A Week of Work + Play in Nashville, TN

A Week of Work + Play in Nashville, TN

It doesn’t take much to get me back to the south, but when the National Honey Board reached out to invite me (!!!) to this year’s #HoneySpiritsSummit in Nashville, TN I couldn’t respond YES quick enough! And in true LKJ fashion, I had to come out a few days early to soak up one of my favorite cities before the summit kicked off. Here’s what my jam-packed week in Nashville looked like…

Day 1 – THURSDAY

After landing at the airport Thursday afternoon, we caught a Lyft to our home for the weekend, the newly opened Thompson Nashville (I twisted Luke’s arm superrrr hard to spend the weekend with me before the Summit started on Monday 😉 ). We love Thompson properties, especially their Cabo location, so we thought we’d see what the Nashville location was all about. It was even more beautiful than we expected, and best of all, located in the ultra trendy Gulch neighborhood (word has it TSwift’s got a Penthouse nearby). Looking for a little post-flight pick-me-up after checking into our room, we grabbed cappuccinos at the Killebrew Coffee conveniently located just adjacent to the lobby and headed out for some Vitamin D, after which we practically walked right into Rod Stewart on the street! Perks of visiting Music City!

After exploring The Gulch a bit and working up an appetite, we grabbed a Lyft to the 12 South neighborhood for some tacos and margs at bartaco, followed by more strolling and shopping. Definitely one of the better Margaritas I’ve had, plus great people watching and super cute southern coastal decor. Full and ready for a nap/regroup, we headed back to the hotel for a bit.

Once sufficiently well-rested for our first night out, we got dolled up and headed upstairs to the Thompson’s rooftop bar, L.A. Jackson, for some pre-dinner drinks! After watching the sunset up top, we headed out for dinner at Husk. I love scheduling a fun dinner reservation on the first night of a trip because it’s something to look forward to right when you get there, and saves you the hassle of making a decision after a potentially hectic travel day.

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-beers-spillDistillerista-Week-in-Nashville-rooftop-drinksDistillerista-Week-in-Nashville-husk Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-husk-dinner

Day 2 – FRIDAY

After banging out some emails (with more Killebrew coffee!) in the lobby, we put the laptops away and headed out for a big walk through the touristy Broadway strip. Having had our fair share of people watching pretty quickly (lost count of how many rowdy bachelorette parties we saw omg), we ducked into Martin’s BBQ for lunch and some reconnaissance on their award-winning beer garden.

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-luke-lobbyDistillerista-Week-in-Nashville-MartinsLooking to kill some time and get out of the heat, we headed to Corsair’s “Brewstillery” for a cold beer. Highly recommend their brewery/distillery tour too if you have some time! This location is where they do most of the brewing and distilling of their whiskey mashes.

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-corsairOn a whim, we called The Kimpton Aertson hotel (another one of our favorite hotel groups!), to see if they had any availability for massages, and they just happened to have an opening for a couples’ deep tissue in 20 minutes! It was FATE! We chugged our beers and headed for the spa.

Having stayed at the Aertson on a past trip, we knew they had an incredible bar and restaurant inside the hotel as well so we popped over for a post-massage cocktail and app. If you’re in the area, you MUST check Henley out. 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-henley-cocktail{ post-massage cocktail! }

Continuing along my dream Friday itinerary, we headed back to the Thompson for some downtime, followed by another rooftop/sunset/drink session up top at L.A. Jackson.

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-LaJackson

We had so many restaurants on our list for the second night but made a game-time decision to take our chances at brand spankin’ new restaurant Folk from the Rolf & Daughters team. I’m so happy we did because it ended up being one of the better meals I’ve ever had! We started with a cocktail while we waited to be seated, soaking in the minimalist decor and plethora of ultra cool Nashville locals chatting and flirting about. Once seated, we dove into their beautiful wine list, a juicy, salty Gamay for me and a Pinot Noir for Spook. We started with their sweet corn toast on house made sour dough (recreating this at home ASAP) and the shaved summer vegetable salad, which was the sleeper hit. Paper thin coins of zucchini and summer squash, expertly dressed with a buttermilk caesar dressing, topped with tons of fresh herbs and crunchy bread crumbs. TO.DIE. Honestly the apps were so good (slash maybe too many wines? lol) that I forget which pizza we ended up ordering ahahaha… I faintly remember some sort of Soppressata situation? Just go. 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-FOLK { dining room @ Folk }

Feeling the vibes (read: sufficiently tipsy) from our time at Folk, we headed out for drinks at one of our favorite Nashville bars, Attaboy. This place is like, 95% of my dream cocktail bar, not kidding… We always say we’re just going to go for one and then three drinks later we’re still there, eyes glued to the bartenders doing their thing. You must, must, must go. Incredible service and lovely staff. 

Obviously on a good one, we ended the night with some shots of Bulleit and Budweisers at Robert’s Western World. Someone spread my ashes here when I go.

