Pomegranate "Manhattan" + A Tour of Treaty Oak Distilling Co.

Eric and I aren’t ones to bring back souvenirs from our travels.  We eat our way through a city and return home with memories and a few extra (happy) pounds.  If we do purchase something, it tends to be booze.  From our honeymoon in France, we came back with a couple bottles of wine (oh, yeah, and a container of foie gras) and this is how it usually pans out when we go away.  Like food, drinking local vino or beer or spirits tells you a bit about the culture and it's nice to be able to relive that months (or even years) after a trip.

On our second day in Austin, we stopped at a liquor store to pick up some gin to have in the apartment we were staying at for the week. We scoured the shelves for something produced in the area, and that’s when we came across a bottle with a nifty label proudly proclaiming it as a “Texas-style gin.”  Ok, we’ll give it a try. Another stop for tonic and citrus and we were on our way home to test it out.

The Treaty Oak Distilling Co. is owned and operated by Daniel Barnes (along with his knowledgable and very friendly staff).  Walking in, we weren't quite sure what we'd find, but the guys there beamed when they saw us and were excited to give some out-of-towners a tour of their operations.  The day ended with them lining up bottles on a counter and one of them gestured and said "Ok... help yourselves." If we must, we will!  And we did.

The highlights are their gins… we had already become quite fond of their Waterloo gin, their take on a traditional London dry gin, which is infused with local juniper, lavender, zest from oranges, lemons and grapefruits, rosemary, anise, coriander, licorice root, ginger root and pecans.  The real knockout, however, is their newly released Waterloo Antique barrel-aged gin.  This is a whiskey lovers gin, not just because of its color, but the smooth, caramel notes that it embodies. We’ve been drinking it straight or swapping out for the whiskey in a Manhattan.  I wanted to get a bit playful and thought it might be fun to include a little pomegranate juice into the mix.  Sometimes my experiments are less than stellar. This, however, worked beautifully. Sweet, smooth, boozy. What's not to like?

Pomegranate "Manhattan"

Yield 1 drink

Tools Bar spoon

Ingredients 2 oz barrel aged gin (alternatively, whiskey can be used) 1 oz pomegranate juice 1/2 oz sweet vermouth 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters

1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate seeds


1. In a glass with a few ice cubes, add the barrel aged gin, pomegranate juice, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, and bitters.

2. Stir for 10 seconds and strain into another glass.

3. Add the pomegranate seeds and enjoy!


Bully Boy Distillers and The Cedric Street Cocktail

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Will and Dave Willis, brothers and owners of Bully Boy Distillery in Roxbury, at the launch party for their Boston Rum.  We chatted about scheduling a time to do a piece for The Boys Club, but didn't get around to it until the other week.  The Willis Brothers were generous enough to give me a private tour and sat down to chat with me a bit more about the creation of their very successful business.

Click here to check out the interview and my recipe for The Cedric Street Cocktail, made with their Boston Rum.

Pimm's and Tonic

As Eric and I packed for our weeklong trip to the Cape, we both felt it was necessary to box up some of our liquor cabinet.  What a shame it would be if we wanted to make a drink with vermouth in it, only to find we had none! Our traveling bar was chock-full of bottles of Aperol, St. Germain, Pimm's, and assorted infused syrups and bitters. Over the next seven days, more than a few of those were emptied.  We were very productive.

Unlike the traditional Pimm's Cup, which is a simple concoction of Pimm's topped with lemon-lime soda, I decided to use tonic and add a splash of Aperol to kick things up a notch.  A squeeze of lemon and a cucumber garnish turns this into the perfect late summer beverage.  It almost makes you forget how quickly this summer is flying by.

