Friday, September 10, 2010


Normally I'm not a fan of any kind of dairy in my alcohol. Something about it always seem wrong. Maybe it was college when cement mixers, mind erasers, and bj shots were common. The exception was the chocolate martini and my mom's favorite drink when I was younger was Kahlua and cream. But both of those were one off's. You drank that and nothing else. And so here are two drinks to celebrate the chocolate coffee creamy goodness, one of them vegan!

Sans Moo

Instead of Kahlua and cream you can mix Van Gogh Double Espresso vodka with Vanilla Silk soymilk for the vegan version of Kahlua and cream. I like equal parts or a little heavier on the soymilk.

Hot Kahlua and Cream

And last night with mom we made homemade hot cocoa spiked with Kahlua complete with homemade fresh whipped cream! You wisk the heavy cream with a little sugar and viola, a Kahlua and cream that will warm you on those autumn evenings!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Somehow I knew all this yoga would come in handy. Not only just to perform acrobatic feats to get the good stuff on the top shelf since they still haven't bought my step stool. And not just for my big scary muscular arms and back so I look like I mean business at last call, but mostly I think it's my inner sense of calm that usually is for when it gets super busy during happy hour. But Monday, it was for something else. I had to 86 the largest man that I've seen in a long time. He had come in before we opened and so therefore directed him to other local watering holes. Sure enough, at 9ish he comes barreling through the door and orders a vodka cranberry. I've always been weary of people who hide their alcohol with easy flavorings. Give me a well crafted cocktail or something pure any day, say bourbon on the rocks, a glass of cava, but if you bury your alcohol, you're trying to hide or suppress something. He's wearing a button down shirt with his employers logo---not great advertising for an institute I admire and I wonder what he does and how they hired someone who leers at ladies sitting at a bar. The woman to his right has already asked for her check and is taking her dinner to her room. This leaves him to my regulars. He's crowding and loud and at this point his has a twenty out and wants another round. At which point I tell him (and the other fellow on the other side who have managed to get in a loud conversation over said regular ladies) that they need to behave like gentlemen and let the ladies enjoy their girl time. He starts to deny that he was bothering them but they still protest and so calmly I say that I'm sorry but I'm not going to serve him another drink and I hand him the tab. And happily ever after he pays without tipping and walks out into the full moon night and I breathe easy, a breath worth so much more than the two dollar tip I could have received.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Adventures in Drinking from the Heart

Just got back from an amazing trip home to Ohio and was mighty happy that mixology is alive and well in the heartland. The cocktail menu at L'Albatros had a fantastic vodka drink which they kindly substituted Hendricks Gin for moi :). A refreshing blend of rosemary simple syrup, lime, and soda to wake up the taste buds before dinner! I have to say the most inspiring dish was the chilled beet soup with watermelon and ginger---some things I hope to experiment with in cocktails in the near future.

But the best adventure of the night was to come at La Cave Du Vin, where the barman Eric educated me about the delicacy of making lambic beer. In his words, my favorite Lindeman's are like the Boon's Farm of lambic beer. Girl beer was what I called it, but he introduced me to a better kind, or rather, a more artfully crafted version true to the intention behind the premise of making a lambic. I can't remember the brand name (this was my third beverage of the evening), but the sour cherries really came through and then a beer finish, not the sugary almost wine-like quality of the Lindeman's. This reminds me of how my father introduced me to wine. We started with the sweeter reislings when I was still in high school. We were sitting outside at a restaurant in Akron when my father ordered me a glass. I loved the sweet, fruity taste and that I finally had a grown up glass---no more coke or tea!

And then as I got older, my taste buds craved the peppery bite of more intense reds. You can choose to evolve or devolve, one of my yoga teachers says. Life changes, our tastes change. May we all find something that makes us happy and takes us another step on the path. One sip at a time. Find something to savor.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Mock-tails or Mixers?!

Summertime means lemonade and so here are two varieties---and if you like, you can add gin or vodka (in my order of preference), though honestly, I prefer these pre-spike :)

Basil Lemonade

boil one tea kettle full of hot water
add honey to taste
squeeze in the juice of 4-6 lemons
add a few sprigs of fresh basil

Lavender Lemonade

boil one tea kettle full of hot water
in a tea strainer steep lavender blossoms for 3 minutes
add honey to taste
squeeze in the juice of 4-6 lemons

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Freeze Your Bourbon!

