Friday, June 1, 2012


Photo by Michael Rougier from LIFE Photo Archive
Woman in Wedding Dress during an "Our Town" performance, 1962
I'm bummed that I haven't posted anything since April, but I've been super busy and so on hiatus I will go.  I hope to get some cocktail + book pairings up eventually, but I won't be blogging weekly anymore for now. This girl is planning her wedding! And after the nuptials I'll definitely be sharing some details here. But for now, I'm stepping back a bit - but only temporarily!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Dial Press, 2007; 274 pages; ISBN 0385340990
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

I had a listen to the audiobook of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I'm so happy to have experienced this book as a spoken performance. The audio production (published by Random House on 7 audio discs) features five different narrators all speaking each part. This added to the charm of the story, which was set after World War II in London.  The story unfolds as a series of letters.  It begins with writer Juliet Ashton who has enjoyed some success with a column that she penned during the war entitled "Izzy Bickerstaff Goes to War". She is on a book tour and is corresponding with her publisher, who is also a dear friend, and her best friend, who is his sister. She also writes to her publicist and soon enough to a resident of Guernsey Island. This is a man named Dawsey Adams who found her name in a book by Charles Lamb, who is his most favorite author.  Juliet is intrigued and so begins the correspondence between herself and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, of which Dawsey Adams is a member. 

As the letters progress you learn how the society was formed, which is bittersweet as it occurred during the war, an especially difficult time for the residents of Guernsey. One Elizabeth McKenna had a lot to do with forming the society and her story is woven into the letters, which eventually give Juliet the subject for her next project. She becomes so embroiled in the lives of the Guernsey society that she ends up on the island herself, despite a persistent suitor (who is a rich business man) and her life and friends in London.  The cast of characters is really marvelous as each has their own quirks and beliefs, but they all come together anyways to hold their Potato Peel Society meetings. Juliet becomes an "honorary" member and her writing project takes on a life of its own, and really, her life becomes a part of the Guernsey story which comes to  involve romance, an orphaned child, a jilted lover, and an enchanting island that is regaining what it lost during the war.

I'm so happy to hear that the movie was optioned as a film and so far it looks like Kate Winslet may be playing the part of Juliet, which I can totally picture (filming was delayed to 2013).  I highly recommend this book for anyone that enjoys historical fiction. The format of letters may not be best suited for reading for some, but I would recommend listening to the audio version as it was truly divine.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My Look Back: 1935

View of New York City, 1935
Photo from LIFE Photo Archive
I hope everyone is having a very lucky Friday the 13th today! It's raining cats and dogs here and I'm so happy that I'm indoors.  I'm taking a looksie back to the year 1935 and that year had two lucky number 13 Fridays, Friday, September 13th and Friday, December 13th 1935.  So here's a bit of trivia on 1935 and the number thirteen.
  • The number thirteen is one of the only three Wilson Prime numbers. The other two are 5 and 563.
  • Amelia Earhart became the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to California in January of 1935.
  • There are 13 loaves in a "Baker's Dozen".
  • The first canned beer was sold by the Kruger Brewing Co. of Richmond, Virginia in the form of Krueger Cream Ale. This was also the year that Alcoholic Anonymous was founded.
  • A gallon of gas cost 10 cents and the average new car sold for $625.
  • The number 13 has been worn by many well-known and high-achieving athletes during their professional careers and Olympic appearances, such as Alex Rodriguez, Dan Marino, Wilt Chamberlain, Yao Ming and Shaquille O'Neal, to name a few.
  • It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert won the Academy Award for Best Picture. See my movie review for it here.
  • The board game Monopoly was released by Parker Bros., although it's history can be traced as far back as 1904. In the 1950's three tokens were retired: a lantern, a purse and a rocking horse.
  • The moon travels around the earth 13 degrees each day. The 28 days of the lunar cycle can be broken down into 13 days to change from Full Moon to New Moon and back, plus one day of a Full Moon and one day of a New Moon.
  • Jerry Lee Lewis, Sonny Bono, Mercedes Sosa, Elvis Presley, Woody Allen, Julie Andrews, Luciano Pavarotti, and the current Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso) were born in 1935.
  • 13 is considered lucky and sometimes unlucky. In Judaism, 13 is the age when a young boy matures and becomes a Bar Mitzvah (when he bears responsibility for his Jewish faith) and 13 is the number of principles that exist in the Jewish faith.  In the ancient Iranian civilization, the 13th day of a new Iranian year is considered to be sinister and wicked. It is called Sizdah Be-dar and many people celebrate it by taking to the outdoors as a way to get rid of the day.  There are 13 witches in a coven and 13 turns make a traditional hangman's noose (anything less than 13 would not accomplish the task).
  • Babe Ruth hit his last home run of his career, which was his 714th.
  • Airplanes were no longer allowed to fly over the White House starting in 1935.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 16

