Tag Archives: Cocktails

‘Tis the Season Party Recipe Roundup

'Tis the season!

‘Tis the season!

Everyone can use a little help when it comes to holiday entertaining. Easy, but memorable recipes that deserve a place at any party we may be throwing with our nearest and dearest friends and family. Here are a few ideas to help get you through the nibbles and dribbles.

GREAT HOST GIFTS {with the most!}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Homemade Spicy Carrot Kimchi! & Apple Chutney!
Homemade Spicy Pickled Carrots
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail {non-alcoholic}

SNACK’EMS {makes happy hour happier}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Flaky Cheese Straws, As Easy As Being Barefoot

Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus
Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Za’atar-Pecorino Toasted Crostini

SEASONAL SIDES

Bursting Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta-Orange Reduction
Crispy Cayenne Roasted Potatoes
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}

Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata Breadcrumbs
Community Grains Lazy Sunday Red Flint Polenta Integrale
Farro Salad with Steamed Kale and Roasted Pinenuts

SEASONAL SWEETS {life is short, eat it first}

Honey-Vanilla Pound Cake
Julia Child’s Chocolate Mousse
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie
Violet’s Lemon Cheesecake 

 

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Holiday Recipe Inspiration: Small Bites and Seasonal Sippers

‘Tis the season to stock the bar. While it’s a time for tradition, it’s also a time for surprises. So if you’re looking to spice up the table with a few new twists as well, I hope you find inspiration in the list below.

Happy Holidays from 8.ate@eight! 

BREAKFAST {energy for gift deluge}

Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
Royal British Cranberry-Almond Breakfast Scones

How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg
Southern Breakfast Egg Casserole

DRINKS {we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet!}

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}

Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

Stand-Out Spanish Sangria

SNACK’EMS AND SWEETS {can’t resist ’em}

Cinnamon Sugar & Dark Cocoa Almonds
Inside-Out Scotch Eggs w/ Ground Lamb, Harissa Yolk & Panko Gremolata
Homemade Ricotta and Melted Leeks
Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Scotch! {bottom of post}
Rosemary, Truffle and Parmesan Chips or Fries

Union Square Bar Roasted Rosemary Nuts
Millionaire’s Shortbread Worth a Billion Bucks
Perfect Pear Cranberry Pie 

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The Beagle: A Restaurant You Should Be Loyal To

Fresh Baby Corn with Mayo, Lime and Cilantro

Sorry for the hiatus — sometimes life just gets in the way. But there have been no shortage of delicious eats since the last post and if you’re on the hunt for some doggone good chow, then sniff away at The Beagle — the latest addition to my Favor8 list.

The Beagle opened only two short months ago, but has already established itself as a dining and drinking establishment to be loyal to. The space is small, but spacious, and its decor is inspired by the servants’ working quarters of a grand country house. I half expected to see a roaring hearth with some spit-roasted chicken and a sleepy dog {obviously a Beagle} curled up in front of the fire. But while the atmosphere has the throwback comfort of a country home, both drink and dinner menus are inspired lists of exciting and innovative fare.

There is something for every appetite — from small “tidbits” to full-on “pairing boards,” which feature smartly paired dishes of creative kitchen wizardry, with superb cocktails that will have your head spinning {especially if you order up the barrel-aged White Dog Manhattan!!}

It didn’t take much to be impressed by the clever baby corn on a stick with a lick-able dipping mayo that had me panting for more. But that was just a taste of what was to come with the Sweetbread & Calvados and Lamb Neck & Rye pairing boards. The lusciously tender sweetbreads with a perfectly crispy outer edge were served with raisins, caramelized fennel, capers and delightfully etched glass of Drouin Calvados.  It was rich, sweet, salty and perfect. Sadly I was sharing with a table of other hungry hounds, but I could have easily devoured the entire dish on my own. The Lamb Neck & Rye competed for a second fav — served with anchovy relish, cucumber and a mini preakness cocktail — it too showcased the brilliant appeal of hitting on all your tastebuds.

Sweetbread & Calvados Pairing Board

While they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, I may beg to differ when it comes to The Beagle’s roast chicken. We’ve all had our fair share of roast chicken over the years, but when I heard theirs had cheddar and roasted fennel stuffed under the crispy skin, my ears perked up and I quickly sat at attention. There was something about that simple twist that just made sense. If you can improve on apple pie with a few slices of cheddar cheese, why not a roast chicken? The sharpness of the cheese, with the sweetness of the fennel had us all jumping through hoops and begging for seconds — and seconds we did order. It was that good.

Roast Chicken with Cheddar and Fennel

The Skim: If you’re trying to track down an evening of fantasticly innovative dining and imbibing, while feeling like you’re enjoying everything from the comfort of someone’s dining room, then The Beagle is your new home. Go hungry or with a sharing-friendly pack and taste your way through all the goodness.

