Mar 062013

Raymond Blanc is one of my favourite chefs to watch. I am dying to go to his restaurant in Le Manoir in  Oxfordshire.  I recently came across his tips to making cocktails on a recent trip on the Eurostar in Eurostar Magazine.

He spoke how the cocktail has  changed from 20 years with swizzle sticks and bright paper Umbrellas now the cocktail is having a revolution and I would say more of a bespoke experience.  Here are some of his tips for the next time you are making a cocktail.

- That just like great dishes that are based on contrast, created by a build up of flavours. The same applies to cocktails.

- Follow the 3 S rule for cocktails

1) Strength, or the alcohol base, you should never blend to spirits

2) Sour,usually a fruit or a fruit juice.  You should only stir a cocktail when it does not contain fruit juice, lemon juice is the exception

3) Sweet, which is liqueur or something sugary and fizzy.

He uses the classic gin and tonic as an example- the gin the strength, the tonic the sweet, and the the slice of lemon or lime the sour.

I hope this helps next time you are coming up with a cocktail concoction. I think it is important to sometimes go back to basic principals.



Jan 212009


President Obama and U2


Okay so for the past week it has been really cold. I know it is bad when I wear a wind proof fleece, a down coat, a hat and ear muffs! This past weekend I went to DC for inauguration and in the event needed some something warm to drink. Inspired by my Hot Chocolate from Atlanta. Here is a version for Coffee. So this is perfect for a cold winter night inside or if you are standing outside for many hours and need to warm up!

1 Cup of Coffee
1 oz. of Khaluha
1 oz. of Brandy
1 oz of Cream
Whipped Cream Options

Mix all ingredients together in a mug except whipped cream.
Then add a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Jan 212009

I was visiting a friend in Atlanta and was so completely taken by this Mexican Hot Chocolate that I had. It reminded me of a spicy brownie that I like to make. Now the recipe called for Pepper Vodka. So I went in search of Pepper Vodka. But I was annoyed to find out that I was going to have to buy an entire bottle and the cost. I mean I am trying to budget here in this economy and I don’t have space and I was not sure I was going to even like this Pepper Vodka.
So the solution let’s try infusing our own vodka. Which made me think there are a lot of fun things
that one could infuse. I was even told you could infuse candy like skittles and starbursts into vodka. Ingenious I thought. We didn’t have a lot of time so this is what we did to
make our Pepper Vodka. One Liter of Vodka and 1 Tea Ball Filled with Chili Peppers and let sit for at least 36 hours. You could also chop chili Peppers and throw them into a jar of Vodka and then strain before using.

1 Cup of Milk
¾ oz of Khaluha
1 oz. of Pepper Vodka
3 Tablespoons of Sugar
3 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
A pinch of Cinnamon
Whipped Cream to Top

In a saucepan add milk, cocoa powder, cinnamon, and sugar. Stir and heat milk to a comfortable hot temperature and pour into a mug. Stir in Vodka and Khaluha and top with Whipped Cream. Enjoy!

Jul 102008



This past Fourth of July weekend I was on the quest for the perfect Sangria. I was home in California and set out on this mission with one of my oldest cooking buddies and our cooking mentors, our mothers. I think by the end of the evening a lot of Sangria was tested and a lot was learned.
First and foremost more fruit is not always the best option. Give time to let all the flavors blend together. Sometimes there is no need to mess around with a classic!
Sangria I think is the perfect drink to serve to a large group great for entertaining. Large quantities can be made in advance and you can use cheap wines.
Sangrias made: Sparkling Sangria, Citrus Sangria, Nectarine and Blueberry Sangria, Peach Sangria, and Classic Sangria.

1/2 Cup of Cubed pieces of an Orange
1/2 Cup of Cubed pieces of an Lemon
1/2 Cup of Cubed pieces of an Lime
1/2 Cup of Cubed pieces of an Apple
1/2 Cup of Cognac
1 Cup of Citrus Simple Syrup
3 Cup to 1 Bottle of Red Wine
1 12 oz. Bottle of Lemon Lime Seltzer Water

In a Pitcher mix all ingredients together except the seltzer water. Let stand for at least three hours in a refrigerator. Before serving mix the seltzer water and serve Sangria over a glass of filled with ice.

Jul 102008


Okay, so this is where I think there was a meeting of the minds in the Sangria tasting. Making a simple syrup with the classic citrus fruits from a Sangria and using the sugared fruits in the Sangria. Now this was definitely a little more time consuming but I think it is worth it.