Day 3 – SATURDAY 

After a decent sleep in (thank you, second Shiner Bock at 2 am I didn’t need), we slowly made our way to the Johnny Cash museum for some A/C and non-alcoholic stimulation, followed by a delicious brunch at Butcher & Bee. 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-butcher{ crispy rice bowl for me, burger for Spook and whipped feta for the table! plus rosé of course }

The combination of being slightlyyyyy hungover and the heat had us desperate for a pool so we called Holston House, the hotel I was set to check into the next day (for the summit) to see if we could use their pool a day early and they obliged (turns out their rooftop bar & pool is open to the public!). We nursed ourselves back to life with Gin & Tonics and stunning rooftop views while submerged in the cool water at Bar Tenn.

After a nap and a shower back at the Thompson, we headed out for our last dinner together at Oak Steakhouse… Would not recommend unfortunately.

Day 4 – SUNDAY

Never ones to miss out on a meal opportunity, we opted for brunch at Chef Maneet Chauhan-owned (the sweet Indian judge on Chopped!) Mockingbird before it was time for Luke to head to the airport. It was just an average experience unfortunately… wouldn’t necessarily recommend but dying to try her Curry & Masala house next door on our next trip!

Flying solo for the rest of the trip, I decided to check something off my Nashville list I’d been dying to do all weekend long (we kept missing the tour times thanks to other plans/hangovers, etc. lol). I dropped my bags off at Holston House and caught a Lyft out to Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, a stunning historical mansion and botanical gardens in nearby Bell Meade, about a 25 minute drive or so from the city. See below for some snaps of the house and property! I could have stayed out there all day wandering along the gardens and cheeky animal installations but the rooftop pool back at the hotel was calling my name. 😉

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-Gator{ a temporary installation by Italian artist collective, Cracking Art }

After putting a solid dent in my book up by the pool, I debated staying in and watching TV with room service but rallied myself for yet another indulgent meal at Moto! After half a cheese plate and some of the best Cacio e Pepe I’ve had, it was time for bed. 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-bar-tenn

Day 5 – MONDAY

Attempting to counteract all the debauchery of the weekend, I woke up early and took a Pure Barre class in The Gulch, followed by a green juice next door. Having checked exercise/health off my to-do list for the day (hah), I headed to Pinewood Social to grab a coffee and get some work done. 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-pinewood

Once sufficiently caffeinated and caught up on emails, lunch at Hattie B’s was in order, considering I’d been in Nashville for five days and somehow still hadn’t had my hot chicken fix! I get “hot” with “extra hot” on the side! And a sweet tea for putting out the fire 😉

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-hattie-Bs

After catching up on more work, it was time for the Honey Summit opening reception at Nelson’s Green Briar Distillery! I got to meet my fellow attendees, try all different cask finishes of Bell Meade Bourbon and go on a tour of the distillery, led one of the founders himself! What an incredible story. I won’t ruin it for you but basically these two sons (both currently in their thirties I think?) happened upon a plaque in Bell Meade some years ago while on a road trip with their Dad and subsequently unearthed their family’s multigenerational distilling heritage! Fast forward a few years and a lot of hard work and they were able to get the original DSP number – TN-05 – reinstated and reopened the whole operation! If you’re in Nashville, PLEASE go sign up for a tour of their distillery and tasting room ASAP. So fascinating and inspiring.

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-bell-meade-bourbon Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-nelsons-tour Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-nelsons-rickhouse

Day 2 – TUESDAY

The first full day of the summit took place at Corsair’s second Nashville location and headquarters. It was a jam-packed day full of fun information and super knowledgeable speakers. We tasted tons of different styles of honey and honey spirits and learned so much about how honey is made, how hives work, the bee lifecycle and hierarchies/social systems and organizational patterns, how bees find nectar, etc. etc. Seriously so, so fascinating and informative. After our crash course on bees and honey, we moved onto fermenting, distilling, sweetening and flavoring spirits with honey. This was also incredibly informative and interesting. I can’t wait to start experimenting with honey in the distillery soon! It makes sense, considering honey is a sweetener like molasses and agave, but it was crazy how similar the honey spirits we tried tasted like either a rum and/or a tequila/mezcal. They have lovely smokey, grassy qualities to them, as well as a slight but pleasant funk. Right up my alley.

After our epic day, we were treated to an incredibly indulgent and delicious group dinner at Urban Grub back in the 12 South neighborhood. Would highly recommend!

Day 3 – WEDNESDAY

My last and final day in Nashville was my favorite and for one reason: Our visit to an actual apiary! An apiary is basically a controlled hive or group of hives. A “feral” apiary or hive would be a hive that has formed naturally in the wild. We kicked the day off bright and early as to avoid the heat and had so much fun listening to the president of the Nashville Beekeeper’s Association tell us about the apiary and state of pollinating conditions in the state currently. I couldn’t get enough. 

