Dec 282009

So we find ourselves in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve……all done with candy canes and eggnog but not quite ready for champagne cocktails (ok, Shaker One is always ready for champagne cocktails). We decided to try out a few new ‘tinis, nothing holiday specific.

Tonight’s special guest shaker joining us from wintery Philadelphia: Welcome Cyndy!
After an enjoyable dinner of take out vegetarian Indian food (from Samosa House East in Culver City), we begin our martini meandering with-

The Spicy Big Apple(New York Martini glasses courtesy of Beverly~thanks!!)

First we made it as stated in the recipe. We were not repulsed, but certainly not impressed. Too much orange, not enough cinnamon. We all thought it tasted like a sweetened screwdriver. No.

So we made a few alterations- infused the brown sugar simple syrup with cinnamon, cut the orange juice back to just 1/2 shot and upped the apple cider a bit. The result? Tasty! This would be really enjoyable as a partner to Grandma’s caramel corn. Full of fall flavor, you could drink two.

As written- 1 1/2 olives

(Shaker One would give this 1/2 olive, generously)

Shaker Style-3 olives

Next up is the French Pear Martini

Following the recipe, we found the St. Germain overwhelmed the martini. So we increased the pear vodka and added an extra float of champagne. A lovely true pear flavor, not at all synthetic tasting. Well done Grey Goose Pear Vodka. The champagne float give it a wonderful depth. Overall an enjoyable martini.

As written- 2 1/2 olives

Shaker Style- 3 1/2 olives

Then we move on to the Red Square Espresso Martini

When we visit Red Square at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas we always enjoy this martini. Even Cyndy- who does not enjoy coffee- loves this drink. We found the recipe online without quantities, so we experimented a bit here. We went with equal parts of the five ingredients. The result resembles the original pretty closely. Not too strongly coffee flavored, not overy sweet, a non-coffee drinker’s coffee drink. Delicious! And even better paired with gulab jamun-an incredible Indian dessert ball in a honey sauce.

We give this drink a 3 1/2 olives.

We close out this Shaker night full of food and martinis. Join us again soon for more ‘tini fun.

Oct 092009

Shaker 2 here doing a little greeting from the other side of the pond. Sadly, my travels have not included martinis as I have been partaking of ciders, a few beers and lots and lots of tea.

Most of the bars – ‘scuse me, “pubs” – have featured Smirnoff vodka – and unless that stuff is drowning in orange juice, I just can’t drink it. I look forward to getting back to the Balcony Bar and enjoying my favorite mixologists concoctions. I was very interested to read about the new Rain flavors… mmmmmm.

I am off to Paris next and will perhaps see what they have in the City of Lights to try. I will be near the St Germain area, so they might have some lovely beverages to try with its namesake liqueur.

Sep 132009

It has been a few weeks in the making, but we finally got our acts (and schedules) together for a long-awaited shaker night. As the days get shorter and fall starts to creep in, we appreciate the last of the summer nights.

This week, we have a guest in from Holland, Michigan…the fabulous MJ. This woman is not only kind, fun and an inspiration – she is also a martini virgin!!!! Oh yes, let the corruption begin. 😉 What better way to cap off a weekend of the Hollywood Bowl, Disneyland and trips to Venice Beach then an evening of cold drinks and fabulous food?
(Shaker One also would like to celebrate the nail biting USC victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes – apparently USC snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat from the Buckeyes in the last few minutes of the game.. Go Trojans!!!!)
This evening started out with a Pineapple Drop martini.

{Shaker One here, seriously- I need to get on this infusion thing}

Our guest Shaker, MJ, liked her first martini. She felt it tasted a bit like a pineapple margarita – she did sample more then one baby martini (she opted to use the baby martini glass – she is not too much of a drinker, normally..) She thought it could use a bit more pineapple… or “be more pineapply.)
2.5 olives… Shaker One concurs and Shaker Two is ok with that rating.
Shaker One produced another lovely menu… oregano grilled shrimp, herbed orange salad and some lovely La Brea Bakery bread (mmmmmmm). The shrimp was amazing – perfectly marinated and grilled. The orange salad was good, but would have been a bit better served over a bed of mixed greens then alone.
Our second beverage selection of the night is a Strawberry Basil martini from
It is a pleasant combination, though consensus was that we would like the strawberry flavor to be more pronounced. Perhaps infusing the vodka a bit more with strawberries… but overall, it is a nice drink with an interesting herbal element.
MJ gives is 2 olives (she likes the pineapple more, so she could not rate this one higher) she would also like it a bit more with all strawberries and no basil. She is a self proclaimed “foo foo drinker”
Shaker One gives it 3  perhaps 3.5 with a few mods.
Shaker Two coughed up 2.75 olives
We opted for a St Germain and champagne cocktail as a lovely finish..and discussed the merits of Dave Navarro, hair bands, and future plans for a “welcome back to the country” for Shaker Two after her upcoming international European tour.
To finish off our evening…. a somewhat made-up concoction based on a White Russian a bit with some variation…namely vanilla bean ice cream and Frangelico added to the traditional Kahlua (coffee liqueur), vodka and Baileys.
This was a lovely dessert drink (served with chocolate covered strawberries)
1 3/4 oz vodka (we used Stoli)
1 3/4 oz Irish cream
2/3 oz Frangelico
2/3 oz Kahlua
scoop vanilla bean ice cream
MJ sez….the drink is quite tasty, a little strong (for a non-drinker) might like it a little less alcohol (more like a Kahlua and cream, then a white Russian.) She gives it 3 olives – being her favorite martini of the night.
Shaker One like the heart strawberry sliver garnish and likes (total girlie warning here) how it looks. Taste wise, for a dessert martini, was nice. It is a little sweet and a bit heavy. Pleasant and lovely, but not something she would normally order… 2.5 olives. (Shaker Two concurs)
Aug 232009

