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The Jake

The-Jake-cocktail

It seems only appropriate to honor Brown’s birthday with his signature cocktail, The Jake.

As the story goes, Brown went into a local watering hole last summer to watch the World Cup. This establishment happened to sell egg creams and in a fit of drunken genius Brown asked the bartender to add a shot of bourbon to one for him. The bartender fielded the request and admitted to Brown that it tasted pretty good.

Unreasonably proud of his accomplishment Brown declared “You’re welcome. I think you should put it on the menu and call it the Jake.” While this honor was never bestowed upon Brown, he was given the courtesy of not being kicked out of the bar for being obnoxious.

Under more sober circumstances he’s tweaked the recipe with the addition of Cherry Heering for a celebratory, symbolic cherry on top.

  • 2 ounces Four Roses bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 ounce Fox’s U-Bet Chocolate Syrup
  • 2 ounces whole milk
  • 4 ounces seltzer water

In a cocktail shaker add ice, chocolate syrup, milk, and bourbon. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.

Pour into a collins or pint glass, ice and all, and top off with seltzer water. Give the drink a gentle stir, insert a straw, and serve.

In Memory of Nana

Things will be quiet this week over at Red & Brown. Red’s beloved Nana has passed away after a long struggle with Alzheimers and as we struggle with our grief, Red would like to write a little tribute to her.

Nana and Lauren 1986

 

When I think of my Nana, I think of home. She was my grandmother, my mother, my biggest fan, teacher and “chef”. From the day that I was born, the first granddaughter among a gaggle of boys, I was always her precious Lauren. Before the time I could fully read or write, we were pen pals and she’d write me once a week, at least, telling me what she was up to: swimming on the beach, taking long walks, meeting up with friends, how warm the weather was, etc. and sending me along a dollar for some treats with a countdown of how many days until we’d be back together again and all the fun things we’d do once we were.

She was just the most elegant woman I had ever encountered. As a little girl, I wanted to be just like Nana. She had these walk-in closets filled with trinkets and shoes and photos and beautiful clothes and purses that she’d take me in to pick through. No matter whether she was going to the grocery store, a black tie event or if she had her nightgown on, she just was the epitome of old school beauty. I remember specifically going into her pink bathroom and finding the powder that she’d use to powder herself with and just going to town with it all over my face (without realizing it was for powdering somewhere else) or sitting at her vanity and seeing all the photos of us kids surrounding it, just to catch a glimpse of what it must be like to be her.

I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up. Many Sundays were spent at their house for Sunday Supper, filled with her most delicious recipes. It was family time and it was something I always loved. I waited for our sleepovers… we always had our annual 4th of July one and before a big BBQ at their house, we’d sneak out to iHop in the morning to grab some pancakes.

When I was 5, a fiercely independent child from the start, I jumped on a plane down to Florida and stayed a week with them alone. I think that was one of my best vacations. I had no worries about being away from my family and basked in every moment with them– from shopping with my Nannie, to enjoying some of the best restaurants in the area, to exploring the beach and playing in the ocean with Papa.

She was always singing and dancing. She’d croon Frank Sinatra or Patsy Cline (Crazy was her favorite song), whisk my grandfather around their kitchen singing to each other in an impromptu dance, and would always wake us up with her singing Good Mornin’, Gooood Morrrnin’! Good Mornin’ to YOU! and a face full of kisses.

Her phrase in life for her children and grandchildren was always “No One is Better Than You”. It’s something she always told my dad as a kid and what has been told to me. Not so much of a “you’re flawless”, because we all had our flaws, but more so as a marching chant not to let the world get you down.

She didn’t live a life without worries, doubts, or hardships. In fact, it was just the opposite. She grew up in a home where she was forbidden to date my grandfather, was mistreated by her controlling father, basically written out of any will or family; lost her first child, Tommy, due to SIDS, and had a debilitating medical condition her whole life, just to name a few. But, she always was happy. She saw the love and good and beauty in everything and everyone and she let it radiate through her. She loved her family, she loved children and she loved life.

