Zoe Recommends: Old-Fashioned Whiskey Sours

I am all kinds of excited for today’s post! Due to some adult content, if you will, I have a few things I need to mention before getting to the meat of things:

  • This is a post about alcohol. Please use common sense when consuming adult beverages, especially whiskey.
  • This recipe uses raw egg white. If you are allergic to eggs or have a severe phobia of consuming raw egg, you can choose to omit the egg white but you will lose out on a huge part of what makes this recipe so delicious.
  • This cocktail will change your life.
  • Kthxbai

One of the very first cocktails I ever got into was the whiskey sour. My grandfather on my dad’s side was known for making the best ones, even though I was never old enough to be able to have one and fully appreciate it when he was alive. Even though I never knew the taste of his whiskey sours, I did know that what most bartenders nowadays consider a whiskey sour – isn’t one.

Because I was dying to find a REAL source for old-fashioned whiskey sours, I scoured the corners of the interwebs, since I couldn’t ask my grandfather. (Who, by the way, was born in 1905, so when I say old-fashioned, I mean old-fashioned.)

I came upon this article from Seattle Weekly and knew immediately after reading it that I would be doing a post on making this woman’s recipe. Favorite line? “Lazy bartenders…sullied the drink’s reputation by doing nothing more than pouring a shot of cheap whiskey and topping it with a squirt of some neon piss out of a gun or a plastic bottle.”

Spot on!

I personally can’t stand the pre-made, neon green sour mix of present day and was thrilled to find out what actually constitutes a sour is a blend of simple ingredients like lemon juice and simple syrup.

And, because I planned ahead, I already did a blog post on how to make your own simple syrup. So check that out before proceeding.

Another reason for my being excited to present this cocktail recipe to you is that I not only made it and liked it but I took photos. We all love a good story told by photos, don’t we? I’ll post the cocktail instructions at the end, though I’m just copying it directly from the article I referenced above.

You will need the following:

You’ll also need something to put all of these ingredients in – preferably a cocktail shaker. If you do not have one, any tightly lidded container will do. I used a Mason jar.

I don’t have a photo of me pouring a shot of whiskey into my jar but that is what I did. Pretty easy to do and to imagine.

Next up: squeeze half a lemon!


The recipe calls for a “dollop” the size of a quarter of the first runny clear egg white that comes out of the shell. Because I was taking photos, I decided to use my handy dandy egg white separator. It looks like this:


I cracked the egg into the little plastic holder so I could catch the white below:


I took a tablespoon of the egg white and added it to my Mason jar. I then added “half an ounce” (I admit it, I eyeballed that) of simple syrup to my Mason jar. That’s about one tablespoon.

Now we’re ready to shake! REALLY shake it – it’s going to give you this creamy, delicious froth from the egg white that makes your whiskey sour all velvety.


You’ll have a mixture that looks like this:

Almost ready
If you have a little strainer, get that out. You definitely don’t want chunks of pulp in your whiskey sour (unless that’s how you roll) but I like mine smooth as silk.

Strain! I had shaken mine with two cubes of ice to get it REALLY cold before pouring it over more ice but you don’t have to do that. If you have a formal cocktail shaker, you’ll be able to get more of the egg white foam on top of your drink.


Mmmmmmm…….


Some people put a cherry in or a garnish of an orange or lemon wedge. I really just wanted to enjoy the drink as-is and it’s still very attractive and yummy looking, if I do say so myself.

Serve and enjoy! And just for fun, a couple more ooo and aaahh shots:



By far, making my own has given me the supreme gratification of saying that I now make the BEST old-fashioned whiskey sours. I have made these a couple of times now (actually, Kevin made the first batch) and didn’t get sick from consuming raw egg. Just be sure to use FRESH eggs and keep these babies cold.

Have I inspired you to try making these? I really hope so. I’d love to hear back if you do! Recipe below. Cheers!

————-

For two whiskey sours, shake:

Juice from one lemon
Two shots of whiskey (more if you like your drinks strong)
1oz. of simple syrup, which amounts to two tablespoons (adjust to taste, of course)
2T. of egg white, though you can add more if you want more froth

Strain and pour over ice, if that’s your thing.

