusually cool winter we’ve had in SoCal is making it’s way to warmer days. Which makes sense since tomorrow is officially the first day of spring! What better way to celebrate the Spring Equinox than with an adult bevvie that will put a spring in your step…literally!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago with the Yerba Mate Horchata cocktail, Argentinian Yerba Mate can be a delicious and welcome addition to a mixed drink. It’s slightly stimulating, with about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, but is also a rich source of powerful antioxidants, even higher than green tea. It boasts B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and manganese…there’s a reason why the people of South America have been sipping on this stuff for centuries. And as I’ve discovered recently, it’s delicious in cocktails! This is the second cocktail out of four I’ll be sharing with you guys as a recent resident recipe creator for Argentina Yerba Mate…and one of my favorites.
Fresh squeezed grapefruit and lime juice, a kick of ginger, and blanco tequila compliments the herbaceous almost woodsy notes of the yerba mate tea. And topping with bubbles makes this especially refreshing.
Yerba Mate Cooler– served over ice
2 oz Yerba Mate, cooled
2 oz Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
2 oz Blanco Tequila 1/2 oz Ginger Syrup* 1/2 oz Lime Juice
Garnish: lime wheel, candied ginger
Shake all ingredients except sparkling water over ice until well chilled. Pour into an ice-filled glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with a lime wedge and candied ginger.
*Ginger Syrup – makes about 1.5 cups
1 cup of chopped ginger (no need to peel for this)
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
In a large stockpot, bring the ginger, water and sugar to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover the pot and let everything steep and cool to room temperature. When the syrup has completely cooled, strain the syrup, pressing the ginger to release as much liquid as possible. After straining, you can set aside the ginger solids for other uses, or discard. Store the syrup in the fridge until you are ready to use. Should keep for about 3 weeks.
Since tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to make sure we had a decent intro to Irish whiskey on the Bit by a Fox Podcast for the occasion. And I couldn’t think of anyone better than Irishman, Irish whiskey expert and Tullamore D.E.W. brand ambassador,Tim Herlihy to charm us through this Irish whiskey lesson.
In this week’s episode, Tim breaks down what the difference is between Irish whiskey and other whiskey categories, he fills us in on a bit of history and what makes Irish whiskey so special. We also learn exactly how the Irish truly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Hint – it doesn’t involve green beer. Tim also shared with us his favorite Irish whiskey cocktail, The Tipperary.
March is National Women’s Month and on the podcast we’re celebrating ladies in the booze industry for much of this month! First up is an interview with Ashley Rose Conway of popular cocktail blog Craft + Cocktails. In honor of International Women’s Day yesterday, Ashley launched a new column on her site called Spirited Women, a platform from which she can share stories about the badass ladies in the spirits industry. During my interview with Ashley we discuss what led her to this launch and why it is so important to highlight these women in an industry that has long been dominated by men.
Ashley shared her recent go-to cocktail of the moment – a seasonal and simple sherry cobbler. This low alcohol sipper is refreshing and absolutely gorgeous.
Blood Orange Sherry Cobbler
3 1/2 oz sherry
1 oz blood orange juice
1 oz meyer lemon juice, or .75 oz of regular lemon juice
1 lemon peal
Garnish: dash nutmeg, mint sprig, blood orange slice, Meyer lemon slice
Add crushed ice to a collins or flute glass. Add all of the liquids and lemon peel into a shaker and shake. Strain into the glass. Add more crushed ice to fill the glass. Grate nutmeg over the glass. Garnish with mint sprig and fruit slices.
Tomorrow is National Moscow Mule Day and I thought for this week’s podcast episode, it would be fun to interview someone from the brand that originated this popular drink – Smirnoff Vodka.
I had a lovely interview with Jay Sethi, VP of Smirnoff Vodka, but unfortunately our Skype interview just didn’t take and so it had to be scrapped. What you have instead is an abbreviated version of the story from me, with an assist from Smirnoff corporate head, John Martin, one of the originators of the Moscow Mule in a vintage audio clip. Happy Moscow Mule Day! Here’s to that kick!
This past Saturday, I had the incredible opportunity to spend the day with nearly 1000 badass lady entrepreneurs in downtown Los Angeles serving up some Yerba Mate Tea Cocktails with Argentinian Yerba Mate.
Create & Cultivate, in its 6th year, is an uber hip conference, networking event, and lady fair for women looking to build their brand, meet likeminded women, and to draw on inspiration from the major success stories represented in the various panels and keynote speakers. Powerhouse leaders in the millennial landscape such as Hello Giggles Co-Founder Sophia Rossi, plus sized model, Tess Holiday and Chief Creative Officer of ban.do, Jen Gotch were a big draw for many attending. There was also some very heavy hitting celebs serving up some brand marketing and business advice, such as Lauren Conrad, Chrissy Teigan, and a little known social media personality, ahem, Kim Kardashian West.
