Monthly Archives: March 2010

Drink to: Ella Fitzgerald

As part of Cocktail Culture’s recognition of Women’s History Month, we’re drinking to Ella Fitzgerald. Known as the First Lady of Song and one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, Fitzgerald won countless awards for her achievements in the Arts, including 12 Grammy Awards. In 1995, she was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was a diva in the best way possible.

Cheers, Ella!


1 ¼ oz. Chivas Regal 12 yo

1 ½ oz. Lychee Juice

1/3 oz. Raspberry Puree

¼ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Dash of Simple Syrup

Combine ingredients in a chilled cocktail shaker and shake thoroughly. Strain into a cocktail glass.

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“Secret Ingredient” Challenge

After recently completing my first run at a local bartending school (BarSmarts Advanced, you’re next!), my coworkers decided to put my set of sweet new skills to the test. My mission: I was to design from scratch three cocktails without knowing what spirits would be available. The catch is that there is a “Secret Ingredient” being thrown into the mix, which has to play a role in each of the drinks. I had no idea what I was in store for in this impromptu afternoon tasting and was delightfully surprised when I was presented with a bottle of Hiram Walker® Crème de Banana liqueur.

A bright caramel coloring and a remarkably sweet flavor, I knew right away I’d be utilizing the Crème de Banana (30 proof) with an array of fresh juices in my cocktail concoctions. First up is what I dubbed the Banana Harbor, a sweet, you-can’t-taste-the-alcohol-in-this mixed drink utilizing Crème de Banana, Malibu® Coconut Rum, and grapefruit juice (I highly recommend using sugar-free juice since the crème de banana has such a high sugar content already). A splash of club soda at the end makes this drink all the more refreshing, perfect for a springtime get-together with friends.

Creme de Banana cocktails - Created by Stephanie Jerzy

Can you feel the tropics in the air? Left: Bite of Banana; Center: Banana Harbor; Right: Pineapple Swoon

My second creation was the Pineapple Swoon. I combined 1 part of the Hiram Walker Crème de Banana with ½ part mango rum and 2 parts pineapple juice into a shaker and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and you are presented with what I thought was a beautiful cocktail, again tasting super sweet on the palate.

With my third cocktail looming, I decided to try and steer away from the overtly sweet and create a skewed version of a mojito. The Bite of Banana cocktail found me muddling mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, adding  1 part Malibu® Coconut Rum, ¾ part Hiram Walker® Crème de Banana, ¾ part Lime Juice and topped off with 2 parts Club Soda. A bite of a banana wedge garnish while sipping this cocktail stands in as a replacement for the sugar in a traditional mojito. The banana and mint flavors did not pair quite as well together as I would have hoped, but I’m thinking the addition of either pineapple or lemon juice – or perhaps using lemon infused rum – would have alleviated this problem. Suggestions?

The clear winner among the office crew was…. The Banana Harbor! This sweet treat is a perfect patio sipper for all of your upcoming springtime activities – hey, maybe it can even make for a fun punch!  Can’t wait for my next “Secret Ingredient” Challenge – stay tuned, folks!

Banana Harbor – Created by Stephanie Jerzy
1 part Hiram Walker® Crème de Banana
½ part Malibu® Coconut Rum
2 parts Grapefruit Juice
Club Soda
3-4 pineapple chunks
Combine crème de banana, rum, and juice in a shaker and strain into a rocks glass. Top with a splash of club soda and add 3-4 pineapple chunks.


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Drink To: Elizabeth I

As part of Cocktail Culture’s recognition of Women’s History Month, we’re drinking to Queen Elizabeth I. She had a profound effect on British History and is perhaps best remembered for having expanded the empire overseas. Though she never got around to marrying, the Queen was able to nab herself a fiance some 21 years her junior-she was the original cougar. Which is why we felt it only appropriate to pair her with the following cocktail.

Cheers, Queen Elizabeth I!