Pimm's and Tonic

Servings 4 drinks

Ingredients 8 oz Pimm's 2 oz Aperol 1 oz lemon juice 1 English cucumber, peeled lengthwise into thin strips. Tonic


1. Pour 2 ounces of Pimm's, 1/2 ounce of Aperol, and 1/4 oz lemon juice into each Collins glass.

2. Fill three-quarters of the way with ice.

3. Garnish the glass with cucumber.

4. Add tonic.

5. Give a quick stir with a spoon and serve.

Classic Negroni

NEGRONI-0618negroni triptich

As I open the door I’m greeted by Maki’s wagging tail.  In no mood to play, I do my best to brush her away, but our sweet dog’s persistance wins me over.  Fine… just a few minutes.  She guides me into the living room so we can roll around on the floor.  Soon, she has me pinned down and I get attacked with a few licks of her tongue, leaving long streaks of slobber across my glasses.

Exhausted, I call it quits and get my body off the ground.  Maki, disappointed, retires to her bed.  She wonders if maybe, just maybe, I’ll come back to play with her.  Sorry pup, I’m finished for the night.  It’s time to make dinner… and mix a drink.

After a long day, the kitchen becomes my sanctuary.  Before any onions are chopped, I throw a few rocks into my glass. An aperitif is in order to ease into a relaxing night of nothingness.  I whip up my old standard: a Negroni.  An equal pour of the three ingredients, a quick stir, and we’re in business.

Before the drink hits my lips, I shave a piece of orange peel and rim the glass with it.  The result is subtle, but effective.  The aroma of the citrus breathes life into the Negroni, but a bitter herbaceousness is present in the first sip, mellowed only by the sweet vermouth.  Another taste and my mind is no longer thinking of work and the stresses of my day.  I’m in the here and now.

The onion and garlic sizzle as they hit the pan of butter.  I rub my hand across my perspiring forehead, only to look down to see the glass sweating as well.  You and me both, my friend.  I pick up my drink. Cheers. Sip. Smile.



Classic Negroni

Yield: 1 cocktail Glassware: Rocks Glass

Tools Bar spoon Jigger or shot glass

Ingredients 1 1/2 oz (45 ml)  gin 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) Campari 1 1/2 oz (45 ml) sweet vermouthIce
Orange peel, garnish
1. Fill the glass with ice, followed by the gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.  Stir gently.
2. Rim the glass with the orange peel and then add the peel into the drink.
3. Serve.


Honey Green Tea and Rosemary Refresher and an Honest Tea Giveaway

I was watching Louis CK's 2011 comedy special, Live at the Beacon Theatre, the other night and was cracking up at his rant about how he believes humans are aliens because we are constantly complaining about how uncomfortable we are here on Earth.  We use air conditioning and heating units and fans to make everything juuuuuuust right.  Louis notes that it just doesn't make sense that we were meant to be on this planet.  If we were, we would just be able to deal with the extreme highs and lows without freaking out.  I'll admit that I'm one of those complainers. While I can handle winter weather alright, the heat and sweat and that stickiness that takes over from June to August is unbearable.

This weather we've been having recently, however, has been perfect... and I feel the need to say that out-loud to myself that at least once a day. "This is fantastic! It needs to stay like this forever. Ah, yes... seventy degrees and sunny with a slight breeze."  I know it won't last long, but I'm taking as much of it in as I can before it gets warmer.

You may have noticed a lot of beverages on here recently and I've been enjoying playing around with some fun cocktail recipes for you (Hope you've been enjoying consuming some of them too!).  Over the last few weeks, Eric and I have switched from whiskey drinks to gin and vodka and tequila. Just like food, our bodies crave different libations as the seasons change. So, here is a vodka "refresher" for you to all enjoy that utilizes some of Honest Tea's Honey Green Tea, which the company generously sent over for me to try.  I was thrilled with the subtle sweetness of the tea, especially since I had planned on including a little simple syrup in the cocktail.

In addition, they're offering one lucky A Thought For Food reader a chance to win a month's supply of their tea (30 drinks)!   Woo hoo!

