Based in the southern Louisiana bayou community called the “Bathtub,” Beasts of the Southern Wild, is a story about a five-year old girl named Hushpuppy and her unhealthy father. While other Bathtub residents flee due to the oncoming storm, the two decide to stick it out with a few others in their community.
I created a cocktail called The Bathtub, named after the community the movie is based in. This drink was inspired by Louisiana food and spirits. It uses Louisiana’s own Tabasco sauce, vodka dirtied up by Louisiana bayou seasonings, and is garnished with a hush puppy, after one of the main character’s names.
- 2 oz. dirty vodka (Ketel One infused with hot peppers, whole allspice, bay leaves, oregano and thyme)
- 2 oz. tomato juice
- 2 oz. of clamato juice
- 2 oz. beer
- 1 raw oyster (optional)
- Cajun spiced rim (dry crab boil seasoning)
- Lemon wedge
- Lime Wedge
- Hush Puppy for garnish
Infuse vodka and let sit for at least one day and up to a week. Add vodka, tomato juice, clamato juice, Tabasco (to taste) and beer into a cocktail shaker with ice and stir until combined. Moisten a pint glass rim with a lime wedge and dredge the rim in crab boil seasoning. Pour mixture into rimmed glass and garnish with a skewer of lemon and lime wedges and one hushpuppy.
- 15 oz. Ketel One Vodka
- 15 oz. Ginger Ale
- 6 oz. Cranberry Juice
- 1.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- Candied Ginger
- Combine all ingredients and serve in clear glass mixing bowl.
- Garnish with candied ginger. Good for 10 servings.
Ketel One is an ultra-premium vodka with a smooth crisp taste and lingering finish that makes it perfect for a holiday punch like the Ginger Cheer.
Get creative with your bowl and cups! No need for proper punch cups when you can use wine glasses, mason jars and even coffee cups.
Tonight is Halloween and NYC is definitely a creepy place to be tonight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy! Halloween has seriously been impacted by the hurricane, with the cancellation of the 39th Annual Village Halloween Parade and countless events and parties. Can really do much when 20% of NYC is without power and without public transportation.
I created The Frankenstorm cocktail, which only seemed fitting for the situation here an all along the eastern seaboard. It is a modified Hurricane Punch (of course) with a bloody dripping rim. Green in color with a frothy head, the Frankenstorm looks like many New Yorkers feel tonight.
Happy Halloween to all and Cheers!
1 oz. Ketel One Vodka
1 oz. Blue Curacao
2 oz. Orange Juice
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
For the Rim:
Karo syrup colored with red food coloring
(dip glass rims in syrup and turn right-side up an allow to drip down the sides)
green maraschino cherries
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all of the ingredients. Shake vigorously to froth the pineapple juice and strain into an ice filled highball glass rimmed with sugar blood. Serve with a green maraschino cherry and an orange wedge.
The secret to creating glowing cocktails is simply tonic water. The quinine in tonic water, which gives it it’s bitter flavoring also gives it a florescent glow when placed under UV lights. It is the perfect ghostly-glow for a Halloween themed cocktail. A simple gin or vodka and tonic will do the trick or try some of my favorite glowing cocktails for a spectacular Halloween treat!
In order to make punch florescent, you need to use at least 50% tonic water for the recipe. To balance the bitterness, I mix it with pineapple juice, tripple sec (for sweetness) and fresh lime juice. The spirit is up to you. I prefer Ketel One Vodka, but Don Julio Blanco Tequila works too!
To creep-it-up a notch, create glowing “severed hands” by freezing flat tonic water in latex gloves (w/o talc powder) to give the punch an extra-spooky look while keeping it cold. Make sure to place the punch bowl right underneath a couple of black lights to get the maximum glow.
For the severed-hand ice cubes:
Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper and set aside. Fill 1 glove with about 1 1/2 cups of the flat tonic water. Squeeze out as much air as possible and close the opening of the glove tightly with a rubber band. Lay the glove flat on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with the second glove. Place in the freezer until solid, at least overnight. The severed hands will need to freeze overnight, so be sure to make them at least 1 day before you plan to serve the punch.
* Pro-tip: To quickly flatten the tonic water for the severed-hand ice cubes, place it in a container and agitate until bubbly. Repeat several times until almost no bubbles remain. Alternatively, pour it into a container, loosely cover, and let sit overnight at room temperature.
For the punch:
Place the Ketel One Vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, and pineapple juice in a 3-1/2-quart container and stir to combine. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 to 3 hours.
