THE QUAFF: Ginger Cilantro Mule Edition


Last week, my dearest friend Meeshie visited me here in Los Angeles, and she absolutely insisted that we make a cocktail (I was not very hard to persuade). I handed her my favorite cocktail book, Organic, Shaken and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie and told her to pick out a recipe. After some casual browsing, Meeshie decided on our beverage of the evening: the Ginger Cilantro Mule.

A variation on the classic Moscow Mule, the GCM (as I like to call it) is all about the refreshing play of ginger and lime, but unlike any other “mule,” I’ve tried, this one features not vodka, not gin, but rather TEQUILA. Color me intrigued…

Continue reading

THE QUAFF: Fun with Veev Açaí Spirit!


Recently I received a complimentary bottle of VeeV Açaí Spirit, which meant I had to face one of my biggest fears: berries. For the uninitiated, I have something neurologically wrong wherein I detest the thing that millions — perhaps BILLIONS — of people worldwide love. I speak, of course, of the berry. I hate almost all berries. I’ve come around to cranberries, and I suppose a caper is technically a berry, and I’m okay with those, but all the rest: big problems for me. Huge. It’s not even that I dislike them but can tolerate them in food. I usually want to gag when I smell, or worse, taste berries.

However, I’m determined to have some breakthroughs this year because after all, I do aspire to call myself an unqualified foodie (I mean that in every sense of the term), and I’m not sure I can live up to that title if an entire realm of foods is verboten to me.

And so when the VeeV arrived, I was determined to take on the challenge head on. With the help of Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred, my friend Sly and I delved into the wide world of AÇAÍ!

Results after the jump… Continue reading

THE QUAFF: End of the World Cocktail Hour

This may come as a shock to you all, but the weather here in Los Angeles is often wonderful. Such was the case this past Saturday, which aside from being absolutely beautiful was also supposed to mark the End of the Days. Well, Doomsday be damned, I was going to celebrate the weather with a cocktail. I called up my reliable drinking buddy Sly and invited her over to enjoy a quick afternoon drink chez moi, and of course, she took the bait hook, line, and sinker. Little did either of us realize that we would soon be embarking on an evening of extreme (but not sloppy) drunkenness.

Photos of our drinking — beginning with the Rapture-appropriate “Suffering Bastard” cocktail — after the jump…

Continue reading

THE QUAFF: Roasted Red Pepper Juleps


How dreadful that it’s been practically three weeks since I last updated anything in The Quaff category. Well, I’ve been behind on all my posting in general, but I’m determined to catch up, beginning with a new addition to this category. I’m happy to report I have a fun item that I whipped up with my friends Sly and Aletheia, who were both present at the very first “Fresh Cocktail Hour” two years ago, which centered on homemade Bloody Marys. Since then, anytime my friends and I convene to crank out some libations from scratch, we call it “Fresh Cocktail Hour,” and so as you can imagine, having the original F.C.H. trio back in action was quite the momentous occasion (Aletheia unfortunately lives in another city).

Anyway, in an effort to out-do ourselves once again, we turned again towards my favorite cocktail book, Organic, Shaken, and Stirred (which about six of my friends have now purchased — you’re welcome, Paul Abercrombie). We wanted a cocktail that seemed new and different, and so we decided on the Roasted Red Pepper Julep. Our journey after the jump… Continue reading

THE QUAFF: The Mysterious Stranger


Some things look beautiful but taste average. Some things look nasty but taste really good. And some things look bad and taste worse.

When my friend IndianJones and I endeavored to make The Mysterious Stranger cocktail from Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken & Stirred cocktail book, we had some serious fears that the cocktail would fall in that last dreaded category. I mean, this was one nasty looking libation. However, Paul Abercrombie had yet to steer us wrong. Even the worst recipes were still pretty solid. Would the Mysterious Stranger be the first true disappointment from Organ, Shaken & Stirred? Or would this beverage be something of an ugly duckling. Results after the jump… Continue reading

THE QUAFF: More National Margarita Day Fun


Since today is National Margarita Day, I knew I had to post a bonus Quaff. The only problem is that I haven’t recently created or sampled a new margarita to profile (actually, not true — I tasted my friend Sly’s margarita at the Thompson hotel last week, but I neglected to take photos; so that will have to be tabled for a future post). Anyway, the point of this rambling preamble is that I have no exciting margaritas to share with you today. However, I have something incredibly close — a homemade concoction inspired by a margarita recipe.

I present to you: THE CASTELLAMMARE!

Continue reading

The First Annual B-Side Blog Holiday Gift Guide


Over the past year, various companies have sent me all sorts of cool swag, and in an effort to pay it forward, I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorite freebies (as well as a few that I did fork over some cold, hard cash for). For all you last minute shoppers out there, take heed: this might be the guidance you so desperately need.

My humble gift-giving suggestions after the jump…

Continue reading

THE QUAFF: Dark & Stormy Edition


On the occasion of my 32nd birthday last weekend, my crew and I (née The Lametourage, since renamed The VC — as in, The Vicious Circle) decided to take in a viewing of the latest Twilight movie (a.k.a. laugh at the screen). There’s absolutely no way to slog through the vampire saga sober; so clearly, cocktails were in order. But what beverage would suitably get the job done? Well, once again we turned to Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred. Thankfully IndianJones had his copy with him since I had lost mine on my recent Thanksgiving trip to NYC (there had been a request for “cousin cocktails” around the turkey, and regrettably I made the foolish decision to take the book back East for the occasion where it promptly disappeared into the cold night. I have to order a new copy now, grrr). Anyway, in honor of the brooding vampires and werewolves of the great Northwest, we decided to whip up a batch of Dark & Stormys. But this wasn’t just any old Dark & Stormy recipe (traditionally, it’s just ginger beer and rum). No, this libation had all sorts of stuff going on.

Full details after the jump…

Continue reading

THE QUAFF: Sun Gold Zinger Edition


For the past several months, my friend Sly and I have been trying to see the film Winter’s Bone, but thanks to Sly’s unpredictable nature, we were never able to nail down a time to see the flick in the theaters, and thus we missed it. Thankfully, the DVD arrived in my mailbox last week, courtesy of Netflix, which meant we could finally watch the damn movie. Making matters even more exciting was the arrival of a free bottle of Stoli vodka, which had been sent to me for review by the good people of Stolichnaya. Free booze + a long anticipated DVD viewing? Sounded like a recipe for fun.

Even more thrilling was the revelation that Stoli happened to be Sly’s favorite vodka. Her swoons of joy were unparalleled in nature except for perhaps the deep mating call of a restless penguin. We soon got to work fixing an intriguing cocktail from Paul Abercrombie’s Organic, Shaken, and Stirred. This little number was called the Sun Gold Zinger and featured cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, salt, agave nectar, and vodka. Sure, it didn’t quite fit thematically with a film about Appalachian poverty, but we really didn’t care. We were intrigued: would this be a second-ran Bloody Mary or a fine concoction that could stand on its own? Results after the jump…

Continue reading

THE QUAFF: Saffron Margarita Edition


It’s time for more cocktail craziness, and this one comes replete with broken glass and DANGER. Such is the way of The Quaff.

Back a few weeks ago, IndianJones was in town (when isn’t he in town? He has no friends), and so he, jash, and I all decided to make drinks. Once again we mined the pages of Organic, Shaken, and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie and decided upon the rather intriguing Saffron Margarita. Our adventure, including the aforementioned glass-saster, after the jump…

Continue reading