Category Archives: Beverages

Summer So Good


Summer was made for lemonade, mint and fine bourbon


Shrub: My No-Booze November Distraction

Part of why I like having a hard cider or cocktail after work is that it’s so darn tasty. There is a complexity of flavors that you just can’t get with just juice or drink mixes or, of course, water. This No-Booze November needs something with a bit more punch since I don’t have any exceptions to look forward to. Enter the Shrub.
Continue reading Shrub: My No-Booze November Distraction

Tom & Jerry, Like You’ve Never Heard Before

My brother-in-law is a bartender at a great place in Chicago called Sable. It’s an amazing bar specializing in classic cocktails. You will not find an Appletini anywhere on the premises, but if you’re looking for an excellent whiskey you won’t be disappointed. In my humble opinion, however, the best way to experience Sable, is to ask for John Stanton to make you something special. His drink recipes are second to none, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother-in-law. If ever I need to impress anyone with an amazing drink, John is the guy to talk to.

Recently he emailed my husband a recipe for Tom & Jerry’s batter. Well, it was more like a story than a recipe, and way more entertaining than a recipe typically is. Continue reading Tom & Jerry, Like You’ve Never Heard Before

Cucumber Lime Margarita Jello Shots

Husband and I just finished our 2nd Annual No Booze November. Why on earth would we ever do such a thing? For several reasons: 1. It saves money. Liquor is expensive! And 2. To prove to ourselves we weren’t alcoholics. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but we were having 2 or 3 drinks every night when we would come home from work, and it was getting to the point where I was actually craving it. Dangerous territory! So we decided, for the second year in a row, to drink no alcohol in our home, or purchase it from a liquor store (Thanksgiving was excluded). I am happy to say we did save money and I no longer have as strong of cravings as before.

BUT. As soon as December first rolled around we decided to celebrate! So we held the 1st Annual Team S. Liquor Appreciation Day on December 1st. Continue reading Cucumber Lime Margarita Jello Shots

GRR Wine Trail Loot

Wine & the Midwest

My family has been a fan of the Iowa Wine Trail for several years now (I know, right? IOWA. It’s actually really delicious wine). Myself and my husband go on their November tour event every other year while other members of my family go every year without fail. None of us are, by any stretch of the imagination, wine connoisseurs, but we absolutely love these tours! It’s not about the drinking—unless you buy a bottle and drink it on your way to the next winery, it’s actually pretty hard to get drunk on a wine trail tour—it’s about the time spent with family, the magic of the Road Trip, and the experience of talking with people who are passionate about what they do. Continue reading Wine & the Midwest

Alien Brain Hemorrhage shot

Alien Brain Hemmorage – a shot I can take

My brother found this drink online and decided that his house-warming party was a perfect opportunity to test it out on some unsuspecting victims. I loved it! It looks awful, and my husband (and many others) refused to try it, and may have lost a little respect for those of us who did, but it tasted great.

Alien Brain Hemorrhage - Steps 1 & 2
Alien Brain Hemorrhage – Steps 1 & 2. 1 part peach schnapps, 1 part Bailey’s Irish Cream poured gently on top


Alien Brain Hemorrhage - Step 3
Alien Brain Hemorrhage – Step 3. GENTLY add a little Blue Curaçao (pronounced koor-uh-soh)


Alien Brain Hemorrhage - Step 4
Alien Brain Hemorrhage – Step 4. GENTLY add a little grenadine and watch the magic happen!


Alien Brain Hemorrhage shot
Mmmmm braaaaiiiiins. I give you: The Alien Brain Hemorrhage
The Best Hot Toddy

My Favorite Hot Toddy

My brother-in-law is a bar tender at a swanky bar in Chicago and inspired this recipe for a perfect hot toddy:


  • 1-2 oz straight rye whiskey
  • 1 lemon wedge, juiced (about 1/2 Tbsp juice)
  • 1/2 tsp buckwheat honey
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 8 oz hot water


  1. Boil the water
  2. In a mug juice the lemon wedge, add honey and cinnamon (honestly, just a dash. Add too much and it will get clumpy. ewe)
  3. To get really fancy, take a sharp knife and dig out 2 little holes in the lemon wedge rind. Insert the cloves in the little holes. Add the lemon wedge+cloves to the mug
  4. Pour in the hot water and stir
  5. Drink (carefully)!

Wine: My Mistake

The Little Penguin Merlot 2005
Image by Alexandre Lemieux via Flickr

In many blogs people only want to write about their successes—the things that worked. I recently read a food blog in which the author refused to give the recipe for the failed frosting she made for some cupcakes. I can understand the reasons for this, but on the other hand, why not share that failed recipe with the rest of us so we are not doomed to make the same mistake? In that spirit, I am about to share one of my recent mistakes.

Yes, yes, I asked for it. It was on sale for about $3.50, but we’re trying to save money and we needed a Merlot to celebrate with. So at 10 minutes to closing time I grabbed the first, and cheapest, bottle I saw.

Well, lesson learned. Little Penguin the animal = very cute. Little Penguin Merlot = not very good. Stick with Little Black Dress next time. Little Black Dress is our merlot of choice and is typically around $10. We’ve gotten away with cheap white wine before—it was called Broke Ass White and was actually pretty good—so I figured, why not try a cheap merlot? I found out why you don’t do that.

We only drank a couple glasses of the Little Penguin before we decided it was only good enough for cooking with. My father-in-law had recently given me some Penzeys Mulling Spices which came with a recipe for spiced wine. We figured why not?

The reason not to do this would be that we started with a $3.50 bottle of bad wine. Crap in, crap out. Our experiment failed and if I try the spiced wine again I will be using a better quality wine.

On the subject of wine, but having nothing to do with failed experiments, cheap wine or mulling spices, NY Times author Eric Asimov wrote a compelling article called “Wine in Two Words” that breaks down describing wine into two easy categories: sweet and savory.

These two simple words suggest the basic divide of all wines, the two grand categories that explain more about the essence of any bottle than the most florid, detailed analogies ever could. Just as important, thinking of wine in this more streamlined fashion is an efficient method for clarifying your own preferences.