Food & Drink

Making the Martini – Shake It, Don’t Stir!

Although many television and movie characters have ordered the martini in the past three decades, none is as memorable as the suave and sophisticated super spy that orders his martini shaken – but not stirred. However, the drink was popular long before the memorable secret agent began ordering the cocktail. Here are a few things you probably didn’t know about the vodka-based martini and how to create a great vodka martini recipe.

vodka martini recipe


Creating Vodka

The history of vodka is in dispute, but it was created either in Poland or Russia and sometime between the 900s and the 15th century. Although many people believe popular vodkas are potato-based, the ancient beverage has always been distilled with rye or wheat when the grains are available. The popular Absolut vodka is made from a special crop of winter wheat that is known for its hardness and combined with a uniquely special well water to create the drink base favored by millions. This is ideal for any vodka martini recipe.

Calling Names

If you want to order a bottle of vodka in Russia, you may find yourself confused when the clerk asks you what you want because there are many names of the almost tasteless popular drink base. The popular liquid is referred to as “the bitter stuff,” “hot water,” “daughter,” and “the bubble.” Some people also call the alcohol “the white stuff,” the “quarter bottle,” and the “mono-polka.”

Drinking Martinis

No one knows when the martini was created. The cocktail can be found listed on drink menus from the 1860s when it was called the Martinez Special and became a popular drink among thirsty miners during the gold rush. Hemingway knew and loved the cocktail, calling it “civilized.” Other possibilities in the creation story can be found in New York, San Francisco, and Sweden, and although the origin of the bracingly sweet drink may never be known, that doesn’t deter from the drink’s popularity. During the 1960s, business was conducted over a martini lunch, the cocktail was served during office meetings by cosmopolitan executives, and men and women drank the popular concoction during their evening hours.

vodka martini recipe

Altered Versions

As with most drinks, people often love to make a unique version of the beverage that they can call their own, and perhaps that is why the shaken and stirred adaptation of the martini came to be. If you want to try your hand at the classic vodka martini recipe, check out If you want to try some of the other types of this secret agent drink, try the “dirty martini” which includes olive brine, or the “Gibson” that uses cocktail onions instead of olives. A martini with a “twist” is served with lemon, and you can even find a chocolate, lime, or espresso martini if you want to be adventurous.

No matter when you decide to enjoy a martini, make sure you pair the drink with some of your favorite foods and take time to relax as you enjoy the cocktail. You may also be interested to know that shaking or stirring the mixture is simply a matter of preference, whether you are a secret spy or a working mom. If you are ordering the drink at your favorite pub, restaurant, or bar, don’t forget to include some a hamburger and some salty fries.

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky Tartan Collins Cocktail

Do you like yourself some single malt? Neat, on the rocks, maybe wth some cola (gasp, how could you)? Well, my friend, don’t you know that variety is the spice of life? Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Whisky certainly wants you to remember. In fact, they are coming with some awesome recs for toasting with a smoky cocktail to mix things up! This year, Laphroaig has worked with top mixologist Jordan Felix (Portland, OR) to create an innovative, refreshing cocktail that highlights Laphroaig’s famously distict Islay smoke: the Tartan Collins.
Laphroaig_Tartan Collins

The Tartan Collins cocktail is an easy-to-make libation that’s smoky and sweet – a perfect option to enjoy with some friends on a hot summer day. Check out the details below:
  • 11/2 parts Laphroaig® Select Scotch Whisky
  • 1/4 part Five-Spice Syrup (recipe below)*
  • 2 dashes of Orange Bitters
  • Ginger Beer
Method: Pour the Laphroaig Select in a collins glass, followed by the five-spice syrup and bitters. Add ice, and top off with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

*Five-Spice Syrup Ingredients:

  • 2oz bottle of Five-Spice Blend
  • 64oz fine sugar
  • 32oz water
Method: Combine all ingredients a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce until all ingredients are blended. Let cool for 2 hours and refrigerate before use.

So, what do you think? Pretty dope, yes? Well, it is pretty dope. Now, for the important decisions: Laphroaig Select, 10 Year Old or Lore??

