July 26, 2009

In case you missed National Tequila Day like I did (it was last Friday, the 24th), you can make up for it by mixing up one of these delicious sips I discovered on one of my many trips to the Wynn Las Vegas this year.

Fiesta Fatale (left), made with Milagro tequila, Patron Citronage, passion fruit puree, fresh lime, and organic agave nectar.

Margarita al Melograno (right): Herradura reposado tequila, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, fresh squeezed lime juice, pomegranate juice, and organic agave nectar.


In the Graves

July 25, 2009

I already knew the Graves 601 in downtown Minneapolis was an amazing hotel, but the scene got even better when I found out they were as serious about their cocktails as they were about their uber-hip decor. At the hotel’s Bradstreet Crafthouse Restaurant, they make their own bitters (shown), so I just had to try The Garden Walk made with Chamomile-steeped Beefeater gin, lemon juice, egg white, honey syrup, and housemade summer bitters, which added a fruity pineapple and cherry essence. YUM!

Must. Have. Tao.

July 14, 2009

OK, so I’m here in Vegas (4th time this year) and during my requisite stop at Tao (this restaurant should seriously pay me to eat here…), I decided to try the signature sip: The Tao-tini. Of course, it was amazing, just like the joint’s delicious lobster wontons. Here are the ingredients.

The Tao-tini

Absolut Mandarin
Stoli Razberi
Malibu Rum
Cranberry Juice
Fresh lime Juice

PS: Really sorry I have not been posting…an no, sadly, I wasn’t even at Tales. I’ve recently moved and became an aunt, so life has been a little hectic — but there has been no shortage of cocktails to celebrate these new life events. Watch this space for more Martini Talk soon — promise!

Two Words: Coconut Vodka

June 20, 2009

If I didn’t have a drinking problem already, I may definitely start to form a habit now that I’ve discovered Pearl Coconut Vodka. Coconut vodka. Not coconut rum. Coconut VODKA. Am I the only one who didn’t know this existed? It’s quite possible considering I’m late to everything in my life, including the Twilight train, but I digress ….

Back to coconut vodka. So apparently Van Gogh makes one, and so does Burnett’s – just in case you were interested. I’m sure they are lovely, but I can already tell that I’ll be a sucker for the super-premium Pearl. Where can you try it, you ask? Sushi Samba NYC 7. I have to say, I’m not a fan of the sushi, but this place has awesome cocktails, including the Tropicalla, made with Pearl Coconut Vodka, amaretto, muddle raspberries, and a coconut rim. So luscious I had two, and then I got a Hangover … with Bradley Cooper, that is. Go see it if you haven’t already, it’s pee-your-pants funny.

Look for the red lantern…

June 14, 2009

So apparently, the casinos are now following me. On Thursday, we celebrated my friend Linda’s birthday at Macao, an unmarked bar off Canal Street named after the Monte Carlo of the Orient. The vibe inside is one-part Little Branch, one-part Pegu Club, and a dash of Stanton Social.

Oh, and the cocktails are ridiculous. We sampled just about all of them and there was only one that I didn’t like – though everyone else loved it, so I won’t throw shade here. Sip for yourself:

Arrack Fizz: Batavia Arrack (a white rice and sugar cane spirit from the West Indies) shaken with mandarin blossom water, homemade hibiscus cordial, pineapple juice, and an egg white, served tall.

Drunken Dragon’s Milk: Charbay Green Tea Vodka shaken with young coconut puree, thai basil, and Macao Five-Spice Bitters, served tall.

Bashful Maiden: Hendrick’s Gin shaken with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Velvet Falernum (a rum-based lime cordial), lemon juice and pureed striped lemon, served straight up.

Dr. Funk: Mekhong Thai Rum served tall with homemade grenadine, ginger beer, dressed with fresh fruits and mint and topped with a drizzle of absinthe.

Blood Peach Bellini: Pureed blood peaches and a dash of Campari gently stirred with Zardetto Prosecco.

Yellow Fever: Rittenhouse Rye, Benedictine, lemon juice and egg white, shaken and layered over Cherry Herring.

Kaffir Jimlet: Kaffir lime-infused Plymouth Gin mixed with lime juice and agave nectar, served straight up.