She was there for everything everyone ever did. Graduations, weeknight baseball games, stepping up ceremonies, dance recitals, pre-school shows and the first day of school. She loved her grandkids and was their greatest supporter- standing up, yelling and clapping the loudest in the audience. Proud was always an understatement.

Lauren Eating

Most of all, she taught me how to cook and how to cook with love. I attribute my career path to her and my Papa. We’d go pick berries out back and she’d sit me on the counter, maybe only 3 or 4 at the time, and I’d watch her make homemade jam, just throughly amazed. She’d make batch by batch by batch of the labor-intensive knot cookies for Christmas like it was nothing and would sneak a few to us at the table while we waited through dinner. And I could always count on her to be holding out her wooden spoon of some of her Sunday sauce to kiss my mouth.

As I got older and waited to enjoy her company as a tween/teenager where we could really shop and cook and laugh together, she became sick. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the early 2000s, she progressed. As memories faded and things were forgotten, she’d try her hardest to overcome it all, never letting it get her down. Right before we all took a family vacation, we celebrated with roman candles on the beach one night and she sat in her lounge chair laughing and yelling “Wooopie!”. Even on her 75th birthday, when her beautiful golden curls had faded to gray and her face began to look sunken (and we all became strangers. Strangers she loved, no less, but strangers), she still sang right along to her happy birthday with her arms waving to direct the chorus.

I selfishly feel sad that I did not have more time to enjoy her in all of her beauty. I feel like as I got older, she’d be my confidant. The person I’d go out to lunch with at the mall or call when things got rough. When I met Brown, that she would be the first one yelling and screaming and popping champagne and kissing him all over his face after we broke the news that he’d proposed.

                                                  Courtesy of Keira Lemonis Photography- 2015.

On my wedding day, I was the first grandchild to get married in our family without either of my grandparents there. I looked out in the audience, half hoping that she would suddenly show up escorted by my Papa in his baby-blue tuxedo in some beautiful gown right in the front row clapping as she always did. Instead, I filled the room up with her photo on her wedding day, wore her jewelry, their wedding topper was used as ours, and her beautiful cream-colored mink coat was my jacket to keep me warm in the cold. I remember warming myself up and holding it close; it smelled just like her and for a moment, it felt like she was there giving me the biggest, tightest hug.

She died last night, tired, breathless and gaunt, after a long struggle with Alzheimers. She looked so tiny in that hospice bed, breathing in and out. We all knew she would have killed my grandfather and died a thousand deaths had she known what she had become; she never wanted to live like that– just alone that she was bound to her bed, couldn’t tell those she loved how much she loved them and that her hair was not done up.

She had a profound effect on me and my life. I hope I can be 1/8th the wife, mother and nana she was to us. And although my heart is broken, I can never forget the memories and know she is smiling down on us with her token glass of champagne in a fabulous pant suit, clapping and singing and laughing. -Red.

 

 

Wedding Photo Courtesy of Keira Lemonis Photography- 2015.

Chinese New Year Cocktails

While we personally don’t celebrate Chinese New Year we love any excuse to make themed cocktails. Here we’re leveraging traditional foods and flavors to file a three-fer to help you ring in the Year of the Sheep. A symbolic flavor profile runs through each drink; tangerines represent luck and good fortune and Chinese five spice lends a familiar flavor combination that’s a great complement to brown spirits (and gin). Gān bēi!

Chinese 5 Spice Syrup

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese 5 spice powder

In a small pan add the sugar and 5 spice powder. Whisk together so they’re well mixed and add the water.

Whisk all ingredients so they’re integrated, put the pot over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally so the sugar dissolves.

Let the syrup cool before using. Since the 5 spice powder doesn’t dissolve you can either strain the syrup or refrigerate it overnight (the powder and syrup will naturally separate)

Terracotta-Warrior-cocktail

The Terracotta Warrior

  • 2 ounces rye whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce Chinese 5 spice syrup
  • 1 thin slice of a tangerine
  • 3-4 dashes Mrs. Lee’s Ancient Chinese Secret Bitters (if you can’t find these you can use orange bitters or your favorite spicy bitters)

In an old fashioned glass add the tangerine slice, syrup, and bitters. Muddle the fruit, but avoid crushing the pith and peel so it’s not bitter.

