Thursday, November 20, 2014

Where to Go Tonight: The Village Voice Holiday Spirits Tasting in NYC

In Good Spirits


New York imbibers will sip and sail tonight at the Village Voice's 2nd annual Holiday Spirits tasting event aboard The Hornblower Infinity Cruise Ship. More than 30 distilleries and wineries— including Art in the Age Craft Spirits, Brooklyn Gin, Dulce Vida Organic Tequila, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Asahi Beer and Barrow's Intense— will get attendees into the holiday spirit (see what I did there?) with their latest offerings. Meanwhile, DJ Tim Martell will be spinning on the main and mid decks, and jazz quartet, the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn will perform sets throughout the evening in the Slow & Low Lounge.

Courtesy Image
General admission tickets cost $50 get you unlimited sampling of the drinks on-board, a souvenir tasting glass, complimentary hors d'oeuvres, and an hour cruise around the Hudson. Spring for a VIP ticket ($75), and you'll also receive a VIP gift bag and access to the Captain's Lounge, which is on the top level of the ship and has its own private bar. Boarding begins at 5:30 PM, tonight, November 20th, and the Hornblower leaves Pier 40 at 7:30.

Ready to rock the boat? Purchase tickets here.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrity Shoe Spotting: Solange's Weitzman Wedding Shoes

No Flex Zone!

My BFF in my head has wed! Solange Knowles recently tied the knot to Alan Ferguson and sent the whole internet a-buzz with her bicycle arrival, artistic wedding portraits, dramatically fly wardrobe changes, adorable mother/ son reception dance and second line through the streets of New Orleans. Her shoes? A sparkling pair of "Naked" sandals by Stuart Weitzman (available at Neiman Marcus). She seems to be a fan of his minimalist sandals, having donned a similar pair with a higher heel some months ago for the MET Gala. Solange, Shoes N Booze wishes you a lifetime of hot heels and hubby-induced happiness.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spot-Light: Cocktail Classes at Harding's in NYC

 A Reason to Toast Tuesdays

Liquor lineup for Hardings NYC Mixology Class

Imagine walking into a room and seeing a spread like the one above on your table. If you're like me, you get extremely excited. So. Many. Spirits! And they're for my tablemates and I to mix cocktails? Yes please! Well, this was exactly the scene at Harding's NYC recently when I attended their "First Tuesdays" mixology class. 

Derrick Turner, bartenderDerrick Turner Hardings NYC preps CocktailBartender Derrick Turner of Hardings NYC and Cocktail

Lead by Derrick Turner, master mixologist (but don't dare let him hear you use that word) and lead bartender at Harding's, the class took us through the preparation of three amazing cocktials featuring artisanal offerings from St. George Spirits. Derrick eases participants' inhibitions with humor, charm and an interactive style. Or maybe it was the fact that started the class with shots for everyone. Actually, I'm almost sure it was a combination of both. 

The Rockerfeller Cocktail at Hardings NYC

First, we made The Rockerfeller, a cocktail that combines St. George Spiced Pear Liquor, rye whiskey, and bitters. It was smooth, balanced and just strong enough for me. If you'd like to try it at home, here's the recipe:
The Rockerfeller
1 oz St. George Pear Liqueur
2 oz rye whiskey
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash simple syrup (if you prefer sweet drinks)
Blend ingredients over ice in a shaker or mixing glass and stir with a bar spoon. Rub orange peeal around the rim of a coupe glass. Strain ingredients into the coupe and garnish with rolled orange peel. 

Blood of the Woods Cocktail at Hardings NYC


Next, we mixed apple cider, bourbon and St. George Raspberry Liqueur to create the Blood of the Woods.  I thought this drink would be super sweet because of the liqueur, but I was delightfully surprised to find that I was wrong. Unlike many of the other liqueurs I've tried, this one tasted like the actual fruit instead of tasting like syrup. In this cocktail, it added depth, complexity and a bit of tartness. Per-fect for for fall. At-home bartenders, here's the recipe: 
Blood of the Woods
1 oz apple cider
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 charred cinnamon stick (broken into small pieces)
1/4 oz maple syrup (if you want it sweet)
Top with St. George Raspberry Liqueur
Mix bourbon, cider and cinnamon in a shaker over ice. Shake and then do a loos strain into a rocks glass. Top with liqueur and watch it settle to bottom. 


