Spaghetti Memoirs

Life Is All About Balance

Spaghetti Memoirs is a blog about my efforts to balance good/healthy foods, great drinks, work and exercise. All the recipes are gluten free and all the cocktails are amazing. 

Brandy Flip

Recently a friend of mine was introduced to the 'flip' which has a full raw egg in it- yolk and all. In an effort to help them with technique I made a few at my house and remembered how tasty they are especially after dinner. 

Here is one I have been making the last few nights and wanted to share:

2 ounces Brandy

1 ounce Disaronno

1 egg

Put all of the ingredients in a shaker -NO ICE- and shake it like the dickens for approx. 30 - 45 seconds. 

Open the shaker, add ice, and shake again for 20- 30 seconds to chill it. 

Strain it into a glass. 

Sprinkle nutmeg on top (I like fresh ground)

Enjoy!

Modification:

2 ounces brandy

3/4 ounces carmel syrup

1 egg

6 Cocktails Everyone Should Know- Get My Course FREE

Hey Everyone!

Recently I decided to get myself in the kitchen and in front of the camera for a little one on one time. I made a Udemy course called How to Bartend Like a Mad Man. In the class I go over some bartending basics as well as walk through making a(n):

Old Fashioned

Whiskey Sour 

Gimlet

Martini

Manhattan

Sazerac

Each cocktail is not only awesome to drink, and impressive for your next party, but also gives you a great bartending foundation to then branch out and explore from! I'll be there to answer questions and hear how you made each cocktail your own! 

Click here for a coupon to get the course FREE! 

I hope to see you there!

K

How to Make a Martini

I will be the first to admit that I didn't know about a 'perfect' martini. It wasn't until reading the book 'Boozehound' by Jason Wilson that I found out what the original martini was made of. Around prohibition, the martini was made with gin -it was easy to access since it could be made in a bathtub- and SWEET vermouth. It wasn't until later that people, in America, started to use dry vermouth from France which is where the 'dry martini' came from. In contrast to what people think, 'dry' did not denote less vermouth but instead the type used. 

I love history so these types of facts get me all excited!  I totally recommend picking up Boozehound. It's really interesting and Jason Wilson does a great job introducing you to new drinks, and old drinks through their history.

Another reason I decided to do the gin martini video next was because of a recent article in The Telegraph that someone sent my way (thanks M). As many may know, gin is made from juniper berries. While many of these trees reside in eastern Europe, there is a disease that is killing -in some cases 60-70%- of juniper trees in the UK. 

GIN IS SICK AND IN DANGER PEOPLE! 

So as a tribute to our sick friend the juniper tree, here is "How to make a gin martini' just like they did during prohibition! Thanks for getting the US through a dark time against bartending (Jason Wilson has an interesting perspective on this as well btw). Get well soon! 

 

I Had A Bellini..

....for the first time.  

I've been to a good portion of bars -a bigger portion of impromptu cocktail parties- and bellinis were never really my thing. They tasted like the champagne version of a slushy or bad margarita so I steered clear. 

During my recent visit to Montreal I walked by a champagne bar and decided to rehydrate :) 

La Champagnerie

By the way, did you now that most 'champagnes' are just sparkling white wine because the grapes were not raised in the champagne region of France? Another blog maybe.

Anyway. Rather than shuffle through the entire menu of drinks I asked the go-to question "what do you suggest?" My waitress was your typical tall, skinny, long brown hair girl that was seconds from being picked up as a model...so I started to question her when she said "I really like the bellini." After a moment of hesitation, and not wanting to offend the french soon-to-be model, I shrugged and said "ok" i'll take that. 

What was brought to me was far from anything I had ever had. A small bit of puree was placed in the bottom of a champagne flute and then she poured real champagne into the glass right in front of me. After a small stir (too much and the drink goes everywhere) and I was sipping on my first real bellini. 

My bellini and my view.

Another...maybe 2

The peaches were not too sweet, I wasn't sipping on an alcoholic slurppie, and my drink clearly didn't come out of a pre-made machine.  

Needless to say I enjoyed myself and had another...maybe 2.  

So here's to you Le Champagnerie for introducing me to the bellini. 

Cheers

Mockingbird Hill: Exploring Sherry (DC)

Whenever I travel to a city, I usually try and see what restaurants, bars, etc. are there. Serious Eats.com is a great place to go for several of the major cities. They have writers in different towns that really help to point out the local gems. On my recent trip to Washington DC, I found an article on a sherry and ham bar called Mockingbird Hill (thanks Brian Oh). Up until this point I had never really liked sherry. It was always this dark brown liquid, in a dusty old bottle at the bar, that had an after taste of prunes and not much depth of flavor beyond that. Regardless of this, Brian Oh's article had me looking forward to this new experience and once I stepped into Mockingbird Hill I suddenly jumped into excited. 

The bar required a good cab ride from Georgetown into a residential area - that always seems like a good sign to me. Like i'm discovering a locals spot rather than a tourists spot. The space is so chill and intimate I felt like I had been invited to a small party where people sat around talking about their day and drinking sherry. There were three women at the bar that looked like they had just met up after work to chat and relax. The owner was very sweet and had a quiet trendiness about her that was debuted behind an adorably quaint smile. She always seemed to be holding in just absolute joy at the opportunity to share a drink she truly loved with others- and it came out in her smile every time she poured a glass.