Photo from
I could have sworn I was embroiled in a Mexican telenovela as I read The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.  You have your poor, pheasant girl.  She's feisty, she's beautiful, she's down to earth, and everybody loves her.  Then you have a handsome young chap who is in love with her and wants to give her the world.  But tragedy strikes.  The heroine falls on hard times and her beau is tricked into a relationship with her evil enemy (insert spoiled rich girl here).  But all is not lost for our beautiful heroine.  Somehow, someway she perseveres and with revenge in her heart, she rises above it all.  But the passionate love that exists between her and her beau will not be extinguished.  Will they meet again?  Or will the rich, evil people get in their way?  OK, so this was not exactly how the story went, but it was pretty darn similar.  Of course the writing is much, much better and a bit less sappy than most soap operas, so that was much appreciated as the book is extremely long (675 pages!).  I also loved the suspense that was thrown in as this takes place around the time of the Jack the Ripper murders in the Whitechapel district of London.  The aspects of tea are nicely woven into the story and I could just picture the charming grocers, tea rooms, and old streets of turn-of-the-century New York and London.  Which brings me to the cocktail I made for The Tea Rose.  It is a Cup of Tea-tini made with vodka, hibiscus tea infused simple syrup, and rose petal infused water.  Not too strong with just a hint of the rose water, I really enjoyed the sweet hibiscus flavor.  It's definitely not like any cup of tea I've had, but for a martini, it's quite lovely, so I would hope that Fiona could appreciate it, as she did with tea, tea roses and her Joe.

A Cup of Tea-tini
1 1/2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Hibiscus tea infused simple syrup*
2 oz. Rose infused water*
A fresh, clean rose petal for garnish

How to: Prep your martini glass by sticking it in the freezer for about 5 minutes. In a cocktail shaker mix ice, vodka, hibiscus simple syrup, and rose water. Shake for at least 20 seconds. Serve in your ice cold martini glass and garnish with one or two rose petals. *To make your own simple syrup, take 1/2 a cup of sugar to 1 cup of water and cook over medium heat (watching it and stirring every so often). When the sugar has dissolved, take the syrup off the heat and let it cool. To infuse it, soak dried hibiscus tea or leaves in the syrup overnight and drain them out before you use it.  You can do this with simple syrup you make or you can buy the simple syrup on its own and just infuse it yourself. To make your own rose water, see these great recipes: How to make rose water: 4 recipes

Here are the rose petals before I placed them on the stove to prepare the rose water
The hibiscus gave the drink it's beautiful pink hue, and of course the wonderful taste

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring Giveaway!

*And the winners are: Tatiana & Trish!! Congrats ladies and thanks to everyone for participating. I hope to host another giveaway in the next couple of months and stay tuned for my next cocktail and book pairing coming up next Friday, April 6th*

Spring is finally almost here and to celebrate I'm hosting a giveaway for these advance reader copies that will be published in the coming months.  Two lucky winners will be chosen randomly.  Here are the details of these young adult fiction titles (pictured from left to right):
  1. Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough, published by Candlewick Press, July 2012
  2. Dreamsleeves by Coleen Paratore, published by Scholastic Inc., April 2012
  3. Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi, published by Little, Brown, May 2012
  4. 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad, published by Little, Brown, April 2012
To enter, just click on the link at the very bottom of this post that will take you to the entry form, and if you are so inclined:
  • show some blog love and follow me 
  • "like" The Nostalgic Librarian on Facebook 
  • tweet the following "RT @msbibliotecaria is hosting a #teenbook #giveaway on Please RT!", or 
  • mention this giveaway on your own blog
Winners will be picked at random, and entries are valid only for United States residents. The deadline for this giveaway is March 25th, 2012 at 11:59pm (PST). Winners will be announced right here on this post on March 30th. Good luck everyone!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Book Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

