No better way to start off the new year than getting something up, like, a week later than I planned, right? Well, your free printable January 2018 calendar is finally here, and now we can all live for a few days, or maybe even a few weeks, believing that this is the year we’re going to be super-duper organized, get back to writing everything down on paper, and finally stick to that diet — for real this time. (For the record, I woke up and ate French toast, because isn’t that the best way to kick-off a month of low-carb eating?)
For this design, I carried over some snowflakes from the December calendar. Because snowflakes shouldn’t be reserved for holidays. It’s cold as fuck in Kansas City right now; as I type this at 10:30 am, the sun is shining, and it’s still -3º outside. In fact, it would be a lot more bearable with some big, fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky, but for now we get these flat black ones.
As always, the calendar is free, and as you may or may not know by now, the only catch is that you need to “buy” the digital file from my store. You don’t have to pay any money or give any credit card info or anything like that. You just have to plug some information into some boxes. But I promise I won’t sell your email address, or stalk you (unless you’re really super fucking cool), and I think if you create an account it makes it really easy to download it next time. Also, I think I’ve fixed it so that those of you who aren’t in the US can easily download it. (My physical items are US shipping only, since I can’t handle calculating international rates right now. Hopefully soon, though.) The only other thing I ask is that in exchange for this free item from my shop, you follow me on Instagram. I hear my feed is pretty entertaining, and my stories even more so (though I definitely lost some followers after I gave major boos to some honkytonk Eminmen-Nickelback-Linkin Park guy who was performing at Times Square last night — #sorrynotsorry).
And, really, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. We’re on the honor system here. Don’t be a dick.
There are all kinds of ways to make a super creative, fancy-ass champagne cocktail since “champagne cocktail” is really just a broad term for any cocktail made with champagne. It could include liqueurs, syrups, or fucking unicorn tears. But if I’m being honest (and when am I not?) my favorite is and always has been, and probably will always be, the most well-known version, traditionally made by soaking a sugar cube in bitters, then topping it with champagne. My love for this drink surely has something to do with the fact that I really, really, really love bitters. Seriously — when I was sick over the weekend, all I wanted was lemon La Croix with a shitton of Angostura Bitters. And Sick Me got super mad at Healthy Me for drinking all of my La Croix and sent my poor husband (who actually didn’t get mad at me, at least not for that) out on Christmas day to get more.
Anyway… not only is this drink a great way to say adieu (nay, a giant fuck you!) to 2017, it’s also a fun and pretty way to make shitty bubbly totally palatable. And you already have Angostura Bitters at home, right? RIGHT? (If not, you need to get on that.) But unless you make these on the regular, are my grandma (which I hope you’re not because both of my grandmothers are dead), or are strangely literal about your Bjork fandom, you probably don’t keep sugar cubes in the house. And that’s totally fine. Just use a teaspoon of white granulated sugar (otherwise known as “sugar”) because it’s the same fucking thing — you know, just not in cube form.
Classic Champagne Cocktail
1 sugar cube (or 1 teaspoon sugar)
4 to 6 dashes Angostura Bitters
Chilled champagne or prosecco
Lemon twist, for garnish
Add the sugar and bitters to the bottom of a champagne flute or coupe glass then swirl the glass a bit so the sugar at least mostly dissolves into the bitters. Top it off with the champagne and garnish with the lemon twist. Enjoy while drinking away the memoy of this disaster of a year.
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I know I’m in a minority, at least among my friends and family, but for years, I’ve refused to leave my house on December 31. Here are my top five reasons to stay in on New Year’s Eve.
1. Drunk Assholes
Drunk people can be fun, if they’re your friends and if you’re one of them. But it seems like everyone and their mother thinks the goal on New Year’s Eve is to get as wasted as possible — especially the amateur drinkers who really can’t handle that much booze. Do you really want to ring in the New Year with someone’s drunk mom?
2. Fucking Drunk Drivers
The worst kind of drunk people are the ones who think it’s okay to get behind the wheel after they’ve had a few too many. And unfortunately, on a big drinking holiday (see No. 1) there are more drunk drivers on the road than usual. Just because you’re responsible and decided to call an Uber doesn’t mean the person in the other lane did the same.
3. Ugh, Money
Have you noticed that everything is more expensive on New Year’s Eve? Whether you need a special ticket to step foot onto a block of bars you usually frequent for free, or your favorite restaurant is offering a special prix-fixe or buffet dinner, you’re going to spend more money on December 31 than you would on any other night. Instead, put the money toward a nice bottle of whiskey or champagne you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home. Plus, it’s pretty easy to make restaurant-quality food on your own.
4. Bullshit Uncomfortable Shoes
You’re not going to buy an overpriced ticket or prix-fixe dinner then head out for a big party night in your most broken-in sneakers, now are you? Nope. If you’re going out on New Year’s Eve, chances are good you’ll want to get dressed up, which usually includes uncomfortable shoes. Think about it: Standing waiting for a drink at a bar in uncomfortable shoes. Standing in the buffet line in uncomfortable shoes. Standing in the cold waiting for your Uber in uncomfortable shoes. Is that really how you want to end this horrible year — standing around in uncomfortable footwear? Instead, I recommend cozying up on your comfortable couch in comfy socks with a comfy bottle of whiskey or wine.
