Our Summer Martini: Melissa Martini


As temperatures climb, I’m looking for ways to have lower and lower octane cocktails. I want deliciousness, but I want it light and fragrant y’all. It’s time to break out the Blanc Vermouth, brightest Gin you have, some tasty Absinthe, and fresh herbs for garnish.

Herb Plants

I recently took a trip down to my local plant shop and got Lemon Balm and Mint to add to the recently acquired Basil plant. If you haven’t smelled Lemon Balm before, it’s definitely Lemony but also astringent, kind of minty and herbaceous in an Anise sort of way. In otherwords, it’s perfect as a cocktail garnish.


I mean, look at it this Lemon Balm! It’s a stunning leaf and so wonderfully fragrant. I highly recommend getting a plant and putting it in your garden or window sill. Lots of sun & water = happy Lemon Balm.


I’m actually so into the Lemon Balm that I named the drink Melissa which is the greek name for this plant. I am of course using the Berkshire Mountain Distillery Ethereal Gin Batch 9 because it’s supremely bright, floral, fragrant, and well, it makes me feel happy. If you can get this Gin, do it!

Melissa Martini

  • 1 1/2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillery Ethereal Gin Batch 9 (sub the brightest Gin you’ve got)
  • 1 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc (Sub Carpano Bianco)
  • rinse St. George Absinthe Verte
  • Garnish: Lemon Balm leaf

Rinse a coupe with Absinthe and chill. Combine Gin and Blanc over ice and give it a very very long stir. Dilution is key to the lightness of this Martini. Strain into rinsed coupe, spank the Lemon Balm and garnish.




Sunburn Club


Last Sunday, a few friends of mine and I spent the entire day shooting an Editorial on a rooftop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’ve worked on many photoshoots before but this was my first time doing Cocktail Styling on a shoot! Yes! I was pumped!

It was a very sunny day and the EVERY INCH of the roof was painted with a reflective metallic coating of paint. We tried, oh how we tried not to get burned! Five layers of sunscreen, parasols, covering ourselves with bandanas, and standing in the shade notwithstanding, we were all pretty badly burned by the end of the day. So we poor, sad, sweat-soaked people became, #SunburnClub.


After getting home, taking the coldest shower ever, and relaxing for a hot second, I made this drink. May the fabulousness of Sunburn Club shine brightly for a thousand summer days! Or at least until my burn turns into a nice tan.


Sunburn Club

  • 2 oz Berkshire Mountain Distillery Ethereal Gin Batch 9
  • 1/2 oz Aperol
  • 2 1/2 oz Red Grapefruit Juice
  • 1-2 barspoons 18.21 Bitters Lavender & Sea Salt Syrup*
  • 2 dashes Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Soda Water
  • Garnish: Grapefruit Peel Rose speared by a Blue Umbrella

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Strain into Collins glass over ice, add Soda Water, and garnish.

*The deal with the 1-2 barspoons of Lavender & Sea Salt Syrup is that you should add 1 barspoon and taste. If it’s sweet/salty enough, that’s all you need. If not, add 1 more but be warned, this is potent stuff!


Here’s to summer! Cheers!

Rhubarb Express


Y’all! Worlds have collided, tomorrow is World Gin Day and it’s also Rhubarb Season! Mercury Retrograde be dammed or whatever, this shit is happeniiiiiiing!

Now, obvi you need to read the post about Barb’s Rhubarb Cocktail & Syrup so you can make the Syrup (and read a blog post in a Victorian Era British Lady’s voice). Once you’ve done that, it’s time to make Rhubarb Express.


You did read read the post, right? You made the Syrup, savoured the gloriousness of cooking Rhubarb and Sugar together and you’re all ready to go? Yes? Great!


I chose Hella Bitter Citrus Bitters because they are made with four different citrus peels, gentian root, and spices. In fact I would say these bitters are as crucial to Rhubarb Express as Peychaud’s is to a Sazerac. This cocktail is super tart and complex from the herbes in the bitters and vegetal Rhubarb notes, with a shimmering quality from the Lemon Juice.

Rhubarb Express

  • 1 3/4 oz Plymouth Gin (sub Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, any smooth dry Gin)
  • 1 oz Rhubarb Syrup
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash Hella Bitter Citrus Bitters
  • No Garnish

Combine ingredients over ice and shake vigorously for around 15 seconds. Strain into coupe.


Bonus: this drink is supremely awesome on the rocks with a splash of soda and a Mint sprig.


