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Archive for the ‘cocktail culture’ Category

Cocktail Culture: Wine Review, Kenwood Pinot Noir

I’ve said before that I prefer Pinot Noir. It’s been my drink of choice since I became legal quite some time ago. My wine intake isn’t as high as it used to be and I wish I knew a lot more about wine and it’s ins and outs. It would also be really great if I kept better track of wines that I do and don’t like for reference.

Yesterday, my first class ended early and my second class was cancelled. I decided that it was the night to get a bottle of wine. After fighting traffic I was ready to get the wine and sit on the couch. I stopped at the liquor store where one of the sales associates knows me. Or I thought he did.

I wasn’t looking for anything amazing or to pair with food. This wine was to drink. When I buy “drinking wine” generally I prefer to stay in the $18.99 to $24.99 price point. There’s always something decent in that category and I’m not going to get hung over from it.

I happened upon this Kenwood that had the 88 Points sign and had an employee’s endorsement underneath it. I’ve had Kenwood in the past so thought sure, why not. The sales associate confirmed that it was right up my alley and go for it. The bottle was intriguing because it was $16.99. A whole two dollars below my threshold. Two dollars is two dollars in my mind. Sure, put it in the bag.

No, no, no.

No, no, no.

No. Don’t do it. I drank one glass and then fell asleep on the couch. In my mind “drinking wine” equals middle of the road. Nothing crazy. Not to fruity, not to spicy. Not to anything. Just there to drink.

This wine was way to spicy or biting for my taste. It made my throat recoil in fear.

A few days ago I was making fun of someone on Barefoot Contessa for asking what to do with left over wine. WHO HAS LEFT OVER WINE I asked? Obviously only boring people who go to bed at 8 PM.

Well, don’t mind me. I’ll be over here eating my words.

The Weekend – I can still be shocked

This weekend was a busy one. I had class on Saturday morning at 8 AM. Ran through my cleaning list yesterday morning so that I would be able to watch the Falcons game. Meh, to the Falcons. Yay, the smell of bleach and Pine Sol.

Two events happened between Friday and Saturday that I found incredibly shocking even though in the grand scheme of life they are small. The first I posted a picture of on Instagram and honestly, I feel like I have to tell the story so you won’t think that’s a normal Friday night for me anymore.

On Friday, I had been making calls and then came home because I had two chapters to read for Saturday’s class. B called and was going over a list of things with me and I mentioned I wanted to go out for A DRINK. TWO MAX. Famous last words, right? When he finally got home we went over to the local dive bar. The only reason we frequent this place is because its the only place to go near the neighborhood that is close. We met up with some other attorney friends of B’s who also made the unfortunate decision to live in this area of town.

I was sitting there going why is place so incredibly packed. There was one waitress for a large bar of people. Even the cook was running food and drinks. It was ridiculous. Turns out there was going to be a large, birthday party for three women taking place that night. One of the women works part time at the bar as a bartender to help pay for extras for her kids.

The place was getting more and more rowdy. This makes me nervous when places start to get a bit to crazy. The bar was running a karaoke night as well. So you can only imagine what this was like. At one point I looked up from my conversation to see this starting.


I thought maybe it was a drunk patron trying to be funny. But no. It was the real thing. A male stripper. I just about died. I couldn’t stop covering my eyes then looking up then covering my eyes again. Everyone at our table kept asking me why I had never seen a male stripper before. Hadn’t I ever been to bachelorette party? No, my friends and I did not have male strippers at our bachelorette parties. No, I’ve never been to the Coronet Club. No, I don’t find this attractive.

THE GUY TOOK IT ALL THE WAY DOWN. It was just like that Channing Tatum movie. Except not. He had tribal tattoos. Nasty.

There I was standing in my Elie Tahari dress and sweater surrounded by women in suburban club attire, dying. Truly, dying. I took a shower as soon as I got home.

Here’s what I learned from all this. Anything can happen in your local dive and yes, even I can still be shocked every once in awhile. My mind goes down many wrong places and this event made me wonder if the bar needed to have the food inspector called anonymously.

