Wednesday, January 31, 2018


Hier geht's zur deutschen Version dieses Posts (folgt noch)

"Would you like to see my new book?" was the message from Heike Kevenhörster, a friend and former colleague from Public Address Press Agency in Hamburg (where I counseled students for many years, as online-"Dear Abby").

"Craft Cocktails by Val"
Two weeks later I found my copy of "Craft Cocktails by Val: Drinks Inspired by Hillary Rodham Clinton", Heike's self-published book, in the mail.

Bartender "Val", the alter ego of Hillary Clinton, played by herself in an episode of "Saturday Night Life", doles out drinks and sympathy to a full-campaign-mode, hyper (and slightly tipsy) "Hillary Clinton" (played by Kate McKinnon).

This hilarious skit, and the catchphrases thrown at us during last year's presidential election campaign, were the inspirations for the cocktails Heike presents in her book.

Hillary fans will appreciate the "Glass Ceiling" (with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur and lemon balm), "Woman Card" (with raspberry liqueur and cream) or "Shoulder Shimmy" (with gin and cranberry juice)

But her opponents can have their cocktails too: "The Swamp" (with gin and caperberries) and "Bye, bye, Bernie" (with vodka and Blue Curaçao).

Heike, who studied British literature, journalism and history, loves cooking for family and friends, but, also, worked for several years as weekend-chef at Karo Ecke, in one of Hamburg's trendy quarters. One of her hobbies: creating new cocktails.

Heike Kevenhörster (photo: Public Address)
Like many Europeans, she didn't miss a beat of the innuendos of our (seemingly never-ending) election campaign.

Heike dedicated her book "to the 65.844.610 people who voted for the first woman to win the popular vote for President of the United States of America".

Whimsical photo collages, created by American artist Sarah Sole in real time during Clinton's campaign, capture the spirit of each of the 47 cocktails, and make the book a fun read.

Normally, this blog is devoted to my love for baking, especially breads. But "Craft Cocktails by Val" tempted me not only to spend (an outrageous amount of) money on fancy liqueurs, but, also, post about one of Heike's crafty cocktails.

Though I mostly drink beer - the best of all husbands gets migraines from wine, but can split a Dos XX or Guinness with me - I do like a cocktail, when we are in a restaurant. The liquor bottles in our pantry are almost solely used for cooking or baking, and last for a long time.

(This was not always the case: when I was still living in Germany, the growing pile of oversized juvenile sneakers in my mudroom was mysteriously connected to a shrinking level of cooking liquors in my kitchen!)

For Heike's delicious take on a "Long Island Ice Tea", I only needed to buy a bottle of gin, everything else I already had in my pantry. And we drink Earl Grey tea every day.

Grey Gardens

GREY GARDENS (adapted from "Craft Cocktails by Val" by Heike Kevenhörster & Sarah Sole)
(2 servings)

2/3 oz (2 cl) vodka
2/3 oz (2 cl) gin
2/3 oz (2 cl) white rum
2/3 oz (2 cl) tequila blanco
2/3 oz (2 cl) Cointreau (I used triple sec)
1 tsp Earl Grey tea leaves
1 oz (3 cl) fresh lime juice
2/3 oz (2 cl) simple syrup*)
2 oz (6 cl) Coca Cola (or to taste)
ice cubes
2 lime slices, for garnish

*) In small sauce pan, bring to a boil 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Let cool. The syrup can be stored in a jar with lid for at least 2 weeks in the fridge.

Vodka, gin, white rum and tequila are infused with Earl Grey tea leaves

In a small teapot (or bowl), combine vodka, gin, rum, and tequila. Add Earl Grey leaves to a tea filter or small strainer (I used the filter of my regular teapot), and let them steep in the liquid for 4 minutes.

Tea-infused alcohol mixture

Remove the filter or strainer, and pour the infused alcohol in a shaker. Add Cointreau, lime juice, and simple syrup, and shake on ice. (Or, like I did, simply refrigerate the teapot with the mixture until using).

Fill two Collins glasses (high, straight glasses) with ice cubes, add the tea-infused alcohol and top with coke (to taste, depending on how sweet you like your drink.)

Serve, garnished with a slice of lime.