Thursday, December 28, 2017

New Year's Eve Cocktails and Tuna Fish Cakes - Collab with Recipes!

We're starting the New Year's Eve party early with bubbly cocktails and we're excited to be collaborating with our fabulous friends at Laurice's Kitchen, who are making some fabulous fish cakes for the occasion! Be sure to visit her channel for the recipe and grab some bubbly! You'll need it!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas! Cocktails and Mocktails for the Entire Family

Merry Cocktail Monday Christmas! Today we have a festive mocktail AND cocktail - something for everyone in the family! Have a wonderful day and enjoy the rest of the season! Cheers!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Happy National Sangria Day!

It's National Sangria Day and Glendora is here to share her new recipe, made with Aime Ruca Malen Red Blend! Who says sangria is for summer? This one is perfect for winter (and, frankly, every season). Happy National Sangria Day!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Christmas Home Decor, Cocktails and Appetizers Included!

Today we're throwing our doors open for a tour of our Christmas decor, cocktails and appetizers included! We're enjoying a bowl of Old Yule Wassail and an easy shrimp appetizer, so be sure to join us!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Candy Cane Shake

It's time for another Christmas mocktail and today's is a decadent candy cane treat inspired by a vintage recipe! Grab that blender and get ready for deliciousness!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Holiday Vodka Punch Recipes & Cinnamon Syrup for Christmas Drinks

On last night's Facebook live video we made two punches from 1982's Smirnoff for the Holidays...

With a few adjustments, starting with the fact that we mixed with Bootlegger 21 vodka from Prohibition Distillery. Shhh! Don't tell Smirnoff! Here are the recipes, as promised, along with our improvements. Without further ado, let's start with Hawaiian Pleasure Punch:

Paul mixed this one (we only made 1/4 of each recipe, since there are only two of us and neither of us wants to die of alcohol poisoning). The only improvement we made to this one was to add 3 oz of gin (we stuck with Prohibition Distillery and used their Bootlegger 21 gin), so, if you were to make an entire bowl, you'd want to add 12 oz of gin. Sounds like a lot, but otherwise it tastes like pure ginger ale.

I made Bubbly Mint Punch:

"Crisp and refreshing as a winter breeze." Well, it was, anyway, after I doubled both the vodka and the mint! I used Wondermint from Death's Door Spirits instead of creme de menthe, which I think was a good move. I later added some dashes of Fee Brothers cranberry bitters, which further improved it, but also turned it red. Oh, well, it's still a good color for Christmas!

In other news, we're planning a combination Mocktail/Cocktail Monday episode for Christmas Day, which will involve cinnamon syrup. It's really easy to make, but here's the recipe ahead of time, since it takes some time to prepare. If you're planning ahead, also pick up a bottle of Italian lemon soda!

Cinnamon Syrup

Add 3 cinnamon sticks slightly broken up to 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cover and allow to sit for several hours or overnight. Strain, add water to make sure you have two full cups, add two cups of sugar and heat just until sugar is melted (don't boil). 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Christmas Cocktail Recipe with Deadhead Dark Chocolate Rum!

We recently tried Deadhead Dark Chocolate Rum and we're hooked! It's delicious on its own OR in a cocktail, such as this one, which is perfect for the holidays if I do say so myself. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Vacation: Cocktail & Easy Appetizer Inspired By The Movie!

Christmas Vacation is one of our holiday favorites and today we have recipes to enhance the viewing experience! Get that shaker ready and preheat the oven - it's movie time!

Monday, December 11, 2017

A Visit to 1979 for Holiday Hospitality

Part of the stash of vintage bar guides recently sent to us by our pal Mod Betty of Retro Roadmap was this little gem from the American Forces Network:

A bar guide at holiday time is, indeed, pretty handy and one sent with your TV-Guide? Genius! The American Forces Network, a.k.a. the Armed Forces Network, provides radio and TV to Americans serving overseas. In 1979 they were pleased to share some recipes to liven up the holidays. Even the ads had recipes! Here are some traditional Christmas beverages to start, including a couple of mocktails. I'll bet you hadn't thought of Coke, yogurt and cherry jam in your drink, but that's what this guide is for! And I like the instructions to use the "cheaper table wines" and forego your best crystal bowl. It's not underachievement - it's following directions!