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After leaving the apiary, we headed to yet another distillery, Pennington Distilling Co. (formerly SPEAKeasy Spirits) for another tour and some lunch. Pennington makes a few different styles of whiskey, as well as flavored vodkas, which they use in their newly released canned cocktails. Considering our own upcoming release, I couldn’t wait to try one! 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-Pickers

After Pennington it was time for most everyone from the summit to head to the airport. Lucky me, I had a later flight so I did a little more neighborhood hopping and shopping before grabbing one last margarita back at bartaco! Such a pleasant little spot to hang and finish my book before heading out of town. I also love the shops nearby – Draper James, White’s Mercantile and imogine + willie all had me wishing I’d brought a second suitcase! 

Distillerista-Week-in-Nashville-bartaco

My DREAM Food And Beverage Concepts

I was reading a tip earlier this week from a blogging resource about what to write about when you get in a rut or haven’t been super creative in a while… they emphasized the importance of writing about what gets you excited, what you’re naturally passionate about so that the process of writing is fun and painless. I started to think about all the things I’m truly, inherently passionate about and one of those is, well, eating out! I genuinely love nothing more than experiencing a new-to-me food & bevvie concept, whether it be in San Diego or beyond. Getting to the restaurant and taking in the decor, music, the look of the staff, what they’re all wearing, how they’re working together, pouring over the menu and it’s themes or quirks in language, getting a pre-drink in the lounge or bar, making careful note of how and when they move us to a table, how they present the menu options, how they tag team service, etc. etc… I could go on and on but this is all to say, I am truly fascinated by the inner workings of any given hospitality concept.

This got me thinking, first about all my favorite restaurant experiences  (another post perhaps?) and from there, all the restaurant experiences I long for but have yet to find. Below is a somewhat silly yet utterly genuine list of my ULTIMATE dream food and beverage concepts or ideas. If you decide to execute one of these, no finder’s fee necessary. Just invite me to the grand opening, will you?

  1. A Chipotle-style Build Your Own Nachos vibe with craft cocktails on tap… a.k.a. not too far off new East Village hot spot Lola 55 – in terms of decor and steps of service – but with NACHOS. And like our beloved Chipotle, instead of white rice or brown rice yata yata yata, you’d be able to choose from blue or yellow or white corn tortilla chips, etc. then pick your protein and choose from fun toppings, different styles of cheese, at least two types of queso, omg someone PLEASE make this happen.                                                                                                                                  Distillerista-Dream-Food-Beverage-Concepts-Nachos{ in all honesty, is there any greater pairing than nachos and cocktails? @Punch Bowl Social}               
  2. If Gusta Pizza and Vino Carta had a baby… the best pizza on the planet is at Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy. Period. It’s located on the opposite side of the river from most of the touristy things, tucked away behind a sweet little piazza where locals come to hang and meet friends for Aperitivo. The menu is written on butcher paper on the wall and if you throw the pizzaiolo a cheeky smile, he may toss yours in the shape of heart. Pizzas take about 90 seconds to come out of the 8 zillion degree stone oven and trust me, they disappear almost as quickly. The only thing missing is a Marissa Ross-curated, Vino Carta-esque wine list chock full of obscure natural wines from Italian producers to sip between luscious bites.                                                                                      
  3. A fully grass-fed and -finished steakhouse with clean/real food sides… and table side Sunday Gin Martinis of course. All the classic cuts, plus a “sampler” style option where you can have a few ounces of fillet, a few ounces of a ribeye and/or a few ounces of your favorite cut, etc. (I hate having to choose between a ribeye and a fillet, lol #firstworldproblems) Then imagine all your favorite steakhouse sides – creamed spinach, mac & cheese, scalloped potatoes but with ultra ULTRA high quality, real food ingredients – Kerrygold butter, Clover Dairy, hyper local cheese and produce, etc. Basically my dream indulgent meal except I get to feel good about it after. On the drink menu? Food-friendly new world wines with a focus on underrated grape varietals.                                                                                                                                                                    
  4. Blow-your-mind Middle Eastern food with funky skin contacts wines, Pet-Nats, just barely effervescent Gamays and Molly Yeh as pastry chef… Ambiance is major Sex in the City 2 vibes. In terms of food, thinking Alon Shaya meets Byblos meets Kokkari Estiatorio. Does it get any SEXIER!?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Distillerista-Dream-Food-Beverage-Concepts-alonshaya{ an insanely satisfying lunch at Alon Shaya’s Saba in New Orleans – yes, that is blue crab & sweet corn hummus }
  5. Hi Ho / Shake Shack / In N Out, with choose your own “6-pack” buckets of beer and canned cocktails But every burger has two sizes so you can have like, sliders, of more than one style of burger.Because who wants to choose between the three best burgers in SoCal? Not me. Thinking we’re al fresco here. On a random highway route… like halfway between two major locales… a destination in itself along the journey. The type of place you “accidentally” sneak a canned cocktail roadie or two with you when you get back on the road.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
  6. An all day beer and wine garden with a Texas twist… local craft beer (plus a few of those love to hate ’em classics), all natural wines by the glass and bottle, plus meat and cheese boards to write home about, rotating chef pop ups, all polished off with subtle southern ice house vibes but in an urban setting. Stay tuned, ’cause this gal might just be bringing this one to ya in the near-ish future 😉                                                                                                                                                                        
  7. Last but not least, a rotating cocktail menu by me (high quality craft spirits only), wine list by Whitney Adams or Marissa Ross, and a new menu each season by a different chef… in no particular order, you are all welcome to sign up for your 3 month stint: Sean Brock, Stefani de Palma, Brian Redzikowski, Anne Marie Coulon, Giada, Ina, David Chang, Francis Mallman… I could keep typing my heroes forever but you get the idea!                                                                                Distillerista-Dream-Food-Beverage-Concepts-annemarie { Anne Marie’s “breakfast bruschetta” at my fave Little Lion }

What about you? What dream food and beverage concepts do you wish would come to life?! Tell me in the comments or DM me!