With all that excitement, a lady tends to get thirsty! And so we were at the ready with a little yummy boost! We served three drinks during the course of the day, but our Yerba Mate Horchata was by far our most popular. People kept comparing it to a dirty chai latte or matcha…but better, of course, duh! Check out some of the Instagram love we have here!
For many people, it was their first time trying Yerba Mate, let alone tasting it in a cocktail! And I’m pretty sure they came away converts. In case you aren’t familiar with this national drink of Argentina, here’s some fun facts!
Yerba mate is a traditional South American tea-like drink made from the leaves of the yerba mate tree, which are native to the Misiones Province of Argentina. The production process of the leaves is 100% natural
Originally championed by the Guarani, an ancient people indigenous to the South American rainforests, the history of yerba mate can be traced back many centuries and today the delicious and versatile drink continues to be enjoyed across the globe.
Argentinian Yerba Mate is a rich source of powerful antioxidants – in fact, its antioxidant capacity has been shown to be even higher than green tea.
Its nutrient profile boasts B vitamins, vitamin C, zinc, potassium and manganese, and its primary compound, chlorogenic acid, is a polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant in the body.
Yerba mate has been found to be ‘hepatoprotective’ which translates to: ‘protecting your liver cells’, as well as having shown potential as a digestive aid.
So, basically it’s SUPER healthy for you AND is a mild stimulant that gives you the boost similar to coffee but without the caffeine crash. (It’s also very yummy with booze, shhhhh)
You can find Argentinian Yerba Mate brands in specialty tea stores and in select Whole Foods Markets across the U.S. You can also purchase Argentinian Yerba Mate on Amazon.com.
Yerba Mate Horchata – served over ice
4 oz Yerba Mate, cooled
2 oz Unsweetened Almond milk 1/2 oz Cinnamon honey syrup* 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Garnish: cinnamon, cinnamon stick
(add 1 1/2 oz spiced rum for a cocktail)
Shake all ingredients over ice until nice and frothy. Pour into an ice-filled highball and garnish with a dash of cinnamon and a cinnamon stick.
* Combine 1 cup water, 1 cup honey and a tablespoon of ground cinnamon in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high, whisk until honey dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 to a month.
On this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, we’re talking about Shots! Shots! Shots! And the occasional shooter. They’re never a good idea….Or are they?
Many of us have lots of feelings about shots and shooters and visceral, albeit, patchy memories associated with those little devils. How did the shot even come to be? And how have the trends evolved through the years, and what are people shooting dirty nowadays?
This Week’s Recipe is inspired by my favorite “Bartender’s Handshake” – a miniature daiquiri adorably called a snaquiri. It originated with bartender Karin Stanley at Dutch Kills in Queens, New York about 8 years ago and it’s guaranteed the best shooter around. It is meant to be gulped in one fell swig.
Snaquiri – served in a mini coupe or cordial glass
1 oz dry white rum
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
Garnish: lime wheel
Add all ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until well chilled. Strain into the glass. Garnish with lime wheel. Shoot that Snaq!
This week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast episode is a really fun one. I sat down with my friend, food and drinks writer, Jason Horn and talked with him about his most recent story as drinks contributor for Playboy magazine. It’s a fascinating one; It involves booze! Penguins! Negative 80 degree temps!
The article (published next month on Playboy.com) titled “Drinking at the Bottom of the World”, is about the bars, booze and drinking culture at McMurdo Station, a US-run scientific research station in Antarctica.
One of Jason’s sources for this article was Laura Gerwin, travel adventure guide and photographer who has spent 6 seasons there and captured these amazing pictures.
We discuss the three bars that operate at the research station, what (limited) products are available to them, and what the drink of choice is at the “bottom of the world”.
Which brings us to this week’s recipe: a highball with a heavy pour of Jameson Whiskey and ginger beer – with an indulgent squeeze of lime (not readily available in the Antarctic): The McMurdo Mule.
McMurdo Mule – served in a highball glass with ice
3 ounces of Jameson Whiskey
4 ounces of Mac’s Ginger Beer or Bunderberg is a good replacement
1 lime wedge (for authenticity, you can use bottled lime juice but I don’t think we have to go that far)
Fill your highball with ice. Add the whiskey & a squeeze of lime and drop in the glass. Then add the ginger beer and give it a good stir. Pretty sure a garnish is not necessary in this low maintenance high ball. So just enjoy.
Yeah, yeah, Valentine’s Day is in a few days and it’s totally a silly Hallmark holiday and LOVE should not be relegated to commercialization and candy hearts…but c’mon! I’m a sucker for that crap! Look at this pretty cocktail that I named The Red Velvet because it’s red and velvety and tastes like a bunch of ripe, luscious berries made sweet sweet love to a smooth as heck whiskey. The egg white gives it that velvety mouthfeel and the generous amount of lemon juice lends a tartness to counteract some of the sweet.
