18/11/2015 § 3 Comments
Gold, nude, black, leather and lace.
These are a few of my [current] favorite things:
Clockwise from top left:
Maison Martin Margiela Jazz Club Candle
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner
Larsson & Jennings Saxon Watch
Essie All Eyes On Nudes Matte Nail Polish
Garance Dore Love Style Life
Only Hearts Penelope Bralette
Frye Carson Harness Riding Boot
Bauble Bar Mason Pavé Ring
Recent items of note:
Hacker tips on how to travel the world for free. [via Vice]
Dear Men: please feel free to order a Cosmo. I won’t judge. I mean I’ll try. [via MSN]
Smoking your cocktail in a bong is a real thing. [via LA Mag]
A brief history of the restaurant matchbook. [via Eater]
12/10/2015 § Leave a comment
A honey of a cocktail if there ever was one, the Bee’s Knees cocktail is a relatively simple gin tipple that I frequently make at home. All you’ll need are a few fresh ingredients, a bottle of your favorite gin, and a shaker.
The Bee’s Knees
2 oz. Brooklyn Gin
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. honey syrup (1:1)
Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail coupe, garnish with a fresh slice of lemon.
But wait, what the heck is honey syrup (1:1)?!
Don’t you worry girl, I got you.
Grab a small mason jar and your honey container. Put equal parts honey to warm water in the jar. You won’t need much to make one cocktail, but having a bit on reserve in the fridge is a classy move, so let’s do 2 ounces each of honey and water. Screw on the lid and shake it up until it is thoroughly mixed. Voila, you just made honey syrup! Refrigerate any unused portion and throw it away after two weeks.
01/07/2015 § Leave a comment
While I have yet to use the oven in the apartment I’ve lived in for over two years, one area of my kitchen that gets a fair amount of attention is my home bar. What started out as a few bottles of my favorite spirits — no obscure liqueurs, no tools, no doo-dads — has gradually evolved into one of my favorite places in my apartment. Its remarkable growth can be explained partially by the fact that I currently work in the spirits industry, but it’s also true that few things bring me more pleasure than collecting.
For spirits, my first look is Astor Wines. They’re humongous. But it’s definitely worth exploring your neighborhood to find a local shop you like. They’ll be able to order you pretty much anything — as long as you ask them nicely.
For tools and glassware, check out Cocktail Kingdom.
For how to bring it all together, refer to the Death & Company Book. Written by the folks behind one of New York’s preeminent cocktail bars, this tome is no joke. Be prepared for indulgent discussions about the bar itself and the folks who work and drink there, and on how to make over 500 cocktails. Mind you, “indulgent” in the best possible sort of way.
And if history is more your thing, David Wondrich just re-released his classic IMBIBE!, which traces the beginnings of the great American invention: the cocktail as we know it today.
Where to keep it all? If you’re like me and have no space (hello teensy Soho apartment life), make due with the best surface available. In my case, as shown above on Instagram, the bar is perched atop my midcentury modern dresser…which is technically in the kitchen. I told you my apartment was small! If you’ve got a little room to work with, I love bar carts like this one, this one and ESPECIALLY this one.
Did I miss anything??
28/03/2015 § 1 Comment
In honor of the upcoming final (!) season of AMC’s Mad Men, a select group of New York restaurants — the sort of joints that Madison Avenue ad men probably would have favored — featured special lunch menus last week. Priced at $19.69 — the year of the final season — patrons could treat themselves to the hallowed “liquid lunch” or opt for a prix fixe menu. It wasn’t something I was prepared to miss, so I corralled a compatriot and made my way directly to the 21 Club.
The 21 Club, formerly a prohibition-era speakeasy, has been in operation since the 1920s and has occupied its current, jockey-decorated location since 1929. Since its inception 21 has been a favored spot of presidents, celebrities, socialites, politicians, and titans of industry. A four-story townhouse with multiple private rooms, its famed secret wine cellar has housed the private collections of folks like Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra. Today, 21 retains a sense of old-fashioned formality that has become somewhat unique – gentlemen are required to wear jackets to gain entrance to the dining room, servers are dressed in tuxedos. The Bar Room, where we lunched, sports a ceiling decorated with antique toys, suspended in air.