The Man in Black

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Seeing as You & Yours is located just a short walk from the convention center, each year we get (perhaps a little too) excited to create a specialty cocktail in hopes of luring some Comic Con fans into our bright and airy East Village lair. We’re particularly pleased with ourselves over the cocktail we’ve come up with this year, so much so I just had to share!

A handful of us (chiefly, myself lol) here at Y&Y are big Westworld fans, and thus I originally had the idea to create a creamy, opaque white confection (coconut milk? egg white?) and name it after “cortical fluid,” the liquid substance injected into the hosts (namely, poor Bernard) to preserve their functionality. After a bit of deep dive in to Westworld minutia, it turns out cortical fluid is not white; The material the hosts are created from is white. Knowing full well the Comic Con set would call us out on this factual error faster than you can figure out the plot in any given episode, we decided to switch gears.

If you’ve taken a peek at our new summer cocktail menu, you’ve seen we’re featuring a cocktail incorporating activated charcoal, the Basically Vitamins. The ebony powder creates a stunning deep grey-green color once poured over ice, and can transform to a hue as black as night the more shakes are added. Light bulb: The Man in Black! This gorgeous cocktail inspired by the show’s creepiest antagonist is only improved by an “up, on the rocks” presentation… By PURE chance, the ice sphere floating in the couple hints at the spherical core processing unit hidden within each hosts’ “brain.” Does it get get any nerdier? Shake yourself up one of these and find out.

The Man in Black.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Provisional barrel-rested Gin
  • 1 good shake (or ~1/8 tsp) activated charcoal, powder form
  • .5 oz orange cordial (equal parts sugar and fresh orange juice, simmered over low heat until dissolved)
  • 3 dashes Aztec (chocolate) bitters
  • 3 dashes orange bitters

Directions: Shake all ingredients with ice, double strain into a coupe over a large format ice sphere. Garnish with an orange twist.

Summer Road Trip: Central Coast

Even after all our 2018 travel so far, Luke and I knew we wanted to get out of town for the 4th of July. We originally had grand plans to finally check Montana off our list, but when our friends who live in Paso Robles – a small wine region just inland from San Luis Obispo – invited us up to their vineyard, we couldn’t resist!

Our friends Rich & Tracy own a gorgeous vineyard property in Paso, Terra Mia, with rows and rows of grapes (most of which are sold to nearby wineries), three homes and a gorgeous wedding and event venue (complete with a fresh water swimming pond!). It’s a stunning landscape from every angle and always such a treat when they invite us to stay! Depending on who else is around (Rich & Tracy are the ULTIMATE hosts and entertainers. I can’t remember a time we’ve visited where there hasn’t been at least one other friend, relative or couple also bunking at the vineyard!), we either stay with them in their home, or, as we did this past trip, in their adorable vacation rental down by the pond. They were kind enough to keep it off the booking site for us for the week of the 4th and it was soooo nice to have the little sanctuary all to ourselves. If you’re headed to Paso and looking for accommodations, I can’t recommend it enough.

DAY 1 // We drove up late Tuesday night so we could get a good sleep and wake up in wine country on the 4th! We left San Diego around 6:30 pm and made it to Paso by 11:30 pm, so easy. The Central Coast region of CA has so much to offer and if you time your drive right, it’s really not that bad. After a rest we woke up bright and early to experience the famous 4th of July parade in nearby Templeton. Armed with a cooler full of Bloody Marys and a veryyyy patriotic ride, we were off!

IMG_4157{ no better way to show up to an Independence Day Parade than in the bed of a red vintage Chevy }

As the parade wound down we made our way to our friends’ favorite wine bar in Templeton, 15 C, for some bubbles. After a few celebratory (‘Merica!) bottles of 15 C’s finest sparkling wines, we headed back to Terra Mia to freshen up and get ready for the barbecue Rich & Tracy had planned down by the pond.

IMG_6713{ we’re the kids in America :) }

I made a point to put my phone away at this point in the day, so no more photos, but it was so nice to just relax under the Willow trees, sample some incredible magnums of Justin Rosé, go to town on Santa Maria tri-tip and ribs, and swim in the pond amongst the Koi fish and ducks! A perfect afternoon if you ask me.

