Chocolate Cardamom Cupcakes with Blood Orange Liqueur Filling

Cardamom Solerno Cupcake 1

If you aren’t familiar with Solerno, it’s time to get acquainted.  It’s a bold Sicilian Blood Orange Liqueur that beautifully enhances cocktails requiring a citrus element.  Having also had great success using it in a number of confections (petit fours, frostings, cakes, and candies), it has become an indispensable bottle in my liquor collection. These chocolate cupcakes are spiced with cardamom, and hidden inside is a fluffy marshmallow filling spiked with Solerno.  The rich

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Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Tart

Chocolate Bourbon Pumpkin Tarts

My favorite cocktail event of the Fall/Winter season is definitely Tales of the Toddy.  Every year, the best bartenders and the finest restaurants in New Orleans get together to create an evening filled with exquisite holiday cocktails and mouthwatering cuisine. You know what happens when bartenders get together to throw a holiday party?  In New Orleans?  It becomes THE BEST HOLIDAY PARTY EVER. I was recently asked to participate in this year’s event as a

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Salted Caramel Rye Apple Pie Bars

Caramel Rye Apple Pie Bars Stacked

In 2008, the Louisiana Legislature proclaimed the Sazerac the official cocktail of New Orleans.  Being a lifelong New Orleanian, I have a great deal of respect for this beverage.  It’s a beautiful cocktail that is simple enough to make, yet even easier to botch.  Such Crimes Against Sazeracs I’ve personally witnessed include shaking, serving over terrible ice, and including a variety of funky new bitters (an attempt to jazz up a classic?). Just stop

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The Sazerac: New Orleans’ Official Cocktail

Sazerac Ingredients Top-3

How it Was Born In the 1850′s, a Creole apothecary named Antoine Peychaud first dashed his cure-all tincture “Peychaud’s Bitters” into an Absinthe-rinsed glass of Cognac. He named it the Sazerac after Sazerac de Forge et Fils, the brand of Cognac that was used in the drink. Selling bitters as a “cure for what ailed you” must have been daunting in the mid-1800′s when there were more remedies for ailments than ailments themselves. It’s no

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Spiced Sweet Potato and Rum Roll Cake

Sweet Potato Rum Roll Cake 4

Located in the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, the Bourbon “O” Bar is an oasis in the debauchery of Bourbon Street.  This is the bar you go to when you know better than to grab a neon green concoction served in a plastic, branded Go Cup.  If you need a proper cocktail done well by some of the cities most seasoned and accommodating bartenders, this is your spot. This cake was inspired by a drink on

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Ginger Beer and Pineapple Pisco Cupcakes

Pisco Pineapple Cupcakes 1

I’m often asked what becomes of the treats I bake.  They generally end up in the bellies of friends, coworkers, and loved ones.  One of the many advantages of living in the French Quarter is being surrounded by some amazing bars and restaurants.  Days off are often spent popping into some of my favorite establishments and dropping off baked goods to some of the hardest working people in the hospitality industry.  Let’s face it:

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Blueberry and Lavender Tarts with Gin Meringue

Blueberry Lavender Gin Tart Forks

These tarts have a lot going for them.  The crust is a buttery shortbread sprinkled with bits of dried lavender.  The filling is made of juicy blueberries and a bit of lemon for some tang.  And there’s gin.  Not a crazy amount of “It’s five o’clock somewhere” gin, but it’s in there – in the filling and the meringue.  Because what goes well with a blueberry-lavender one-two punch?  Gin, of course. This recipe is

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Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Bourbon Sauce

Peanut Butter Bourbon Brownie Sauce

Peanut butter and chocolate have teamed up once again to make a kick-ass dessert.  This time the Dynamic Duo brought along their friend bourbon (side note:  bourbon is my friend as well). These rich, wonderful peanut butter brownies have a layer of chocolate bourbon sauce swirled throughout.  Yes, that’s right.  Chocolate.  Bourbon.  Sauce.  I don’t need to explain any further.  My only advice is to set a few aside for yourself because these disappear

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Calvados Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Calvados Carrot Cake Cupcakes 1

Calvados is a spirit I’m still becoming familiar with.  My early days in the service industry were spent working in establishments that didn’t carry such things (Delacour Brandy and Hennessy were the only possibilities – certainly no Applejack).  Even at the higher-end bars I’ve worked at more recently, all too often there’s one lone bottle of Calvados gathering dust on the backbar.  Guests don’t call for it often, and admittedly, I didn’t know of

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DIY: Orgeat

Orgeat

Famously used in the Mai Tai, this luxurious syrup is quite easy to make. I won’t say you’re a chump if you buy it, but unless you operate a high volume bar, you’re better off making it from scratch. Many thanks to Chris Hannah at the French 75 Bar in New Orleans for sharing this recipe with us and teaching everyone that when drinks are truly made from scratch, they are so much more enjoyable.  

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