Craft & Cocktails is devoted to the art of making & shaking focusing on original, seasonal & approachable cocktails to make at home.I'm Ashley Rose Conway, a cocktail shaker and piñata maker. I am always in the pursuit of fun and the perfect drink. I work developing recipes, styling, and photographing cocktails as well as creating stories around libations, celebrations, and entertaining.
The tide is slowly turning, can you feel it? A change for good, a change that will hopefully positively impact and empower more then half of the country and world. I am talking about the growing modern women’s movement. For so long women have faced immense adversities just for not being born male, but it seems there may be a change in the air. I just hope that people aren’t full of air and will continue to support, lift up, and respect women long after the “pat-on-the-back” headlines die down. Some are going as far as to say women are trending. That’s ludicrous that a gender can be trending. A movement it constantly moving, not something that is a blip on the radar or a trending hashtag to be gone in a day. Finally people are taking women’s stories, struggles, and successes into account and believing them, something that should have been done centuries ago. Spirited Women is my tribute to the unapologetic bad ass women in the world of spirits who have always been here, but are often behind the scenes and not heard.
Spirited Women is a column I have been wanting to start for over a year now, but seems like the perfect time on International Women’s Day to launch this column that highlights the women who are helping to drive and grow the spirits industry for the better. I want to see more women in the industry chosen for interviews and selected as speakers for conferences to share their perspective and experiences. I plan to write to organizations who do not have diverse panels and talks at their conferences to urge them to do better or I will not attend (and hopefully you consider doing so too!). There are so many amazing women that have a lot to say and share, and honestly are not that hard to find. Look past the shiny headlines that heavily feature male bartenders and distillers, do a bit of research and you will find a slew of women who are perfect for your interview, event, talk, conference, etc. Trust me. Women have so much to bring to the table, we just need to have someone save us a seat. Or maybe we just need to make our own table.
In San Francisco, I am fortunate to know some amazing female bartenders and spirits industry professionals. This city is ripe with talent and some seriously amazing, strong women. One such women is the fiery Nicky Beyries. Bar manager of not one, but two exceptional bars in the city, she knows a thing or two (or 100) about cocktails. Foreign Cinema has been a SF staple for many years in the heart of the Mission district. The hospitality and the exemplary food it dishes out keeps it on the map, but with her cocktails, Nicky is really helping to elevate the whole experience. In their sister bar, Laszlos, Nicky’s creative and playful side gets to shine. Without the parameters of having to pair with food (except brunch on the weekend), the cocktails get to be the star at this stand alone bar. She focuses on community, sustainability, and social justice and it really shows throughout her cocktail programs. On the menu in Foreign Cinema you will often drinks where proceeds from each purchased will go towards charities that are close to her heart. She puts her money where her cocktail/mouth is.
Foreign Cinema is releasing a cookbook in May which will feature Nicky’s drinks, so she can add book contributed to her long resumé. I recently interviewed Nicky when I came into shoot her new menu at Laszlos, entitled “What’s Wrong With Hitchcock’s Women.” Each drink is named after a female lead in Hitchcock’s Movies, who were with often despised as well as obsessed over by the director. Yikes. For the first Spirited Women I wanted to dive in to see how Nicky got her start in the spirits world and how she navigates the male dominated and often misogynistic industry.
How did you get your start in the spirits world?
“I came to hospitality because I had been involved in the DIY punk/hardcore music & art scene since I was about 12/13. I started working in cafes & as a diner waitress because I needed a job that was flexible, that I could quit at the drop of a hat to go on tour and that would keep my terrible ADHD brain stimulated. It’s also genuinely part of my personality to take care of people, rather than something I was socialized to do. Bands were always excited to stay at my house because I’d make a huge meal, had fold out couches and blankets and worked to make everyone comfortable. People use to tease me that I was the “partymom” and honestly, I still am. I’ll admit that I hung out in many a bar before I turned 21 and I was transfixed by the lady bartenders – they were SO COOL. They were sassy, could command the room, move fast, be the life of the party and everyone listened to them when they made demands. They could have big, loud personalities and made money doing it – no one told them to quiet down or work a certain way. I became really burnt out on music – there’s a lot of sexism and in-fighting in those communities as well and I began to feel more and more alienated from what had drawn me there to begin with. I liked the camaraderie of hospitality, I liked that I got to talk to people all day. The week after I turned 21, I got a job as a cocktail waitress at a nightclub. One of the managers, Danny, saw how I worked and liked my attitude and asked me if I wanted to work his shifts because he wanted to build a cohesive team and I agreed. I asked him (he was a former flair bartender) and the other bartender Carol questions CONSTANTLY. If something needed to be cleaned, I was the first to volunteer. So I’d be scrubbing out keg coolers in hot pants and fishnets. If it was slow, I’d ask if I could take all the bottles off the back bar and clean them, asking about the brands and what drinks they went in. If someone needed to go pee or take their lunch, I’d beg to work the well for a few minutes. Within six months, I had a bartending shift. Busy shifts there had five cocktail servers and no POS – they had to call drinks to the service well bartender in a specific order and exchange money with the bartender. It was hard and it was very old school and I loved every single second of it. Then, 2008 happened and the economy crashed. We stopped making money, clubs and bars went out of business and Broadway (in SF) started to get really violent – stabbings, shootings, hospitality workers being targeted, etc. It was time to get out of there, so I moved into neighborhood bars & small restaurants & venues. The rest is history.”
