Jun 172011

Shaker One here.  I was recently invited to join a friend for a little tuesday happy hour fun at a place I had not tried yet-The Westside Tavern (downstairs).  He promised delicious cocktails including a Watermelon Flip, which intrigued us both.  Sadly, when we got there the bar did not have the watermelon drink available.  But we consoled ourselves with two other tasty beverages.

Nothing like walking up to the bar to meet your friend and they already have your drink waiting for you.  A Grapefruit Rickey .  This is a really nice not overly tart version of the classic rickey.  St. Germain is added to soften the tang of the grapefruit juice.  A fantastic summer sipper.

Next up was our replacement for the watermelon flip:

The Strawberry Tarragon Flip



Wow.  I think I’m glad they were out of watermelon.  Fresh strawberries and tarragon muddled with lime juice, vodka, simple syrup and pasteurized egg whites-shaken, strained into a martini glass and garnished with a spanked tarragon leaf.  What?  You don’t spank your herbs to release their essential oils?  Naughty, naughty tarragon.

This cocktail knocked my socks off.  Subtle and airy.  You could taste the freshness of the ingredients and no one overpowered the others.  I could have put away several of these.  Easily.  I look forward to crafting this at home.  Though I’ve used thyme, rosemary, basil, cilantro, and of course mint in cocktails, I’d never thought to add tarragon.  I can’t wait to try tarragon with other fruit/booze combinations.

Sadly it was a school night, so our happy hour sipping stopped there.  But I will be back to sample the rest of their cocktail menu another time.  A great spot to grab well crafted drinks before/after a movie and super convenient location smack dab in the middle of the West Side.  Now I’m off to buy some tarragon.

Jun 102011

Hot weather makes Shaker One crave juicy summer fruits…..strawberries, melons, all so refreshing and juicy.  One bite of the deep pink flesh of a ripe watermelon brings me back to being a kid in the summer…..sitting on the curb eating it right out of the rind, feeling the juice drip down our arms.  And for some of us, trying to duck out of the way of our brother’s seed spitting skills.

I’d brought home a baby watermelon with the very best of intentions.  Fruit salad you shall be my dear!

Until it was 6pm and 85 degrees.  Somebody needed a watermelon martini.  A few minutes later, with the help of my trusty immersion blender~et voila!



Fresh Watermelon St. Germain Martini


3 shots vodka (I used Titos)

3 shots strained fresh watermelon juice

3/4 shot St. Germain

dash of lemon juice


Shake over ice, pour into glass and garnish with a bit of the lovely flesh.  I promise this one won’t drip down your arm.





Jul 232010

The (belated) arrival of true summer weather is met with varying degrees of enthusiasm from the two Shakers.  One thing we can agree on is that dinner tastes better outdoors.  Last night Shaker Two put together a lovely spread to officially open the Patio Bar for the season.

We dined on grilled rib eye steaks in a coffee rub (Shaker One was in heaven over this rub), herbed potatoes, grilled corn on the cob and a fabulous salad with candied pecans, goat cheese, mango and a poppy seed dressing…..yum.

We finished up our relaxing meal with a sabayon meyer lemon tart with fresh strawberries from Shaker One.

hope you all enjoy your weekend……oh, what??  You want to know if we had drinks?  Why yes, as a matter of fact we did!  how did you guess?

Shaker One as been gorging on fresh strawberries this season, so when I came across a couple of martini recipes involving strawberries and balsamic vinegar how could I resist??

First up was the Balsamic Vinegar Martini:

Simple and very pretty, but basically a vodka martini up with a lovely garnish.  As written 2 1/2 olives.

The Shakers decided to muddle this up with some extra balsamic and it was tasty!  3 1/2 olives muddled.

Next  is the Balsamic Martini by Jacopo Falleni:

4 1/2 olives.  This is a must try.

I must admit this sounded like a rather odd combination to me, but I was curious enough to mix it up.  Shaker Two and I each took a sip and our eyes grew big and round.  Mr. Falleni- you are a genius.  This is beyond delicious.  The vanilla and lime (I used vanilla vodka instead of the vanilla rum he recommends) marry perfectly with the strawberries and balsamic and the balsamic glaze adds the perfect touch.  This is a fabulous martini, really creative and well worth the bit of effort in assembling/muddling.  Oh, we skipped making the cute sword garnish from the rind of a spaghetti squash like he did.

The Shakers are off to discover more recipes that embrace the flavors of the season……check back soon for more summer mixing and muddling~

Jun 212010

Recently a dear friend and faithful reader sent out a Saucy SOS (see above), a Mixology Mayday, a Desperate Call for Cocktail Assistance.