Once most of the BBQ guests trickled home, a shower and a refresh was in order. Then we made our way to the Pub! Not an actual Pub, mind you, but the one Rich has built into his home up the hill! It’s something of an honor to drink in Richie’s pub, and it’s usually where nights at Terra Mia end up! After a second feast on leftover ribs and one too many bottles of red (and a round or two of Sunday Gin & Ts of course!), we were down for a much needed snooze. 4th of July: Success.

DAY 2 // You might think we’d take it easy the day after the 4th but nope. Not when you’re in Paso. We grabbed a quick bite at one of favorite downtown Paso spots, La Cosecha. Little empanadas for an app, soup and a salad were just what we needed after a big 4th. Comfortably full and feeling mostly back to life, we headed straight to our happy place: Adelaida Vineyards! Adelaida is hands down one of our favorite vineyards in Paso. Their tasting room and property is gorgeous, and all their wines are estate grown. We lounged on their patio and took our sweet time tasting through their current line up. Once bottles were purchased for home it was off to our next adventure.

IMG_7735{ the views from Adelaida never get old! }

After a tasting at Adelaida we headed down the road to a new-to-us winery, McPrice Myers. We’d met the winemaker, McPrice (yes, his first name!) at the BBQ the day before and wanted to try his wines. After another lovely tasting we headed back into town for lunch.

IMG_9904{ ‘gramming at McPrice Myers }

We grabbed a quick sandwich at Red Scooter Deli, as we had a few sales appointments to get to (a little, work, a little play!). After successful meetings at a few more of our favorite spots: Third Base Market & Spirits (one of the most incredible selections of any gas station liquor store I’ve ever seen!), The Hatch and the. coolest. speakeasy, Eleven Twenty-Two, it was back to what we do best, lol.

IMG_1104{ working v v hard // sales appointment at The Hatch! }

Work done and dusted, we met up with Tracy and friends at Treana for some live music, paella and more vino of course! Every Thursday evening, Treana hosts these “Thirsty Thursdays,” with a different musician and food truck set up in their beautiful courtyard. Such a fun atmosphere! Definitely check this place out if you happen to be in Paso on a Thursday.

IMG_0189{ charming outdoor space at Treana }

As if we hadn’t imbibed enough (hah) on this 5th of July, we headed back to the Pub for a few too many You & Yours‘ cocktails (we always joke that we drink Rich & Tracy out of all the bottles we bring them before we’ve even left!) and a verrrrrrrry late but very delicious pasta dinner (because Paella is really just an appetizer, right?).

IMG_9925{ Sunset over Terra Mia! }

DAY 3 // The morning of July 6th was no one’s friend… I’ll just say that. After forcing ourselves to eat breakfast and a subsequent snooze on the couch, we rallied and did the only appropriate thing to do in such a state: head to another winery! And I’m SO glad we did because we found a new favorite, Clos Solène. Be sure to book ahead as Clos Solène is appointment only, but so so worth it. The property is currently being brilliantly replanted by the owners (an adorable Frenchman from SERIOUS winemaker lineage and his wife, Solène) but the tasting room attendants are incredibly knowledgeable, not to mention the wines are delectable. So clean, elegant and well made, you could drink each one for days, especially the Viognier blend (my favorite white grape!).

IMG_2155{ hair of the dog: wine tasting at new fave Clos Solène }

Happily feeling the shampoo effect, we hit up one of our favorite areas in Paso, Tin City, a little micro-neighborhood of wineries, breweries and distilleries! BarrelHouse Brewing Co. is a favorite of ours and with the heat upwards of 100 degrees, not to mention a hangover for the books, a nice cold beer was just the ticket. Feeling a bit wine tasted-out, we headed back to Richie & Tracy’s for a casual, relaxing meal al fresco and a (somewhat) early night.

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{ cheeky kiwi waiting for the grill to heat up }

DAY 4 // Having most certainly overstayed our welcome at Terra Mia, lol, we made our way leisurely back down the coast, stopping for a final, romantic evening in our favorite place of all time: Santa Barbara!

About an hour and a half’s drive later, we pulled into one of our favorite hotels, The Belmond El Encanto. We booked through American Express travel and decided to wait an hour or so to get into an upgraded room, happy to spend the time enjoying lunch and a cocktail on their terrace, followed by a little pool time. After a series of unfortunate and out-of-character events for this hotel group, we were double upgraded to a fountain suite, lol. I’ll spare you the details, as I’d like to believe our experience was simply an off day for the property.

IMG_5245{ Au Bon Climat Chardonnay on the balcony before heading into town }

Wanting to soak up all the day light possible on our last full day of vacay, we showered, cleaned up and headed down to the harbour! After a good stroll along the boardwalk, cocktails were in order. We popped into a place I’ve been DYING to try ever since it opened, Loquita. Perhaps the most successful execution of a tapas bar I’ve ever experienced, we nibbled on croquetas and pan con tomate while sipping on gorgeous and deliciously crafted Spanish-style G&T’s.

