The Official Cocktail of Le Village B&B
After the biggest free party known to man, otherwise known as Mardi Gras, a Bloody Mary may be in order. Honestly, if u have ever consumed an embarrassingly obscene amount of alcohol, Bloody Marys are more tolerable than water during an unsightly hangover.

When I was last at Le Village in Eunice, Louisiana, I visited Ms. Wiggens for an afternoon cocktail. She said a Bloody Mary is the official drink of the B&B because in south Louisiana one is usually recovering from some kind of party. Her recipe is simple and she avoids the fluff. I find this very smart because who wants to deal with all the accoutrements of a salad in one's drink while nursing a headache. 

But you don't have to be hungover to partake in a Bloody Mary. This cocktail is a great daytime beverage. (I do advise against ordering one after the sun has set - it just isn't right.)

The display is what made it taste even better. For a person like me, I first taste with my eyes. Her serving wear doesn't fall short of a refined southern hostess: holiday cocktail napkins, hammered silver ice bucket, and silver serving tray complete with antique silver filigree tongs for picking up home-made egg salad sandwiches. 

...being fashionable is a way of life - as displayed at Le Village.

INGREDIENTS & RECIPE from Felicia Hebert Wiggins:

Ingredient: Ice for glasses, lime wedges and fresh celery

Step 1: Spoon ice from ice bucket to Prep glasses and garnish with lime. Have Celery available for those that like it.

Ingredient: Egg salad sandwiches

Step 2: Always have a little snack when serving alcohol - just in case your guest gets too woozy. For an afternoon cocktail, small sandwiches are always welcome.

Ingredient: Chilled Vodka - because Bloody Marys are best very cold.

Step 3: First add vodka to glasses so that you can see how much is going in. Half and Half ratios are great for Hair of the Dog.

Ingredient: Bloody Mary mix: V8, Louisiana Hot Sauce, and some celery salt

Step 4: Serve from a glass carafe

Ingredient: Toast & Conversation

Step 5: Keep Good Company



Wine Cliff Notes with Sommelier - John Slover
Series | How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi
After my excursion to the Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting at the Waldorf a few weeks ago, I was influenced to seek out a bit more wine knowledge to share with fans of JSQ. 

As part of the series on "How to have that Jenée Sais Quoi", knowing at least a little about wine is having "that certain something special". 

Thankfully I have a good friend, John Slover, who is a wine expert, also known as a sommelier. We had a quick chat about what I thought were some wine etiquette essentials and he obliged me with a wine opening demonstration. It's a performance he has perfected after almost 20 years in the wine business working at places such as Blue Hill, Cru, Le Bernardin, and Daniel.

Luckily for us, this private wine consulter who manages some pretty impressive wine collections, shared his knowledge with JSQ pro bono.

See Interview below:


JSQ: If u are clueless about vineyards, grapes and regions, is it ok to buy a bottle based on the looks of the label?
JS: Well there are no rules, but how about maybe learn something and make an informed decision, or build a relationship with someone in a wine store and ask them for recommendations. You don't taste the label, although licking it to be sexy can be fun. 

JSQ: How reliable is the person working in the wine store ? 
JS: It depends on the store and the worker. I would suggest to anyone if they want to learn about wine (and you learn by drinking and tasting) to find a good wine store (Chambers street wines, Astor wines, Crush wines and spirits in manhattan, Heights chateau in brooklyn heights, and there are many more), find a worker, and tell them you want a case of wine split between white and red, name your price range, take the case home and drink it over the course of a few weeks. Take some notes as you taste and drink - you don't have to go crazy and write a novel, just what you like and don't like, and if you can articulate why you like or don't like, and when you're done with the case go back, find the same worker and share your notes and let them pick out another case, always naming your price range. After a round or 2 of this, you'll know whether the worker is a good person to have a wine relationship with.  

JSQ: How important is it to store my wine on its side at my home? It's not laying down at the store.
JS: very important!

