Getting out of town for the weekend makes a difference. It's not just a change of scenery from the rest of week, but there's also that subtle thrill of simply being away. Of going outside. Of spending time in a different location, seeing different sights, hearing different sounds.
Stocking a solid home bar takes a bit of planning, or lots of experimenting. I built my bar a few bottles at a time, but looking back it would have been nice to have a solid list. Here are my essentials that will make the majority of drinks on the menu.
You've heard of smokey flavored cocktails before... but how about a smoke bomb cocktail that actually explodes? Well not actually explodes, but with a flourishing crack to the ice cube mold from a tiny hammer or utensil, billowing smoke will pour out into the rest of your Black Manhattan (or other smokey drink of choice)...
Have you hit 90 degrees yet where you live? We have (yep - 92 on May 6 in Minneapolis, crazy), and I loved it. After months of snow and cold and slush and sweaters, I absolutely revel in the warmth. Maybe later in the summer I'll be crouched down inside next to the air conditioner, but not now. Right now, when it's warm out, I want to soak my bones in it.
The warm weather also means a change in the beverage seasons. Out with the heavy, comforting drinks of winter, and in with the light, bright, refreshing stuff. As part of our series of posts celebrating tequila (one, two), we've teamed up with Olmeca Altos to show you how to perfect the perfect drink for summer: the margarita.
You've heard the worn-out phrase "the greatest thing since sliced bread." But, really, this overused comment only highlights a deeper observation: why sliced bread is such a great invention in the first place.
It is, of course, because sliced bread leads to sandwiches. They are, perhaps, Western culture's greatest culinary achievement, named after an aristocratic gambler, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who requested that his valet bring him his meat tucked between two slices of bread so that he could continue to eat while playing cards, without getting his cards greasy or put them down to dine.
Whether that story is true or not, no one can deny the magic of combining baked grains with other food stuffs to create a portable, all-in-one-bite package. Nearly every Western culture has its variation: the pizza, the taco, the flatbread wrap, so one thing's for sure: the combo of a grain-based dough, some meat and veggies, a little sauce, maybe a bit of cheese, is better than simply sliced bread. It's the greatest thing in the world.
Last time we talked tequila, we showed you how to make a Pasado de Moda, an orange-and-tequila infused take on the Old Fashioned. Today, it's time to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a fresh and crazy flavorful cocktail, made with Olmeca Altos Reposado.
Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican Army's 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. It is not, as people often think, the Mexican Independence Day (that's Diez y Seiz de Septiembre). The holiday isn't really acknowledged in Mexico anyway, but any time there's an excuse to enjoy some tequila, we are most certainly a bordo.
But cross cultural mashups don't need a reason to exist
Oh, Summertime. The best time of year for delicious drinks made with fresh ingredients. In doing my research for this piece, I had a hard time not wanting to just make up a drink for each herb!
Regular ManMade readers know we love a good cocktail. Whether it's a simple highball, a classic gin and tonic, a bright and fresh French 75, or a smokey Swedish Flame, we think knowing how to make and enjoy a high-quality drink at home is part and parcel of the ManMade ethos. So when Olmeca Altos Tequila reached out to us to celebrate this awesome time of year — late spring and early summer — we were pretty excited about the chance to team up and create some tasty cocktail and food recipes.
In the last few decades, lard has gotten a bad wrap in the U.S. From playground name-calling to the low-fat (and high chemical) diet of the 90s, we became scared of pig fat. We imagined it as a heart attack in a tub, a spoonful of which will immediately clog every artery in your body and you might as well just give up right then and there.
But here's the thing - first off, fresh, naturally rendered pork fat is a completely different product than the whipped, hydrogenated stuff you find in the supermarket. And lard actually contains about half the cholesterol and one-third of the saturated fat of butter. Really.
So, cooking with it once in while will not kill you. What it will do is make all your food taste a lot, a lot better. And
It's the most important meal of the day, and as far as the perfect breakfast, it's hard to beat an egg. If you ask many of the world's greatest chefs what the ultimate mark of someone who knows how to cook, they'll say, "have them make me an egg."
See, on the one hand, eggs are simple: there's the white, there's the yolk, you heat it, and you eat it. But on the other hand, an egg's unique two-part structure means there's a lot going on, and plenty to mess up.
We've talked before about how much we love the Aeropress for making a great cup of coffee. Make a great cold brew with the same equipment and just a bit more time. Here's how.
Your kid is sick; your wife has a late meeting; the two-hundred dollars in groceries you bought last weekend was ephemeral. Enter: spaghetti aglio e olio. Spaghetti with garlic and olive oil. Sounds almost pointlessly simple, but if you make it right, it's deceptively good. Fast, easy, and you always have the ingredients on hand. Here's how:
ManMade Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- 1 lb. dried spaghetti
- Olive Oil (the better, the better)
- Garlic (fresh if you can; I always keep a jar of minced garlic around just in case)
- Chopped Parsley (optional but makes a noticeable difference)
There are two routes home cocktail enthusiasts tend to take when choosing a muddler: the mini-baseball style that sits on the check-out counter and the local liquor store (which suck), and then there's the handmade, lathe-turned muddler made from some exotic South American hardwood that can cost you as much as $60 or $80.
Or, you can get the performance of the second for the price of the first.
Fried rice is a comfort food in almost every Eastern culture where rice is a staple, and the styles vary widely among traditions cultures. But if you ask me, one cuisine has nailed it above all the others; and its version isn't just a way to use up leftover rice. It's a reason to make a huge pot of rice in the first place.
Most mornings call for an early jolt of java to get me going. Black coffee warms me up, and I've grown to love the bitter-sweet taste. But on the slower days when I just don't feel like a bitter cuppa joe I turn to something a bit smoother - The Foglifter.
After you finish up dinner at the restaurant, head home for an impressive dessert that will be sure to make the night memorable. Here are a few fast options to help you make the most impressive dish you've ever made.