Cocktail O’Clock: St. Patrick’s Day Hangover

Caramel Clover

If you’re not ready to put down the Jameson’s yet, at least include some coffee.

This (post) St. Patrick’s Day cocktail comes via Lulu’s in Hoboken, NJ.

Caramel Clover

2 oz Jameson 12yr
1 1/2 oz Baileys Caramel
1/4 oz Vanilla Syrup
2 oz Espresso

Mix ingredients together, shake and pour into a glass. Top with whipped cream and drizzled caramel, dust with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pinnacle® Coffee King

Cocktail O’Clock: Coffee King

Pinnacle® Coffee King
Okay, so we’re already past Fat Tuesday, but let’s be real. You didn’t give up alcohol for Lent and you loooove a sweet, sweet iced coffee. So why not combine all of these facts (Fat Tuesday happened + still drinking + coffee is great) into one glorious cocktail?

Pinnacle Vodka recently released a King Cake flavored vodka that I guarantee is perfect any time of the year, Mardi Gras or not. They shared this recipe with us, and I’m gonna say it just might replace my morning Starbucks run… so maybe my Lenten resolution is to drink yet more alcohol? I’m sure that’s what they had in mind with the whole Lent thing, right?

Coffee King Cocktail

1 part Pinnacle® King Cake Vodka
1 part Kamora Coffee Liqueur
2 parts Cream

Shake all ingredients with ice. Pour into double Old Fashioned glass.

Endless Beers: Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout


ABV: 7.5%

In my travels around the world of beer, I took out the bottle with the owl on top. Turns out my next stop was in Japan: Hatachino Nest. In the hours before bed, I’ve been craving more stouts and darker beers than IPAs and lighter beers. Must be the cold, dark (particularly without power) weather we’ve been having in Philly. Anyway, I digress…on to the Japanese espresso stout. This beer is a sipper, but in a good way.

With the name “Espresso Stout,” it better live up to its name and provide a rich espresso flavor. I’ve grown skeptical of many of these kinds of stouts, because I’ve found more chocolate or vanilla flavors than coffee. If you are looking for a stout that has a bold coffee flavor—this is it. The taste throughout the entire drink is remniscent of coffee beans followed by dark chocolate.

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Pretty as a Picture (At Long Last)


I consider myself to be an above average home cook.  I get lots of practice, what with putting dinner on the table seven nights a week and all (six if my husband gives in to my love of Pete’s Apizza.)  Desserts, though….not so much. I don’t even care for desserts most of the time.  I prefer a cold beer and a handful of sour cream and onion potato chips for a late-night snack. Still, it is nice to bring a show-stopping sweet to a potluck now and then.   Plus, I just know that one of these days, someone is going to rope me into a bake sale.  So, when the chance arose to review a copy of The Big Book of Desserts and Pastries by Claes Karlsson, I volunteered.

As expected, when the book arrived, it was filled with beautiful, full-color photos.  I skipped right past the candy section. As I said, when it comes to desserts, I know my limits.  If it involves a thermometer, I’m out. I settled on the honey pine nut cake. I had all of the ingredients on hand, the directions were simple, and the picture in the book was drool-worthy. But my DIY result was…disappointing. Sure, my little pine nut cupcakes tasted good, kind of like sugar cookies with pine nuts on top, but they did not look particularly beautiful.  Mission not accomplished.


Next, I went for the thin tuiles.  This go-around, I even bought heavy cream, something not normally on hand at our house.  I mixed, spoon, and baked as per the instructions. The resulting cookies were so fragile that the trip from the pan to the cooling rack was enough to shatter them. I blame the fact that the recipe calls for an oven heated to 390 degrees, and chances are that my very old, non-digital oven was off by more than a few notches.  Grr. The crumbled cookies did make an excellent topping for ice cream, so all was not lost, but I still had not achieved my goal of a photo-worthy dessert.

After failing twice, I was ready to move this book from the cookbook shelf to the coffee table.  Clearly, in my less than capable hands, it would be better for browsing. I was having tea with a friend the next day, however, so I decided to make one last attempt, with a recipe for coffee-flavored chocolate cake.  I didn’t have the correct pan shape, but I refused to let this stop me.  An hour or so later, I sighed with relief as I pulled out my camera.  The resulting cake cubes were not only delectably chocolatey with a hint of coffee-flavor,  they were gorgeous. Thank goodness.


