A Night with Cocktail Courier

I’m not a huge drinker. I never have been. I prefer quality over quantity. Give me a good hard cider or a uniquely crafted cocktail once a month over numerous Happy Hours with subpar wine or another pink frozen margarita made with cheap tequila. Like the development of a memorable recipe, the craft of creating a stand-out cocktail is a true art. Could I do it? Hell no. Can I appreciate what others do? Absolutely.

A few weeks ago, the Instagram fiend in me came across a contest on Cocktail Courier’s photo feed: Like the photo they just posted, tag a friend, and be entered to win two boxes of Daisy de Elqui, a pisco-based drink by mixologist Roberto Rosa of The Plaza Hotel. What is Cocktail Courier, exactly? Think Blue Apron, but for drinks. Top bartenders have crafted amazing cocktail recipes. You, the future home bartender and imbiber, scan through their website for drink options choose which one(s) you want to make. Cocktail Courier will deliver all of the pre-portioned ingredients to your door. How wonderful! Well, a few days after I liked that photo, I got an Instagram notification alerting me that I had won, as well as the friend I had tagged. (Hey, Adam!) NICE! We didn’t order our boxes right away, but after an exceedingly long work month, topped off by an excruciatingly painful work week, I decided, “Yeeeah. We’re ordering both boxes to be delivered for Friday.” Cheers to that decision!

On said Friday night, Adam, his brother James, my roommate Vedika, and my college friend Lauren gathered in my cozy living room, surrounded by charcuterie, brie, liquor, and the ethereal sounds of Erykah Badu Radio on iTunes. We cracked open the boxes to find a very neat and tidy set-up. All portions of liquor were sealed in separate padded cardboard sections. The jalapeño-honey mix and fresh-squeezed lemon juice came in a sealed bag with a cold pack to keep them at a perfect temperature. Even the grapes that came for the cocktails were green and plump. One has the option to buy mixing tools and glasses from the web site. Luckily for me, Vedika bartends on the side and provided me with all of my tools. (Roommate perks.)

This was my first time crafting an  honest – to – goodness cocktail since, and correct me if I’m wrong, mixing Brugal with some ginger ale in a red Solo cup at a house party doesn’t really count. I’m so delightfully Type A in so many aspects of my life, so I followed the directions to a T and made the first four glasses individually. Adam made the second four glasses, and he just put it all of the ingredients into the cocktail shaker at once. (So, we differ in our techniques a little…) Regardless, each glass turned out delicious! Those that know me well know my aversion to anything spicy; case in point, when Vedika was making dinner the other night with onions and Indian spices, my entire face started to burn as I was idly sitting in our living room watching Hulu. Yeah. It’s that bad. I knew there was jalapeño in this cocktail, but the bite of it was offset by the tang of the lemon, the slightly citric taste of the muddled green grapes, and the sweetness of the orange liqueur and honey. This cocktail was absolutely perfect for a summery Friday night!

To check out the cocktail recipe that we crafted, the Daisy de Elqui, click on this pretty little link.

I’m definitely digging Cocktail Courier. As a sporadic drinker, I doubt I’d sign up for a subscription anytime soon, but with the option of à la carte ordering, I could definitely see myself ordering another box of cocktail fixins in the future. It certainly makes for a unique, fun, and interactive evening with a few good friends.

Just a few photos of the evening…

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NOTE: The post is not an ad for Cocktail Courier, nor have I been asked to speak about it. I merely wanted to share my wonderful experience!