Garnish if you wish and then ENJOY. These are seriously kickass. Zoe Recommends!

Simple Syrup is Simple

I know it’s been over a week since I’ve had anything to say, which is unusual for me (at least this past year). I had a bout of writer’s block and am hoping to be more inspired this week.

I have a post up my sleeve for later this week (a Zoe Recommends, if you must know). However, it takes some forethought and planning–is that redundant?–and this is the first step. In order to avoid inundating you with way too many photos for a simple blog post, I decided to do this one first. And hey, since simple syrup can be used for so many recipes, I thought I’d share this illustration of it with you. Aren’t I so helpful?

I am not a “cook.” I praise the Lord every day that my man not only cooks and grills skillfully (and sort of bakes, though I am the better baker) but loves to do so. So even the quickest thing that requires me to pull out pots and pans and like, “do stuff” on the stove, makes me kind of:Therefore, I surprised myself with the fact that I was able to make this “recipe” all by myself AND take photographs of it at the same time without totally screwing it up. Whee!

Simple syrup is most easily made with a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar. When it’s all said and done, you use it to make any preferred sweetened beverage. I know that sugar is blacklisted in many homes but it’s not like you’re going to drink this stuff straight from the jar. Or at least, you shouldn’t.

Because I didn’t need to end up with two cups of the stuff, I opted to use only one cup of water and one cup of sugar, but it’s totally your prerogative. Let’s get our syrup on!

Step 1: place one cup cold tap water into pot. Easy enough.

Step 2: boil said water. My little pot here came with a handy lid so I popped that on so the water would boil about ten times faster.

Step 3: when the water has begun to rapidly boil, add sugar:

Step 4: turn the heat down to low and stir the mixture constantly. You want to make sure the sugar is dissolving into the hot water or you’ll just end up with crunchy water. No good. Just keep stirring, just keep stirring. Then, when you’ve stirred a whole bunch more, test it with a metal spoon. Scoop from the bottom and bring the spoon up close for inspection.

Slowly dribble the water back into the pot, looking for granules of sugar. I probably did this ten times or so, because I was paranoid I was doing this wrong. The liquid in the spoon looked nice and clear so after giving it one more quick stir, I turned off the heat completely and let it cool to room temperature.

Eventually, you’ll have this stuff, which looks almost no different than when you started, except it’s a bit thicker:

After it cools to room temp, pour your simple syrup into a jar and store in the refrigerator. And voilà!

Not too terribly hard, right? I even had a jar to store it in, which was highly convenient. I gave a quick taste test and yep, it tasted like a clear, sweet syrup with no crunchy bits in it.

It will NOT be super thick but it will be sticky as all get-out, so make sure you have a good spoon rest and wash your pot and spoon(s) right away.

I’m excited to present the next installment of what I’ll be using this for later this week! Here’s hoping you enjoyed what was a lovely first weekend of autumn.

For more information or to know where I got my instructions from, go here.

Best Coffee Flavor? Creamy Chestnuts.

It occurred to me that I have yet to write about one of my favorite websites on my blogroll: Coffee Fool. If you love coffee and you’ve never heard of this website, I urge you to go there immediately and browse their insanely good selection of coffee. Then buy some.

It’s not just the flavors, though they are my favorite out of the kinds they have. It’s the joy and caring they put into their roasts, as well as a very detailed explanation of how they get their coffee a certain way. They also help you understand that most store-bought coffee is not freshly roasted and therefore is stale. If you’ve ever smelled ‘fresh’ coffee grounds and thought it smelled kinda ashy, like cigarettes, then yeah, they’re bad.

Big K and I like to get the beans because when we grind them ourselves, the powerful smell of truly fresh coffee hits you over the head. It’s akin to wine. You can inhale the scent up to your eyeballs and before you even brew the stuff, you feel more awake. I wish I were exaggerating but it’s really true.

To that end, we discovered that our favorite part of Coffee Fool’s website is the Friday Flavors. There, they “experiment” with different flavors and usually keep the roast at on the lighter, American side of things. (Don’t get me wrong – their Italian and French Roasts are like dark silk. Try one if you have any semblance of loving a rich roast.) Anyway, in Friday Flavors (which have now been incorporated into their regular line), they have many delicious concoctions but my favorite “potion” – and I’m talking all-time here – is Creamy Chestnuts. There is just something about this nutty flavor that keeps me buying pound after pound. I could probably get on their auto-delivery program for it because it’s that good. Every single person who has ever had it at my home thought it smelled amazing and tasted just as good. You don’t get that all the time with coffee – just sayin’.

