Classic Cocktail: Sidecar

The cocktail for the month of December is the Sidecar. Eric Felten, writing in the Wall Street Journal (A Drink’s French Connection), states: “The Sidecar — cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice — was born in Paris; and though the drink entered the American repertoire, it has never lost its Continental panache.” Here’s the recipe for this classic cocktail:

  • 2 oz cognac
  • ½ oz Cointreau
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass, the rim of which has been dusted with superfine sugar.

A picture of a Sidecar cocktail
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European Baked Goods for Christmas

This year we baked three traditional European treats for Christmas: Bûche de Noël (France), Stollen (German), and Panettone (Italy). Here are the recipes and some pictures. Yeah, I’m already planning some long runs to help offset the ill effects of the butter and sugar!

  • Bûche de Noël. Bûche de Noël is a traditional dessert served near Christmas in France and several other francophone countries and former French colonies. It can be considered a type of sweet roulade.
  • Panettone. Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan. It is usually prepared and enjoyed for Christmas and New Year in Italy, southeastern France, Brazil, Peru, Malta, Germany and Switzerland, and is one of the symbols of the city of Milan. In South America, especially in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru and Chile, it is a Christmas dinner staple and in some places replaces roscón de reyes/bolo rei (King cake).
  • Stollen. A Stollen is a fruit cake containing dried fruit and often marzipan and covered with sugar, powdered sugar or icing sugar. The cake is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German cake, usually eaten during the Christmas season, when called Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen.
A picture of a Bûche de Noël
Bûche de Noël
A picture of Panettone
A picture of Stollen
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Classic Cocktail(s): El Presidente and Negroni

Our campaign to explore a new cocktail each month took a turn in November. We started things off by pouring the Negroni, a drink we first learned to love while visiting Rome earlier this year. However, the 2012 presidential election was the perfect excuse to add the El Presidente to the plan for the month. So, yes, November was a twofer! Enjoy one of each.


  • 1 oz dry gin
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz Campari

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

A picture of a Negroni cocktail
The Negroni

El Presidente

  • 1.5 oz light rum
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • .5 oz orange curacao
  • A dash of Grenadine

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
David Wondrich on the El Presidente:

A Cuban creation, the El Presidente was the house cocktail at Club El Chico in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, where America was introduced to the rhumba in 1925. Regulars considered the El Presidente “elixir for jaded gullets,” and who are we to disagree?

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Bread Baker’s Apprentice

I recently checked out Peter Reinhart’s Bread Baker’s Apprentice from the public library. I’m re-kindling an old interest in bread making that goes back to my days of working as a baker during a summer break from college. Since then, the majority of my baking has focused on making sweets or quick breads. No complaints, I just finally felt it was time to begin exploring bread making more seriously.

This past week I’ve baked two loaves of ciabatta and “Italian” bread. Each bread took upwards of six hours to make, and that was a day or two after starting the poolish and biga. However, it was well worth the time and energy. Both breads turned out well.

I just noticed this morning that another patron has placed a hold on the book (grumble, grumble). Looks like I’ll be ordering my own copy today.

Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta Bread
Italian Bread
Italian Bread
The Bread Baker's Apprentice
The Bread Baker's Apprentice
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