IMG_9601{ the prettiest G&Ts at Loquita }

After our warm-up course, we made our way to the Funk Zone. Fun fact: we were thiiiissssssss close to signing a lease on a space for You & Yours in the Funk Zone originally! After a few unrelated things fell through, we reevaluated and decided to stay in San Diego. Having whiffed making a reservation, we put our name in at The Lark and killed time perusing the other shops and tasting rooms in the area. After a quick wine tasting (as if we hadn’t done enough of that already omg), it was time to sit down for dinner! The Lark is one of my favorite restaurants of all time and if you’re anywhere near Santa Barbara, it’s a must! We had some of our favorites: the Little Gem salad and the scallops; and some new things too: Sea Bass and the Texas Picnic (ham, bread, pickles + pimento cheese!) of course. Full & happy, we made our way back up to the Belmond for a good night’s sleep.

IMG_4722{ Stearn’s Wharf }

DAY 5 // Again, wanting to soak up every little bit of our time in SB, we grabbed an early breakfast at the hotel and made our way back to the harbour, taking a nice long stroll along Stearns Wharf (one of Luke’s favorite places in the world!), followed by a breakfast beer at Brophy’s because why not tack another one on. Originally having planned on walking along State Street for some shopping, the heat changed our course straight back to the pool! After a couple of hours (and lunch!) by the pool, it was time to pack up and head home.

IMG_0818{ one last Rosé :( }

For more of our favorite places to eat, stay and things to do in Santa Barbara, see my previous Santa Barbara recap!

Pink Peppercorn + Sparkling Rosé Martini

IMG_1896I first came up with this cocktail one evening (see my IG highlights under ‘Cocktails’) when I wanted to enjoy a nightcap with Luke but wasn’t in the mood for whiskey. Going off what I had around, plus a hankering for our recently released Winter Gin, the rosé martini was created! Although I didn’t have any Sparkling Rosé laying around at the time, it felt like the natural missing link when making this delectable combination of flavors feel more summer-appropriate.

If you know me, you know I loooooove me a sparkling rosé and Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé is no exception. Long known for their quality, tradition and value, Santa Margherita wines are the perfect choice for mixing up a casual midweek cocktail (such as this), serving at a low key summer get together (see my most recent entertaining post!), or gifting your favorite hostess (isn’t the bottle beautiful?). But what I love most about this sparkling rosé are the delicate floral notes of jasmine and rose – they play so well with our similarly floral and subtly spicy Winter Gin.

IMG_2593Sparking Rosé Martini

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. You & Yours’ Sunday Winter Gin (our London Dry-style Gin)
  • .5 oz Lillet Rosé Aperitif
  • few cracks, pink peppercorns
  • 2 dashes, Peychaud’s bitters
  • Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé, to top
  • lemon twist

Directions: Add first three ingredients, plus the lemon twist (express before dropping it in) to a mixing glass with ice and stir for at least 20 seconds. Strain into a martini glass or coupe and top with Santa Margherita Sparkling Rosé. Garnish with a crack or two of pink peppercorns. Recipe can be easily multiplied for batching the martinis – just stir in a larger pitcher.

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A Simple Summer Cocktail Party with Santa Margherita

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Those who know Luke & I, will tell you if there’s a get together at our place of any kind, there’s a good chance the festivities will kick off with a bottle of bubbles. While I do appreciate a good welcome cocktail moment, there’s just something about the elegance and simplicity (not to mention the celebratory vibes) of popping the cork on a bottle of sparkling wine when guests arrive. Plus, with summer finally here, it’s a safe bet we’re entertaining at least once a week, which calls for a welcome beverage we can get into friends’ hands with ease.

In addition to the serotonin-inducing effects of popping some bubbly, the effervescence of sparkling wine gets your palate excited for the meal to come and serves as the perfect foil to all my favorite appetizers, – a cheese board, homemade sausage rolls, spicy nuts, small fried bites or buttery little pastry cups with savory fillings – as it naturally cleanses the palate between those rich, irresistible bites.

IMG_2577Dry Sparkling Rosé is my favorite style of sparkling wine to serve in pretty much any setting – it’s what I served at my college graduation party and our engagement party! – so when Santa Margherita reached out about trying their brand new Sparkling Rosé, I jumped at the chance. At roughly $24 a bottle, it’s a great price point for a casual weeknight cocktail party or sweet hostess gift, and the bottle is just beautiful. But beyond all that, the wine is straight perfect for summer entertaining. Surprisingly full bodied with notes of jasmine and red berries, Santa Margherita Sparking Rosé is an ideal counterpart to grilled meats (did you know you can AND SHOULD enjoy sparkling wines with red meat?!) and seafood alike. Not to mention summertime just screams for pink wine, don’t you think? (Yes, yes you do.)

IMG_1686IMG_1772Back to my little summer cocktail party kick off: Like I mentioned above, the crisp Santa Margherita Sparkling perfectly complements my favorite category of cocktail party snacks – cheesy, savory, spicy morsels of delight, a.k.a. everything in this app spread! What I served, below:

  • Spicy Sambal-roasted cashews (somewhat adapted from this recipe, just swap the spices for a heaping table spoon of Sambal or your favorite Asian chili sauce)
  • Mini sausage rolls, topped with Everything Bagel seasoning! Not pictured, but I keep it fuss-free with my favorite store bought puff pastry and breakfast sausage, just adding a few spices and maybe a swipe of grainy mustard.
  • Simple cheese board – I kept it easy with my favorite aged cheddar and a triple cream.