When ready to serve the punch, remove the severed-hand ice cubes from the freezer. Let it sit about 3 to 5 minutes at room temperature to help loosen the rubber gloves. Meanwhile, add the tonic to the punch mixture and gently stir to combine. Cut away and discard the rubber gloves (use extra care around the fingers). Place the ice-cube hands in the punch and serve underneath black lights.
Jell-O is an American desert classic and Jell-O shots are nothing new… BUT Glow Jell-O is truly out-of-this-world! It’s not a trick, but tonic that makes the Jell-O glow. It is a simple recipe that replaces cold water with cold tonic (with bubbles) that makes is glow under UV light (aka black light). Adding a clear spirit to make adult version of Glow Jell-O!
1 package of Island Pineapple Jell-O
1 cup Ketel One Vodka (you can substitute extra tonic for the vodka if you want to make non-alcohol)
Juice of 1 large lime
1 cup tonic water (chilled before use, if possible)
8 lime slices, to garnish (optional)
Pour the Jell-O into a large heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup of vodka over the gelatin and leave for a few minutes so the gelatin dissolves. Put the bowl in a microwave and heat on high power for 1½ minutes and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Don’t let it boil.
Stir the remaining vodka and the lemon juice into the gelatin, then add the chilled tonic water, pouring it in as carefully as you can to keep it from fizzing (you want to lock in all those bubbles).
*Pro-tip: If you are using non-silicon molds, lightly grease them inside using vegetable oil on a piece of paper towels. Silicone molds don’t need greasing.
Pour the mixture, equally carefully, into your gelatin molds or glasses, garnish with lemon slices, if using, and place in the fridge to set for about 6 hours.
Serve under UV light. The darker it is, the better the effect, so serve at night, with the lights turned out and the UV bulb as close to the Jell-O as possible!
Use fun molds like these bat ice cube trays to make the Glow Jell-O more fun!
Recipe from from The Living Room c/o The Mainstone Inn; East Hampton, NY
- Fresh Mint
- Simple Syrup
- Fresh Lime Juice
- Soda Water
- 2 oz of Your choice of Tanqueray Gin, Ketel One Vodka, Don Julio Blanca Tequila or Rum
- Muddle mint in a cocktail shaker. Add in liquor (gin, vodka, tequila or rum), fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and shake with ice
- Strain over ice into a Collins Glass
- Top with soda water and garnish with mint
Celebrity Spotting: Alec Baldwin and his new wife Hilaria celebrated their post wedding reception at The Living Room c/o The Madistone Inn
For more of Mark’s “Chic-rets” to Hamptons Celebrity Entertaining, click here!
Recipe from from the Georgica; Wainscott, NY
- 1.5 oz Ketel One vodka
- Fresh peach puree
- Simple syrup
- In a cocktail shaker full of ice, add Ketel One vodka and peach puree
- Shake vigorously until chilled and strain into a champagne flute
- Top with champagne and enjoy
Celebrity Spotting: Sofia Viagra celebrated her engagement to Nick Lobe at Georgica
For more of Mark’s “Chic-rets” to Hamptons Celebrity Entertaining, click here!
Serve in a martini glass
- 1 ½ oz Smirnoff vodka
- ¾ oz Kahlua coffee liqueur
- ¼ oz crème de cacao
- 1 oz cold Nespresso espresso
- Pour the vodka, Kahlua, crème de cacao, and espresso into a cocktail shaker with ice
- Shake well
- Strain into a chilled wine glass
For more of Mark’s Entertain U – A Fairy Tale in the Hampton’s, click here!
- 2 oz Ketel One Vodka
- 14 oz of Light Beer
- 2 oz Cranberry Juice
- 2 oz Orange Juice
- Garnish with a lime wedge
Make Your Own Cordials are perfect to serve at a holiday party or to give as a hostess gift.
I used small glass bottles from The Container Store with latched closures to preserve the fresh taste of the homemade cordials. The bottles also allow you to instantly identify the contents of the bottle and the quantity remaining.
To make these homemade cordials you would use a 50:50 ratio for the liquors and then add your favorite fruits, spices and candies to flavor the mixture. Once the mixture has been made, let the cordials sit for two weeks so the flavors infuse.
To save yourself two weeks of waiting, mix the cordials in air tight containers and place them into the dishwasher. The heat from the water will infuse the ingredients at rapid speed and will be ready for use the following day.
Here are my favorite make your own cordial recipes that were featured on The Better Show.
- Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
- Sliced Lemon Peels
- Triple Sec
- Ketel Citroen Vodka
- Frozen Cherries
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Vanilla Beans
- Triple Sec
- Vanilla Vodka
- Frozen Cranberries
- Fresh Kumquats
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Triple Sec
- Ketel Oranje Vodka
- Carambar Caramels
- Vanilla Vodka
- Peppermint Sticks
Be creative when making your own cordials, use ingredients that compliment each other. Fruits, spices and candies also give the homemade cordials a beautiful look when they are displayed.
Gold Gilding plain white plates is a great way to spruce up your table with an easy design that is unique to the look of your tabletop. It turns a simple plate into an elegant piece. It is also a fun activity to get the children involved!
List of Materials Needed:
24 Karat Gold Luster Dust
Jar, Bowl, Painters Pallet, Etc.
To enhance simple white plates, paint a pattern of your choosing on to the rim of the china with a gold dust and plain vodka solution.
To make the gold paint, slowly add vodka to 24 Karat gold dust drop-by-drop until it is the consistency of water color paints. If you added too much vodka, not to worry, just let the vodka evaporate and start over again.
The only limit to this project is your imagination (and water). Paint a pattern, names as a place card or phrases on the china to welcome your guests to the table. The vodka will evaporate leaving the gold leaf design.
To remove, simply wash your plates as normal and the gold dust will wash away!
Try this technique on everything from baked goods to glassware – run away with your new found Midas Touch!
For links to all The Golden Harvest recipes and tips, click here!
- Three Ketel One vodka soaked cranberries
- ½ oz Elderflower liqueur
- 6 oz of Moet & Chandon Champagne
Vodka Soaked Cranberries Recipe:
Orange Flavored Vodka
Using a mason jar, add frozen cranberries and orange vodka. Let sit for 2 weeks.
Muddle three cranberries in the bottom of an 8 oz champagne glass. Add the Elderflower liqueur and top off with 6 oz of brut champagne
For links to all The Golden Harvest recipes and tips, click here!
The 1990′s is the Decade of Disasters because lots of disasters happened. The Y2K bug, the earthquakes, the Gulf War, etc. This is the Decade of Discovery. Scientists discovered how to clone animals, and they released the Hubble Telescope.
During the 1990′s, Billy Bush was a student at Colby College in Maine. I was inspired to do some New England style foods and a “White Mule” cocktail which is the mascot of Colby College. In 1998, Billy Bush married his lovely wife, Sydney.
Mini Lobster Roll
hot dog buns
premade deli lobster salad
- Cut hot dog buns into thirds.
- Fill hot dog buns with lobster salad.
- Garnish with chopped chives.
1 package frozen crinkles fries
Old Bay Seasoning
- Sprinkle the fries with Old Bay Seasoning.
- Follow the instructions on the back of the package to bake the fries.
- Serve in paper cones.
- Cut a circle out of paper.
- Fold the circle into quarters.
- Cut one triangle out of the circle.
- Fold the circle, overlapping the edges a bit.
- Tape to close together.
- Serve with a dollop of tarter sauce.
Gazpacho with Guacamole and Crème Fraiche
6 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 purple onion, finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 sweet red bell pepper (or green) seeded and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1-2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
6 or more drops of Tabasco sauce to taste
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
4 cups tomato juice
- Combine all ingredients.
- Blend slightly to desired consistency.
- Place in non-metal, non-reactive storage container, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, allowing flavors to blend.
2 ripe avocados
½ red onion, minced (about ½ cup)
1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. of fresh lime or lemon juice
½ tsp. coarse salt
a dash of freshly grated black pepper
½ ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped
- Cut avocados in half. Remove pit. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the avocado. Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more. Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness, add the amount of your choice.
- Keep tomatoes separate until ready to serve.
- Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidations from the air reaching it.
- Refrigerate until ready.
- Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.
To make Gazpacho with Guacamole and Crème Fraiche:
- Fill a votive holder 1/3 of the way.
- Garnish with a dollop of crème fraiche and guacamole.
White Mule Cocktail
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. crème de cacao
- Pour vodka and crème de cacao over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass.
- Fill with light cream and serve.
1990′s Inspired Playlist
Here is a great playlist to bring your guests to the 1990′s.
