Thursday, November 20, 2008

Talking Tiki

We had our November meeting this week, and it was a great one. Too bad some of the ladies couldn't make it, but that just meant more for those of us who did. Shelley Temple, Eight is Enough, our gracious hostess Delilah, and yours truly were present.

The theme this month was Tiki Drinks 101 and Delilah lined up a guest speaker to join us. James Teitelbaum is the author of Tiki Road Trip and a man of many talents. This was the first time a member of the male persuasion has attended one of our meetings, so we eyed him with suspicion initially. But as the night wore on, he won us over enough to let him stay for the evening.

Many in attendance didn't realize that there were good sipping rums, and had their eyes opened to new possibilities with rum. Thanks James!

The Drinks
James started our evening with the Test Pilot, a cocktail invented by Donn Beach, and a discussion of the beginnings of the Tiki movement. Next up was the classic Mai Tai and a discussion of Trader Vic. We finished the evening with the classic Dark 'n Stormy, made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum and Barritt's Ginger Beer. The Gosling's people would be most proud of us for respecting their trademark on this occasion.

The Eats
The food accompaniments included Cuban sandwiches, homemade tropical salsa and Ahi tuna skewers with a ginger-maple glaze. All were delicious. Of course we also had goldfish.

Here were the two favorite recipes, determined by a vote of the members in attendance:

Test Pilot
1.5 oz Dark Rum
.75 oz Light Rum
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Velvet Falernum
3 teaspoons Cointreau
Dash Angostura bitters
1/8 teaspoon Pernod
Blend with 1 cup crushed ice, garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Polynesian Glaze
3/4 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1 cup water
1 3/4 tbsp. Fresh Grated Ginger
4 cloves Garlic finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsp. prepared Horseradish
1 tsp. salt
Combine all ingredients in a pan and heat until boiling. Simmer for 15 minutes (or until reduced by half). Enjoy over your favorite fish. Delilah served this over ahi tuna skewered with granny smith apples and green peppers.
Note: can be made ahead - glaze will keep in fridge for several days.

Now everyone go off and Tiki!

Edit: I forgot to add in this month's Rye Confession, which comes from Shelley Temple. She advised that she is often carded when out with her husband, even though he is not. This occasionally makes him quite upset, and encourages her to call him "papa" for fun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Party Like its 1933 - Repeal Day in Chicago!

The lovely ladies of LUPEC Chicago are excited to announce our first event, first two events, actually. We're hosting two celebrations of Repeal Day on Friday, December 5th. It's the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, which took effect on December 5, 1933. We hope you'll join us at one or both of our celebrations!

As a further encouragement for your cocktailing with us, a portion of the proceeds from all purchases of food & drink at these events will be donated to the Greenhouse Shelter in Chicago.

Here are the details - mark your calendars now!

Act I: Clark Street Ale House - Informal Happy Hour
742 N. Clark, Chicago
6.00-9.00 PM, Friday Dec 5th

Join us for a cocktail or three and toast the occasion. Just buy your own drinks and you won’t get into trouble.

Act II: The Drawing Room - Come Party Like it’s 1933
937 N. Rush, Chicago
10.00 pm on, Fri Dec 5th
Try the $33 Prefix Dinner & Drink Pairing Menu, or sip on a Prohibition-era cocktail from our special menu, all while listening to 1930’s tunes by the Ron Mills Orchestra.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

October and the Shushing (sp?)

We had a mini-meeting in October, with just three of us in attendance (Shelley Temple, Stone Manhattan and yours truly). We met at Weegee's Lounge for cocktails and conversation, knowing we could get a great cocktail there. Unfortunately, we ended up being there on the night of the last Presidential debate, and no one warned us of the serious debate watching party that would take place. We were actually "shushed" and asked to be quiet! In a bar! As a result, we closed our meeting early, after finishing our cocktails.

We did have some great cocktails, including a classic Martini (made with my favorite gin), as well as a nice Alice, Mine and a Manhattan.

November brings our Rum Escape, with all things Tiki. Sounds perfect given how cold it is out there today - I'm all for pretending we're somewhere tropical. More on that one soon!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More Recipes from Past Events

Before we head into October's event (coming up in a couple of days at one of our favorites, Weegee's Lounge in Chicago), here are the recipes from our last two events:

August 2008 - Meet Us in St. Louis

Planters Punch
2 oz Dark Rum
Juice of one lime and half of a lemon
2 tsp Grenadine
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar syrup

Pour all ingredients into a large mixing glass and stir. Add ice cubes and stir until thoroughly chilled. Strain into a tall glass that is 3/4 filled with cracked ice. Garnish with fresh fruit.

St. Louis Toasted Ravioli (recipe adapted from
2 tbsp whole milk

1 egg

3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 package of frozen cheese ravioli, thawed
3 cups vegetable oil
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz marinara sauce

Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs and salt in a shallow bowl (and stir). Dip the ravioli into the milk mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, heat marinara over medium heat in a saucepan, bring to a simmer.

In a large heavy pan, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry a few ravioli at a time, for 1 minute on each side until golden. Drain onto paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with hot marinara.