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For a sweet treat, I kept the #millennialpink theme going with strawberry-laced chocolate chip cookies and assorted gummies. For the cookies, I added one package of freeze-dried strawberries (crushed up in the food processor) and dark chocolate chips to Sweet Laurel’s snickerdoodle recipe (sans outer cinnamon coating) and my grapefruit gummies from Sugarfina!

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For the drinks, simply keep the Rosé flowing, or be super impressive and make a batch of my Rosé Gin Martinis. And there you have it: the sweetest, simplest soiree to welcome summer!

IMG_2621Thank you to Santa Margherita for sponsoring this post!

Easy DIY Orgeat & My Favorite Army + Navy Recipe

View More: http://lindseymariephotography.pass.us/youandyours

Although I recently wrote a little essay on why I’m not a fan of tiki drinks, one Tiki-related ingredient I AM a fan of is orgeat (pronounced OR – jhhhaaat, or something to that effect). A nutty, almond-based syrup, orgeat is sweet and complex all at the same time, lending both balance and great depth of flavor.

One of the reasons I’m so drawn to orgeat recipes and cocktails containing them is there’s this certain romance that comes along with orgeat… You can bet almost every self respecting bar makes their own if they offer it, and as such, “house” orgeat recipes are handed from barkeep to barkeep under intense secrecy, if handed along at all.  The pride and seriousness that goes into creating a proprietary orgeat recipe makes them feel somewhat nostalgic as well, as if we were talking about a Mississippi gumbo recipe that my southern grandmother refuses to hand down until she’s on her death bed and not a cocktail syrup.

But what’s also lovely about orgeat is how simple it is to make! There are plenty of complicated recipes out there calling for soaking nuts and boiling barley and what not, but it’s really as basic as making a simple syrup, if you want a quick and painless version that is. In fact, it’s definitely up there with simple syrup on the list things you should never buy. Here’s my fool-proof starter recipe…

Easy Orgeat

  • 1 cup your favorite unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup super fine sugar
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water, rose water or both
  • spices of your choice, optional… this is where you can get as creative or as lazy as you want. I like to add some warming baking spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cardamom. Start with a 1/4 tsp at a time.

Combine all ingredients over low heat and VERY gently simmer until sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes or so. Adding one teaspoon or more of Angostura bitters is a popular move amongst bartenders, though this will make your orgeat darker, richer and considerably spicier. I prefer a lighter, more floral orgeat but that’s just me. Let cool to room temp, then strain through cheesecloth and store in the fridge for up to one week.

View More: http://lindseymariephotography.pass.us/youandyours

Perhaps the most famous classic cocktail to enlist orgeat is the Army & Navy. A simple gin cocktail, made anything but by the addition of nutty, intriguing orgeat.

Army + Navy

  • 2 oz Old Tom Gin (I like using richer, maltier Old Tom for this cocktail, though your favorite style of gin will certainly do the trick)
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • 1 oz orgeat
  • 3 dashes black walnut bitters
  • lemon twist, for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. Strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass or straight into a coupe if you prefer your Army & Navy up. Garnish with a lemon twist. 

Photos by Lindsey.

Why I’m Just Not a Fan of Tiki.

_MGL8349{ Photo by Lindsey }

Well, here goes nothing! I’m sure I’m going to get a ton of side eye for this but the truth is…  I’m just not into Tiki. Like, at all. I’ve been to my fair share of tiki bars across the country, some incredible, some not so incredible. I’ve done my research on the history and origins. I’ve sipped numerous tiki drinks, some reasonably complex, some down right awful. And I have to say, I have a really hard time getting behind this trend. Trend? Fad? Culture? Lost Era? Cult? I don’t even know exactly what to call it. I’m sure it’s in some way all of those things, but for me, Tiki just doesn’t have the allure the general (bartender?) public seems to think it does.

Let’s first address the origins of Tiki so we’re all on the same page. Inspired by the Polynesian travels of one Donn Beach, a.k.a. Ernest Gantt, what would eventually morph into Tiki culture originated at Donn’s Hollywood establishment Don The Beachcomber circa December 1933. (As if I didn’t find Tiki frustrating enough, even this opening statement is not quite true. If you have an imagination, you can somewhat trace Tiki’s earliest origins back to pre-prohibition “bamboo bars,” where island kitsch and escapism were the name of the game).