JSQ: Would u ever mix coca cola with red wine?
JS: Next question. (he actually said something else)

JSQ: Which kind of red wine makes the best sangria?
JS: Something cheap and fruity, like $4 a bottle or less

JSQ: Do u have a favorite brand of wine glasses to recomend? High end/ Low end
JS: High end - Zalto. Low end - Cardinal arcoroc

JSQ: Are there any tricks to not getting purple teeth?
JS: Nope - stainability is genetic. Keep a tooth brush handy. Or drink white wine

JSQ: I find the world  of wine and the world of fashion very similar in that a select group of people actually fully understand it -those that work in it or those that spend the time getting to know it. There are some steadfast rules in fashion to help the less daring always get it right. For instance a black cocktail dress is always chic. Pearls are always sophisticated and black pumps with a slender heel will always be stylish.

For normal people just trying to to by a decent bottle of wine or choose a glass with dinner. What are 3 tips to make this process more successful?
1 - try and get a simple understanding of what you like and don't like so you can give them simple information (full bodied or light bodied? fruity or not so fruity? etc)
2 - ask for help and trust your sommelier or bartender
3 - name your price range, and don't be ashamed if its low. Sommeliers out there would prefer direct communication about that

JSQ: Also like fashion, there are some ridiculous prices. Or are they ridiculous? In fashion some items are prices far beyond the value of the product. Much of the price inflation is about the status of the brand. Does wine pricing work in a similar way ?
JS:yes, status, brand, but also in wine rarity is a big factor that drives prices up. Maybe thats the same in fashion too.

JSQ: How about this wine you are using in the demonstration - It's huge! This is not a normal bottle of wine.
JS: Yes, it's large. It's called a Magnum which is = 1.5 liters. This wine is from Piedmont, Italy. Piedmont reds, particularly ones made from barbera are good pizza wines, and it turned out to be pretty good with chinese food too!!

JSQ: Thanks for entertaining my questions and adding to our "je ne sais quoi"  Looking forward to licking more labels with you soon.


Brighten up your Vodka
Mixers | Food & Drink
kumquat cocktail, kumquat vodka, cheers

As I planned to be home in Louisiana for Christmas I looked forward to all of my dad's citrus trees. I imagined picking satsumas and eating them instantly. I looked forward to picking and grapefruits from the trees in the morning and turning them into a glass of juice. What I don't love eating as much are the Kumquats. They are so cute but not so enjoyable after one or two. So I called my dad and said this year we would make Kumquat infused Vodka in an effort to make better use of these adorable mini oranges.

Hence, like the sage butter, this is another great winter preserve of nature's bounty. 


What you need: Glass jars, Fresh Kumquats & Vodka


Step 1:
Pick ripe Kumquats
kumquat, plant, Citrus

Tart and/or Sweet Kumquats. My dad grows both so we made separate jars of each. The tart ones are oblong like olives and the round ones are, just round. 

Step 2:
Wash (in case there is bird poop on your kumquats)
Pick off any stems and cut in half
depression glass, kumquats, bowl of citrus

cut kumquats

sliced kumquats

Vodka (any Vodka will do) Tho, I don't recommend a cheap, harsh one like Taaka. Even the best fruit cannot cover up the rubbing alcohol taste of that stuff.

Step 3:
Add Kumquats to jar and pour in vodka. Depending on strength of kumquat flavor will determine how many to add to jar. Since we had so many we just filled the jars to the top. 
absolute vodka, citrus, louisiana

kumquat, vodka, christmas drink, cocktail


Step 4:
Let the Kumquats infuse the Vodka for 3-4 days. Shake one a day. Keep in a cool, dry place. Since it's winter, leaving the jars outside works well. 

Family and Friends & glasses

Step 5:
Once you have determined it has infused long enough (determine by tasting), share with family and friends as an apéritif for Christmas!!! 
Serve chilled and straight up. 
Garnish with a vodka soaked kumquat wedge
kumquat cocktail,

A jar of your homemade Kumquat Vodka is also a great Christmas and New Year Present.

**Note - many recipes recommend removing the fruit if it will not be consumed within the first week. I imagine it may get bitter if left in for too long.

Though, what do do with all of these vodka soaked kumquats???
My idea is to freeze them and when you are ready to serve the vodka add them not only as garnish but as ice too.


What do you do with all of your extra Kumquats??? Or do you actually eat them all???


