You guys, sometimes my mom would let me drink booze before I was 21. Maybe she was festive as fuck. Or maybe she just didn’t really give a fuck. For good measure, let’s say it was a little of Column A and a little of Column B (though she didn’t celebrate Christmas or any “pagan” holidays, so that kind of eliminates Column A). But because I don’t want to make her out to be a monster here, let’s pretend she was also influenced by cool European moms. Anyway, all that matters is that this Nuts & Berries cocktail is one she’d let me sip a little around the holidays. Though I don’t know how it even happened, because she never kept any booze in the house, save for the jug of shitty pink wine that was constantly half full in the fridge. And now that I think about it, it was my cool aunt Susie who first introduced me to this drink and definitely not my mom (sorry, Mom!), though I know my mom let me drink it.
Everyone and their mother (see what I did there??) seems to have their own take on the Nuts & Berries cocktail. Some people make it with heavy cream or half and half — but I don’t really see the point in using cream when you can use cream liqueur. The recipe that’s been handed down in my family is Baileys Irish Cream, Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, and Chambord raspberry liqueur (which, by the way, I pretty much equate with cough syrup on its own because I generally hate fake fruity shit but it’s really, really good in this). This year, I mixed things up by swapping the Baileys for Buffalo Trace’s new Bourbon Cream. And let me tell you: It’s good — like, put-it-in-my-coffee-every-damn morning good.
Maybe it’s more nostalgia than anything, but there aren’t too many drinks I liked at 18 that I still like at 35. This is definitely one of them. Of course, I think of it like a dessert cocktail and usually only have one. Otherwise I would probably have to buy bigger jeans real soon. Yes, it’s sweet. But even if you, like me, usually prefer straight whiskey to sugary, creamy drinks, just fucking give this one a try. It’s sweet, but not in a nasty way, and creamy, but also not in a nasty way. Oh, and it’s five ounces of straight-up liqueurs. So there’s that.
If you don’t believe me, and you’re in Kansas City, join me on Saturday, December 16 from 3-5 pm at at my sugar business, Brookside Wine & Spirits. I’ll be schmoozing (probably in a festive fucking sweater) while I mix up samples. While you’re there, you can get 10% off the ingredients. And if you already have this shit in your bar, what the hell are you waiting for?
Nuts & Berries Cocktail
2 ounces Buffalo Trace Cream Liquer
2 ounces Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
1 ounce Chambord raspberry liqueur
Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled glass, on or off the rocks, depending on your preference.
Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram!
We are deep into the holiday season — like, all up in its guts and shit. Today I even bought a Christmas tree, and it’s still barely November and I feel like I’m super late. It’s a tiny Fraser fir and it will live on a table since I have a human toddler and a dog toddler, but it’s here and I can’t wait to decorate it. But first, it’s time to finally get you organized for the upcoming month. I’m still super behind from my pre-Thanksgiving plague, but at long last (really, the last possible fucking minute), I present your free printable December 2017 calendar, available now as a digital download.
This month, I went for ornaments, which I realize are super Christmassy and I’m more of a Happy-Secular-Holidays-type person, but goddammit, I was raised in the midwest and even my atheist ass loves singing O Holy Night and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing on occasion (or possibly for the entire month of December and maybe a little in November, too). And I like shapes. And ornaments come in fun shapes. I also added some holiday reminders on here. In addition to Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve, I jotted dowm the start and end of Hanukkah, as well as the start of Kwanzaa. I’ve avoided adding holidays before, because once you start, where do you stop when you’re festive as fuck? But I hope this covers most of what should be noted in December.
The PDF is set up so that if you have the capability to print to the edges of paper, the ornaments will look like they’re coming from the very top. Unfortunately, every time I tried to do that with my shitty little printer, it would only print in gray. So I’m not really sure what’s up with that. Best of luck you? I fucking hate printers. (Seriously, why has printer technology not evolved since, like, 1997?)
As always, the calendar is free, and as you may or may not know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the digital file from my store. You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. You just have to plug some information into some boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you (unless you’re really super fucking cool), and I think if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time. Also, I think I’ve fixed it so that those of you who aren’t in the US can easily download it. (My physical items are US shipping only for now, since I’m too lazy to deal with international shipping.)
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. We’re on the honor system here. Don’t be a dick. Especially not during the holidays.
Crafts + Cocktails is back for the holidays! And this time, I’m hosting it at Boulevard Brewing Company‘s new Tours & Rec Center — where we’ll be making festive as fuck holiday cards and sipping on a spicy beer cocktail I’ll make with Boulevard’s brand-spankin’-new City Market Cider.
The ticket price — a mere $25 — includes all the festive, sparkly card supplies your happy little elf hands hands can handle; a spicy beer cocktail featuring City Market Cider (developed by yours truly, of course), and an additional beer. Perhaps the best part? Well, not the best part, but a damn fine bonus: If you’re as bad at mailing shit as I am, you’ll be glad to know that Boulevard will fucking MAIL YOUR CARDS FOR YOU. Isn’t that amazing? It’s a Christmas miracle. (Seriously, I still haven’t mailed the thank-you cards I wrote for the gifts we got right after my son was born. ALMOST TWO YEARS AGO. So this is huge for me.) Just be sure to bring your old-school address book, or you know, text people while you’re there. I’ve got your glue sticks and glitter (okay, not glitter because as a friend once told me, “glitter is the herpes of the craft world,” so I try not to take it into other people’s places of business, so maybe glitter pens instead), and sequins and rickrack all that shit covered.
