Libation Celebration: The Glitzy …

If you are basically anywhere but Florida at the moment you are probably bundled up and staying indoors thanks to what seems to be a coast-to-coast cold front.  This blast of wintery frost had everyone in the office thinking of warmer weather so when it came time for this week’s cocktail selection, everyone in the office instantly gravitated towards The Glitzy….

Glitzy Cocktail for CourtneyOutLoud

It’s not surprising why we all loved The Glitzy.  For starters, the drink was created by the acclaimed mixologist, Ronaldo Colli, owner of the awesome bar, Ivy Room, in Albany, CA.  Originally from the Yucatan province of Mexico, Colli cocktail recipes can be found at many of the premier bar and restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have been featured in SOMA Magazine; A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites, by Joanne Weir; Don Julio’s Luxury Drop Tequila Cocktail book; and Dimmi Italian liquor Book. He has also been a judge at Tales of the Cocktail, a national competition in New Orleans. Ronaldo regularly participates in mixology competitions both locally and nationally, and is the winner of Cointreau’s “Master of Margarita.”  So in other words, Ronaldo has major street cred and knows how to make a mean cocktail.

With The Glitzy, Ronaldo pared the tart and tangy with warmth to create a drink that instantly had us scheming on how to spend our Christmas on the Mexican Riviera.

The Glitzy by Ronaldo Colli

The Glitzy is the perfect drink for a casual weekend gathering of friends for the holidays when you want to up the ante.  Quick and easy to make, it will definitely be finding its rightful place in our bar rotation.  Be sure to check out our other drinks in the Libation Celebration series …..

[photo credit: photo by adza//food styling: courtney lake//recipe: ronaldo colli ]

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Libation Celebration: The Pink Crane …

I love a signature cocktail at parties.  It’s a great way to minimize expense and remove one more thing from the shoulders of the host.  So I asked an experienced and a budding mixologist to create a set of drinks that they think could put anyone into the holiday spirit.  Up first is my friend Hector and his “Pink Crane” …..

Pink Crane Cocktail 2

Hector works in the wine industry and has become quite the budding mixologist in his off time.  Given the instructions to create a drink that was light, refreshing and easy on the wallet, Hector spent a weekend working (aka drinking…) to come up with this delicious holiday libation.  The unexpected note of vanilla/almond is what makes this cocktail so unique – it’s the perfect up note to take the drink to a new level.  It’s also the reason why called it the Pink Crane….light, refreshing and definitely a drink that will bring your guests good luck in the coming new year!

Pink Crane Cocktail

[photo credit: photo by adza//food styling: courtney lake//recipe: hector maldonado ]

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Wednesday Mixology: Strawberry Greyhound Cocktail….

This time last week, I was preparing to leave to sunny Palm Springs for some R&R. Today, I am staring at a grey, wet day filled with a long overdue bathroom install at a client’s condo. So it’s not that illogical that I am dreaming about what cocktail I will be having tonight as The Partner and I catch up over our day. I thought in tribute to Palm Springs and to try to extend the warm vacation fuzzies as long as possible, I would whip up a batch of Strawberry Greyhounds, a twist on the traditional greyhound cocktail…..

Strawberry Greyhound

STRAWBERRY GREYHOUND COCKTAIL

Makes 8 cocktails

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 12  strawberries
  • 1/2 cup vodka (vary to taste)
  • simple syrup

Instructions:
1. Place whole strawberries in bottom of pitcher and muddle with wooden spoon.

2. Pour in vodka and grapefruit juice into pitcher and stir lightly.

3. Before serving, pour mixture into shaker with whole ice cubes and a splash of simple syrup.  Shake vigorously until shaker is frosty.  Pour into glass and serve with a strawberry slice.

Ahhhhhh…..I feel better already thinking about this.  Now I just have to get through the day!

Salute!

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Cocktail Party Nibbles …Keep It Simple!

I have a habit of excess.  The more the merrier.  The bigger the better.  Honestly, it has become a problem from my closet to my pantry.  I love to indulge and to indulge those that  I love.  Parties tend to be exhaustive affairs with plates of food and drinks overflowing – it’s something I love doing so don’t think I am holding a grudge.  But this year, I am holding to my holiday promise of keeping it simple.  However, simple doesn’t mean boring!