5. Oh Yeah, No One Likes You
New Year’s Eve may be a special occasion for you, but it’s a horrible night for restaurants. As someone who’s had to work in a restaurant on this “holiday,” I will tell you no one wants to serve your drunk ass that night. The amateur drinkers (see No. 1) tend to get super demanding and often leave horrible tips because they think they’ve already spent too much, and your server is trying to tend to 12 tables just like that. Plus, the kitchen is working overtime to keep the buffet stocked with whatever rice pilaf and medium-rare filet they’re mass producing back there.
The first time I tasted a gin and tonic, I immediately thought of a Christmas tree. At the time, it wasn’t a good thing; I was very young, and nowhere close to appreciating the juniper notes in gin — and whatever gin I had was juniper-y as fuck. I eventually grew to love the drink, and it became the inspiration and base for my super-fucking-lazy but also kind of brilliant (if I do say so myself) Christmas Tree cocktail.
Here’s how it all went down: At one of my infamous but now defunct Holiday Hooplas (the Christmas party I held most of the 9 years I lived in Brooklyn, which was way back in the early aughts), I decided to just stick a fucking candy cane in a gin and tonic and call it The Christmas Tree. I was in my early 20s, and broke, and well, not as into making cocktails as I am now. And come on, it was FESTIVE. AS. FUCK.
Well, I’m still festive (as fuck, even), and also very into making cocktails, so now I’m going to give you my fancy-ass description of this very basic drink [turns on fancy-lady voice]: This cocktail — a gin and tonic garnished with a candy cane instead of a lime — celebrates the piney essence of a gin and tonic with a festive pop of peppermint. As you sip it, the candy cane dissolves, lending a refreshing minty flavor where one would typically expect citrus. Yada, yada, I’m so fancy.
Anyway, I’m not going to insult your intelligence with an actual recipe. Make a gin and tonic with the most juinper-y fucking gin you can find. Put a candy cane in it. The end. Merry Christmas. I love you.
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Oh, friends. I meant to share this bourbon eggnog recipe with you last week but I accidentally got a little too drunk at my Paper Crafts + Boozy Drafts holiday card making party and just didn’t make it happen. It’s my own fault, really. I almost always put two ounces of base spirit in a cocktail, but I’m not necessarily an expert on beer cocktails, so it was a bit on the strong side. Which is totally fine except due to a little miscommunication, my first round didn’t have any ice or syrup in it, so it was extra strong (basically two ounces of whiskey in a pint of beer — oops). It doesn’t help that I didn’t eat much that day. And then for good measure I also had the cocktail the way it was meant to be served. Hangover aside, the event was super fucking fun and we’re going to do another one for Valentine’s day and now I know a thing or two about how not to make a beer cocktail (the shot in the pint way — the version everyone else got was goddamn perfect, if a wee bit strong.) Anyway, now I’m fully recovered and finally sharing with you my new take on an old school boozy eggnog.
By definition, eggnog is simply a blend of milk or cream, eggs, sugar, nutmeg, and liquor. Of course, if you ask a contemporary cocktail connoisseur, they’re likely tell you that a homemade eggnog needs to age. While there’s nothing wrong with aging it, I tend to disagree. Mostly because I’m really fucking bad at planning ahead, but also because a quick eggnog can be just as good (especially if you put fancy vanilla extract in it). In fact, it’s really similar to a classic flip, a raw-egg-based drink that dates back more than 150 years.
In his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks (which was alternately titled Bar-Tender’s Guide and The Bon-Vivant’s Companion — because why not give a book three fucking names?), Jerry Thomas, largely regarded as “the father of American mixology,” offered this recipe (if you can even call it that) for making an egg flip:
“Beat up, in a jug, four new-laid eggs, omitting two of the whites; add a half dozen large lumps of sugar, and rub these well in the eggs, pour in boiling water, about half a pint at a time, and when the jug is nearly full, throw in two tumblers of Cognac brandy, and one of old Jamaica rum.”
Say what? Can someone please mansplain that for me? The book that has three names can’t give me a jug size or a measurement beyond “large lumps?” I mean, that sounds like total fucking nonsense, right? Right. At least to my Millennial (er, Xennial) brain. But don’t worry, I don’t need a mansplainer. Taking inspiration from old Jerry and his jugs and lumps and new-laid eggs, as well as newer eggnog recipes, I managed to simplify the process and adjusted the ingredients and proportions for more modern times. And then I added that really good vanilla.
Instead of beating shit up in a jug with a half-dozen large lumps of sugar, I use an immersion blender and two tablespoons of sugar. And instead of making a jugful (whatever that means), this recipe makes a big-ass mason jarful (about 24 ounces). I also replaced the cognac and rum with bourbon. Of course, a little nip of cognac certainly wouldn’t hurt this drink, so if you happen to have a bottle collecting dust in your liquor cabinet, by all means, pour that shit on in. Tis the season, right?
Based purely on my own paranoia — which I feel is totally justified considering there are raw eggs in this drink, I can’t fucking afford to get sued — I’m very comfortable saying this will keep in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. That said, alcohol is a mighty fine preservative, so it would likely last longer than that. (If you can manage not to drink it all in a day, please do let me know at what point this shit starts to get funky. It’s never lasted that long at my house.)
A Fresh Bourbon Eggnog Recipe
Serves 3 to 4
2 large brown eggs
2 cups milk, half and half, or heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish
4 ounces bourbon
Add the egg, milk, sugar, vanilla, and ½ teaspoon nutmeg to a blender or wide-mouth quart-size mason jar. Blend well (with an immersion blender if you’re using the mason jar), until all of the ingredients are well incorporated and the mixture begins to foam. Add the bourbon and blend again for at least 30 seconds. Serve immediately by pouring into a mug or large stemmed glass, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg just before serving.
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