How about a rum cake featuring rum and more rum, along with a cake mix and Jell-O instant pudding?

Lest you think that this booklet didn't feature actual gelatin, never fear! Here it is in an intriguing chicken dish. Today you'll find it called Heering Cherry Liqueur and it makes a lovely addition to a nice cheese fondue.

And here are some classic cocktail party appetizers, several with vegetarians in mind:

So...much...cheese. You need something to soak up all that booze! Here's to the holiday season! 

Mocktail Monday: Easy Peppermint Eggnog from 1965

It's Mocktail Monday and today's drink is so decadent that it can double as dessert! Get ready for some ice cream in your eggnog, courtesy of 1965's McCall's Book of Merry Eating. I'll drink to that!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas Recipes for the Impatient

Connoisseurs of fruitcake know that many such cake recipes call for being started well in advance of Christmas - in some cases up to a year in advance! If you fall into that fruitcake loving group, yet didn't get your act together to begin macerating your fruit weeks or months ago, McCall's Book of Merry Eating (1965) has a recipe especially for you! You'll probably have trouble finding an applesauce-raisin cake mix, so go ahead and use a spice cake mix and throw in some raisins. Who's going to know?

We have a YouTube playlist of Christmas cocktails that are pretty darned easy to make (more on the way!), but if you mean business and want that drink NOW, this one is traditional and has only two ingredients (three if you want to fancy it up).


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Road Trip! Eggbert the Christmas Egg & Eggnog Recipe

Join us for a visit to the holiday wonderland that is Devitt's Nursery & Supply in New Windsor, New York, home of Eggbert, the Christmas Egg! He even has his own eggnog recipe, which we share!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Beautiful Holiday Bows Made (sort of) Easy!

Who else has the best intentions for creating beautiful holiday packages, then ends up stuffing gifts into bags at the last minute? I DID order some fabulous wrapping paper from Spoonflower this year, including this delectable Enchanted Tiki Room print from Modern Tiki Lounge, so I've got that part under control, but what about bows? I tend to save and reuse them year after year, until they're dented beyond repair, but this 1969 guide from Hallmark has me thinking I might need to up my game. Could it be time for fabulous retro ribbons and bows? Time to start knotting and tying!

Of course, those store made bows will always be there for you if you decide to park it, make a cocktail and relax instead. I have a feeling that's what I'll do. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Happy Repeal Day!

Join us as we celebrate one of the happiest holidays of the year - Repeal Day! On December 5, 1933 Prohibition was repealed by the 21st amendment to the Constitution. That calls for a drink! Luckily we just happen to have one, and a classic at that. We're serving the Scofflaw, made with FEW Spirits Rye. Happy Repeal Day!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Spiced Pineapple-Cranberry Punch

It's Mocktail Monday and today we have a warm, spicy holiday treat! And you can sip this one any time - no waiting until 5:00 here! Cheers!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Porco Lounge & Tiki Room in Cleveland - Painkiller Recipe!

Are you ready for happy hour? Me, too! Today we're visiting Cleveland's fabulous Porco Lounge & Tiki Room for their delicious Painkiller! The title is apt - any pain you're feeling will evaporate after a couple of these little miracles. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Christmas Story House! Road Trip with Recipes, Cocktail Included!