Map: 162 Avenue A {@ east 10th}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-228-6900


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Wintry Weekend Inspiration

Looking for something to warm the soul this weekend? Here are a few favorites that will make for a great way to start your day or a cup of warmth to end the evening.

BREAKFAST {of champions}

Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

Italian Wedding Soup

SOUPS

Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup

Autumn Manhattan

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

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8.ate@eight’s Boozy Robert Burns Bash w/ The Tippling Bros. & Highland Park

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What do you get when you put 30 lassies and laddies in a room with an abundance of top notch Scotch and Tippling masters who know how to shake up a mean cocktail menu? A boozy bash celebrating Robert Burns with uninhibited poetry recitation and a memorable gathering of new friends.

Who is Robert Burns you ask and why are you throwing a party in his honor? In addition to writing many well-known poems, Robert Burns can be thanked for contributing Auld Lang Syne to our annual celebration of the New Year. In his honor, Scots {and non-Scots alike} gather each January for an evening of uproariously informal drinking, noshing and a little poetry recitation to pay tribute to the Scottish Bard.

So many splendid things from the evening to recap, so without further ado…

8.ate@eight + The Tippling Bros. + Highland Park & The Famous Grouse =
A Grand Robert Burns Menu:

The Menus

Scottish Inspired Bites

Inside-Out Scotch Egg
w/ lamb sausage & harissa yolk,
topped with panko gremolata breadcrumbs

Scottish Smoked Salmon
w/ sweet red onion crème fraiche

Chevre Devils
w/ thyme-spiked chevre & spiced pecans

Lamb Sausage Roll
w/ harissa aioli

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie
Sautéed in Highland Park Single Malt 12 Year Old

Millionaire’s Scottish Shortbread
w/ Maldon salted caramel & semi-sweet chocolate

Food Prepared by: Christina DiLaura


Scottish Inspired Handcrafted Libations

Mother Club Punch
Hendrick’s Gin, blood orange, heather honey,
cranberry and ginger beer

Roberto Roy
Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky, vermouth,
Galliano Autentico, Averna Amaro, orange bitters

Hudson Highland Cup
Highland Park 12 year old malt whisky, NY State apple butter
and maple syrup, lemon juice, sparkling dry cider

Smoke in the Hills
Beefeater dry gin, Islay malt whisky, Yellow Chartreuse,
honey, lemon, smoked salt

Tam O’ Jerry
A Scottish take on the classic Tom and Jerry, made with Highland Park 12 yr., Drambuie liqueur, fresh organic eggs & exotic spices

Cocktails Prepared by: The Tippling Bros.
Sponsored by: Highland Park and The Famous Grouse

Behind the Food and Drink

The Famous Grouse and Highland Park Contribute to A Great Robert Burns Night

Departing from both a traditional haggis-centric Robert Burns menu and my typical 8.ate@eight four-course dinner, I wanted to create a bite-sized menu inspired by a range of Scottish flavors that would be easy to enjoy while moving about the room with cocktails in hand. One very obliging guest with an authentic Scottish accent blessed the bites, reading the traditional Selkirk Grace.

Some hae meat and canna eat,
and some wad eat that want it,
but we hae meat and we can eat,
and sae the Lord be thankit.

Scottish Smoked Salmon w/ Sweet Red Onion Creme Fraiche

Inside Out Harissa and Lamb Scotch Eggs

 

As guests arrived, The Tippling Bros. packed a mean punch that quickly warmed the crowd, fresh from the wintry 15º wind chill. And they continued to pour one outstanding whisky cocktail after the next, heralding a new appreciation for an otherwise standalone spirit, each with unexpected flavor combinations that went down like water. Whisky, after all, means water of life. As each new drink was distributed, this dynamic duo provided an explanation as to what inspired the creative concoction, while also sharing some useful Tippling trivia.

  • Did you know Burns wrote a song about barley? An ingredient so important to Whisky making {and the Scots}, it warranted personification as the character John Barleycorn.
  • ‘Blended’ Scotch Whisky – is Scotch Whisky distilled at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals.
  • Single’ Malt Scotch Whisky — is Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley.

Tippling Bros. Making the Mother Club Punch

One Beautiful Block of Ice

Smoke in the Hills

Derek, our consummate venue host and true Scotsman, also regaled us with some previously unknown facts about Burns. Good ‘ole Rabbie apparently was a man about town, fathering twelve children by four different women, seven of which were illegitimate. That aside, his literary contributions were also abundant, warranting this day of national celebration and his depiction on the £5 banknote. Well I’ll drink to that!

