Archive for the ‘vodka’ Category

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.

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.

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.

LA Cocktails and Dreams … and Sunsets

March 29, 2009

Some cities are like good albums — you just have to grow into them. Such is my experience with LA. I’ve been there half-dozen times before and this time it started out in typical LA fashion: a hotel with a girl in a box, rubber walls, a trying-to-hard-to-see-and-be-seen scene. My Ginger-mint Margarita (just add Domain de Canton and a few mint leaves) was The Standard hotel’s only saving grace.

So it was off to Koi for some dinner and the possibility of star sightings. No celebs here, but I did enjoy the Berry Bliss (gin, raw agave, pomegranate juice, and fresh raspberries).

The following night, it was time to brave “the scene” once again at the new SLS Hotel, where the bartender served me a tangy Pisco Sour (grape brandy, lemon and lime juice, egg white, sugar, and swirls of bitters) – no celebs here either btw.

By the time I checked into the Hotel Palomar near Beverly Hills, LA was beginning to grow on me. I no longer needed Garmin Electra to get around West Hollywood, and I saw Marissa Tomei driving in the car next to me (score!). So I thought it was time to try out the freeway. I hopped on the 405 and headed down to Manhattan Beach.

When in LA, you have got to experience an LA Sunset. Mine came in the form of Absolut LA Vodka, pomegranate juice, blood orange juice, and pineapple juice — best cocktail in LA so far, being served up with a twist at Sashi Sushi. Backup. Absolut LA Vodka? Yep. The City of Angels has it’s own limited-edition flavor: a blend of acai, acerola, pomegranate, and blueberry (see below for a tasty cocktail from mixology master Dale DeGroff).

Finally, I wrapped the week up with drinks with LA cocktail blogger The Liquid Muse at BLVD 16, where I tried the bar’s signature sip: the BLVD 16 martini (tarragon-infused vodka, Domain de Canton, and citrus juices). Next time I’ll be sure to build in some time for a cocktail safari tour of the city.

Absolut La La Land
1 parts Absolut Los Angeles
1 part cranberry juice
1 part pomegranate juice
1 part lemon-lime soda
Build ingredients into a hi-ball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a wedge of lime.

Diamonds and pearls, Melissa.Diamonds and pearls.

March 8, 2009

No, I’m not talking about a Prince song. And if you don’t know the dear, sweet Melissa Mariola you won’t get the title of this blog post either. But needless to say, I could not stay away from the juice this weekend, and it was so worth it. I do believe that last night I found the single best cocktail in New York City. I may have said this before, but its going to be pretty tough to top the Diamonds and Pearls martini at the Jade Bar inside the Gramercy Park Hotel. As I said after the first sip: I just want to make out with my drink right now. Here’s the mix: Reyka vodka and Lillet Blanc shaken with freshly muddled blackberries and a touch of coconut. Fair warning: It’s $19 a pop – but worth every penny.

Oscar, Oscar!

February 21, 2009

I haven’t seen 90% of the movies nominated for Academy Awards this year (that’s because going to the movies in New York, well, sucks), but that’s doesn’t mean I won’t be tuning in to see Hugh Jackman take his turn as host. Here are my picks for the winners, along with a signature cocktail just for the occasion.

Best Picture: Milk
Best Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Best Actress: Kate Winslet, The Reader
Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Night
Best Supporting Actress: Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
Best Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire

The Milk Man
Courtesy of Grey Goose
1 1/2 parts GREY GOOSE® Original Vodka
1 part peppermint schnapps
1/2 part simple syrup
1/2 part cream
1 chocolate-dipped peppermint stick

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until outside of shaker is frosted and beaded with sweat. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with peppermint stick and sip with pride.

What happens in Vegas…

February 17, 2009

…definitely stays in Vegas — unless we are talking about cocktails. I’ve been in town since Thursday, and while there have been many highlights — Paul Oakenfold, Cirque du Soleil, the Center Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel (above) — these cocktails deserve an honorable mention. So let’s get to it.

Mango Tamarind Martini at Tao in The Venetian: Finlandia Mango, Cranberry Juice, and tamarind

Stoli Doli at Capital Grille: Stoli vodka infused with Dole pineapples for 10 days – a new American classic

Black Rabbit at Okada in Wynn: Takara Shochu (Japanese rice vodka), passion fruit juice, and grenadine

Pom Sangria at Okada in Wynn: Ichinokura sake, vodka, pomegranate juice, and sprite

Momo Punch at Pearl in the MGM Grand: Bacardi rum, Hakasatura sake, coconut milk, and angostura bitters

Drinks from the Road

February 1, 2009

This past month I started traveling for my new job. Though I’m not home much, I do get to visit a lot of warm weather places, which is nice considering it’s like 18 degrees in Hoboken right now! So in 2009, in addition to Blind Sippin’, you’ll also be seeing more drinks from across the country on Martini Talk. Here are a couple from my two new favorite cities.

Pom Ginger Martini
Courtesy of the Verandah Lounge in Dallas
1 part Vodka
2 parts PAMA pomegranate liqueur
Crushed ginger

Mix vodka and PAMA with ice. Strain into a ginger-rimmed martini glass.

Sparkling Hibiscus
Courtesy of Roy’s in San Diego
1 oz. Belvedere vodka
1/2 oz. Hawaiian hibiscus nectar
3 oz. Domaine Chandon Sparkling Rose

Pour vodka and hibiscus nectar in a champagne glass and top with sparkling wine.

Blind Sippin’: Cointreau vs. Combier

January 10, 2009

With the new year I’m introducing a new feature to Martini Talk: Blind Sippin’, where I’ll be comparing well-known brands to innovative up-and-comers. The first installment? A blind tasting of two French orange liqueurs.

We all know Cointreau – a good cosmopolitan’s secret ingredient and preferred choice for cocktails that call for triple sec. Now, there is Combier. Combier is not new. In fact, its touted as the original triple sec, having been around since 1834. Its all-natural recipe and light, citrusy scent is attracting lots of attention lately. What I like most is that it doesn’t have the overbearing taste of alcohol that is very present in Cointreau — taste them side-by-side and you’ll see what I mean. The fact that Combier is triple distilled in 100 year old copper stills designed by Gustav Eiffel (yes, the Eiffel Tower guy) also gives it a certain je ne sais quoi. And, it’s priced lower than then competition, which in these tough economic times is certainly a plus.

Combier Flirtini
2 pieces of pineapple
1/2 oz. Combier Liqueur d’Orange
1/2 oz. vodka
1 oz. pineapple juice
3 oz. champagne

In the bottom of a mixing glass muddle the pineapple pieces and Combier. Add vodka and juice and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and top with champagne. Garnish with a slice of pineapple.