festivals and events
raves and reviews
the sweet scoop
the sweet scoop
Since appearing on season 4 of Top Chef, life has been pretty hectic for Spike Mendelsohn. Besides opening an empire of restaurants in the Washington, DC area—including Good Stuff Eatery, We, the Pizza and new Capital Hill French bistro Bearnaise (slated to debut in late February)—the celebrity chef can be seen delivering funny one liners on Bravo’s Life After Top Chef and competing in Food Network’s Next Iron Chef.
As if his plate wasn’t already full, Spike has recently teamed up with Captain Morgan to create unique recipes featuring the spiced rum and their newest signature liquor, Black Spiced Rum—a bold flavored Caribbean rum blended with natural spices. So how’d this new partnership come about? “I’ve always been a fan of Captain Morgan, so for me it was an exciting opportunity to partner with them. As a chef, it was kind of an adventure to create these new food and cocktail recipes for the brand. It’s been really interesting and a very fun campaign.” Spike shared with me.
And how he got creatively inspired? “Literally, I pictured myself in a pirate’s outfit on a pirate ship, sailing around the Caribbean and being inspired to create some really delicious food and drinks that incorporate Captain Morgan.” he mentioned. Aye aye, Captain Spike.
Spike was kind enough to share a few of his exclusive recipes, which are sure to spice up all your holiday celebrations. Enjoy!
Captain Morgan Spiced Sweet Potato Marshmallow Casserole
Bake sweet potatoes on 375°F for 25-30 minutes, until tender. Remove pulp with a large spoon and place in a large bowl. Stir together the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg allspice orange juice and Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum. Salt and pepper to taste. Next, butter a casserole pan and layer sweet potato mixture then marshmallows. Do as many layers as you can, finishing off with the remaining marshmallows. Lastly, sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake at 350°F for 20 – 30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown.
Black Apple Harvest
In a shaker, add ice and shake it like your momma taught you. Fill a rocks glass with ice, take a lemon rind and rim the glass. Next, take a thin slice of ginger and rim the glass and then put both garnishes in the glass. Pour cocktail through holes of the shaker. Cocktail should still have some apple sauce texture, but shouldn’t be thick. Lastly, drizzle with honey.
Note: If you don’t have apricot liquor on-hand or don’t want to make a run to the store, feel free to try without it.
Port Royal Punch (serves 25)
In a punch bowl or large serving vessel, add the above ingredients and stir. Serve over ice in a punch glass – or glass of your choosing.
Additional recipes can be found on Captain Morgan’s Facebook page.
Images courtesy of Taylor Strategy and Kraut Rocks
Say ciao to your new favorite summertime cocktail. Aperol, an orange-based liqueur made by Gruppo Campari, is the best-selling spirit in Italy and one of the fastest-growing in the world. It’s fruitier and less bitter than Campari, and is low in alcohol, which makes Aperol a fantastic aperitivo before a meal.
Showcasing this herbal, citrusy spirit, the Aperol Spritz cocktail caught on like wildfire in Italy and quickly became the country’s most popular mixed drink — first created in the Veneto region, where Prosecco is made. Light, refreshing and eye-catching, the Spritz is a perfect beverage for warm weather sipping. After just one taste of this stunning sparkler, I was head over heels in amore.
Fill a wine glass or rocks glass with ice. Pour in Prosecco and Aperol, then top with a splash of soda. Garnish with orange slice (squeeze into drink and stir before sipping).
Taste the sunset, smile, repeat. Salute!
With a killer cocktail scene and some of the bar industry’s best talents, New York City is a spirited force to be reckoned with. So when the Top 10 Finalists for the 2012 Spirited Awards were announced, it’s no surprise that the Big Apple is representing across the board.
Held during New Orleans’ annual mixology festival, Tales of the Cocktail, the Spirited Awards will honor the world’s best bars, bartenders, writers, cocktail experts and more. Following a rigorous evaluation of hundreds of nominees, ten finalists have been selected in each of 17 categories.
Finalists from NYC include Dutch Kills, The Clover Club and Mayahuel for Best American Cocktail Bar, while The Tippler, Flatiron Lounge and Macao Trading Co. are among those nominated for Best High Volume Cocktail Bar. Best Restaurant Bar standouts include The Beagle, Lani Kai and Saxon + Parole, and my dear friend Todd Richman of Sidney Frank is up for the Best American Brand Ambassador award — not only can Todd mix up a serious cocktail, but he’s also one of the most stand up guys you’ll ever meet. Congrats!
Check out the full list of finalists here. The top ten in each category will then be whittled down to a final three on Thursday, June 7th. Winners will be announced on Saturday, July 28 at the Spirited Awards ceremony, as part of the 10th Anniversary Tales of the Cocktail celebration.