  • Laphroaig Select Laphroaig Select Scotch Whisky is a blend that brings the world’s favorite Laphroaig expressions together. The result is an exquisite new Laphroaig expression with an additional layer of complexity and depth. More approachable than the average Laphroaig, Select is the perfect introduction for aspiring Scotch drinkers. MSRP: $54.99
  • Laphroaig 10 YO: The best recognized of all Islay malts and Laphroaig’s flagship expression, 10 Year Old delivers a unique measure of Islay peat smoke, tangy, salt-laden air and an echo of sweetness. MSRP: $49.99
  • Laphroaig Lore: Rich and deep with distinctive smoke, peat and seaside minerality, Lore is unmistakably Laphroaig. The remarkable flavor is the result of liquid being drawn from a selection of casks including ex-bourbon barrels, first-fill sherry butts, smaller quarter casks and Laphroaig’s most precious stocks. MSRP: $124.99

I’m crushing on the Select right now, perfect for  relative novice like myself. Whichever you choose, you’re going to get a fine whisky that you can make some Tartan Collins’ with…or have it all neat or rocks if you must.

What’s your opinion?

To find out more, please check out:

Guy and the Blog received a product sample for the purpose of this review.

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: Grab Some Manhattan Moonshine And Get To Cocktailin’ The Right Way

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With cocktail culture booming in the United States, there is certainly no shortage of Speakeasies and high-end mixology bars in New York City, but what some of the best ones have in common is a revolutionary new Un-Aged Whiskey called Manhattan Moonshine, which is rapidly emerging as a number one choice for the discerning drinkers of New York. Inspired by the cocktail renaissance that occurred during American Prohibition and the glamorous yet subversive nightlife that accompanied it, Manhattan Moonshine is the world’s first luxury Un-Aged Whiskey. has been designed to be the perfect Whiskey for cocktails.

Manhattan Moonshine 2

Using a unique grain bill featuring a combination of Oats, Rye, Spelt (an ancestral form of wheat) and Malted Barley, and a unique production process, Manhattan Moonshine is able to deliver a smooth, grain-forward, Whiskey flavor that no other Un-Aged Whiskey is able to create.   William is a New York City native and Whiskey enthusiast who is fascinated by the Prohibition era, Art Deco design and the Jazz age.  William collaborated for over a year with whiskey expert, Ian Smiley to create the unique formulation.

Unlike the darker Whiskeys that can be cloying in the warm weather even over ice, ManhattanMoonshine is barely aged in oak, meaning that its flavor is lighter and softer and is refreshing even on the hottest, most humid summer days.  Because of this lighter flavor, Manhattan Moonshine can make an almost endless variety of cocktails, from Manhattans to Mint Juleps to Margaritas, meaning it can easily replace the liquor in your father’s drink of choice.

Just take a look at the wide array of tasty cocktails you could be imbibing in with Manhattan Moonshine! Tasty, tasty treats.

Manhattan Moonshine Cocktail Collage

In the case of Manhattan Moonshine, the quality of craftsmanship is paramount. Whereas other moonshines are made by following traditional Aged-Whiskey or Bourbon recipes and excluding the final step of barrel aging, the recipe for Manhattan Moonshine was developed from the outset to create an Un-Aged Whiskey. The formula was carefully created during a year of experimentation by Manhattan Moonshine Founder and CEO, William Kehler, and Master Distiller and author, Ian Smiley, who literally wrote the book on moonshine. The result of this work is a unique grain bill featuring a combination of Oats, Rye, Spelt (an ancestral form of wheat) and Malted Barley, all grown in New York state, and a unique production process.

Manhattan Moonshine

Manhattan Moonshine launched late last year in its unmistakable 750 ml Art Deco decanter, at an MSRP of $39.99.

Guy and the Blog received a sample of the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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NY Restaurants

Eataly NYC’s NEW Sabbia by Birreria Is All About Ultra Fresh Italian Seaside Dining and Cocktails


If you’ve ever been to Eataly in New York, you know how amazing the place is. It’s chaotic, it’s frenetic, it’s packed at all hours, it’s cozy, it’s warm, and it has some of the most amazing Italian food in the world. From bars to restaurants to butchers, bakers, and cheesemongers…you can get your Italian fix in a big way. Anytime I’m anywhere near this place (hello Nutella Bar), I have to pop in. Even if just for some gelato.


One of the great spaces lies up on the 14th floor…the rooftop. It’s called La Birreria, and it’s a fantastic craft beer casual restaurant. It’s great, and it’s been great since it opened a few years ago. Recently, though, they created an Italian Alps-themed winter theme in the space…and everyone loved it. So, what is an uber ambitious and equally successful Eataly to do? Well, make it into a spring and summer appopriate, Italian beach-themed space called Sabbia, of course. Silly.