Our last cocktail, the "Simply Wicked", was inspired by a Broadway musical we all know. "According to 'Wicked', the good witch was kinda an A-hole. That was my inspiration," said Derrick before instructing us to mix St. George Absinthe, gin and agave syrup to create this cocktail.  I must confess that I made a wicked F-up because I somehow ended up pouring my ingredients into the leftovers from the previous cocktail (blame it on the...). Derrick made a note of it after sampling the mixture and said it might get added to the lineup at the bar. Luckily, a tablemate let me take a picture of her cocktail for the sake of this post. Here's the recipe: 
Simply Wicked
1 1/2 oz gin
1/4 oz St. George Absinthe
1/2 oz agave syrup
pinch of watercress
Blend gin, absinthe, watercress and agave in (empty) shaker over ice. Shake and then strain into a coupe. Garnish with watercress. 



I'm a whiskey girl, but apparently my business card prefers gin cocktails. Ha!

Ready to join in the fun? Here's the scoop on the next class:

Location: 
32 East 21st Street (between Broadway & Park Ave. S.)
New York, NY

Date / Time/ Concept: 
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Get the Party Started: Champagne Cocktails

Cost: 
$35 per person
Tickets:  www.hardingsnyc.com 212.600.2105
Space is limited, tickets strongly recommended.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cutesy Tuesday: Betsey Johnson Booties &

In Honor of Those Who Serve and Have Served

There's nothing cute or pretty about war. I wish it didn't exist. I wish we didn't need soldiers. However, I appreciate them and the sacrifices they and their families make. There are a number of veterans in my family, and I remember the days of avoiding television news because I'd have a small anxiety attack each time there was a report of casualties in the countries where my cousin served. Thankfully, she's home now, and in one piece. There are battles she's still fighting as a result of her time at war, but she's healing. She's beautiful on the inside and definitely cute on the outside. So, I dedicate today's post to her, to my grandmother, who was an Air Force veteran (and also a cutie), to all the beautiful soldiers who serve and sacrifice and the civilian wives who wait and pray that their loved ones will make it home safely (for they fight a war of their own). 



Camo print— once one of the most recognizable symbols of tenacity— has become a fashion mainstay. Betsey Johnson coupled the pattern with a dainty grosgrain ruffle on this Frilll P bootie (available at amazon.com, where this blog is an affiliate) for a look that's simultaneously tough and sweet. The pointed toe and stiletto heel make it classy, yet versatile, the calf-hair upper adds texture and a luxe look, the camouflage pattern gives it an edge, and the ruffle at the ankle lends a feminine touch. There may not be look that better represents my cousin (and I'm sure many of the women who have to be tough when in uniform but are prone to look quite feminine in their civvies). 




The Sazerac, rumored to be the oldest known American cocktail, is strong, sweet and complex, thanks to rye whiskey, bitters and absinthe (again, like my cousin and many of her fellow soldiers). If you're not a soldier, but you'd like to attract a glance of admiration or two at the bar this evening, order this at happy hour. Women who drink whiskey are often seen as confident and sexy (similarly to the way women who wear camo print ankle boots with stiletto heels and ruffles are seen). If you'd like to try this drink at home to see if you can handle it before ordering it at the bar here's the recipe:


¼ oz. Lucid Absinthe
2 oz. Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky 
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
½ oz. simple syrup
Lemon peel for garnish
Add all liquid ingredients into a shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a rocks glass with ice.  Rim the glass with the lemon peel, twist over the surface and garnish. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shoe Preview: 4 Favorites from Furla Spring '15

Bring on the Bling! 

(I said 'bling.' So what? It rhymed. I don't care that the word 'bling' isn't even a thing anymore. Anyway...) I remember the delight I felt when I was a little girl, and I was left alone to play with my Grandmommy's costume jewelry. The sparkle of those baubles used to ignite my imagination. I felt a bit of the same spark when I saw the jeweled shoes in Furla's Spring 2015 shoe collection. I immediately envisioned the maxi and mid skirts I could wear with the shoes. One pair will work with a safari look, while another is the perfect complement to... well... almost anything! 