See below for details on how to enter the giveaway:

A word from the folks at Honest Tea:

"Honest Tea would like to keep you refreshed for 30 days, on us. Brewed with organic tea leaves and half the calories and sugar of other bottled teas, we hope you’ll find it a sip in the right direction.  "

To Enter the Honest Tea Givaway:  Leave a comment here telling me what your favorite warm-weather beverage is (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Giveaway Disclaimer: No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only . Giveaway will end on May 27th 2013 at 12:00 pm EST. One winner with a valid entry will be selected at random using Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. Samples of Honest Tea products and the giveaway items were provided to me by Honest Tea through the NoshOnIt Publisher Partner Program. 


Honey Green Tea and Rosemary Refresher

Yields: 2 drinks

Glassware Highball glass

Ingredients 3 fl. oz. vodka, optional 1 fl. oz. rosemary simple syrup, see recipe below 2 tsp. lemon juice 1 16 fl. oz. bottle of Honest Tea's Honey Green Tea Ice Rosemary sprig, for garnish Lemon slice, for garnish


  1. In each glass, pour in 1.5 oz vodka, .5 oz rosemary simple syrup, and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Stir together with a spoon.
  2. Fill the glasses half way with ice and then top with the tea.  Give another stir with a spoon.
  3. Garnish the rim with the lemon slice and insert the rosemary sprig into the glass.



Rosemary Simple Syrup

Yield: Approx. 1 cup

Tools A small pot Whisk

Ingredients 1 cup water 1 cup sugar 1 rosemary sprig


  1. Put water and sugar into the pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
  3. Add rosemary sprig
  4. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.  Once it has cooled, it can be used in the cocktail.
  5. Store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.


Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

We drank a lot that Monday night.  More than we normally do.  More than we should have on any weekday, but, hell, we were doing it as a part of our mixology education.  The class was with Domingo-martin Barreres, the head bartender at Market by Jean-Georges and he had provided a number of recipes to try that night. Besides the six cocktails we were also given free reign to play with the ingredients purchased for the class. That led to another four or five beverages.  Oh, and we hadn't eaten dinner yet.

Two things I took away from that evening were 1) that cocktails incorporating egg whites are da bomb and 2) that shrubs are going to be used in every one of our cocktails this summer.  Shrubs, for those of you who aren't familiar with them, are vinegar based syrups.  These shrubs are made by mashing fresh fruit with sugar and then soaking the fruit in vinegar for a week.  The result is a slightly acidic, sweet, and fruity liquid that can be added to a cocktail to give it a little zip.  There are basic shrubs (mango, strawberry, apple), but you can also play around with them to create some fun pairings (mango sriracha, strawberry basil, apple ginger).  Here, though, I wanted to go seasonal, so I went straight for the classic strawberry-rhubarb combo.

Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub

(adapted from the recipe from Domingo-martin Barreres, the head bartender at Market by Jean-Georges)


.75 cups cut up fresh strawberries

.75 cups cut up rhubarb

1.5 cups white sugar

.75 cups balsamic vinegar

.75 cups cider vinegar


  1. In a bowl, combine the cut up strawberries and rhubarb.  Sprinkle the sugar on top and then mix together until all the fruit is coated with sugar.  Let sit for 1 hour at room temperature.
  2. Mash the fruit with a wooden spoon or whatever tool you have around to break up the fruit.  Once you have done so, let sit for another hour.  At this point, a lot of the juices should have been released.
  3. After it has sat, mash the fruit again until it is completely mushy. Let sit, covered, at room temperature, for 24 hours.
  4. Add in the vinegar, stir, and let sit, covered, for one week, making sure to give it a good stir every day.
  5. After a week, strain the fruit from the mixture and save the liquid in a mason jar for up to 3 weeks.  Use in a cocktail (I've provided a recipe for a Strawberry Rhubarb Collins below)

Strawberry-Rhubarb Shrub Collins

(created by Domingo-martin Barreres, the head bartender at Market by Jean-Georges)

Yields: 1 drink


1.5 fl. oz. citron vodka

1.5 fl. oz. strawberry-rhubarb shrub

4 fl. oz. soda water

1 strawberry slice, optional


  1. Add vodka and shrub to a collins glass
  2. Fill the glass with ice.
  3. Top with soda water and garnish with strawberry slice on the rim.