SABBIA, an Italian seaside restaurant on the roof, is a pop-up that will feature the best coastal food and drink under the sun. SABBIA, Italian for “sand,” will transport visitors from the hot pavement of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. The laid-back environment draws inspiration from the waves and breezes of the Italian coastline (think: the breathtaking Domus de Maria in Sardegna, beautiful city of Rimini in Emilia-Romagna, and the famed island of Capri) and comes complete with cabanas for toasting the summer inside and a retractable roof for basking in the sunshine.


The space was perfect. Open, fresh, beachy, fun. It hit the spot on all accounts and I can see when the weather is warm and the roof is open, this place will be rocking.

With Executive Chef Fitz Tallon at the helm, the menu will feature delicious, easy-to-eat coastal fare that celebrate both land and sea. Try light and fresh grilled meats, seafood, and veggies. Pretty much just what you are looking for when it’s hot. Some of the awesome includes Gamberetti alla Bagnara (seared shrimp with bagnara sauce); Penne allo Scoglio (Afeltra penne with squid, shrimp, Manila clams, and white wine); Bombette (grilled steak stuffed with Caciocavallo); and Pesce Spada allo Beccafico (grilled swordfish with breadcrumbs, garlic, onions, Parmigiano Reggiano, currants, green olives, parsley, and lemon). Everything was perfect and spot-on for the space and the vibe. Even the grilled zucchini was great. The food all really meshed well with the delicious cocktails and the overall care-free, beachy vibe of the space.


If that wasn’t even, there are also Island Creek Oysters, a sustainable oyster farm anchored in Duxbury Bay, Mass.. Sabbia is paring up with them for an amazing oyster bar set up on the deck of SABBIA, where the oyster-shucking action in their signature ice-filled boat will heighten the coastal theme of the space.


I’m not a huge cocktail guy, but I have to admit, these were really good. I mean, very clean and refreshing. Again, perfect for the place. The full drink menu will feature 12 specialty cocktails and non-alcoholic refreshments, as well as an extensive selection of over more than 50 beers and wines. Signature drinks include the Hoppy Hour, made with Absolute Citron Vodka, fresh carrot juice, ginger honey, and lemon; the Limone-Jito, made with Kraken Spiced Rum, Meletti Limoncello, passion fruit puree, lime, and mint; and the Pesca Fresca, made with peach puree, rosemary, lemon, and sparkling water. I also really enjoyed the Sorrento Spritz, made with Flor Prosecco, Mint, Cucumber, and Sorrento Lime Juice, and the Italian Riviera Spritz, made with Aperol, Niasca Mandarinata, and Lurisia Sparking Water. One was better than the next. And the really chill bar staff was good enough to pour me some of their tap beer, including some great Baladin Nora, Grimm Neon Lights, and two house made cask-conditioned beers. Everything was stellar.

I mean…cabanas…


The grand opening is set for today at 5 p.m. Friday, April 29!

SABBIA will be open through October: Sunday through Wednesday from 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m.-midnight. Reservations aren’t required but are available on OpenTable.

To find out more about Eataly NYC, please check out:

To see some more pics of this great new space, take a look below:

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: Cinco de Mayo Cocktail Treats With Hornitos Tequila

Hornitos Plata Bottle Image

Cinco de Mayo is coming. I know, I know, time flies and where does the time between awesome drinking holidays go? I get it. Well, now that you are on notice, it’s time to start some planning. You don’t want to be a last minute Melvin (is that a real term?) when it comes to these things. Be a good scout and don’t settle for the same old margarita year after year! Instead, spice up your drink of choice and consider margarita alternatives from Hornitos Tequila for this year’s Cinco celebration – por favor.

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Hornitos Mixologist Carlos Abeyta from Beauty & Essex in NYC had some thoughts on how you can best facilitate some May 5th fineness:

“Hornitos Tequila is always a go-to for me because of its versatility and its smooth, clean flavor that enhances the agave and sets itself apart from other products. Whether you want to sip on a premium tequila neat/on-the-rocks or mix a cocktail, Hornitos has something that appeals to every palate. If you’re looking for a simple make-at-home cocktail to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, try the Hornitos Paloma with fresh grapefruit and lime juice and a splash of tonic.”