A Champagne Revolution
Mixers | Food & Drink
New years eve, fireworks, champagne poppers, confetti, Herrengedeck

At a recent holiday party, my friend from Germany told me an interesting story about drinking champagne with beer. With New Year's Eve around the corner, I thought this was a great time to share a bit of this champagne "cocktail" and it's historical roots.
Freixenet Cava, champagne glasses, new years eve, champagne poppers, Herrengedeck

Her husband, from East Germany, was on the forefront of Punk "culture" in the late 1980s and early 90s as they defied convention and the oppressive establishment.

In true punk fashion they diluted their champagne or sparkling wine (or in the case of my photo: cava): the drink of the privileged with beer: the drink of the blue collar worker.

This practice actually originated back in the 1950s in Communist East Germany. In order to reeducate workers and farmers and make them feel more like the new ruling class which they were supposed to be now. In some restaurants they had to buy a small bottle of sparkling wine with every beer they ordered. Workers and farmers did not want to drink sparkling wine - and poured it into their beer. The result was a surprisingly interesting and powerful drink, that went by the very old school name of Herrengedeck
Beer, champagne, champagne glasses, champagen poppers
A modern variation would include real Champagne, preferably Moet&Chandon referring to a traditional Kir Royal - that one is now known as Beer Royal.

This practice was expressed as an act of rebellion at the height of punk culture in the late 80's. For instance at a very formal reception one would order beer from a waiter when everyone is drinking champagne and then ask for the "refil" to be poured on top of the beer. 

Now that was a serious F...U... to the establishment. So punk.

Lastly it has some pretty practical purposes having nothing to do with politics and everything with just feeling good. After way too much Champagne with you friends, order one beer and pour a bit in every glass. It really soothes the stomach! 

So this New Year's Eve remember this trick rather you need to make a political statement or just save yourself from a stomach ache. 
champagne glasses, champagne poppers


An Elixir for Your Mind & Body
bitters, exiler, lemons
Note: Lemon and Pink Lemon props are grown in Louisiana by my Dad

Wondering if you should store your bitters on your bar cart or in your medicine cabinet? In this millennial  revival of old fashioned cocktails, of which many call for bitters, most only know of bitters as an ingredient to add to spirits. Yet since the Middle Ages bitters were created as an herbal medicine. 
bitters, liquor store
Bitters section at Keife & Co

As I try to keep the cocktails on the blog current to the season, I find it necessary to discuss bitters during the dark days of winter. Hearty whiskey drinks are warming during cold months. Since bitters pair so well with whiskey, now is the time to experiment with these elixirs. 

Also, in winter it is important to keep up ones immunity as colds and viruses are looking for their next victim. Bitters also serve as a digestive which is very important for a healthy immune system. These are served after meals neat or on the rocks. More info here

If you will be in New Orleans this winter, then you must try the Sazerac cocktail. It's a renowned aromatic bitters with 19th century roots is Peychaud's Bitters, which were originally developed by apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychaud in New Orleans, Louisiana.

and while you are there... Stop by Keife & Co on Howard Avenue to  pick up a set of Cocktail Bitters Traveler's Set. It's a great way to experiment with many flavors and they are small enough to get through airport security in your carry-on luggage.
bitters, cocktails, new orelans, knife & co

bitters, cocktails, new orelans, knife & co, liquor store

Keife & Co. 801 Howard Ave New Orleans, La

Here are some recipes from the Set:
celery bitters, cocktail recipe, bloody mary

jerry thomas bitters, cocktail recipe, old fashioned

old time aromatic bitters, cocktail recipe, Manhattan cocktail

orange bitters, cocktail recipe, dry martini cocktail

creole bitters, cocktail recipe, brandy cocktail

Stay Warm and Healthy.


Even Better than a Candle in your Menorah...
Mixers | Food & Drink

... is a flame attached to your tasty cocktail.

This Thanksgiving holiday collides with the first day of Hanukkah and has enticed our appetites for a real mélange of flavors. 

This Thanksgiving-ukkah I changed up my annual Pumpkin-tini to have a bit of Hanukkah flair. 

I found a recipe here for this hot cocktail.