Simple Syrup:
1 Lime Slices
1 Lemons Sliced
1 Orange Sliced
2 1/2 Cups of Sugar

In a saucepan mix all ingredients together until sugar has completely dissolved.


Fruits from Syrup
1/3 Cup of Cognac
1/3 Cup of Simple Syrup
1 12 oz Can of Lemon/Lime Seltzer Water
3 Cups of White Wine

Remove the fruits from the pan and place in a pitcher, and add the rest of the ingredients except the Seltzer Water. Let stand for at least 3 hours in a refrigerator and before serving add the Seltzer Water and serve over a glass of ice.

Jul 102008


Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I love Bubbles. So how could I do an entire Sangria tasting and not try one with Sparkling Wine? I mean Cava is Spanish Sparkling Wine so it is completely appropriate! Sangria really is the perfect drink for entertaining.

1 Tablespoon of Mint Leaves (If large leaves tear them up)
1/3 Cup Frozen Grapes
5 Strawberries cut into 4 pieces
1/3 Cup of Cubed Nectarines
1/4 Cup of Grape Juice
1/4 Cup of Cognac
1 Bottle of Cava

In a Pitcher mix all ingredients together except the Cava and grapes. Let stand for at least three hours in a refrigerator. Before serving mix the Cava and frozen grapes.

Jul 102008

This one was a pleasant surprise. We came to the conclusion that it might best be served at a ladies luncheon or shower. I had complete faith, since I love Blueberries and Nectarines together!

1/3 Cup Blueberries
1/3 Cup if cubed Nectarines
1/4 Cup of Cointreau (you could use triple sec)
1/4 Cup of Sugar
3 Cups of White Wine
1 12 oz can of Lemon/Lime Seltzer Water

In a Pitcher mix all ingredients together except the seltzer water. Let stand for at least three hours in a refrigerator. Before serving mix the seltzer water and serve Sangria over a glass of filled with ice.

Jul 102008

This we discovered would be great to be served more as a dessert drink.

1 Peach cut into cubes
1/3 Cup of Peach Jam
1/4 Cup Grande Marnier
3 Cups of Red Wine
1 12oz can of Lemon/Lime Seltzer Water

In a Pitcher mix all ingredients together except the seltzer water. Let stand for at least three hours in a refrigerator. Before serving mix the seltzer water and serve Sangria over a glass of filled with ice.

May 292008

Chilled Cucumber Soup

Recently, I was cooking dinner for a few friends and told that it had to be as close to calorie-less as possible. They had a bet going on at work and the final weigh in was this week. So I made two summer soups gazpacho and cucumber soup. We decided this would actually be great also as a dipping sauce. I would then just add a little less broth if you decide to use it that way.

2 Peeled and Seeded Diced Cucumbers
1/3 Cup chopped scallions
1 Tablespoon of Butter
1 Cup of Vegetable Broth
1 Cup of Yogurt
1 glove of garlic chopped
¼ Cup of Fresh Dill
1 to ½ Tablespoon of Lemon Juice
½ Cup Chopped Pecans
Salt and Pepper

In a bowl place the cucumbers and 1 teaspoon of salt and let stand for thirty minutes and then drain water from the bowl.
In a saucepan lightly sauté butter and scallions with salt and pepper for two minutes.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except pecans and refrigerate for about 4 hours. In a blender blend together all ingredients and ready to serve. Top with some fresh dill. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as lemon juice and dill if you want a little more flavor.


Now, I served this with a lime and cucumber water. Just slices of lime and cucumber and refrigerated it in the water for about 4 hours.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
May 042008


It is almost Cinco de Mayo. I believe Margaritas are always a good time! I recently had a frozen blackberry drink and thought this would be a good combination for a margarita.

2 Tablespoons of Blackberry Puree
1 oz. Tequila
½ Tablespoon of Fresh Mint Leaves
1 Teaspoon of Lime Juice
2 Cups of Ice

Blackberry Puree
1 pint of Blackberries
½ Cup Sugar

In a saucepan cook blackberries and sugar until sugar has melted about 3-5 minutes. Pour mixture into a blender and blend smooth liquid consistency. Pour blackberries sauce through a sieve in order to discard all the seeds.

In a clean blender add blackberry puree, tequila, mint leaves, lime juice, and ice. Blend until smooth and pour into glass top the margarita with mint leave.

 Posted by at 5:40 pm