Category Archives: Musings on The Muffia

Following the Muffs wherever life takes them

Muff Jelicka’s “What I Did That Summer”

whatididlastsummerSometimes Muff Jelicka wakes up after an alcohol-infused evening with only a vague recollection of the night before. We worry about her, though most of the time she holds her liquor quite well.

Fortunately for us, she remembers most of the month she spent in Europe between her sophomore and junior years in college–specifically the July in the south of France, where she not only sampled several varieties of cute men, but imbibed more than her fair share of cocktails. Our recollections of food and drink are often accompanied by waves of nostalgia about a particular event with friends or loved ones and that’s what this cocktail means to Jelicka. It evokes a time well-worth remembering.

And so it is she tracked down this version of a gin sour, tweaked with blackberry liqueur (Crème de mure). Some call it a Bramble. Jelicka calls it, “What I did that summer,” and we all know what she’s talking about.

Ingredients:

1 ½ oz. Gin

¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice

½ oz. Simple syrup (1:1)

¾ oz. Crème de mure

Garnish with a Lemon wheel topped by a fresh blackberry, pierced

Fill a “rocks” glass with crushed ice and add the first three ingredients: stir to combine. Add more curshed ice if needed and carefully drizzle the crème de mure on top. Garnish.

Note: If you can’t find Creme de mure, you can substitute crème de cassis (though it tastes different as cassis is made with currants) or some other berry liqueur. Jelicka won’t mind.

The Josephine

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Seeing Shuffle Along got Muff Julie thinking about Josephine Baker, that fabulous entertainer who was the toast of Paris in the 1920s. Julie wondered what cocktails Josephine might have preferred to drink at all those nightclubs she frequented.  And since Julie is a professional chef, she had no trouble coming up with a cocktail that might have suited Josephine perfectly. It even has absinthe!

Allow yourself to be taken back. Here is Julie’s jazzy riff on The Metropolitan .

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 oz. Remy Martin VSOP

1 oz. sweet vermouth

1 tsp. yellow Chartreuse

2 dashes Angostura or Orange Bitters

1/4 oz absinthe

DIRECTIONS:

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all ingredients except the garnishes and stir. Strain into a brandy snifter.

Garnish with  the following: 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 raspberry, 1 strip of orange peel.

 

 

 

Olivia’s “Uh-Oh, I Drank Too Many”

UH OH cocktailThere are some cocktails that go down a little too easy. If you like bourbon, this is one such drink. Olivia Caceres, a Muff-in-waiting, thought it tasted like an unusual, yet quite delicious, kind of lemonade and she just couldn’t resist. Uh-oh, Olivia!

The key here is to use Meyer lemons, not the ordinary grocery variety (though they’re acceptable in a pinch) and, in advance, to whip up something completely misnamed called “shrub,” which wouldn’t grow in the finest of greenhouses.*

Ingredients:

1 ½ oz. Bourbon

¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice

½ oz. Strawberry-Meyer lemon shrub

½ oz. Ginger syrup (1:1 fresh ginger juice and sugar)

1 dash Angostura bitters.

Tools:

Shaker, strainer, fine strainer, gorgeous glasses (coupe, martini, whiskey sour)

 The shrub:

Combine 1 cup of granulated sugar, the juice and zest of 1 Meyer lemon and ½ cup of hulled, chopped strawberries in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and let cool. Strain, measure the liquid and add an equal measure of cider vinegar. Bottle and keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.

* I looked up why this concoction is called shrub and seems to be a bastardization of the Arabic word “sharab” which means “to drink.” We use it to refer to a mixture of two related but acid-based beverages. If you don’t want to whip up a batch yourself, you can buy a bottle version of shrub from—imagine–Shrub & Co.

Mauritzio’s Monster-Mash Martinez

martinezFor my age, I know surprisingly little about cocktail origins. So when I went to the Aviary in Chicago recently, not only did I get to try a cocktail called The Martinez, I also got an earful about its origins. Apparently, it’s some “missing link” between a Manhattan (Daddy’s drink) and the Martini (Mom’s). “I’ll try it,” I said gleefully, thinking if it’s a mash up of Mom and Dad, it sounded like me. “Mauritzio” told me there’s some disagreement about how to make the thing (there’s also some controversy about earliest appearance; some say it’s as old as 1884, others say 1920s) but that the Aviary’s was superb. Fine I thought. I’m a mishmash people might find hard to come up with a recipe for too. And I don’t go around advertising my birth year either.

Without further ado, here’s Mauritzio’s Monster-Mash Martinez

2 oz. Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
1 oz Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
1/8 oz Maraschino liqueur
1 dash Angostura bitters
5 drops Orange bitters

Combine all ingredients over ice, and stir. Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Imbibe with vigor.

 

 

Patty’s Perfectly Packing-Heat Party Punch

cocktail punch-1-1Muff wannabe Patty likes to throw parties but can’t afford an on-staff mixologist. She puts out the wine bottles, the tub of bottled beer and soda and lets the guests fend for themselves. But she likes to offer a hard liquor option to those still celebrating the end of Prohibition, which frankly, is all of us. Here’s her Southwestern style party punch, one-bowl wonder for a crowd. She makes gallons of the stuff, taking healthy samplings every so often as she mixes, and stores it in the fridge for later replenishment of her closed-top punch dispenser.

