Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Baby Showers = Shots

April 12, 2009

The title of this post may seem a bit dramatic, but if you are a career gal (read: single) over 30 who needed to attend two baby showers in one day, sit through the movie Baby Mama with your parents, and do it all in your old hometown where ghosts of ex-hookups past pop up around every corner, you’d understand. Yep, that was my weekend, complete with all the family drama you’d come to expect from planning a baby shower for your soon-to-be nephews with you own mother.

I’ve never done well with showers — wedding or baby. No matter who they are for, I always seem to break out in a sweat upon arrival. Usually its nothing a glass of wine can’t cure, and the wine is usually flowin’ at a wedding shower. But at a baby shower, not so much, especially when the shower is a brunch (watered- down mimosas can only help so much). So after this weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that every baby shower should come with its own signature shot — for the guests, that is (the mom-to-be can sip a Preggatini). I think any one of these will do just fine:

SoCo and Lime
1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
Splash of sweetened lime juice

Lemon Drop
1 part Absolut Vodka
1 part triple sec
1 part lemon juice

Straight up Patrón


Orange County

April 4, 2009

I’m being lazy this week folks….not really, but my friend Kira Kohrherr recently visited the Combier Distillery in France, so I asked her to guest blog about it. So without further adieu…

Combier Liqueur d’Orange is new to the U.S., having just launched in New York and Pennsylvania in 2008. However, it is actually the original triple sec, created over 175 years ago! The distillery’s hometown of Saumur is situated in the serene Loire Valley and is an easy two-hour train ride from Paris, so I packed my bags and headed across the Atlantic to find out what it was all about.

On the day I visited, it couldn’t have been scripted better. Mist floated above the cobblestone streets as I walked through town, and I arrived at the gates of the famed operation just as the golden sun was peaking over the river. I met Master Distiller, Franck Choinoise (the perfect French gentleman!), who guided me through the process. Walking inside, I peered through the hiss of rising steam and was transported back in time to 1834 when the distillery first opened its doors. Amazingly, the historic copper stills and the lacy gold-and-maroon wrought-iron passerelle (walkway) are the original design of Gustave Eiffel who also designed the Eiffel Tower in 1887.

The process begins with bitter orange peels shipped from Haiti. The peels soak for 24 hours to rehydrate. The white pith is then removed by hand and discarded. Next, the peels soak for 2-3 days in alcohol to macerate. Precise measurements of the peels, alcohol, and water are then added into the stills to begin the first round of distillation. The stills are then heated, and the heat produces a vapor that travels through the unique “swan neck” pipes. The vapor is cooled and condenses into a concentrate the drips slowly down to be separated. The “head flame” and the “tail flame” are discarded and the middle portion, the “heart,” is retained. That batch (an astounding 185 proof!) goes through the distillation process again, and then is stored in vats for a number of months to oxygenate. That final batch is distilled once more to create the crystal clear final product we sip today.

Want to try some Combier cocktails? Stay tuned — Kira is hosting a tasting in NYC in early May. Watch this space for details!

Closed for St. Patrick’s Day

March 7, 2009

No cocktails this weekend for Martini Talk. It’s all about beer, thanks to Hoboken’s St. Patrick’s Day and Earl’s Beer Pong Birthday Bonanza. I’ll be back next week, but until then, I’ll leave you with this little secret, courtesy of Mr. Al Vagnozzi (my dad):

Off to Spain!!

August 21, 2008

It’ll be quieter than usual at Martini Talk for the next week or so. I am off to Madrid and Barcelona to visit my dear friend, Cristina, armed with a list of bars and restaurants to check out. Stay tuned for cocktails from Spain when I return!

P.S. You can now create your own someecards — GENIUS!

In praise of East Coast sushi…

March 8, 2008

…as opposed to West Coast sushi. Yes, there’s a difference. Some say that sushi on the West Coast is tastier, more fresh. Personally, I don’t buy it (why so much fake crabmeat?). But what I do like is East Coast sushi, and over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to dine out at two of the best sushi spots in NYC. What makes these fine establishments the best? For me, a good sushi place must have fabulous decor, good lounge music, and tasty rolls. Here are three of my East Coast favorites.

1) Japonais, New York Skip the main dining room of this Union Square hotspot and head upstairs to the lounge — a dimly lit space filled with the sounds of Seal and Suba and perfect for getting a little closer to a potential mate. Sushi pick: Unagi Avocado Roll. Cocktail pick: Asian Pear Martini.

2) Sushi Lounge, Hoboken Ignore the slightly cheesy name. “The Lounge,” as my friend Earl likes to call it, has a sushi menu to die for. And thanks to a nightly DJ, there’s no need to take the PATH train into the city on Saturday night. Sushi pick: Optimistic Roll. Cocktail pick: Peach Tea.

3) Pod, Philadelphia I always say, when in Philly, you can’t go wrong with a Stephen Starr restaurant. One of my faves is Pod, which features a bar complete with a conveyor belt that serves up plates of edamame and delicious rolls. Sushi pick: Pod Lobster Roll. Cocktail pick: Sake Mojito.