Add a large ice cube and your rye. Stir thoroughly to mix everything and serve.

Tangerine-Sour-cocktail

Tangerine Sour

Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for a solid 15-20 seconds. Double strain into a coupe glass to remove any pulp and serve.

 

Shanghai-Sling-cocktail

Shanghai Sling

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 15-20 seconds.

Fill a Collins or highball glass with crushed ice. Double strain the cocktail into the glass and add the club soda. Give it a gentle stir, insert a straw, and serve.

Valentine’s Day Cocktails Featuring Dude, Sweet Chocolate Potions

There is no doubt that Chef Katherine Clapner and her team at Dude, Sweet Chocolate is taking chocolate out of the box. Based in Dallas, Texas, Dude, Sweet has all of the “regular” chocolate offerings in her shop, but the twists she puts on the traditional are what take them to a whole other level. Truffles made with Rogue Creamery’s Blue Cheese (’nuff said) and Porcini Mushroom Fudge that has just the slightest back note of umami that makes you want to grab another demonstrate an expertise in flavor profiles and combinations, married to excellent chocolate-making.

For a boozy turn, try her trio of potions: chocolate syrups made with agave, South American Dark Chocolate and Valrohna cococa, paired with liquors that make a perfect complement for cocktails. Break-up Potion is made with Breckenridge Bourbon to warm and soothe the broken heart; 100 Años Reposado tequila heats up the One Night Stand Potion; while the Love Potion #3 is the perfect accompaniment to a romantic night in when red zinfandel, brandy, citrus and spices are combined.

We love them because they’re an elevated and thoughtful twist in the realm of bitters, in the sense that they create drinks with depth and complexity that don’t overpower. What better gift to give yourself or a loved one this Valentine’s Day. Sold in 4 oz and 16 oz bottles, a little can go a long way and they ship very quickly (it took us only 3 days from ordering to being on our bar).

No matter how you’re celebrating, it’s probably with a drink, so we’ve developed recipes that highlight each potion.

Good-Old-Fashioned-Love-Cocktail

Good Old Fashioned Love

This sweeter take on the Old Fashioned is perfect for sharing with the one you love.

In a rocks glass add the rye and chocolate syrup and stir thoroughly until the syrup is dissolved.

Add a large ice cube then take the orange peel, rub it on the rim of the glass, and use it for garnish along with a cocktail cherry.

 

Oaxacan-Lust-Cocktail

Oaxacan Lust

In a shaker, add ice and all of the other ingredients, chocolate syrup last. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds.

Strain into a chilled coupe glass and serve neat.

 

Happiness_is_a_Warm_Rum_cocktail

Happiness is a Warm Rum

In a small saucepan heat the cider until it starts to  simmer then transfer it to a mug. If you don’t have the patience for that you can always pop a mug of cider in the microwave on high for 45 seconds.

Add in the rum and chocolate sauce and stir thoroughly. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

 

Smoke Before Fire

In a small saucepan heat the cider until it starts to  simmer then transfer it to a mug. If you don’t have the patience for that you can always pop a mug of cider in the microwave on high for 45 seconds.

Add in the High West and chocolate sauce and stir thoroughly. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

 

The Florida Daydream

Florida-Daydream-cocktail-2

This weather has us day dreaming of warm sunny beaches and tropical drinks as of late, only to be snapped back into bitter cold reality by a honking cab or a six-foot-deep puddle. If we can’t have the warm weather we may as well enjoy the flavors. We used seasonally appropriate grapefruit paired with a little additional complexity from the Cynar and a nice herbaceous accent. Crush up some ice, fill a couple glasses, and put your feet up, it’s mental vacation time.

The Florida Daydream

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka (we prefer Prohibition Distillery’s Bootlegger 21 Vodka)
  • 1/2 ounce Cynar
  • 4 ounces grapefruit soda (we use San Pellegrino Pompelmo)
  • 1/2 ounce thyme honey syrup
  • Crushed ice
  • A sprig of thyme for garnish

In a blender, add 8-10 standard sized ice cubes and pulse on low until it becomes pebble-sized pieces. Fill a highball glass to the brim and set aside any extra ice.

