Make Whiskey Sours Great Again With Rhubarb Syrup

posted in: Cocktails, Easter | 1

rhubarb whiskey sourFor most of my drinking career, I turned up my nose at whiskey sours — which is weird considering I love both whiskey and sour flavors. I’m guessing my earliest exposure to the drink must have been at a bro bar (or someplace similar; that part of my life is fuzzy), where it was likely made with a mass-produced sour mix. That shit is gross to me for a few reasons, including the fact it’s probably made with lots of preservatives, but especially because cocktails are so much fucking better with fresh-squeezed citrus juice.

As I learned more about cocktails, however, I came to love the whiskey sour. In its simplest and most unadulterated form, it’s made with whiskey, lemon juice, and superfine sugar. Some people (hello!) like to add egg white.

Of course, I like to fuck with recipes, and a few years ago I got my hands on a bottle of rhubarb syrup from Morris Kitchen in Brooklyn. I replaced the sugar in a whiskey sour with the syrup and — HOLY SHIT — it was maybe one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. Unfortunately, that stuff seems to be sold out everywhere, all the time. So eventually, I started making my own rhubarb syrup. I’ll be honest: While it’s fucking fantastic, it’s not as good as Morris Kitchen’s. (Just felt like I should let you know that in case you ever come across a bottle. And if you do, buy it. Then please send it to Emily Farris, Kansas City, USA.)

Anyway, you should make this. Rhubarb has a tart flavor, which is perfect for a sweet cocktail syrup. And it’s rhubarb season. That alone is something to celebrate! Just be sure to give yourself some time to make the rhubarb syrup. In fact, it’s probably best to make it a day ahead so it can cool overnight in the fridge.

rhubarb simple syrup recipe

Rhubarb Syrup

Yield: 2 cups

INGREDIENTS

5-6 cups rhubarb, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch cardamom

DIRECTIONS

Add the rhubarb, sugar, and water to a medium-size pot over medium to high heat, stirring occasionally. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the vinegar, cinnamon and cardamom. Stir, then let the mixture simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The longer it simmers the more syrupy it will become.

Strain into a bottle or mason jar and let it cool to room temperature, then seal and refrigerate. This will keep in the fridge for weeks. But you’ll probably use it all before that. (Also, the mushy stuff leftover in the strainer makes a really great rhubarb jam.)

rhubarb whiskey sour

Rhubarb Whiskey Sour

INGREDIENTS

1½ ounces rye whiskey
1½ ounces lemon juice
1 ounce rhubarb syrup
1 egg white from a small egg (or ½ from a large)
Maraschino cherry for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the whiskey, lemon juice, rhubarb syrup, and egg white to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake really, really well and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry (or don’t, because they’re fucking disgusting, but so pretty!) and enjoy.

NOTE: If you ever do get your hands on a bottle of the Morris Kitchen rhubarb syrup, use ¾ ounce instead of a full ounce in this cocktail.

ANOTHER NOTE: The easiest way to separate an egg white from the yolk is to crack it into your hand, then separate your fingers a little over a bowl, and gently wiggle your fingers. The white will slip through and the yolk will remain in your hand. Voila!

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Stupid-Easy DIY Pom Pom Easter Basket

posted in: Crafts, Easter, Holidays | 0

DIY pom pom easter basket

In case you haven’t yet noticed, I’m really into easy crafts. And by “easy,” I mean shit people can actually make with limited skills and basic supplies. While there are some amazing crafts that call for power tools and some serious fiber skills, those feel more like big projects, and I don’t have the patience for that shit. But I do love making things—especially for the holidays—and I’ve been really into the pom pom basket trend for a while now. (If you weren’t aware of this trend, here’s one you can buy for $55 at Bloomingdales. And here’s another you can get for $96.)

Because crafting and drinking are my reasons for most any season, and I hate those tacky multi-color plastic baskets that are ubiquitous this time of year, I decided my first pom pom basket project would be for Easter. So I picked up a plain, single-handled basket for $14 at Home Goods and some colorful pom poms at my truly guilty pleasure, Hobby Lobby. (Apparently, most crafters make their own pom poms, but I haven’t knitted anything in years and don’t have a bunch of leftover yarn lying around, so fuck that noise. At least until I change my mind and decide I want to make my own, which I’m sure will happen soon-ish).