I don’t know if they still do this but if you buy enough coffee from them, you earn a permanent discount with them. Needless to say, I get a slightly discounted bag of coffee each and every time I order. They also have wonderful staff and customer service. I really hope their whole business plan stays exactly the same.

So, to Coffee Fool: I salute you! Keep up the outstanding work and thanks for brightening my life with your creativity in a product as necessary as coffee. The variety and quality boggle the mind! At least mine.

Here are a few of the other flavors I’ve tried and my two cents on them:

Boolicious: they keep this one a ‘secret’ but Kevin and I have definitely discerned that it’s a mixture of blueberry and other flavors. This would be great for most people, since there are an odd number of folks out there who enjoy blueberry flavored coffee, but I do not. So while I do not recommend it, Kevin would.
Chocolate Pumpkin Pie: I like this version better than their regular Pumpkin Pie flavor. I found the latter to have too much pumpkin spice.
Cremera: Don’t bother. It literally tastes like a weird, subdued, creamy coffee. Wouldn’t buy twice.
Egg Nog Royale: I don’t like egg nog flavored things but my dude loved this one.
Santa’s Cookie Coffee: I bought two bags of this and liked it initially. Then when I tried it again, I didn’t like it enough to buy it again. It’s VERY popular, though.
Turtle Gone Nuts: This is pretty good. I love me some chocolate and caramel.
Vanillamykahlua: Give this a whirl if you like mild vanilla. (I can also highly recommend their French Vanilla, since it’s French roasted coffee with vanilla. YUM.)
Bacon: You’d think this one would have blown us away. The ‘bacon’ flavor was so mild that it didn’t blow our hair back. We’ll just stick with regular coffee and frying up some bacon.
Chocolate Espresso: Self-explanatory. And delicious.
Chocolate Raspberry: This stuff is amazing. Conversely, I tried the Raspberry Squared and wanted to throw up. I couldn’t drink the stuff. Too berry-y.
Creme Brulee: I can’t attest to this one but K-Dawg loves it.
English Toffee: very tasty! I’d buy this one again.
Maple Walnut: a new flavor that is really good. I think out of the “nut” coffees, it goes Creamy Chestnuts, Pecan Supreme, then Maple Walnut. This is a really nice flavor and can be mixed with others if it’s too mapley for you.
Melted Marshmallow: I wasn’t a big fan. It was just kinda ehhh for me. But I’m picky about marshmallow stuff.
Pecan Supreme: REALLY good. Not as good as Creamy Chestnuts but up there!
Pacific Espresso: I really adore dark roasts but I do not like this one. The best reason I can come up with is that it’s too bitter. Their Italian and French roasts are great for me, though.
Smooth Sailing: this is a reduced-acid coffee and has a wonderful flavor. It’s what “regular” coffee should taste like. And I can have multiple cups without having a Tums. Bonus!
Snoodle Doodle: One of my favorites. I have ordered this multiple times and would get this more regularly if it weren’t for Chestnuts eeking out the competition.
Highlander Grog: Also one of my favorite repeat orders. I like it because it’s not super hazelnut. It’s got a good blend of butterscotch and the hazelnutflavors.

Flatpicker Fuel, Fool’s House French, Fools’ House Italian Dark, Lock & Load and Velvet Hammer are all of the dark roasts I’ve tried. They’re really good about keeping the descriptions accurate so just double check what they say about each before picking. It’s almost hard to pick one you won’t like! (My God. I just went over to the Light/Medium roasts and realized I’ve tried a bunch of those, too. I really am a fan!)

Spritz Cookies, Otherwise Known As “Backbreakers”

Happy post Christmas coma!

I don’t know about you but I feel like Buddy the Elf who has been consuming nothing but the four elf food groups for the past week. In essence, all meals begin and end with cookies or chocolate.

