The Classic 3-2-1 Margarita

Recipe and photo:

3-2-1 Margarita


  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 thin lime wedge
  • Ice
  • 1 1/2 ounces silver (blanco), 100 percent agave tequila
  • 1 ounce triple sec orange liqueur, preferably Luxardo Triplum or Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 lime)
  • 1 very thin lime slice, for garnish


1. Pour enough salt on a small plate to cover it.

2. Rub the lime wedge on the outside rim of a 4-ounce cocktail glass. Holding the glass at a 45-degree angle, dip the outside rim in the salt, rotating as you do, so the entire rim is coated with salt. (Avoid getting any salt inside the glass.) Fill the glass with ice and place it in the freezer to chill.

3. Add the tequila, triple sec, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker and fill the shaker halfway with ice. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker turns frosty. Strain the margarita into the chilled glass and garnish with a lime slice.

“If you like Pina Coladas…” -Rupert Holmes

pina-colada-jello-shots Rachel Ray

Pina Colada Jelly Shots

Adapted from Michelle Palm’s Jelly Shot Test Kitchen

Heat 1/3 cup pineapple juice, 1/3 cup cream of coconut and 2 envelopes (1/4 oz. each) gelatin, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.

Add 2/3 cup rum (white or coconut-flavored)

Pour the mixture into a 4-by-8-inch loaf pan

Chill 4 hour or until firm

Cut into 24 pieces

Garnish with shredded coconut

Experiment with simple to spectacular shapes for a crowd-pleasing look.

TIP: For fun shapes, add 1⁄2 envelope more gelatin and use lightly greased silicone ice cube trays or candy molds.

CUTOUTS Pour the mixture into a rimmed pan or pie dish so it’s no taller than 3⁄4 inch. Once it’s jellied, cut out shapes using a miniature cookie cutter or 1-inch biscuit cutter.

CUBES Refrigerate the mixture in a square-edged casserole or baking pan. When it’s set, turn the pan over onto a cutting board and unhinge the jelly using a butter knife or spatula, then slice into squares or rectangles using a sharp knife (measuring with a ruler helps make even sizes).

MOLDS Add an extra 1⁄2 packet of gelatin to the recipe. When the mixture is slightly cooled, pour it into a silicone ice cube tray that’s been lightly greased with vegetable oil or cooking spray. (Wipe off any excess oil with a paper towel before filling.) Later, gently pop the molds out onto a cutting board or platter.


Recipe and photos courtesy of:

The Perfect Caipirinha



Ingrid Hoffman’s Caipirinha

 Caipirinha Ingredients

  • 1/2 lime(s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 ounces cachaca
  • old-fashioned glass


    Slice the lime into 1/2-inch rounds, cube them, and muddle them in an Old-Fashioned glass or small tumbler with the sugar. Add a couple of ice cubes. Pour in the cachaça. Serve with a stirring rod.

Recipe from Esquire.

Cinco de Mayo Drink: Cilantro Cooler


cilantro cooler

Thanks to Food & Wine for sharing this recipe.


  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber
  • 5 cilantro leaves, plus 1 flowering cilantro sprig for garnish (optional)
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
  • 1 ounce chilled club soda


In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber and cilantro leaves. Add ice and the vodka, lime juice and Simple Syrup and shake well. Double strain into an ice-filled collins glass, stir in the club soda and garnish.

Leap Year Cocktail

leap year cocktail

The Kitchn‘s Leap Year Cocktail

Serves 1

2 ounces London Dry gin
3/4 ounce orange liqueur
1/2 ounces sweet vermouth (try with Punt e Mes)
About 1/8 ounce lemon juice

Add ingredients to a mixing glass. Fill the glass with ice cubes and stir for about 30 seconds. Strain contents into a chilled cocktail glass.

Recipe Notes

  • Many versions of this recipe call for shaking, which makes sense given there is a non-spirituous ingredient. But there’s so little lemon juice, I find shaking unnecessary. You just want the faintest hint of citrus — the squeeze of a wedge or a bar spoon’s worth.
  • Made with Punt e Mes, a sweet vermouth made with bitter chinchona bark, this version of the Leap Year is punchy and sweet up front, and then finishes with flavors of bitter herbs and orange peel.

15 Rules for Great Wine Pairings

wine pairing

Food and Wine gives us 15 great tips for pairing wine and food.

1. Champagne is perfect with anything salty.

Most dry sparkling wines, such as brut Champagne and Spanish cava, actually have a faint touch of sweetness. That makes them extra-refreshing when served with salty foods.

2. Sauvignon Blanc goes with tart dressings and sauces.

Tangy foods won’t overwhelm zippy wines like Sauvignon Blanc, Vinho Verde from Portugal and Verdejo from Spain.

3. Choose Grüner Veltliner when a dish has lots of fresh herbs.

Austrian Grüner Veltliner’s citrus-and-clover scent is lovely when there are lots of fresh herbs in a dish. Other go-to grapes in a similar style include Albariño from Spain and Vermentino from Italy.

4. Pinot Grigio pairs well with light fish dishes.

Light seafood dishes seem to take on more flavor when matched with equally delicate white wines, such as Pinot Grigio or Arneis from Italy or Chablis from France.

5. Choose Chardonnay for fatty fish or fish in a rich sauce.

Silky whites—for instance, Chardonnays from California, Chile or Australia—are delicious with fish like salmon or any kind of seafood in a lush sauce.

6. Off-Dry Riesling pairs with sweet & spicy dishes.

The slight sweetness of many Rieslings, Gewürztraminers and Vouvrays helps tame the heat of spicy Asian and Indian dishes.