DIY pom pom easter basket

Anyway, to make this stupid-easy pom pom Easter basket, you just need a basket, some pom poms, a needle, and thread (and scissors to cut the thread, of course). I used a pretty large needle and thick thread, but that’s just because I had it handy. I think any size would do, though you can be the judge of that depending on your basket.

To start, thread the needle and knot it off at the end. Cut off the tail, then thread the pom pom all the way down to the knot. Sew the pom pom onto the basket, and tie it off in whatever way is the easiest and most inconspicuous. Honestly, mine are all kind of different on this basket, and I’m totally okay with that. I spread the pom poms out sort of willy nilly, but you could go crazy and saturate the entire rim, or just do a group of three on one or two sides.

DIY pom pom easter basketDIY pom pom easter basketDIY pom pom easter basketThe best part is that as long as you live a festive-as-fuck life, this basket is pretty evergreen. So when Easter’s over, you can use it for holding other things, like a picnic blanket and a giant bottle of bourbon. Though now that I think about it, there better be some bourbon in my goddamn Easter basket this year. All that said, if you don’t give a shit about the holiday and would rather just skip right ahead to your own knock-off $96 pom pom seagrass belly basket, you can get that basket at IKEA for $12. You’re welcome.

DIY pom pom easter basket

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Drink This Thing: The Spring Schwing

posted in: Cocktails, Easter | 2

paloma cocktailIt’s officially spring! Not that I’ve been anxiously awaiting it. Seriously. It’s been somewhere between 17 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit in the Midwest for the last month or so, and last weekend felt like the goddamn armit of summertime. But whatever, it’s finally spring and now I get to share one of my favorite seasonal drink recipes, The Spring Schwing.

A very loose but pretty-fucking-fancy take on the classic Paloma cocktail, this tequila and ruby-red grapefruit concoction also features one of my favorite flavors in the world: ginger. And no, I’m not using ginger beer again. At least not this time.

paloma cocktail recipe

Both the ginger and the sweetness in this drink come from Domaine de Canton, a ginger liqueur that really should be a fixture in your home bar. It’s easy to find in most liquor stores, and if you’re going to put fucking sugar water in your drinks anyway, it might as well be boozy and gingery, right? I mean, there are very few drinks that aren’t improved with a little splash of this golden goodness. (That said, if you love ginger as much as I do, and you like it spicy, I also recommend Barrow’s Intense ginger liqueur, but I can’t keep that shit in the house or I’ll drink the entire bottle in a week. No joke.)

Anyway, ruby-red grapefruit is in season right now, so it’s available at most grocery stores and markets. Of course, you could substitute bottled juice, but fresh citrus does so much more for cocktails than the pre-bottled stuff — and really, if you can’t be bothered to juice one fucking grapefruit, why don’t you just go sit over there and suck down some Red Bull and vodka while you flip through Kim Kardashian’s selfie book.

You may want to strain the pulp if that kind of thing ruins your schwing, but other than that, this drink goes down real easy.

The Spring Schwing

INGREDIENTS

1 ounce reposado tequila
1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
2 ounces fresh-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice
Club soda
1 sprig rosemary, for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the tequila, ginger liqueur and grapefruit juice to an old-fashioned or stemless wine glass. Stir well, add a handful of ice (or one giant ice cube) and top off with club soda. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

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Shit You Can Make: Washi Tape Easter Eggs

posted in: Crafts, Easter | 0

creative easter egg decoration washi tape

If one more person tells me they can’t do anything creative, I’m going to lose my shit. Because you know what? With some pretty washi tape and scissors, you can make these beautiful Easter eggs. Anyone can make these eggs. Like, you don’t even need to be able to cut in a straight line, because tape isn’t wide.

Seriously, guys. These eggs are ridiculously simple and they look like something you’d pay $26 a piece for at fucking Anthropologie and then lie to your husband and tell him you made them or got them at Dollar Tree. Except this time you really are going to make them. Twelve of them for less than $10! (Then you can go buy something else at Anthropologie with all that money you saved. Maybe this $85 egg holder? After all, you’re going to need a way to display your thrifty DIY.)

creative easter egg decoration washi tape

Have I mentioned how easy these are? I mean, I honestly can’t even believe I’m typing out multiple paragraphs of instructions — for adults — on how to put tape on a fucking hard-boiled egg, but here I go.