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As I sat down I ordered 2 flights of sherry and realized I knew NOTHING about it. One flight was all lighter colors that were themed around the sea -looking like white wines. They were tasty and light and paired wonderfully with the small plate of ham that I ordered. The second flight had 3 darker sherrys on the sweeter side. None were so sweet that I would consider them a dessert and all had that depth of flavor that I thought sherry lacked. None tasted like prunes and all of them paired wonderfully with the small plate of rasberries she gave me. It was adorable how she almost waited in anticipation to see my face as I realized that the rasberries really did compliment the sherry flight. 

Through the whole tasting, Chantal (I think that was her name) would show me each bottle, explain where it was made, how the experience and geography of each contributed to the flavor and how each was slightly different than the rest. I have been to several tastings where the host was almost snobby in their presentation of information but this was totally different. It was like she had just come back with this bottle and wanted to share where she was. We were just hanging out and talking sherry.

All-in-all it was great! For sherry lovers, GO! For sherry haters, GO -you'll find something new and like it. For people on the fence, GO! It was a great experience and I stepped away with new information and a new appreciate for sherry. Just like my wine, i'm a bigger fan of the darker ones but see where a lighter sherry on a warm summer day would hit the spot. Thanks Mockingbird Hill! 

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30 drinks to know....while on the road

May 2, 2012 Michael Dietsch wrote a blog on Cocktails 101, '25 Cocktails Everyone Should Know', soon followed by '5 More Cocktails Everyone Should Know'. Together they outline the 30 drinks that any and all self-respecting home bartenders should know how to make.

As the local bartender for my friends and family -as well as a lover of dinner parties- I saw the list by Mr. Dietsch as something on par with homework or a pre-requisite for successful home bartending. 

My goal is clear now: get through the entire list. Some I have extensive experience with (i.e., old fashioned, sazerac, caipirinha) some are old friends I haven't seen in a while and some are completely new. Regardless, over the next weeks I will do my homework both at home and on the road. I will search for each of these cocktails while I am traveling and experiment making them when i'm home (beware, mistakes in bartending up ahead). All impending antics I will be sure to share with you here! While I travel i'll reach out for good places to drink but in the mean time....

Any other drinks your would add (List from Michael Dietsch)? 

  1. Old Fashioned
  2. Martinez
  3. Martini
  4. Manhattan
  5. Brooklyn
  6. Daiquiri
  7. Margarita
  8. Sidecar
  9. French 75
  10. Bloody Mary
  11. Irish Coffee
  12. Jack Rose
  13. Negroni
  14. Boulevardier
  15. Sazerac
  16. Vieux Carre
  17. Ramos Gin Fizz
  18. Mint Julep
  19. Whiskey Sour
  20. Mai Tai
  21. Planter' Punch
  22. Pisco Sour
  23. Cosmopolitan
  24. Tom Collns
  25. Last Word
  26. Pegu Club
  27. Corpse Reviver #2
  28. Improved
  29. Caipirinha <-this one is going to be difficult to find outside of your home....made well. If anyone finds it PLEASE let me know!
  30. Mojito

 

How to Make an Old Fashioned

Here is cocktail #1. An old fashioned. It is a simple drink but strangely it gets messed up often.  

I have gotten it: 

- In a pint glass (and that was not just a lot of bourbon

- Made with orange juice

- Diluted with 4 oz of club soda

- Blue

- In a martini glass....with mint. 

None of those are right! 

So bring out the bourbon (or rye whiskey), make an old fashioned, and enjoy your Friday.

 

How To Become My Friend In 5 Cocktails

I get along with good bartenders. 

No, this is not a veiled proclamation of alcoholism,  it's just that I tend to get along with good bartenders and somaliers. I look for and collect them anywhere I go. Almost like collecting playing cards that you see around the city. They have a strange and similar character that appeals to some and goes unnoticed and unappreciated by many more.  

Even thought the above statement could be applied in a vague sense, I want to emphasize the word 'good.' A good bartender is that unique individual that can execute the basics with flare and pizzaz but can also manipulate those same ingredients into a dynamic and smooth creation tailored to specific tastes. A good bartender doesn't merely memorize your 'usual' but can instead ask you a few simple questions, or see what you are eating, and suggest a drink that will elevate your eating experience to the next level. A good bartender is consistent. In short, a good bartender is extremely hard to find....therefore, I don't have a ton of friends....well bartender friends. :) 

Old Fashioned

So how do I determine if I would trust you with my drinking experience for the night? I ask for one to two of five basic drinks. Even though each is fairly simple, they represent some of the basics that have been lost on the 'appletini' and Ruby Tuesdays of bar tending.   

1 -Old Fashioned

2- Sazerac

3- Manhattan

4- Martini

 

5- Daiquiri

 

In an effort to find more 'good bartender friends' i'm going to put my mediocre bar-tending skills out there for everyone to see and record a video of me making each of these drinks. So stay tuned for that over the next few weeks. Ill post the old-fashioned on Friday!

So what are your 'test of the bartender' drinks? 

While this list is specific to me, I have come to find out that everyone seems to have their 'test of the bartender.' For some its knowledge of beer, for others it's the ability to make tequila based drinks. Whatever your list may be hold true and appreciate the good ones you find. Like falling in love, a good bartender is rare and should be cherished. :)