In today's episode we visit Cleveland's fabulous A Christmas Story House! Fans of the movie, you'd lose your mind there! The house itself is interactive, so you can sit at the kitchen table, crawl into Randy's cabinet and even taste Lifebuoy soap if you're so inclined. The museum is chock full of props, costumes and more and the gift shop has everything you need to create your own holiday wonderland. Don't miss it the next time you visit Cleveland!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Virtuous Eggnog

Wow, this Monday is really falling into the cliche of Mondays. EVERYTHING is going wrong! I'd love some booze right now, but I'll sip this festive, non-alcoholic eggnog variation instead. I'll thank myself later.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Happy Hour

Happy Thanksgiving! Join us for some impromptu Thanksgiving drinks, which will be just as delicious and necessary on Black Friday. Cheers!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thankful for Wine - Thanksgiving Recipes with Glendora

Your favorite cousin is back and full of Thanksgiving gratitude! Wine is, of course, on the menu, along with copious amounts of cheese. Grab a drink and count your blessings!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Apple-Vanilla Toddy

It's Mocktail Monday and today we have a warm drink that's perfect for Thanksgiving! Enjoy it instead of or between rounds of cocktails. You know which I'll be doing. Cheers!

Make Your Own Strawberry Bitters

I suddenly decided a couple of weeks ago for no real reason that we needed strawberry cocktail bitters. I'm sure such a thing exists commercially, but I haven't seen it, so I decided to make my own. It's really easy to make your own bitters - the most labor intensive part is sourcing the ingredients - but it takes a couple of weeks to get a finished product, so it's not something you want to leave until cocktail time. If you start now you'll be replete with bitters for holiday gatherings!

Strawberry Cocktail Bitters

2 cups sliced strawberries
1 1/2 cups overproof rum (I used Cockspur 130 proof)
1/2 cup chopped ginger
1 1/2 tsp gentian root
3 tsp whole cloves
4 1/2 tsp cardamom pods
4 1/2 whole star anise
5 sticks cinnamon
1 cup high quality strawberry liqueur

Combine all ingredients except the strawberry liqueur in an airtight container. Shake daily for two weeks. I removed the strawberries after one week.

Two weeks later: strain mixture and boil solids with one cup of water for 30 minutes. Be sure to keep the fluid, since you’ll be adding to it.

You might need to add a little water occasionally to keep the fluid level up while boiling. Cool, strain and add new fluid to existing fluid.

Add one cup of high quality strawberry liqueur, shake and you’ve got strawberry bitters! It may not look like much, but you only use a few drops at a time, so a little goes a long way. Cheers!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Road Trip to Tiki Underground in Akron - Mai Tai on the Menu!

Are you ready for a happy hour cocktail? Me, too! Today I'm enjoying the fabulous Mai Tai from Tiki Underground in Akron, Ohio. The recipe is in the video and highly (no pun intended) recommended. Be sure to drop in when you're driving through Ohio. Their decor is beautiful, their food is great and their drinks are spot on!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

(Night Before) Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving hosts: Have you ever had the experience of working for days and even weeks on Thanksgiving dinner, only to remember at the last minute that, oops, your guests are arriving on Wednesday?! It is easy to be so focused on the big meal that dinner the evening before gets forgotten but, as my mother-in-law once said in a different context "You can't starve these people!" This would be an ideal time to order some pizzas, but if you want to spare yourself those calories the night before the biggest meal of the year, or maybe you'd like a retro cooking challenge that's still pretty easy, Better Homes & Gardens Best Buffets (1963) has some options with shrimp. At the very least they'll get the conversational ball rolling!

I'll bet they didn't see that meal coming! Be sure to pick up some extra wine for the imbibers. You don't want to consume all the wine you meant for Thanksgiving dinner the night before!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Kate's Lazy Meadow - Road Trip with Cocktails!

Joining us for a visit to Kate's Lazy Meadow, in Mt. Tremper, New York! We have a cocktail inspired by lazy meadows and a 1958 appetizer so easy you could assemble it blind drunk. Who knows? It could come in handy someday. 😏 Enjoy!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Winter Fruits

It's Mocktail Monday and today we have a super easy drink that's perfect for the non-drinkers at your holiday parties! Only two ingredients, but extremely festive!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Hidden Harbor Pittsburgh Tiki Bar - Road Trip!

