Monthly Archives: April 2010

Time to Indulge: Strawberry Kir

I’ve written this post in advance, but hopefully by now I will have completed (and, hopefully passed – although I won’t know the results for a few weeks) the Bar Smarts Advanced live course.

As a reward to myself, I think it’s worth indulging with a bit o’ the bubbly. And, at the beginning of it’s seasonal peak, there is nothing that says summertime treat more than a Strawberry Kir.

Strawberry Kir:

1 part Hiram Walker® Créme de Strawberry

4 parts chilled dry white wine (or Perrier-Jouët Champagne, if you’re feeling adventuresome like I am!)

Serve in a wine glass (or champagne flute) with or without ice. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

I will have much more event coverage in the coming days, so stay tuned kids. In the interim, cheers and many many congratulations to my fellow Bar Smarts compatriots!

– SJ

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Today’s the Day!

It’s finally here! I’m taking my BAR exam today!

I’ve been studying for four weeks for this day to test my spirits knowledge and bartending skills at Bar Smarts, presented by Pernod Ricard USA.

So here I am in Washington, D.C. preparing for a full day of tastings, discussions, cocktail demonstrations and, of course, the ever-menacing practical exam where I will be asked to make 3 cocktails in front of one of BAR’s judges. I’m talkin’ about the big players here: Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Doug Frost, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour, and Dave Wondrich (Have I mentioned that I’m incredibly nervous?).

A parting image – I leave you with a shot of the Blood and Sand cocktails I made during my last night of practice at the Dirty Bird. I’m still trying to perfect that Flaming Twist of DeGroff’s, sigh….

Tune back in soon, fellow readers, for a recap of my day-long adventure in bar education.

Have a great day!


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Blueberry Passion Mojito

Although “July Belongs to Blueberries”, I did recently discover that tomorrow, April 28th, is National Blueberry Pie Day. And, considering I’ve been in the habit lately of turning desserts into drinks, (the only kind of dessert, right?!) I couldn’t pass up this scrumptious opportunity! I present to you… a Blueberry Passion Mojito!

Blueberry Passion Mojito:

2 parts Seagram’s Rum

2 parts Hiram Walker® Blueberry Passion Schnapps

Juice of 1 large lime

4-6 mint leaves

Splash of Club Soda

Muddle the mint leaves in a Collins glass until essence is released. Add ice to fill glass. Add lime juice, rum, and Blueberry Schnapps. Roll back and forth between a mixing glass. Top with soda and garnish with mint leaves.


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24 Drinks with Beefeater 24: The Rendezvous

Cocktail Culture’s going to keep the gin drinks coming with “24 drinks with Beefeater 24,” a warm-weather series that’ll stretch through summer and provide you with some delectably light cocktails.

Next up is The Rendezvous by Antonio Simonetti of the Hoxton Pony. It’s a lovely cocktail that balances bright citrus notes with the perfect touch of bitter and sweet. Don’t fear the egg white! It adds a wonderful frothy texture and makes the drink look simply divine.

The Rendezvous (2/24)

1 ½ oz. Beefeater 24 gin

1 ½ barspoons of Bitter Orange Marmalade

½  oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

2/3 oz. Orgeat syrup

1/3 oz. egg white

¼ oz. Maraschino liqueur

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled coupette. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry and Grapefruit zest.



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Tim Burton & Absinthe

Something about that combination just makes sense, huh? Pernod Absinthe thought so too. That’s why the brand sponsored last month’s Burtonalia, an intimate look at Tim Burton’s MoMA exhibition. The exhibition, which featured everything from Burton’s childhood drawings through his mature work in film, was a wonderful success and Burtonalia featured the addition of “variety show” of sorts—inspired by the filmmaker’s unique vision. To see more images from the event, check out their Flickr page.



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24 Drinks with Beefeater 24: Blue Velvet

Cocktail Culture’s going to keep the gin drinks coming with 24 drinks with Beefeater 24, a warm-weather series that’ll stretch through summer and provide you with some delectably light cocktails.

We’ll get things started with this refreshing tipple from Ruby & Sequoia’s Tomas Lenko.

Blue Velvet (1/24)

1 ½ oz. Beefeater 24 gin

Fresh blueberries

1/3 oz. honey

1/3 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 oz. simple syrup

2/3 oz. Sloe Gin

Muddle blueberries in the base of a shaker. Add ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into an ice-filled glass.