2 oz. Purity Vodka1 oz. 
Fresh Lemon Juice1/2 oz. 
Simple SyrupOverproof Rum (i.e. 151)
3-4 Kumquats
Muddle kumquats in lemon juice and simple syrup. Add Purity and ice, and
shake hard. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with a hollowed-out kumquat filled with overproof rum and ignite.
and L'Chaim !!!
So for the other 7 nights of Hanukkah, serve the Hanukkah Miracle, but on a night like tonight which will not happen for another 70,000 years add the flaming kumquat to my classic Pumpkin-tini. Recipe here

Hanukkah Cocktail photo from The Plunge Project

Mixers: Independence Spirit

Spirits are High on Independence Day and so is the Alcohol content in this aperitif. For this All American holiday I got together with the fanciest hostess I know to see what she will be serving up for the 4th of July.
This cocktail, the Negroni, originated in Italy. It's bitter, sweet & strong. It's also refreshing and appropriately color themed for this summer time holiday. Note - this might just be the summer of Campari. 

Here is how to make Kristine's Negroni Mixer:

1. Fill Glasses with Ice and pour 2 parts Gin
2. Add 1 part Campari - Mixing this up in a Red & White Striped Frock might be essential

3. Top with Club Soda
4. Add a splash of fresh squeezed orange juice
5. Finish with a Lemon Wedge. Kristine prefers lemon as the sour cuts through the bitter

Cheers & Happy Birthday America
 Thanks for Sharing Kristine

Mixers: BRING SUMMER ON with Campari

Campari Soda

Recently I joined a friend for an after work cocktail and some catching up. It was one of those first warm NY days that allowed us to sit outside and enjoy the drink al fresco. 
Thus, what to order?
When the weather changes, your cocktail choices should adjust in the same way your shoe choices change when the temp breaks 75 degrees. (temp is in Fahrenheit ;)

A cold pale beer is a good refreshing choice for this season, but you know what a FANCY refreshing drink is for the summer season???

Campari Soda

Campari Soda, Aranciata, Basket

Campari Recipes
Campari can be served several ways. The back of the bottle offers some suggestions. 
I like it 2 ways

  • Campari with Soda over Ice and a Slice of Orange 

 on the occasion when SanPellegrino Aranciata is available!!!
  • Campari with Aranciata over Ice and a Slice of Orange 

You see, I post a weekly mixer not because I'm obsessed with drinking but because drink choices reflect your style as much as your haircut does.
For instance, when u have a Campari on a summer afternoon it says "I've spent summers in Southern Europe lounging in cafes". Now that is FANCY

Enjoy Summer and all that comes with it.
What is your Go-To Cocktail on a summer afternoon?

Mixers: Coffee Cocktails

coffee, coffee cocktails

Wondering how to start your day off right and plain coffee is not working anymore? Voila: The Coffee Bar. Though, perhaps you just want to change up your coffee routine on the weekend and invite some friends over. The Coffee bar is a perfect Brunch prelude.

Coffee is an international drink, but I have many coffee memories growing up in Louisiana. My grandparents could not start the day without a cup of it. So when I slept over as a little girl, they made a cup of coffee milk for me. It was mostly milk with a splash of coffee and a spoon of sugar. It was delicious. I feel now it's already one of those old time stories that parents or grandparents would never do - give a child coffee!?!?!?!? 

Offer several mixers to make coffee cocktails, appropriate glasses and mugs, and fresh coffee. Guests can experiment with coffee cocktail recipes which is part of the entertainment.  It's coffee for grown-ups. 

coffee, coffee cocktails
Coffee Cocktail Recipes
coffee, coffee cocktails
Glass ware & Mugs
coffee, coffee cocktails
Cafe du Monde Coffee from Louisiana with Chicory
coffee, coffee cocktails
Going for the Bailey's Irish Coffee
coffee, coffee cocktails
Adding Coffee
coffee, coffee cocktails, whipped cream
Taste Testing the whipped Cream
coffee, coffee cocktails
A Bailey's Irish Coffee
coffee, coffee cocktails
coffee, coffee cocktails
Round II  !!!! Espresso Martini this time

(Painting by Tonya Engel)

Mixers: Old Fashioned - not just for Old Farts

old fashioned, bourbon, green galow
Recently I had a blind date. Well I knew the person. but she kept the restaurant a well hidden secret. After a hike to Manhattan's west side, through a guest list check point, & a strange ride in an elevator, we arrived at one of New York's best kept rooftop restaurant secrets. Without going on about it or giving too much away - it's a magical place, sorta of fairy tale-ish.

