Archive | April, 2010

Cocktail of the Week: The June Bug

27 Apr

Brace yourselves.  I made this one up.  I decided to try a new cocktail tonight since I just got a new bitter sampler from Urban Moonshine.  It included original, citrus and maple bitters in beautiful little bottles with eye-dropper tops.  I’m most intrigued by the maple bitters.

So I tried a recipe I’ve been eyeing for awhile, substituting the maple bitters for the ubiquitous Angostura bitters and just wasn’t digging it.  I’m not sure if the maple flavor threw off the whole shebang (a mixture of gin, apricot brandy and lemon juice) or what, but it had a sharp, odd taste that I didn’t like at all.  I hate to let a cocktail go to waste, so I opened the fridge to see if there was something I might add to make it a little more pleasant and there I saw the tiny bit of leftover tea I’d made this day before (this time with ginger peach black tea and lemon-thyme simple syrup).  Peach tea, peach brandy- it made sense.  And oh, it’s delicious.

The June Bug

2 oz. gin

1 oz. peach brandy

1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice

4 drops maple bitters

3 oz. iced tea

Shake well with ice. Strain and serve.


Call for Aprons

25 Apr

If you haven’t yet heard of the International Biscuit Festival, it’s time to educate yourself.  Knoxville’s Market Square will become a biscuit lover’s warm, buttery heaven on June 4th and 5th.  Events include a bake-off, pageant, and biscuit-themed art show.  I’ll be curating a vintage and handmade apron exhibit and am on the prowl for aprons of all shapes and sizes.  If you have one you’d be willing to loan for June, let me know.

Make Sweet Tea

22 Apr

Time: Ten minutes

Materials: Sugar, tea, water, herbs (optional)

It’s officially the season for sitting on the porch and drinking sweet tea.  I have two lovely ladies coming over tomorrow and decided to make some tea for our enjoyment.

First I made some simple syrup and threw in some provencial lavender from the garden to infuse it with some aromatic flavor.

Then I boiled some water, added tea bags (white pomegranate tea) and let it steep for ten minutes.  I then added the tea to the simple syrup.

Finally, I strained it and poured it into this here carafe. Now it’s cooling in the fridge.  All it needs is some ice and a squeeze of fresh lemon. And some lovely ladies to sip it over stimulating conversation.

Cocktail of the Week: Bebbo

14 Apr

Just bought the excellent Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails: From the Alamagoozlum to the Zombie 100 Rediscovered Recipes and the Stories Behind Them by Ted Haigh. It includes a great history of cocktails in the U.S. as well as some great recipes.

I decided to try the Bebbo Cocktail since I already had the ingredients on hand.  It was tangy, refreshing, and simple.


1.5 oz gin

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 honey

2 tsp. OJ

Stir all the ingredients together in the cocktail shaker until the honey disolves.  Add ice, shake, and strain into a cocktail glass.

photos by Shawn Poynter

Leave a Book You Love on a Bench

12 Apr
a post-it makes it more approachable

a post-it makes it more approachable

Time: 10 minutes

Cost: Free if you’re giving away a book you own, probably $20 if you’re buying a copy.

Materials: One book you love.

I love the book Catwings. I read it incessantly as a child and am even the proud owner of an original Catwings drawing by Ursula K. Le Guin.  So why would I part with my copy of Catwings? First, because I don’t often pop the book of the shelf to sit down and read it, second because it’s not my original copy anywhere (no one seems to know where the copy we read when we were little ended up), and third because I love the idea of a stranger sitting down and seeing the book on a bench downtown and deciding to sit and read it.  Maybe it will be a little kid and a parent.  Maybe someone like me, who heads to Krutch Park for lunch on sunny days.  Maybe someone killing time until it’s time to catch the bus.  I left this book sitting on a bench on Friday with a note begging someone to read it. Whoever it is, I hope they enjoy.

waiting to be found

Go to the Nearest Drive-In

11 Apr

photo by Shawn Poynter. on his iPhone.

Cost: $5-10

Time: 2-6 hours, depending on number of features and distance to nearest drive-in

The first official drive-in movie theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey in 1933.  They increased in number, size and scope until they hit their peak in 1958, when there were almost 5,000 drive-ins throughout the United States.  Drive-ins started dwindling in the 60’s and 70’s, but with the advent of cable and the VCR in 1980’s, drive-ins were dropping like flies.  Today the number of drive-ins hovers between 500 and 800 (differing sources tell me different things).

I remember going to my first drive-in in 1992 (I am able to verify this by looking up the year the Death Becomes Her, the movie we watched that faithful night, came out. and am not sure I ever went to one again, but it left quite an impression on me. It was magical to do something you usually reserve for inside out of doors. I loved it, but I forgot about drive-ins for a long time. I recently decided to look for open drive-ins nearby by and found that the Parkway Drive-In is just 30 minutes away.  We went, champagne in cans and money for jalapeno cheddar poppers in tow, and watched Alice in Wonderland outside. Lovely.

Google your closest drive-in.  Pack a snack and a blanket.  Get there a little early and watch the sun go down and the kids play kickball before the movie begins.  Trust me. It’s worth it.

Plant a Tree

9 Apr

Once there was a tree...and she loved a little boy, a little girl and a very large cat.

Cost: $15-$150 depending on the tree

Time: About an hour

Materials: Shovel, yard, tree, potting soil.

It’s simple and soul-fortifying.  Just dig a wide hole, insert tree, and fill hole with original and potting soil.  Water well (may vary according to tree).