Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: vodka

In Season: rose hips

I know there’s lots of wild goodness in my backyard, but sometimes it takes a book to send me hunting for it. In this case, that book was How to Make Your Own Drinks.

A prosaic title, yes, but it goes way beyond the usual soak-it-in-vodka routine to offer intriguing advice on turning everything from blackberries and rose petals to gooseberries, dandelions, quince, ginger, apples and even oak leaves into wines, cordials, liqueurs, teas and syrups, both alcoholic and non.

Wild rose hips

Paging through Susy Atkins’ book set me daydreaming about picking berries and flowers in the woods, but the rain beating on my window reminded me that it’s November. Nothing much out there now, except rose hips, the ruby-colored,  vitamin C-packed seed pods produced by roses of all kinds.  Continue Reading

Crested Butte Cabin Fever

Vacationing in Crested Butte meant racking up 1,864 miles in a car with three small children. They’re mostly happy, adventurous and patient children, but still. It’s a long, long drive. The payoff? A charming town, mountain streams to stomp in, Colorado peaches from the farmers’ market and a weekly high of 86F. Just what we… Continue Reading

Paul Clarke: a reformed vodka partisan

Vodka is something of a lightening rod these days. It accounts for almost a third of all spirits sales in the U.S., according to the Distilled Spirits Council, and liquor store shelves are overflowing with gleaming bottles. Yet the craft cocktail movement’s largely snubbed the spirit. Trend-leading bars in New York, Chicago and elsewhere pride… Continue Reading

Pink Puppies

No, it’s not a new Labradoodle mix, it’s a cocktail. My friend, Bill (who, incidentally, was  this blog’s first subscriber), graciously poured out pitchers of them at a recent gathering. The recipe’s simple enough: one part vodka, one part gin and 1-1/2 parts freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice. That last is essential. Fresh citrus juice—squeezed… Continue Reading

From Smirnov to Smirnoff

Naming a vodka is a tricky thing. Most brands strive to evoke heritage and history through slick packaging and glossy ads. Smirnoff needs no such marketing ploys. Its name is steeped in enough intrigue, blood and revolution to fill an entire book. The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of… Continue Reading

When life gives you peaches

What does one do with a 26-pound lug of peaches? Eat them. Bake muffins. And, when you’re tired of that, make a batch of peach liqueur. I’ve written about infusions for years, most recently for an upcoming piece on cocktail trends in the Kansas City Star, but never done one myself. It turns out Scott… Continue Reading