Normally I hate it when people ask me to make a frozen drink, the most common being margaritas. Why in the middle of the city in an upscale tavern would a frozen drink ever appear? I'm not disputing the quality of said drinks and I happen to enjoy frozen drinks---at poolside bars and bbqs. To me ordering said frozen whatever would be like walking into a beer bar and asking for a mojito. You just don't do it. Everything has a time and a place...but there are always exceptions to the rule!

Normally, bourbon isn't a summer drink, but when combined with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce, it makes a rockin' milkshake, or rather, bourbon shake since there is no milk here---it's replaced with the bourbon. I used Buffalo Trace and didn't measure so it was a STRONG shake! So go ahead, break some rules and break out the bourbon!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

the mixologist returns

Just returned from assisting a yoga teacher training and will be incorporating some of what I learned there to my mixology (I'm missing the wonderful basil lemonade already...)

so for now, find me here and once the yoga and the dust settles, I'll be back with some new recipes---or you can come to the bar and try them, the new drink menu is revealed at the SLT!

Friday, June 11, 2010


The word tender is embedded in the word bartender. Tender means to give, whether it be a monetary transaction or an emotional one. Which is what one of my regulars reminded me of, actually, two of my regulars, both people I have met while serving them drinks and now I share in their confidences about love, loss, and life. I'm reminded and humbled at this responsibility I have for others well-being, not just in limiting how much they can consume in an evening, but how much we all consume in life on a deeper level. Like those balanced drinks I've mentioned, we all have our fair share of sour, of sweet, and of spirit. It was an evening that served me as it was my last night tending before heading up to assist a yoga teacher training tomorrow.

This morning I taught my 7am yoga class gate pose, saying how much power we have to choose what we keep out and what we let in. And I'm reminded of how much I am a gate keeper in my own life. A former co-worker in DC told me that we as bartenders are the gate keepers to the underworld, but what I've found is that we are also keepers of an inner world and inner space. To help people see more than the bottom of an empty glass, but to provide service, counsel, and cheer.

So here's to naming more than just drinks, but naming what truly matters.

Cheers and Namaste.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Look it Up Dear

Many of us from my generation remember when "Look it up dear," meant going to the dictionary or the encyclopedia rather than "googling it." Growing up, I was (and still am) a huge fan of Scrabble and Balderdash. So my growing up years had me flipping pages and reading lots of historical fiction. In 6th grade I read Roots and Sacajawea. In 7th grade, I heard the word "yoga" and checked out books at the library and enrolled in a class at the JCC. There was always something new to learn. One of my favorite tricks was that I memorized all the state capitals. When we went out to eat, my dad always told the waiter or waitress to pick any state and then I would proudly relay the capital of said state. My science fair project one year was how to distill perfume, to extract the essential oil from the rose.

As a yogi, I know all of these are linked (I'm not saying it is my karma to be a mixologist), but there's something about the chemistry, geography, history, and this idea of learning. Many of my colleagues probably hate when someone comes in with some obscure drink, or says, "I had this amazing thing involving passion fruit juice at a hotel in Miami, can you make that?" But in truth, I love those moments.

When it's slow, I love reading the bar book. Who knew there were so many drinks with the word "screw" in them? Some involving the pacing, the location. Most with triple sec. But I digress...

Towards the end of the night on Monday two gentlemen come up to the bar. "Do you know how to make a Sazarac?"

I don't, but I know that I love my bottle of Sazarac Rye. It's my favorite vase at home, and though we have the Rye, I decide after consulting the recipe in my trusty book and what I have available at the bar to mix it this way:

coat the bottom of a rocks glass with Pernod
top with ice
add 2-3 dashes of bitters (we have Angostura)
2 oz. Woodford Reserve
1/2 oz. simple syrup

stir, add a lemon peel for garnish

A woman who had come in for wine got caught up in watching me make the drink and ordered one just because she had been hearing so much about the resurgence of the Sazarac.

And if you google it, you'll learn about pre-civil war New Orleans, a senate bill proclaiming this the official drink of the city, that the drink was originally made with Cognac...and perhaps that will give you a thirst for more than just a good drink, but a chance to learn something new about someone else, delve deeper into history, or even make some new discovery, to get a thirst for something that you will have to make the time to look up. But I promise, it will be worth toasting about. Cheers!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ohio Lady (sans the sauce!)

Memorial Day in Ohio, I'd be remiss if I didn't share an Ohio treat here---and this one doesn't have the sauce :)

Here's a mock-tail inspired by the homemade lemon shakes at the Canfield Fair (the Labor Day tradition).

Even in a kitchen sans proper bar equipment, you can make an Ohio Lady!

