Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Classic Cocktail Recipe: The Grasshopper - A Shamrock Shake for Adults!

Shamrock Shakes remind many of us of childhood. Well, they're even better when you're grown up and can add a little hooch! Today's "Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en" features the classic Grasshopper cocktail, which does indeed taste just like a Shamrock Shake, plus we have an easy recipe for Glazed Grasshopper Balls!

Monday, February 27, 2017

How About A Hurricane For Mardi Gras?

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras and those who celebrate may just be looking for cocktails and other goodies in which to indulge before the fasting season of Lent. Others may just want to drink! We had a request for a Mardi Gras cocktail and I thought the perfect choice would be the Hurricane, a World War II-era cocktail created at Pat O'Brien's in New Orleans. The story goes that it was difficult to get certain liquors during that period, but that rum was plentiful, so bar owners were forced to accept huge supplies of rum along with their whiskies and scotches, which were more popular at the time. As you'll see, this cocktail is the perfect way to use up large amounts of surplus rum!

As with just about any cocktail, there are as many ways to make it as there are recipes and guides. One of our favorites, Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, lists the recipe in his Grog Log with only three ingredients: dark Jamaican rum, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice. Dark Jamaican rum would be my personal preference, but I've made it here with gold rum, since that's what Pat O'Brien's calls for on their website. They also call for their proprietary Hurricane mix, which I don't have, so I went with passion fruit and lemon for the rest. Their drink also has a distinct red color and many recipes do call for grenadine. I added a touch of grenadine to mine, but our grenadine is brownish since we make our own with actual pomegranate and it didn't add a red tint. If you really want that red color, either food color or a commercial grenadine (which likely has food color) will give you the look you desire!

Hurricane (our hybrid version)

4 oz gold or dark Jamaican rum
2 oz passion fruit syrup
2 oz fresh lemon juice
A dash of grenadine (optional)

Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a hurricane glass with ice.

By the way, the name "Hurricane" supposedly comes from the shape of the glass - like a hurricane lamp. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Friday, February 24, 2017

I Need A Happy Hour Cocktail So Badly

A couple of weeks ago I was all excited because we'd taken a production design class at the YouTube Space here in New York. I have big plans for three of our rooms, all of which will benefit the show and make our backgrounds more fabulous. However, fabulousness seems like a distant dream at this moment. We've started with the bedroom, since we want to use it in our upcoming music video. The walls have been covered with matchstick blinds for almost 14 years. We tried to paint when we first bought the house, but the walls rejected paint like petulant children, so we hid them with the blinds and went for a "Gilligan's Island" effect. Well, it's time for a change and this time we need to face the horrible paint job. At least we know what we're doing now and are armed with the correct primer, etc. But we have a lot of work to do, as you can see. I'm trying to keep my eyes on the prize. And a couple of cocktails won't hurt a bit. Quitting time!

"Hint of Cherry," here we come!

After we deal with THIS.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Get Ready: National Kahlua Day is Coming!

February 27 is National Kahlua Day and we're ready with a classic cocktail, the Black Russian! It's a classic for a reason!

Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1976

I have to hand it to the Southern Comfort Corporation. Back in the 1970s, at least, they were certainly prolific with the free cocktail guides that one could pick up in liquor stores. We have a bunch of them, with themes ranging from the singles scene to astrology, although the cocktails were steadfastly identical. The one I'm enjoying today is the Spirit of '76 Happy Hour Barguide (published in 1975, but whatever). It was picked up at Haxton's Tollgate, in Warwick, RI, (the name is stamped on the back) which means it most likely comes to us via my mother-in-law, and is a delightful time capsule of cocktails. Here are a few select pages, including "the Secret of the 'pros'" for making drinks (hint: use SoCo) and "recipes for the newest hit drinks!"

Now I'm thirsty!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tomorrow is National Margarita Day!

February 22 is National Margarita Day and we're ready with THREE new recipes! Is there anything a margarita can't improve? Happy National Margarita Day!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Get Ready: Glendora Is Due For A Comeback!

We're hard at work on our next music video and the star of this one will be none other than Glendora! She's been laying low as of late, but she has a lot to say and it can only be expressed through music. Look for it by mid-March! She's ready for her closeup!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Blue Cocktails! So Pretty and So Blue!

Blue cocktails don't have to taste like they were made in a garbage can at a fraternity party! Cocktail snobs may balk, but most people secretly love a blue cocktail if it's made well. Blue cocktails get their pretty hue from blue curaçao, a liqueur made from soaking the skins of a fruit known as the laraha, the trees of which were the unintended result of planting Valencia orange trees in Curaçao. The oranges were far too bitter to eat, but the mutant fruit they produced proved perfect for liqueur! Used with a light touch (and you only need a little blue curaçao to make your cocktail extremely blue), it can add a lovely note to a drink! I've created a playlist on our YouTube channel with fun blue cocktails for all occasions. Here's to libations that are both delicious and lovely!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cocktail Recipe: Blue Vodka Cocktail with Glitter

Happy hour at last! Today we have a pretty and potent blue libation designed for the fabulous folks at REVRY, the world's first LGBTQ streaming platform! We're delighted to be featured there with so many amazing creators! To subscribe, visit revry.tv!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When Your Home Is Also Your Set

We took a production design class at the YouTube Space here in New York the other night, which was really great, since I've been thinking that we need to refresh our "set" for the show for a while now. However, our set also happens to be our living room (and occasionally our dining room or kitchen)! I'd love to create a fantasy bar space, with fabulous mid-century bar stools and whatnot, but 1) we still need to live in our living room and 2) our living room is approximately the size of a cracker box. However, sitting in that class, it came to me - exactly what I want to do with our space! Because the changes I want to make are so big, it also involves redoing at least one other room, but that's okay. We'll be keeping our bar (my favorite piece of furniture), but pretty much every other piece of furniture is going to shift into another room. This will take both money and time, so it won't all happen at once, but I'm inspired! Here are some gratuitous shots of seating that I would love to add, along with a fabulous mid-century bar to keep me inspired.