- Mr. Jones – Counting Crows
- Hey Jealous – Gin Blossoms
- Sex and Candy – Marcy Playground
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something
- Runaway Train – Soul Asylum
- All I want – A Day To Remember
- Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong - Spin Doctors
- Brick – Ben Folds Five
- Everything Falls Apart – Fee
- Lump – The Presidents of the United States of America
- Freshman – The Verve Pipe
- No Rain – Blind Melon
- Pets – Porno for Pyros
- Steal My Sunshine -Len
- Fade Into You – Mazzy Starr
- Mother Mother – Tracey Bonham
- Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry
Combining the fresh and slightly sweet flavor of melon with bacon creates a drink that is perfect for summer fun.
- Fresh melon
- 1 bottle Ketel One vodka infused with bacon
- 1 lb. Bacon + more for garnish
Start by infusing a 750 ml. bottle of Ketel One vodka with 1 lb. of bacon.
- Prepare the vodka until it is crisp.
- Place it in an airtight container such as a mason jar, along with the vodka.
- Run this through the dishwasher (really! – it helps the infusion process.)
- Let the jar sit at least overnight to get a full flavor.
- Filter through a coffee filter to avoid a greasy film at the top of your drink.
Next, use that vodka to make the Bacon Melon-tini!
- Cut a fresh melon into small pieces.
- For every 5 oz. of vodka, use about 1/2 cup melon, and in a mixer, muddle the melon in the vodka.
- Add ice and shake.
- Pour into a glass, and top with a garnish of fresh melon wrapped in a slice of bacon.
Up your Oscar ante with these five cocktails, based on five of the ten films nominated for Best Picture this year.
Cocktail: Alien Secretion
Film Inspiration: District 9
Description: Succumb to the alien sting with this infectiously delicious cocktail. Break through the alien skin to expose the foaming texture below. Look carefully; the green secretion lurking in the cocktail could speed up this deadly transformation.
Highlight Ingredient(s): gelatin disc and coconut rum
narrow-mouth double old fashion glass (or shot glass)
2 oz Coconut Rum
4 oz Pineapple Juice
1 tbsp. Midori
Mix rum and pineapple juice with ice in a shaker, shake until cold and foamy. Pour into a tall narrow-mouthed glass until almost full, using the back edge of a spoon, gently pour the Midori into the glass so it sinks below the foamed pineapple juice creating a green lower layer. Seal with alien skin gelatin disc.
1 oz plain gelatin (four .5 oz packages)
1 cup of coconut rum (cold)
1 cup of pineapple juice (cold)
2 cups of water (boiling)
Combine rum and pineapple juice and sprinkle gelatin over cold mixture and let set for a few minutes. Add boiling water and stir until fully dissolved (5 mins.) Pour into shallow flat bottom glass pans 1/4 in thick. Chill overnight. Place pan of set gelatin in hot water for a few seconds to loosen from the edges and invert onto a plate lined with wax paper. Cut into circles slightly larger than the mouth of the glass. Store in refrigerator on trays lined with wax paper until use.
Cocktail: Pandora Punch
Film Inspiration: Avatar
Description: Become one with the Na’Vi people of Pandora with this one-of-a-kind mock-cocktail (non-alcoholic and kid friendly!). A mix of fruit-infused flavors soars the taste buds to new heights with a green slushy center surrounded with grape juice and rimmed with pop rock candy. Turn out the lights for an extra-terrestrial treat: the stir stick glows-in-the-dark!
Highlight ingredient(s): Glow stir stick and pop rock candy rim
Moisten the rim of a fiesta glass with lemon juice and dredge the edge in pink pop rocks. Blend the Popsicle with a hand mixer, pile blended lime pop into center of the pre-rimmed glass, float grape juice around glass. Add a green glow stick as a stir stick. (Adult version: add 1 oz of tequila to lime Popsicle blend)
Cocktail: Bitter Basterds
Film Inspiration: Inglorious Basterds
Description: Like LT Aldo Raine, Brad Pitt’s character from “Inglorious Basterds”, this cocktail is all about the bitters. A hearty mix of Cognac, orange bitters and a covert spritz of Absinthe proves to put a kick back into any soldier’s step.
Highlight Ingredient(s): bitters & Absinthe
2 oz cognac
2 oz ginger beer
3 dashes or orange bitters
One spritz of Absinthe (optional)
Mix all ingredients in an old-fashioned glass over ice. Garnish with burnt orange twist and finish with an optional spritz of Absinthe (using a spray bottle).
Cocktail: Camouflage Cooler
Film Inspiration: The Hurt Locker
Description: This crystal-clear beverage camouflages any trace of the spirits within. An otherwise potent combination of vodka, gin, tequila and rum gets a cinematic twist with lemon-lime soda and a splash of white cranberry juice. Don’t let this drink fool you, it only looks harmless.
