Category Archives: Specialty Drinks

My Favorites: Morning Indulgence


As many of you may know, I am a bean head.  This refers not to the shape of my cranium but my love of coffee and espresso based beverages.  I’m sure this has something to do with years of conditioning from my mother who every morning at her first sip of java with announce with glee, “COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE”.  Yes, it is five times in a row….every time.

My father then took the liberty of turning me into a I must have a cappuccino after a nice meal kind of guy.

Then comes university with late night cramming where coffee and straight espresso got me through many finals.

I’m a rather frugal feller when it comes to spending on myself so a triple tall caramel macchiato and a sausage roll from Starbucks is a real treat and my favorite morning indulgence.

Are you a bean head?  What’s your favorite morning indulgence?


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Hot Buttered Rum

Somehow this post that was supposed to be posted immediately went into my drafts and I’m just noticing now..
Happy very belated Hot Buttered Rum Day!


January 17th is hot buttered rum day.  Unfortunately I had to work the night shift yesterday so was unable to participate until the wee hours this morning and soon there after passed out.

Having learned from my previous experience with ordering obscure beverages at restaurants I decided it was worth the wait to make it myself.  Also, having done so I can supply you with the recipe:

55g Butter
100g Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1 dash ground clove
Rum of choice

Cream the ingredients together and return to the fridge until ready to serve.

Serving:  Take one heaping tablespoon off the butter/sugar mix and plop it into a coffee mug.  Add 1 and 1/2 ounces rum (my rum of choice was Captain Morgan’s).  Fill the mug the rest of the way with boiling water.  Stir until all the sugar has dissolved and enjoy.

Simple as that my friends and it was quite delicious if I do say so myself, and of course I do say so myself.

Happy hot buttered rum day!


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Unexpected Feasts

Ever had your day all planned out only to have cash thrown at you and be told you need to make dinner a littler more special tonight?  Well, there is a lot more context that belongs in this story but it’s funnier without it so I’m going to stretch the truth with you knowledge (That’s not lying is it?) and tell you that’s exactly what happened to me.  At 11:30am.  Guests will start arriving at 4pm.

So wait, shop, cook, and have a meal ready in 4 1/2 hours….AND make it special!?!?  I have to admit, I panicked for about 15 minutes until I decided to grab little miss cupcake, head to the store and hope for the best of luck.

The following is what happens if you put me on the spot:

We’ve collected a few mini bottles of vodka and had been meaning to do a side by side comparison tasting for weeks now so I decided it would be a perfect time to bring these out.Of course you can’t just taste a bunch of vodka without anything to eat so our first course was a cheese and charcuterie platter:

The platter consisted of sweet chorizo, parma ham, crottin de chavignol, aged gouda, goose liver pate with sauternes, water crackers, and baked goats cheese stuffed figs wrapped with parma ham (not pictured).

Next up was the “salad” course with salmon 3 ways. (ceviche, pan fried, & smoked)

The mixed greens were tossed in a bit of the ceviche liquid.  The smoked salmon was wrapped around avocado slices and asparagus spears.

Next we had the red course.

Marinated, pan-fried lamb chop.  Oven roasted cherry tomatoes. Seared beef cubes stuffed with roasted garlic and toasted pine nuts topped with homemade demi-glace

Last but not least was a veggie course.Asparagus spears sauteed in butter and black garlic, topped with lumpfish roe.

Of course cupcake pitched in and made us two wonderful desserts.Strawberry & basil parfait.

Follow by the piece de resistace…A sponge cake layered with fresh strawberries and strawberry basil cream.  YUM!!

So after the 20 minutes of panic dinner turned out to be just fine.  In fact, it was pretty good if I do say so myself….and of course I do say so myself.


**FYI** Happy pound cake day!


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Mulled wine

Every time I think of mulled wine it instantly brings me back to that first year living in Germany.  My first day of school was a field trip to a local market where I got to sample many sweets and even got to bring a few home.  Mom also got to have her first sip of Gluhwein….which I believe in the coming months/years we drank enough to supply a whole village.

Gluhwein is probably exactly the same thing as mulled wine but I can’t say for sure as I was a bit too young to consume it then and have created a recipe that I know as mulled wine but the taste is quite similar to what I remember.

Mulled Wine

1 bottle red wine (whatever you were going to drink next is fine…unless you’ve got expensive tastes…then save that one for later and go pick up a decent bottle of pinot noir or merlot)

1 large orange
6 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4cup (60ml) brandy
1/2cup sugar (100gms)

Get 6 good size pieces of orange rind off the orange by using the tip of your knife to just cut the skin into 6 equal sections and pulling them off in strips.  Juice the meat of the orange and set aside.  Remove all of the white part (pith) from the orange skin and pierce with a clove.

Put the wine, brandy, sugar, and orange juice in a pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely combined.  Add the orange peel and cinnamon stick, lower the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes.

Strain out all the chunks, fill up a mug and enjoy.  To save for later simply allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, put in a container with a lid and refrigerate.  You can keep it this way for up to a week.  Simply fill a mug and pop it in the microwave for about 2 minutes and enjoy!

Happy mulled wine day!


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5 flowers tea


January is hot tea month! (yes, it is also soup month)
What better way to celebrate than to take part in some local tea. 

Chinese herbal teas are quite popular in Hong Kong with a shop selling their brews in just about every mall and MTR station.  Today at work they are serving 5 flowers tea which is probably my personal favorite of the Chinese herbal teas.

5 flower tea consists mainly of honeysuckle, crysanthamum, silk cotton, plumeria rubra, and pueraria lobata.  The combination can help to remove heat and dampness.  If you have a sore throat, insomnia, or indigestion this tea may be helpful for you.  Unlike many Chinese herbal tea, this one actually tastes good!

What is your tea of choice this month?

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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Beverage, Specialty Drinks


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Hot Toddy

Happy hot toddy day!

I had a hot toddy this evening at Shelly’s Yard in SOHO.  Like most mixed beverages there isn’t exactly a right or wrong way to do things…just some general guidelines.  Unfortunately this bartender took the cheapest way out.  It was basically hot lemon water with some cloves and cheap whiskey.

I had slightly higher expectations as I had been looking into making one at home and the recipe I was going to go with involved tea, honey, and rum.  I think I’ll still have to try this recipe before I decide I never need to have another hot toddy again…but if it tastes like the one I had tonight…that one will def be the last!

How was your hot toddy day?


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January 5, 2012: Whipped Cream

Happy whipped cream day!!

I’m not sure sure about your family, but in my house…we love whipped cream.  Things like strawberries, pie, and banana splits are just and excuse to whip out the whipped cream.

Tonight I decided (shockingly) to keep whipped cream day a bit low key by only using it as a garnish for my strawberry coladas…but it was at least freshly whipped cream!In my family we have a bit of a tradition.  It typically applies to holidays when pie is served, but any time whipped cream is around you are not safe…

Whether it be Redi, Cool, or fresh….let me know how you like to celebrate whipped cream day.


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