...Emergency Ice is becoming a regular stop for me. And frankly, it's a welcome break from my hectic day. The front desk lady is always super nice (although she's often crazy busy). The guys in the back are extra helpful, and I'm even to the point where I can just walk into the back with my coolers and chat with the staff while I wait for my order.
SETTING UP THE ACCOUNT: I spoke to the co-owner, Donnell Toler with the request to start a fund with this money. And she asked me if I'd rather donate to a charity. I explained I specifically wanted the funds to be used here. She quizzically probed "Do you have cancer? Do you know someone with cancer?" to which I just shook my head no. And though the staff had told her bits of information here and there it was clear she needed to hear the whole story. And as I recited that story one more time both our eyes filled with tears. Then she revealed to me that she and her husband, Earl, lost a son to cancer years ago which is why they offer the ice at a discount. We are so, so lucky.
Read the complete narrative and responses here.
If you've ever worked near me, you know I highly encourage/value flirting. I'd argue any day that flirting is just as important as ambiance, polished glassware, and possibly even proper garnish (but that's a different blog about foreplay).
When I bring this up I inevitably get an upturned eyebrow from at least one rigid, rule-bound person.
And I say: "You can flirt with anyone."
I contend: "It doesn't have to be sexual."
I persist: "Last week I flirted with a baby at Target."
More eyebrows do eyebrow acrobatics.
"But what does this have to do with cocktails, Betty?" Not much as a whole, but, if you think of your favorite bartenders, you will notice they are always flirting; not just with guests, but with the other bartenders, the barback, the servers, and anyone they can get their eyes on. Skilled flirting is drop. dead. intelligent.
I am implore you, Universe; play coy already! Drop your shoulder into a conversation at the barstool next to you. Wink from the corner of your eye when your friend asks if you should have one more happy hour cocktail. Twirl your hair when your cute bartender asks if he can buy you a shot. It'll do wonders for your blood pressure, and hopefully, wreak havoc on the blood pressure of those around you (in a good way).
Incorporate seasonal fruits and herbs into your cocktail repertoire with a smash. The most basic smash consists of herbs, citrus, and whiskey. And when most people think of a Whiskey Smash; mint, lemon, and bourbon come to mind. As long as you work with classic ratios, a delicious smash should be a breeze.
A Simple Smash
A Custom Smash
The process stays the same here and the fun starts when you vary the ingredients. Look into seasonal herbs. Remember with herbs, the more hearty they are, the more you need to manipulate them to release their flavor. The opposite is true for more delicate plants. Take rosemary and basil for example. Rosemary may be best incorporated through initial muddling with the recipe's simple syrup before adding citrus, or added as a garnish and exposed to heat (yes! that means torch it!!). Basil may require no muddling at all - a simple shake with the other ingredients will adequately release it's aroma.
A Complicated Smash
Continue with the same process and allow seasonal berries or spices to influence you. A smidge of orange juice (added to the lemon) will change the viscosity and alter the flavor depth of your whiskey. Consider using a flavored simple syrup such as cinnamon or ginger to add spice to your smash. No matter what you choose to add, balance ought to be your primary goal. The Flavor Bible is a great source of information if you don't have a natural predilection for finding such matches.
Smash It Up a Notch
A spruce tip by itself will pack a powerful, almost uncomfortable, punch! Although the spruce tip flavor profile is expectedly piney, tasters might be surprised by the range of its profile. Most tips definitely offer a crisp, citrusy, and herbaceous flavor. However, most consumers fail to anticipate the slightly sweet taste this plant also has to offer. Experienced gatherers are quick to note that tip flavors vary immensely, even from tree to tree.
Gathering & Storing
Fresh spruce tips come in a spectrum of green to yellow hues and are in season near late spring, with later blooming in cooler climates. Tips are soft, flexible, and with a bit of resin on the branch. Often they are shedding the papery brown sheath that once encased them. A sheath still attached indicates the tip is young; the sheath should be removed before any cooking or preserving preparations. They can be stored for about one month in a cool, dry environment such as the refrigerator. Alternatively, they can be dried or processed as a syrup, but the future usage options are tremendously limited after these processes.