The only part that was normal about this place was the now requisite fancy, mixologist cocktail list.  Yet, this night, we opted for an old favorite - the Old Fashioned.

Perhaps being Southern makes it possible to drink Bourbon all year long (hot toddies in the winter and mint juleps in the summer). Long Live this Classic Cocktail. Try it this weekend, perhaps?

What you Need (per cocktail):
2 tsp Simple Syrup // 1 tsp Water // 2 dashes Angostura bitters // 1 large Ice cube or glass full // 1.5 oz Bourbon whiskey // 1 slice Orange // 1 Maraschino Cherry

How to Make it:
Place orange in class with Cherry // Give a little muddle // Add bitters // Add Ice // Pour in bourbon & simple Syrup // Add Water // Give a Stir // Sip & tell Stories

old fashioned, bourbon, green galow

Any amendments to this recipe??? or Stories to Swap???
BTW, normally I would gush about a new place that I love, but I honestly love it that much that I don't want to spoil it (for myself:) Though, if you are so inclined to know, ask and I might reveal this gem if you ask nicely. It's really something special.

The Iconic Mint Julep

mint julep, kentucky derby
Summer & the South are a perfect combination for this perfect Bourbon Cocktail - The Mint Julep. Last year we served this southern specialty at our wedding in Louisiana and this weekend many will be thrown back at the Kentucky Derby.

On a hot summer day in the South, instant relief comes in the form of ice, mint, sugar and bourbon.
Even those who find bourbon to harsh, these go down like Kool-Aid - so be careful if you are in heels.
Photo Finish, Derby Style
What you will need for a Mint Julep:   2 cups sugar // 2 cups water // Sprigs of Fresh Mint // Crushed Ice // Kentucky Whisky // Silver Julep Cups

How to make it: Boil water and sugar into a simple syrup for 5 minutes // Place 6 sprigs of mint in mixture and refrigerate overnight // Fill cup with ice, add 1 tablespoon mint syrup, 2 ounces bourbon // Sip.

Mixers: Violet Fizz

Easter Egg Hunts can be so Dehydrating.
What better to rehydrate with than a Pastel Cocktail?!?
Last Easter Kristine, a jewelry designer, and I put on our best Easter Frocks and experimented with an A.J. Rathbun recipe, The Violet Fizz. We loved how the color coordinated with our outfits and Easter Eggs.

1. Fill cocktail shaker half full of ice cubes. Add 2 ounces Gin,
1/2 ounce Creme de Violet, 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice, and
1/4 ounce simple syrup. Shake Well

2. Fill a highball glass 3/4 full with ice cubes.
Strain mixture into glass.

3. Fill the glasss with chilled club soda, stir and drink

* Kristine added a special touch with Mint & Blueberry garnish *

Recipe from A. J. Rathbun


Mixers: Spiced Rye Whiskey

A Great Winter Tyme Spirit: Rye Whiskey with Warming Spices

In warm Thailand where I am now peeling a bit from a sunburn, I feel it necessary to post an appropriate Wintry story for my readers in cold New York! and any other cold place in February.

This drink is great all winter long, but I especially like it during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season because of the spices. Since it involves infusing, my recommendation is to make it right after Halloween so it is ready for Thanksgiving Aperitifs.

Start with Whole Spices
Cloves, Cinnamon Sticks, All-Spice & Star of Anise
Amount Shown is for 2 bottles. A woman's palm full of each spice is sufficient for 2 bottles & 3 cinnamon sticks per botttle

Pour shot of Whiskey in Morning Coffee
To make room for the spices, a shot of whiskey needs to be poured out. I recommend making this in the morning as a shot of whiskey in coffee is a great way to start a Sunday. Otherwise, the whiskey can be shot alone.

Simply drop spice into a rye whiskey of your choice and screw cap back on.