What do you love most about your career?
“There’s a lot to be said for getting to do your art every day and be paid for it. I love that I am surrounded by interesting, intelligent people every day, that I have them to collaborate and bounce ideas off of.
On a larger scale, I love that I work for people let me be me; that I have the ability to choose whom I do business with. If I decide that I don’t like a company’s business model or who they invest in, or their packaging is wasteful, their marketing is sexist, I don’t have to do business with them. The ability to have a voice and put my money where my mouth is is deeply satisfying to me. We have one of the “We welcome all races, all religions, all countries of origin, all sexual orientations, all genders. We stand with you, you are safe here” signs at the foyer to the restaurant and it’s true, it’s how we run our business. I am very, very proud of that.”
Have you ever felt that you needed to prove yourself to male coworkers, peers or boss being a women? If yes, elaborate on your experience.
“This question is better asked in the opposite, as in “describe a time when you HAVEN’T had to prove yourself,” unfortunately. Pretty much since day one I’ve had to prove myself more than the men around me and I think that’s a near universal experience. Look at mine, Jen Agg, Alison Robicelli, Soleil Ho, etc.’s twitter feeds (or our conversations with one another) for specifics, but it’s bad. I have salesmen who think they can walk all over me or pad my orders or tell me what works for my business, have customers thank my male assistant (who was doing nothing but washing glassware, it was his second day on the job and he didn’t know the difference between a Scotch and a bourbon) after I lead them through a whiskey flight that I had designed for them, have customers say “FINALLY! Someone who knows what he’s talking about!” when a male coworker tells them the exact same thing I just did, watch male bartender’s solicit my date’s (who’d never worked a day behind a bar) thoughts on the history of the Manhattan, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Then there’s the leering and the mansplaining. There’s nothing new there, but I’m willing to clap back and throw my weight around in response. Jen Agg describes herself as “Battle Ready” and I can’t think of a better way to describe it. That’s how you have to be, as a woman.”
The really unsettling part is how egregious and blatant it is when directed at me, a fairly well-educated, well-spoken, conventionally attractive white woman. The insidious and harmful ways that women and people with much less privilege is seriously concerning, particularly in how they are treated by customers, employers, potential investors, etc. Make space to shut your mouth and listen to their stories and experiences. If all of your staff or friends or coworkers look the same – you’re doing it wrong.
What is some great advice from a women you have received?
“I’m sad to say that I’ve never had a female mentor until very recently. I mostly came up working for men and the one woman that I worked for was a terror, an example of what not to do rather than a positive one. However, I have always had strong women to lean on, be they coworkers or friends. I describe a lot of these friendships as “battle born.” When you go through a tough service, a shitty boss, sexism & denigration, you have one another to lean on, to laugh at the absurdity, to drink away the memories and to kvetch with.
Luckily, I now work for a powerhouse of women and I get to continue to grow. This is also why I try to mentor and share my experience whenever possible. Sisterhood is powerful and representation matters.”
What are difficulties you and women as a whole face in your field? What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
“There’s been lots of conversations about how tipping can reinforce societal harms of racism, sexism and sexual harassment. Ensuring that customers AND employees are required to treat one another appropriately, with swift and severe consequences if they choose not to. Speaking out and up for those who rely on you. There’s also an immense amount of tone policing/likeability policing levied against women. Not only must you excel at your job, everyone has to like you as well. The charge of being “a bitch” levied against a woman weighs much heavier than a man being “an asshole.”
On a personal level, the largest difficulties and obstacles I’ve faced come from my struggles with my own brain… I operate on a pretty constant level of “complete and total maniac” so being organized, not over committing, not being a perfectionist, focusing on tasks, not getting anxious or depressed, those are all huge struggles for me. It’s something we’re only beginning to be bring out into the open, which is a shame because I find our industry attracts a lot of folks like me, but we all act as though we are totally alone and isolated. Perhaps because it’s creative, perhaps because it’s more socially acceptable to self-medicate, whatever it is, it’s something we’ve gotta talk about.”