My next small thing involves my car. I drive a Toyota Prius. It has consistently had a left tail light issue since I’ve owned it. The light always goes out. I’ve had several discussions with the Toyota dealership about this issue. Diagnostics have been run, nothing has been found to be wrong. My favorite part of this issue through the years is being told that the replacement lights are anywhere from $75-$200 depending on who I talked too. I was also told that it wasn’t a light that could be easily changed by myself or a husband/boyfriend/fiance. I was told multiple times that a service person needed to change it. I was able to talk these people into not charging me a few times but this minor issues has always turned into a “smile big/wearing something low cut” issue.

I guess, my own personal bad habit of throwing money at the problem in the past I took these people at these people at their word. I would not do something stupid like this now. My attitude now is I will find a solution and fix it myself. Cars can be tricky though. I don’t know much about them and just didn’t think. Instead, I had kept the old, useless mindset.

I had mentioned this issue to B who said he thought I was being lied too and he would do some research. Turns out changing that tail light is similar to changing a light bulb in a lamp. The tail light also cost $4.95 at an auto parts store.

It really annoyed me that I had gotten taken in the past. I had gotten taken that bad but I had spent a lot of time and effort trying not to get taken and talk my way out of a car dealerships BS. When all I needed to do is Google. Just like I do everything else. Research and find a solution to the problem.

Lessons learned.

Cocktail Culture – Strawberry Lemonade Martinis

The other night I skipped JLA after work and decided it would be a good idea to go to the restaurant downstairs and drink strawberry lemon drop martinis instead. I love these girly drinks. They taste very fresh and fun. Not cheesy and fake like they sound. The drinks are very potent and not for the faint of heart.

I was looking around online to see if I could find any similar recipes for cocktail recipe box. This one looks to be somewhat similar. It has the fresh fruit in it like the one in the restaurant.

Strawberry Lemonade…Plus Vodka…Plus Basil

1 heaping cup strawberries, chopped
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
2 packets Stevia (This is my way of reducing the sugar a bit. If you prefer, use a whole cup of sugar and omit the Stevia.)
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, about 6 lemons
3 more cups water
Combine strawberries, water, sugar, and (if using) Stevia in a medium saucepan.
Bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and use a wooden spoon to mash up the strawberries and release their juice. Set aside.
Combine lemon juice and 3 cups of water in a pitcher.
Strain the strawberry syrup mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
Add strawberry syrup to the lemonade and chill for at least 30 minutes. Serve over ice.

Credit here.


Definitely give this a try if you are looking for something fruity and refreshing.

Inspiration – Pretty things for a pick me up





Cocktail Culture – the demise of the dinner party

The New York Times published this article today regarding the demise of the dinner party and in the same breath the demise of good manners. I would hope that the dinner party isn’t going to way of the hand written note and men holding the door for women. But as we know I’m old fashioned.

I think a lot of people get caught up in the idea that a dinner party has to be a five course extravaganza that includes great expense and clean-up. In an Internet and all about me world this is a common misconception that feeds into many women and mom’s thinking they have to be “perfect”. Perfect is not being June Cleaver. Perfect is being a good host, sharing a meal with your friends or family and feeling good about yourself when it is over. My belief is you can still entertain in a traditional way even in times like these. People will appreciate the salad and entree you provided. And even more importantly, they will appreciate you, your family and your kids.

The famous New York hostess Nan Kempner used to have famous Sunday Suppers that included spaghetti with red sauce she cooked herself. The entree of spaghetti was her signature. Uber chic, right?

Always so chic

So find a signature dish that is yours. It doesn’t have to be something you thought up. It can be your favorite dish or the favorite of your spouse. Get good at it, tweak it, make it your own. And then cook the hell out of it, add a salad and wine and you are good to go.

Personally, I always enjoyed the Basil Chicken Hash from Barefoot Contessa. I’ve blogged the recipe in the past but it translates to most people’s tastes. I served a salmon dip and salad with it. That’s it. No big deal. The entree makes a lot of food, tastes great and every one is happy. Plus, how chic is it that the recipe is a take on the chicken hash served at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball?

My friends complain that they never get to go anywhere because of their kids. I always repeat the stories of my parents having dinner parties at home after we went to bed. These parties occurred specifically so they could have a social life without us. Smart thinking. Good time management. No baby-sitter needed.

You can still entertain at home and it not be a burden. You can use the china and the crystal on a weeknight if you want too. And even if you are still wearing jeans and a sweater when your guests arrive, nothing is chicer than having a wonderful time in your own home after NOT sweating in the kitchen.