Infusing is really easy. Just let sit on a shelf for 2 weeks. The hardest part is waiting.

Spirits make great gifts for the holidays, but are even better when they include a special home made touch. Make a label to gift to friends.

Enjoy Spiced Rye whiskey alone or in your favorite Whiskey Cocktail such as:
Hot Toddies
Old Fashioned
Irish Coffee

This post is part of the Series - Mixers: Evolve or Just Get Drunk

Mixers: Too Many Kumquat Champagne

When Kumquats and other citrus are in great abundance this time of year, don't forget a killer pairing: Champagne and Kumquat Slivers

Having a Toast in Adrienne's Back Yard with Veuve & Kumquats

It was never apparent to me that Citrus is a winter time fruit until my Dad, the green thumb, started to grow Oranges, Grapefruits, Kumquats, Lemons, Limes and Satsumas (my favorite!)  I think the bright color and fresh smell made it seem like summer produce. Now I find it quite interesting that nature provides us with ample amounts of Vitamin C at the time of year we need it the most.
Thanks Mother Nature (and dad).

Since my dad's trees yield more fruit than we can ever eat or juice, I brought over loads to my friend Adrienne for a little trade. Adrienne is at the top of my list of Amazing Friends. She's like Martha Stewart but Cool. I find her to be like Ms. Stewart in that everything she does is Perfection, but she does it with loads of good jokes.

When we stopped over for a visit and a trade, she gave me jars of homemade pickled green beans (to only be used in Bloody Marys!!!) and broke out the Veuve Cliquot to toast our engagement. Afternoons at Adrienne's are always a delight.


This post is part of a series called, MIXERS: EVOLVE OR JUST GET DRUNK

Mixers: The Pumpkintini

Pumpkintini Birthday: Thanksgiving Eve 2011

Q: What's better than pumpkin pie for thanksgiving???   A: Pumpkin Martini

Anything served on a Missoni tray (from Target) looks better. Note always have a pitcher of water on service.

My friend, Elyse, gave me a large bottle of Hiram Walker's Pumpkin Spice liquor for my birthday,
which we previously used to make a seasonal pumpkin bread pudding. Since I'm not much of a baker, I instead added vodka, dipped the rim in cinnamon sugar and stirred it up with a cinnamon stick.

The Pumkintinis were served with a bowl of Kettle Popcorn (made me think of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving party) and a side of Valdosta black pepper Pecans

Cheers!!! ..............L'haim!!!!
Imre and Georgie, our annual Thanksgiving guests from Budapest.

Mixers: Evolve or just get Drunk

Cocktails, I once read, were invented during Prohibition when homemade alcohol tasted so bad it needed to be masked with some kind of mix.

Image from a great source on cocktails

Like the ever changing styles on the catwalk & sidewalk, cocktails go in and out of fashion.

For Instance: ordering a Cosmo will definitely show your age. The Cosmo was chic circa The Sex and the City years. Now it's just passé. Though in about 20 years when SATC is retro, The Cosmo is sure to make a comeback just as the Moscow Mule has. 

No explanation necessary

Just as new seasons require new looks, parties and gathering need inventive cocktails to mark the occasion. As much as I love combining articles in my closet to invent a new outfit for every occasion, I love combining ingredients that are rarely found on cocktail lists.

This is truly the epitome of "down to the last detail".

Hence this brings me to a new recurring topic on the blog called: Mixers
(see more under the Food&Drink category)

Drink up and be inspired.

Mixers: Sake Float

Birthday: Yusack's Art Opening
Summer 2012

My friend Elyse and I threw an art opening for an amazing Japanese painter, Yusack. It was his U.S. Premiere!

As we know by now we can all expect free wine at art openings. It's so been there done that. Boooooooring.

So I wanted to create something that said:
 "Japan comes to America" in a cup.

The Sake Float was born.
Sake = Japan               Float = America

We first taste tested it at my house with different ice creams and sake / proseco proportions.

Then it was ready for its debut on a rooftop in Brooklyn to greet all of Yusack's fans.

To View Yusack's art visit 2nonBlondes

The Essentials
Yusack Approves of the Concoction

Rooftop Art Show