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That Time My Camera Was Under Quarantine, And Other Musings

Let me tell you: It’s very frustrating to work on a burgeoning food web site when one of your most important tools is under a temporary quarentine. I am currently undergoing an unwanted, yet common, New York City nightmare: BEDBUG EXTERMINATION. I’m so pleased that it didn’t happen between six years and three apartments in Manhattan, but I’m not so pleased that it finally happened at all. (Haaa.) We’re clean, but them lil’ critters sure don’t discriminate. Bedbug extermination goes in phases: You get the first spray, then you have to wait at least a week before another spray, because the first spray only kills the adults, not the eggs. You need to wait for the eggs to hatch to kill the rest of ’em. Last Wednesday was Spray #1, and this Saturday morning was Spray #2, and hopefully the last one. (Cross your fingers! I want to take my life out of plastic bags!) Both my roommates and our dog are out of town for the weekend, so I waited out the fumes by myself for the three hours at one of my favorite neighborhood spots: Indian Road Cafe. I drank a Matcha Latte and ate a Basil Meyer Lemon Tart that made me want to scream like Sally Albright at Katz’s.

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This photo looks like spring! 

What does this all have to do with my camera?

Well, the ol’ girl and her lenses have been tied up in thick plastic bags until the extermination mist has settled, the bugs have gone to Heaven (or Hell, hopefully), and our apartment isn’t a total war zone anymore. It really sucks when you have so many recipes developed and you’re itching to both cook and photograph them. Oooh, my camera. My baby! I miss her so! She’s so close, yet, so far away.

Here’s hoping that, next week, we are joyously reunited.

In the meantime, many cool things have happened while I’ve been sans Canon.

– I have been developing a couple new recipes and, in test runs, they’ve turned out well! I’m going to have a zucchini noodle dish coming up in a future entry, and you’ll surely love it…as long as you love peas, too! (And why wouldn’t you?) I also have a simple yet filling three ingredient pancake recipe that has saved me on many mornings at work. File it under “Makes Multiple Breakfast For Your Work Week”. YES!

– I am a photographer, but my preferred subjects are easily posable and always edible. People? I can not do that. “Pose this way”? “Smile this way”? “Look this way”? This are all phrases that scare me half to death. How photographers deal with people is beyond me, especially antsy people like me that are constantly feeling like their hair is out of place, their lip gloss isn’t pink enough, or they aren’t looking in the right direction. (Okay, you could even call me a “spaz” if you must. Ha!) Well, I praise Krystal Balzer and her photography! She’s a friend of mine that works at the same hospital department as me, and she also has a wonderful photography business. We recently had a photo shoot at one of my other favorite local spots, Darling Coffee. I wanted some professional photos of me for this site, LinkedIn, et al. The lighting was perfect that evening, the mint verbena tea was delicious, and she took some amazing shots of me. I’m not lying: I got a little teary-eyed when she sent me the sneak peek. (I’m an emotional gal, sometimes!) It was just what I wanted!

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My eyes are really this color. #truthbombsdropping 

I can’t wait to share more shots in a few weeks; in the meantime, please check out Krystal Balzer Photography. This girl is wicked talented, and she has an excellent photographic style.

– I made my way to Wassail with my two dearest friends and fellow foodies, Lori and Hilary. I am a huge fan of hard ciders, and I loved them before they got so recently popular. (I need to stake my claim. Heh.) I have an admittedly odd allergy to Brewer’s Yeast, and drinking beer or eating it as a supplement in food makes me physically ill. (Fun, eh?) This led me to being introduced to Woodchuck Cider in my later college years, and I never looked back! When I heard that the folks behind the Queens Kickshaw were going to open this spot in the Lower East Side, I counted down the days as if it was about to be Christmas. The gals and I shared some ciders and small plates, and it was a great experience! From fancy bottles over $100 to various draughts representing various countries and continents, I could not have asked for a more enjoyable Happy Hour! I had a tart yet lightly sweet pint of Hidden Star from Slyboro Cider House, and I would definitely recommend it to both the cider novice and the cider connoisseur.

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A typical Instagrammed Happy Hour. 

As another week begins, I look forward to more recipe development, spring-like temperatures, Peruvian Chicken at Flor de Mayo, my freshman year roommate’s wedding on Friday, exploring interesting food options in New Haven, Connecticut, and finally reuniting with my camera so I can feel a little more creatively whole again.

Have a wonderful week, and continue to seek satiation, y’all! 🙂