Inspiration notes for Furla's Spring 2015 collection


Got a wedding to attend in spring 2015? If it's a daytime wedding, this shoe will look adorable with gingham or florals. Going to brunch? Yup, this shoe works with jeans. Dinner and a show? This shoe and a tea-length full skirt are the way to go. The intense tangerine color, paired with citrine and clear stones make this pump festive and fresh. The almond toe keeps it from looking solely formal. 


Furla jeweled patent stiletto pump

If day-to-night is your need, this brown sandal will do the trick. The chunkier heel gives it an easygoing look, but the tonal jewels dress it up. It's basically a strong contender for the go-to position in your closet.

Furla jeweled sandal

The golden hue of this skimmer, coupled with the dazzling jeweled accent may give one the feeling of walking on sunshine. The fact that it's also the same color as the ubiquitous smiley face adds its happy factor. With jeans or ankle pants, for work or weekend, this flat is as versatile as it is glamorous. 

Furla jeweled flat

This take on the slide trend is the epitome of the understated elegance mentioned in Furla's collection notes. Calf-hair straps and chunky jewel accents make these a great partner for flowing maxi skirts and dresses.

Furla Jeweled Slides

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spirited Sunday: Chinese Laundry Booties & Milagro Anejo

Easy Does It...


Raylin Block Heel Bootie by Kristin Cavallari for Chinese Laundry

Sundays are for taking it fairly easy... as in brunch with friends, maybe watching a football game (or 3) and generally keeping things casual. You don't want to look completely dressed down, though. A cute ankle bootie with a block heel will pull together most looks, whether you're wearing jeans and your favorite team's jersey or leggings and a chunky sweater. This Raylin Bootie by Kristin Cavallari for Chinese Laundry is great option. It has an everyday feel, but the gold block heel add some umph (and makes it more comfy than a stiletto).


Days like this, you want something warm to sip (especially if you've been screaming at the TV). If you want something more exciting than your normal Irish coffee, try the More Precious Than Gold, featuring Milagro Anejo. (No judging Irish coffee. We LOVE Irish Coffee.) It's creamy, sweet, and who doesn't love a pumpkin drink? If you can't get your bartender to whip this up for you, just ask for the anejo in some pumpkin flavored coffee... or even regular coffee with honey. Either one will still do the trick... they just might not match your booties as well.

More Precious than Gold
1.5 oz. Milagro ANEJO
.5 oz. dark crème de cacao
4 saffron threads
1 pinch of chili flakes
.5 oz. brown sugar syrup
3 dashes of chocolate bitters
.5 oz. of sweet potato puree
1.5 oz. of hot water

Add all ingredients in small pot and heat up till almost boiling. Pour into Irish coffee cup or mug. Top with whipped cream and garnish with saffron. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Booze Clues: Wine Advice from Somm In The City

The world of wine can be a bit intimidating. There are so many types! How's a girl to choose? I recently had an opportunity to pick the brain of sommolier (and fellow booze blogger), Sara Lehman of Somm in the City about some of the basics.



SNB: We're often judged by the content of our cup. With this in mind, what are a couple of varietals to generally avoid when someone’s aiming to impress (especially at a restaurant or bar)?

SITC: Avoid the typical choices like Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir. Of course some spots have excellent wines by the glass with these grapes, but there are usually more fun and interesting grapes on the list.

SNB: What should she opt for instead?

SITC: Well, depending on the restaurant and their wine selection, its always fun to choose something unique but approachable. If you enjoy crisp whites with some yellow fruit and roundness, go for an Albarino from Spain or White Burgundy from France, which will be a Chardonnay grape varietal. Also if they have a Gavi or a Gruner Veltliner, these are fun grapes with striking acidity if she is a total pinot grigio fan. For an approachable red a Garnacha, Malbec, or Chianti are always good choices. These wines tend to be great on their own, and if you decided to order a light bite or two, are very food friendly!

SNB: Some varietals are great alone. Some are better with food. What's one of the most versatile?

