Monthly Archives: July 2010

Recapping (and recuoping) from Tales

While there is plenty more coverage to come I thought I’d just share a quick update with you all that I have returned to Connecticut after a fantastic trip to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. Needless to say, my liver has been a bit “overworked” and my arteries are clogged with fried deliciousness. I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

So here’s the quick rundown. I went to New Orleans and, instead of a lousy t-shirt, I came back with:

  • My own copy of Jill DeGroff’s book, “Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar”
  • Not one, but two hats, acquired from the Beefeater Welcome Reception and Ricard Midnight Petanque, respectively. Sadly, I traveled by but did not enter Meyer’s hat shop on St. Charles, much to RumDood’s disappointment (I was on the streetcar at the time…)
  • A beautiful glass bottle etched by hand that at one point contained Mandarine Napoleón XO, a product that is not currently available in the states
  • Visions of chartreuse swizzles, courtesy of the Mixo House
  • And expanded knowledge on a wide range of subjects, from discussing emerging social media practices to exploring the sense of Umami
  • A plethora of business cards from all the new acquaintances I met and cannot wait to keep in touch with

I look forward to sharing more with you as I recap and detox from this wonderful five-day adventure. But in the interim, I would love to hear from you 1) your favorite memories from Tales and 2) the best thing (swag, spirit, bitters, tchatchkes) you managed to sneak back home in your suitcase.


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24 hours ’til Tales

New England’s recent sweltering heat wave (complete with humidity that this desert gal is not quite experienced in dealing with) was certainly great preparation for my upcoming descent upon New Orleans, the unofficially official birthplace of the cocktail. The occasion is Tales of the Cocktail, the spirits industry’s premier event for bartenders, bloggers, liquor reps, and brand ambassadors, and enthusiasts, among others to gather and celebrate the culture of the cocktail community.

There is still much more to learn upon my arrival from those veterans who have attended Tales before and – more importantly – survived. I’m slightly afraid for the safety of my liver, but as they say: When in NOLA, do as the N’awlins do or, rather, drink as the N’awlins drink.  Selena of The Dizzy Fizz did a great write-up of tips from the pros that have conquered this event before, so give it a read. If you have more tips and suggestions, please get in touch!

Anyways, since I can’t imagine any of you would be interested here in tracking my every move at Tales (plus, that’s what Twitter is around for. No stalkers, please.), here’s what I’m most looking forward to during my NOLA adventures. In no particular order:

  • The Beefeater Welcome Reception for a truly exciting Tales kickoff filled with Beefeater gin cocktails! It’s Wednesday evening at the Contemporary Arts Center , which looks to be a beautiful facility. I’ll be taking off from the CAC to the Elms Mansion for A Promenade of Jubilation, presented by William Grant & Sons
  • Breakfast at THE breakfast establishment, Brennan’s. Oh Banana’s Foster, here I come!
  • Celebrating the spirit of Le Paris at a Spirited Luncheon at Antoine’s. I’ll be there to celebrate French food and, of course, cocktails.
  • And then there’s the Tales Spirited Dinner series. We’re off to Le Meritage to enjoy a great meal with cocktails prepared by Jeffery and Jonathan Pogash.
  • You’ll probably catch me bright and early most mornings grabbing a complimentary cup (or two) of Joe at the Kahlúa Coffee Bar, along with a Kahlúa-inspired cocktail from Kaiser Penguin called “Black Paloma”.
  • Beignets and Po’boys
  • Catching some live music. The Tales After Dark series at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse has me intrigued, particularly the Brazilian-influenced Chegado.
  • Wednesday is also Steve Raye’s birthday so I’m sure we’ll be hoisting a few glasses to his youth. 😉 Join up and celebrate with us!

See you in NOLA!

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The Hemingway Daiquiri

Keeping in the spirit of yesterday’s celebratory Daiquiri Day, I wanted to share another favorite rum recipe of mine, the Hemingway Daiquiri. This is one of my favorite cocktails to make at home, but I brought this author’s classic to the office for a farewell Tiki party for our friend and co-worker, Samantha.

Sam has been writing Cocktail Culture since Day 1 and I’m sure had the opportunity to meet many of you over her several years with our marketing team. She has been an integral part of our Social Media Marketing (SMM). But, alas, all good things must come to an end; Sam has recently chosen to leave us to return to school and pursue other goals outside the spirits industry. We all wish her the best of luck!

Hemingway Daiquiri
1 ½ oz Light rum
¼ oz Maraschino liqueur
¾ oz Lime juice
¼ oz Grapefruit juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

I hope to keep Cocktail Culture running in the same informative, newsworthy, and sometimes silly manner in which Sam started this blog. If we haven’t yet connected, please feel free to reach out via email, available on our About page.


Farewell party for Sam (center), BAT's original cocktail girl. Other team members are (L to R) Constance C, yours truly, Anthony K, Kayla J. And, yes, I'm drinking my Daiquiri from a wine glass, deal with it. We were out of clean cocktail glassware by this point.

