Buried at the Bar: From Favorite Watering Hole to Final Resting Place


Ever talk to someone who wants their ashes to be secretly stashed all over a restaurant dining room after they die? I did! My latest at Tales of the Cocktail is about people who wanted their ashes stashed at their favorite bar after they die.

“My idea was to be embalmed with the remoulade sauce from Galatoire’s, and then be cremated… and designate someone to deposit my ashes in a couple of secret spaces that I know there,” says Lutz. “But they sort of changed the remoulade, so I dropped that from my plan.”

Buried at the Bar: From Favorite Watering Hole to Final Resting Place – at Tales of the Cocktail

DIY Sugar Cubes

diysugarcubesSugar cubes are simply that–cubes made out of sugar. They’re not hard to make, and if you DIY then you can make your cubes in fun shapes, flavors and colors.

For example, you could make rich cubes with demerara or turbinado sugar or grind up some vanilla beans for a flavored cube. Make cubes with absinthe or bitters for use in Champagne cocktails. A few drops of food coloring, and you have a party right there.

To make the sugar cubes (or hearts or stars or …), I used one teaspoon candy molds. But you could also use ice cube molds or spread the mixture 1/4 inch thick into a small cake pan and make quarter-inch squares.

DIY Sugar Cubes

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon water Continue reading

The Art of the Menu at Trick Dog

Trick Dog's first menu, inspired by Pantone swatches.

Trick Dog’s first menu, inspired by Pantone swatches.

I have a piece up at Tales of the Cocktail about the awesome and inventive cocktail menu designs at Trick Dog in San Francisco.

Thanks to Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of the Bon Vivants for talking to me about the hows and whys of their fun menu concepts!

Ordering a cocktail at Trick Dog is almost as much fun as drinking one. You could find yourself navigating a tourist map of San Francisco or rotating a horoscope wheel with a different drink for each Zodiac sign. But there’s a method behind the playful menu concepts.

Tales of the Cocktail: The Art of the Menu at Trick Dog, by Marcia Simmons

DIY Bitters Recipes

cherry-bittersEven though you only use a drop or two, bitters are a very important cocktail ingredient. They can be the finishing touch  … or the thing that turns an unbalanced, so-so cocktail into a perfect drink. They take a little time to make at home, but if you’re into cocktail projects, it’s worth it.

Aromatic Bitters ~ This recipe produces something similar to Angostura bitters, also known as the bitters that most cocktail recipes call for. Everything from a Manhattan to a Pisco Sour includes this type of bitters.

Hellfire Bitters ~ Spicy bitters work well with cocktails that have a strong base liquor, such as mezcal or whiskey. A drop or two in a beer adds a little touch of heat and flavor as well.

Cherry Bitters ~ Used in place of aromatic or Angostura bitters, these give a hint of fruit to your drink without making your drink sweet.

In Bloom Bitters ~ Floral bitters mix well with tequila and gin drinks, complementing the herbal notes of the spirit.

Rhubarb Bitters ~ This is my Gin and Tonic helper. A little grapefruit and a few drops of Rhubarb Bitters makes for a fun and slightly different G&T.

Cucumber Cocktails

Bonkers Awesome Grapefruit Cucumber Cocktail from Joy the Baker

Bonkers Awesome Grapefruit Cucumber Cocktail from Joy the Baker

Stay cool as a cucumber this summer with a cucumber cocktail … or two. Whether your garden is overflowing with these little guys or you pick some up at the market, they’re a  light and lovely addition to summer drinks.

Cucumber Mojito ~ Take the classic cool Mojito and add the refreshing power of cucumber.

Eastside Rickey ~ If you’re more of a gin person, then this cucumber-enhanced cocktail would be a good choice if you’re in the mood for a summery Mojito-like drink.

Cucumber Margarita ~ Pair this one with a warm summer night and a spicy meal on the patio.

Bonkers Awesome Grapefruit and Cucumber Cocktail ~ Cucumber’s delicate flavor is combined with grapefruit and ginger beer for an exciting gin cocktail.

Cucumber and Basil Slush ~ This frozen vodka cocktail shows off the way cucumber and basil are the perfect pair.