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Thanksgiving Cocktails!

It’s almost here! With only two days left it’s very important to prep your palates for an overload of food and beverages and to stock your kitchens and bars with all of the ingredients you need for a perfect Thanksgiving. While I leave the cooking to the experts, I can help you to plan your cocktail menu! Here are a couple of Thanksgiving cocktails that all are sure to enjoy this holiday season!

If you’re in New England or the Northeast, chances are you are going to be extremely cold this Thursday, warm up a little quicker with an Absolut Apeach Toddy:

  • 2 parts Absolut Apeach
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • 1 dash Honey
  • 1 part Apple Juice (hot)

Build all ingredients into a footed toddy glass, and garnish.

Because it’s not Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie (martinis):

Combine ingredients in shaker w/ ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass. Garnish and serve.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday! If you over-drink, don’t drive and if you over-eat, make sure you’re wearing comfy pants 😉


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National Absinthe Day!

Today is National Absinthe Day and Pernod Absinthe is celebrating the day in style. Check out the company release below for more information on Pernod’s celebrations as well as tips to becoming an Absinthe connoisseur and cocktail recipes so you can celebrate on your own:

Pernod Absinthe® Celebrates National Absinthe Day

New York, New York (March 5th, 2013) – Pernod Absinthe, the original and most authentic absinthe ever produced, will honor National Absinthe Day today with a dedicated event in New York City and celebratory cocktails at select bars and restaurants across the country. A classic spirit that was banned in 1912 – and lifted 5 years ago this summer – absinthe has long been an inspiration for artists, writers, and bartenders alike. On National Absinthe Day, Pernod Absinthe invites cocktail lovers everywhere to enjoy this unique spirit, a drink that is known for driving the cocktail renaissance in the United States and abroad.

“National Absinthe Day is an opportunity to push the barriers of your comfort zone; this beverage brings a mysterious and bold aura that no other spirit can offer,” said Pernod Absinthe Brand Ambassador Anne-Louis Marquis. “This occasion is the perfect opportunity to honor and celebrate this often misunderstood spirit. In addition to being a classic spirit, absinthe carries with it a cultural influence that has inspired some of the most well-renown creatives of the 19th century, including Ernest Hemingway and Edgar Degas.”

Pernod Absinthe is a high proof spirit distilled from Grand Warmwood, fennel, and anise. Its unique light green hue, herbaceous nose, and creamy sweet anise dominant taste characteristics come directly from these three plants.

In celebration of National Absinthe Day, several well-known bars and restaurants will be serving custom absinthe cocktails to guests and patrons including Maison Premiere (New York City), Booker and Dax (New York City), Dead Rabbit (New York City), and Apotheke (New York City).*

Pernod Absinthe offers the below tips to help demystify absinthe, and encourages cocktail lovers everywhere to enjoy one of the special absinthe cocktail recipes the brand has created especially for this annual celebration.

Become an Absinthe Connoisseur – The Ritual of Drinking Absinthe

Absinthe is often served in a traditional ritual:

  1. 1.     Pour a measure of absinthe in an absinthe glass
  2. 2.     Place a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon on top of the glass
  3. 3.     Drip ice-cold water on the sugar cube to slowly dissolve it
  4. 4.     Add three to six parts water to the glass
  5. Take your time, sip. The slower, the better


Absinthe Cocktails:


Telltale Heart

½ part Pernod Absinthe

½ part Crème Yvette

Sugar cube



Hada Verde

2 Parts blanco tequila

1 Part Pernod Absinthe

2 Parts lime juice

¾ Parts simple syrup

muddled fresh rosemary

sea salt


Green Beast

1 Part Absinthe

1 Part lime juice

1 Part simple

4 parts water

Sliced cucumbers

Served over ice




About Pernod Ricard USA®


Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA, which employs more than 18,000 people worldwide and is listed on the NYSE Euronext exchange (Ticker: RI).


