May 112012

Some friends recently returned from Cuba. When I asked them about the food, all they could talk about was the “Cuba Libres.”  “What’s a Cuba Libre?” I asked. It’s a fancy name for a rum and cola they explained.

I haven’t drank a rum and cola since highschool, but I have to admit it’s sounding pretty darn good to me today. Here’s how to make one.

Mix one and half ounces of light rum with six ounces of cola. (Of course, I’m from Atlanta, the home of Coca-Cola, so that’s what I’d recommend.) Pour in a highball glass with ice, stir, and garnish with a lime wedge.




May 042012

Want a snappy cocktail? Add ginger. My friend Roy Otwell makes a mean ginger martini that he boasts is “world famous.”

World famous? Perhaps not—at least, not yet. Still, it’s one of my favorite all-time cocktails. (If we’re really lucky, maybe Roy will share the recipe with us one day.)

My friend Kim McGuire says she’s found a ginger cocktail that can rival Roy’s, and it’s made from tequila. Instead of fresh ginger, it uses Domaine de Canton, a French ginger liquor that sells for about $18 a bottle.

You’ll need:

One and a half part of Domaine de Canton (Kim uses a little less to cut down on the sweetness.)

One part of a premium tequila

Half a part of fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel.

I can’t wait to try it!



Apr 272012

This weekend, I’m going to my friend Randy’s birthday party; Randy is turning fifty. To celebrate, he’s turned back the clock fifty years to 1962. All week, I’ve been working on my costume—visualize James Bond with a large dash of Mad Men.

Cocktails were a big part of the sophisticated sixties, and one of the most popular cocktails of the era was the Highball.  A Highball is refreshing and simple, and it’s a great entry-level drink for those developing a palate for whiskey. In fact, the Highball was my drink of choice at those University of Georgia football games and the fraternity parties that followed.

It’s super simple to make. Take three ounces of whiskey and mix with two ounces of ginger ale, add ice, and you have a Highball.




Apr 202012

Oh happy day! My goddaughter Katie had a baby about a month ago.  She, her husband, their families, and I are besides ourselves. He is their first.

To celebrate, I searched for a drink called the “Goddaughter;” there wasn’t one. But I did find a “Godchild,” “Godmother,” and “Godfather.”

Perhaps this weekend, I’ll celebrate the birth of my new great godson (is there such a thing?) with a Godchild.

Why don’t you join me? You’ll need:

One ounce of amaretto

One ounce of vodka for a Godmother, or one ounce of whiskey for a Godfather, or one ounce of Cognac for a Godchild

Pour vodka, whiskey, or Cognac and Amaretto in a rocks glass with ice and stir well.





Apr 132012



Here’s a super fun cocktail recipe to add to the weekend’s festivities—a Ramos Fizz. The Ramos Fizz was created by Henrico Ramos, who owned the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans. The recipe was kept secret until the saloon closed during Prohibition, when Henrico’s brother published it in a full-page advertisement.

You’ll need:

One and a half ounces of gin
One and a half-ounces of Half and Half
A half ounces of lime juice
A half ounce of lemon juice
One teaspoon of egg-white powder
A half ounce of club soda
A lemon

Combine all the ingredients except the club soda in a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass with ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge.


P.S. A shout-out to Brian D. Murphy and his wonderful book See, Mix, Drink: A Refreshingly Simple Guide to Crafting the World’s Most Popular Cocktails.


Apr 062012

The gym was almost empty this week; a lot of folks are on spring break with their kids. One my best spring breaks was in college when I went to the Bahamas. I can still remember the white-white sand, blue-blue water, and those red-orange sweet drinks adorned fruit and tiny paper umbrellas.

This weekend, let’s pretend we’re on spring break and make Bahama Mamas. We’ll need:

Half ounce of dark rum

A third of an ounce of 151-proof rum

A third of an ounce of coffee liquor

Half ounce of coconut liqueur

Half ounce of lemon juice

Four ounces of pineapple juice

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake with ice and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Then garnish with an orange wedge, cherry—and if you have one—a tiny little paper umbrella.




Mar 302012

My first job after college was with the Burroughs Corporation selling adding machines and computers. At an annual salary of fifteen thousand plus commissions, I thought I was hot stuff.  There was only one problem: I didn’t have a clue how those adding machines worked, much less the computers.

After a long day of cold calling, my fellow salespeople and I would meet for happy hour. Jim, who was a much better salesman than me (he could at least work the adding machines), always ordered a Rusty Nail.

The Rusty Nail combines Scotch with the honey and herbal hints of Drambuie, and it’s simple to make. Pour two ounces scotch whiskey and a half ounce of Drambuie into a rocks glass with ice. Stir well and garnish with a lemon twist.


Footnote: I lasted less than nine months before landing a job in advertising. Still, I learned several valuable lessons at Burroughs:

One: I love sales.

Two: I have to sell something I’m passionate about (and understand).

Three: It’s not a good idea to go to happy hour every night.


Mar 232012

Last week’s post on whiskey sours made Del Martin and Gary Jones reminisce. One of Del’s favorite drinks as a teen was a sloe gin fizz. “I thought I was so sophisticated drinking them,” Del shared, “but I didn’t find out until I was an adult that sloe is spelled with an ‘e,’ not a ‘w.’”

That was news to me! Talking to Del and Gary encouraged me to do a little research. The “Fizz” became widely popular in America between 1900 and the 1940s. Known as a hometown specialty of New Orleans, the gin fizz was so popular that bars would employ teams of bartenders to take turns shaking them.

A gin fizz is the best-known cocktail in the fizz family. A gin fizz contains gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water; it’s served in a highball glass with two ice cubes. Lemon-lime soda can also be used.

Here’s how Esquire magazine suggests you make the perfect sloe gin fizz:

Two ounces sloe gin

Half ounce lemon juice

One teaspoon superfine sugar

Club soda

Shake well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then strain into a small, chilled Tom Collins glass and fizz to an inch or so from the top; use a soda siphon, if you’re the type to have one, or splash the club soda or seltzer in rather carelessly so that it foams.



Mar 092012

On Thursday night, I hosted a book club Avenue M, my neighborhood “Cheers.” Twenty fabulous women joined me for a drinks, dinner, and discussion about  my book The Inspired Life: How Connection and Contribution Create Power, Passion, and Joy. When a neon green drink in a martini glass arrived on our table, I wanted to know what it was.

A grasshopper! I hadn’t thought of a grasshopper in years. There’s a well-known joke about this cocktail. A grasshopper walks into a bar. The bartender looks at him and says, “Hey we have a drink named after you!” The grasshopper replies, “You have a drink named Bob?” Here’s how to make a grasshopper.

One ounce of White Crème de Cacao

One ounce of Green Crème de Menthe

One ounce of Half and Half

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.


Dec 232011

It’s Christmas weekend, and it’s time for cocktails. Forget eggnog; it’s so eighties. It’s time for something a little more hip…milk punch. Milk punch is the new millennium’s answer to eggnog.

My dear friend Bettina used to make milk punch every Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here’s her recipe.

One cup sugar

One cup dark rum

A half of cup of brandy

Two tablespoons vanilla extract

A half gallon whole milk

Grated nutmeg (optional; I’m not much a fan)

Dissolve sugar in rum, brandy, and vanilla extract in a large, heavy pitcher. Add milk; freeze until very cold or even slushy, about four to eight hours. (Can be frozen for a month.) Pour into glasses, grate nutmeg over each glass, if desired, and serve.

Happy Ho Ho!