Whether you’re looking to enjoy tequila neat, on the rocks or in a delicious cocktail like a Paloma or the Mexican Mint Julep, Hornitos offers a premium selection of tequilas that are perfect for embracing the spirit of Cinco de Mayo. Super fresh:

Watermelon Paloma

Watermelon Paloma

  • 2 parts Hornitos® Plata Tequila
  • 1 part watermelon juice
  • ¾ part agave syrup
  • ¾ part fresh lime juice
  • 1 part seltzer
  • Handful cilantro
  • Paprika sea salt (for garnish)
  • Watermelon wedge (for garish)

Preparation: Add all ingredients except seltzer into a mixing glass and shake vigorously. Add seltzer and double strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a cilantro sprig, watermelon wedge and rim the glass with paprika sea salt.

Mexican Mint Julep

Here’s some more from Carlos, whiskey da mayo lovers:

“Hornitos Black Barrel is a great option for tequila and whiskey drinkers alike because of the tequila’s distinct whiskey-like flavor profile. For those looking to shake things up this Cinco de Mayo, Hornitos Tequila’s Mexican Mint Julep offers a refreshing twist on the classic Mint Julep recipe by combining Hornitos Black Barrel, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and mint leaves.”

Mexican Mint Julep

  • 1 ¼ parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila
  • ½ part fresh lime juice
  • ¾ part simple syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves

Preparation: Lightly muddle mint leaves in a shaker, add ice and combine remainder of ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a sprig of mint leaves and serve.

Hornitos Paloma

Hornitos Paloma

  • 2 Parts Hornitos® Plata Tequila
  • ½ part fresh lime juice
  • 2 parts grapefruit juice
  • Tonic

Preparation: Combine all ingredients except tonic in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with tonic.

Well, are you ready to go? Get going and make sure that you have mastered the tasteosity before the big day comes. You want to be locked and loaded on that day, no?

To find out more about Hornitos Tequila, please check out:

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: Prairie Organic Gin, Vodka, & Cucumber Vodka

Prairie Spirits 3

Do you like your spirits artisanal? Organic? Slowly made by hand by family farmers that actually care? Made in the USA?? Prairie may be the world’s most meticulously crafted spirit that just so happens to let you check single thing off of that list. From those who care what goes in, to those who care what goes down.

Prairie’s single vintage organic corn is distilled to taste, not a prescribed number of times. That’s because climate, soil, and moisture levels give each small batch its own unique character. Preserving that character takes personal attention, giving our spirits an award-winning taste that can stand on its own.

Prairie Spirits 2

Three family farmers on the Minnesota prairie own the land and the quiet respect of all around them. Each family works in their field up to three times longer than conventional farmers, all to cultivate the nutrient-rich soil and organic corn that will become Prairie spirits.

Prairie Spirits Recipes

Here are two of my favorite Prairie Organic Spirits Cocktails

Prairie Game Day

  • 1 ½ oz Prairie Cucumber-Flavored Organic Vodka
  • 2 oz tonic water
  • ½ oz cucumber juice
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Cucumber slices

Combine ingredients in a shaker and shake to mix. Pour over a glass filled with ice; top with fresh mint leaves and cucumber slices (optional). 

Bonfire Tallgrass Tea

  • 1 ½ oz Prairie Organic Vodka
  • 4 oz green tea
  • 1 Tbsp organic sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into a sugar-rimmed glass.

Prairie Spirits 1

For more great recipes, be sure to check out!!

The spirits are really good. Crisp, clean, bright, pure. They are pretty much exactly what I am looking for…and the cucumber vodka is so spot on. I can see why the vodka was rated Best New Vodka by Food & Wine magazine in 2009 and given a 92 by Wine Enthusiast magazine! The gin, my personal fav, got in on the accolade act too. How does a Gold Medal in the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a Gold Medal in the 2013 SIP Awards get you? It gets me, that’s for sure. This is some good drinking right here.

To find out more about Prairie Vodka, Cucumber Vodka, Gin, and more, please check out:

Guy and the Blog was provided three bottles of Prairie for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: UV Vodka


Who doesn’t love vodka? That’s right, no one that you want to know. It’s probably the most popular liquor around. It mixes very well in just about any cocktail formula, but also stands alone when the vodka is of top quality. Like everything else in life, being the best is all in the details. When making the award-winning UV Vodka, no detail is too small. Phillips Distilling Company follows a rigorous procedure to ensure that every bottle meets their high standards. You like flavored vodkas? When it comes to that, only the finest natural ingredients are good enough for UV. I mean, when UV Vodka has been rated as “Superb, Highly Recommended” in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s buying guide, you can pretty much guarantee that something good is going on.