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National Daiquiri Day

What a heavily inspired month to be a rum fan! We started the month off early with National Piña Colada Day and now today, July 19th, is National Daiquiri Day. I think a Tiki party is in due order somewhere…

But let’s not waste anymore time and get to planning our Daiquiri Day! While I’m all for the classic recipe (light rum, lime juice, simple syrup), there’s something that seems very ‘nostalgic’ to be about the frozen, blended kind on a day like today. So while Jay-Z keeps busy sippin’ on his Mai Tais, I’m gonna  give this Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri the affection it deserves on this most distinguished of holidays.

Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri
2 oz Light rum
1/2 oz Hiram Walker Triple Sec
1 oz Lime juice
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 cup ice
Fresh strawberries

Combine all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. Pour into a collins or hurricane glass and serve with a straw.



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Cocktail Musings with Beefeater Summer Edition

You finally got yourself that bottle of Beefeater Summer Edition Gin, right? Oh, come on, summer is nearly half over! It’s time to get on your A-game and pick one up before this limited edition bottle is no longer available.

But what will you make with this light and airy gin? I’m so glad you asked. Beefeater Summer Edition recently sponsored an evening in the Mixoloseum chat room with members of the CSOWG for Thursday Drink Night. With this summery gin as the muse, we had some fantastic recipes developed throughout the evening. Here’s a few cocktail ideas to put that bottle to good use; however, I would be sure to revert back to these guys’ own posts, as they explain their own madness behind their musings.

Pinky Nutscadero, By Camper English
2 oz Beefeater Summer Edition
1 oz Castries
4 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters.
Shaken, served up.

Thames River, By Frederic Yarm
1.5 oz Beefeater Summer Edition
.75 oz Pimms #1
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 Crème de cassis
.25 simple syrup (1:1 ratio syrup and water)
Shake/strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

I’m also excited to share that I will be attending the Beefeater Welcome Reception at Tales of the Cocktail on Wednesday. If it’s anything like the display they had as part of the Opening Gala at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, I’m sure the combination of Beefeater, Beefeater 24, and Beefeater Summer drinks will be off the charts!


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Share your Simpletini

Have you concocted an elegant, yet simple recipe that your friends and family all adore? Well, what are you waiting for? Share it with the spirits and cocktail community!

Drink of the Week has teamed with Hiram Walker to present the “Simpletini Contest”, a challenge for home mixologists to create a fantastic new drink recipe which calls for no more than three ingredients. There’s a good chance to win a cocktail kit from Hiram Walker complete with a cocktail blender if your cocktail stands out among the rest!

Entering the contest is as simple as 1-2-3. Drink of the Week has the full scoop here on how to submit your three-ingredient Simpletini recipe and photo. But, you have to act fast! You only have until July 17th to send in your cocktail recipe.

Don’t have an idea yet for your drink recipe? There’s plenty of examples to get the mixology wheels rolling when you visit .

Leave a comment

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Ready, Set, Blend!

A traditional Pina Colada. Give the Melon Colada a try for an exotic green drink.

National Piña Colada Day took place this past weekend and you can bet I was entertaining with friends and Piña Coladas (and, yes, we actually got caught up in the rain on Saturday…).

Now that the holiday has come and gone for another year, I had some fun thinking of variations to this tropical treat. Here is a fun twist to the classic which nixes the coconut flavor. The Melon Colada has a vibrant green color, and imparts the fresh aroma of juicy, ripe honeydew melons.

The best part? The Melon Colada certainly doesn’t need any accompanying holiday. Just add surf, sand, and sunshine to enjoy this blended drink recipe all summer long.

Melon Colada
1 part Hiram Walker Melon Liqueur
1 part Malibu rum
1 part Pineapple juice
1 part Colada Mix

Blend with crushed ice and serve in a hurricane glass.


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Kahlua’s Featured Brunch Cocktail: Black Paloma

"Black Paloma" cocktail from Rick Stutz, as prepared by Meaghan Dorman of The Raines Law Room, NYC.

The time has come to finally reveal the drink Kahlúa has selected to feature at Tales of the Cocktail. It’s Kaiser Penguin himself, Rick Stutz, and his exciting “Black Paloma” cocktail!

In case you haven’t been following along at home, Kahlúa coffee liqueur offered up a challenge to participants in the Cocktail and Spirits Online Writers Group ( online chat room event – The Mixoloseum – to create a Kahlúa Brunch Drink perfect for the industry’s premier cocktail festival that starts up July 21 in New Orleans. Then we let loose Head Bartender and 2010 Tales Apprentice Meaghan Dorman of NYC’s The Raines Law Room to stir up the beverages for our thirsty judges. A panel of beverage industry and marketing professionals together selected Stutz’s “Black Paloma” from a group of finalists, many of which I featured here, here, here, oh, and here.

Kahlúa, the world’s number one coffee liqueur, will be serving delicious java and Kahlúa concoctions daily from 8:30 – 10:30 am at the Tales of the Cocktail Kahlúa Coffee Bar in NOLA. Along with an assortment of hot and iced brews, Stutz’s “Black Paloma” recipe will be stirred up by bartenders from many notable New Orleans hot spots.