Today we're excited to bring you along on our recent to Hidden Harbor, Pittsburgh's fabulous tiki hot spot! Head bartender Max Stein makes three drinks, all of which are delicious, and their decor and ambiance are to die for! I wish I was there right now!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Thanksgiving Kitsch

Thanksgiving is not the easiest holiday to decorate for. It's like the forgotten child between Halloween and Christmas, both of which I love, but Thanksgiving is the holiday we get to host, so I want to make it count! I'm very pleased with my display, especially since I spent a total of $2 in new items to pull it together. It has a slight "poultry" theme, since I happened to have the Miss Chicken Big mug and Foghorn Leghorn glass already. I definitely use what I have!

Mocktail Monday: Toasted Coconut & Maple

It's Mocktail Monday and I have to say today's drink is especially delicious! I hardly even miss the booze! Perfect for Thanksgiving and autumn days. Have a fabulous week!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween! You're Being Watched...

The big day has arrived, along with the dreadful knowledge that you're being watched. Our terrifyingly delicious cocktail and eerie eyeball appetizer will help you to look evil straight in the eye (then devour it)! Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Pom-Ginger Toddy

It's Mocktail Monday and today we have a warm, non-alcoholic toddy with just two ingredients - perfect for a gray autumn day! Have a fabulous week!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Cocktail Recipe - She Gods of Shark Reef!

It's time for happy hour and today we have a cocktail that's perfect for both Halloween AND tiki parties (and Shark Week), She Gods of Shark Reef! Having a Sharknado party? Serve this!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Deck the Halls for Halloween!

You know I love decorating with records! Here's our Halloween record display, with a bunch of tiki mugs thrown in for good measure. I consider it a warm up for Christmas, when I will go really berserk with the hall decking. Have you decorated for Halloween? I would love to see what you've done!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Crawling Hand!

Today's horrific Halloween recipes are inspired by the 1963 low budget classic, "The Crawling Hand!" Horror never tasted so good. πŸ˜€πŸΈπŸŽƒ

Monday, October 23, 2017

Mocktail Monday: Ginger-Pear Bubbles

It's Mocktail Monday and today we have a ginger and pear concoction that's a lovely way to kick off an autumn week! Hope yours is fabulous!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cocktail Recipes with Beer and More!

Did you miss tonight's live broadcast? No worries, it lives here! Click the link above and spend Saturday evening with us!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Visit to the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft & Magick!

Today's happy hour features a Halloween treat - a visit to Cleveland's Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft & Magick (cocktail included, of course)! It's the perfect place to catch the Halloween spirit, so be sure to drop by when you're in Cleveland!

Become a Patron of the Arts!

I just created a "Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en" Patreon page! If you've never heard of Patreon, it's a way for creators of all sorts (filmmakers, writers, podcasters, musicians, etc.) to get paid for what they do. Our show is free and always will be, but we do have exclusive content especially for anyone who becomes a monthly patron. We have levels starting at just $5 a month so, if you'd like us to create a custom cocktail for you every month or you'd like to attend an online happy hour at our bar, please consider becoming a patron! Thank you for your support of the "Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Our Autumn Road Trip Part 2: Cleveland, Buffalo and Beyond!

Welcome back to our autumn road trip travel-blog! When we left off we'd just pulled out of Akron and a fabulous afternoon at Tiki Underground. Next stop: Cleveland!


I admit that I was a little anxious about our day in Cleveland, since we were scheduled to shoot at three locations, all carefully scheduled and coordinated. We got a bit of a later start than anticipated, due to some last minute shopping needs for our first shoot, at A Christmas Story House, but we needn't have worried. The people at A Christmas Story House were wonderful and I can honestly say that shooting there was one of the best experiences I've had doing this show. We were in the house from "A Christmas Story!" Sitting at their table! Pretending to taste Lifebuoy soap! It was unbelievably fabulous.

