The Perfect Manhattan and Date Night

Last night, after a particularly long and stressful week (The Boyfriend and I both had midterms and he had a bit of work stress), we were due a date night. I got home from work and set to making us cocktails. I opted for the classic Manhattan, since whiskey seemed perfect for the occasion.

Someone had gifted The Boyfriend with a bottle of Single Barrel Jack Daniels that we hadn’t opened. I have a lifelong distaste for sour mash whiskey, but our bourbon selection has suffered this winter – there’s nothing quite like it on a cold winter night – so I opted to give the Jack a chance.

I happened to pick up bourbon cherries at a specialty store last weekend, so I used those. Regular maraschino are fine, if you have them on hand. I bought grapefruit bitters at the same time. Angostura or other bitters are just as good.

The Perfect Manhattan
1.5 oz whiskey (bourbon is best)
.5 oz sweet vermouth
A dash of bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

We rounded out date night with nibbly appetizer bits for dinner and a movie, snuggled up with The Puppy on the couch. The Boyfriend had never seen Pan’s Labyrinth, so we rented that. It has all the trappings of my kind of movie (slightly depressing, screwed up family, drama, heart strings, etc.) and I adore it. I think he was expecting more fantasy from it and I think it disappointed him. In any event, date night was perfect. The drinks were delicious, the company was fantastic. It was exactly what we needed and we’re both feeling more like ourselves today.

How do you deal with stress? What’s your favorite way to cap off a long week?



The Blue Moon

We hosted a couple of neighbors yesterday for mid-afternoon cocktails (between lounging in bed and marathoning the new season of House of Cards, perfect lazy Saturday!).

I was initially going to make Bloody Marys. They are the perfect day-drink – spicy and delicious. But one of our guests doesn’t like tomato juice. So, I tried something new.

Last month, while we were in Massachusetts, I picked up a couple of things for an Aviation cocktail. Unfortunately, I haven’t picked up the final ingredient, maraschino. You can’t have an Aviation without maraschino, but you can have a Blue Moon.

Blue Moon Cocktail
2 oz gin
1/2 oz Crème de Violette
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
Shake in an ice cocktail shaker, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with lemon twist

They were beautiful, slightly sweet, slightly tart, and very well received. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture, but the Crème de Violette gives the drink such a nice bluish purple color.

Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy

My new favorite toddy mugs, complete with cacti and armadillos.

My toddy recipe is really basic. You can add cinnamon or cloves if you want, but I like it just the way it is. I find these to be the best on a long, stressful day or on a day that I’m feeling under the weather and just chilled to the bone.

First, I put the tea kettle on. Then, I slice a lemon in half, and cut a narrow slice off one half for a lemon wheel. I drop the lemon wheel in the oversized mug, juice the entire lemon into the mug, put in a little under a tablespoon of honey, a healthy pour of Jameson, and just about now, the kettle is hot, and I top the whole thing off with hot water and give it a good stir.