The Greyhound

A few weeks ago, Eric and I took my dad to Drink, a very trendy Boston bar where the mixologists create libations based on your desired flavor profile.  There's no menu available, so they ask what kind of liquor you like or if there's a specific cocktail you're fond of.  It's also common for patrons to tell the bartender what mood they're in... or what mood they'd like to be in.  See... totally trendy. But, you know what, they always nail the drinks.  Like, spot on.  You end up leaving with a new respect for the craft of mixing cocktails.

I think it was a fun experience for my father, who enjoys scotch and beer and wine, but hasn't really dabbled with cocktails.  With a little guidance from us during our visits home, he's starting to learn a bit more about creating them.  He especially likes drinks with citrus and bourbon.  On our night out, we had the bartenders whip up versions of the Brown Derby (bourbon, grapefruit, honey syrup) and with each sip, his eyes lit up.  We sent him home with a few recipes... now he has to try them on his own.

Eric and I have been working on a lot of grapefruit cocktails (we're a little obsessed actually).  I've done bourbon, gin, vodka, tequila... all of them work in their own way.  This is my take on the Greyhound.  I've made a few modifications from the original recipe.  I've seen many that call for vodka over gin and I just prefer the herbaceousness gin lends to a citrus cocktail.  To create depth, I've added in a few dashes of bitters, which brings in some spice, and a squeeze of lime to give it a zip.  These go down rather easily, which is never a bad thing for a cocktail. Just beware.


The Greyhound

makes 1 drink


4 oz fresh grapefruit juice

2 oz gin

.5 oz simple syrup

Angostura bitters

1 lime wedge



1. Pour the grapefruit juice, gin, simple syrup and 2 dashes of bitters into a cocktail shaker with three ice cubes.  Squeeze in the lime juice.  Shake until chilled, about 10 seconds.

2. Add ice to a rocks glass and pour the drink over it.  

Tags: Beverages


Bloody Mary

Typically, when I'm drinking a Bloody Mary I'm not in the best physical or mental state. Therefore, how it tastes is less important than how it's going to make me feel.  But, when it comes down to it, there is a huge difference between a Bloody Mary that's shown some love and one that's been thrown together without any thought.  As I discuss in this post over at The Boys Club, everyone has their own spin, but one that's well made, like any libation, is going to be balanced.  A little kick, a bit of acidity, and some garnishes to nibble on at the end.

Get the recipe and read more about the Bloody Mary over at The Boys Club.

Irish Whiskey Smash

Eric and I have lived in South Boston (known as "Southie" in these parts) for a number of years and have grown to love the character of the neighborhood.  Take, for instance, the local St. Patrick's Day celebrations.  It's not classy by any means... but it's a heck of a lot of fun.  People are cheerful (ok, they're tipsy) and everyone hangs out on the street.  It's one giant party.  We typically start the day with a big brunch (mimosas and sometimes stronger concoctions are consumed) and then we make our way through apartments (this is where we stumble into a party thrown at our friend's cousin's coworker's brother's place).  By around five, we've had it and the group scrounges up a bit of food for an early dinner.  Bed soon follows.

As I said, it's not classy.  But we have a great time.  This year, though, we'll actually be heading up north to celebrate my mother-in-law's 70th birthday, but we'll be thinking of our friends and neighbors in Southie, who I am sure will be having a blast.  Maybe they'll mix up this Irish Whiskey Smash in honor of the holiday.

Get the Irish Whiskey Smash recipe over at The Boys Club. 


The Boys Club Preview: Eggnog

I'm in denial that November has ended.  Where did it go?  What did I do?  Did Thanksgiving actually happen?  It all feels like one big blur!  And now here we are... December.  I'm hoping things slow down a bit this month, but somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

Hanukkah is coming up this week.  I haven't lit candles in a number of years, but I certainly enjoy some of the traditions... making latkes (if you're looking for a fun spin, try these leek fritters), spinning dreidels, singing songs.