And what was the emergency?  Well, he was in the throes of despair after trying unsuccessfully to mix himself a cosmo at home for the first time.   In all honesty I’ve not made nor ordered/drank a cosmo in several years.  For me they hearken back to the late 90’s (when Shaker One was just twelve*wink wink*).  I remember when they were my drink of choice at stylish uptown bars.  Well, me and every other 20-something gal trying to be cool.  Now, as with shoulder pads, I think enough time has passed that we can revisit this retro classic cocktail (wow, the 90’s are now retro?).  It is, after all, a tasty beverage and should not be besmirched by its association with a certain fashion harpy film that shall not be named.

“John”- we’ll call him that for the purposes of this post- “John’s” problem: limited home mixology experience meets unlimited online recipe options with conflicting ingredient ratios.  It has happened to the best of us at one time or another.  As Shaker Two and I have learned, out of many failures a great success can be born.  And we’ve mixed many abysmal beverages since starting the blog-sometimes wondering if the “recipe” authors bothered to sample their creations.  Early followers of the blog will recall many “salvage-tinis”.  I assembled the cast of characters.

I hunted a few trusted recipe sources and hit upon the following  to start with:

The Esquire Cosmo

Hello 1997.  I’ve just come out of the Wayback Machine! Very light in color and flavor.  Perhaps a bit sweet-which for many cosmo drinkers would be a selling point.  For me- 2 1/2 olives.  Your mileage may vary.

The Self Avowed “Perfect” Cosmo

First of all, a cosmo does not contain fresh mint.  Even as a garnish.  Cleverness for cleverness’ sake is not cool.  Mint at your own risk.

Pretty~ and it matches my kitchen!  As for the taste? A thousand times better.  The fresh lime juice makes a huge difference for me.  And the quantities here seem more balanced. The Howard Hughes in me loved the precision of the recipe (whatever you do, don’t add the ingredients in the wrong order!!!  Something terrible will happen I’m sure!!).  I garnished with lemon zest strings just for fun.  Go ahead and use a lime wedge or slice.  Still not sold on the inclusion of mint here.  This is really nice- maybe 3 1/2 olives!  I’d do this again.

I’m a firm believer in coloring outside the lines, so don’t be afraid to adjust the lime/triple sec/cranberry quantities to get your desired level of sweet or tart. I prefer the use of fresh lime juice over Rose’s, but that’s just me.

You could make a summer project out of discovering the perfect cosmo recipe for yourself…..so many options to choose from.  Small note:  I used regular vodka, but the inclusion of a quality citrus vodka would be nice (The Balcony Bar just happened to be out at the moment).  And some people prefer cointreau to triple sec.  Pick your orange liquor of choice, I won’t judge. Quick addendum- I just dashed a bit of Fee Bros. Bitters into the “Perfect” Cosmo and now I’m in love .  4 olives w/ bitters~!

Ok “John”- get out your shaker and give it a try!  Bonne Chance!

Apr 132010

{scene: living room of Shaker One’s Pad}


Shaker Two: “Hi, what’s that martini with the Lillet and the St. Germain…?  You know??  The Lillet site is giving my iphone error messages in French.”

Shaker One:  “How civilized, hmmmm-might be the Parisian….lemme look it up……”

Shaker Two:  “Use the search engine tool on the top of our blog!”

Shaker One: “Oh cool, I wondered if we had one of those…….ah yes, The Parisian- 2 shots voddy, 1 shot St. Germain, 1/2 shot Lillet Blanc.”

Shaker Two: “Excellent- the bartender got it right!  Thanks Shaker One~”

Shaker One: “Have fun.”

*puts phone down, walks over to bar*

Shaker One: “Well I have to have a drink now, don’t I?”

The Stripeycat:

{fade to black}

Shaker Two here…. I arrived home this evening after a night out with the boss talking business, projections plans and whatnot, while consuming a disgusting amount of vodka. Not being in the mood for a dirty martini, I opted for one of my standby’s from the blog – the Parisian.
The aforementioned conversation truly DID take place as I was trying to remember the exact ratios of Lillet Blanc, vodka and St. Germain. Stupid flash sites were not cooperating with my iPhone (damned Flash) and I was really craving it.. so Shaker One was a drunken lifeline in this case.

As far as the aforementioned “search” function…look to your top right and you can do a search of the entire blog for ingredients, links, keywords, etc…. a very handy thing, indeed.

Many thanks to Shaker One for being there when I needed her.


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