The company’s leading spirits and wines include such prestigious brands as Absolut® Vodka, Chivas Regal® Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Malibu®, Kahlúa® Liqueur, Beefeater® Gin, Plymouth™ Gin, Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin®, Martell® Cognac, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Pernod®, Ricard® and Avión™ Tequila (through a joint venture with Tequila Avión); such superior wines as Jacob’s Creek® and Brancott Estate®; and such exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouët® Champagne, G.H. Mumm™ Champagne and Mumm Napa® sparkling wines.


Pernod Ricard USA is based in Purchase, New York, and has roughly 850 employees across the country. Pernod Ricard USA urges all adults to consume its products responsibly and has an active campaign to promote responsible drinking. For more information on this, please visit:

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National Margarita Day!

The Classic- Hiram Walker Triple Sec Margarita

The Classic- Hiram Walker Triple Sec Margarita

Happy National Margarita Day everyone! If you live in the Northeast like I do, you’re most likely sick of the cold and the snow and are in desperate need of a vacation. Your Margarita Day celebrations are the perfect opportunity to turn your average Friday night party into a tropical themed get away. Crank the heat, blast some Jimmy Buffet and most importantly, mix up some Margaritas.

Classic Triple Sec Margarita

Shake & strain into a salt-rimmed rocks glass.

Mini Margaritas

  • 1 part Malibu Red
  • ½ Part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • ½ Part Fresh Lime

Shake and strain into a shot glass


  • 1½ parts Avion Silver Tequila
  • 1 part Hiram Walker® Peach Schnapps
  • ¼ part Hiram Walker® Triple Sec
  • ½ part Lime Juice

Shake or blend with ice into salt-rimmed margarita glass.

Whether you prefer yours flavored, frozen, on the rocks, or in a shot glass, be sure to mix up your favorite margarita and toast to the cocktail so famous it has a chain of restaurants named in its honor.

Enjoy and happy National Margarita Day!


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Baltimore Beverages for Super Bowl XLVII

As you may have read in some of my earlier posts on Cocktail Culture, I am a NY Giants fan. While I am, of course, deeply saddened by their inability to make the Super Bowl (let alone the playoffs) I am excited that the Baltimore Ravens will have a chance at winning it all! This may seem unorthodox for a Giants fan, but I went to college in Baltimore and after living there for four years, I love Charm City, and I will be rooting for Baltimore this Sunday!

Since I unfortunately can’t be in Baltimore for the Super Bowl (don’t feel too bad, I was in Baltimore when the Ravens beat the Patriots last Sunday and it was fabulous) I’m going to try to bring Baltimore to me.  In one of my previous posts from this summer: “Crab cakes and football”…and Crushes, I wrote about a trip to Baltimore that involved lots of Orange (and other flavored) Crushes. Both crab cakes and Crushes will definitely be making an appearance at my Super Bowl gathering this Sunday, along with Old Bay to season my fries and wings, and of course some Berger Cookies for dessert.

Here’s a recipe for an Orange Crush:

  • 1 part Absolut Mandarin
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • 1 part Fresh squeezed Orange Juice
  • Splash of Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Orange slice garnish

Enjoy and Go Baltimore!

Downtown Baltimore after winning the AFC Championship! Photo courtesy of D. Zanzero!

Downtown Baltimore after winning the AFC Championship! Photo courtesy of D. Zanzero!


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Ring in 2013 with ABSOLUT TUNE

Unfortunately Christmas is over and the rush of opening presents, feasting on turkey and desserts, and enjoying eggnog and festive cocktails has come and gone. Luckily, there is one more bright light up ahead to distract us from the post-holiday depression, and that is New Year’s Eve! There are many different ways that people celebrate the New Year: standing in crowded Time’s Square to watch the ball drop, sitting at home by a fire, going out to dinner, or going out on the town! For me, New Year’s Eve is one last time to mingle and be merry with friends that have come home for the holidays before everyone disperses once again, which always makes it a special night. I also LOVE getting the party favors that are handed out on NYE, including tiaras, noise makers, tacky sunglasses, you name it I’ll be wearing it!



