Tag Archives: what i drank

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.

pizza party


Matt and Adam’s wood-burning pizza oven pizza party!

By now, you probably know how Britt and I feel about pizza. So, when our friends Matt and Adam invited us over for a pizza party in their newly renovated backyard, how could we say no? We had the most amazing evening; checking out the fabulous additions, which, transform a simple backyard into an entertainer’s dream. One of the most significant, being, the outdoor wood-burning pizza oven. These have become quite popular/available in recent years and come in kits which are relatively simple to have installed. The total price hovering around$6K – $7K installed.

I’ve said it before but there’s just no way to make a perfect pizza crust without oven temperatures over 600°F. The smoke from the wood also contributes immensely to the flavor of the crust which ultimately is the star of the show. That being said, this is one of the most amazing kitchen tools and is definitely going on my bucket list. These ovens aren’t limited to just pizza either. I’m told they produce the most incredible roasted chicken, fish, meat, poultry, bread… the list goes on and on.

Matt even handed out Sarapes when it got chilly!

Matt even handed out sarapes when it got chilly!

Matt and Adam pre-made 10 pizza crusts and everyone was invited to create there own pizzas by selecting from the variety of toppings, sauces and cheeses. We then cut the pizzas into 8 slices and shared them with the group. It was fun trying different people’s creations. We had a blast! Thank you Matt and Adam for hosting such a brilliant night!

What I drank:

Aglianico pairs great with a wide variety of pizzas!

Aglianico pairs great with a wide variety of pizzas!

Aglianico del Vulture is an Italian red wine made from the Aglianico grape from the Vulture area in Basilicata. Gricos is full bodied with great fruit, structure, tannins and a velvet mouth feel. I highly recommend this wine with pizza! More please!


roasted kabocha squash and quinoa salad

Yesterday, I saw a green pumpkin like squash at the farmer’s market. After further inquiry, I learned it is called a kabocha squash and has similar characteristics to butternut squash. It is commonly called a Japanese pumpkin and is believed to have aphrodisiac properties in some cultures (so lay off the the rhino horn and shark fins). I also found the most perfect and gigantic pomegranates and naturally couldn’t resist. My brain instantly combined the two ingredients and yearned to transform them into a salad using quinoa (which I had leftovers from the day prior). The resulting dish is fantastic and truly represents fall to me. Not only is it a great dish on it’s own, I also think it would make a great vegan stuffing substitute or a healthy side for your upcoming Thanksgiving dinner!


2.5 pound kabocha squash

1 small kabocha squash
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa follow instructions on bag
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pepitas
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 orange zest and juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Preheat the oven to 400° F.  Scrub the outside of the kabocha with a scouring pad and hot water. Cut kabocha in half, scoop out and discard the seeds with a spoon.  Now cut the squash into 1/2 inch cubes leaving the skin intact. *Do not attempts this unless you have a large, sturdy and sharp knife! Place the kabocha in a roasting pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, thyme, a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast 400 degrees 30 mins tossing every 10 minutes. While the kabocha is roasting cook the quinoa following the instructions on the container. Cool quinoa and kabucha before combining in fridge. About 30 minutes should do the trick. Finally, combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with your hands. Season with salt and pepper, serve and enjoy! This can be made ahead of time and holds up great!




What I drank…
I had just finished shooting a recipe for an Italian Spris Cocktail and figured why not?! The orange in the cocktail complemented the orange juice in the salad, while, it’s bright and bitter flavors balanced out the creaminess of the squash. Interesting pairing to say the least! I’m certain a crisp acidic white would’ve worked too.

Italian Spris

Italian Spris