Derek Shares His Robert Burns Knowledge

Tippling Bros. Trivia

After consuming this useful trivia and half the Tippling menu, we had arrived at the pinnacle of our Robert Burns night agenda: make guests read indecipherable Scottish poetry in their best Scottish accent. The prize for the best channeling of Robert Burns was a highly sought after bottle of Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky, aged 18 years and a roaring round of applause. It’s amazing how the competitive spirit will inspire sensational Scottish brogue. With everyone in good spirits {literally}, the collective participation in reciting verses from Tam O’Shanter, To a Louse, and two non-Burns toasts To the Lassies and Reply from the Lassies, ended the evening with much laughter and also a very passionate rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

 

Easier to Watch

Poetry Recitation Begins! {4 Cocktails In}

Colette Made An Impressive Run for the Highland Park Prize

Nervous Poetry Readers -- Get Them Another Drink!

In an effort to warm my guests before they headed back out into the dark and cold night, we opened up more Highland Park Single Malt 12-Year and 18-year, as well as the blended Famous Grouse for sampling neat. After enjoying several standout cocktails, it was also a treat to taste the complexity that exists even in a single pour of Scotch. The 12-year exhibiting a more gentle, lighter sip to the smokier, almost caramel-like 18-year. Not a bad way to end a full-on Scottish evening. To top it all off, the winners of the best poetry recitation and most impressive tartan garb also took home a bottle of Scotch to share the spirit of Robert Burns with friends.

 

Aaron Was Determined to Win the Highland Park 18 Year {and did!}

More Party Gifts -- Menus, Recipes and Stickers!

 

Tapadh Leibh {thank you}!

Thanks, as always, to my guests for participating in the 8.ate@eight evening {some traveling from as far as Chicago!} Thanks to Sarah and Derek for letting me takeover your apartment for two days and for all your help in seamlessly orchestrating a memorable Robert Burns night. To the Tippling Bros. teamTad, Paul, Gianfranco and Amanda for contributing the necessary liquid courage to a room of 30 people asked to recite poetry {!} – with your artful handcrafted cocktails and mixology genius, I’m certain we made Robert Burns proud. To Highland Park and The Famous Grouse, for so generously supplying that liquid courage and introducing a fine range of Scotch to the 8.ate@eight crowd. And to Kristin and Karen for capturing the whole evening on camera.

Full Album of Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=42802&id=128649143836083&saved

Stay tuned for news of the next 8.ate@eight event. If you aren’t on the invite list, email me at 8ateATeight@gmail.com to be added. Hope to see you at the table!

Recap of past 8.ate@eight dinners:
A+ 8.ate@eight Back to School Nite
8.ate@eight Went Whole Hog and Hog Wild @ the Big Southern BBQ
Who Cut the Cheese Didn’t Stink!
Silencing of the Spring Lambs was Lambtastic

 

Wild Mushroom Shepherd's Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year Old

Recipe Goodness ::

 

Mini Wild Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie w/ Highland Park 12-Year
Serves 8 | Cook Time: 45-60 Minutes | Preheat Oven 400º

Mashed potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

Mushroom filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 pound white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/2 cup Highland Park 12-Year Scotch
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
45 mini phyllo pastry cups

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.
  3. Move oven rack to top position and preheat the oven to 400º F.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine.
  5. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook until browned and tender.
  6. Sprinkle the mushrooms with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, Scotch, vegetable broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine.
  7. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
  8. Add the peas to the mushroom mixture and remove from heat.
  9. Line up phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill using a teaspoon with mushroom mixture.  Top with the mashed potatoes, using a pastry bag and large tip or a plastic baggie with the corner cut off.
  10. Place on the top rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown.

Final Thoughts:

The horse and cow live thirty years,
And nothing know of wines and beers,
The goat and sheep at twenty die,
And never taste of Scotch or Rye,
The sow drinks water by the ton,
And at eighteen is nearly done,
The dog at fifteen cashes in,
Without the aid of rum or gin,
The cat in milk and water soaks,
And then at twelve short years it croaks,
The modest, sober bone dry hen,
Lays eggs for years then dies at ten.
All animals are strictly dry;
They sinless live and quickly die.
But sinful, ginful, rum-soaked men
Survive for three score years and ten;
And some of us, the mighty few,
Stay pickled till we’re ninety-two!

 

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Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

What do you get when you mix a crowd full of foodies, a session focused on mixology and two non-related “brothers” stirring in some fascinating facts about the history of cocktails and tippling tips and techniques? A real good time. After attending two earlier New York City Wine & Food Festival events that day, all I expected was to sit back, take notes and learn a hint or two from Tippling Bros. Mixology 101, but what we got was an early start to a boozy Saturday night.