But, as a kid, as I watched my friends in school run around wearing Santa hats and eating candy canes... well, I was a bit jealous that they got to celebrate Christmas.  I wanted a tree packed with enormous presents wrapped in bows.  I wanted to see a large man make his way down our (nonexistent) chimney (ok, now that I'm reading that, it sounds kind of creepy)...  I wanted to sip on eggnog next to a roaring fire.

I may not have gotten to do all that as a kid, but, thankfully, because of The Boys Club, I got to make my first batch of eggnog (and it's probably even better since I can put booze in it)!  So, go on over to the site to get the recipe (because homemade is really the way to go) and read a bit more about the history of eggnog.



Hot Apple Toddy

It started last year: as Eric and I spent hour after hour on the couch under blankets, indulging in Downton Abbey marathons, we learned about the joys of hot toddies. Being somewhat frugal individuals (with certain things, at least) and having a relatively high tolerance for chilly temps, we decided that instead of warming ourselves with our central heating system, we'd instead sip on bourbon laced libations.  A good plan, don't you think?

A pot of tea would last us an evening... refilling in between episodes, dousing our mugs with bourbon, spoonfuls of honey and a squeeze of lemon.  Even as the snow lined our sidewalks and icicles formed from the tops of buildings, being there with our toddies, curled up next to my husband and dog, made me forget about all of that.

Needless to say, we're pretty happy to welcome the return of hot toddy season.  And when I was recently asked by the fine folks at Harry and David to partner with them for a blog post featuring this recipe by Chef Eric Greenspan for a Hot Apple Toddy using their succulent Honey Crisp Apples (which was created for their Seasonal Chef Program, featuring seasonally inspired recipes that showcase Harry & David’s fruit)... well, there was no way I was going to refuse.  Despite my love for hot toddies, though, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical at first... only 2 ounces of apple juice in each cup?  That didn't seem like a whole lot (especially compared to the portions we work with in our house).  Then I saw that there was a hearty dose of Laird's Applejack liquor... and I knew this would hit the spot.

For those who haven't had a hot toddy before, just beware that it will make you a little drowsy. One will certainly relax you... two, and you'll be sleeping like a baby.

I'm sure you will all enjoy this recipe from Chef Greenspan... to get the latest recipes from the Harry and David Seasonal Chef Program, follow H&D on Facebook.

Hot Apple Toddy

Yield: 4 servings


Juice of 18 Harry & David Honey Crisp Apples (about 8 oz)

1 C. Laird’s Applejack, or a comparable apple brandy

1 cinnamon stick

1 clove

1⁄2 cup of honey

1 lemon

1⁄2 cup fine loose-leaf green tea


1. Add the Harry & David Honey Crisp Apple juice, cinnamon, clove, and tea to a small saucepot and heat until simmering. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and return to heat until just boiling.

2. In separate coffee mugs, add 2 oz. Applejack, 1/8 cup of honey, a squeeze of 1⁄4 lemon. Slowly pour in 1 1⁄2 oz. hotapple tea, mix and serve.

Disclosure:  Harry & David has provided me with monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions in this post about Harry and David's products and this recipe are my own. 

The Sazerac Cocktail

Like food, every cocktail has a story behind it.  There are obviously the personal connections that one has to a drink.  For me, I'll always think of warm summer afternoons when I'm sipping a gin and tonic.  Steaming mugs of hot toddies go hand in hand with Downton Abbey marathons. And champagne... well, I will never forget our meal at The French Laundry and the marriage of bubbly with the briny poached oysters and tapioca "pearls" in custard.

I started this blog because I feel that there is so much to learn from cooking and food.  Beyond these experiences, however, are the historical tales that go along with each dish.  Do some research into your favorite food, and you'll surely be able to uncover an elaborate story.

And the same goes for alcoholic libations.  For my latest piece for The Boys' Club, the cocktail blog that I started with a wonderfully talented bunch of male bloggers, I begin a new series focusing on the history of cocktails.  This month's feature is on the much beloved Sazerac, a drink that has a much deeper (and more convoluted) story than I expected.  Head on over to The Boys Club to read all about the Sazerac.