“Rick’s drink stood out to us for its exciting fusion of citrus and tequila, and because the Kahlúa shined through so beautifully. Also, we thought it would pair well with classic brunch foods,” said Kahlúa Senior Brand Manager Michelle Sanders, “On our recent trips to Veracruz, Mexico, where Kahlúa has its deeply-rooted history, we’ve found that Kahlúa is often paired with fresh lime juice. It’s something you wouldn’t expect, but it’s phenomenal, and speaks to the drink’s versatility.  Rick’s ‘Black Paloma’ recipe perfectly captured that very same essence.”

Black Paloma By Rick Stutz:

Black Paloma, By Rick Stutz

1.5 parts blanco tequila
1.5 parts Kahlúa®
.75 part Fresh Lime Juice
.5 part Fresh Grapefruit Juice
Pinch Salt
Top with Club Soda
Glass: Collins
Method: Fill the glass with ice and add the tequila, Kahlúa, salt, and juices. Top it off with club soda.

Congratulations to Rick for his phenomenal Kahlúa Brunch Drink recipe. We can’t wait to start each day with a Black Paloma at Tales! And many thanks to Meaghan and Kyle of Raines Law Room for stirring up all of our delicious finalists.



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Kahlúa Now and Then

My mom's winning ad sketches for Kahlúa campaign back in 1979. Way to go, Mom! Makes me thank our lucky stars for design software today.

Don’t adjust your dials, cocktailians. The old Kahlúa ad you have just stumbled upon is surprisingly not a feature on A Dash of Bitters , it’s still me here at Cocktail Culture.

Back in “nineteen-seventy-mumble-mumble…” (well, that’s how she says it!) my mother was an aspiring graphic design student at Syracuse University. Kahlúa approached her class with an opportunity to make some sketches for an ad campaign. Her sketches were selected and she was generously paid the sum of $300. Oh, how the times – and, drinks! – have changed. There is so much more variety for the original coffee rum today than just a White Russian, Black Russian, or Kahlúa Coffee. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…

Here are two more drinks that were submitted during a Kahlúa-sponsored Thursday Drink Night in the Mixoloseum and were up for consideration to be featured at the Kahlúa Coffee Bar at Tales of the Cocktail.

Dolemit, By Gabriel Szaszko
4 oz whole milk
1 ½ oz brandy
1 oz Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
½ oz Trader Tiki’s Vanilla Syrup

Look at all that attention to detail!

½ oz Benedictine
2 dashes mole bitters

Shake/strain into a pint glass half-filled with ice. Top with grated nutmeg and 3 cardamom speared on a cocktail pin.

Breakfast Bracer Flip, By Paul Clarke
1 ½ oz Maker’s Mark
1 oz Kahlúa Coffee Liqueur
1 whole egg

Shake with ice, strain, and garnish with a grated coffee bean.

My next blog post will highlight the cocktail to be featured at the Kahlúa Coffee Bar during Tales of the Cocktail.  Keep the drum roll humming (just like your Vuvuzelas) for just a tad bit longer. I promise this drink is nothing like Mommy Dearest’s sketches (sorry Mom!)

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Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl

At Stoddard's Fine Food & Ale, Pernod Absinthe is served for guests in its traditional form: the fountain. Photos courtesy of Frederic Yarm.

Absinthe was center stage in Boston two weeks ago as Pernod Absinthe hosted Bean Town’s finest cocktail and food writers for an evening of immaculate food and drink pairings.

For the Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl, attendees were chauffeured in 1930s era limousines to three cocktail destinations around the city: Stoddard’s, Russell House Tavern, and Drink. Absinthe’s role was notably defined in each of the drinks, ranging from the classic (Sazerac, Corpse Reviver) to the inventive (see the La Montagne d’Or below). Alas, I was not in attendance at said Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl. Good thing Boston’s own Cocktail Slut, Frederic Yarm, was present and can better retell the evening’s adventures.

When Fred and I chatted about his Absinthe adventure this recipe prepared by Russell House Tavern’s Aaron Butler particularly caught my eye; the color of the drink was stunning and, upon looking at the ingredients, I was confident I could attempt to recreate this treat at home. La Montagne d’Or was further explained to me as being a variation of the rhum agricole-based Dr. Funk. Here’s the recipe:

La Montagne d’Or

Aaron Butler of Russell House Tavern pours La Montagne d'Or for guests of the Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl.

2 1/2 oz Montanya Oro Rum
1 oz Lemon juice
1/2 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz Pernod Absinthe
1 Dash Peychaud Bitters

Definitely check back on Cocktail Slut to see all the musings and Pernod drink recipes from the Absinthe Boston Bar Crawl. Many thanks go out to Jamie Walsh at Stoddard’s Fine Food & Ale, Aaron Butler (with some assistance from Corey Bunnewith) at Russell House Tavern, and Cali Gold and John Gertsen at Drink.



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