If you know me at all, you already know I went for the cocktails: Manhattans made with Canadian Club, while my dining partner opted for gin martinis. Feeling very Roger Sterling and Don Draper, we also ordered for a dozen oysters, and a fabulous, mid-century time was had by all.
21 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
13/03/2013 § Leave a comment
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Greta Garbo, Beatrice Lillie and patrons at a New York City speakeasy, 1933.
Photo by Margaret Bourke-White for Life Magazine.
Editor’s Note: I’m very pleased to introduce today’s guest speaker! Please meet Lani Zervas, the exceedingly fabulous and fashionable lady behind the blog Mon Petit Chou Chou. While she’s a Boston native, I had the pleasure of meeting Lani in New York two years ago and we’ve been fast friends ever since. She’s been such an amazing partner in crime at Brimfield and New York Fashion Week, that I am more than a little upset with myself that it has taken me this long to feature her brilliance! Her charming blog encompasses her interests in fashion, interior design, art, cooking, two very lovely dogs and all things Boston — but wait, there’s more! She’s also getting ready to be the most fabulous mommy the world has ever seen! I’m sure that you will find her to be as lovely and as funny as I do. If you are not yet familiar with Lani or Mon Petit Chou Chou, it is my pleasure to introduce you.
Without any further ado, Lani’s tip for a charmed life.
Day 15: Brew Your Own Bitters
A proper lady knows when she has had too much, and likewise should know how to speed the road there when the occasion calls for it, with an arsenal of tried and true recipes to mix it up, at the bar and in life.
To that end, embrace your inner mixologist and commit to memory the recipes for some basic tipplers. I would suggest you have the classic Manhattan, Aviation, Martini, and Daiquiri in your repertoire and ready for the mixing at your home bar. Practice makes perfect and you’ll find your friends willing participants in your ‘research’ for cocktail perfection. When you have mastered these basics, time to take on more advanced studies, in home brewed simple syrups and bitters.
Simple syrup is, as the name would lead you to believe. painfully simple to make. It is a one to one ratio of sugar, water, and what ever you decide to steep. I personally like ginger, rosemary, cinnamon, and a turbinado, or raw, sugar syrup. These also make easy and chic gifts, appreciated by all hosts, and often immediately employed at social get-togethers (recipes and more on simple syrup here). Ahh, but the bitters, now these are more involved, take a bit more time, and are worth every ounce of effort. Not sure what bitters are? Or how they fit into the equation?
“People say bitters are the salt and pepper of the bar, but really, they’re like the spice rack,” (per Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all).
Bitters are a type of infused high-proof alcohol, with flavors derived from plants, barks and herbs. Originally brewed for medicinal purposes they evolved into flavorful additions to cocktails, via the classic brands Peychauds and Angostura, both of which rely heavily on gentian (a bitter herb for flavoring). You don’t need these store bought staples though, not when you can wow people with your home brewed batches.
It will take some initial effort to gather the more exotic ingredients — if you count ordering from Amazon effort — but once your pantry is stocked, you will have more than enough to make batch after batch of the home brew. The recipe below for Cranberry Anise bitters from Food & Wine is a personal favourite, and makes use of gentian root, an ingredient that usually repeats in all bitters recipes and which is a good foundation to start experimenting with your own creations.
Cranberry Anise Bitters
1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen cranberries, each one pierced with a toothpick
1 cup dried cranberries
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
2 star anise pods
One 3-inch cinnamon stick
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 teaspoon gentian root
1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
2 tablespoons simple syrup
- In a 1-quart glass jar, combine all of the ingredients except the syrup. Cover and shake well. Let stand in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily.
