Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Opera Cocktail

The Opera Cocktail in cocktail glass with lemon twist garnish

One sip, and you’ll be singing its praises

The Opera Cocktail was a classic in pre-Prohibition days. And no wonder—its lightness and clean, crisp flavor make it the perfect palate cleanser before a summer dinner.

We’ll be drinking it to celebrate the opening of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, a summer opera festival that runs from late May through late June. Tonight marks their second performance (Mozart’s The Magic Flute), and in June they’ll be presenting the world premiere of Gordon & Vavrek’s Twenty-Seven. More about all of this later.

Even if you can’t make it to a performance at Opera Theatre, you might want to celebrate another opening: This post marks the beginning of our Summer Sippin’ and Snarfin’ Series. And the Opera Cocktail makes an excellent opening number. It’s a celebration in a glass!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chipotle Sweet-Potato Salad

Chipotle Sweet-Potato Salad on plate, with fork and napkin in background

Spice up your summer cookouts 

Here in the US, Memorial Day is coming up soon—signaling the start of cookout season. And cookouts require potato salad. They just do.

You could make an old favorite with white potatoes, of course. But why not try something different? Sweet potatoes—with their deep, rich flavor—work extremely well in potato salad. Add some chipotle to the mix, and you have a side dish that can stand up to any main course you slap on the grill.

So make extra. Because your guests may walk right past the burgers or barbecue to load up on this.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Asparagus and Spinach Salad

Asparagus and Spinach Salad topped with prosciutto and a poached egg, overhead view on black

Prosciutto and poached egg add savor to springtime favorites

Springtime means fresh produce. That includes two of the year’s most anticipated treats: homegrown asparagus and spinach.

Both are abundant right now in the part of the US where we live. There’s terrific local asparagus from farmers’ markets. And spinach? Well, our backyard garden is producing a bumper crop.

Both asparagus and spinach are wonderful when served alone—but combining them in a salad makes for something special. Add some salty prosciutto and a poached egg, and voilà: a savory salad that you can serve as a small starter or a larger main course.

But hurry! The season for fresh local asparagus is short, and you don’t want to miss out. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until next year. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Dubonnet Cocktail

Dubonnet Cocktail in cocktail glass with lemon slice garnish, on black acrylic with flowers in background

Better than flowers for Mother’s Day

Dubonnet is a sweet-tasting, wine-based apéritif that contains a bit of quinine (more about that later). Dubonnet has an interesting flavor all by itself, but it really shines when mixed in a cocktail.

Though several drinks specify it as an ingredient, the eponymous Dubonnet Cocktail is the best of the breed. This drink’s bracing flavor makes it perfect for sipping before dinner (or as afternoon refreshment). It’s a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II (and was loved by the late Queen Mother, too).

With Mother’s Day coming up this Sunday in the US, why not pour a round of Dubonnet Cocktails? After all, it’s Queen Mum-approved for mothers everywhere.