Tag Archives: fall

roasted autumn salad

Roasted beet and butternut squash salad with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

Roasted beet and butternut squash salad with pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.

Need an idea for the holidays or a fall season dish? When I think of Autumn, like most people, I think of the changing colors of foliage. At the farmer’s market, I noticed an abundance of large squashes, root vegetables and gourds. Most of the these things seem to marry well too. Here’s a simple recipe for a Roasted Autumn Salad you can make ahead and serve at Thanksgiving or enjoy throughout the weeks to come.

Roasted Autumn Salad

2 medium beets
1 medium butternut squash
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 small pomegranate
1 small package of goat cheese
Fresh thyme
small package of baby kale or arugula
olive oil
pomegranate vinegar

Roasting beets couldn't be more simple.

Roasting beets couldn’t be more simple.

While the oven is preheating to 400° remove the skin from the beets and butternut squash and cut into bite-size pieces. Place the beets in an ovenproof dish, toss with oil, a pinch of salt, pepper and few sprigs of fresh thyme. Cover with foil. Do the same with the squash, only, place them on a baking sheet and do not cover. Roast the beets for 45 minutes, remove and place in the fridge. Roast the squash for 30 minutes and toss occasionally until slightly golden and soft. Place in a container in the fridge. When your ready to serve, arrange all of the ingredients on salad plated except for the goat cheese, olive oil and vinegar. Finally, drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with goat cheese. Enjoy!


bacardi legacy cocktail competition

Bacardi rum daiquiri.

Bacardi rum daiquiri. Photos by Wade Hammond and Deniz Durmus

I had a great time with my friend Deniz at Monday evening’s Los Angeles regional BACARDI Legacy Cocktail Competition held at No Vacancy in Hollywood. Such a cool event space with a fun secret entrance! There were a wide array of drinks presented such as Possets, punches and cocktails all made with Bacardi rum of course. Here are some highlights from the evening as well as some recipes to consider.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

Mixologist Kalani Ben along with the other contestants had 9 minutes to share their story and present their entry.

San Francisco’s Andrew Meltzer, Jessica Sanders of Austin, TX, and Chicago based bartender, Kalani Ben were awarded a spot in the national finals. Sanders, Ben and Meltzer will join regional winners from the Portland Cocktail Week and in New York competitions at the U.S. finals in Miami, Florida, next February. They will compete for a chance to present their “legacy cocktail” at the BACARDÍ Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in Sydney, Australia, in May of 2015.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest.

One of my favorite drinks of the evening was a clarified-milk posset which was handed to me in a small bottle along with a glass of ice with citrus zest. Premixed drinks can be a gooood thing…

Bacardi rum daisy.

Bacardi rum daisy.

"El Presidente" and "Gauyaba Arabica" with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

“El Presidente” and “Gauyaba Arabica” with freshly grated Arabica beans on top.

Award Winning Cocktail Recipes:
Jessica Sander of Austin, TX –  LA GRANDIFLORA


  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • ¾ part of Hibiscus Puree (Perfect Puree)
  • ½ part Miele Amaro (Bitter Honey) Syrup
  • ½ part Martini Gran Lusso Vermouth
  • ½ part Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3 drops of Almond Extract


  • Ingredients are combined in a cocktail tin with ice and shaken until chilled and properly diluted.
  • The cocktail is fine strained into chilled cocktail coupes and then garnished with a thin lime wheel that has been pierced with a dried hibiscus flower and a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Kalani Ben from Chicago, IL – FAMILY TIES


  • 1 ½ parts of BACARDÍ Superior
  • 1 part Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • ¾ part Clove Syrup
  • ½  part Luxardo Amaro Abano


  • Using a hand juicer/press, squeeze 1 part of lime juice and add it to your shaker along with one half of the already juiced lime shell.
  • Then add all other ingredients to your shaker.
  • Add ice, shake vigorously, and double strain into your coupe.

