Tag Archives: whiskey

Jen Mattioni of Q House garnishing her Five-Spice Old Fashioneds.

five-spice old fashioned | knapp ranch dinner with the colorado FIVE

Just over two weeks ago, Steve and I helped host and orchestrate a dinner at the most epic location. Expansive hillside views, lush and abundant wildflowers, and cool and fresh mountain air, alongside a culinary team of which dreams are made. Hosted by Chef Bryan Redniss of The Rose, in Edwards, Colorado, this Japanese kaiseki-style dinner was a bucket list event not only for us, who helped produce, execute, and capture the dinner, but also for the 80 people who were lucky enough to snag a seat before the experience sold out.

That evening was one of those moments that doesn’t come along very often, where you look around and take notice of what’s actually happening – you truly can’t imagine someplace else that you’d rather be. It felt like it may have been the highlight of the Colorado food scene this year. The scenery was so beautiful that photos can’t even capture the magnitude of the  S P A C E  there at Knapp Ranch. For the design enthusiasts and foodies out there, this property is owned and curated by the former owner of Architectural Digest and Bon Appétit magazines, Bud Knapp. I had the pleasure of meeting him and touring his home and expansive gardens at his ranch that sit at 9,000 feet above sea level.

I am sharing one of my favorite cocktails that evening from my friend and fellow Colorado FIVE beverage team member, Jen Mattioni, owner of Q House in Denver. She crafted this bright, savory, spiced version of the classic Old Fashioned cocktail for the appetizer course at the Knapp Ranch dinner and paired it alongside savory bites like Duane Walker of Morin Restaurant‘s panko-fried confit chicken thighs with black garlic, sweet chili fish caramel, spicy mustard, foie gras aioli, and furikake.

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manhattan | a first-time visit, a classic cocktail + an eponymous book

It’s been nearly three weeks since our visit to New York City, and I can still hear the bustling sounds in my head. It was my very first visit, and it proved quite the adventure-filled, three-day escape. Steve and I had already made plans to see our friend Andy’s art show in Chelsea at the end of September, but the stars truly aligned when the dates for the Saveur Blog Awards ceremony were announced. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We immediately booked our tickets, plotted an easy departure from the restaurant’s responsibilities, and started researching places to stay and see and dine.

I had ideas of what New York would feel like, but experiencing it, firsthand, blew my mind. I’m still processing all that we packed in. Instead of staying at a swank hotel in the city, we opted for a cozy Airbnb in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’ll share the details of our digs and dines in an upcoming post, along with all of the activities we enjoyed with the fellow blog award nominees and the Saveur team. For now, I’ll post a few captures from the first day we were there. A day filled with walking the streets of Brooklyn over to Manhattan, the best way to see the city, in my opinion.

And you know I can’t resist the chance to share with you a few riffs on the city’s most famous classic cocktail, the Manhattan. If you’re thirsty for a good story, read on. Heck, if you’re just plain thirsty, read on. I’ve got you covered here.

manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora

There’s nothing like experiencing the city on foot and by subway. Even after walking a couple of blocks from our neighborhood, we felt the pulse of city drawing us in. I quickly realized that there’s really not a leisurely pace; you have to jump into the groove and ride it. That, or get out of the way.

We started our exploration in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. A few blocks into our walk, we scouted a couple of pizza joints and grabbed a few slices. I paired mine with a red Gatorade, because travel dehydration. What’s the actual flavor profile of “red drink”, let alone the actual ingredients? I didn’t want to think about it. The streets were hot, and the air was thick with humidity that rivaled that of my home state of Florida. I needed serious quenching.

Fueled by syrupy Gatorade and cheesy pizza, we braved the streets, eking out as much as we possibly could over the next few hours.

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mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | on embracing the crazy-faith

So, what’s the craziest dream you’ve ever dreamed?

You know, the one that wakes you up in the middle of the night and compels you to turn on the light that’s resting on the nightstand, all flustered and sweaty, in order to write down its contents in a scribbled, shaky, illegible scrawl. Chasing your pencil. The kind of harried writing that begs a shot of something strong. Whiskey-strong. You’re wide awake; you know what you want; you’re ready.

This is what life should be about, right? I know it’s kind of heady for a Saturday morning, but this is no ordinary, Saturday morning. Dude, I didn’t even mean to make a parallel here with the Kentucky Derby. I promise that I didn’t, but it so fits. I don’t know that much history on the Derby, but I do know that today’s particular, racing combination of horse and human is known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

I don’t have a horse on the line; perhaps, you do. And I wish you the best of luck. Luck. The very definition of the word means “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.” I’ve been thinking about the term lately. And as a result, I’m choosing to use its placement in my conversation more wisely.

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

mint juleps with rhubarb liqueur, strawberry + tarragon | holly & flora

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fall hot toddies | with leopold bros. + dram apothecary

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I know I’m a little late with the well wishes, but the love is here, nonetheless. I wanted to unplug for the holiday, which was just the right call. I trust you enjoyed your time with family or friends {or even treasured time alone}. Steve and I had originally planned to just cozy up, watch old Christmas specials, and fix a feast for the two of us. Snow was in the forecast, so we didn’t have the desire to venture out. Work’s been rather stressful as of late, so we really didn’t want to do much socializing.

A cheery, last-minute invitation from two of our most cherished friends changed our minds. We chose an armful of our favorite wines, bundled up for the brisk, 20-degree weather, hastily threw an apple pie together, and made the hour-long journey to the town of Larkspur, a sparsely populated town that spans rolling hills and boasts the most spectacular views of Pike’s Peak and the Front Range. We got to meet some peacocks, hang out with about 30 or so new-to-us friends, frolic with some hens and turkeys, and talk beekeeping with a rancher.

More on this crazy visit in another post.

Even though that pie was the worst pie I’ve made in my life so far, the time spent with old and new friends on a ranch out on the foothills, on the snowiest day of the year, was one of the most memorable. I am, however, baking another pie tomorrow morning to prove I’m still capable of nailing a flaky crust. Because redemption.

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palisade peach + sage whiskey smash | my inspiring time in portland

Sometimes, you’ve gotta just shake things up and get on a plane. And fly out to Portland to a creatives meet-up, where you don’t know anyone at all. Because you’re that thirsty for change.

That’s exactly what I did last weekend, when I attended the Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon. This event for creative entrepreneurs was founded by Joy of Frock Files and Melissa of LuLu the Baker. I found out about the one-day workshop via my IG friend, Bobbie Pinto, writer of the blog, Even If Nobody Reads This. I followed her link, perused the lineup of speakers, fell in love with its vibe, and signed up that very day. I didn’t even know what to expect; I’d never attended a bloggers’ conference before. I just knew that I wanted some serious inspiration, a good kick in the ass, and a renewed sense of creativity.

That’s what came my way, full-blast, and I took home even more than I ever thought I would.

palisade peach + sage whiskey smash | holly & flora palisade peach + sage whiskey smash | holly & flora Continue reading