In a separate mixing glass or pint glass filled with ice add the vodka, Cynar, and thyme honey syrup and stir vigorously. Strain into your highball glass.

Top the drink off with grapefruit soda and give it a very gentle stir. Add more ice if necessary to keep the glass filled up and garnish with a fresh sprig of thyme.

Beekeeper’s Blanket

Beekeepers-Blanket-cocktail-4Our Beekeeper’s Blanket is a slight variation on the classic prohibition gin-based cocktail, the Bee’s Knees. With surprisingly little tinkering this typically refreshing quaff turns into the perfect cup of warmth for any post-ski/hike/long nap occasion. Prohibition Distillery’s Bootlegger 21 Gin is perfect for this one because of its great balance between citrus and juniper; not too piney and bright enough so you can have a couple without crushing your taste buds.

  • 2 ounces water
  • 2 ounces Prohibition Distillery’s Bootlegger 21 Gin
  • 1/2 ounce thyme honey syrup
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

In a small saucepan over high heat add 2-4 ounces of water and bring it to the point where small bubbles begin to form. It shouldn’t take long with such a small amount (you can also just cheat and microwave the water, we won’t tell).

In a shaker, add the gin, thyme honey syrup, and lemon juice with no ice. Give it 5-10 good shakes and pour it into a mug.

Pour in the hot water and stir to mix everything together. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.

The Two Minute (Cocktail) Drill

Red-and-Brown-Superbowl-Cocktails

We read on the interwebs that there was some kind of game or something on Sunday. Here at Red & Brown HQ this year’s Super Bowl party theme is simplicity. Past themes have included New Orleans (complete with shrimp and grits, Sazeracs, and Hurricanes), Chicago (including hot dogs dragged through the garden), and Chinese New Year (with dan dan nachos, spicy Asian chicken dip, tangerine sticky ribs, and Chinese Five Spice old fashioned’s). This year’s theme is “don’t spend the entire football game in the kitchen,” so without further ado here are 24 two-ingredient recipes to keep you glued to the game.

 

Spirits

Gin [or] Vodka Martini: 2 1/4 ounces liquor of choice, 3/4 ounce dry vermouth, stir, serve in a martini glass or coupe glass.

Gin [or] Vodka and Tonic: 2 ounces liquor of choice,  4 ounces soda water, stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Scotch [or] Campari [or] Vodka Soda: 2 ounces liquor of choice,  4 ounces soda water, stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Rum and Coke: 2 ounces spiced rum, 4 ounces Coca Cola,  stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Whiskey and Coke: 2 ounces whiskey (we like bourbon), 4 ounces Coca Cola,  stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

The Infield: 2 ounces bourbon, 4 ounces Cheerwine, stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice

Whiskey Ginger: 2 ounces of your favorite whiskey, 4 ounces ginger ale,  stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Rusty Nail: 2 ounces scotch, 1/2 ounce Drambuie, stir and serve in a rocks glass over ice

Gimlet: 2 ounces gin, 3/4 ounce Rose’s Lime Juice, shake and serve in a martini glass or coupe glass.

Paloma: 2 ounces tequila blanco, 4 ounces grapefruit soda, stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Greyhound: 2 ounces vodka, 4 ounces grapefruit soda, stir gently and serve in a highball glass or rocks glass with ice.

Black Russian: 2 ounces vodka, 1 ounce Kahlua, stir and serve in a rocks glass with ice.

 

Beer

Shandy: 8 ounces beer (lighter pilsners and lagers work well here), 2-4 ounces lemonade or other fruit juice (flavor to taste), stir gently and serve in a pint glass.

Snakebite: equal parts beer and hard cider, serve in a pint glass.

Black Velvet: equal parts Guiness and hard cider, serve in a pint glass.

Black and Tan: equal parts stout and lager, serve in a pint glass.

 

Sparkling Wine

Bellini: equal parts sparkling wine and white peach juice (or another fruit juice of choice), stir gently and serve in a champagne flute or coupe glass.