7. Moscato d’Asti loves fruit desserts.

Moderately sweet sparkling wines such as Moscato d’Asti, demi-sec Champagne and Asti Spumante help emphasize the fruit in the dessert, rather than the sugar.

8. Rosé Champagne is great with dinner, not just hors d’oeuvres.

Rosé sparkling wines, such as rosé Champagne, cava and sparkling wine from California, have the depth of flavor and richness to go with a wide range of main courses.

9. Pair a dry Rosé with rich, cheesy dishes.

Some cheeses go better with white wine, some with red; yet almost all pair well with dry rosé, which has the acidity of white wine and the fruit character of red.

10. Pinot Noir is great for dishes with earthy flavors.

Recipes made with ingredients like mushrooms and truffles taste great with reds like Pinot Noir and Dolcetto, which are light-bodied but full of savory depth.

11. Old World wines and Old World dishes are intrinsically good together.

The flavors of foods and wines that have grown up together over the centuries—Tuscan recipes and Tuscan wines, for instance—are almost always a natural fit.

12. Malbec won’t be overshadowed by sweet-spicy barbecue sauces.

Malbec, Shiraz and Côtes-du-Rhône are big and bold enough to drink with foods brushed with heavily spiced barbecue sauces.

13. Choose Zinfandel for pâtés, mousses and terrines.

If you can use the same adjectives to describe a wine and a dish, the pairing will often work. For instance, the words rustic and rich describe Zinfandel, Italy’s Nero d’Avola and Spain’s Monastrell as well as chicken-liver mousse.

14. Cabernet Sauvignon is fabulous with juicy red meat.

California Cabernet, Bordeaux and Bordeaux-style blends are terrific with steaks or chops: Their firm tannins refresh the palate after each bite of meat.

15. Syrah matches with highly spiced dishes.

When a meat is heavily seasoned, look for a red wine with lots of spicy notes. Syrah from Washington, Cabernet Franc from France and Xinomavro from Greece are all good choices.

Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy

hot toddy

Photo by Jamie Chung

Bon Appetit magazine teaches us how to make a Honey Bourbon Hot Toddy. Yum!


Servings: Makes 2

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 6 tablespoons bourbon or Apple Bourbon (see below for recipe)
  • 2 3×1/2′ strips lemon peel
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  • Stir honey and water in a 2-cup measuring cup until honey dissolves. Add bourbon (or better yet, Apple Bourbon, in which case you’ll use 1 Tbsp. honey). Divide between 2 Toddy glasses. Twist a strip of lemon peel over each drink, then add to glass. Stir each with a cinnamon stick and serve.
  • To make Apple Bourbon, combine a 750-ml bottle of bourbon, 4 cored, sliced Fuji apples, and 4 cinnamon sticks in a pitcher. Cover; chill for 3 days. Strain and sip of use in recipe above.

Champagne Cocktails Perfect for New Year’s Eve


Esquire Magazine lists some great ideas for unique champagne drinks…perfect for New Year’s Eve!

Champagne Cocktail

Place a sugar cube* in a chilled champagne flute, lash it with 2 or 3 dashes of bitters (Angostura or Peychaud’s), fill the glass with brut champagne or other, cheaper, bubbly (peasant!), and squeeze a lemon twist on top.

Air Mail

Mix thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then pour unstrained into Collins glass. Fill with champagne. (We recommend using Puerto Rican rum.)


Fill champagne flute 2/3 full (or 1/3, for Anglophiles) of fresh-squeezed orange juice and top up with brut champagne.

Jubal Early Punch

Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice and water, pour in the rum and brandy, and let stand for half an hour or so in a cool place for interjubilation to occur. When serving time is at hand, pour in the champagne, load the bowl with a cannonball of ice, and charge!

Black Velvet

Half-fill a Collins glass with stout and top up slowly with champagne. Stir gently with glass or plastic rod.

Barbotage (New Years Favorite)

Pour cognac (or another brandy) and Grand Marnier into a champagne flute, top up with brut champagne or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Champagne Punch

In a punch bowl, deposit the ingredients and a berg of ice. Decorate with sliced fresh pineapple and orange and plenty of fresh mint. Crushed fresh strawberries add a gala touch, plus some flavor.

Aristocrat Sparkling Punch

In a punch bowl, dissolve 1/2 cup sugar (or less to taste) in the red burgundy.* Add the brandy, stir, and pour in the brut champagne or reasonable equivalent and the sparkling water. Place a block of ice in the bowl, decorating the top if you wish with strawberries, raspberries, or other fruit in season. Cut the oranges into thin wheels and float them in the punch.

Atomic Champagne Cocktail

Stir the vodka, brandy,* and sherry** well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and add 1 1/2 to 2 ounces cold brut champagne.

Mad Men Inspired French 75

Shake well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a Collins glass half-full of cracked ice and top off with champagne.

Winter Wines

We help you choose the best wines for the chilly winter months!

Red and heavy white wines served at room temperature are sure to keep you toasty during the long winter months. Winter wines have a more rich taste and tend to be more complex than wines we would enjoy during the summer months. Below are some great choices for any winter get together!



Cabernet Sauvignon

Petite Sirah

The Jolly Green Machine Cocktail

Give this holiday cocktail by Napa Valley Grille a taste! It contains sparkling lemonade, gin and kale!

The Jolly Green Machine 2 oz. kale juice (blend baby kale with a little water in a blender)

3 oz. lemonade

1 oz Farmer’s Organic Gin

½ oz. St. Germaine

2 oz club soda

Pour into a martini glass and stir.