On Holiday in the Berkshires: a Photo Essay


A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I, aka The Two Ladies™ went to the Berkshires for a short holiday. This is what we saw.

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We stayed at the Red Lion Inn, originally built in 1773 and stuffed to the gills with antiques.

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The king of the Red Lion Inn is Simon the Cat. He was sooooo snuggly.

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We hiked Monument Mountain, the first quartzite mountain I’ve ever climbed.

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The Mount Grounds

We went to Edith Wharton’s fabulous Gilded Age Mansion, The Mount.

The Mount Grounds 2

The Mount Edith Wharton Bedroom

Apparently Edith Wharton wrote every day in this bed from 6am-11am and then got up to deal with the rest of her life. YASSSS KWEEN EDITH.

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The whole place was stunning. This place setting is to die for.

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We ate a lot of delicious food. In fact, I would 100% say that the best New American cuisine in the USA is in the Berkshires and the best New American restaurant in the USA, nay on earth, is Prairie Whale in Great Barrington.

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We loved the food so much that we ate there three times in five days.

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Of course we got drinks at the Prairie Whale. These were both made with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Gin. On the left was Ethereal Gin Batch 11, Lavender Syrup, Lemon, Peychaud’s, Anise Hyssop garnish. On the right was Greylock Gin, Grapefruit Juice, agave, salt, lime wedge.

Prairie Whale Bloody Mary

The best Bloody Mary ever, made with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Greylock Gin.

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Perhaps what struck me the most about Prairie Whale was that nearly everything in the restaurant came from the Prairie Whale farm or other local farmers. I know “Farm to Table” is super trondy right now but these people are doing it right! Seen above is an Anise Hyssop leaf which was grown in the garden right outside the restaurant. It was the garnish in almost every cocktail they offer because Anise Hyssop is what seasonally grows during late springtime in the Berkshires. It smells fabulous too! Like something between Anise, Mint, and Lemon Balm. Perfection.

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We drank a lot of Rosé.

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And I had a Martini made with Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin Batch 11. Pursed lips gurrrrrrl.

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So then of course we went to Berkshire Mountain Distillers, tasted some Gin, smelled some Gin, bought some Gin. Their Ethereal Gins are a limited time series which are reworked every year with different botanicals. They’re all incredible. I bought the Red Label and Pink Label (Batches 9 & 11) and had to force myself not to buy the one in the middle.

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They also have a bottle of Rye from 1898.

Naumkeag Rose Garden

But the main thing we noticed about the Berkshires is that EVERYTHING is just right. I’ve never seen this much attention to detail, care for the earth, or sense of terroir in any place I’ve ever been to in the USA. (Yes, I’m looking at you Napa Valley!) It’s truly impressive and a totally fabulous place to go on holiday. We are actually planning to back as soon as we possibly can just to eat one more meal at Prairie Whale.

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All photos shot by the Two Ladies™ on iPhone 5S  & iPhone 6 and edited in VSCO Cam. 

Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: the Martini


To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring a different cocktail from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

You guys, WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE LAST TWO EPISODES!?! Will Don drive to California for that “golden state dream” that he’s always had? Will he go to the family farm and encounter something terrible? Will he go back to Manhattan and jump out of the window at McCann? You know he’s always had a thing about death…


As we near the end of the show, you knew that one of these posts had to include Martinis and so here we are!

Mad Men Roger Martini

Look at Roger’s Casual but serious Martini with an Olive. Image via AMC.

Mad Men Jim Martini

And here Jim is looking very sharp with his Martini with an Olive. Image via AMC.


I like to drink my Martinis in the following format:


  • 2 1/4 oz Plymouth Dry Gin
  • 3/4 oz Carpano Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish: Lemon peel or Olives

Combine ingredients over ice and give it a nice long stir. Strain into chilled coupe and garnish.


Here it is again with a Lemon peel. If you’re going to add the lemon peel, perhaps add two dashes of Orange Bitters.

Mad Men PPL Gibson Martini 2

Here are the PPL chaps and Duck having a Gibson Martini which is essentially a martini with more Gin, less Vermouth and a cocktail Onion. Image via Netflix screen grab.


I don’t have any Cocktail Onions at home but I do have some delicious pickled Red Onion that my girlfriend made so we’ll go with that! This is quite tasty by the bye, definitely onion-y but certainly tasty.

Gibson Martini

  • 2 3/4 oz Dry Gin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • Garnish: Cocktail Onion or (in this case) pickled Red Onion.