Highlight Ingredient(s): 4 clear liqueurs, lemon-lime soda and White Cranberry Juice
Iced Tea Glass
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. gin
1 oz. tequila
1 oz. rum
.5 oz triple sec
2 oz. lemon-lime soda
2 oz. white cranberry juice
3-4 lemon wheels
Combine all ingredients in glass over ice, giving it a good stir. Float lemon wheels in glass as garnishes, giving it the appearance of harmless lemon ice water.
Cocktail: The Mile High
Film Inspiration: Up in the Air
Description: Let this cocktail ease your fear of flying. Named for the multiplicated sum of proofs in each ingredient, the Mile High is composed of equal parts Southern Comfort and Bacardi 151. Don’t forget your complimentary airline snack: a pretzel stick with a top coat of peanuts.
Highlight Ingredient(s): peanut-coated pretzel stick and mini bottles of alcohol
2 oz. Southern Comfort
2 oz. Bacardi 151
Combine ingredients in highball glass over ice. Top with pretzel stick rolled in peanuts.
Lightly coat the end of a pretzel stir stick with honey. Roll in crushed peanuts. Serve as a supplement to The Mile High.
The Bloody Mary has long been a staple of weekend brunches but a Bloody Mary isn’t just about the basics. Expand your repertoire with a variety of spirits and a host of garnishes. Additions like seasonal olives, citrus fruits, shrimp and Thai chili infused tequila will inspire guests to unleash their inner mixologist. Let your guests customize their own signature version at your fully-loaded Bloody Mary Bar.
The Bloody Mary, one of my favorite cocktails, due to the seemingly endless variations (I had one while writing this post – OK two!), is highly popular brunch companion made of vodka and tomato juice with condiments, spices, banquet of garnishes and my special touch, seasoned rim. I call it a meal in a glass!
The modern Bloody Mary was reportedly created in 1920 at Harry’s bar in Paris, a frequent hangout for Ernest Hemingway and other American expatriates. Here bartender, Fernand Petiot expanded on the popular Red Snapper (vodka and tomato juice) cocktail by adding, condiments, spices and garnishes. Since, there have been many variations of the Blood Mary by substituting the vodka or the tomato juice and tweaking of the name accordingly.
The more popular variations are Bloody Maria (tequila replacing vodka), Ruddy Mary (gin replacing vodka), Brown Mary (whiskey replacing the vodka), Red Eye (beer replacing vodka, usually in a 50/50 mixture with Clamato in place of tomato juice). More exotic variations include Bloody Geisha (sake replacing vodka) and Bloody Fairy (absinthe replacing the vodka). Some variations eliminate one or the other key ingredients like Bloodless Mary (without tomato juice) or of course a Virgin Mary (without alcohol) also called a Bloody Shame.
For a classic Bloody Mary you will need:
3 oz. of premium vodka, I prefer Kettle One for it’s bold flavor that holds up to the spices
3 oz of tomato juice or use your favorite Bloody Mary Mix, but you will have to add more of the following anyway.
1 tbs. Horseradish paste
3-5 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes of hot sauce
fresh cracked pepper
a dash of sea salt
1 fresh lime wedge
Olives (I like using jalapeño stuffed olives as they give more heat)
1 lime wheel
1 thin celery stick (really? be creative… substitute picked carrot sticks, asparagus or green beans as edible stirrers)
The Rim is the most important element to the Bloody Mary. It is the mouth’s first impression of the drink and it better be a good one. I typically use a pre-made seasoning mix (actually a meat rub) from Norman’s Market in Miami, Fl. If I run out of my stock piles of Norman’s Mix, I make a homemade rim:
For the rim mix:
In a shallow dish mix equal parts; sea salt, garlic flakes, fresh cracked pepper, paprika, dried parsley, finely chopped dried citrus rind and for an extra kick cayenne pepper.
Coat the rim of the highboy glass with the juice from the lime wedge and dredge the rim in the mix, fill with ice and set aside. I one of the mixing glasses combine all of the ingredients and roll from one mixing glass to the other to combine. Tomato juice (and pineapple juice) should never be shaken as it makes the juice too foamy. Once combined, pour the mixture into the prepared glass and garnish with the skewered olive/onion/lime wheel and celery stick.
This cocktail was born to be added to, substituted with, and over embellished. Have fun with it and add your favorite sauces, spices and the endless array of salad bar items that you can squeeze in an on the glass. Host your DIY Bloody Mary Bar at your next brunch party where guests can customize their own! Can you say ‘Battle of the Bloody Marys’?