No matter how you choose to ring in the New Year, you will most likely have champagne included in the equation. Here is a bubbly alternative to toast with this year:

ABSOLUT Tune (14% abv./ 28 proof): ABSOLUT’s newest innovation is ABSOLUT Tune, a sparkling fusion of ABSOLUT Vodka and Sauvignon Blanc. The bottle comes with an outer sleeve that tears away as if being unzipped, revealing a black and gold glass bottle that will be a stylish (and tasty) accompaniment to your New Year’s Eve celebrations! Enjoy chilled or try a new spin on your classic mimosa:

Screwdriver Mimosa

  • 4 Parts Chilled ABSOLUT TUNE™
  • 1 Part Chilled Orange Juice
  • Splash of Hiram Walker Triple Sec (optional)
  • Garnish with an Orange Twist

If you want to impress your friends (and you know you all want to) show up at this year’s festivities with a bottle of ABSOLUT Tune.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!


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As I’m sure you’ve heard from just about everybody’s Facebook status today, it is 12.12.12! Personally, I prefer the number 9, so in September of 2009 I was much more excited… but I suppose this is still a big deal since this is the last time a date like this will occur until January 1 of 2101!

To celebrate such a historic date (that really hasn’t been all that historic at all, except for maybe the number of weddings that are going to occur throughout the day) I thought it best to toast all of the brides and grooms out there with a sparkling cocktail!

Persephone Royale:

  • .5 oz Hiram Walker Pomegranate Liqueur
  • .5 oz Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Beefeater 24 gin
  • 2 oz of Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Moscato

Directions: Build ingredients in a martini glass and top with Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Moscato. Garnish with frozen cranberries (dropped in).

Enjoy everybody and Happy 12.12.12 🙂


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BarSmarts Advanced Kansas City: Part 2

Continued from Part 1 practical exam

…The majority of the bartenders filed back into the General Session room to take the written portion of the BarSmarts exam (a 100 question test that required a 70 or higher to pass) while another group of bartenders headed upstairs to complete the practical portion of the test.

The practical portion of the exam was one that Paul Pacult described as an event that “could be a reality show” and he was completely accurate on that! The room was set up with 11 individual bar stations, fully stocked with tools, liquors, garnishes, ice etc. Each station also came equipped with a BarSmarts judge holding a clipboard, ready to be served.

As 11 students at a time entered into the practical room, they were given a minute or two to become familiar with their bar, and then it was testing time. Each student had 8 minutes to prepare the 3 drinks that their customer (BarSmarts judge) asked for, while paying attention to proper ingredients, proper technique and proper bar etiquette.

It was clear they had all spent plenty of time studying and practicing, as they looked prepared, but I was nervous just watching these guys! It did however make me very proud of Cocktail Culture’s own Stephanie J., who completed the BarSmarts Advanced exam last year. You can read about her experience with BarSmarts here!

I am so glad I had the opportunity to observe such an awesome event (thank you Pernod Ricard USA) and hopefully the next time I attend I will be participating in the exams instead of just observing!

If any of you are interested in signing up for BarSmarts (and I highly recommend you do) check out their Wired (online) program as well as their awesome Advanced program.



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3 Must Have Thanksgiving Drinks!

Hiram Walker Pumpkin Pie Martini, perfect for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I for one am extremely excited! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and while I do love Christmas and the ‘season of giving’, how can you beat a holiday that is comprised of eating, drinking, watching football and then napping when all of those activities become too strenuous?! The answer is you can’t…

Here are 3 cocktail recipes that fit in perfectly with the activities of the holiday:

The Pumpkin Pie Martini: You all know the joke…and especially on Thanksgiving it’s completely acceptable to ‘have your cake (pie) and drink it too!’

Combine ingredients in shaker w/ ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass. Garnish and serve.

The CosmoWHIPolitan: If pumpkin isn’t really your thing, this sweet treat is the perfect drink to accompany a day of feasting.

