Tag Archives: bourbon

The truce is over…


Winter and I had a truce this year – and I think we had a good run. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was happy with winter, but this is the first year in Minneapolis where I haven’t been actively angry with it. I consider this in and of itself to be major progress and a huge step towards actually admitting that I live here.


However, the truce is over. It’s mid-February and I desperately need winter to be over. No more snow, no more slush, no more ice and no more days below freezing. I’m finished with the whole damn thing. I want to pack my boots up and stow my sweaters away. I am anxiously awaiting the time when socks become optional and I live in my summer dresses. To be able to bike work again and see green in the trees. Eat fresh vegetables and drink beer outside. Breathe.


But what I can do right now, despite the winter season is continue to make (and consume) copious amounts of ice cream. Of the Bourbon Brown Sugar variety. It’s cozy, complex and has me thinking about it constantly. There is a fair amount of alcohol in it, which not only brings out the bourbon overtones but does beautiful things to the consistency of this ice cream. (Alcohol freezes at lower temperatures than most freezers are set at). Spoons smoothly slip in to sneak another bite. It’s been my constant companion as I dream of far-away places.


Bourbon Brown Sugar Ice Cream
makes ~1 quart
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup + 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, divided
pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon

Pour heavy cream in a large bowl, set mesh strainer atop and set aside. In a large pot heat the milk, 3/4 cup brown sugar and salt over medium heat until steam starts to rise. While the milk is heating, stir together egg yolks and remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar in a large bowl. Once the milk is warm, slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Transfer the milk-egg mixture back to pot and return to medium heat. Cook until mixture is thick and coats the back of a spoon. Pour through mesh strainer into heavy cream. Stir in vanilla extract and bourbon. Chill thoroughly. Freeze in an ice cream maker.

A late night cocktail

Do you remember how I mentioned I was entering into the writing cave? Let me tell you about my day.

~7 am – wake up

7:30 cup of coffee #1, start working on manuscript/presentation for conference

8:30 – 10:30 – cups of coffee #2-3, work on manuscript/presentation

10:30 – cup of coffee #4, get ready for the day

11:15 – 11:45 – bike to work

12:00 – 2:00 meet with advisor to discuss manuscript/presentation

2:30 – lunch

3:00 – 7:30 – lab work, catch up with co-workers on other projects

7:30 – 8:00 – bike home

8:00 – 9:00 – dinner, watch 3 episodes of Scrubs

9:00 – 12:00 – work on manuscript/presentation

12:00 – go to bed (write this blog post) 

It’s been like this for the past week or so with variations on the theme. Sometimes I wake up at 5 am and go to bed at 11 pm. Sometimes I don’t go into lab until after lunch. But you get the gist. I am working. A lot. Don’t get me wrong – putting together science stories makes me happy and provides a gratification like nothing else. But sometimes, just sometimes (usually around 11 pm), it drives this girl to drink.

Bourbon + Rhubarb + Rosewater = Brilliant.

Bourbon seems serious. So, being in a serious state of mind, bourbon is what I am reaching for these days. Adding the rhubarb and rosewater was an amazing happenstance.  The rhubarb mellows the edge of bourbon without losing any of its bourbon-ness. The rosewater adds a whiff of floral. I like to put in a martini glass and pretend that I’m not glued to my computer.

Bourbon, Rhubarb and Rosewater Cocktail
serves 1
1 part bourbon
1 part rhubarb-rosewater syrup (see below)
1 part raw rhubarb juice
dash of angostura bitters
3-4 ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients in cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass.

*I made this rhubarb-rosewater syrup and was overwhelmed by the rosewater and underwhelmed by the rhubarb. Which is why I went 50:50 of the recipe below with straight-up rhubarb juice. One could just up the up the amount of rhubarb in the syrup, but I kind of like the astringency that the raw juice brings.

Rhubarb-Rosewater Syrup
makes 2 cups
adapted from 101 Cookbooks
1 pound rhubarb, diced
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon rosewater

Combine the rhubarb and the sugar in a medium pot and let sit (not on heat) for about 45 minutes. Add water, bring to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and return juice to pot and heat. Add lime juice and cook until reduced to 1/2 volume. Cool. Stir in rosewater. Store in a air-tight jar in the refrigerator.

Call me old-fashioned …

Actually, don’t call me old-fashioned.  I mean, I have purple hair and went to hippie college.  Not what you would call old-fashioned.  What I meant is that you can call a me the type of person who likes to drink an old-fashioned.  It may have gotten started when I started watching Mad Men a few years back, which incidentally corresponded to the opening of a whiskey bar in back in Durham, Whiskey (a less than original name, I know, but they have lots of personality).  Either way, it is slowly becoming one of my drinks of choice (don’t worry gin and tonic – you will always have a place in my heart).

I find it also helps immensely in dealing with the Midwestern winter (in addition to all of that comfort food I just talked about).


Start with a sugar cube (~1 tsp), ideally in the proper glassware.  Alas, all I had was this stemless wine glass.

Add a few dashes of Angostura bitters.

Add 1 tsp water and muddle together.

Add some ice to the glass.

And fill with 3 oz of bourbon (2 shot glasses worth).

Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.


Don’t be surprised if I emerge from this winter a 250-pound alcoholic…