HarperCollins, 2011; 409 pages; ISBN 0061728934
My Goodreads Rating: 4.5 stars

For my review of the first book in this series, The Carrie Diaries, read this post. Summer and the City picks up from when Carrie arrives in New York City and is greeted by Samantha, who just happens to be a cousin of Carrie's former frenemy Donna LaDonna from high School. I think I actually loved this one better than the first, but that is probably because it appealed more to my "adult" sensibilities. This time around Carrie is finally able to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer in Manhattan. She begins a writer's course and is taken under the wing of Samantha. At first she rooms with a fellow student and writer in a typical tiny New York apartment where her "room" consists of a small cubicle space cordoned off by dividers. That situation doesn't last long as Carrie gets kicked out by the grumpy landlady. Carrie also meets Miranda, who is immersed in feminist politics and has no qualms about voicing her opinion to everyone. After getting kicked out of her room and board Carrie goes to live with Samantha who at this point has her own place and is actually engaged to someone. The friendship between Carrie, Miranda and Samantha starts to emerge, as well as other relationships Carrie has with her classmates from the writer's course. Early on in the story she also begins a romantic relationship with a well known playwright who is at least 10 years older than her, which sort of hints at how Carrie is constantly attracted to older men in her later years. Actually Carrie's interest in sex and relationships is a lot more evident in this installment of the The Carrie Diaries and although I really enjoyed reading this aspect of her character, I was left wondering if the portions of the book that went into sexual details were appropriate for teen readers. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the writing style and characterizations. Carrie's wit and charm go a long way, and for fans of the TV series, this is a great way to get to know Carrie before she became Carrie Bradshaw, author of the Sex and the City column. I look forward to whatever comes next in young Carrie's teenage/young adult adventures.

Photo: From website

Friday, March 2, 2012

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 15

Photo from
I think Confessions of a Shopaholic may have been the book that first turned me onto Sophie Kinsella (the pseudonym for Madeleine Wickham) and I haven't looked back since.  The movie version is a complete bore and waste of talent because I normally love Isla Fisher.  In the book Becky Bloomwood is a bit obsessed with shopping. Well actually she is a complete shopaholic-freak and despite her mounting debt, she cannot resist the urge to bust out her plastic and spend, spend, spend!  She has an entire relationship with the various bank managers and credit card account managers completely through correspondence and suffice it to say, she uses her elaborate imagination in order to keep them at bay.  But her most endearing characteristic is her panache, her charm, and her big 'ole heart.  Becky may be caught up in whatever scarf or handbag is currently in style, but she still has a heart of gold.  For this book, and series really, I came up with a little tiny twist on the modern Cosmopolitan Martini (which is NOT really a martini, it is just served in a martini glass).  Instead of regular vodka I chose a watermelon tinged one and used a cranberry/raspberry juice blend and fresh lime juice.  The result is a very refreshing cocktail with lots of watermelon flavor, a bit sour and a bit sweet.  Also, since I used the light juice blend from Ocean Spray which only has 50 calories per 8 ounces, in total the drink will only set you back about 106 calories. Yay!

Shop 'til you Drop Cosmo
1 1/2 oz. Watermelon vodka
3 oz. Cranberry/Raspberry juice*
The juice of half a lime

How to: Prep your martini glass by sticking it in the freezer for about 5 minutes.  In a cocktail shaker mix ice, vodka, juice, and triple sec.  Shake for at least 20 seconds. Serve in your ice cold martini glass. *If you have fresh watermelon, I think watermelon juice would make this even better and I think I'll be trying it out once the weather heats up and watermelon is back in season at the grocery store.

Thank you to Carrie Bradshaw, another infamous shopaholic, for aiding in the rise of popularity of the Cosmo as well.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Classic threads

My Jackie O. get-up for Halloween, 2011
All the fashion hullabaloo from the past few weeks (fashion week, awards season) and the Oscars coming up this weekend has me thinking of course about beautiful clothing, so I want to share some of my favorite vintage clothing shops from my very favorite handmade and vintage marketplace, Etsy.  The first contributed to my Halloween costume of this past October, which you see above.  I purchased the dress from the shop gogovintage and it is a classic 1960's sheath dress with beautiful sequins and classic lines (including a very cute bow and pleats).  The rest of these gorgeous vintage items all come from some other uh-mazing shops, so viva la moda!