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Celebrate Pernod’s origin with a special discount

Dear fellow tippler,

You spent your whole paycheck on bar tabs and fancy liquors again, didn’t you? We know just how you feel.

To help balance your booze budget, there’s a coupon just for you! The good folks at Pernod Absinthe are offering a coupon to Facebook users who become an online fan of the acclaimed liquor. Now through May 18th, you can earn a rebate of $18.05 (chosen after the year the absinthe was originally developed) for one purchased 750 mL bottle of Pernod Absinthe. But you have to be a Facebook fan to reap the benefits!

So before you next plan to blow your bankroll at the local liquor store (yup, we’re both on a first name basis there, too…), sign up to be a Pernod Absinthe Facebook fan. You will feel rewarded knowing that you will be able to still eat that night with all the moola you’ll be saving.  😀

Enjoy this special discount from the Creators of Absinthe in 1805!

Your friends at Cocktail Culture

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National Peach Cobbler Day

Today is National Peach Cobbler Day. Why today? I haven’t a clue. But I’m sure it’s a wonderful opportunity for Paula Dean to make another sickly sweet Southern dessert involving far too many sticks of butter (I can feel my arteries clogging as I write this).

Rather than bake a Peach Cobbler on this designated day, let’s instead stir up a few scrumptious White Peach cocktails, using our Hiram Walker White Peach Schnapps. Both of these recipes can be found on the Hiram Walker website.

White Peach Blossom Martini – So simple; so sweet!

1 part ABSOLUT® Mandarin
1 part Hiram Walker® White Peach Schnapps
½ part Pineapple Juice

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange slice.

White Peach Paloma – Brightens up the flavors from your classic margarita!

1 oz. Gold Tequila
¾ oz. Hiram Walker White Peach Schnapps
2 oz. Fresh Sour Mix
1 oz. Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

Combine ingredients in shaker w/ ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into glass w/ ice and salt rim. Garnish with lime corkscrew and a frozen peach slice and serve.

These two tipples make for a great deck or patio sipper right now, as the White Peach Schnapps – just like its true fruit counterpart – is at its seasonal peak!



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Scotch for Spring

New England is infamous for its quirky, quick-changing weather and that’s certainly been the case in Connecticut this month. Not two weeks ago our basements were flooded and the National Guard was actually called into our small town to help control the flood. Days later we had record high temps and sunshine. Currently, we’re somewhere in between but I’m hoping (if only for the sake of our newly-planted grass) that the weather starts leaning in Summer’s direction.

April’s Scotchtail is perfect for this time of year (no matter what the weather’s doing) and the flavor combo of grapefruit and honey is divine! Easy-to-make, too! What more could you ask for?

April Cocktail

1 ½ Chivas Regal 12 yo

1 ½ oz. Ruby Grapefruit Juice

2 barspoons honey

Dash Grapefruit bitters

Stir the honey in the empty old fashioned glass. Add the whisky and continue until dissolved. Following the addition of the Grapefruit Juice, top with crushed ice.

If grapefruit isn’t your style, try this light and refreshing drink that would be fantastic through summer!


1 ½ oz Chivas Regal 12 yo

¾ oz. Monin Mandarin Syrup

¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Peach Juice

Tonic water.

Shake all ingredients (except tonic) together in a Boston shaker. Pour over ice and top with tonic water. Garnish with sliced apple.




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Black Bear, Black Bear, what do you see?

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed my many, and perhaps ridiculous, tweets on April Fool’s Day exclaiming that there was a Black Bear traversing around my office window. I assure you, friends, this was no joke! There was a Black Bear – a very big Black Bear at that – just hanging around a mere five feet from where I sit every work day. Insane!

Anyways – so clearly, back in the office after long weekend, I still have the bear on the brain. Black Bear, Black Bear, what do you see? I see two Kahlúa cocktails staring back at me!

Brown Bear
(Ok, ok – it’s a Black Russian. But did you know the most common bear to live in Russia is the Brown Bear?)

2 parts Kahlúa
1 part ABSOLUT Vodka

Pour over ice in a rocks glass.

Brave Señorita
(This Brave Bull shooter is supposed to refer back to me. But who am I kidding? I was so puzzled and scared. Sigh…)

1 part Kahlúa
1 ½ parts tequila

Serve neat, with a lime wedge.


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