Wynner Drinks All

June 6, 2009

Just got back from my second trip to Vegas. Yes, second. I actually have to go to Vegas at least 5 times this year for work. Some people feel bad for me, but I’m trying to make the best of it, which is pretty easy considering this time I got to stay at Steve Wynn’s Encore and the cocktails in this town are faabuloussss (I hope you could hear me sing that in my high-pitched voice). Here we go:

Citronnade at Encore’s Island Bar: Grey Goose Le Citron, Cointreau and fresh sweet and sour

Smiling Buddha Sangria at Koi in the skank-tastic Planet Hollywood: white wine, Licor 43, white peach puree, fresh mango, oranges and peaches

Raspberry Lemon Drop at Sinatra in Encore (shown above): Stoli Rasberi, Danny DeVito’s limoncello (yes, the Danny DeVito), and sweet and sour served in a dried raspberry-sugar rimmed martini glass

Cadillac Margarita at Dos Caminos in The Palazzo: a margarita with Grand Marnier

Rhubarb and Strawberry Collins at Daniel Boulud in Wynn: Zephyr Blue gin, Cointreau, club soda, muddled strawberries and rhubarb juice

Wanna learn how to muddle?

May 16, 2009

So I totally missed World Cocktail Week because I’ve been searching for a new apartment – which I scored and I’m happy to say that Martini Talk will be officially moving into Manhattan later this summer (YAY!). Too make up for missing WCW, I thought I’d share this cool video from CHOW.com where mixologist Michael Cecconi teaches you how to properly muddle. Enjoy!

Juleps in Minneapolis

May 2, 2009

I was flying back from Minneapolis yesterday, so I missed the Kentucky Derby, but I did make every attempt to try the race’s signature drink: the mint julep.

Confession: To this day, I’ve never had a traditional mint julep, which is surprising considering I love bourbon, one of the drinks key ingredients (depending on how you make it). But I did have a Blackberry Julep at my hotel, the fabulous Graves 601. Made with Marie Brizard blackberry liqueur, fresh blackberries, a squeeze of lemon juice and served up in a sugar-rimmed martini glass, this cocktail was not only delicious, it was purple — which was fitting considering the hotel is situated right next to First Avenue (the club made famous by the film Purple Reign).

And for another variation of the julep, try this:
Mint Julep Martini
From Southern Cocktails: Dixie Drinks, Party Potions, and Classic Libations
7 Fresh mint leaves
1 T. simple syrup
2 oz. vanilla vodka
Sugar-coated mint sprig, for garnish*

Add the mint leaves and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker; muddle the mint to release the flavor. Add the vodka and ice; shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Add garnish.

*To coat mint in sugar, dip the sprig into a small dish of simple syrup before dredging it in superfine or granulated sugar.

Christmas on the Beach

April 24, 2009

So last night, the girls and I got together at Irving Mill in Union Square, which had an unexpected yet fantastic cocktail menu. Here’s what we were sippin’:

The Peruvian: Pisco, Purple Corn Cider, and lime. Purple corn cider? When I asked the bartender what that tasted like, he said “Christmas on the Beach – fruit forward with notes of cinnamon at the finish.” Who care’s what it tasted like, after that description I was sold. To my surprise, it was delicious — and not too too sweet.

My friend ordered the In Fashion and after taste-testing, I ditched The Peruvian for this more stylish sip: Rye 1, Kirschwasser, Nonino Amaro (grappa), rose water and brandied cherries.

Another one not to miss: the Kumquat Fizz, a Spring Citrus Libation made with Hendricks Gin, Strega (and Italian herbal liqueur), kumquats, lemon and soda.

Movie Time

April 23, 2009

Today kicked off the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival (through May 3rd), and while I’m not a big film festival-goer, I am psyched to see Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds (swoon) in X-Men Origins next week. Yes, I know it’s not officially part of TFF, but this is my blog. I get to write what I want 🙂

Anyway, even though I probably won’t be seeing any TFF films, I’m definitely going to make time to try the film festival’s signature cocktail, the Darkening Theater, created by B.R. Guest mixologist, Eben Klemm.

It’s made with popcorn-infused Stoli (yes, popcorn-flavored vodka!), salted Coke syrup and garnished with caramel popcorn. What do you think — sound good?

Try it and let me know. It’s being served up in NYC at Blue Fin, Blue Water Grill, Primehouse New York, Vento and Wildwood Barbeque.