Bitter Orange Cocktails
Recipes History Bitter Orange Cocktails

What do you do with bitter/sour oranges? Due to their acid, they’re probably not anybody’s favorite fruit to peel and eat. But that abrasive personality makes them ideal for marinades, marmalades, salad dressings, sauces and spreads, homemade bitters and cocktails. Like other citrus, the bitter orange is native to southeast Asia, but it spread to Spain in the 10th Century and later to Mexico and the Caribbean as a side effect of colonialism in the new world.

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Updating Tom and Jerry
Recipes History Updating Tom and Jerry

My mother owns a Tom & Jerry punch bowl and the accompanying traditional mugs (as seen here). All of these are pulled out for making Tom & Jerrys at Christmas, and for the rest of the year they hibernate quietly in cardboard boxes alongside the other festive holiday decor. In my (now quite fuzzy) childhood memories of the ’70s and early ’80s, the adults in my life were young and long-haired.

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A (Modern) Jazz Age Cocktail:
Recipes Travel A (Modern) Jazz Age Cocktail:

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” F. Scott Fitzgerald Say you find yourself standing on an uninhabited island among gaily costumed picnickers with a cocktail in your hand, a dance floor and orchestra before you, a pie contest to your left and the Dorothy Parker Society just behind you. Never fear. You’re probably not dreaming. You probably didn’t fall into a time warp.

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Day 11: Herein We Go a Wassail-ing
Recipes Day 11: Herein We Go a Wassail-ing

*This post marks Day 11 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. When I lived in Minneapolis, one of my friends organized annual holiday caroling. It was probably my favorite thing about the whole holiday season. We spent far more time “practicing” than caroling (you can accurately insert “goofing around” for the quoted material above), but it was good fun for all. We stuck to the classics, and Here We Go a-Wassailing was always on the list.

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Day 4: Holiday Glühwein
Recipes Day 4: Holiday Glühwein

*This post marks Day 4 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . Ever open up a bottle of wine and then wish you hadn’t bought it? It’s not corked or anything. It’s just… not your thing. The Germans have a thrifty and practical solution for this in the form of glühwein, which you might also know as Norwegian glögg or simply mulled wine. In fact, most wine-drinking cultures have some kind of mulled wine tradition, so I don’t wonder whether this recipe started with the need to do something with unsatisfactory vino.

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The Ginger Fizz: Vote. Drink. Hope for the Best.
The Ginger Fizz: Vote. Drink. Hope for the Best.

I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but in a tense time of great anticipation for the American people, this Election Day brings long lines at the polling places, a huge throng of first-time voters (noobs) and the need for a great autumnal cocktail. Because whether you’re happy with the outcome of the poll returns or not, I think we’re all going to need a drink. I’m not going to go with red drinks or blue drinks here, because 1.

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Old Mr. Boston and His Bronx Cheer

Flipping through my Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide (1960 edition, naturally…), I was struck by how many random place names pop up in the cocktails. There’s the Alaska and Alabama cocktails, but with no explanation, Old Mr. Boston gives no such honor to Arizona or Arkansas. Baltimore gets representation in the form of both the Baltimore Bracer and the Baltimore Eggnog, but is there a Brooklyn ? No.

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Raising a Glass to Brazil: The Blackberry Caipirinha Cocktail
Recipes Raising a Glass to Brazil: The Blackberry Caipirinha Cocktail

I just want to take a moment to say “thank you” to Brazil. Why? Well, although the country has some challenges (poverty, etc.) those lovely Brazilians export a lot of wonderful things to the citizens of the rest of the world. Bossa nova, samba, capoeira, jiu-jitsu, feijoada, churrascaria, The Girl From Ipanema… all things evocative of sensuality and living life with verve. So thanks very much, Brazil! I raise a caipirinha to you.

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A Hammock, a Pimm’s Cup and Thou
Recipes A Hammock, a Pimm’s Cup and Thou

Personally, I feel that fully half of what makes the Pimm’s Cup such a beguiling summer cocktail is in the garnish. There are multiple variants, of course. Honestly many of them look waaaay too complicated for a lazy summer day. I favor the ultra-simple slice of cucumber + slice of lemon. But note that I’m pulling out my aunt’s amazing antique cups for this… presentation is important. Pimm’s makes a variety of styles, and that namesake cocktail made with the formulation known as No.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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