The bf and myself made homemade (alcoholic) egg nog, spritz cookies, and sourdough bread as contributions to the big family Christmas potluck yesterday. I’m happy to report that all three went over well.

I was nervous because I had never made spritz cookies by myself before. I mean, they take a cookie press to make, the dough can be rather finicky to work with, and I didn’t have my mom around to coach me!

Nevertheless, we rolled up our sleeves and for over four hours, we mixed up two batches of my mom’s classic spritz cookie recipe (one white, one green) and tried my hand at my heretofore unused cookie press that I had impulsively purchased from Williams Sonoma last year.

At first, the dough wasn’t cooperating whatsoever. It was too cold, even though I had properly left all three sticks of butter out to soften. The dough being warm and sticky is pretty much the key to getting them to stick to one’s cookie sheets. Also, we had no parchment paper or wax paper, two things I will never again be without. I think something extra sticky to grab onto the dough would have made a difference. But when one is baking cookies at 9pm on Christmas night and no stores are open (and who wants to go out and try to find parchment paper and overpay for it on Christmas?), we just did the best we could.

Normally I’d take a photo of the cookie press and some of the pictures I have of the cookies going into the oven but I am attempting to keep this relatively short and I’m running out of space before this just becomes one long tangent, as I am wont to do.

I arranged the photos yesterday on a platter provided by a relative (and it is her tablecloth, as well) and between those things and the natural light, I managed to snap some very worthy shots of these cookies that made my back ache like crazy.

Below are the efforts of our blood, sweat and tears. And they taste even better than they look! Maybe I’ll actually post the recipe sometime. (Side tangent: I can’t stand when pretty cookies or pastries taste like cardboard, or even worse, like crap. It’s such the disappointment. So I was relieved when my cookies lived up to the memories I have of my mother’s Christmas cookies.)

One necessity that should not be overlooked during the Christmas feasting is the possession of antacids. I don’t know about y’all but I have been following every meal with a Tums chaser. I hope your holidays have been festive and merry! (And perhaps with less indigestion than we’ve been experiencing.)

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Cookie Exchange Fail

Last week, I got a really cute email forward from a friend. It was entitled Cookie Exchange! Here are the rules:

I’m participating in a collective and hopefully tasty experiment. As such:

You have been invited to be part of a recipe exchange concept. I hope you will participate. I’ve picked those who I think would make this fun. Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know him/her) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type out right now. Don’t agonize over it, it is one you make when you are short of time.

After you’ve sent the recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1 and put your name in position 2. Only mine and your name should show when you send your email. Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy).

If you cannot do this within five days, let me know so it will be fair to those participating.

You should receive 36 recipes. It’s fun to see where they come from! Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas. The turnaround is fast as there are only two names on the list and you only have to do it once.

Person 1:

Person 2:

Sounds easy enough. I wasn’t sure I would know twenty people but who would know how many women I sent the email off to? It seemed fun so I quickly emailed a recipe to Person 1, to whom I was assigned. (For the record, I shared this recipe from Buns in My Oven, as I had recently made it and the cookies tasted as good as they look.)

I heard from one or two people back right away that they wouldn’t be able to participate but since it was a chain email that was sent on to me in the first place, it wasn’t bothersome. I had no idea how many recipes I could expect.

The answer came the next morning.

I had received two emails back. One was from a woman who sent me some kind of chocolate cookie ball recipe (no name for it). The other….Well, let’s just call it an altogether Fail. Here’s what she wrote:

Hi, Sorry all I can think of in my head right now is “throwing together” a mix of sugar, butter, flour, egg whites and vanilla extract, “molding them together” into little balls on a cookie tray and then putting them in the oven. Sounds like how my grandmother made her cake. So they might be good cookies. Might even try them myself. Good luck!

Uhhhhhh.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or what. This isn’t even a recipe! “They might be good cookies.” Really? The only thing I can think of is that the woman felt compelled to forward something on (out of guilt?) but in fact, she should have felt more badly about sending on something that is completely unworkable. No amounts, no instructions, and perhaps, if I’m lucky, I’ll get something that resembles cookies.

Mind = blown.