September 2008 - Parlez-vous Français?

Kiki's French 75 Cocktail
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice (or more, to taste)

Pour gin, simple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and pour into a champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Apple Tarte Tatin (Serves 8)
Step One: Caramelized Apples - the apples can be made several days in advance and stored in the frig.
  • 6-8 medium firm apples (I used golden delicious...and I used 8 apples).
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I actually used a bit more because I like the flavor)
Peel, core and thickly slice apples. Heat in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add butter, stir in apples. Sprinkle with half of the sugar and cook until apples begin to brown a bit (about 10 min).

Stir in the remaining sugar. Cook and stir until apples are golden (about another 10 min). Stir in cider, salt and cinnamon. Heat to a boil, cook, stirring until apples are tender - about 5 min (don't let them get mushy). Remove apples with a slotted spoon to a plate or bowl. Cook pan juices until they thicken slightly. Our over apples. If making these ahead of time - store in fridge. Otherwise proceed to next phase.

Step Two: Prepare the Apple Tarte Tatin
Carmelized apples (see recipe above)
1 unbaked refrigerated pie crust (or if you are a Martha Stewart type - make your own pie crust)
Sweetened whipped cream or softened vanilla ice cream (I used regular whipped cream and did not add any sugar to it)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. If apples have been refrigerated, warm them in a skillet on stovetop (or lightly microwave them if in a hurry). Transfer to 9-inch buttered pie plate. Fit the pie crust over the apples, tucking the crust inside the dish between the fruit and the dish. Cut a few slits in the crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake until crust is golden brown - about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack about 10 min. To serve, place a large serving platter over the pie plate, quickly invert the tarte onto the platter. Remove the pan. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Parlez-vous Français?

Kiki Royale hosted a festive French-themed affair this month (on September 23rd). Despite not feeling so well, Ms. Royale was a wonderful hostess to our full house this month (all eight of us).

A Tribute to Kir
To start the evening, we visited the light, refreshing Kir Royale - crème de cassis topped with sparkling wine. This drink was named in the Dijon region of France around the time of World War II, perhaps by (and for) a mayor or instead a priest, named Kir. However, it may have actually been consumed as far back as the 1840's, when crème de cassis was first introduced in the area.

French 75s
Continuing with the champagne cocktails, we moved on to the French 75. Named for a French artillery weapon, this drink is traditionally made with gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar and sparkling wine. Some say it was originally made with cognac, and in fact the legendary French 75 Bar serves it that way. Ms. Royale made hers with gin, and they were delicious. Recipe coming soon.

Fromage et Pommes
Ms. Royale also put forth a spread of French treats, including an array of cheeses, cheese fondue, and Tarte Tatin. The Tarte Tatin was the favorite, and the recipe should be forthcoming.

Additional notes:
  • We are planning a big celebration for Repeal Day this year (Dec 5), and are starting to make our plans now - more details soon!
  • Thanks to Ms. Royale, there were goldfish crackers present, even though they are not shown in the pictures.
  • This month's Rye Confession comes from yours truly. In the midst of a discussion of world travels and visiting tombs, I shared a story from when I went to visit Lenin's Tomb in the mid 1980's with a school group. I had a crush on a boy in our group (named Troy), and was trying to look pretty (I was 14 or so at the time). Therefore I was not wearing my glasses - they were in my pocket. When we got into the tomb, we were not allowed to put our hands in our pockets, so I couldn't get my glasses out - the guards yelled at me and stopped me. So I couldn't see Lenin, just a fuzzy shape in the distance. Maybe I'll have to go back someday, or maybe not.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meet us in St. Louis

For our August event, Eight is Enough graciously invited the gals to her place for a trip through some cocktails & treats invented in St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. Enough grew up in St. Louis, and yes she is a Cardinals fan, much to the dismay of the Cubs fans in our group. We set aside our baseball differences for the evening, and enjoyed some fantastic drinks & snacks.

First up: Planters Punch
In her research, Ms. Enough discovered that this wonderful (and intoxicating) punch may have been created in St. Louis at the Planters Hotel (which no longer exists). Like many drinks, there are competing theories on its real origin, but this was good enough for us. The punch was delightful, a mix of rums, fresh juices and homemade grenadine. All the ladies were very impressed that Ms. Enough went to the trouble to make her own grenadine. Unfortunately I haven't yet gotten the recipes from her, so I can't post them here (hopefully coming soon!)

Second up: Tom Collins
This drink is even more contested as to its origin, but Ms. Enough found at least some reports that it was created in St. Louis. We had a brief discussion as to it's origins, and then sipped while we snacked. It was a great refresher on a hot day.

Speaking of snacks, Ms. Enough outdid herself with a robust spread of treats. The favorites were the Mayfair Salad, created at the Mayfair Hotel, and the toasted ravioli, which is apparently a St. Louis staple. I had never had toasted ravioli, so I was a bit surprised to realize that it is really fried ravioli. Toasted sounds much better.

Rye Confession
And this month's Rye Confession comes from Ginny Tonic. It's not exactly a confession, but some very exciting news - she is in the process of adopting a child, and she's getting pretty close to the end. Cheers to Ms. Tonic!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Recipes from Past Events

As mentioned yesterday, we are going to post a food recipe along with the month's drink recipe. Here's this month's recipe, as well as last month's.