Washi Tape Easter Eggs

1. Buy the trash eggs for $1.09 a dozen (because you have absolutely no plans to eat them* unless you want to sulfur fart for a week), an egg dyeing kit for $1.99 and a few rolls of washi tape, and maybe some glitter tape if you’re feeling fancy, for $2 to $3 each.

2. Hard-boil those eggs — only so they don’t break and they’ll take longer to stink (I think. I could be wrong about this stink part because now that I think about it, hard boiled eggs are pretty stinky. Anyway….). If you mess them up, that’s cool. Like I said, you’re not going to eat them.

3. Once the eggs have cooled, dye them. Here’s a creative tip: If you dye all of the eggs similar shades they’re going to look fancier, but really, dye them however the fuck you want. Or don’t dye them. But if you do, the longer you leave an egg in the dye, the more intense the color, so you could leave some in for two minutes, some for five — you get the drift.

4. Once the dye is completely dry, cut up some washi tape and put it on those eggs. If you mess it up, take it off. Washi tape can’t even hold fucking wrapping paper in place so you better believe it comes off of an egg pretty easily. Here’s another creative tip: If you get a few different kinds of washi tape in similar color palettes, like these different gold tapes I used, and then put them on your monochromatic-dyed eggs, they’re going to look rich as shit. In fact, here’s a cool set that’s already put together and really strips this project of any need for creativity.

You can do this, you rainbow-infused space shark. I believe in you!

creative easter egg decoration washi tape

*Did you guys eat your Easter eggs when you were kids? We totally did, and looking back, that’s pretty gross. Though maybe we only dyed them the day before Easter? I can’t even remember. I like to keep my holiday displays up for a few weeks, so these are going to be more like biohazards than foodstuffs. Of course, if you want to make them right before Easter and use cage-free, farm-fresh eggs, that’s even better.

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Here’s Your Damn St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

st patrick's day cocktail whiskey jameson

You’d think that as a person who loves holidays almost as much as I love drinking, I’d be all over the major drinking holidays. But it’s just the opposite. I refuse to leave my house on both New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, and as far as I’m concerned, the latter is just an excuse for Americans to get shit faced, barf in the street and swap vom-flavored spit with horny dudes wearing “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirts. But I know I’m in the minority here, so I made a cocktail for you. I mean, I didn’t create it; I have to be excited about a holiday to actually take the time come up with an original themed drink. Still, finding a decent fucking cocktail to celebrate a day synonymous with green beer isn’t exactly easy.

Sadly, when you google “Irish cocktails,” the first hits include Irish Car Bomb, Baby Guinness, Orgasm, Quick Fuck, and the Slippery Nipple. But those aren’t really Irish cocktails. That’s the menu for a shitty Irish pub opened by three frat guys from Florida. A search for “St. Patrick’s Day cocktails” turns up similarly disgusting results, including Shamrock Juice — which is gin AND tequila AND rum AND vodka AND Blue Curaco plus some orange juice. While I’m impressed that someone could put together a green drink without any food coloring or Sour Apple Pucker, that sure sounds like something you should throw back if you want to pass out face-first into a pile of your own turquoise vomit.

Whilst googling, however, I remembered that a few years ago, the fine folks at Jameson sent me a recipe for a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day cocktail. In addition to Jameson, the South Side Smash is mixed with Fernet Branca, lime juice, and simple syrup. It’s strong, sweet, and a little tart—overall, a wonderful and festive way to begin (or end) a more grown-up St. Patrick’s Day. And since it’s garnished with mint, you’ll have a green drink in your hand that, unlike green beer, won’t turn your shit green. Plus, it kind of looks like an adorable pot of gold, so how’s that for fucking festive?

Jameson recommends using its Black Barrel Irish Whiskey for this one, but I used the regular stuff and it was great.

Sláinte! And enjoy your hangovers, suckers!

The South Side Smash

INGREDIENTS

1½ ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
½ ounce Fernet Branca
¾ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
6-8 fresh mint leaves
Mint sprig for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Combine the whiskey, Fernet, lime juice, and simple syrup, along with the loose mint leaves, in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice and shake vigorously (you want to bruise the mint leaves to release some of the oils). Strain into an ice-filled rocks or half-pint glass. Garnish with a mint sprig and enjoy.

NOTE: Jameson didn’t pay me or even provide me any booze to write this, but they did take me on a pretty sweet trip to Ireland for a real St. Patrick’s Day experience a few years ago. So when it comes to whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day, they’ll always be my number-one boo.

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