I would love to pick up one of the fabulous MCM sectionals on the market, but they wouldn't even fit into our room!

Wish me luck! I'm going to be busy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Classic Cocktail Recipe With Brandy and Champagne

Climb aboard the time machine! This week's happy hour cocktail comes to us from 1950's The Bar Guide, published by TRUE, The Men's Magazine. Get ready for Hell and High Water!

Glendora's Favorite Things

Fans of Glendora, our favorite cousin: I'm pleased to report that she now has her very own Pinterest board! Click here to follow her board, which will be updated often with her favorite things. She may love her luxury, but her heart will always be true to Franzia!

Boxed wine, baby!

Accessories become classier when filled with wine.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Cocktail Recipe with Rum and Chocolate for Valentine's Day Plus Fondue!

Our Valentine's Day episode is all about our love for our viewers, with some chocolate, booze and cheese thrown in for good measure! If you're seeing this, thank you!

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Secret Shame: The Closet Edition

I've had a few requests to peek into my closet. I have nothing to hide, clothing-wise, but my closet is kind of a disaster, as you'll soon see. By nature I'm organized and love having things in tidy piles. However, we happened to purchase a home with no closets, with the exception of a tiny closet in the bedroom the width of a door, which houses Paul's clothes. We got creative and built a "closet" in the bedroom by running a bar across most of the width of the room, which has curtains to hide everything. I love the curtains (really tablecloths from Target, into which I sewed channels for the closet bar), but we need more closet space. My ultimate goal, closet-wise, is to build a cedar closet in the attic. In the meantime, here's what I'm working with!

This section is normally hidden by a curtain. That green ceiling and reed wall will soon be hot pink!

This poor closet unit came from IKEA about 20 years ago. It is very close to the foot of the bed and difficult to completely open! Have I mentioned our bedroom is small?

Necessity is the mother of invention in finding hanging spaces in this house! I do love those curtains, though.
I'm in upgrade mode with our house lately, so I'll be sharing some more shots soon!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Let's Serve Cocktails!

It seems that every one of our vintage recipe pamphlets and bar guides has a story behind it and Let's Serve Cocktails... is no exception. Published by The Taylor Wine Company (not to be confused with Taylor Family Vineyards, in Napa, CA), this mighty booklet has everything a person could ask for in a mid-century cookbook (Chicken Pufflets? Hammonaise? The opportunity to send for a copy of "Leaves from the Table of George and Martha Washington?"), but also raises the question: does The Taylor Wine Company, Inc. still exist? Sadly, no, and apparently there is an entire book about their demise (read about it here - I can't even find a mention of them on the Constellation Brands site). So, if one were inclined to whip up any of these recipes, wine substitutions would need to be made. However, it's a small price to pay for recipes this fabulous! Ready to dunk slices of chicken, turkey or pheasant in wine?!

Bon appetit!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentine's Day Elegance

Valentine's Day can be a real challenge. Restaurants often raise their prices and require reservations, leaving those who might be inclined to take their sweetheart out for a night on the town in a bind. Who wants to overpay when it's just one night out of the year? You could go the next night and save big, allowing for twice as much celebration! If you do that you might also want to do something on the 14th to mark the occasion. Fortunately, there are lots of recipes you can whip up to show you care! Here are some pretty desserts that require no skill whatsoever to make, from the Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Cook Book (1959) with a bonus for Washington's birthday!

Here's the recipe for French Pastries, just in case you're inclined to make Washington Pie:

Staying home and saving a few dollars is even more pleasant with a couple of bottles of wine. That just happens to be what's included in the Strawberry Punch from Anchor Hocking's Party Starter Punch Recipe Book

Here's to love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Alco-Haul and Happy Hour Announcement!

I picked up some new bottles for the liquor larder last night and am looking forward to sharing the cocktails we're creating with them in future episodes! I'm really pleased with all of them! The Azteca Azul tequila was just under $20 and was recommended as a great bargain, which I agree that it was. And, yes, I made sure it's 100% agave, which all unadulterated tequilas are. The Clear Creek Distillery cranberry liqueur is lovely. I tried it in a margarita in place of orange and loved it! And the St. George spiced pear liqueur is heavenly. It is wonderful by itself, but you know I need to make cocktails! It will be fabulous with bourbon, brandy and more!

And I have an announcement! Our happy hour episodes, which we've been uploading every Friday morning, are moving to Thursday evening! This will give anyone planning weekend cocktails more time to prepare and shop. You don't want to rush happy hour! So look for this week's happy hour episode tomorrow evening!

Our latest alco-haul