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.

Vintage Leather bag from Melrose Trading Post

Check out this awesome score I found at the Melrose Trading Post, the  flea market held every Sunday in the Fairfax High School parking lot. I love the rush that comes from being on the hunt in flea markets but I absolutely hate the negotiating part. Left to my own devices I would pay full price for everything which isn’t exactly the smartest thrifting strategy. Fortunately, E. Dohrmann loves to bargain which is another reason why he’s my favorite travel partner. I walked by it four times before finally sending my mom (who was visiting from Portland) and E. Dohrmann over there to do my bidding for me. I absolutely love the “Dr.’s bag” feeling and it fits both cameras and my lenses perfectly. Say hello to my new camera bag.

Melrose Trading Post
7850 Melrose Ave  
Los Angeles, California 90046

One Last Round

Pickleback_Woodsman_Tavern//Footbridge to the Feast

Well, Folks. My stint at The Woodsman Tavern has come to close…but not without one last round of Picklebacks*.

I’d like to take a moment to thank my Woodsman Family. What a year and a half we’ve had together! Thank you to the one and only Carly Laws for your fearless leadership and anchoring grace. Thank you Jason Barwikowski for your companionship and confidence. Thank you Evan Zimmerman for teaching me that respect is earned and for demanding nothing less than 100% every damn time. Thank you Duane Sorenson for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something so special. To the rest of the crew: It’s been a pleasure working alongside you. I will miss so much about being part of this family and the space we created. Be good to one another. Remember to take care of the people who come into our house. Take pride in what you do and always remember to lift each other up. I will always be proud of what we accomplished together.

*For those of you who are unfamiliar with what a “pickleback” is, I’m so sorry you have yet to encounter these magical shots yet—but also delighted that I have the honor of enlightenig you! A pickleback is a shot of whiskey chased by a shot of pickle brine. Sounds disgusting, right? WRONG! I’m kind of a pickle hater (I’m working on it!) and even I love these. You see, the pickle juice neutralizes both the taste of the whiskey and the burn of the alcohol. They go down quick and easy…sometimes a little too quick and easy. This drink was the “unofficial official” cocktail of the Woodsman crew, especially at the close of long night. While I bet all picklebacks are good, ours is GREAT because we use Powers Irish Whiskey (which actually tastes great on its own) and we get our pickle juice from the one and only Kingdom of Brine, Picklopolis. Try making your own at home or better yet, stop in at The Woodsman Tavern and try one of ours.

Meet Kristen D. Murray. Her interests include gardening, hiking the Columbia Gorge and Oregon Coast, bunny rabbits, and Bordeaux wine. She also happens to be one of Portland’s most celebrated pastry chefs (extra bonus points). When she’s not busy preserving homegrown concord grape coulis or mastering black pepper cheesecake she’s working on her next magnum opus, setting down the foundation for building her own shop in town. I was recently invited into Kristen’s adorable NE Portland bungalow to shoot pictures for another project but I couldn’t help but ask to poke around in her extensive book collection, represented in several rooms throughout her home. Basically she’s a gal after my own heart.