I plan on making the three signature champagne cocktails I shared yesterday for my gathering, but otherwise I am going to keep things low-key when it comes to my nibbles.   I turned to my good friend and professional chef Alejandra Ramos of the famed food blog Always Order Dessert for some guidance.  Alejandra agreed with me that since guests are coming after their respective dinners, there was no need for heavy finger food.  “The drinks are the stars of the evening so make everything else easy, quick and delicious. NO COOKING!”  She suggested that I stick with the tried and true cheese plate….

Ramos Quote 1

Cocktail Cheese Plate

But Alejandra stressed that while the snacks can be simple, they shouldn’t be boring……

Ramos Quote 2

Taking her advice one step further, I wanted to up the “wow”factor and do something as easy but even tastier…..herbed truffled popcorn!  Aside from being super easy to make in large quantities, the popcorn is a delicious and unexpected pairing to accompany the cheese Alejandra recommended….

Herbed Popcorn

Herbed Truffle Popcorn Recipe

Last, Alejandra said I should think about presentation when it came to planning my menu…..

Ramos Quote 3

I interpreted Alejandra’s advice as why not have your drink garnish be an appetizer?  Rather than simply dropping one or two raspberries into my drink as a garnish, I skewered them onto rosemary to create fruit garnishes that could also double as an appetizer….

Raspberry and Rosemary Skewers

Thanks to Alejandra I am now fully prepared for my party and not nearly as stressed.  With these quick and simple tips, I can now focus on enjoying my party rather than worrying about running it.  Which in turn gives me more time to drink….and oh…hang out with my guests too!

Wish each of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

[Credits] Styling: Courtney Lake// Photography: Adrienne Aubry

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New Year’s Eve Entertaining With FOLK Magazine….

I think everyone should have a signature drink.  For myself, my usual “go to” drink is an extra dirty vodka martini with 3 olives.  Maybe it’s my inner James Bond trying to get free but this drink of choice has been my main stay for several years now and I don’t envision it being dethroned any time in the near future.

However, when a special occasion does arise…..say New Year’s Eve, I typically find myself with a flute of champagne in my hand.  But a whole evening of champagne can be a bit boring.  So when FOLK Magazine asked me to contribute a piece for their blog I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out three new champagne cocktails my mixologist friends have been raving about….

Festive Champagne Cocktails

I am sharing three recipes for champagne cocktails that even your champagne purist friends will love.  Go over to FOLK Magazine and check them out!  Cheers!

Credits – Styling: Courtney Lake//Photography: Adrienne Aubry

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A Home For Cocktails…..

I love a good mixed cocktail.  There is a magic to all the shaking, muddling, stirring and garnishing that goes into creating these delicious concoctions.  They are meant to be placed on a pedestal to be admired, sipped and lounged over.  Yet repeatedly, I find myself throwing them back simply because I have no place to put them at parties or social functions.

Enter ……

These perfect little tables are meant, as the name implies, to provide sanctuary to your libations.  For myself, I love using them because of their diminutive size, they are the perfect accessory to squeeze into a tight corner.  More so, some of the tables on the market are literally works of art that could easily substitute for sculpture.  However, rather than go down that path for the post, I stumbled up a cocktail table that I think is stylish, modern and perfectly priced……

The Stockholm table from Ikea is something that is new to me but I am instantly smitten with.  A quick inspection of it in the store revealed that it is of substantial weight (a good thing for cocktail tables) and it has a hinged top that allows for a small amount of hidden storage.  At $US99, I think it is the perfect piece in a modern space or a traditional home looking shake things up.   If you are extra handy, you could buy two and cut the second down by 6-8″ to have a fantastic looking two-tiered side table for less than $200.

Today I off to the Design Center to hear a speaker and hopefully pull some fabric for the Douglass Street project…..I am thinking yellow velvet, cognac leather and grey linen for some reason.  We will see how it all pans out.  So tell me, do you have a tiny piece of furniture in your home that you love?

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