Coffee-Flavored Chocolate Cake

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Everyday Iced Coffee in 5 Steps: Not Rocket Science


I don’t know when this happened, but iced coffee has somehow become some sort of novelty. Probably because I constantly hear people lamenting about how HARD it is to make iced coffee. It’s HARD when I pour boiling hot coffee over ice cubes and it all melts and makes my coffee watery. It’s HARD to double brew my coffee. It’s HARD to have iced coffee in a travel mug because there isn’t room for the ice! It’s HARD to get sugar to dissolve in cold liquid. Are you listening to yourselves? Seriously.

No. You don’t have to do that. It doesn’t have to be this way.

If you’re a coffee snob and you like your coffee fresh, like I-only-drink-it-within-5-minutes-of-brewing-it-or-it’s-gross fresh, move along. For the rest of us…listen up. Here’s what you want to do.

  1. Brew a pot of your morning coffee, but make a few cups extra.
  2. Add sugar (or sweetener of choice, if you swing that way at all). Sweeten the entire pot of coffee, while it’s hot.
  3. Consume some of the hot coffee. Let the rest cool on the counter.
  4. Fill an ice cube tray with some cold coffee, freeze. Why would you make ice cubes out of water? WHY.
  5. Fill a pitcher with the remaining coffee, stick in the fridge.

In a few hours, you have cold coffee in your fridge to enjoy at your leisure. With a covered pitcher, this lasts a few days. Make a little bit of extra coffee each morning to add to the pitcher. If you run out of the cold, refrigerator coffee, pour hot coffee over the coffee ice cubes that are already in your fridge.

Where’s my James Beard?

Coffee – It's for Serious, Ya'll


Remember when coffee was just some hot brown stuff that helped you get the eff out of bed? Yeah, I hardly can either. Nowaways it”s a carefully crafted, minutely measured, thermal-flowed, pour-overed hot mess of a trendy, delicious beverage. And obviously, we love it. This week on Narratively .

Check out my interview, plus the rest of Narratively”s coffee-centric week here:

The Coffee Chronicler: New York’s foremost java expert explains how we got to $5 single-brews and $75-a-pound beans, and just where the heck we’re going next.

An Ode to Beautiful Brown Sludge: In an age of pour-over pretention and venti half-caf caramel macchiatos, a love letter to the mind-jolting, tongue-burning, time-killing power of a regular old cuppa joe.

Everyman for Himself: Meet two New Yorkers named Sam with a plan to radically alter your coffeehouse experience.

Tales from Baristas: New York’s professional coffee connoisseurs say what they really think about pouring, pricing, and waking up with the roosters to keep you cool, calm and caffeinated.

From the Bowels of a Beast: In the foggy hills of the northern Philippines, committed and courageous harvesters reach into the unlikeliest of places to produce some of the world’s most coveted coffee.

New Obsession: Black Cat Classic Espresso


I recently picked up a bag of  this Black Cat Espresso (one of the offerings of Intelligentsia’s Black Cat Project). This is not your over-roasted-to-mimic-flavor Starbucks espresso. The beans are a fairly light Latin American blend, with hints of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and cherry. With a splash of milk, it’s a perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Most of the at-home espresso machines I’ve used make a dark, bitter, unappetizing shot. I prefer using a french press, which I feel makes it easier to control the outcome of the espresso–I get a rich cup with a fair amount of crema on top. Plus, they are about 90% cheaper than most espresso machines.

To brew espresso at home using a french press:

  1. Measure out 1/4 cup beans. Grind them slightly finer than you would for a typical press (about a medium grind).
  2. Measure 1 cup of cold, filtered water and heat in a tea kettle or saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from heat (cover if using a saucepan) and let sit for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour the water over the ground beans and give it a quick stir and cover. Let steep for one minute, then press the plunger down. Pour immediately into a short mug (4-oz. mugs work the best). Try it with a swirl of honey, a splash of milk, or just on its own. Serves 2.
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