Mrs. Robinson

1 ½ oz. Chivas Regal 12 yo

¼ oz. Crème de Framboise

¼ oz. Lillet Rouge

Dash Lemon Juice

Dash Simple Syrup

6 Raspberries

Muddle 4 raspberries in the base of a glass. Add the other ingredients and crushed ice, before stirring and crowning with crushed ice and two more raspberries.


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Winning Creation

Remember when I told you about Pernod Absinthe’s Creator Of contest earlier this year? Well, there was a great response from the artistic community and this month the winner was finally announced. Dan Sabau, a Brooklyn, NY artist, walked away with the top prize of $1,805 thanks to this lovely painting (left). I love how he worked the “1805” into the image.

Dan shows at the Yes Gallery in Brooklyn and was recently a part of the show “Never Say Goodbye,” which featured artists like Dee Dee Ramone, Exene Cirvenca and Marylin Minter, and was held in the Tower Records space on Broadway & 4th. His work was recently featured in the movie “Happythankyoumoreplease” which won an award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Dan hold a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts Degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Second place went to Christian Matzke, for his “Absinthe-minded Professor” video, which you can view on Pernod Absinthe’s Facebook page, and third place was a tie—with both Bret Herholz and Dana Boutin (their work is shown here as well) earning the recognition. Thank you to all who submitted work to the Creator Of contest and congratulations to the contest winner—fine work done by all!

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Drink To: Eleanor Roosevelt

As part of Cocktail Culture’s recognition of National Women’s History Month, we’re drinking to Eleanor Roosevelt. Former first lady and champion for Human Rights, Roosevelt helped to further the Women’s Right’s movement.  She was also an advocate for Civil Rights, and strove to promote the causes of the impoverished and unemployed.

Cheers, Eleanor!

Speyside Cosmopolitan

1 ½ oz. Chivas Regal 12 yo

½ oz. Crème de Framboise

1/3 oz. Fresh lime Juice

1 oz.  Cranberry Juice

Shake ingredients with ice in a cocktail mixing glass. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass.

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Spring Cleaning

Someone somewhere said that it’s officially Spring. I’m not sure I believe them. (Need I mention it’s 52 and raining in Avon while my hometown of Phoenix is enjoying 80 degrees and sunshine?! Psssh…) Nonetheless, it’s that time of year where I find myself actually gearing up to clean the apartment. Spring Cleaning is in full force!

This is The Dirty Bird in its less frequented days, well before I moved in.

My “To Do” list: After scrubbing in the kitchen, followed by an unearthing of that space once resembling a desk, the next spot reserved for my Spring Cleaning list is The Dirty Bird. The Dirty Bird is the home bar I share with my boyfriend, aptly dubbed from his surname, Siegel. Our other roommate, Ron, constructed the bar from scratch – impressive! (See attached photo)

However, despite being 10 feet long, there never seems to be enough storage space behind the bar. I am always scrounging around – using my phone for a light – searching for a particular bottle. There is no organization. So, before coming up with a system to line up the bottles, I felt it would be appropriate to finish off the seasonal products I have laying on the shelves.

Enter Hiram Walker’s Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread liqueurs.

Winter Sunshine Martini: I think the name speaks to the weather dilemma I recently wrote of in the Northeast.

2 parts ABSOLUT® Citron Vodka
1 part Hiram Walker® Gingerbread Liqueur
1 part Hiram Walker® Triple Sec.
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

Spicy Irish: Just because St. Patty’s has passed doesn’t mean we have to stop pretending to be Irish.

1¼ parts Jameson® Irish Whiskey
1 part Hiram Walker® Gingerbread Liqueur
Splash Ginger Ale.
Fill in a tall glass with ice. Pour ingredients as listed. Garnish with both a lemon and an orange wedge.

Smashing Pumpkin Martini: This sipper makes me want to cozy up next to the fireplace once again.

¾ part Beefeater® Gin
1¼ parts Hiram Walker® Pumpkin Spice
¾ part fresh sour mix (1 part each lemon & lime juices, 2 parts simple syrup)
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into cinnamon-sugar rimmed martini glass. Garnish and serve.

Cheers and happy cleaning!