- Strain the infused alcohol into a clean 1-quart glass jar through a cheesecloth-lined funnel. Squeeze any infused alcohol from the cheesecloth into the jar; reserve the solids. Strain the infused alcohol again through new cheesecloth into another clean jar to remove any remaining sediment. Cover the jar and set aside for 1 week.
- Meanwhile, transfer the solids to a small saucepan. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes; let cool completely. Pour the liquid and solids into a clean 1-quart glass jar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 week, shaking the jar once daily.
- Strain the water mixture through a cheesecloth-lined funnel set over a clean 1-quart glass jar; discard the solids. If necessary, strain again to remove any remaining sediment. Add the infused alcohol and the syrup. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 days. Pour the bitters through a cheesecloth-lined funnel or strainer and transfer to glass dasher bottles. Cover and keep in a cool, dark place.
18/09/2012 § 1 Comment
It’s always a favorite time of year for me when details about the annual Louis Vuitton City Guides — and their accompanying video clips — start to emerge from the ether, but when the House of Vuitton decides to feature New York City first, it’s a double win. In its fourteenth year of publication, the Guides offer the discerning traveller expert advice on a select group of cities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Kicking off the 2013 guides in a perfect marriage of travel and cocktailing,* we find ourselves in hot pursuit of a perfect Manhattan in Manhattan — a shaken cocktail that has shown remarkable staying power since its invention at the Manhattan Club in 1870 — we visit Jimmy at the James Hotel, Le Bain at the The Standard Hotel, The Summit Bar on the Lower East Side and Amor y Amargo in the East Village.
I don’t know about you, but my watch definitely just hit cocktail o’ clock.
*probably not a word, but should be.
28/05/2012 § 2 Comments
While I may not be much of a cook, I do quite enjoy tending bar. With an exceptionally warm Memorial Day Weekend (what thunderstorms?!?) and friends visiting from out of town, I took the opportunity to make my first pitcher cocktail of the season. A bit bubbly, a bit tart, and completely refreshing, I’m calling this gin-based concoction of mine The Seven Year Itch. To make it, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 cup of gin. I used Brooklyn Gin.
- 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur. I used St. Germain.
- 1 cup club soda
- 1 large handful of fresh raspberries
- 1 handful of fresh mint, additional sprigs for garnish
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- large pitcher, wooden spoon or muddler, cocktail glasses
Next, add a good amount of ice to the pitcher, and then pour the liquors and the club soda over the ice. Serve immediately to avoid the club soda going flat and the ice melting.
Voila! Garnish with a raspberry and a mint sprig.
One of the most iconic Marilyn Monroe movies — yep, the white dress/subway grate one — The Seven Year Itch was directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and was released in 1955. Featuring an exceptionally hot summer in New York (ahem), the story details the overactive imagination of publishing executive Richard Sherman (a role that Tom Ewell originated on Broadway), who has been left to his own devices in the city while his wife (yep, of seven years) heads off to Maine for the summer with their son. Settling in for a long, hot few months, Mr. Sherman is surprised to find his upstairs neighbors have sublet their apartment for the summer to a model (Monroe). Proper Wilder-esque hijinks then ensue. It’s a lovely little film and one of my very favorites. And when I thought about what I wanted to call my cocktail, I immediately thought of Marilyn’s dress, crisp and fresh in the hot city night. Perfectly fitting, no?
18/05/2012 § Leave a comment
A springy New York weekend calls for refreshing hues & sparkling cocktails:
Paul & Joe Sister chambray blazer
Equipment signature sleeveless washed-silk shirt
Mulberry braided belt
Levi’s Made & Crafted mid-rise skinny jean
Illesteva Leonard sunglasses
Sam Edelman Sophie mid-heel wedge
Mulberry Alexa bag
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Pimm’s Cup No. 1
This week has been something of a grind, with jury duty (ugh!) and rainy days. However, with a whole lot of sunshine on the docket for the weekend, my spirits are already lifting — so this pretty shade of tangerine seems completely apropos. I’m loving it paired with crisp white denim and leather that’s a rich golden tan.