When I told another girlfriend of mine about the response, since I had also forwarded the chain on to her, she told me that someone who was a friend of a friend had re-forwarded the chain email back to her instead of sending her a recipe. Apparently people weren’t grasping the concept very well, and also? They felt overly pressured to take the instructions literally and think of something in their head, as opposed to going to The Source of All Information, the interwebs, and finding a recipe by typing in “cookie recipe” in Google. That’s literally all one has to do.

(Don’t even get me started on the misuse of quotes. I felt like Joey from Friends was lurking nearby. If you haven’t seen that episode, definitely do.)

Days have passed and that is all I have received. I didn’t put a ton of effort or sentiment behind forwarding the chain so my feelings aren’t hurt that I’m not getting a lot of recipes back. It’s more that I’m astounded that that’s the best one can do on our Internet dependent, instant gratification planet. It’s not like I asked people to make up gift baskets with four different types of handmade cookies and deliver them door-to-door in a wagon.

All this talk of cookies and it being close to lunchtime makes me hungry. I think I’ll go “find something to eat.”

The Season of Coco/a

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for both Coco and cocoa; one being a person, although not Chanel. Side note: don’t Google Image “Coco” if you’re trying to find Conan O’Brien. Learned that the hard way.

As I was saying, I am a huge fan of the brilliant Conan O’Brien. The other is actual cocoa, but more specifically, hot chocolate.

First things first.

I can’t state enough how happy I am to see the return of Conan to television, where he belongs. When he left NBC, there was this vacuous feeling from his absence. He did me a real solid by returning to television as soon as he could. Thanks, man.

As most people in the given universe are aware of by now, he earned the nickname “Coco,” bestowed upon him by Tom Hanks – and it stuck but good. He probably hates it but it made him even more recognizable, if that is at all possible.

His humor is a breath of fresh air to what I consider the stale, flaccid format of late-night television. He’s a big goofball but he makes it sharp and witty. Plus, the guy’s got heart.

He’s not on nearly as late as he used to be but if I were still living in New York, even his coming on at 11pm is earlier than when he was broadcasting after most people were asleep. I don’t have to worry about staying up, though, since I can DVR the comedy and watch it the next morning or after work.

His incessant mocking of TBS is hysterical. One long-running joke is this whole bit about the Conan Blimp. I also adore that Andy is back and in my opinion, better than ever. There seems to be a more relaxed format to the show now, where Conan and Andy can take more liberties with improv and Conan can do what he does best, which is take a joke, make fun of it, then drag it out (à la Family Guy). Love! Andy even acknowledges this point in this article, stating, “You know what, let’s just have some fun. Let’s just do a show now that we’re not replacing anybody. We’re not replacing David Letterman. We’re not replacing Jay Leno. We’re just startin’ up a show from scratch, which we’ve never gotten to do before. There’s no precedent. There’s no shoes to fill. We just get to do what we want.”

Amen. I have no doubt that Conan will succeed, even if we have trouble finding the actual channel on which it resides.

What’s just as good, if not better, than Coco? Cocoa. Especially hot cocoa, as seen by this delectable cup. Or watching Coco whilst drinking hot cocoa. Mmmmmm. There’s a thought. (Yep, that’s my idea of a good fantasy right there. Conan would do a great job of making fun of that.)

I personally make kickass hot chocolate and in college, we would put Bailey’s in it, dubbing it “adult hot chocolate.” There’s one recipe there, should you care to be adventurous.

However, THE BEST hot chocolate I’ve ever had in my life was at Angelina in Paris. Yes, you’d have to go to Paris to drink it but it is hands down the best stuff you will ever drink. It’s served with ice water to help you counteract its richness and costs over 6 Euros per person (at least it did in 2004). It is a creamier version of a melted chocolate bar in a cup, topped with homemade chantilly (a.k.a, whipped cream) and makes you full for hours. Delectable.

If I could have that while watching Conan, I’d have the best of both worlds. Coco/a bliss.

Now that I’m making myself salivate…I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, with or without coco/a. Preferably with.

❤ ❤ ❤

2015 Update: I ended up going to Paris during my honeymoon and we definitely hit up Angelina! Below are some photos. Just as blissfully divine as I remembered it.

Angelina 3_Zoe Says Angelina 2_Zoe Says Angelina 1_Zoe Says