Pefecting Tiki

Ingredients for Tiki Cocktails

File today in the “good day at work” folder. I styled a shoot for a classic tiki cocktail known as the Captain’s Grog. While I wouldn’t classify myself as a tiki fan, mainly because I hate sugary drinks, I DO have a taste for the tropics so I was excited to take on this challenge.

The verdict: this drink is dangerous. As in, I could drink A LOT more than I should. There’s an abundance of fresh citrus, and the sweetness comes from maple syrup, which added a nice caramely depth to the drink. Important to note, I didn’t have any Falernum syrup* lying around (who does?!?!), so after some Googling I made my own by combining lime juice, lime zest, cloves, allspice, vanilla bean, fresh ginger, almond extract, and simple syrup. It was delicious and now I know why a recipe might call for Falernum and more importantly why I should have some in the house—though my homemade version was pretty top notch.

Try making this cocktail. I guarantee one will make you feel better. (Two will make you feel like you’re on vacation. And three will make you feel like a movie star on vacation [just before you pass out]). Summer is just around the corner folks, I can taste it!

Tiki Classic the Captain's Grog // Footbridge to the Feast

The Captain’s Grog

  • 1 oz. Myer’s dark rum
  • 1 oz. light Puerto Rican rum
  • 1 oz. gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 0.5 oz fresh orange juice
  • 0.5 oz maple syrup
  • 0.5 oz falernum
  • 0.5 oz orange liqueur
  • 3 drops vanilla extract
  • 3 drops almond extract
  • 1 oz soda water
  • Grapefruit wedge for garnish

1. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine all ingredients except for soda water.

2. Shake and then strain into a chilled double rocks glass.  Top with soda water, then stir.

*Falernum (pronounced fah-learn-um) is a sweet syrup used in Caribbean and tropical drinks. It contains flavors of almond, ginger and/or cloves, and lime, and sometimes vanilla or allspice. (Thank you, Wiki)

Cinco De Derby

Did you know that Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall on the same weekend this year? In preparation for this event I created a cocktail for one of my clients that celebrates both holidays. It’s a wicked combination of flavors: lime, jalapeno, mint, bourbon and tequila. Otherwise known as the pursuit of happiness in a glass. Happy Drinking, Friends.

Jalapeno Mint Julep Margarita for Cicno de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby

Jalapeño-Mint Julep Margaritas

  • 1 bunch mint
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, diced and seeded (leave seeds in if you prefer a very spicy cocktail)
  • 1.5 oz. Kentucky bourbon
  • 1.5 oz. Blanco or Plato Tequila
  • 1.5 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • ice
  • coarse sugar and salt

1. Make the mint agave simple syrup: Bring water and agave syrup to a simmer. Add mint with the exception of a few sprigs for garnish. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Strain syrup and discard mint.

2. Combine ice, diced jalapeño, bourbon, tequila, lime juice, and 1.5 oz. mint agave simple syrup in a cocktail shaker.

3. Shake well and pour over ice in a sugar and salt rimmed glass (if you’re fancy like that). Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge. Serve and Repeat.


I was having one of those days. Or nights to be exact. When there was miscommunication, hurt feelings, and then silence. Those nights are the worst and often make me turn to my kitchen, aka my therapist. I was seeking comfort but also knew I didn’t want to sabotage an otherwise pretty healthy day of eating, only to feel guilty about it later. Guilt was about the last thing I needed. Therefore my therapist prescribed this: a banana milkshake. Well, it’s a nearly vegan banana milkshake sans ice cream but you could’ve fooled me. It did the trick either way. Hopefully it’ll brighten your day (or night) when you need it most.

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 frozen bananas cuts in half
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt (optional)*
  • 2 Tbs. Almond Butter
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 5 ice cubes

Blend baby, blend. Milkshake glass and bendy red straw are also optional.

*the yogurt is optional and if omitted turns this into a vegan delight. Personally, I love the tang and richness that it added.

Breakfast: Home

Not gonna lie. Husband and I recently joined the juice craze. Based on a friend’s recommendation we watched two food documentaries, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and Forks Over Knives. Inspired, I convinced my mom to retrieve the Juice Tiger from her basement and put it out on loan. After dusting the ancient relic off, E. Dohrmann and I proceeded to embark on a five day cleanse where we consumed nothing but juice. At the end of it, our skin and allergies were noticeably better. We also felt like we were sleeping better. In other words, the cleanse worked miracles in our lives.

In the beginning we tried juicing every fruit and vegetable under the sun, including a recipe that once combined  carrot greens, pineapple, beets and radishes. Let’s just say some combinations work better than others. A good general rule of thumb is lemon and ginger make everything taste better. We’ve since upgraded to a Breville juicer which has turned out to be a life changing event. We now try to make juice at least once a day. Here’s the recipe to our favorite:

Mean Green Juice

  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Green Apples
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 inch piece of ginger

Apparently busy cooks with children rely on recipes like this when they’re tired and on edge. I also rely on recipes like this when I’m tired and on edge (minus the kid part).

Creamy Angel Hair Pasta with Chicken and Peas

(adapted from Melissa Clark‘s recipe, adapted from Jamie Oliver‘s recipe)

  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound angel hair pasta
  • 2/3 cup cream
  • 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2/3 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 1-2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino Romano cheese, more for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until aldente.

Simmer cream, shallot, basil, and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat until slightly reduced and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in peas and chicken breast. Simmer 2 minutes. Stir in the pasta, cheese, and nutmeg and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more cheese.