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Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 | 0 comments

Cocktail Testing: Cranberry Shrub

Cocktail Testing: Cranberry Shrub

One of my favorite cocktails involves bourbon and strawberry shrub — the refreshing, sweet and tangy mix of fruit, sugar and vinegar. Yes, vinegar! I had an extra bag of cranberries from Thanksgiving and decided to try a similar drink with cranberry shrub. I adapted a few recipes I found to create this ratio: 1 12-ounce bag of cranberries 1 cup sugar 2 cups water 1 T lemon juice 3/4 – 1 cup of red wine vinegar I brought all the ingredients to a gentle boil, then simmered for about 10-15 minutes until the cranberries popped. Once the mix was cool, I strained it to release all the juices. In the end, I got one large jar of thick, cranberry syrup. I tested two versions of the cocktail — one with bourbon, one with vodka — each with equal parts shrub and alcohol and a splash of sparkling water. The verdict? It was tasty. The bourbon drink was much better than the vodka (I’m not a big vodka drinker)...

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Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 | 0 comments

Strawberry Shrub Bourbon Cocktail

Strawberry Shrub Bourbon Cocktail

My friend Catherine recently introduced me to the strawberry shrub, a cocktail base made from strawberries, sugar and, shockingly, vinegar! What? Vinegar in a cocktail? Wait until you try it. When I looked online for a recipe, I found variations that called for equal parts berries, sugar and vinegar. But after trying them, the ratio seemed off to me — way too vinegary. So after a few trials I’ve come up with my own ratio that seems to work well. First you start with two cups of sliced berries. Then you mix in one cup of white sugar, making sure the sugar is evenly distributed. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours until you have a bright red syrup and the sugar has dissolved. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more liquid (and the more drink mix) you will get. You can even let it sit overnight or for a few days. When you’re ready to make a drink, strain the berries and...

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Posted by on Dec 21, 2012 | 0 comments

Matt’s Mid-Century Modern Built-in Bar

Matt’s Mid-Century Modern Built-in Bar

I was so thrilled when I found this mid-century modern shelf unit (in pristine condition) at a thrift store. I thought the shelves would be perfect for books and decorative items and the cabinets would be ideal for storing and concealing toys. But really, do you think a shelf like this was designed for storing Legos? And then a friend remarked that it was probably used as a liquor cabinet back in the 1950s. But of course it was! So I set out to give it a fresh new look with a nod to the past. Inspiration and deadline: my husband Matt’s birthday. Matt had already moved some liquor bottles and barware to the cabinet, but look how boring the space looks. Neat and orderly, but blah. It needs color, light, and bar accessories to match the quality and flavor of Matt’s delicious beverages and to go with the LP record player he gave himself for his birthday. To start, I bought a big piece of mod paper at Paper...

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 | 1 comment

A Twist on Two Classic Cocktails: The Bourbon Manhattan and Sidecar

A Twist on Two Classic Cocktails: The Bourbon Manhattan and Sidecar

Today, we welcome another guest blogger, my husband Matt. He wrote over the summer about making the perfect backyard barbecue. In this post, he shares recipes for two of his favorite wintertime cocktails made with bourbon. After Labor Day, I like to switch from tequila to bourbon. Here are two nice cocktails to make that will carry you through the winter without requiring a lot of new gear and ingredients. The Bourbon Manhattan First is the classic Manhattan. Now, a real traditional Manhattan is made with rye. But, since I like bourbon better and can use bourbon in more things, I tend to make them with bourbon. This is not uncommon. The procedure is pretty simple. Remember to put your cocktail glasses in the freezer before you start. Then, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. I like to go three parts bourbon to one part sweet vermouth. Add two or three dashes of bitters and stir (don’t shake) the mixture. Strain into the chilled glasses and add a cherry. The Bourbon...

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Posted by on Feb 1, 2012 | 4 comments

Sarah’s Kentucky Room and Bourbon Collection

Sarah’s Kentucky Room and Bourbon Collection

This post is part of a series of stories about collections — the treasures we gather in our homes, display for our guests, and that bring us joy. If you have a collection to share, contact diydelray[at]yahoo.com. Born and raised in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and highly proud of it, Sarah has devoted a room in her Del Ray house to her Kentucky heritage. The wall colors are “Keeneland green” based on the Lexington, Kentucky thoroughbred racetrack and sales company, Keeneland, where Sarah and her husband Phil’s wedding reception took place. If you’re from Lexington, the color “Keeneland green” immediately conjures the exact deep-green hue. Sarah and Phil hung a Keeeneland print over the fireplace that they used as a “guest book” at their wedding. The horse-racing theme plays out in other decorative details throughout the room. A closer look will also reveal Sarah’s prized collection of Kentucky bourbon. Many bottles of this particular distilled spirit are collectors items that she saves in sealed bottles. Others she enjoys with her...

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