Tag Archives: The Muffia

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.


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.

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.*


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.


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.

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.


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.





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.

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.

Book Club Survival Tips



The Muffia survives as a book club after fifteen years for the following reasons ( in order of importance):

1. The Muffs take turns picking the books we read.

2. If a Muff hostess suggests “Remembrance of Things Passed,”  other Muffs aren’t allowed to get annoyed if they don’t want to read it.  The corollary to this is no Muff hostess gets annoyed if other Muffs don’t read her book choice.

3. No Muff gets too upset if members can’t come at the last minute. However, a  little upset is mandatory to show caring and empathy.

4. The Muff hostess always has a tasty cocktail offering for those Muffs who make it to book club.  (Note: This could be more important than #1)

5. A Muffia book club gathering always consists of equal parts “talking about the book” and “roundy-round” where important non-book talk occurs.


#16 – Spy Games


Rather than wait for Jack–the guy who’d opened the door of the illegal business a couple of days before and my prospective employer– to call me, I decided to knock on the door again to press my case. Dressing in clothes that mimicked those of the laptop-toting employees, I headed out the front door but before I reached the sidewalk, Buddy intercepted me. He bolted out his own front door and stood between me and the Monster house. I suspected he must have a telescope pointed at my house too. Sure it was creepy but it was also sad. Didn’t he have anything better to do?

“Claudia emailed me,” he said.


“Yeah. I wouldn’t go in there.”

“Why not? I might be able to get proof of the business, which is what that Phoenix person at Building & Safety keeps saying we need to shut it down.”

“It’s dangerous.”

“It’s not dangerous,” I said, getting an idea that, if acted upon, would be guaranteed to provide fireworks. “Come with me.” Then I thought better of it. “Actually don’t. You need to go back in your house and watch the camera feeds. Now.” I looked around. “I shouldn’t be seen talking to you. By the way, they know about the telescopes and the cameras and if they see me with you, they’re not going to hire me.”

“They’re not going to hire you anyway,” Buddy said.

“What makes you say that?”

Buddy jerked his head. “Look.”

Behind me, Jack was pulling up in one of the three identical white BMW M5s that belonged to the guys running things at the house. Maybe they got a deal. I waved but he didn’t wave back.

“Thanks a lot,” I said to Buddy, as insincerely as I could.

“I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye on what to do about these assholes,” he conceded. “But going in there was risky at best, not to mention a waste of time. I don’t think they would have hired you even if they hadn’t pulled up just now. Like you said, they know that we, meaning the neighbors, are trying to get rid of them. They’d be idiots if they thought you weren’t in on it.”

He had a point but I wanted to believe I’d charmed Jack into thinking I wanted a job more than I wanted them out. I did need a job, after all.

“Where’s that blog you were going to start?” Buddy asked.

“I guess I’ll go start it,” I said. “I’ll join the millions of other bloggers on the Internet hoping to find people who have nothing better to do than read blogs.”

“Yeah but you’re not blogging about warm and fuzzy feelings, like half of those people,” said Buddy. “Your blog will have a point to it. You’ll be righting wrongs and standing up for justice.”

I didn’t stand up for the warm and fuzzy bloggers as I probably should have. Some days, reading an uplifting blog post had saved me a bout of depression. That was the point.

THE MUFFIA’s “Hot & Bothered” $250 Gift Certificate Giveaway

"Got something' hot for me to read?"
“Got something hot for me to read?”

Enter the “Hot & Bothered” Contest

You’ve bought THE MUFFIA and now you’re ready to enter the Giveaway for a
$250 gift certificate! 
RULES: In order to be entered, you must purchase at least one copy of THE MUFFIA during the contest period (FEB.1-28, 2014). Submitting the form below along with your proof of purchase invoice number will secure your entry. One entry (with unique invoice number) permitted with each MUFFIA purchase. All purchases count, whether you bought THE MUFFIA at Amazon, B&N, iTunes or Powell’s.
Winner will receive a $250 Gift Certificate to his/her choice for one of the following: Crate & Barrel, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret, The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang’s, Williams-Sonoma, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch, The Apple Store, Best Buy, Bev Mo or Sports Authority. Winner’s name will be announced unless he or she wishes to remain anonymous. No information supplied by entrants will be shared. Invoice number for purchase verification purposes only.


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Introducing The Muffia

The Muffia is a Los Angeles based, all-women’s book club. We share a love of food, clothes, sex, books and wine—well, actually we enjoy most kinds of alcohol. Generally, all of us read the books our hostess (it’s a rotating position) chooses but there are a couple of miscreants—like Lauren—who hardly ever do. They have become adjectives, so predictable are they. To be flakey and cancel at the last minute, or to not read the book is to be “Laureny.” When Lauren reads the book for a change and somebody else, like Quinn, doesn’t read the book, we say she is the “new Lauren.” The members of the Muffia, henceforward known as the “Muffs,” have complicated lives and often complicated relationships, which sometimes get us into trouble. We’ve also been known to stir up new trouble—even when it can be avoided. Usually it’s because some wrong needs to be righted, small as that wrong might be. Someone needs to take care of these things. And sometimes we get into trouble just because!