• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 693 other subscribers
  • Archives

  • Like us on Facebook!

A Taste of Tradition—Cider of Asturias

If you haven’t noticed, the cider market is booming. And last fall I was asked to cover a tasting event sponsored by Sidra de Asturias at Tertulia in Manhattan. Sidra de Asturias is a Protected by Designation of Origin (PDO) product of Spain and the Asturias region, or Green Spain, is located along the northern coast. The region has been producing cider since the 11th century and supplies 80% of the national production.

For centuries, servers called escanciadores have been pouring Asturias cider in a way that aerates the beverage and enhances the flavor and aroma. Only a shot is poured high over the server’s head and is to be consumed in a single gulp. For more info on Ciders of Spain and the beautiful Asturias region check out these links:

It was a really fun event and towards the end the pros let the attendee’s give pouring a shot, needless to say the floors were a bit sticky by the end of the night, but coupled with the fantastic cider and the amazing tapas cranking out of the kitchen by Chef Mullen’s team at a dizzying rate, no one seemed to mind.

Cider_008 Cider_012 Cider_024 Cider_030 Cider_033 Cider_035 Cider_036 Cider_041 Cider_043 Cider_044 Cider_047 Cider_054 Cider_056 Cider_057 Cider_059 Cider_070 Cider_074 Cider_077 Cider_080 Cider_089 Cider_090 Cider_095 Cider_112 Cider_115 Cider_127 Cider_146 Cider_150 Cider_158 Cider_172 Cider_178 Cider_181 Cider_183 Cider_200 Cider_202 Cider_234 Cider_241 Cider_309 Cider_317 Cider_326 Cider_336 Cider_359 Cider_383 Cider_407 Cider_441 Cider_452 Cider_465Cider Styles and Pairing


July 19th is National Daiquiri Day

Who knew July 19th was National Daiquiri Day? I didn’t until today, so unprepared to mix anything I thought I’d be lazy and post an article I shot the drinks for Santé Magazine, which first appeared in June 2009, written by Naren Young. The lead recipe and opening spread is a rather tasty strawberry daiquiri. It was one of my favorite articles back then, and was also when I first really got into shooting cocktails. And as for clean up—it did have its fringe benefits.

Click here for PDF of article

Strawberry Daiquiri
2 oz Barbancourt Reserve Speciale Rhum, 1/2 oz fresh lime juice, 1/2 oz strawberry syrup (see the PDF), lime twist garnish


The Ugly Leprechaun

The Ugly Leprechaun
1 1/2 oz Oval Vodka
1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
1/2 oz Midori  Melon liqueur
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
2 oz kiwi puree
lime wheel for garnish

Chill a large (7 oz)  martini glass; shake ingredients with ice in a shaker; strain into a martini glass; garnish with lime wheel.

Absolut Sangria

Today’s assignment:

Absolut Sangria
3 parts sparkling white wine
1 part Absolut Grapevine
1 part fresh lemon juice
1/2 part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
1/2 part Martell Cognac
1 can of peaches in light syrup
6 cinnamon sticks
6 green grapes halved
4 fresh strawberries halved
6 lemon wheels

Stir over ice in a pitcher…enjoy 😉

Brulées Restaurant

Brulées Restaurant in downtown Pittsfield, owned by Ken and Cara Peckham, features fantastic food and atmosphere, but the two shots I was most excited about were cocktails. They offer a unique twist at the bar with some of the martini’s where food-grade dry ice tablets are added to the cocktail right before it’s served. The result is a very Halloween-like witches brew effect as the drink bubbles and boils to a chilled perfection.

Caramel Martini

Blood Orange Martini

Twin Crab Cakes—with a spicy tequila aioli and fresh melon salsa

Dinner Salad

Chicken Marsala

Crème Brulée Sampler

Chocolate Lava Cake—served warm with vanilla ice cream

Mixing it up with Hiram Walker

The studio has recently been transformed into a bar as I finished a fantastic project mixing and shooting 60 cocktail recipes for Hiram Walker, and these are just a few of my favorites.

Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian

2 parts Malibu Coconut;
2 parts Pineapple Juice;
1 part Blue Curacao

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a pineapple slice.

Cinberry Fizz

Cinberry Fizz

1 part Hiram Walker Original Cinn;
1 part Cranberry Juice;
2 parts Ginger Ale

Build in a Collins glass over ice.