If you’re in Kansas City, I really hope you’ll join me for this super fun craft and cocktail event!
Like what you see and want to be the first to know when I announce the next event? Follow me on Instagram!
Planning to eat too much turkey (and stuffing, and cranberry sauce) on Thursday? No shit! We all are. That’s exactly why I made you this Thanksgiving after-dinner drink. It’s full of all kinds of things to aid in digestion (does this sound like a fucking TUMS commercial or what?) and it also happens to taste really good. ‘Cause that’s what I do.
The secret (well one of them) to this stomach-settling tonic is a hot honey syrup, made with honey, water, and cayenne pepper. Honey itself doesn’t blend into cold drinks — it just gets all fucking globby — but a honey syrup is a perfect cocktail ingredient. And it’s even easier to make than a simple syrup (instructions below). Another beneficial ingredient is bitters — which has historically been used as a digestif. I often drink it with club soda when I’ve eaten too much (especially if I NEED to eat more), and it really does the trick. And then there’s tonic, which I guess can help cure your malaria? So basically what I’m telling you is this drink is might as well be medicine (am I allowed to say that? doubtful). Anyway, enjoy. And happy fucking Thanksgiving!
½ cup hot water
½ cup honey
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon (½ oz) hot honey syrup
6 dashes Angostura Bitters
Lemon twist for garnish
To make the hot honey syrup, combine ½ cup honey, ½ cup hot water, and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir until combined, then store in the fridge in an old honey bear, or something similar. Let that shit cool completely before adding it to a cocktail.
To make the cocktail, add the rye, Grand Marnier, hot honey syrup, and bitters to a double rocks glass. Stir well, add a handful of ice, then top it off with tonic water. Garnish with the lemon twist and enjoy.
Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram!
In my family, stuffing comes from a box. And I admit, I like that shit. But I LOVE this stuffing. I’ve been making some version of it since a friend and I went to a pretentious-as-fuck Friendsgiving in Brooklyn back in 2008 (everyone was really snotty about esoteric art and I’m fairly certain Lana Del Rey was there). We were asked to bring stuffing (or maybe they even called it dressing, or “common people bread stuffs”) and since I’d just published a casserole cookbook (yes, it’s true), and stuffing could technically be considered a casserole, I figured I better bring my A-game. I did’t really follow any recipe — just simmered a bunch of really good shit in butter and poured it over some day-old bread. Obviously, it was amazing. And now I make it every year — and I sing “Got to be startin’ stuffing! Got to be startin’ stuffing!” the entire time I’m cooking. Every damn year. And if I had to give it a name, I guess it would be a sage stuffing recipe, but I prefer to just call it The Best Damn Stuffing in the World. Maybe even The Best Fucking Stuffing in the World. You know.
There are two secrets (okay, three) to making this shit taste amazing. The first is layering fresh sage. Like adding it at practically every step. The second is butter. SO. MUCH. FUCKING. BUTTER. And the third is onion powder. Yes, I love onion powder, so, so hard. I call for a tablespoon of it in this recipe, but if anyone actually measured how much I dump in, it would probably be more. Feel free to use it generously is all I’m saying.
This sage stuffing recipe can be made and mixed the night before, then refrigerated overnight. If you go this route, take it out of the fridge at least an hour before you want put it in the oven, and cook it with a lid or foil on top for the first 20 minutes or so. It may need a little more time in the oven, too (closer to an hour) to be fully cooked. It can also easily be made vegetarian by swapping vegetable stock for the chicken stock. And if you want to make it vegan, that’s a bummer, but you can probably use olive oil or coconut oil in place of the butter.
While you’re in the kitchen you might as well make my Grand Marnier cranberry sauce, too.
And in case you’re wondering, nope. You definitely shouldn’t cook in a vintage cooper pan. Won’t be making that mistake again, but it sure is pretty, huh?
The Best Damn Stuffing in the World (A Sage Stuffing Recipe)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
8 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (or more!)
1 large, white onion, chopped
3-4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2-3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 pink lady apples, large dice (with skins)
1.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 cups finely chopped baby bella mushrooms
1 tablespoon onion powder (or more if you love it as much as I do)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly-cracked black pepper to taste
2 day-old baguettes, torn into ½-inch pieces
6 ounces dried cranberries (Craisins or similar)
Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of the butter in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons of chopped sage. When you smell the sage (which will happen quickly), add the onion, carrots, and celery. When the onions become translucent, add the garlic and second stick of butter, and stir until the butter is melted. (At this point you can add salt and pepper or save it to the end, but I usually add a little a few times as I go.)
Add another 2 tablespoons of chopped sage along with the apples. Pour in the chicken stock and stir. Once the liquid is simmering again, add the mushrooms, onion powder, cayenne, and 2 more tablespoons of chopped sage. Stir well, and salt and pepper to taste (keeping in mind that you’ll be tossing this with two baguettes — so season that shit really well!).
At this point, I usually turn the burner’s heat down as low as it will go, preheat the oven to 350ºF, and start tearing the bread right into a 4-ish quart casserole dish. Then, I pour the mixture from the stove over the bread, along with the dried cranberries, and final 2 teaspoons of chopped sage and mix it really, really well.
Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, or until the stuffing begins to brown on top. For best results, stir once throughout the cooking process.
Like what you see? Follow me on Instagram!