Combine ingredients over ice and give it a lonnnnnng stir. Strain into chilled coup and garnish with Onion.


Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed Martini Time! May your drinks be delicious and our Mad Men viewing not give us all heart attacks! Cheers!

I’ll be doing this series until the end of Mad Men, so see you next week!

First Waltz: an orchestra in a Cocktail


Edit: if you’re here for #SherryWeek, get ready for one of the best Sherry Cocktails ever. 🙂

I’ve been sitting on this one for a couple of weeks cause it’s the best stirred drink with Gin that I’ve ever made. No seriously, it is. It’s a total showstopper. I’m holding my breath just writing about it. I’m actually drinking a different Cocktail (Ancho Chile Tequila, Pineapple, Cointreau some other stuff that I won’t divulge, #TequilaSeason) and thinking of throwing it out and making another First Waltz.

Ok, enthusiasm overload aside, the real deal with this is that I’ve been working on creating flavour arcs. I want my Cocktails to take us on a journey, to make our mouths and noses say, “oh this is…woah, now it’s…oh my goodness…duuuuude.” I feel like a great drink should take you on an adventure. In the way that a really great Bordeaux will take you straight to that region of France and change several times in your mouth/nose, cocktail ingredients should enter at different times once you’ve taken a sip.

Perhaps we should think of fine Cocktails like we think of an orchestra.

For First Waltz we experience: Gin, wide on the bright tones and treble (brass, wind instruments). Dolin Blanc providing a great support in the mid range (viola, violin, upper cello range). Fino sherry in the long base notes with fig, raisin, nuttiness, and salinity (double bass, bass clarinet, tuba, timpani). Finally Apricot again as a bright, trebbly wide note (flute, oboe solo, cymbals). The Apricot is actually what stays in your mouth the longest and which inspired the name of this springiest of spring cocktails. The Nutmeg garnish merely serves to reinforce the nutty notes of the Fino Sherry and tie the drink together (the conductor).


Blüten der Wachauer Marille (Apricot blooms from the Klosterneuberg region, these are called Marille locally)

Both Rothman & Winter and the Bitter Truth Apricot liqueurs come from Aprikosen in the Klostenberg region of Austria. So, no matter which Apricot liqueur you choose, you get the most beautiful Apricot and Floral notes. From such a lovely liqueur comes great inspiration. Of course my musical mind immediately went to the Strauss family and their legacy of waltzes.


First Waltz

  • 2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Inocente Fino Sherry
  • 1/4 oz* Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur (or Bitter Truth Apricot)
  • Garnish: freshly grated Nutmeg

Combine ingredients over ice and stir until proper dilution has been achieved. Strain into chilled coupe, garnish with freshly grated Nutmeg.

*Keep in mind that this is a very exact recipe. Too much Apricot and the whole drink is off.

By the bye, this is totally a Flavor Bible drink meaning that I looked up Apricot in the bible and went from there. If you don’t have this book, get it! It’s the best tool for anyone creating recipes in the Kitchen.

May this be as exciting to you as it was to me! Bravo!

Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: Tom Collins


To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring different cocktails from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

As we get further into Season 7, one has to wonder, what is Don’s next step? His life has been completely upheaved and he feels very distant from his family and familiar connections. He is a man without a plan possibly for the first time since he became Donald Draper.

Mad Men Sally Tom Collins

Sally Draper: the youngest Home Bar Girl 

For this week’s drink, we harken back to a time when Don was very connected to Betty and his children. In S2E2, “Flight 1”, Francine and Carlton come over to the Draper’s house for Drinks and Cards. Don has instructed Sally on how to make Old Fashioneds which she gives to he and Carlton. Don then tells Sally to “go take Mommy and Francine’s orders”.

Mad Men Don Tom Collins

Don: the proudest father of a Home Bar Girl

Sally returns saying, “two Tom Collins.” Don replies, “ok, you don’t smash the cherry on that. Just plop it in at the end. Try to keep it in the top of the glass. Gin.”

Mad Men Sally Tom Collins 2

Sally knows that a great Home Bar Girl is a great listener.


A Tom Collins is a simple drink by any standard but it’s origin story varies wildly and the “original recipes” have a range of amounts. The first recipe which could be considered a “Tom Collins” is a Gin Twist from 1871 calling for 2 oz Genever or Old Tom Gin, 1 oz Lemon Juice and 2 bar spoons of sugar. It is the use of Old Tom Gin in the drink which many suspect why its name was changed to “Tom Collins” in 1876. In this iteration as well as the next few of the Tom Collins, the amount of Lemon and Sugar and types of Sugar change.

