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I am the only person I know who makes cocktails everyday, and not for a living.

After Hayden goes down, after all the mopping, cleaning and washing, I sit down and think about what I feel like and what ingredients I have at hand.

I should clarify that this little ritual only started this January. Call it my 2010 New Year resolution.

When I was pregnant, I baked everyday. But baking, the kind I love anyway, has an inherent problem to life after a baby. Once you have your heart set on éclairs, you are committed non-stop from dough mixing, to piping, to baking, to filling. Macarons? The whipped-up meringue will collapse soon if it’s not immediately mixed with the almond meal, which hopefully, is meticulously sifted and on standby. The buttercream filling needs to be made while the piped out dough is being dried. Not to mention, no self-respecting macaron aficionado makes just one flavor.

I ain’t got that kind of time anymore. Besides, if I have learned anything about being a mother, it’s you want to minimize doing things that cannot be interrupted, because you will be, constantly. Take your eyes off the stove for 10 seconds, it’s Bye-Bye luscious pastry cream and Hello lumpy, curdled mess.

In cocktails, I found my compromise: It’s faster to make and less to clean. It can be complex. And best of all, after a whole day of chasing after a poopy butt, wrestling with meltdowns and being the chef to the same someone who prefers food in succession of small, individual courses, a drink at 7  is not unlike that first bite of pizza after summiting Mt. Whitney.

And it’s patriotic! Unlike wine or scotch or beer, mixed drinks started in America. Read Imbibe! (David Wondrich 2007), and you will be proud.

I have two books: MIXSHAKESTIR (Little, Brown and Company 2009) for its modern taste, and The Bartender’s Companion To 750 Cocktails (Hermes House 2006) for its breadth.

I almost never, ever follow what’s printed to a tee. I know what I like. I almost always cut the sugar in half, be very careful with Pernod (too overpowering), muddle fresh ingredients instead of pre-made infusion, and look to my garden for inspiration.

And I don’t worry at all about traditions.

To Drink.



  1. Looking for recipe for St Germain basil “mojito type” cocktail. Any leads Shalese? BTW… we love your blog. Mike & Kim Zim

    • Thanx! I am so glad someone other than my family is reading my blog!

      St. Germain basiil mojito? Interesting … have you had it somewhere and really liked it?
      I don’t know any published recipe, but it seems fun to try to come up with one.

      How about I experiment in the next few days and come back to you guys. You are more than welcome to do the same. My basil in the garden is begging to be picked.


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  1. By Cocktail Chronicle « Sunnyvaleglutton's Blog on 19 Aug 2010 at 9:40 pm

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