A heartfelt congratulations to all the nominees, but of course, I’d like to especially raise a glass to my NYC friends and favorites who made the list this year. Cheers!
Image courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail
Rich dark chocolate ganache gets kissed by hazelnut liqueur. The result? Decadence at it’s finest.
Celebrated chocolatier MarieBelle has paired up with Frangelico to unveil an indulgent new truffle flavor just in time for the holidays—the Frangelico Ganache. Blending creamy dark chocolate with luscious hazelnut, this melt-in-your-mouth confection also reveals notes of vanilla, coffee and almond. And it’s quite stunning. MarieBelle founder, chef and chocolate artist, Maribel Lieberman, incorporated hues from the Frangelico bottle into the beautiful sunset-colored mosaic design on each truffle.
Last week, I attended an intimate media gathering at MarieBelle, to celebrate the new flavor. The boutique itself is gorgeous. A luxurious chocolate haven, evoking European sophistication and old-world charm, nestled into SoHo’s Broome Street. Attendees settled into the shop’s darling Cacao Bar—a cozy cafe offering sweet nibbles and hot cocoas—to experience the Frangelico Ganache.
Maribel warmly greeted guests and excitedly debuted her latest creation. “These artisanal holiday truffles embody the flavors of the season, blending the hazelnut flavor of Frangelico with the gourmet taste of high-quality dark chocolate.” And to perfectly complement the flavor nuances in the confection, Master Mixologist James Moreland was on hand to stir up three Frangelico-based dessert cocktails (recipes below).
Beginning November 15th, Frangelico Ganache truffles will be available at the MarieBelle retail location in New York City, online at MarieBelle.com and at select department stores nationwide. They come packaged in a variety of sizes, each wrapped in an exquisite ribboned box that is uniquely Mariebelle.
Life is always sweeter with chocolate, and these truffles make a delightful gift that any chocolate lover will enjoy. And to sip while you sweet, try these tasty dessert cocktails from James Moreland:
Frangelico Truffle Cocktail
1 oz Frangelico
1 oz SKYY Vodka
¾ oz cold espresso
Shake with ice and serve up in a cocktail or martini glass. Dust with dark chocolate shavings.
1 ¼ oz Frangelico
1 ¼ oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Grand Reserve Rum
1 ¼ oz sweet vermouth
Shake with ice and pour over ice into rocks glass.
1 ¼ oz Frangelico
2 spoonfuls sour cherry macerate
¾ oz cherry brandy
Shake hard and strain over rocks in a Collins glass.
‘Tis the season for a little holiday sipping. My dear friend Lindsay is quite the gourmand and stirred up a refreshing, bubbly cocktail that will add holiday cheer to all your end-of-year festivities. After I savored Lindsay’s delicious sparkler, I invited her to write a guest post to share the love with you all. From Lindsay:
As soon as it starts to get cold, my craving for apple cider kicks in: it’s one of those cozy drinks that just goes with crisp air, a crackling fireplace and that amazing pine smell. This year I wanted something a bit lighter than the usual Spiced Apple Cider, but I couldn’t quite find a recipe that I liked. After a bit of Goldilocks tinkering by combing 3 different recipes—you know, not too much of this, a little of that—I ended up with a tasty cocktail that was just right!
Sparkling Holiday Cocktail
*note: 1 bottle of sparkling wine makes 10-12 cocktails
Summertime is officially here and there’s no better way to kick off the season than by sipping a delicious frosty beverage. My fresh watermelon ‘rita recipe blends the summer’s favorite fruit with agave syrup for a flavorful, super-refreshing twist on a traditional frozen marg. This tasty treat is perfect for hot weather BBQs, rooftops parties and staying cool on smoldering nights—plus it’s pretty to look at.
Watermelon Margarita Recipe (serves 4)
In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine 2 cups of cubed watermelon with 4 oz. of tequila; place in freezer. Combine the remaining watermelon and tequila in a covered plastic or glass container and place in fridge to infuse for at least 4 hours (up to 24) for best flavor.
Depending on how large your blender is, you might have to make the margaritas in two separate batches. To do so, combine half of the refrigerated tequila-watermelon mixture and half of the frozen tequila-watermelon mixture with 1 oz. orange liquor, 2 TBSP lime juice, 1/2-oz. agave syrup and 2-3 cups ice in a blender. Purée until slushy. Repeat with remaining ingredients for your second batch.
(Optional) Some people prefer salt with their frozen margs, but I like sugar with these babies. Sprinkle a thin layer of coarse sugar onto a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of your margarita glasses and then roll the limed edge around the plate until sufficiently coated with sugar. Then, put the perfect finishing touch on your pretty pink little ‘ritas with some watermelon slices and lime wedges to garnish. Bottoms up!