Essentially, it’s one of those “whatever you think tastes best” drinks!


I like to make mine with Demerara Simple Syrup and Old Tom gin but you should use whatever you like the most! Superfine sugar and Bombay Dry? Sounds amazing! Agave and New American Gin? Sure!

I like mine in the following format.

Tom Collins

  • 2 oz Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
  • 1/2 oz  Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
  • Club Soda
  • Garnish: Lemon Slices (Several versions add a Maraschino Cherry)

Combine Gin, Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup in tin and stir until ingredients have combined. Pour into Collins glass with Ice and Lemon Slices. Pour Club Soda on top and stir again.


If you want to liven up your Tom Collins a bit, add a dash or two of bitters. I’d recommend any of the above bitters, possibly even a combination!

  • 18.21 Earl Grey Bitters
  • Angostura Bitters
  • Dr. Adam Elemegirab’s Boker’s Bitters
  • Regans’ Orange Bitters
  • Scrappy’s Celery Bitters


I’ll be doing this series until the end of Mad Men, so see you next week!

Sakura Martini


Over the weekend all of the Cherry Blossom trees in my neighborhood bloomed and it’s been the most magnificent sight! There is a tree literally right in front of our apartment which was in full bloom ’til yesterday when a crazy rainstorm swept all of the flowers away. Tears. Fortunately, my girlfriend and I had already acquired some of these beautiful lil flowers for the following drink.


The inspiration for the drink was obviously the Cherry Blossoms, then I thought, Martini. Saké was my next choice and Dolin Blanc pulled all together.

Sakura Martini

  • 2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1 oz Yoshinogawa Junmai Ginjo Saké
  • 3/4 oz Fennel infused Dolin Blanc
  • Grapefruit peel
  • Garnish: Cherry Blossoms

Combine Gin, Sake and Dolin Blanc over ice and stir until proper chilling and dilution have been achieved. Strain into coupe, express Grapefruit peel and discard. Garnish with Cherry Blossoms.


Happy Sakura Festivals to all of you in Cherry Blossom Land and Happy Earth Day to us all!

It’s Spring and I’m Twitterpated


Bring on the Spring cocktails y’all! All of my favouite bars in Brooklyn have switched over to their new programs and I keep eyeing the Lavender bitters up on my fridge. (Keep in mind, most of my bar is up on top of the fridge!) I also keep eyeing the Dolin Blanc ’cause it’s just right for this time of year. (It lives in the fridge. All of the Vermouths and the Sherry live in the fridge.)



  • 1 1/2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Honey Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 2 dashes BarKeep Lavender Bitters
  • Garnish: Maraschino cherry

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Double strain into coupe and garnish with Maraschino Cherry.


Remember when Bambi learns about the “birds and the bees” from the Old Owl? The very first thing I thought after taking a sip of this drink was the line, “Don’t you know? They’re twitterpated.”

Happy Spring Cocktails to you all!

Drinking with Mad Men Season 7: the Gimlet


To celebrate “The End of An Era”, welcome to a series of drinks from the television show Mad Men. Each week I’ll be featuring a different cocktail from the show, so we can all drink along with our favourite Madison Avenue Ad-men and women.

I’m very emotionally invested in Mad Men. The characters are so well written, the fashion and attention to detail are unparalleled. It’s witty, charming and so so serious. I’ve watched the entire show multiple times and am looking forward to/nervous about the last Season!

For S7 E8 I’ll be drinking one of mine and Betty Draper’s favourite cocktails, The Gimlet.

Betty Draper gimlet

Doesn’t Betty look magnificent? Stunning. Image courtesy of AMC.

Traditionally Gimlets were made with Rose’s Lime juice with the following specs.

Traditional Gimlet

  • 1 oz Gin or Vodka
  • 1 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
  • Garnish: Lime wedge

Shake over ice and strain into Martini Glass or Coupe. Garnish with Lime Wedge.


Betty likes her drinks with Vodka but I’m a Gin Gal and this is how I like to make my Gimlet.

Fresh Gimlet

  • 2 oz Plymouth Gin
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Demerara Syrup
  • Garnish: Lime Wheel

Shake and strain over ice. Lime Wheel Garnish.


If you want to make really tasty variation on a Gimlet, add a couple of dashes of Chartreuse Vert, Absinthe or both.

I’ll be doing this series until the end of Mad Men, so see you next week!