Microwave two mugs full of hot water (one mug per person).
Stir in 3 teaspoons of sugar.
Put in fridge to cool.
Slice fresh 2 strawberries and half a lemon per person.
Shake each serving in a mason jar with ice and mug of simple syrup.
Drink up and toast your loved ones!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dante's Sweet Number

Last night one of my regulars came in---the one who inspired the Basil Devil, but since we didn't have the micro basil anymore, I created this little hot and sweet number. I'm calling it: Dante's Sweet Number after the discussion in yoga class about inviting both g-d and the devil in. It was a depends on how you look at it question, in the way that the glass is either half full or half empty. However, this drink is so good, the glass will most likely be totally empty until you order another round!

Dante's Sweet Number

muddle two strips jalapeno with 2-3 lime wedges
2 1/2 oz. 10 Cane Rum
1 oz. Simple Syrup
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice

Shake and strain over ice.
Make eyes at Beatrice across the bar.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Finding Balance

The classic cocktail was originally comprised of a base spirit, a bitter, and a sweet. Quite a bit like life. After practicing yoga for years, I’ve come to let go of the idea of smoothing out all the wrinkles of living. I had thought that if I practiced enough, I could eliminate all that was unpleasant or uncomfortable. However, after years of standing upside down and placing my limbs in various positions, I’ve come to find that peace is not some external state of bliss to be journeyed to, but rather it’s the small seed within that grows no matter what’s happening externally. Without the difficult times, the joy is muted and the challenging times make happiness that much sweeter. And just like life and yoga, a cocktail is a balance between bitter and sweet, sugar and sour. Life, like a cocktail is all encompassing.

And that these forces or tastes work together---that they actually enhance each other. Something as simple as ¼ of an ounce of fresh lemon or lime can change an entire drink. Or how I tell my yoga students that even practices one posture a day can bring change, that this small action of standing up well and tall, all muscles engaged, is like tossing a stone in a pond, the ripples reach all the way to the other shore. They may not feel it right away, but these subtle forces work their magic in our unconscious minds. Like the way freshly ground pepper and strawberries enhance my twist on the pisco sour, The PS. As a yogi, it’s important for me to fuse my love for health with mixology and so the strawberry adds some vitamin c and the black pepper has some medicinal properties (thanks google). I’m not saying that this is completely healthy, but ps, there’s some goodness here.


2 oz. pisco

¾ oz. fresh lemon juice

½ oz. simple syrup

¼ oz. pasteurized egg whites

Muddle 1-2 strawberries with 3-4 twists of freshly ground pepper

Add the pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites.

Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice.

Strain into a champagne flute and garnish with freshly ground pepper

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Basil Devil

"So, I get the orange and the grapefruit," she says, "but the avocado?"
"It's for a margarita," I tell the woman drinking a Jack and Diet. "It's avocado, jalapeno, and honey."

I love that someone has picked up on the subtleties---that just by leaving something interesting out on the bar, a conversation is born, as is a new cocktail!

The jalapeno part catches the attention of one of my regulars sitting next to her. Unfortunately no peppers in house and so I create the following for him (still a work in progress):

Basil Devil

rim a rocks glass with lime and sugar
muddle a healthy pinch of micro basil with 2-3 wedges of lime
2-4 dashes of Chipotle Tabasco and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
shake with:
2 1/2 oz light rum
1 oz. honey syrup (made with equal parts boiling water and honey)
you can serve right from the shaker or strain depending on your preference
top with a splash of soda water

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back in Action

After a long hiatus, Bathtub Gin is back. Re-inspired with new recipes and ideas thanks to Jacques, our fantastic Kimpton master mixologist, I've decided to keep up this blog with cocktail musings at least once a week. This week has been a re-birth in a way. Last night was a typical slow Saturday and two guys came in for a few drinks. After ordering a few G and T's, one of the guys switched to one of my newest spring cocktails on the menu. I was a little bashful asking if he liked it--he was drinking a purplish drink garnished with blackberries and sometimes the fellas shy away from the pretty colored beverages. However, he loved it---not too sweet and refreshing was what he said. I blushed when I told him it was my creation.

"So," he says, "you're not like a bartender, but a mixologist." And after 8 hours of intense measuring and mastering some classic cocktails, I was able to reply, "yeah, just wait until we bring out the new menu."

And so the rest of the night was spent naming the lovely little libations born from this week. I told the cocktail server, "if I'm having this much trouble naming my drinks, imagine when I make babies."

So come on in this week and ask for The Perfect 10, PS, The Whispering Echo, Carly's Sunrise, or some Sweet Redemption...