  • 1 part Hiram Walker Whipped Liqueur
  • 1.5 parts Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • 1.5 parts Cranberry Juice
  • .5 part fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients in shaker and strain into chilled cocktail glass.  Garnish with an orange twist.

The Pumpkintini: If pumpkin is your thing, but you need to save more room for the actual dessert, this martini is a little less sweet than the Pumpkin Pie Martini…but still delicious!

  • 1 part Absolut Vodka (Regular or Vanilia)
  • 1 part Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon.

Enjoy and happy feasting/drinking/napping everyone 🙂


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BarSmarts Advanced Kansas City: Part 1

Kansas City view from the hotel!

In the hallway outside of Spectators Bar in Kansas City, over 130 anxious BarSmarts students are rattling off ingredients and drink names from flash cards and work books, getting in any last minute cramming  they can before they are off to take their BarSmarts exams (BarSmarts is a bartender education and certification program that was created by Pernod Ricard USA and BAR, for more information look HERE). In just a few hours, in the same bar they are standing outside of, the tests will be over and the BAR Partners (Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steven Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich) will be buying everyone a celebratory shot of Jameson, as promised by Doug Frost during the morning’s General Session. Today wasn’t solely about passing the exam; it was about the information and celebration of the cocktail community. (Although passing and becoming BarSmarts certified, as well as a member of the USBG, is a prize that everyone was hoping to receive!)

Steve Olsen and Paul Pacult leading the tasting

The morning started with the General Sessions, and from 9-11 am, Steve, Doug and Paul took the group through an extensive blind tasting of 6 spirits(all 6 spirits were from Pernod Ricard’s amazing portfolio, so don’t feel too bad for these guys), refreshing everything these students had been practicing in the weeks leading up to the test. The BAR Partners have turned the process of blind tasting into an art form, identifying each individual scent and flavor of the spirits. The students had clearly done their homework, and were shouting out what they could detect within the spirits as well, and they all sounded ready to ace the blind tasting portion of their exam.

Andy Seymour and Dale DeGroff discussing bar tools

From 11:30-1 Andy, Dale and Dave took us through a history lesson of cocktails and bar tools. I was never a huge history buff when I was in school, but I could’ve listened to these guys for hours.Their knowledge of the industry and the culture of the cocktail community was incredible, and their passion to share this information with everyone made listening even more enjoyable (although the punches that Mr. DeGroff and Mr. Wondrich made to accompany their discussion made listening more enjoyable as well!)

Wondrich and 2 bottles of Jameson ready to make punch!

After the morning sessions were over it was time for lunch, which was simply a large room full of nervous bartenders rushing to finish their sandwiches so they could squeeze in some more studying before the exam. I have never seen a more serious group of bartenders, which goes to show just how important passing their certification was!  Just before 2 o’clock it was time for the tests…

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Boston Cocktail Summit: On the Town with Dale DeGroff

Dale DeGroff singing for the room

The final event I attended at the Boston Cocktail Summit was “On the Town with Dale DeGroff”. While I wish there was a way for me to share with you all of the highlights of the show, I don’t think my words will be able to do the event justice. Pernod Ricard, who sponsored this event, did a wonderful job picking a venue with the perfect atmosphere for such a personal show. The colorful stories that DeGroff shared of American culture during the time of prohibition and speakeasies, post prohibition times when jazz bands would play 30 minutes on 30 minutes off until 4 am, up to modern times, were all so entertaining and informative. His stories were accompanied by songs and music, as well as photos (and of course cocktails!), which really bought the feeling of each era to life.

The cocktails were all great, and as I mentioned, were a strategic accessory in bringing the room back in time.  While I unfortunately did not get any recipes as I did at the Vermouth event, I know that Jameson and Pernod Absinthe were included in the mix (my detective skills noticed the bottles on display) and of course the distinct licorice taste of Pernod Absinthe was easily detectable in the second cocktail.

It was a great opportunity for me to hear such a well respected mixologist share his own personal accounts and adventures, and if anyone ever has the opportunity to see this show themselves, I HIGHLY recommend it!

our delicious cocktail varieties

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