Is there any particular male in the industry or organization that you find to be a great advocate of women equality in the workplace?
To be honest, I don’t find a lot of value in men being advocates for women in the industry, I want to hear from the women themselves. I think it’s well summed up in my reaction to Pete Wells’ article where I said “@pete_wells says the industry hasn’t come up with a solution but my timeline is full of women who are chefs, restaurateurs, managers, etc. offering solutions and experiences. Do their voices not matter? Why are we facing erasure from a conversation largely about us?”
I would like to see more of the “awards” groups and crowds address sexism and racism in a meaningful way. I would like for us to agree collectively to stop worshipping at the altar of the egomaniacal, shitty male chef . I want to see more representation everywhere. I’m looking forward to seeing how many articles in the new year will try to attribute my success and skills to men I’ve worked with in the past. The fact that I’ve been doing it a decade longer and put in the work never seems to be as popular a headline…
What improvements did you think your industry can make for inclusivity of women and to ward against sexual harassment in the work place?
“I would like to see more policing of behavior of customers; there is so much harassment and unwanted touching/talking that happens to women in bars. Existing in a public space does not mean that one is required to talk to, be touched, be hit on by or entertain anyone else.”
What encouragement or advice would you give a women starting out in your field?
“Be aggressive. You will have to earn every ounce of your success and you will work three times harder to do so – you will be given no quarter, so expect none and give none. Be curious. Be observant. Ask for more money. Learn how to say no. Take up space. Have a big ego. Call out bullshit when you see it. If something doesn’t feel right, say something. Don’t let people be creeps in your bar, no matter who they are.”
What women in the industry are you watching or look up to?
“One of my liquor reps recently said to me in regards to myself and some of the other bar manager ladies who love one another, “you guys are like a cult!” Which I found not only hilarious but to be true – a girl cult is the only sort I’d ever want to join. I have such appreciation for Ashley Miller, Chelsea Kenrick, Areina Thomas, Laura Svec, Jessi Lorraine, Alicia Walton, Jordanne Worll, Peppi Scalisi, Claire Sprouse, lvy Mix, Katie Clas, Ruby Wilson, Laurel Sadler, Laura Brennan Bissell, Sally Kim, Karri Kiyuna, Emilie Hermann, Marguerite Regan, Colleen Quinn, Lauren Wong, Kambry Rodriguez, Jane Hurley & Rachel Dorcy – they make my days bright.”
Look out for Kristin Struckmeyer, Joyce Duquette, Gianna Burns, & Lauren Ford, because they’re coming for your job, boys, and they deserve it.
Personal favorite cocktail you have made?
“My first menu at FC had some of my very favorites… there was a lot of personal angst, anger, frustration and sadness that I channelled into that menu and it was themed on one of my favorite films (and one of the first that got me into film in general,) Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus trology. The Eurydice springs to mind – wild cupreata mezcal, fresh lemon, Welsh mead, a spun rose sugar I made as a half rim and a spritz of rosewater over the top. The vegetal aspect of cupreata added the vegetal backbone the rosewater needed – it was like an entire rosebush in a glass. I grew up gardening with my mother and roses have a lot of personal significance for me.”
What trends or resurgences in the spirits world are you into right now?
“Genuine explorations of sustainability – Trash Tiki, Tin Roof Drink, the Perennial, etc. impress and inspire me daily. Real sustainability, both environmental and economic in spirits production, especially for agave and sugarcane spirits.”
olive or twist? “Twist, but mostly because bar olives can be real sketch.”
dive bar order? “Vodka soda (WITH TWO LIMES, DAMMIT) or Bud Lite & shot of silver agave.”
favorite classic cocktail? “Daiquiri (pinch of salt, please!) or a good Godfather. I’ve been known to fuck with a good Sidecar, as well.”
favorite bar to grab a drink? “Whichever one my ladies are working at. Or a handsome dude. It’s all about balance.”
go-to hair of the dog or hangover helper? “Chile rellano super burrito, no crema from El Buen Sabor (those poor ladies only see me on my darkest mornings) and a coke, or a cheeseburger with onion rings or pho. Sometimes, I’ll admit it, you’ve just gotta eat like, $15 worth of Taco Bell.”
For each Spirited Woman, I wanted to create a cocktail that is inspired by them, something that speaks to their character or approach to cocktails. This cocktail represents Nicky’s fiery tenacity and spirit. Using sustainable ingredients and reusing fruit for infusions, the Fiery & Zesty is a citrusy, spicy drink with a bit of fire.
