Cherry sherry Manhattans for a crowd

bottled cocktailsRecently, we threw a cocktail party for about 30 friends. Hosting events like this is one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world. Now that we’ve arrived at the age where a lot of our friends have started having babies, seeing each other regularly can sometimes be a tricky business, requiring epic coordination of sitters and nannies and bedtimes. Getting 30 of my favorite people together at one time, in my living room, feels like a much bigger accomplishment than it did six or seven years ago. So when the stars align and it all comes together, I’m psyched. I want to make sure everybody has a fantastic time. And I definitely don’t want to miss my chance to catch up with everyone because I’m stuck behind the bar, slinging drinks all night.

The secret to making it happen: batch cocktails. Continue reading

Foraging for the bar: Douglas fir martinis

If you’ve ever stopped by the loft for drinks or dinner, you already know that there are very few ingredients I won’t try to put in a cocktail. But until this week, I never made a cocktail out of… tree.

Infusing vodka with Douglas fir tips

The chain of events that led me to tonight’s lovely beverage:

1. Rene Redzepi wrote this op-ed piece for the New York Times about how we should eat our Christmas trees (“because evergreens are delicious”).

2. Daniel Patterson tweeted about his deliberations over which type of Christmas tree would taste best.

3. Daniel Patterson wrote this piece for San Francisco magazine about foraging Douglas fir tips.

4. We hiked one of my favorite trails last weekend and encountered a fir tree with low-hanging, brand-new tips. We pilfered a few.

5. Said tips went into a jar of Ciroc vodka to infuse.

6. Today (eight days later), we deemed the mixture fully cooked and built a cocktail around it. Et voila! The result is a very clean, lightly citrusy drink with just a hint of floral flavor to enhance the herbal notes from the fir tips.

Tree martini (serves 2)
6 ounces Douglas fir-infused vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur

Shake, strain, and serve up. Garnish by floating a fir tip in the glass.