Watermelon Feta Salad - July Favorite Recipe
2 cups watermelon cubes
2 cups feta (haloumi or kasseri would also work)
Red pepper flakes

Combine watermelon and feta in a bowl, stir carefully. Add spices to taste, stir again. Serve immediately.

And from our Celebrating New Orleans gathering at Stone Manhattan's place, here's another:

New Orleans Rocket Salad - June Favorite Recipe
Baby Arugula/Rocket (lots)
Grilled Vidalia Onions (couple medium)
Crumbled Goat Cheese (lots!)
Spicy/Sweet Pecans (lots of these too!)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Take a big bowl, and fill it with arugula. Drizzle the salad leaves with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and dust with salt & pepper. Slice thinly, and grill (on the stovetop in a grill pan is fine) a couple of medium Vidalia onions. While still warm, chop up the grilled onion, add a little salt and pepper, a little olive oil, and add to the bowl of salad. Add crumbled goat cheese and heated, chopped sweet/spicy pecans (Ms. Manhattan got hers at Trader Joe's). Mix/toss and serve immediately.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cobblers and Summer Snacks

Most of the lovely ladies of Chicago LUPEC gathered again last night at Morning Delight's place for an evening of classic cobbler cocktails and conversation. Being a trained chef, Ms. Delight wowed the group with a fantastic array of summer-themed salads and snacks. Pictured from left are Stone Manhattan, Delilah, Eight is Enough, Kiki Royale, Shelley Temple and Morning Delight. Unfortunately, Ginny Tonic was not able to join us, and Little Audrey (me) was taking the picture.

For those who might not be aware, cobbler drinks were popular in the mid to late 1800's and into the 1900's. Made with a base of wine or spirit, their main distinguishing characteristic is an abundance of fresh fruit on top of the drink. The first cocktail we tried was a blackberry bourbon cobbler, made as follows:

Blackberry Bourbon Cobbler
2-2 1/2 oz Old Whiskey River Bourbon (to taste)
1/2 oz Lejay Creme de Mure
Dash of simple syrup

Fill rocks glass with crushed ice. Shake ingredients with ice, strain into glass over ice. Top with a mixture of fresh berries. We used blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. Unfortunately the photo of the cocktail didn't turn out, so you'll have to imagine it with us.

This Month's Food Recipe
Not wanting to neglect the food side of our gatherings, we have decided that we will highlight both one drink recipe and one food recipe from each gathering to feature on our blog. This month's food recipe will be coming soon, I'm waiting for Morning Delight to send it to me (or post it herself). Here's a picture to tempt you:

And two other final notes:
  • Goldfish Crackers - thankfully Ms. Manhattan remembered to bring these, or we would have violated our own rule. Given that she probably cannot attend our August event, Ms. Enough has been assigned the task of procuring the goldfish.
  • Rye Confession - At this month's gathering, it was disclosed that two of our members were what you might call a "*#%^ing mess" when they were little kids, with lots of unusual challenges to overcome that involved corrective devices. At least one of their mothers said as much (a direct quote) when asked by a friend of the member. Her mom must be a helluva character. Luckily the stories were surrounded by much laughter from the tellers, and we're delighted to report that none us feel we are *#%^ing messes now, although others might disagree.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Celebrating New Orleans

By all accounts, the first official LUPEC Chicago event was a great success. All the ladies had a great time, there were lots of laughs. And we identified a few things that will be part of our future events.

In attendance: Stone Manhattan (our lovely hostess), Kiki Royale, Ginny Tonic, Delilah, Shelley Temple, yours truly and our one member who had not yet decided on her cocktail nickname.

There were
Sazeracs, Ramos Gin Fizzes (and boy were my arms tired from shaking all of them), and more. Ms. Manhattan shared the history of these cocktails, as well as cocktails in New Orleans generally, and served a feast of crab cakes, grilled andouille, and a fantastic salad - we'll post the recipe here shortly.

New Rules

1. There will be
goldfish crackers at all our cocktail parties that take place in a member's home. As Ms. Manhattan put it, it's not a cocktail party without goldfish.

2. After each event, we'll post a segment called
Rye Confessions, in which we'll reveal one interesting fact about a member that arose during the event. The first confession - our member who did not have her name decided yet happened to mention that she used to shed a few tears during most episodes of Eight is Enough. Perhaps her new nickname should be Eight is Enough... we'll see.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cheers from Chicago!

Welcome to the virtual home of the Chicago chapter of LUPEC, the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails. After discovering this fantastic group of ladies awhile back, we decided it was high time that a chapter in Chicago was started. So we took it upon ourselves, and here we are.

Our first official chapter event will be held tonight, Wednesday, June 11th for our members only. Our hostess is Stone Manhattan, and it's a celebration of New Orleans, complete with Sazeracs and Ramos Gin Fizzes. There will be andouille, crab cakes and other great noshes as well.

Keep your eyes on this site for more on our adventures in preserving fantastic classic cocktails in Chicago!