Cocktail Culture – Bar Apps at Home

I like to go out and I go out a lot. But let’s be real, restaurants are getting more expensive, schedules are packed and sometimes you just want to be at home. All my friends have small children now and times are different. So, the question is how to still re-create some of your favorite restaurant items at home so a glam time can still be had by all?

Well, my favorite involves a bag of Kettle Chips and a block of bleu cheese.

I LOVE chips and bleu cheese. The first time I ever had them was years a go when I first moved to Atlanta and began going to the Buckhead Diner. This appetizer is kind of retro now. But it’s still decadent and treat and I think a welcome respite from puffs and mushy carrots for some of my lovely friends.

Here’s what you do. It’s rocket science, trust. ;) Buy a bag of Sea Salt Kettle Chips and a block of bleu cheese. In this case I bought a block of Publix brand cheese but we all know Maytag or Cowgirl would be so much better.

Spread the chips on a plate and heat them to the point where they start to sweat a bit in the microwave. Just heated a bit but not soggy. Soggy will come with the cheese.

Then heat the block of cheese in the microwave. It doesn’t take much and you want to still have some chunks.

I pour the heated cheese all over the chips and go from there. But me and my friends can be little piggies. You might be more lady-like and dip. But what’s the fun in that?


(Sorry for the iphone pics. Doesn’t do it justice.)

The chips are good with chopped tomato and green onions. Another friend like bits of bacon on hers.

Add every Mom’s or (childless Aunt’s) favorite, white whine, and you have got a lovely play date. Or a fun cocktail hour appetizer to share between you and yours.

I definitely love my two minute appetizer that gives me the feeling of a good restaurant while being at home.

Veuve Happens!

Love bubbles

Cocktail Culture – Election Night 2012 Nibbles

Last night I was so nervous about what the outcome of the election was going to be. I was running around the house vacuuming and reorganizing shelves. Then I chopped this giant vegetable tray. It will last a few days. We go through a lot of raw veggies in this house.

Rabbit Food

And then I drank all of this while waiting for B to come home from a meeting. I have around 5 Pinot Noir options that any grocery store carries that I like and can pick up on a whim. Kendall Jackson is one of them.


When B finally got home I made him a plate with provolone, black and green olives and some prosciutto. Oh, and pepperoncini peppers. I find that having the chopped vegetables, etc and being able to make an American-style antipasti type dinner can be really helpful. Especially when no one wants to cook or eat a full plate of food but instead graze and chat.

I had been eating my own personal crack aka Kettle chips earlier so today I have all the food guilt but whatever. Just like elections, you win some you lose some with diet.

Holidays – Are You Having a Holiday Party this Year?


E3 and I have been discussing having a party. First, it was a Halloween party. Now it is a Christmas party. But I am going back and forth. As you know, my last large party got cancelled due to work. And I would LOVE to have a huge Christmas party. But what is really appropriate?

Especially since times are tough. The world over. It’s not like I would be having some kind of black tie ball. But I like to do things a certain way. A decision is going to have to be made because I would want to send invitations. And have better decorations of some kind.

I am in such a quandry about the whole thing. Let alone, what kind of food or alcohol is appropriate.

I feel like a Christmas party should be an easy decision. A Christmas party is held to give cheer and thanks, in my opinion. I should not have to question if it is to over the top, the wrong decision, I should not be spending the money, no one else is giving one, and the list goes on.

Giving parties and fashion are the things my mother would say “You are known for.” Trying to figure out this non-life changing decision is hard. :)

Thoughts? What social gatherings are you planning or not planning for the Holidays?

Cocktails to Love – The Economic Boost

The Economic Boost

Put the party into politics with VF Daily’s Capital Cocktails. Come November, we’re all going to need a stiff drink! Today’s recipe was created by Damon Dunay, the beverage director at the New York City restaurant and bar Delicatessen (54 Prince Street, 212-226-0211).

The Economic Boost
1 1/2 oz. Grey Goose La Poire vodka
1/4 oz. absinthe
1 1/2 oz. Red Bull (or Delicatessen’s own sugar-free energy drink)

Add to a shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Both the Red Bull and the absinthe provide a boost!

via Vanity Fair.com