So, we hadn’t planned to shake tonight, but we could not let Miss Shaker Two’s very first Triathlon go unacknowledged. Scrounging around in the pantry and bar resulted in an impromptu, but quite enjoyable celebration of Shaker Two’s accomplishment: The Santa Barbara Triathlon. Yay Shaker Two!

And what better way to mark such a momentous occasion than with martinis? And what better martinis than our very own special recipes. Yes sports fans, these came right out of our weekend addled brains. And on the seventh day, the shakers looked upon what they created, and it was good. Soooooo good.

First off The Staciatini. All the deliciousness you desire, all the booze to soothe your thirsty spirit. Champagne sorbet, St. Germain, Vodka and a splash of champagne……it is frothy and sparkly and entices you to drink another. And another. And…..oh, well you get the idea. Yes, yes and yes. Try to resist. I dare you.

Shaker Two gives this one 4 3/4 olives

Shaker One gives it 5 olives~

Almost the golden olive.

Next is Mother’s Rose Garden. St. Germain, rosewater and vodka. So incredibly lovely. And garnished with rose petals from the Balcony Garden . Delicious.

We give this tini a 4 1/4 olives.

Well, it was a short shake tonight. We are looking forward to doing a fun shake theme night soon, so stay tuned. A bientot alors, mes amis!!

Jul 192009

Good evening thirsty ‘tini fans. This hot weather has left us parched and jonesing for the sweet sweet relief that only an icy tini or four can give……..

So tonight we decided to throw in an impromptu shakin’. As we discovered the Candy Store (ie, Beverage Warehouse) is closed on sunday (sobbing quietly), we decided to scrounge in the pantry and bar and see what we could throw together on the fly.

We begin our hot, hot summer afternoon with Golden Crown appetizers and summer sippers. Shaker Two went with the Sweet Tea Vodka and her new bestest summer friend, The Drunken Arnold Palmer. Shaker One chose a voddy spiked raspberry lemonade sparkler. Mmmmmm, oh so refreshing on both counts.

As the pizza dough rises, we delve into our recipe collection. Oh wait, did I neglect to mention we have home made pizza on the menu tonight? Well, stay tuned for deliciousness. If you haven’t eaten, go grab some cheetos or something. It won’t be as good as what we’re having, but you’ll keep the drool off the keyboard.

Though we lament the absence of St. Germain in the house to make our beloved Parisian ‘tinis, we peruse the Lillet site for inspiration……….

Hmmmm, the Absolute Lay* looks interesting (or in the interest of full disclosure, more like the Stoli-n Lay). Not bad. Light, but with too much of a white wine taste for this shaker.

As we heat up the oven, we mix a batch of what will become a summer go to ‘tini:

The Lillet Sin*.

If this is a sin, just book the penthouse in hell, Satan. And have a pitcher of these ready for us.
Run, don’t walk to the liquor store and get what you need to put these in your glasses. So incredibly refreshing with a perfect balance of ginger, lime, mint, lillet and a splash of sparkling water brings near perfection to our lips with every sip. Sigh. Swoon. More please.

…..maybe even 4 3/4.

You know, screw the menu delving, we’re sticking with this one until dessert tonight.
Mmmmm, the pizza is in the oven. We’re having Rosemary Chicken Potato Pizza. I know, it sounds really weird, but it is oh so tasty. Trust us. Ok, I should really stop telling you to do that. But in the food/bevvie realm? Go ahead! You won’t be disappointed.

So back to the Lillet Sin…’s almost perfect. And that means it is approaching the holy grail of ‘tin ratings: The Golden Olive. When five olives are not enough to contain the tini goodness of a drink, we bestow upon it the ultimate rating: THE GOLDEN OLIVE. It shines, it shimmers, it drunkens all that bask in it’s deliciousness. So far we’ve not met that Tini, but we shall perservere until we can share that level of perfection in a glass with all of you faithful followers.

These lushes are all Sunday nighted out. Thanks for joining us for an unplanned but enjoyable end to the week. Stay cool and stay tuned for more martini fun.

Lushes out.

(* Shaker Two here.
I would LOVE to link you to the recipe, but as is the nature of most freakin flash websites, you cannot directly link to pages within the site.. so go to the main Lillet site and you can find it within their recipes. Flash sites irk me for this reason… and a few others – but we’ll just focus on that one for this entry.
/rant off)


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