Preservation & Consumption
Creatively accommodating caloric and dietary limitations is a challenge. At under 150 calories per serving this tasty cocktail, comprised of fresh roasted pumpkin, Pyrat rum, "doctored" coconut cream, and spices, sings holiday praises to tastebuds and guests while simultaneously fulfilling all of the craveable flavors of the Thanksgiving season.
Start with the freshest of pumpkins. (Hint: they're pretty much all fresh this time of year but a thump and a sniff will give you confirmation). Fresh, quality ingredients will help ensure that your end product meets and exceeds your expectations. We found Pumpkin Spice Sugar by Spaulding's Specialty Spices to be exceptionally flavorful and balanced.
While the pumpkin cooks, prepare the remainder ingredients if desired. No additional ingredients are necessarily required as Pyrat rum comes with quite a bit of flavor and sweetness on its own. Pyrat rum offers an undeniably smooth and full bodied flavor and mouth-feel at a pocketbook friendly price. However, you may choose to add cinnamon, molasses, honey, nutmeg, ginger, or a variety of other seasonal spices to the mashed pumpkin.
Once your pumpkin is cooked to necessary softness (press the skin with a fork - if it pokes through, it's done), mash the pumpkin with a fork or blender. While your pumpkin cools, decide on glassware and garnish. Because the balance of this cocktail depends on textural creaminess and evenly spaced spices a wide mouthed cocktail glass is best suited. Chill your glassware with ice and water while you prepare the cocktail.
Shake the rum (2 ounces) and pumpkin (1/4 cup). Strain into your chilled cocktail glass. Gently layer the coconut cream (best when freshly emulsified) with a spoon or pipette onto half the cocktail. To obtain this streamline dusting of spice simply press 2 post-its equidistant on the glass before sprinkling the spice. The viscosity differential between the pumpkin and cream will allow the spice to float atop the cocktail and effortlessly guide itself toward the rim with each sip. Aromatics from the pumpkin, spice, and cream can be consumed at the diner's discretion and allows them to control to the amount of sweet and spice in their drink. Now if only we could control all the sweet and spice in our lives!
Your standard Paloma is a breeze to make; pertinent, considering the word paloma means "dove" or "peace." Many northerners believe the Margarita to be the most popular cocktail of Mexico, but in fact, the Paloma far exceeds that tasty treat as the number one cocktail in Mexico. This three part series aims to impart some technical knowledge about this classic cocktail, and some novel ideas that might be a little off the grid.
The "OG" (Original Gangster)
The Fresh Paloma (Alternate "OG")
In rare, catastrophic instances, grapefruit soda is not available. Let me introduce to you a very fresh option that I personally love because it allows us to use my favorite mineral water with a cult-like following, Topo Chico.
In this rendition, the tequila you choose will have the greatest impact on your cocktail, followed by your grapefruit juice. Decide if you prefer a tart beverage (yellow grapefruit and more lime juice) or something a bit sweeter (pink grapefruit with just a hint of lime).
When HD Liquid Catering invited me to create a few special cocktails for a Shannon Rose event at Kendra Scott, I was tickled pink!
Pale blush and blue create a beautiful backdrop in this brightly lit store, but converting a blue hue into a cocktail can be bit of a challenge. To mimic the texture of the already vibrant stones in the store, Shannon requested a playful candy rim on one of the cocktails. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, sparkling wine, and few secret ingredients danced playfully in this bubbly magenta cocktail. Rhubarb flavored sugar gemstones created quite a buzz when dropped into the cocktail - adding to the essence and appeal.
Fresh and vegetal seemed like the perfect companion to a sweet and fruity cocktail. Sapphire Rain touted flavors of cucumber and fresh lemon, topped with Pellegrino and garnished with blue Meyer lemon sugar sculptures that upon contact with liquid slowly dissolved and left drinks adopting their shade.
Trish from Beatbox Portraits displayed such a natural ability to make everyone feel comfortable in front of the lens that I wondered if perhaps she was a talk show host or a comedian in a previous life. All photos in this post are compliments of Trish and I simply cannot rave enough about her ability, professionalism, and what a joy she was to have at the event.
A Betty (by a broad definition) is honest and brave, loyal and nurturing, witty and fun. She's balanced, quirky, open-minded, complex, and flawed. She's soulful and driven. And I think there's a little Betty in all of us.