My Love is a Red, Red Cocktail

Posted on Feb 13, 2012 in Featured, Recipes | 4 comments

I know, I know.  Valentine’s Day!  Ick. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate lined with those weird paper doilies, a card that plays a song—who does that, anyway? It’s a strange holiday. Single people hate it or ignore it, happy old married couples don’t need it, and anyone in a new, untested relationship approaches it with terror. What’s needed is a smaller, more thoughtful, and more elegant gesture.  I’m thinking a sexy red drink, one that you can make for your beloved or—what the hell?  For your friends.  Or just for yourself.  One fabulous flaming red drink in the middle of...

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Niki Jabbour’s Inspired Cocktail Garden Idea

Posted on Feb 6, 2012 in Botany, Featured, Make This | 2 comments

Who cares if it’s February?  I want my basil mojito and I want it now.   Niki Jabbour, author of a new book called The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, offers these two brilliant bartender-inspired ideas for sheltering herbs and any other tender young green thing.  Modeled after the classic Victorian glass cloche or bell jar, these repurposed wine glasses do the job perfectly, creating a miniature greenhouse that keeps the plant warm and protected from the elements. And for larger plants:  the punch bowl!  Brilliant.   photos courtesy of Joseph De Sciose and The Year Round...

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Gardeners Who Drink, Drinkers Who Garden

Posted on Feb 4, 2012 in Botany, Featured | 6 comments

Turns out Martha loves them both.  Two of my favorite gardeners-who-drink are featured in Martha Stewart’s March issue:  the brilliant Ivette Soler of Germinatrix  (also author of a very hot book, The Edible Front Yard), and Marie Viljoen of 66 Square Feet, the Manhattan garden blog through which I live out my New York fantasies. New to me in this issue are Lee Clippard and John Stott of The Grackle. They all offer up their garden-inspired drinks–serviceberry!  Lemon verbena!  Heirloom tomatoes! –and by the time the issue hits the stands, I will be ready to plant all of...

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You Deserve a Hot Toddy. And You Don’t.

Posted on Jan 18, 2012 in Featured, Recipes | 5 comments

A friend of mine has been on a grueling book tour to promote her new novel. One night in early December, after she’d been on the road for weeks, she posted a note on Facebook that she’d developed a scratchy throat on the road and had done the only sensible thing: called room service and asked them to send up a pot of hot water, lemons, honey, and a shot of Jack Daniel’s. For just a minute, I think we were all jealous of the many comforts her slight discomfort entitled her to.  Room service.  Hot toddy. The other luxuries of hotel living:  an enormous clean bed, an unrestricted...

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Went to St. George Spirits. It Blew My Mind.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 in Distilleries, Featured, Reviews | 4 comments

“Is it all right?” asks the tasting room bartender Chris, looking down quizzically at my barely-touched vodka shot. “It’s fantastic,” I tell him.  “Just pacing myself.”  He pours the rest out, but he’s not happy about it. And it really is a damn fine vodka, a vodka to put Goose-swillers in their place, a surprisingly floral and complex and lovely blend of two vodkas actually, one distilled from wheat and the other from viognier grapes. If you have ever felt that white wine wastes your time, what with all that fruit and oak and dismally low alcohol content, this...

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Grenadine: If There’s an Easy Way to Juice a Pomegranate, I Don’t Know What It Is.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 in Featured, Make This, Recipes | 3 comments

This time last year, I made a little homemade grenadine during pomegranate season.  We had a party shortly after that in which we mixed up Pink Lady cocktails according to this recipe in Imbibe magazine. The drinks were a hit–and although we hadn’t been using grenadine around the house before that, we definitely put it into heavy rotation after the party. Then we ran out. By that time, pomegranates were out of season.  We tried buying grenadine at the liquor store, and we tried making our own using bottled pomegranate juice.  Neither were remotely as good as the homemade...

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Have Yourself a Boozy Little Christmas.

Posted on Jan 13, 2012 in Featured, Reviews | 2 comments

Several years ago, at a family Christmas gathering in Sacramento, my brother-in-law served the pie and asked if anybody would like a drink to go with it. There was a pot of decaf going in the kitchen, so I asked him for a coffee with Bailey’s. He gave me an odd look.  “Are you sure?” Was I sure?  Well, it wasn’t my house, and maybe I was being a bit presumptuous. I’d scanned the liquor supply earlier and decided this was the best postprandial option on offer.  “Um—yeah,” I said.  “Is that okay?” He shrugged and nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. He came back a...

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It’s Apple Season, Y’all

Posted on Oct 13, 2011 in Featured, Recipes | Comments Off on It’s Apple Season, Y’all

Seems like everyone in these parts has an opinion about what Humboldt needs to make it truly great.  A railroad.  A trail around the bay.  A general plan.  A Wal-Mart. A Trader Joe’s.  One grand, vitally important addition or improvement that would change everything. I agree that Humboldt is lacking in one critical area, but it doesn’t involve railroads or general plans.  What Humboldt is missing is locally-made hard cider. Think about it.  We are blessed with an extraordinarily long apple season, with the earliest varieties ripening in August and the last flush of ripe fruit still...

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