Shaken, not stirred

Seasonal and signature cocktails have been all the rage for the past several years. I have yet to see them lose their luster. Haven't seen them on the New York Times One-Page Magazine's "Meh List." In fact, Mario Batali has a weekly spot "What I'm Drinking Now." Mario will be sipping a "Widow's Kiss" with a twist this week.

There are the classics -- martini, gimlet, sidecar, old fashioned, pimm's cup, Manhattan and the like. [Don't forget you can find these recipes in my favorite cocktail guide Drinkology: The Art and Science of the Cocktail.] Then there are the new trendy concoctions that contain as many as 8 ingredients. Some examples from a menu I borrowed recently: "Scofflaw," "Day That I Die," Jackie O," and "El Wormhole." How do they come up with these names? I imagine it's a similar brainstorming process that the nail polish industry goes through.

I'm finding myself frequenting restaurants where cocktails steal the show. The food pales in comparison. You know, the ones that have mixologists who look like mad scientists in their geek chic eye wear. I can totally picture J. Crew's Jenna Lyons behind the bar.

I personally credit Mad Men (my fave. show) with sparking the cocktail craze, as well as bar carts, which I'll feature in an upcoming post.  Mommies and daddies sure had it good back in the 50s and 60s. Don and Betty Draper probably sent daughter Sally to the Westchester County Bartending School.

With spring right around the corner, I'm getting ready for martini/cosmo season by mixing up some infused simple syrups. So easy to make, they can make or break a cocktail. For a simple "how to," hop on over to the Shiksa's kitchen. The Shiksa also covers how to make infused Vodka. These cute bottles and labels are available at Love the Shiksa.

An Urban Cottage  shared the recipe for this grapefruit martini with rosemary infused simple syrup. I whipped up a batch and even Mr. Mophead -- not a grapefruit fan -- loved them. Delish!

One of my favorite cocktails these days is the "Moscow Mule." According to Drinkology, the Mule was the first vodka-based drink to really make a splash in the States. The drink calls for ginger beer, and is served in a copper cup. Fever-Tree ginger beer is an excellent, but pricey choice. I'm seeing ginger used a lot in cocktails. A good Margarita is made with white tequila, not gold. I'm always game for one done right. As far as cosmos go, I like Ina Garten's "Dukes" (Fool Proof  book) and pomegranate recipes.

So, are fancy cocktails still hot, not or just "meh?" What will you be drinking this spring?

Images: 1,  2, 3, 4


  1. Thank you for the shout out! I'm glad the mopheads enjoyed the grapefruit martini. I totally agree with you about cocktails sometimes being the make or break for some restaurants. I like when they're infused with mysterious and/or exotic ingredients. A lot of new favorite cocktails have St. Germaine so I need to get some to experiment with.

  2. I've always wanted to have the sophisticated look of holding a martini glass. Unfortunately, the grimace that accompanies my every sip sort of blows my cover. So I'll be sticking to my usual cranberry juice & nonflavored vodka with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Boring, perhaps, but enjoyed without pretense.

  3. I have really enjoyed drinking the Moscow Mule - and Pinewood has a nice one and is walking distance. Local 3 also has nice cocktails if you are on that side of town.

    I also love the summer drink menu at Leon's. Guess I will be going back to the "fruity, bubbly, non-alcoholic" drink for the next few months. Boo.

    1. The cocktail menu I borrowed was from Pinewood.


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