Juice the grapefruit, saving the fruit. Add 1/2 of the grapefruit husk into a jar with 12 oz tequila. Let infuse for 4-6 hours, shaking occasionally. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a jar or an empty bottle. Add infused tequila, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and bitters into a shaker. Shake and strain into a coupe. Flame the grapefruit peel over the drink. Roll the grapefruit peel into a..
The Raspberry Rose Champagne Float is a shimmering and indulgent drink that’s perfect for sipping to celebrate life’s little and big moments. Champagne is often reserved for birthday’s, NYE, and other holidays, but life is too damn short to just drink the good stuff then. Plus, there are so many delicious, affordable champagnes and sparkling wines that are on the market these days. I originally created this Raspberry Rose Champagne Float for an Oscars viewing party, but have since made it for after a long week of work, sipping on one in my pajamas. I premade the syrup so the boozy float came together really easily, as in easy as just pouring everything in a glass, no shaker involved. Boom!
The Raspberry Rose Champagne Float reminds me of a fiery sunset. Puffy clouds intermingled with vibrant red streaks from the setting sun and a few golden rays peaking their way through. Although instead of being fiery, this treat is cooling. It has creamy ice cream laced with a homemade raspberry rose syrup that is divine, creme de mure bursting with berry flavor, and topped all off with some beautiful bubbly. You don’t want to use a really good bubbly for this because you will lose a lot of the subtle differences a really nice bottle brings to the palate. I would search for one in the $20 range. Creme de Mure is a blackberry liqueur hat makes the raspberry in the syrup really pop. You’ll want to try to find a good quality one, there are some in the market that are mostly sugar and use extracts and artificial flavoring versus the real fruit. Briottet and Gifford make great versions of this spirit.
To really amp up the glam for this drink, top with edible gold leaf! I rolled the raspberries on a sheet of gold leaf and used them to garnish the cocktail. Edible gold leaf can be very fickle so work with it carefully. If you blow hard near it it can cause the sheet to lift off and stick to your cabinets..or cat. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything. Also, it will stick to anything moist, I prefer to touch the glass or fruit I am working with to the gold directly or use a clean, dry paint brush to paint it on.
RASPBERRY ROSE CHAMPAGNE FLOAT
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream, such as Tillamook
4 oz champagne
2 oz raspberry rose honey syrup (recipe below)
1/2 oz good quality creme de mure, blackberry liqueur
Garnish: edible gold leaf coated raspberry
Coat raspberries with edible gold leaf by rolling them on or carefully painting on a sheet of the gold leaf with a clean brush. Scoop ice cream into large champagne flute or tall glass. Pour raspberry rose syrup in. Mix the blackberry liqueur and champagne in glass with a bar spoon. Pour into the glass & top with gold raspberries.
RASPBERRY ROSE SYRUP
3/4 cup organic raw honey
1/2 cup water
1 cup/ 6 oz container raspberries
1/4 cup organic dried rose buds (found in the tea section of my local co-op or on amazon)
Add honey & water to a pot over high heat. Bring to almost a boil. Take off heat & add in the raspberries & rose buds. Gently muddle the raspberries & let cool. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a container & store in the fridge for a month.
Has there ever been a better pairing then the Margaritas and guacamole?! Definitely two of my main food groups. I love this combo so much I decided to combine the two and make an Avocado Margarita! Avocados wear made to eat AND drink. If avocados in a drink makes you scratch you head and go WTF, trust me on this one folks, it’s the perfect addition to a margarita. Along with some herbal cilantro and the usual Margarita suspects, this Frozen Avocado Margarita is something you are going to want to make ASAP!
This Frozen Avocado Margarita will become a staple for Taco Tuesdays. AKA, Tequila Tuesdays in my house, ha! I tried my hand for the first time at making a video this week! So this cocktail has blood, sweat, and LOTS of tears in it. Oi. There are so many people that make videos look so flawless, but man, they are haaaaard, and time consuming, aaaand I love them! Because I am a self hating masochist, thats why. But really, I do love the challenges this new art form brings. It has been an extreme learning curve this week learning how to shoot and edit video. I was originally just going to use this Frozen Avocado Margarita as practice, but I think it turned out semi-decent so I am sharing it anyway! I have been learning to be ok with not having everything perfect (totally type A when it comes to my work) and I see so many flaws in this video, but I figured it’s still good to put out in the world because it’s will be good as a reference point down the line to see how I grow it’s also one damn delicious cocktail! (scroll to the end for the video)
I used a Vitamix blender for this, but any ol’ blender will do as long as it can full crush ice. You don’t want ice chips in this drink, the creaminess the avocado gives is off the charts and you don’t want to mess that up. Avocados don’t lend too much flavor, but rather give the drink great texture and creamy consistency without any dairy. Avo magic. I have a few ripe avocados I was planning to make into a healthy grain bowl, but f’ it, I am making a round of these!
garnish: black lava sea salt (or regular course salt), cilantro sprig, lime wheel
In a blender add avocado first. Add the cilantro leaves followed by the liquid ingredients. Add ice to the blender. Blend until smooth. Add black salt to a plate. Take lime left over from juicing and run along the rim of half a coupe or steamed glass. Rim the glass with the salt. Pour the blended margaritas into the glasses. Garnish with lime wheel and sprig of cilantro.