Now I’m all for a good island-themed bar, an oasis that can transport you to a simpler, more relaxed vibe simply by walking through a palm frond-lined threshold. I think it’s important to note here (if you’re still reading this blasphemy) I’m not necessarily bashing the tropical, vaguely Hawaiian aesthetic. I mean, palm print accessories all day. It’s more the *braces for backlash* drinks I have a problem with…

As a Distiller, the backbone of any cocktail is the spirit it’s built upon. Cocktails should be created to highlight, enhance, punctuate, elevate, and SHOWCASE thoughtfully made spirits. Additional ingredients like syrups, cordials, fresh juices, citrus, modifiers, liqueurs, etc. are welcome and necessary of course but the spirit should always be treated with a certain dose of dignity and I just don’t see how Tiki does that. Even the simplest, most paired-down versions of ALL classic Tiki Canon cocktail recipes boast upwards of six ingredients. Once you layer beautiful high proof rums, gorgeously funky Rhum Agricoles and even gins and brandies with that many flavors, what are you really tasting? I feel myself making enemies as I type this, lol, but it’s kind of just a glorified jungle juice at that point, is it not? And even worse, as Tiki culture has ebbed and flowed over the years, it’s become less and less of a guarantee those ingredients are fresh (not to be a dick, but the jungle juice call is pretty accurate when you’re sipping a concoction of coco lopez, canned pineapple and/or blue curaçao, am I right?).

Additionally, I take slight issue with the recent explosion of tiki-themed “craft” cocktail bars or newly released Tiki-themed cocktail menus at formerly respectable cocktail establishments. We all know (or maybe we don’t) you’re just using the fleeting popularity of Tiki as an excuse to pad margins with your “proprietary,”  or “house” blends of extremely low cost rums. If I am going to enjoy a tiki drink, that rum better be good and it better come through loud and clear over those seven other ingredients your shaking it with. Side note: I’m also just now realizing that some of my indifference towards Tiki could be due to my extreme aversion to crushed ice. But I digress…

The escapism of Tiki, however, I can get behind. Who doesn’t want to walk into a bar and be immediately transported to a warm weather vacation? Just as dingy dive bars have their well-earned place in the world, so should a good island themed watering hole. And as with any bold, polarizing statement, there are always exceptions. I faintly remember having an exceptionally good time at Three Dots and A Dash on a girls trip to Chicago, getting down to the tropical house DJ between Rangoon Gimlets. This is all to say that all categories of drinks deserve respect, but at least now you know why you won’t find Tiki drinks on the menu at Y&Y anytime soon. 😉

What about you? What are your thoughts on Tiki? Love it? Hate it? If you’ve miraculously made it this far through the post, please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of Tiki culture!

Podcast Episode: How Starting My Blog Led to Opening You & Yours Distilling Co.

Distillerista-Podcast-Nihan-Bloggers

I recently had the pleasure of being a guest on my friend and fellow blogger, Nihan‘s podcast: The Secret Life of Bloggers. We chat all things You & Yours, Distillerista, and specifically how starting this blog (when I had ZERO idea how to break into the spirits industry) really helped clear a path to where I am today.

Listen to the episode here! Episode 11: Creating An Instagrammable Business, and be sure to follow Nihan over here!

Sealed With An X

CUPCAKES-CASHMERE-YOU-YOURS-DRINK { gorgeous iridescent coupes accented our cocktail perfectly! photo cred }

One of the most exciting opportunities we’ve had this year was to create and serve a specialty cocktail at Cupcakes + Cashmere‘s Ten Year Anniversary Party! As a longtime Cupcakes + Cashmere reader, it was such a treat and honor to be involved in the milestone celebration. I started reading Emily’s blog when I was a freshman in college after immediately being drawn to her easy breezy entertaining ideas, approachable style, and love for great food & cocktails. When they reached out about providing a cocktail for the evening, I jumped at the chance!

As a long time reader, I knew the founder of Cupcakes + Cashmere, Emily Schuman, was both a gin and a martini fan, so we started there. The C+C team had featured our Sunday Gin in a previous post so we tapped our flagship gin for the job. From there, I wanted to stay as on brand for the blog as possible (soft pinks, floral elements, feminine style) so we did a bit of a riff on a martini-style cocktail while incorporating some additional elements (rose petal tea cordial for flavor and color), lemon oil (to balance the sweetness of the rose yet still remain a stirred and direct cocktail), Peychaud’s Bitters (for color and depth) and festive floral garnishes. See the full cocktail recipe below!

CUPCAKES { Y&Y Tasting Room Manager, April, who helped develop the recipe!photo cred }

CUPCAKES-CASHMERE-EMILY-COCKTAIL { C+C Blogger, Emily, and a friend enjoying their first drinks :) photo cred }

Sealed with an X

Stir with ice in a mixing glass & ​s​train into a coupe-style glass. Garnish: micro flowers floated on top

Lemon Oleo*
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
Peel lemons and combine peel and sugar in a container with a tight fitting lid. Let rest 4+ hours or overnight. Occasionally shake container. Drain off lemon oil and keep in a sealed container.
Rose Petal Cordial**
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 24g Rose Petal Tea
Bring water to a boil, add sugar. After sugar dissolves, add tea and turn off heat. Let sit for 15 minutes, occasionally stir and finely strain. Store in fridge for up to 2 weeks.