My Jackie O. dress from
A vintage faux fur cape from

A beaded wool sweater from
1960's mod shift dress from
Sequined heels from the 1960's from
A 1950's plaid cotton skirt from
A vintage tooled leather belt from
A vintage crochet trim blouse from

To explore more classic threads, visit

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Look Back: 1950

Photograph by Nina Leen from LIFE Photo Archive, August 1950
I thought it was appropriate for this look back to feature some fashion from 1950 since New York's Fashion Week just wrapped up. Actually one of the hottest trends seen at the various runway shows was fur (according to this Forbes article) as we see on this model from 1950. Others included navy and black, dragon scales, the white suit, and anything Asian, to mention a few.  Here are some things that were hot in 1950 (not necessarily in the fashion world).
  •  Mauna Loa in Hawaii began to erupt.
  • The first modern credit card was introduced in the form of the Diner's Club card, which was first given to 200 people in 1950. The card was accepted at 14 different restaurants in New York.
  • Cinderella was released by Walt Disney. It was the first full blown feature film to be released by Disney since Bambi in 1942.
  • The comic strip Peanuts first came out, appearing in seven different newspapers in October of 1950.
  • The first self service elevator was installed in Dallas, Texas by the company Otis Elevator.
  • Billy Ocean, Natalie Cole, Peter Gabriel, Cybill Shepherd, Karen Carpenter, Jay Leno, Nora Roberts and Huey Lewis were born.
  • The first organ transplant was performed in the form of a kidney transplant at Loyola University.
  • All the King's Men (1949) was awarded the Academy Award for Best Picture.
  • Phonevision, a very early form of Pay Per View was made available by Zenith. In 1951 some Zenith television models had special connectors specifically made for Phonevision.
  • Florence Chadwick swam the English Channel in 13 hours and 20 minutes, which broke the world record that American swimmer Gertrude Ederle had held until then.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Book Review: Strings Attached by Judy Blundell

Dial, 2011; 313 pages; ISBN 0545221269
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Like What I saw and how I lied by Judy Blundell, Strings Attached is another perfect read for someone who not only enjoys 20th century historical fiction, but also the old Hollywood glam days (see my review for What I saw.... here). In my book, it deserves every single star out of the five I gave it.

The main character, Kit (Kathleen) Corrigan, is a triplet, and along with her sister Muddie and her brother Jaime, they have been accustomed to performing and doing small endorsements almost since birth as the Corrigan Three (pushed on by their dad; their mom died giving birth to them). But Kit dreams of acting and dancing on Broadway. Despite her self-proclaimed bad luck, she manages to secure a small-bit part in a "stinkpot" show and pretty soon she is off to NYC to continue pursuing her dreams. Kit is 17, she's dropped out of high school and her boyfriend and brother have both enlisted in the army.

Once in New York she gets a chorus line girl job, but she's far from the Broadway lights still. That's when Nate Benedict comes knocking. He is her boyfriend Billy's father. He is also a lawyer who may or may not have ties to the mob. Nate offers Kit an apartment and a job as a Lido doll, which is a big step up from being a chorus girl. But the deal comes with some strings attached (even though Nate doesn't present it like this). Since Billy will be visiting before he is shipped to Korea, Nate wants to set up Kit so that Billy has something to live for. But Nate doesn't know that Kit and Billy broke up before he left for training. Kit is torn between her intense love for Billy, whether or not she wants to get back together with him, her desire to make it big in New York, and some things from the past that she shares with Mr. Benedict. Actually there is a lot of back story that gets slowly revealed throughout the book. Although the main story is happening in the fall of 1950, some chapters are prefaced with a month and date from the late forties, or even late thirties in some instances. So although the story is about Kit, it's also about her family, the Benedict family, and her neighbors in NYC.

Here's a quote that I thought really captured the mentality of Kit and other Americans during the late 1930's:
"In those hot summers, full of flies and white skies, corn and pigs, I learned what America was - people looking up from their work and trouble and hoping someone would tell them a story, sell them a dream. And I saw what it was like to be looked at, and came to like it."
I thought the story telling was excellent, the writing exceptional, and the historical details both accurate and intriguing. Kit is a flawed character, but that's what makes her more authentic. She has talent and wants to succeed. She is beautiful, but she doesn't realize how beautiful she is. She is naive, but she isn't stupid. I'm a sucker for anything from this era of history, so maybe that affected my interest in the book, but I also think that Blundell did an amazing job with weaving the story and making me care about the characters. I both liked and disliked many of them. I was also surprised by several turn of events, so I was never bored nor did I ever feel like I knew where the story was headed precisely. The author has a very subtle way of weaving these details in. If you enjoyed What I saw and how I lied or Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher or Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen, you'll like this one.