Mimosa: equal parts sparkling wine and orange juice, stir gently and serve in a champagne flute or coupe glass.

Champagne and St. Germaine: 5 ounces sparkling wine, 1/2 ounce St. Germain, stir gently and serve in a champagne flute or coupe glass.

Death in the Afternoon: 1 1/2 ounces absinthe, 4 1/4 ounces sparkling wine, stir gently and serve in a coupe glass or champagne flute.

 

Hot Drinks

Mexican Coffee: 2 ounces tequila (we prefer reposado or añejo), 6 ounces coffee, stir and serve in a mug.

Irish Coffee: 2 ounces Irish whiskey, 6 ounces coffee, stir and serve in a mug.

Kentucky Coffee: 2 ounces bourbon, 6 ounces coffee, stir and serve in a mug.

Spiked Cider: 2 ounces of whiskey, rum, or applejack, 6 ounces hot apple cider, stir and serve in a mug.

Thyme Honey Syrup

Thyme-Honey-Syrup-recipe-2

This weather has us seeking out two different kinds of cocktails: those that are physically warming and those that make us think warm, summery thoughts. Thyme meets this criteria as a double duty modifier, evoking the flavors of roasted meats and vegetables typical of winter, as well as bright herbaceous flavors that accompany summer. Even simpler to make than so-called simple syrup, this sweetener works well with clearer spirits like vodka and gin, but you don’t need our permission to try it with whatever you want. We recommend starting with our Beekeeper’s Blanket or the Florida Daydream.

  • 1/4 C honey (we like using wildflower or buckwheat honey for their rich, robust flavors)
  • 1/4 C hot water
  • 12 sprigs Thyme

In a mason jar or container with a cover, add the sprigs of thyme and muddle them.

Pour in the honey and hot water and cover the container. Shake vigorously until the honey is dissolved. Refrigerate for at least an hour before using.

There’s Still Time for Cherries!

If you’re like us you’re probably still trying to wrap up your holiday shopping and have a couple people on your list that have you scratching your head. How does an instant party sound? There’s still time to snatch up the last, let us repeat, the last of this year’s cherries through our Instant Cocktail Party Kit collaboration with Brooklyn makers, A. Heirloom. The kit contains a cocktail muddler (available in maple or walnut with personalized engraving) a bag of our sweet and spicy cocktail nuts, and a jar of our cocktail cherries. Just add liquor to get the party started.

A_Heirloom_Red_and_Brown_Instant_Cocktail_Party_Kit

If you’re just looking for a snack or stocking stuffer, our cocktail nuts are available at the holiday store of yogurt wizards The White Moustache, or our own site Shop Red and Brown. May your days be merry and bright and may great cocktails fill your nights. Happy Holidays everyone!

— Red and Brown

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

It’s a bit sad to not be at home celebrating Thanksgiving in the states this year. For both of us, it’s a time of great food, tradition, and family, as well as an appreciation of the bounty of blessings we have in our lives and the opportunity to give back to others.

While we’re currently traveling in Spain, which doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving outright, we wanted to reflect on the past year. We are happily, newly married (12 days!) and are grateful to have been surrounded by the most generous, loving and kind family and friends anyone could ask for.

Our business has grown tremendously within the past year: we increased our production 5X this year, sold out on pre-orders, and already have a waiting list for next year! For those of you that haven’t been able to get your cherries or nuts yet, please check out A.Heirloom, our partners for the second year in a row, for our cocktail kit collaboration. You can also get our cocktail nuts from The White Moustache holiday store. We cannot thank you all enough for your support of us, our products, and our small business; it is so humbling to hear that people enjoy the things that we pour so much love and efforts into.

As you sit down to your Thanksgiving dinner this year, hopefully surrounded by friends and family, please don’t forget to think of those in need. We donated to Citymeals on Wheels in NYC and encourage you to give some time or money to a charity of your choosing too.

We are so grateful for the love and support of our friends, family, fellow food producers, partners and customers this Thanksgiving. We look forward to creating delicious handmade products and getting back to the blog on our return. In the meantime, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up with our travel adventures.

Cheers,
Red and Brown