Monday, June 25, 2012

No Mess Monday: Monika Chiang Aramid Sandals


You Knotty Girl, You…


Monika Chiang Aaramid Sandal Pink

Am I the only one who often feels an odd knot at the pit of my stomach on Monday morning? You too? We’ll call it go-getter anxiety. Turn angst into sartorial achievement in a pair of knotted rope sandals, like these Aramid sandals by Monika Chiang. The feminine spin on this season’s nautical trend shows you’ve got your sea legs and can weather whatever waves come your way- even in skyscraper heels and platforms. The fact that you can tie them at the ankle or lace them up the calf nods to your appreciation of versatility in your life. Depending on where you live, it may rain today, so be sure to carry a back up pair… the cream suede on the platform won’t do well in nasty weather.


The Lucky Rice Epicurean Cocktail Feast<br />Hosted by Dave Arnold and momofuku party at the Bowery Hotel in New York City on May 1st, 2012.<br />Photos by Richard Patterson

This evening at happy hour enjoy a drink that looks and tastes as fun as your shoes look. I suggest a Sapphire East Dragon. It’s bright, complex and just sweet enough- like you.


1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire East
1 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz cinnamon simple syrup
Dash of Bittercube Bolivar bitters
Float of POM dragon fruit pomegranate juice
Dragon fruit slice garnish


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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cutesy Tuesday: Cece L’amour Jules Peep Toes


Berry Nice

Cece Lamour Jules Peep toe

Remember the cartoon Strawberry Shortcake and her optimism, creativity, energy, whimsy and all around sweetness? Now that you think about it, you and her have quite a bit in common, don’t you? Let your footwear nod to one of your (OK, my) childhood favorites in a pair of absolutely adorable strawberry accented pumps. These Jules peep toe pumps by Cece L’amour (available at for $150) are a perfect example. Their gathered floral pink polka dot fabric almost mimics Ms. Shortcake’s signature hat, and the jeweled strawberry accents at the toes add a bit of jazz. The demure D’orsay styling keeps you from looking too juvenile, and the 4.5 inch heel keeps you sexy. It’s tough to be cute, fun, coy and demure all at once, but you manage it quite well. (Once the summer’s over, stash these away and wear them with your Strawberry Shortcake Halloween costume). 


Fresh Rhubarb Cocktails

If Strawberry Shortcake were to make a cocktail, I’m almost sure it would contain rhubarb. That said, try a Fresh Rhubarb Cocktail (recipe and image via this evening after work. You probably won’t find it at your local bar, but you love entertaining, so invite friends over for drinks on your deck (or fire escape if you’re a city dweller).


1/2 cup water
1 cup sliced rhubarb (1 large stalk)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ounces vodka
1 cup seltzer
Crushed Ice
Strawberries, for garnish


In a small saucepan, cook the rhubarb on medium-low heat with 1/4 cup of sugar, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of water until broken down and tender, about 20 minutes (add more water if it runs too low). 

Mix together 2 tbsp rhubarb syrup, 1 ounce vodka, and 1/2 cup seltzer for each drink, stir thoroughly, and serve over crushed ice.  Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

NOTE: The fact that you’re serving drinks from your kitchen does not mean you shouldn’t be responsible. It’s only Tuesday and a Wednesday hangover is never cute.

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Booze Clues: 4 Father’s Day Drinks to Share With Dad


Remember the first time you sat and watched the game with your dad (doesn’t matter which sport)? He probably patiently explained  the rules and each player’s role. Chances are he hoped you’d grow to love sports, but it’s more likely he just enjoyed the quality time. This Father’s Day, whether there’s a game on or not, sit and have good ole daddy/ daughter time over a good drink. Whether you and your padre share a love for tequila, bourbon or another “not-too-girly” spirit, here are a few drinks you can try together.


Wild Turkey Bardstown King

Wild Turkey Bardstown King Cocktail


1 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon 101
3/4 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon 81 
3/4 oz King's Ginger
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Stir all ingredients, strain and serve in a coup and garnish with an orange twist.

-Photo & recipe courtesy of Wild Turkey (concoction by mixologists at Rye House in NY).

Herradura Paloma

Herradura Paloma Cocktail



2 oz Tequila Herradura Silver

5 oz grapefruit soda (or juice)

1 oz Lemon juice and salt

In a big ball glass put the ice and Tequila Herradura. Add salt, lemon juice and grapefruit soda (or juice).

-Photo & recipe courtesy of Herradura


Ole Smoky Moonshine Original

Sip a bit on the rocks.

-Photo courtesy of Ole Smoky Moonshine


Crown Royal XR (LaSalle)

Crown Royal XR

Enjoy Crown Royal’s newest Extra Rare product neat (no ice or mixers) or with a single ice cube to really open up the flavor (a splash of water also works).

-Photo by StyleScrybe

*No matter which cocktail you and dad share, make sure you do it responsibly. Otherwise, you may end up sharing secrets that are better kept (ahem… that one time in college when ____).