I would love to hear what you think of my first video! Either comment on the video or here on the post. Here goes nothing…
I have never been one to celebrate Valentines Day. It’s just always seemed weird to me. A day to profess your love to someone and fawn all over them with mandatory roses and chocolates while trying to get a reservation at the fanciest places in town? Shouldn’t every day of the year be reserved for showing love, care, and affection? Maybes it’s because I prefer smaller acts of love over grand gestures and presents while also view Chinese food and pajamas on the couch together as “date night.” Before I risk sounding bitter, I love love! In fact, can be entirely too mushy and lovey dovey on occasions with my husband (sorry babe!). But you know what relationships that could use a little extra love an nuturing and perhaps even shouted from the roof tops? The relationships with our gal pals! For so long, we have been taught that we had to compete with one another, we needed to be one of the boys to be the cool girl, and the list goes on and on to keep us from sticking together and truely getting along. I am sadly guilty of falling for this from time to time, but I am fed up with this narrative we have been sold all these years. I decided to host a Galentines party this year to celebrate some of my favorite ladies and show them some love with booze and sweets in the form of a cocktail and macaron pairing!
I get so much of my inspiration for my cocktails from food and pastries, I am constantly taking notes on flavor pairings when I am at restaurants. When I came with this party idea, I knew exactly who to work with. Natalie of Bake No Fake is a friend of mine who is an incredible baker! When I asked if she would be into making boozy macaroons to pair with cocktails, she was all for it. Heck yeah! We decided on 3 classic cocktails an Old Fashioned, Piña Colada, and Margarita and 1 original cocktail an Amor Amaro Sour (recipe below) for the party. I then gave her the tasting notes of the drinks and the bottles of spirits I was using for the cocktails. From there she created macarons to match each drink. They came out absolutely STUNNING and shut-the-front-door delicious. Look at that salt on the Margarita and the gold flecks on the Old Fashioned macarons!!
There is no stitch of red or pink to be found at this Galentines party. Unless my hair counts, ha! We stuck with white and gray with a pop of orange for color. I like using unconventional colors for holidays, it keeps things fresh and interesting. Besides, the stars of the show were the colorful treats not the decor. I invited over a few of my close lady friends to treat them to an afternoon with a cocktail and macaron pairing party, because they deserve it. It was nice to hang out together in a non-work setting. Many of them are in the same field as I am and we cross paths at parties and events and although it is fun, it’s work. We are either taking photos, taking notes, or networking during the event. It was nice to just relax and really catch up with each of them. I also think it’s important to have a gathering of the minds so to speak because it often fosters ideas, creativity, and even collaborations.
I am lucky to be surrounded by some seriously strong and badass ladies, many whom I get to call friends and family. There are some that run their own businesses and are a constant source of inspiration for me and others who are navigating male dominated fields with poise and tanacity and totally crushing it without compromising their values. I am continuing to make serious efforts on my part to lift up all these women in my field and beyond. This can be done by sharing knowledge instead of being secretive, connecting people to help further their career, and using my platform and voice to acknowledge injustices towards women and to shine a spotlight on women who should be getting recognition. It has been ingrained in our heads for so long that we must compete with one another and I am just done with that. Girl power over competition! As they say a rising tide lifts all boats, and ladies we have a lot of ocean to go.
Add all the ingredients except the garnishes into a shaker without ice and dry shake for 3o seconds. Add ice and shake for 12 seconds. Strain using a hawthorn stainer into a coupe or Nick and Nora glass. Dash 3 dots of bitters on the foam in a row. Run a pick staring from the whites above the top bitter dot through all three finishing below the bottom one. Garnish with edible flower.
When you make as many cocktails as I do, it’s hard to keep track. I actually made these paired cocktails before I started my site and I just realized it never made its way on here! I was a contributor to my dear friend Joanna’s site Jojotastic 3 Years ago. If you don’t read her site already, you are missing out on some major inspo’ Before moving to Seattle, we used to live down the street from one another and would enjoy lots of beverages along with shooting content together. Sometimes not mutually exclusive, ha! We even worked on a Ziploc commercial together (crazy right?!) I would whip up and style the drinks and she would take photos of them, it was the perfect combo. When she moved I picked up a camera again for the first time in six years out of necessity. This time digital vs film that I worked on when I was younger. Oh how I missed it! It was a whole new world with digital, but I quickly adjusted and was excited to capture the world, and spirits, through my lens again. Fast forward to today where I am essentially glued to my camera and have shot I don’t know HOW many tasty beverages along the way. I still have some fondness for these OG cocktails I did, though. They were stepping stones to the content I create today. These Yours & Mine Cocktails: Rose Ramos Gin Fizz & Campari Sour are quite tasty and fun for a date night!