The hardest part about UV Vodka is deciding which of the MANY flavors you want to pick up! Sangria to Sugar Rush to Salty Caramel Apple, there’s a taste for every palette and every mood. I’m not much of a sweets guy when it comes to drinks, so I went for tired and true original, plus something spicy and something citrusy. I was very pleased with my selections.

UV Vodka Flavored Collage

I enjoyed the following flavors:

Prettyyy, prettyyy, pretty good indeed, people. The flavors were very clean and crisp. Not overpowering. Just about right. You could taste the quality for sure. This is a good drink you would be happy to serve to friends and family at a house party.

Not sure how to mix it up? There are so many recipes, it will make your head spin. Here are some awesome cocktails from this past. St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, it’s no longer St. Pat’s, but who cares?? These drinks are dope. Change the name, follow the directions, enjoy!

Shamrock Shaker UV Vodka

Shamrock Shaker

  • 1 part UV Apple
  • 1 part lime juice
  • 1 part simple syrup
  • Splash of club soda

Directions: Add lime juice, simple syrup and UV Apple into a shaker filled with ice and shake well. Strain and pour into a highball glass, and add a splash of club soda.

Lucky Spritz

  • 1 part UV Vodka
  • 1 part sour mix
  • 1 part lemon-lime soda

Directions: Shake with ice and strain into a lowball glass. 

Leprechaun Punch

  • 1 part UV Sangria
  • 3 parts lemon-lime soda

Directions: Serve in a glass with ice & sliced fruit, or add ingredients to a pitcher or punch bowl.

Like I mentioned, top quality with so many options, you’ll never get bored.

Be Bold. Be Unique. Be UV. To find out more, please check out:

Guy and the Blog was provided 3 bottles of UV Vodka for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

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Food & Drink

Thirsty Thursday: Hornitos Black Barrel Lemon-Lime Leprechaun For St. Patrick’s Day

Hornitos Black Barrel 2

Hornitos Black Barrel is an excellent “whiskey-like” tequila that would be a perfect way to wash down those Irish Nachos this coming St. Patrick’s Day. Yes, St. Pat’s is but a mere week ago, so get your planning on, lazy. It’s a day of fun and festivity. Jubilation and celebration.

Now, when you’re doing all this celebrating (responsibly of course), you want to mix things up every once in a while. Yes, Irish Whiskey is fine, but how can you not love Añejo tequila (did someone say party in a bottle) that is triple aged to create a complex and superior drink with whiskey characteristics, making it unlike anything else in the tequila category.

Hornitos Black Barrel

Hornitos starts with 100% pure agave tequila and age it for 12 months in specially toasted oak barrels to create a premium Añejo tequila. It is then moved into deep charred barrels for 4 months, where it starts to pick up whiskey notes. The third aging takes place when the liquid is transferred to toasted oak barrels for 2 additional months to instill a smooth whiskey finish. Award winning Hornitos® Black Barrel® is redefining the tequila experience.

So what do we do with a fine beverage such as this? Well, after we sip it straight up or on the rocks a bit, it would be time for a fresh cocktail. Don’t you agree? I think with a high quality drink, the less the better, especially with something so unique. Something like this really does the trick. You could call it…

Lemon Lime Hornitos

The Lemon-Lime Leprechaun

1 ¼ Parts Hornitos® Black Barrel® Tequila

½ Part fresh Lemon Juice

¼ Part Agave

Lime Wedge 

Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously and strain over fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

What? Give me a second. My mind just blew a little bit. Just a little bit. You are pretty much looking at the perfect adult beverage for whiskey and tequila lovers alike. Where else can you get that? Nowhere I tell you, no where. Clearly you’re St. Pattie’s Day is hereby spiced up.

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Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila is available with an incredibly low SRP of $29.99.

To find out more about how you can rock St. Pattie’s with Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila, please check out:

Guy and the Blog received a bottle of Black Barrel for the purpose of having good times and lots of fun…and for this review. All opinions are my own. Drink responsibly.

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