Speaking of sweet…I have just come to the end of my new favorite grenadine from Sonoma Syrup Co., which worked beautifully in this cocktail. I usually like to make by own but because I’ve been so busy recently that hasn’t really been an option. And this Pomegranate Syrup may just be better than anything I’ve ever made. It’s incredibly thick and concentrated and deeply flavored. Also great in non-alcoholic drinks, btw.
Whether you are coupled up or flying solo for this Valentine’s Day, I think we can all agree that a sumptuous cocktail that is essentially a sexy make-out sesh with a bunch of boozy berries, should be in all of our hands.
2 ounces Bourbon
3/4 ounce Chambord
1 ounce Lemon Juice
1/2 ounce Grenadine
Garnish: edible flowers or berries
Shake all the ingredients without ice first to emulsify the egg white and integrate all the ingredients. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with edible flowers or berries.
On this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast we’re talking about one of the most misunderstood elixirs ever created and consumed – The Green Fairy, La Fée Verte, Absinthe! The social lubricant of choice for 19th century bohemians, artists and creatives – said to have aided their creativity and yet, driven them mad. It has been made all the more mysterious by a worldwide ban of the stuff for nearly 100 years. The ban was lifted in the states almost eleven years ago now, but a lot of misunderstandings still surround this spirit.
Most likely, you’ve heard the dark stories…about how “real” absinthe will make you hallucinate, turn you violent and drive you mad if you have too much. But what is the real story of absinthe? Can we get an authentic version in the states? And why was it banned for so long if it is truly harmless? Hopefully we’ll be clearing all that up over the course of this podcast.
My guest Ted Breaux is a researcher, scientist, artisan distiller, and leading authority on absinthe. He created Lucid Absinthe Supérieure – the first genuine absinthe made with real Grande Wormwood to be legally available in the United States, and he had a major role in overturning the ban in America eleven years ago. He’ll be talking about how he first got interested in absinthe, was the first person to disprove any claims that absinthe was dangerous, and how he helped to overturn the ban.
Kellfire Desmond Bray, absinthe educator and co-host of a monthly absinthe celebration and awareness party in New York City called The Green Fairy at the Red Room, will be joining us towards the end of this episode to describe the Continental Pour – the proper way to consume this boozy elixir.
According to Bray and Breaux, you don’t really need the sugar. However, the traditional French Method does involve diluting sugar in the glass to sweeten it up a bit. This ritual is such a lovely one, I thought I’d share that as well.
This is what you’ll need to prepare absinthe using the traditional French Method:
Bottle of genuine absinthe
An absinthe spoon – a flat, perforated spoon or even a large fork can work!
Tall glass, large enough for 6 ounces
Carafe of ice water
Pour about one ounce of absinthe into the glass
Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon and lay the spoon across the rim of the glass
Slowly pour the very cold water over the sugar and saturate it
Wait a moment for the sugar to dissolve a bit
As the water dilutes the spirit, the botanical oils are released, herbal aromas “bloom” and the clear green liquid turns cloudy, a result that is called the “louche”
Continue to slowly pour the water over the sugar until you have poured in about 5 ounces and the sugar is mostly dissolved
Allow the louche to rest, and then stir in the remaining undissolved sugar
Soooo, my life has clearly been taken over by this weekly podcast and I PROMISE to post other content on the blog besides these podcast posts, buuuut in the meantime…It’s FriYAY! And that means there’s another Bit by a Fox Podcast heading right towards your earholes! I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. If you ARE, then please write a snappy review, give it all the stars, and share with your frennnz. Self producing is a hustle!
This week we’re talking about The Dark Ages of Cocktails – that ill-fated time period between the late 1960s all the way through the late 1990s. When people happily drank garbage drinks like the ones pictured below.
Since launching the podcast, we’ve already talked a lot about the craft cocktail resurgence over the last 20 years, and we’ve touched on what it was like to come out of the sour-mix-drenched 90s where vodka was king and everyone’s palates were deadened by preservatives and sugar. But how did we get there in the first place?
In this week’s podcast, I go all the way back to prohibition and the following years that made it possible for drinks with names like Sex on the Beach, The Fuzzy Navel and Slippery Nipple to…become a thing. Hoo boy, it was a sexy and gross time.
For this episode, I thought I’d feature a cocktail that has a special place in my heart. One of the first drinks I’d order on the regular when I first started drinking cocktails, and at the time, was never NOT made with sour mix: The Amaretto Sour. But I wanted to share a better version – with fresh juice and more of a kick. This creation is from Jeffrey Morgenthaler, the famed Portland, Oregon bartender of Clyde Common and Pepe Le Moko. Jeffrey is considered to be one of the best bartenders out there, and I love the fact that he has made it a point these last few years to bring back the cocktails from the dark ages and improve upon them. I love his explanation for this version of his Amaretto Sour.