We actually shot these in my bedroom on my bed. I get great light in there and I have a black wall that makes for the perfect sultry shoot. Once we wrapped I stayed in bed and enjoyed a cocktail. Sometimes you just have to be a little indulgent, you know?! For these drinks, I made two difdent cocktails from similar ingredients, but with some modifications, each drinks is vastly different. These drinks are a Yours & Mine in every sense of the term: a combination of the same components while each drink has its own individual ingredients that makes them unique, but still work together side by side. The main ingredients in each are gin, preserves lemon syrup, egg white. The Yours was made worth the addition of heavy cream, lime, club soda, and rose water with lime zest for a floral Ramos Fizz twist. The Mine swapped in Campari and grenadine for a sweet, tart, and bitter drink that’s still light in texture thanks to the egg white. It’s always nice to take a walk down memory lane! Get the full recipe for the Yours & Mine Cocktails: Rose Ramos Gin Fizz & Campari Sour here!
photos by Jojotastic, styling by Craft & Cocktails
I would like to admit one of my first loves of cocktails was an Old Fashioned, but that would be a down right lie. A more accurate answer would be something with Hypnotic. Guilty! But to be fare, it was a tasty drink at the time. My dad mixed it up on my 21st birthday because blue was my favorite color, although I am sure it pained him to mix with the blue shiz in a drink, thanks Dad! But back to the Old Fashioned. Although it is not my favorite at the time, it is now! The best part of the Old Fashioned is it is the perfect stand by, a cocktail in it’s most basic form- spirit, sugar, bitters, ice. It’s also perfect for riffing. I am craving summer and tropical drinks, but not looking to suck down lots of crushed ice when it’s below 40 degrees. The Coco Banana Pineapple Rum Old Fashioned is the answer to this quandary!
The name is a mouthful, but a damn tasty mouthful! It has all of the delicious flavors of tropical drinks- coconut, pineapple, banana- but presented in a booze forward drink. It features a homemade brûléed banana coconut syrup, tiki bitters and my ride or die/desert island spirit Plantation Stiggens’ Fancy Pineapple Rum. I think we go through a bottle ever couple weeks in my house. If you have never had it before GO GET IT RIGHT NOW. You can thank me later. Perhaps with a pineapple rum cocktail ; ) This is not Malibu Pineapple rum my friends. It is a far superior and delicious spirit. It’s aged for one and steeped with real pineapple vs. “essence” of pineapple or what ever artificial garbage they put in a lot of flavored spirits. It’s a well balanced rum that tastes like rum with a big pineapple hug at the end. It makes for a great Daiquiri or Old Fashioned like this Coco Banana Pineapple Rum Old Fashioned.
The coconut banana syrup is brûléed! Don’t let the brûlée part turn you off! If you can work an oven or kitchen torch, you can make broil them with sugar in the oven or omit this step all together, but there will be a slight difference in flavor for the syrup. I wrote all aboutbrûléeing citrus here if you want to know more. I love the combination of coconut and banana in unexpected cocktails (remember this Coconut Banana Margarita?)
garnish: dried pineapple slice or fresh pineapple wedge.
Make the syrup. Add all liquid ingredients into a mixing glass with ice. Mix for 30 seconds. Using a julep strainer, strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Express orange peel over the drink and discard. Garnish with pineapple chip or fresh pineapple slice
Coconut Banana Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
3/4 banana large banana, sliced thinly
1/2 cups unsweetened coconut chips
If you do not want to brûlée the banana, skip this part- add thinly sliced banana into a large mason jar or baking pan. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the bananas. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the bananas until they turn amber.
Add the sugar, water, coconut coconut chips, and bananas into a mason jar. Shake for a bit to get the sugar to begin to dissolve. Let the ingredients steep for 8 hours or over night. Shake periodically to get the sugar to fully dissolve. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.
You came for the Coco Banana Pineapple Rum Old Fashioned, but you also get a cat butt! This is generally right outside the frame for most of my photos. Now you know!
When you imagine sipping Gin and Tonics, do you envision outdoor sipping in the sun in 80 degree weather or bundled up under a cozy blanket in -8 degrees? Why not both?! Refreshing cocktails shouldn’t be reserved for sipping in summer breeze’s that make you feel fine. Maybe it is my upbringing of year round Gin & Tonics, but there is no wrong way to drink a G&T, I say! This Brûléed Blood Orange Spiced Winter Gin & Tonic is my way of change everyone’s mind about this versatile mixed drink.