It’s any party host’s liquid liberator and inhibition annihilator.

Ingredients:

First make your oleo-saccharum (no, not a back problem; OS is the way good bartenders get the most out of citrus). You’ll need:

Peel of 1 whole pomelo

Peel of half a grapefruit

2 oz. Palm sugar

2 oz. Panela (aka jiggery)

In a punch bowl, muddle the peels and sugars together to draw the oils from the peels and let sit for an hour. Then add:

8 oz. Stool blanco

8 oz. Palo Cortado sherry

4 oz. Reposado tequila

4 oz. Mandarine Napoleon liqueur

12 oz. Sparkling wine, chilled

The chilled juice of 3 pomelos and 1 lemon

4 cups of cold water

1 cup of ice

Before serving remove peels (unless you like the way they look). You could also garnish with fresh fruit slice. Note: Some of the ingredients can be hard to find but Patty fools around with various similar fruits and liquors and the stuff will still have your guests toasting your mixology skills.

 

 

Fading Frannie’s Midnight Reviver

scary cocktail -edited (1)The Muffs are all over thirty, many with kids, so when Frannie got asked to a post-Grammy party for #AndraDay that didn’t start ’til 10:30 p.m., she knew she’d need help rallying so as not to snooze through the whole thing. Fortunately, there was an open bar and all the ingredients for her wake-up punch. And even though Andra’s record #RiseUp didn’t win best R&B record of the year, Frannie had no idea, she was having so much fun.

Directions:                                                                                                                          Chill a coupe glass (or hope your bartender’s done it) and coat (evenly) the inside of the glass with absinthe.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 oz. dry gin
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz. Cocci Americano
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Scant teaspoon absinthe

Shake all but the absinthe with ice, strain into the glass, drink and be revived!

Deidra’s Damn Dram Wham-Bam

LionsTail cocktail editedMy friend Deidra likes vintage everything–vintage clothes, vintage men (not too many of them in LA, sadly) and vintage cocktails. She also likes to experiment and go off the recipe reservation when it comes to vintage cocktail recipes. Maybe she thinks if she dresses and drinks the classics, she’ll attract Cary Grant.

In any event, here’s her Damn Dram Wham-Bam and it packs a wallop. No wonder the Muffs like it.

2 oz. Bourbon

3/4 oz. allspice dram

1/2 tsp. gomme syrup (or more to taste)

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Pour or sprinkle all this into a shaker with ice and shake it, baby. Then strain into a cocktail glass. Decorate the rim with crystal sugar or an orange slice and mmmmm wham-bam. 

MUFF MICHELLE’S “NOT YOUR MOTHER’S” SANGRIA

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A very pretty drink that goes down smooth AND packs a wallop– Your skirt will be over your head in no time! Muff Michelle served it at the annual Steal-the-Gift party and we all left with the wrong present!
 
To Start:
Bring 1/3 cup of pure Maple syrup and 1/3 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan along with 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves and a pinch of grated nutmeg.

Let cool. Discard cinnamon and cloves.

To the cooled liquid, add:
2 1/2 cups of chilled hard apple cider
1 cup chilled dark rum
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 chopped green apple
6 halved orange slices
Serve chilled. Serves 4 unless you’re thirsty. Cheers!

Michelle Joyner is a founding member of The Muffia. She is also a Los Angeles based Actor, Writer, Director and Mom of Teenage Twins, which means she does a LOT of drinking.

Penny Peyser’s Peppermint Party Potion

Peppermint Partini
Penny Peyser is known for her acting chops, her filmmaking (“Trying to Get Good” & “Stillpoint”) and her party-giving!
At a recent festive Holiday gathering, Penny served a delicious cocktail of her own concoction and this Muff was lucky enough to have one…er, three.
Penny Peyser’s Peppermint Party Potion
Mix together:
2 parts whipped cream flavored vodka
   (check at BevMo or well-stocked liquor stores)
1 part clear creme de cacao
1/2 part peppermint schnapps
Half & Half to taste – start with 1/4 part and go from there.
Adjust all to suit your palette and be especially mindful of the peppermint!
The P5 can be made and stored ahead of time in a pitcher in the fridge.
To serve: Crush 1/2 teaspoon peppermint candy cane in the bottom of a  martini glass, pour in the party potion and hang a candy cane on the edge of the glass.

What is The Muffia?

instagram postPeople seem confused about THE MUFFIA… again. It’s not a bunch of gay women, though gay women certainly have muffs and many like to read. It’s not a bunch of hot women who like to be photographed in various stages of undress, being poked and prodded with plastic toys and parts of other peoples’ anatomy. And it’s not the group of militant English women who go around reprimanding mothers on their poor parenting. NO. THE MUFFIA is a Los Angeles based book club and we have been calling ourselves THE MUFFIA for more years than the others who stake claim to the name.
At least one of us has had a woman on woman relationship (it didn’t last), most of us do have sex–some with toys–and most of us are mothers, though none of us would dream of telling another mother how to parent; not to her face anyway. In other words, the women of The “real” Muffia are women most other women can relate to. These are the women who stride, fall, talk, love, fail, eat, diet, drink* (a lot), give, take and live in the pages of THE MUFFIA SERIES of books. Come meet them: Madelyn, Jelicka, Quinn, Sarah, Kiki, Lauren, Paige, Rachel and Vicki. You’ll feel at home.