Grapefruit Negroni


As you know I'm not much of a drinker. A genetic mutation causes my body to process alcohol as if it were poison. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't stop me when I'm out at an event, a dinner, or when friends are in town, there are times when cocktails are needed or in this case, wanted.


Citrus season is in full bloom here in Texas. Grapefruits, clementines, oranges, lemons and limes are flowing in by the truckloads and naturally the aromas are a playful awakening to the palate. I thought this cocktail would be the perfect celebration for Chinese New Year -- the deep red from the sensuously bitter Campari, a sweet bite from the Hendrick's, finished by the intoxicating aromas of grapefruit --  it's meant to be sipped opposed to gulped.

This year we celebrate The Year of the Dragon -- the only mythical creature out of the 12 signs. It is believed that the dragon possess great power and may even have magical control over the weather and water. We'll be celebrating with Nian-Gao (Rice Cakes) and Hot Pot tonight as my brother in law was born in this year -- Go Carter! I managed to give the house a good scrub to make sure we start off the year free of spirits.

I called my mom today and could barely hear her over the fireworks that were exploding outside her window in Shanghai. Hopefully one year I'll be able to experience the excitement but for now, I'm more than complacent with my Grapefruit Negroni.  Thank you Esquire for the recipe.



The Number Four

When it comes to alcohol, I'd be what people would call a "weenie".  I almost wince at the sharpness of most liquors, sometimes to the point of tears.  But let's quit the dramatics and get down to business.  I love this drink.  I love Angus Winchester.  And for those of you who don't know who he is, he's pretty much one of the big honchos in the world of bartending.  

This drink actually came off The Cedars Social cocktail menu and it sounded too good to pass up -- with a blend of gin, honey syrup, cracked cardamon pods and black pepper, this is one of those cocktails I could drink for hours.  HOURS. The honey adds just the right amount of sweetness, the cardamon really adds that perfect touch that accentuates all the spices in gin, and the black pepper gives it the nicest bite at the end.  Genius Angus, pure genius. It's smooth, whimsical and I feel kinda sexy when I drink it.  Give it a shot, share your thoughts : )

Now I'm not 100% sure what the exact Angus recipe is so please adjust the flavors to your liking.

In a highball glass, fill half way with ice.  In a shaker pour 3 oz of gin, 1 oz honey, a crushed cardamom pod, and a couple freshly crack black pepper corns. Stir until honey is mostly dissolved and pour into glass. Serve immediately.


**** It may help to heat up your honey a little to make it more liquid and easier to mix.


Holiday Berry Champagne Cocktail

It's hard to believe we're already in December.  Where did this year go?  As the days quickly approach towards the Holiday season, we're filled with urges to celebrate -- Ugly Christmas Sweater Party! White Elephant! Holiday Potlucks! Whatever your reason may be this year to celebrate, what's a party without the booze?

For the next few weeks I'll be posting some holiday cocktails for you guys to try this season -- this week I'm featuring this elegant Blackberry Champagne Cocktail.  As you know, I'm not the best drinker...my bar tab is usually under $15 before things start looking hazy.

So I usually gravitate towards "girly" drinks.  Seeing that most girly drinks usually mean some type of fruity flavor with TONS of sugar -- I wanted to remake a drink that gave me the fruity touch I needed but without the sweetness.  Plus anything with champagne makes everything a bit more fancy don't ya think?

Feel free to use other types of berries and fruits, strawberries, pomegranate, and orange would work well here.

Holiday Berry Champagne Cocktail
Recipe Type: Drink
Author: Joy Zhang
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 6
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pint blackberries, cleaned
  • 1 750-ml bottle chilled Lindeman's framboise
  • 1 750-ml bottle chilled brut Champagne
  1. Stir sugar and brandy in medium bowl. Crush about 10 blackberries; add to brandy mixture. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature, then strain. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover; chill brandy mixture and remaining blackberries separately.)
  2. Divide brandy mixture among 6 Champagne glasses. Add 2 blackberries to each glass. Fill halfway with Framboise and the rest of the way with Champagne; serve.

Ginger Basil Grapefruit Spritzer

  It’s been a blistering hot Summer here.  At times I have trouble focusing, my head feels a daze as I watch the heat shrivel out the remaining life of our cucumber plants.  Day after day the temperatures soared past 100 even 105! How is that even legal?  It’s even unbearable to walk around barefoot anymore; the once soft plushy grass is now replaced with a crunchy yellow patch.  My feet strive for relief.


I can hardly wait for Fall to arrive and I often pray hard for rain.  It seems that God is listening -- for the past two mornings have been graced by the soft pitter patter of rain drops beating against my window.  What relief for this scorching hot Summer.  What joy life must feel after such an absence.  If only it rained harder so I could sing and dance and twirl like a child again.


Basil has been growing like mad; the fragrance can be intoxicatingly sweet.  It has a sharpness to it that lingers within you, an awakening of the senses.  I decided to pair fresh basil with ginger soda and added a citrus kick with some fresh grapefruit juice.  Since alcohol makes me blush, I tend to find refreshing mixes that can be just as satisfying as your next mimosa. 


Speaking of which – feel free to mix with a bottle of champagne or maybe even a bottle of white wine for a tasty sangria!  Enjoy the last bits of Summer while it lasts.  So let’s raise our glasses: Here’s to you Summer, thanks for the hot beating, it’s time for you to leave, and please don’t come back as angry as you did this year.  Cheers!