Post holidays, there is a need for fresh and light food as well as drinks and I find the perfect drink for this is a gin & tonic. Spanish Gin & Tonics are a spin on the classic from England with added fruits, herbs and botanicals that infuse the simple drink with added flavor.
I used Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin for this particular G&T. I was recently gifted a bottle of this Australian Distilled Gin from Negroni queen herself Melissa Watson. Working in a palace of booze that is Bitters & Bottles, she is familiar with all the best spirits. Her and my husband were gushing over the Four Pillars brand at a recent gin meet-up. Before I could blink, she had a bottle sent to our door to enjoy. Booze friends are the best friends! The Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin is a one fine gin. One you can easily find yourself sipping straight among a group of great friends before you’ve realized you’ve finished off a bottle before you can say drink drank drunk. Not saying it happened with this bottle, but it may have happened with other particularly un-named gins before. Oops.
A citrusy and spicy spirit, the Rare Dry Gin was perfect for the Winter Gin & Tonic. Four Pillars distills whole oranges, versus just the peels along with star anise, cinnamon and native Tasmanian pepperberry leaf. Although it can be hard to pick the perfect spirit fit for each drink, the Rare Dry Gin was a clear winner of “What of my many gins do I use for this drink?”. It was meant for this Winter Gin & Tonic with Brûlêed Blood Orange & Spices!
Brûléed Blood Orange Spiced Winter Gin & Tonic
glassware: large round wine glass or flutter glass
Citrus season brings a variety of tart fruit to farmers markets and grocery’s stores. It’s the best time of year for sours and tiki drinks as well as beauti, bright garnishes. One of my favorite ways recently to serve them is bruleeing them. They lend a beautiful caramel depth of flavor to any drink. Muddling or garnishing cocktails with these brûléed fruits will up your cocktail game!
If you have have had a bruléed grapefruit for breakfast, you know the simple winning combo of carmalized citrus. White sugar is classic and neutral flavored, but why not try mixing up the sugars you use to brûlée?! Brown sugar, coconut sugar, demerara… each will lend a different flavor to the broiled citrus fruits and cocktails they are used in. Rum and demerara sugar would be a great match while brown sugar would go swimmingly with bourbon. This Winter G&T uses bruleed blood oranges that infused the cocktail with carmalized goodness that pairs so well with the spices. Find out how to brûlée citrus for cocktails below.
Some key things to keep in mind when brûléeing fruit:
-make sure the citrus has no access moisture. You still want to to me juicy, but the sugars will disolve when contacting citrus juice and you won’t be able to brûlée.
– slice you fruit how you want to serve it before brûléeing. Otherwise when you go to cut it post, the sugar will crack and can fall off.
– add sugar then imeditley brûlée before moving to the next one. Otherwise, the sugars may begin to disolve on the citrus before you get to them.
Brûléed Citrus for Cocktails
tools: knife, cutting board, paper towels, kitchen torch or oven,
1 citrus grapefruit, orange, lemon or other citrus fruit
1-2 tablespoons of sugar per fruit,
Cut fruit in wheels or slices. Lay slices flat on a paper towel. Add another paper towel on top of them. Let dry for 5-10 minutes. Dab the fruit to remove access moisture. Line a baking dish or heat proof surface with parchment paper. Sprinkle fruit slices with sugar to coat, one at a time if using the kitchen torch method. Use the kitchen torch or oven method below to brûlée. Let fruit cool before using in cocktails.
Using a kitchen torch, torch the fruit slices until golden amber and some edges begin to blacken.
Turn the oven to broil. Add the baking dish with sugar fruit into the oven. Brûlée until the sugar has turned a golden amber color, about 5 minutes.
The holidays may be over, but there are so many moments to celebrate all year long. Be prepared with the perfect home bar for hosting happy hours, dinner parties and get togethers… or to enjoy a beverage from your bar cart in your pajamas. That’s the beauty of a home bar! I will be teaching you the perfect tips for styling and stocking a beautiful bar and cocktails to mix to serve to your guests or yourself with Macy’s this weekend and next with a cocktail, styling & photography Class. Yes that Macy’s!
Join me in celebrating the new year in style with Macy’s Culinary Council at their Walnut Creek location on 1/27 and Palo Alto on 1/28. I will be spilling my secrets on how I get mouth watering cocktail photos and ways to recreate them yourself to up your social media cocktail game!