Tippler Paul Tanguay Settin' Up Bar

The event kicked off with a seasonal Champagne cocktail called Fireside Sparks, created by the two tippling partners Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci. As we sipped, these “perpetuators of libational awareness and enjoyment” jumped into a lesson, fully equipped with a powerpoint. Not exactly what you would expect from typical barmasters, but these experts are two of the most well known beverage consultants, whose common mission it is to help the world drink better! Here’s some useful info to successfully get you through your next trivia bar night…

Tippling Trivia:

  • The word “punch” originated from the Hindi word for five — panch {make a fist and it will all make sense}
  • There are 5 components to the original punch recipe: spirit, citrus juice, sugar, spice {often tea} and water
  • The word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806. Politicians, dignitaries and wealthy businessmen drank cocktails in the morning to get over the previous night
  • The original cocktail was made up of: spirit, sugar, water and bitters
  • Jerry Thomas wrote the first cocktail book in 1862

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When The Smokey Margarita Arrived

It was not soon after starting to sip down the first cocktail, that the second arrived — a Smokey Margarita. Mmmm, love ‘ritas. How generous of them to give us two cocktails while we enjoy the mixology lesson. On to bar tools…

Every Home Bar Should Have:

  • Shaker {Boston or Cobbler}
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer {Hawthorn or Julep}
  • Bar Spoon {You know, those spoons with a really loooong stem}
  • Muddler
  • Jigger {Don’t be afraid to measure, proper proportions are key to a quality cocktail}
  • Knives
  • Juicer

Check out Bar Products and Cocktail Kingdom to stock your bar properly.

Tippling Bros. Tips:

  • Pecking order — Always start from the cheapest ingredient when concocting your cocktail — that way if you lose count or mess up, you’re not out the good stuff!
  • Perfect “sour” proportions — 2:1:1 Strong:Sour:Sweet {e.g. Margarita}
  • Manhattan or Martini proportions — 2:1
  • Garnish — Add an aromatic garnish to change the flavor profile of your cocktail and make sure it’s sticking out of a glass such that your nose gets near it when you sip {try a rosemary sprig stuck in a cherry to anchor}
  • Batches — make 3/4 of the amount of drinks you want to serve when making batches {ice / water makes up 25% of every cocktail}. P.S. Making batches is a great way to enjoy your own party without having to play bartender. That’s one lesson I starred, highlighted and underlined.
  • Make crystal clear ice — Boil water and pour while hot into ice cube trays or muffin tins. The movement of the boiling water pushes out all the air, to create “clear” ice. Get fancy by adding citrus slices to your form after 30 minutes in the freezer.

Somewhere between learning about shaking and stirring, a Manhattan appeared in front of me and somewhere between learning about the garnish in my newly poured Autumn Manhattan and the wisdom of making batches, my pour from the Bottle of Baron also arrived. Ok, I get it. This is a drinking event. I checked my watch, it was only 6pm. The night was young, but I was well into an evening of strong cocktails thanks to my new friends. I guess this is what you get when you attend a session all about mixology, hosted by the masters of tippling themselves. Thankfully with camera in hand, I could put down the pen and still manage to snag some great cocktail recipes for you all. Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Tippling Bros. Hand Crafted Cocktails

Fireside Sparks

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When Smokey Margarita Arrived

2 oz. Cranberry-Infused Whiskey
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Spiced Syrup
1/4 Tangerine
1 oz Chilled Sparkling Wine

Muddle tangerine in a mixing tin. Add remaining ingredients and shake. Float champagne over the back of a spoon. Strain into a chilled flute or sour glass. Garnish with a tangerine peel and sugared cranberry skewer. Lightly dust with nutmeg.

Smokey Margarita

1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
0.5 oz Mezcal Joven
0.5 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Agave Nectar
Grilled Lime Slices for Garnish

Spicing the Glass Rim:
2 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Cinnamon
1 Part Cumin
1 Part Chili Powder

Shake all ingredients together. Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass rimmed with Mexican-spiced salt. Garnish with grilled lime wheel.

Autumn Manhattan

Autumn Manhattan

2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Oloroso Sherry
2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Rosemary Sprig stuck in a cherry for garnish

Stir all ingredients together until well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and rosemary sprig.

Bottle of Baron {think sweet island cocktail}

8 oz Aged Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Simple Syrup
4 oz Orgeat Syrup
4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Hibiscus Concentrate {Jamaica Concentrate at your local bodega is the same thing}
6 oz Cold Water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Funnel into a clean wine bottle. Cork and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve over one cube of ice in a small punch glass. Garnish with an orange slice or vanda orchid.

It's Closing Time


Bartender, I’ll Have Another:
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita

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