Photo: From website

Friday, February 3, 2012

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 14

Photo from
I must admit that this is the only Jane Austen book that I have actually read from start to finish and I really enjoyed it despite it not being the most readable of texts.  The language is very different from what we read these days, but truly that is part of what makes it so enchanting.  The story of course is the other enchanting part, which is why it is the perfect story to capture on film and I absolutely love all of the cinematic renditions, from the BBC television series starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, to Gurinder Chadha's Bride and Prejudice, to Keira Knightley and Mathew Macfadyen's version of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy.  Of course, my favorite line is when Darcy says "you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on."  Wowza. Bottle that up and give me a life time supply.  Which leads me to my cocktail pairing called "Love and Abandon".  In this case we are embracing our youth with a frothy milk shake and abandoning the straight laced version for an amped up and grown up concoction.  I used a classic combo of strawberries and bananas, but the booze gives it a nice kick. I wouldn't go heavy on the liquor lest you lose the taste of the fresh strawberries and creamy ice cream.  I used vanilla ice cream, but strawberry ice cream would work just as well or maybe even better.  I would hope that Lizzie and Darcy wouldn't be too proud to slurp this baby down.

Love and Abandon
1 oz. Strawberry vodka
1 oz. Banana liqueur
2 Scoops of vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup of Milk
A few fresh strawberries

How to: Add vodka, banana liqueur, ice cream, milk and strawberries to a blender. Blend away and serve in a tall glass of your choice. Garnish with a strawberry and add a straw to top off this adult milk shake nicely.

The vanilla creamy-goodness

Banana liqueur (90 proof!), ice cream and fresh strawberries

The yummy final product and I just had to include the quote from the 2005 film version.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shimmer and Shine

Eye Makeup, January 1950
Photo by Gordon Parks & Herbert Gehr from LIFE Photo Archive
As promised, the winner for this giveaway is.... Kristin!  Congratulations!!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful V day full of love with not only their partners, but also their friends and family. As we say in Spanish, this day is about "amor y amistad" - love and friendship.

I mentioned in my last post that I would be posting a product review for Madison Street Beauty and here it is.
Also, one lucky winner will get their very own mineral eyeshadow from Madison Street Beauty - the same shade that I'm reviewing here: 100% Vegan Mineral Eyeshadow in Champagne
It's hard to photograph how much this shadow shimmers

I have been using this eyeshadow for a few months now.  I have always loved mineral eyeshadows because they seem to give very nice, even coverage without losing their color throughout the day or night and they don't bunch up in the crease of your eyelid.  This champagne eyeshadow is perfect to use alone, underneath or on top of another color.  It is very shimmery, light and easy to apply.  The color is a subtle transparent gold, but it will change depending on if you use it on its own and what color skin tone you have.  You can use various types of brushes, but I like to apply it first with a flat, round brush and then at the very end apply another dusting of it with a blender brush.  I highly recommend that you use moisturizer or an eyeshadow primer or base before you put any shadow on your lids.  This will help with coverage and lasting power.  For even more shine, you can take a little bit of the eyeshadow and mix it with a tiny bit of water.  Then apply it over your lid and you will notice that it is even more shimmery.  I also have a couple of other shades of eyeshadow from Madison, but I use this shade the most because of its versatility.  These shadows are also great because they are natural, hypoallergenic, safe for sensitive skin, chemical free and not animal tested.  Two thumbs up, 5 stars and sign me up for a lifetime supply!!

I'm wearing it here with no other makeup or eyeshadow

Winners will be picked at random, and entries are valid only for United States residents. The deadline for this giveaway is February 10th, 2012 at 11:59pm (PST). Winner will be announced right here on this post on February 14th. Good luck everyone!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

First Giveaway of 2012

2012 is still fresh and new, so why not give away a few new fresh and new reads (none have been published, yet).  These are all young adult fiction, but believe me, us adults can enjoy them too, and of course my fellow YA or teen librarians will know where I'm coming from with this.  The advance reader copies include Curveball: The year I lost my grip by Jordan Sonnenblick (pub. March 2012), If Only by Carole Geithner (pub. March 2012), Above by Leah Bobet (pub. April 2012), and The Obsidian Blade by Pete Hautman (pub. April 2012).