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Mixology Monday – Punch

This month, Mixology Monday focused on the theme of punch and was hosted by Mike over at Hobson’s Choice. How could you think that Sam and I would pass over this topic?! It’s punch! Here is what our fellow blogger had to say on the topic:

Punch fell out of style in the United States decades ago as a result of a confluence of factors. The temperance movement was growing. Advances in the distillation and aging of liquors meant they didn’t need heavy manipulation to be enjoyed. And, perhaps most destructive of all, people started acting like they were too busy to enjoy a punch. As Wondrich writes in his most recent book, Imbibe!, “[t]o sit around a tavern ladling libations out of a capacious bowl was as much to confess that you didn’t have anywhere to be for the next few hours, and America was a go-ahead country, as everyone was always saying.”

I think it is time to reclaim the heritage. Sure you can go out to a bar and get a good punch in almost any big city in the US, but we shouldn’t be hesitant to have a few friends over, pull out the punch bowl and ladle away a few hours in the comfort of our own respective homes. But to do that, we are going to need recipes.

Another idea that Mike makes to consider when creating a crowd-pleasing punch is seasonality – most significantly in the use of the freshest berries and citrus. Master Distiller Desmond Payne developed Beefeater 24 using Japanese Sencha and Chinese Green teas as a botanical, which serves as a great compliment to the fruit. It can be utilized as our punch base year-round since, unfortunately, Avon is presently suffering from identity crisis with regards to the weather. One day it is sunny and up in the high-60s, the next it shoots back down to rainy and 40 degrees. It’s driving this Arizona native crazy!

Here are our two submissions for this Punch-themed Mixology Monday, since I just can’t figure out what time of year it really is.

Burroughs Festive Plum Punch

1 part Beefeater 24 Gin
1 part Sloe Gin
1 ½ parts lemon juice
½ part orange juice
¼ part simple syrup
1/8 part marmalade
1 ½ parts Belvoir spiced berry cordial
3 parts chilled Earl Grey tea
2 parts Prosecco

Mix first 8 ingredients in a punch bowl and chill with ice. Add Prosecco and garnish with berries, citrus wheels, plums, and grated nutmeg.

Summer Gin Punch

2 parts Beefeater 24 Gin
½ part Maraschino liqueur
½ part water
¼ part gomme syrup
¼ part lemon juice
½ part orange juice
1 part soda
1 lemon twist
1 orange twist
2 raspberries
2 chunks of diced pineapple

Build all ingredients in a mixing glass over ice, then transfer contents in a punch cup. Top with soda.

Rain or shine, I encourage you to enjoy!

Edit: Mike over at Hobson’s Choice did a wonderful wrap-up of the MxMo Punch event. This MxMo brought forth 37 recipes from 28 cocktail bloggers and enthusiasts.

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A Drink for the Lady

March is National Women’s History Month. That’s right, just like African-Americans we get one lousy month a year when the spotlight is on us. So what feminist struggle should I focus on? The wage gap? Reproductive rights? Domestic equality? All important issues, but I think I’ll stick to what I know best…booze!

More specifically, I’d like to talk Scotch. Scotch is seen primarily as a man’s drink—it conjures up images of fat old men smoking cigars in a dark library somewhere. Hey, I’m sure those fat old men love them some Scotch, but I’m here to tell you they’re not the only ones.

The fact that some women may prefer to reach for a Chivas on the rocks rather than a vodka tonic may shock you, but it’s the truth, Ruth! As a young woman, I get recommendations for fruit-tinis from bartenders (both male and female) and looks of utter surprise when I order a brown spirit. Times are changing, friends—just take a look at the ladies of LUPEC Boston to get a good idea of how the classy, contemporary gal enjoys a drink.

So I’ll be sharing a few Scotchtails dedicated to the ladies this month. Let’s raise a glass to raise awareness of the serious issue of gender drinking stereotypes. And while we’re at it, let’s honor a few trailblazers who’ve come before us. Let’s start out with the March Cocktail, shall we?

March Cocktail

1 ½ oz. Chivas Regal 12 yo

1 oz. Pineapple Juice

1/3 oz. Vanille Sugar Syrup

1/3 oz. Grenadine

6 Basil leaves

Smash the Basil leaves to release flavor. Add the other ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice.