Rowley Inn, the bar and restaurant across the street from the house, HIGHLY recommended!
Our next stop was Porco Lounge and Tiki Room, which was chosen by Food Network as one of the best tiki bars in the country in 2016.  We always like to get our initial shots at a bar during the day, before they open, to avoid copyright issues with any music they have playing during business hours. Owner Stefan Was was there to greet us and we got our shots, although the real Porco fun came in the evening. Stefan and his crew were amazing to us. We sampled delicious cocktails, local liquor and...malort! We'd heard legends about malort, which is considered a dare in most circles. Malort is Swedish for wormwood and malort is incredibly bitter. However, it was not nearly as bad as I'd feared. We also sampled an amaro that was even more bitter, which, heaven help me, I actually liked! My taste buds must be seriously out of whack!

The sampling of the malort.

In between visits to Porco we shot an episode at the Buckland Gallery of Witchcraft and Magick, which will be online tomorrow, cocktail included! The Buckland Gallery, which packs a lot into a very small space, is the collection of Raymond Buckland. He began collecting in 1966 and the collection boasts everything from Ancient Egyptian ushabtis to documented items from the Salem witch trials. Pretty amazing! The museum also happens to be inside of A Separate Reality Records, so you know some record shopping happened! I don't know how, but I managed to get zero photos of the experience.

Speaking of shopping, we also managed to wedge in a visit to Suite Lorain, the "vintage department store" which I've been hearing about for years. Department store is right! There were rooms I didn't even get a chance to visit! I did, however, emerge with some Christmas and Thanksgiving items I can't wait to use!

After our whirlwind day in Cleveland we set off for Tonawanda New York and Cats Like Us, a store I've been visiting online for years and which I eagerly anticipated seeing in person. It did not disappoint. Andrew and Julie Ann were so sweet and welcoming and accommodated our every need. Some shopping happened there, too. It was a good trip for shopping!

We were hungry after all that shooting and shopping and took one of Andrew's suggestions and hit Swiston's Beef & Keg for lunch, which was nearby and the sort of place I adore: a time capsule with great food and drink. We sampled two Buffalo food legends in situ: beef on weck and wings.

We even managed to squeeze in an unplanned bonus visit to Niagara Falls! I'd never been before and can now check that one off of my kitsch travel card!

We followed that with a lovely evening with Andrew and Julie Ann. I would return to Buffalo in a second. We had a great time!


The next day it was time to head home. The day started out pretty uneventfully - a fairly long drive on I-90 on which we saw some pretty fall foliage but not much else. But Paul had suggested we have lunch at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, so we had to get off the nice even highway. If I'd known what I was getting into I might have protested, but I was eventually (after a couple of beers) glad we did. Brewery Ommegang was a long way from I-90 on some of the dinkiest country roads I have ever seen and I've driven across the country many times. I was pretty sure we were on private property at some points along the way. I expected Ned Beatty to pop out in front of us at any moment, but the only thing that jumped in front of our car was a stag. Yes, I was able to stop, but I was ready for that beer.

Thank heavens.

After Ommegang it was another FIFTY MILES on country roads to the highway that took us home! Highlights of that leg were times when the pavement ended and the goat. Believe it or not, the stag was not the strangest animal we saw in the road that day. A little black goat, just as proud of itself as it could be, was hanging out in the road, causing what passed for a traffic jam on that little highway. At that point in the journey I was ready to see a UFO land. However, I was glad we took that route, in spite of the seeming endlessness of it, because it DID eventually end, in Roscoe New York, home of Prohibition Distillery!

We shot an episode at Prohibition Distillery last year and love them to pieces! It was about 6:00 PM on Saturday and we weren't sure the tasting room would still be open. Happily for us, it was! We were able to (re)sample all of their offerings, replenish our supply of Bootlegger 21 gin and bourbon and they even gave us tacos! It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip!

We're home now, which is great, but I have to say I love being on the road. I really want to incorporate more road trips into our show. If you have a place you'd like us to visit, please let me know! We just might!