Black and White Feather Hair Clip from The Obscure Bunny $28
Also, I'm doing a bit of promoting of my new re-vamped hair accessory shop.  I had a really great photo shoot this past weekend too for it, so please let me know what you think of the photographs (courtesy of my very talented cousins and sis).  Leave a comment on this post with your favorite new photography from The Obscure Bunny on Etsy (a link to the item).  Anyone that does will get an extra entry into the giveaway.

See the complete entry details below and good luck to everyone!! As a bonus, Madison Street Beauty has kindly shared a 50% off coupon for everyone to use off their first purchase. You'll read more about this fantastic Etsy shop next week when I post a product review of their shimmer mineral eyeshadow (and another giveaway!!).  So make sure to check out their shop and like them on Facebook. To receive 50% off your first purchase use the code: TY5BAR

Fill out the entry form here to enter, and if you are so inclined:

Congrats to Yvonne & Sharon for winning this first giveaway of 2012!! I hope to post another one very soon.  Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Look Back: 1959

College boys in phone booth, 1959
Photo from LIFE Photo Archive
It's a new year and hopefully you haven't done anything as crazy as these college dudes did in 1959 as part of your new year's resolutions (or as part of any resolutions for that matter).  1959 was the end of an era you could say, one that led to the sexual revolution that started in the 60's and segued into free love, war, disco fever, and eventually crazy 80's metal band hair (or something like that).  Here's a look back at the last year of the wonderful 1950's.
  • Fidel Castro assumed power of Cuba on February 16th
  • Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states of the United States of America
  • Cost of a first class stamp was .04 cents
  • Mattel launched the Barbie doll
  • The Grammy Awards were founded
  • Popular singers of the day included Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Frank Sinatra and Connie Francis
  • Bonanza was the first weekly television show to be broadcast in color
  • Xerox introduced the first commercial copy machine
  • Sade, Jason Alexander, John McEnroe, Morrissey, Tom Arnold, Kevin Spacey and Rosanna Arquette were born
  • Popular movies included Some Like it Hot, North by Northwest, Ben-Hur, and Room at the Top
  • The Etch A Sketch was invented
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series against the Chicago White Sox after having just moved from Brooklyn in 1958. The White Sox would not see a World Series again until 2005 and it had been 40 years since they had been in the World Series when they lost to the Dodgers in 1959

Friday, January 6, 2012

Read a Book, Sip a Cocktail No. 13

Photo from
So to start off the new year I'm going with one of my all time favorite books, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  Her life was not exactly picture perfect, but I loved The Bell Jar because I think that anyone who has ever felt depressed or alienated can relate to the character of Esther Greenwood, and that was what really touched me about the book - the flaws of life.  Those times when you do feel like you are under a glass dome of a bell jar and you feel alone, on display, and ultimately removed from the world and from yourself.  I know, I know, not exactly the stuff of happy dreams, but still a fantastic piece of literature.  After all, in order to appreciate the good, we must appreciate the bad.  For the cocktail pairing I decided to do a bit of a Manhattan with a sweeter touch.  The book is set in New York, so of course I had to do an homage to that city that never sleeps.  A "real" Manhattan typically uses whiskey, sweet vermouth and angostura bitters.  I made mine with Southern Comfort, sweet vermouth and orange bitters.  I really liked the balance of the sweetness with the bitter and I decided to serve it on the rocks after giving it a shake (most of the time Manhattans are served sans ice like martinis).  What's great about this classic cocktail is the variations that are possible, like the dry Manhattan popularized by the Rat Pack which uses dry vermouth, or the Ruby Manhattan which uses port, or even the Metropolitan which uses a 3 to 1 ratio of brandy or cognac to sweet vermouth.  Hopefully everyone's year is starting off with more sweet than bitter. Cheers!

Manhattan Skyline
1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
1 oz. Sweet vermouth
Dash of orange bitters

How to: In a cocktail shaker mix ice, Southern Comfort, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. Shake for at least 20 seconds. Serve in a rocks glass with ice.  I didn't garnish mine, but you can garnish with a maraschino cherry or an orange rind.

Happy New Year!! Now I just need to take down my Christmas tree.