Sherbet shades aside, did you notice I’m in a distinctly “mid” kind of mood (e.g., the mid-rise jean and the mid-heel wedge)? Indeed, I’ve gradually come to favor a higher rise, initially for its somewhat retro feel, but primarily because of the realization that its actually much more flattering for my body type. But don’t get me wrong, I definitely was a hipbone-baring, low rise-wearing, blue jean baby a few years ago when I lived in Los Angeles. I’m not sure what has changed my inclinations. Age, perhaps? Locality? Comfort? Confidence? Some combination of them all? The New York Times recently wrote about the personal process of breaking up with your formerly beloved fashion brands (you can read it here), and I couldn’t help but also think about the evolution of my personal style in the same context. My 23 year-old midriff was practically an accessory, while today, despite being practically unchanged, rarely sees the light of day. Perhaps I’ll break it out this weekend. Please don’t hold your breath.
This weekend I will brunch in honor of friends running the Brooklyn Half, attend a performance of the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet at the Joyce, and repeatedly check the mailbox for the arrival of my new Owens from Warby Parker. My aspirational goals include starting The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles (I’ve something of an obsession with Northern Africa these days, more on that later) and making a Pimm’s Cup or two. You can find a great Pimm’s Cup recipe here via NPR, as well as a short discussion of the very civilized and very British origins of the drink on All Things Considered.
Here’s to a grand weekend!
21/02/2012 § 9 Comments
The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life
Women in a New York City bar, 1941. Taken by Nina Leen for Life Magazine.
Editor’s Note: I’m very pleased to introduce our next guest speaker! My good friend Marisa Zupan is a journalist, writer and the founder of the excellent men’s style blog The Significant Other, where she provides a thoughtful and studied female opinion on issues, brands and individuals important to the well-dressed man. If your boyfriend/father/boss/anyone! is in need of a bit of a sartorial upgrade, please forward him to Marisa posthaste.
After I learned of our shared love of wearing beautiful neckties, I guessed we would get along famously, and I was right. Marisa is one of the most grounded and supportive individuals I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and I’m also quite pleased she chose to write about gin, one of my favorite libations. If you are not yet familiar with Marisa, or The Significant Other, it is my pleasure to introduce you.
Without any further ado, Marisa’s tip for a charmed life.
Day 21: Drink More Gin
Let’s face it ladies, you’ve been drinking mostly vodka your whole life. In high school it was vodka and crystal light (everyone did that right?), college it was vodka and whatever the hell juice your roommate had in the fridge, and in your young adult life it’s been some vodka martinis with the occasional ironic whiskey on the rocks to switch things up. Through all of this, gin has really gotten the short end of the stick. I’ll admit, in my younger less classy days, I thought gin tasted like licking the underside of a moss covered rock, but those days are over and this year will be the one when I educate my much more mature palate.
Like its flavor profile, Gin’s history is varied and complex. It was discovered by Italian monks, used as medicine during the bubonic plague and, because it was cheap and (too) readily available, gin became associated with people and places of disrepute in London. Despite its sordid past, gin made a come back in the British colonies and has since then been the spirit of choice in some of the classiest and most popular cocktails. In my efforts to become more gin-knowledgeable, I discovered Brooklyn Gin, a company based right in my backyard. The ingredients, fresh citrus and juniper berries, are bought at a market only a 10 minute walk from my apartment, and distilled 30 minutes out side of the city. Local and delicious, what more could a lady ask for? A cocktail recipe. Below is just that, I hope you enjoy, here’s to kicking the vodka habit and getting more sophisticated in 2012.
Olive Rosemary Martini (via Martha Stewart)
2 ounces gin
2 teaspoons dry vermouth
1 rosemary sprig
Shake 2 ounces gin and 2 teaspoons dry vermouth with crushed ice; strain into a stemmed glass. Strip leaves from bottom 2 inches of a rosemary sprig, skewer through pitted olives, and add to the drink.
by Marisa Zupan, of The Significant Other.