Citrus Peach Fuzz

Citrus Peach Fuzz

1 part ABSOLUT Citron;
1 part Hiram Walker White Peach Schnapps;
1 part Cream;
Fresh Peach slices

Pour all ingredients into blender; cover with crushed ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a Hurricane glass and garnish with a fresh peach slice.

Ginger Basil Kurrant Martini

Ginger Basil Kurant Martini

1 Fresh Ginger Slice, Muddled;
1 1/2 oz Absolut Kurant;
1/2 oz Hiram Walker Triple Sec;
2 Basil Leaves, torn;
1/2 oz Simple Syrup;
3 Lemon Squeezes, discard

Lemon-Ginger sugar rim. Muddle ginger. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass.

Hazelnut Cappuccino

Hazelnut Cappuccino

1 1/2 parts Hiram Walker Hazelnut;
5 parts espresso

Pour into a cappuccino or Irish coffee cup. Top with whipped heavy cream and grated hazelnuts.

Kir Royale

Kir Royale

1 part Hiram Walker Creme de Cassis;
4 parts chilled Mumm or Perrier Jouet Champagne

Serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with lemon twist if desired.

Melon Mojito

Melon Mojito

3/4 part Hiram Walker Melon Liqueur;
1 1/2 parts Dark Rum;
12 Mint Leaves;
1/2 Lime; 2 tbsp. Simple Syrup (or 4 tsp. sugar).
Top off with Club Soda

Muddle mint leaves and lime in tall glass. Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice. Add rum and club soda; stir. Garnish with lime and mint.

Peach Margarita


1 1/2 parts premium tequila;
1 part Hiram Walker Peach Schnapps;
1/4 part Hiram Walker  Triple Sec;
1/2 part lime juice

Shake or blend with ice (I added a few slices of fresh peach in the blender for color and texture), and pour into salt-rimmed margarita glass.

Raspberry Pom

Raspberry Pom

1 part Hiram Walker Pomegranate Schnapps;
1 1/2 parts premium tequila;
4 fresh raspberries;
2 lime wedges

Muddle 3 red raspberries and 2 limes wedges in cranberry juice. Add ice, then Pomegranate Schnapps and Tequila. Serve in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a raspberry and mint sprig.

One last piece of pumpkin pie please…

Well at least to drink, and I wanted to get this shot of the Pumpkin Pie Martini recipe posted given the holidays and all the pumpkin pies around these days. This particular cocktail really does taste like you are drinking a piece of pumpkin pie, and the fresh ground nutmeg and clove garnish along with the fresh puree may be the best way to enjoy your desert and digestive all at once, although my baker friends may argue otherwise!

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

1 oz Oval Vodka

1 oz Frangelico

1 tbs. pumpkin puree

1 oz heavy cream

1 oz simple syrup

Ground nutmeg and ground cloves for garnish

Vigorously shake ingredients in an ice shaker until thoroughly blended and frothy; pour into a chilled martini glass and lightly dust with ground spices.

Bloody Bones for Halloween

I wanted to haul out this shot from the Oval Vodka project for Halloween. To create the spooky look for the “Bloody Bones” cocktail, I used my son’s humidifier behind and below with a paper towel tube directing the vapor up to just behind the glass. I didn’t have ready access to dry ice and noticed how the vapor from the atomizing humidifier in his room had that same effect. The cocktail itself is very tasty and perhaps might be a fresh offering at your next Halloween party.

Halloween-Bloody Bones

Bloody Bones
1 ½ oz Oval Vodka
½ oz Chambord
¼ oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz Pom Wonderful
Ginger ale
Red licorice stick for garnish

Shake first four ingredients with ice in a shaker; pour into iced highball glass and top with ginger ale; garnish with licorice stick.

Independence Day

It’s been a while since I have posted, but not for a lack of shooting. I’m really looking forward to tonight’s shoot—a benefit for the Thomas Cole House in Catskill, NY under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. Many more food shots to come and weddings too! But for now a cool drink on a hot day…

The Minute Man
1 ½ oz Oval Vodka
1 ½ oz fresh sweet & sour
¼ oz simple syrup
splash of ginger ale
lemon wheel, small American flag and a straw for garnish

Shake first three ingredients with ice in a shaker; strain into an iced highball glass, top with ginger ale, garnish with lemon wheel, a small American flag and a straw.