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Monday, June 4, 2012

Monarch Monday- the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: Aruna Seth Union Jack Wedges


Aruna Seth Union Jack Wedge

Whether you’re British or not, you’ve surely heard about the festivities taking place across the pond in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 60 years on the royal throne. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is in full swing, and though we’re an ocean away, it can’t hurt to keep in step with the fun. Why not wear a fun pair of red, white and blue shoes, like Aruna Seth’s Union Jack wedge (Available for $4,800 at Designed specifically to commemorate the Queen’s rein-niversary, they’re covered completely in Swarovski crystals and feature the Union Jack British Flag.


London Bar Red Carpet Cocktail

If you’re in New York, one of the best places to toast the Queen may be the London Bar at the London Hotel. If you’re it’s been a rough day, you’ll want something with a bit of a kick, like the London Red Carpet ($17). It’s combination of fresh raspberries, vodka, blood orange and lime juices, agave nectar and a bit of Thai chili pepper-infused oil creates a full, complex flavor that’s sweet, but not syrupy, with a hint of spice.

London bar Gilded Lily

If you’re more in the mood for something light, try the Gilded Lily ($17). Created to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, it’s fresh, effervescent and quite fragrant.

Recipe (in case you’d like to toast the Queen at home):

1 oz St. Germain

3 oz Prosecco (or champagne)

2 fresh ripe strawberries

1 small pinch fresh ground Grains of Paradise

Muddle fresh strawberries in mixing glass, add St. Germain and pepper grinds. Shake with ice. After shaking pour champagne into mixing tin, stir to combine, and strain into champagne glass. 


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Friday, June 1, 2012

Booze Clues: Getting a Grip on Grappa


Grappa Hooked


I tend to sip a bit of grappa after my meals at Italian restaurants, but I’ve never really paid much attention to it otherwise. A recent visit to a VIAS Imports wine tasting changed that, though. While sipping, swirling and spitting my way through a number of flavor options and new products I also learned that there’s quite a bit to know about the grape skin spirit. First off… it’s not technically wine. Also, ordering a good one or being able to appreciate one that’s ordered for you can earn you a few sophistication points. Here’s the rest of what I learned from Maro, a rep for the Bertagnolli Distillery…

Grappa-grappino lt.1. What's so special about grappa? How is it different from other wines? What is the general alcohol content?
Grappa is an alcoholic drink made exclusively in Italy by distilling marc, the solid residue of skins and pips which remain after the grapes have been pressed for wine making.  Grappa is not a wine, but a spirit. The alcohol content can be between 36% and 60% abv. , and generally is commercialized with 40-42% abv. (FYI, abv is alcohol by volume. You know that already, though, right?)

2. What are some of the stand out characteristics of grappa's flavor?
Just as with wine, grappas’ flavors are determined by the type of grape. Grappa Moscato is floral and fruity with notes of exotic fruit- it’s elegant and fragrant; Grappa Amarone is strong, clear, fruity with notes of prune and currant.

3. How do you know the difference between a really good grappa and a lesser quality one? What's an example of a really good high quality grappa?

A good grappa should be harmonic, elegant and the flavors of the vine have to be immediately recognizable. A good grappa doesn’t burn, but gently warms the mouth. A low quality grappa smells musty, of burning or of smoke.

4. Are there different categories of grappas (like fruity, dry, semi-dry, etc.)? If so, what are the ones most commonly found at restaurants? Which is the sweetest in flavor?
There are a few categories of grappas:

  • YOUNG OR WHITE: bottled at the end of distillation, or after a period of rest in steel vats. Is has not been transformed in any way and it is colorless with a delicate aroma and a direct, delicate and clean taste
  • 1870 Riserva GrappaRESERVE OR VINTAGE GRAPPA: bottled after it has been aged for at least 24 months in oak barrels. It has an amber color and a smooth delicate taste.
  • AROMATIC GRAPPA: obtained from the marc of aromatic grapes, e.g. Moscato or Gewurztraminer
  • AROMATIZED GRAPPA: made with the addition  of herbs, roots or fruit that give it particular aromas and flavors, e.g. mugo pine, gentian, blueberry, etc.

Usually a restaurant has one or two grappa types. The sweetest in flavor are the aromatic grappas, like Grappa Moscato or Grappa Gewurztraminer.

5. Wine cocktails are becoming more popular. Are grappa cocktails joining that trend?
Adding other flavors into Grappa to make cocktails changes the flavor of the spirit completely. Usually for cocktails we use Liqueurs- like Limoncello.

6. I noticed your company makes grappa liqueurs. Is this common in the grappa industry?
It’s really common to produce grappa and then add some fruit flavors to create a drink that’s more sweet and low in alcohol- no more than 28%-34% abv. (My personal favorite at the tasting was the Grappa e Miele, or Honey Grappa.)

Bertagnolli Distillery*A note about  the Bertagnolli Distillery: Founded in 1870 by Guilia de Kreutzenberg and Edoardo Bertagnolli, the Bertagnolli Distillery is the oldest distillery in Trentino Alto Adice. Their grappa is produced using the distillation by the discontinuous alembic “waterbath” system, which was created in 1949 by Franco and Mario Bertagnolli, using the Zadra Column. This enables The grappa to be distilled only once, therefore keeping most of its flavor. The result is a Grappa that’s really high in quality, soft and velvety.

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