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A Cocktail Journey

Screwdriver or Harvey Wallbanger.

White Russian or Toasted Almond.

Manhattan Perfect or Bone Dry.

These drinks are among the plethora (103 in total, thank   you very much!) that I’ve been learning to create over the past four days at bartending school. Yes, you read that right. Bartending school. Bartending school. Barten… you don’t even want to finish reading the words, let alone speak them out loud. Well, hear me out:

Formerly a waitress, a student, a journalist, and now a PR gal, I’ve never actually had the chance to add the title of bartender to my young resume. I yearned for my chance to be behind the bar during my days in the restaurant biz, but got out before I had the chance to develop the necessary skill sets. All the while, my excitement and enthusiasm for the spirits industry have only escalated. With the ardent goal of better communicating with and learning from you, the key players in this community, I’m taking on the challenge of learning to be a bartender. I’ve also enrolled in the Bar Smarts Advanced program and will be testing my knowledge at the live DC event (I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my bartending kit to practice at home!). Please email me and let me know if you will be there, too!

So what have I gotten out of said bartending school so far?

Dale DeGroff recently wrote for that “If you can make a simple Whiskey Sour, you have the template for hundreds of cocktails” and I think that holds true. I’ve learned a screwdriver (1 oz. vodka, fill with OJ) can become a Harvey Wallbanger by just adding a lace of Galliano. Swap the Galliano with sloe gin and you’ve got a Sloe Screw. It’s really simple! And fun! Time, dedication, and a love for the craft are what chiefly seem to separate the run-of-the-mill from the upper echelon of bartenders and mixologists.

I’ve also learned a great deal about Manhattans. Personally, I prefer the clear liquors – gin & tequila are easily my favorites – and got a good lesson in using sweet vermouth as opposed to the dry that typically  accompanies my gin martini.

The one major downfall I find with the program, however, is the liquor. All the major brand players are stocked behind the bar (which resembles more of a test kitchen with its long countertops as bar stations, barstools, and overabundance of sinks) but they are filled with dyed water instead of the liquor product itself. I find that to be a real flaw. What if a student doesn’t know the difference between a bourbon and a whisky? I’d think this would be the ideal environment to sample and learn the variance of all these products. The same could be said for a liqueur – wouldn’t it be wise to recognize the differences between Cointreau and a generic triple sec going into your margarita? That way you could tell your customer of the better product sitting on the shelf and, in the process, up-sell your drink.

So I have four more classes – 16 more hours – to go. Between this, and Bar Smarts, I am hopeful that I’ll be prepared for the challenges that come with being a bartender. But, more importantly, I will be better prepared do my job as a PR professional in the spirits industry. Plus – and I’m just throwing this out there – if anyone needs another body part-time behind the bar, I’m more than ready and able for the job : )


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St. Patty’s Tipples

Ah, St. Patty’s Day is upon us again. It seems just yesterday, I was sharing my faux-Irish background with you all and now here we are one year later, about to experience (again) what is arguably the greatest drinking holiday of them all. I’m actually on vacation right now (this post was written ahead of time) but if I were in the area you can bet I’d be taking a ride up to Boston to partake in a little St. Patty’s Day tippling. Is there a greater city in this country for such an event? I think not! Wherever you may be headed to pretend to be Irish this holiday, take down these recipes and demand them at once! Or you could just ask nicely, I suppose. Here are some newbies from Pernod & Beefeater 24.

Irish Sour:

1 ½ oz. Beefeater 24 Gin

2/3 oz. Suze

2/3 oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

½ oz. Yellow Chartreuse

2 barspoons Monin Green Tea Syrup

1 whole fresh egg white

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Irish Tea Party:

4 parts Sweetened Green Tea (chilled)

1 part Jameson Irish Whiskey

½ part Pernod Absinthe

Rinse rocks glass with Pernod Absinthe. Add ice. Pour Jameson over the ice. Add Green tea and garnish with a lime slice.



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