20150323-cocktails-vicky-wasik-Brooklyn-thumb-625xauto-421619Faced with a bottle of bourbon, bitters, and a boyfriend who purchased the wrong kind of Vermouth, what did I do?

Found The Brooklyn: a Manhattan with dry instead of sweet vermouth. Because it was a bit, well, tart, we added a dash of agave (hipsters that we are) to the Manhattan’s sultry artisanal sibling. I’m still very partial to a Manhattan, but, as I always say, Manhattan is the new Brooklyn.

*Image by Vicky Wasik


Bienvenidos a Miami

welcome-to-miami-oSo, I’m back on the road again (as usual)…
Full disclosure, my trip to Florida was not as food focused as many of my others, as there were bloody Marys to be had, champagne corks to be popped, and outfits to be ogled. I did, however, particularly enjoy two meals in the city where the heat is on.

1. BodegaInterior-Bodega-1800-x-1200-1800x1200Although this funky, casual Miami beach eatery markets itself as a “taqueria y tequila” joint, we found no evidence of the latter. Luckily, the tacos more than made up for this deceit. There were inspired flavor combinations such as the “Camaron BLT” with shrimp, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a chipotle-cotija dressing. The chicken taco with garlicky kale and avocado salsa verde was also a winner. We didn’t try their “tortas” (Mexican-style sandwiches), but the housemade popsicles, in both tropical and classic flavors, were super tasty, especially a mango-chile one. Basket-of-Tacos-1800-x-1200-1800x1200 1220 16th St
Miami Beach, FL
(305) 704-2145

2. 27 at the Freehand
27 is a restaurant at a hostel. But don’t start envisioning greasy haired backpackers and dingy digs–Miami’s Freehand hostel is a chic, young spot, with options for both individual and shared hipster-decorated rooms (think colorful artwork and yoga class-style blankets.) Their bar, The Broken Shaker specializes in handcrafted cocktails and some of the best wallpaper I’ve ever seen. 1297_Freehand3_72-960x630Bar patrons spill outside to the many outdoor areas, around the pool and in old school lawn furniture. 27, the Freehand’s restaurant, serves really standout food–so good that I came back twice in one weekend (no joke, Friday and then Sunday.] 27The menu is comprised of small plates — shocker — but they really deliver, from their arepa platter served with gloriously umami ropa vieja to an ever-changing selection of roasted and pickled vegetables largely grown on the property’s garden. As much as it pains me to say it, the kale salad with miso and tahini is particularly off the chain:Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 3.07.05 PMDon’t miss the cocktails–particularly the Smoky Calabaza (Charred Calabaza with Garam Masala Spices, Fresh Citrus with Del Maguey Mezcal and egg whites with “27” emblazoned on it) and the Miso Old Fashioned with miso-honey reduction and mushroom (!) bitters.IMG_8869

2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach, Florida 33140
(305) 531-2727

*photos courtesy of Bodega and The Freehand, respectively.

Why Haven’t You Made Boozy Popsicles This Summer?

photo (1)No, but seriously. After a recipe testing gig landed me with a popsicle mold set, I had my sights set on some boozetastic ice pops–because what’s more mature than imbibing in a traditionally childlike manner? Freudian questions aside, these Grapefruit, Basil & Vodka popsicles were totally fantastic. Recipe here.
[Excuse the sub-par photo–possibly a result of one too many popsicles?]

Le Boulevardier

A lover of dark, old man beverages, particularly those that are Whiskey-based, I have fallen hard for the Boulevardier, an old school cocktail which looks like a Negroni and drinks like an Old Fashioned. It seems I am not the only one!

20130205boulevardier[photo courtesy of Serious Eats]

The combination of earthy bourbon, tangy Campari and, of course sweet vermouth make for a dark, brooding cocktail that wont totally weigh you down. I love to add a little brandied cherry or two for added sweetness.

Recipe, courtesy of the New York Times


  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon, preferably Maker’s Mark
  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth, preferably Dolin Rouge
  • 3/4 ounce Campari
  • Twist of orange peel, for garnish


Chill a cocktail glass by filling with ice or putting in freezer for about 5 minutes.
Pour the liquid ingredients into a mixing glass. Fill mixing glass 2/3 full of ice and stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist.
1 drink

Pickle Pantry Essential #2

Photo courtesy of drinksupermarket.com

Sweet Vermouth gets a bad rap. Other than its use in cocktails like the Martini, Negroni and Manhattan, the botanical-infused liqueur is often tossed aside here in the States, thought of only as an ingredient and not a free-standing beverage. Perhaps its a habit takeover from my Dad, or the desire to teleport myself to a cobblestone street in Paris or Rome, but there are few things I enjoy as much as a healthy pour of Martini Rosso Sweet Vermouth over ice. Yes, it has a twang of melted down cola bottle gummies (which my also explain my proclivity to the viscous sepia-toned beverage), but the complex herbal flavor brightens my palate and the sweetness urges small but satisfying sips. Try it heavily poured over ice or, if you have one, sip slowly in a frosted crunk goblet.