SITC: It really depends what you like to drink and what you are eating at the time. Many whites such as a buttery California Chardonnay can go great with lighter meat dishes



SNB: So... boxed wine. Is there such a thing as a good wine in a box? And do you ever sneak a sip in private?

SITC: Boxed wine tends to have a bad rap, because when its not used for sangria or “slapping the bag” games, its just less expensive wine that can hang outside the fridge for longer than the bottle usually does. Good boxed wine does exist, and a few brands are Public House, Shania, and Beso del Sol or Don Simon Sangria.
I wouldn’t say leave these wines in your room or cellar to age, but they are very drinkable now. They're also good for when you need to make batched cocktails or when having a party where lots of wine is needed.


SNB: If you're just getting into wine, but your drink of choice until now has been cosmos or apple martinis, what's a good place to start?

SITC: Because of the acidity and alcohol in those cocktails, certainly start with a Sauvignon Blanc from California or New Zealand. The Apple Martini has some herbaceous and grassy notes like the SB from NZ would have, and the fruity California SB will be light and fruity like a cosmopolitan. Approach a wine with striking acidity first to see what you like and can handle, and then if you choose to move to a red, go for an Oregon Pinot Noir, a Washington State Cabernet, or a California Cab or Merlot.

SNB: Bonus- which pair of shoes remind you of your favorite wine?

SITC: I certainly get a lot of my shoes from Aldo and am very into Mary Jane-like shoes. They are stylish and classic, and can be worn with almost every outfit day or night. This shoe style reminds me of Champagne, which also is stylish and classic, and can be enjoyed anytime of day!

Aldo Galelawen patent pump

Aldo doesn't have any mary janes at the moment. However, this Galelawen ankle strap pump seems to have the qualities Sarah described. They're on sale at the moment, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

NY Champagne Week: What to Drink & Where to Go

Second Annual #NYChampagneWeek Sets The City a'Sparkling



It's a celebration of the most festive libation! Endeavoring to showcase the approachability and highlight the diversity that bubbly has to offer, Blaine Ashley and the CitySip team have assembled a series of champagne-centered events involving cocktails, competitions and cuisine pairings. If you're not in or close to the Big Apple and would like to sip along, here are a couple of champagne cocktails to try at home:





Amaterasu (Japanese Wolf Goddess) by Montelobos Mezcal National Ambassador, Camille Austin 

.5 oz yuzu juice
.5 oz simple syrup (1:1)
Shake/ strain over Champagne
Glass: flute
Garnish: grapefruit zest




Westside Royale by Reyka Vodka National Ambassador, Trevor Schneider

25 ml Fresh Lime Juice
20 ml Simple Syrup
3 slices of cucumber
Small handful Mint
Combine all ingredients except champagne and shake, add champagne to the tin and double strain.
Glass: coupe
Garnish: cucumber float

If you're in New York and want to join in the fun that is NY Champagne Week, here's a rundown of events to check out. Unfortunately, we missed the introductory seminar and opening reception last night. However, there's still time to attend the following:  



Flight Night at The Bubble Lounge
Date: Thursday, November 6th 2014
Time: 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Location: The Bubble Lounge
Join the iconic Bubble Lounge in Tribeca for a special New York Champagne Week 'Flight Night' featuring Aperitif Champagne Cocktails with Pavan Liqueur along with Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve and Demi-Sec Rose. For just $50 guests will enjoy Champagne Cocktails paired perfectly with an appetizer, a flute of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve with a small plate pairing, followed by a glass of Nicolas Feuillatte's Demi-Sec Rose with dessert.  

The Bubble Bash at The Hotel Americano
Date: Friday, November 7th 2014
Time: 9 p.m. – 12 a.m.
Location: The Hotel Americano's El Privado Lounge
Glitterati will be greeted in the main room with Aperitif style Champagne Cocktails featuring Lillet and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur before making their way to an unlimited Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve and Brut Rose by the magnum.  Passed hors d'oeuvres a plenty will be had. And, in a second room, guests will find a Hudson Whiskey Champagne Punch and Cocktail den with more food and fun times. Tickets are $65/person