Looking to take and style your photos for those ‘grammable shots like this? I will also be teaching a you how to set-up and arrange shoots for Drinkstagram photos that pop! The Walnut Creek and Palo Alto are FREEEE! Just RSVP hereif you want to get all the great tips.You will also will get ideas for how to style your bar cart with must-have glassware, barware and accessories. If you do make an optional $35 purchase each day in the home section, you will get a signed copy of my book The Art of the Bar Cart!
And for those of you in the south, there will be anevent in Aventura, Florida on February 3rd. Here I come Miami! Chef Anthony Lamas and I will be teaming up a food and cocktail pairing. It will be fun, decadent afternoon with southern food and cocktails! For those looking for some entertaining pointers, I will have tips to host a fab happy hour. This event is $15 dollars and includes bites and drinks as well as BOTH copies of our books, Southern Heat and The Art of Bar Cart!
Looking forward to teaching, shaking, and meeting all of you! Hope to see you there!
Walnut Creek Macy’s
1301 Broadway Plaza Home Department, Level 3 Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Trick Dog Bar new cocktail menu launch: Trick Dog Airways
In a time when escapism is desperately needed, Trick Dog is taking it to the next level, taking it to 30,000 feet to be exact! Well known for their extreamly creative menu designs and concepts, the launch of their 11th menu on January 8th revealed Trick Dog Airways. And it’s everything you wish you were drinking when crammed into economy with a screaming baby behind you!
Trick Dog Airways safety card: in case of sudden lose in pressure, finish your drink before assisting other’s in finishing theirs
Trick Dog Airways menu brochure
After walking into the industrial yet cozy bar, it appears the bartender hands you an inflight safety brochure, but like their drinks, not everything is what they appear. Perusing the card illustrated by Peter Gamlen, it reveals to be in fact be the cocktail menu. On one section is “types of aircraft” divided into Highballs (including one with vodka and La Croix), Shoots (like an all in one pickle back), and Low Proof beverages (oloroso sherry, Singani 63, vanilla, sarsaparilla, cardamaro, lemon). Diagrams of international airport layouts from around the world dot the interior of the menu. Below each airline are the ingredients for each of their featured cocktail that range from baked apple, seaweed, Anco Reyes, falernum bitters, and even a caramelized ice cube. Special spirits are listed in their business class such as a dram of hand selected Elijah Craig Bourbon distilled in 2007.
My fellow passengers aboard Trick Dog Airways included photographers and cocktail shakers Emilio from Equal Parts Cocktail and Andrew Calisterio. Which means I got to try a good amount of the cocktails on the menu! My favorite was the CDG Paris. It had a freakin waffle on it. I like when my cocktails are garnished with a snack. It contained Michter’s Rye/ Cynar/dry vermouth/waffle liqueur served up with a waffle piece kissing the rim. Although waffle might make you think sweet, it didn’t come off as saccharine in anyway. Impeccably balanced cocktails are the name of the game at Trick Dog. Other cocktails I found particularly interesting were the BOS Boston- Jack Daniels rye/Smith & Cross Rum/Bonal Quina/cherry/darjeeling/lemon/egg white/on the rocks and the YQG Windsor- Sacred Bond Brandy, Lot 40 rye/Yellow Chartreuse/spice-smoked Peychaud’s/caramelized ice cube.
And did I mention their is pins and a frequent flyer card? Depending on the menu, the TD team will produce paraphernalia to enhance the menu theme as well as the drinker’s experience. In this case, captains pins are given out to adorn on their lapels and shirts, coasters with the airline logo, cocktail napkins depict airplanes alongside iconic landmarks from city’s around the world, and a frequent flyer card is passed out for thirsty guests to keep track of tipples eventually earning them rewards. I will be racking up my miles in no time!
Along with their menu launch, TD often puts out a video to accompany it. Funny, slightly cheesy, and always cleaver, the video further immerses imbibers into the creative world partners Morgan Schick and Josh Harris paint for their guests. For their Trick Dog Airlines, an “inflight video” was produced and it’s far more entertaining than annoyingly catchy Virgin Airlines safety video (RIP). “Passengers found smoking will be placed in the overhead compartment.” Noted!
Trick Dog offers their menus for sale to take away as a souvenir of your drinking adventures (so don’t be a jerk and steal them.) They work with a different charity or cause with each new menu and donate proceeds from the menu sales to them. For Trick Dog Airways, sales will benefit Seven Tepees Youth Program whose mission is to work with urban youth entrusted to their care to foster the skills they need to make lifelong positive choices and to create their own opportunities for success. It’s great to see bars and restaurants working closely to support every facet of the communities in which they are in.
Safety first. All people found smoking will be stored in the over head compartment.
The menu runs through the beginning of July when a new menu will be revealed, so be sure to book your tickets now on Trick Dog Airways!