Andrew Meltzer of San Francisco, CA – CUBAN COBBLER


  • 1 ½ parts BACARDÍ Gold
  • ¾ part Palo Cortado Shery
  • ½ part Pear Williams Liqueur
  • ½ part Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ part Honey Simple


  • In a mixing glass or tin, combine BACARDÍ Gold rum, sherry, pear liqueur, lemon juice and honey syrup.
  • Add ice, shake, and strain over fresh ice into a chilled collins glass or large tumbler.
  • Insert a straw.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of pear on the inside of the glass and top with seasonal berries and mint sprigs.

curried butternut squash soup

Curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk drizzle.

Curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk drizzle.

It’s fall and even though the weather isn’t acting like it, I’m starting to crave certain seasonal dishes – like soup! Here’s an easy and delicious butternut squash soup recipe that can be made with or without the addition of curry powder. The coolest thing about it is that you don’t need any broth because it makes its own! Enjoy!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup 
1 butternut squash seeded, rind removed, chopped into 1 inch dice
3 stalks of celery – thinly sliced
1 onion – diced
1 large carrot – sliced
4 cloves of garlic – smashed
1 stalk of fennel – thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
2 tablespoons honey
10 branches fresh thyme
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup of olive oil plus 2 tablespoons for sautéing
1 can of coconut milk

In a large deep pot add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté first 6 ingredients for 8 minutes over medium high heat. Add remaining ingredients (except for the last 3) and cover with an inch  of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minutes. Add lemon juice and blend to a smooth consistency with hand-held blender or counter-top blender. With blender running slowly add 1/2 cup of olive oil. Serve with a drizzle of coconut milk. Happy Fall y’all!

pumpkin old fashioned

An old fashioned with a twist for Turkey Day.

An old fashioned with a twist for Turkey Day.

Here’s a tasty Turkey Day treat – I used pumpkin syrup and Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon to create my version of the perfect holiday cocktail. The addition of maple flavored bitters really adds to the drink but any bitters will suffice. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

2 ounces Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
1/2 ounce Torani Pumpkin Pie Syrup
2 dashes maple bitters (I used Urban Moonshine)
Ice (use good bottled water for this!)
twist of orange
1 Lounge Attire Cocktail Cranberry (or Marashchino Cherry)

In a mixing glass combine ice, Bourbon, pumpkin syrup and bitters. Stir until desire dilution is achieved. Strain into an old fashioned or bucket style glass filled with ice. One of the easiest ways to greatly improve the overall quality of your cocktails is to use quality bottled water to make your ice. Finally, rub the orange around the ridge of the rim and twist over the cocktail making sure to release all of the oils contained in the peel. Submerge orange and cocktail cranberry in your super festive pumpkin old fashioned. Enjoy!


fashionably maple (maple old fashioned)


maple old fashioned

I’ve had this bottle of Noble maple syrup, which is matured in used bourbon barrels, sitting on our kitchen shelf and calling my name for the past 2 years. It was given to my wife and I from power couple friends or ours: Matt Armedariz and Adam Pearson. I’ve finally decided to break the seal and use this bottle in as many concoctions achievable given it’s 450ml limitation. I’m going to treat this bottle comparably to a significant bottle of bourbon since this stuff aint cheap at $28 a bottle! Naturally, I plan on pairing it with whisky given this particular syrup’s maturing process. I’d also like to try mixing it with  other spirits as well.

I think the most obvious go-to cocktail that comes to mind is also perhaps my favorite – the old fashioned. This simple classic combines sugar, bitters, whisky, orange and cherry and transforms them into one of the most complex and layered cocktails. Really all we are doing here is replacing the sugar with maple syrup. Easy enough right?!

2 oz bourbon (I like Buffalo Trace and Four Roses for this)
1/4 oz maple Syrup
2 dashes of bitters
Twist of orange
Maraschino cherry
Ice Cubes (bottled water makes quite a difference)

In a mixing glass combine bourbon, maple syrup, bitters and ice. Stir until desired dilution is achieved and strain into a rocks glass over ice cubes or sphere. Rub orange twist along the rim of glass, then, twist and insert into the cocktail along with the cherry. Cheers!