John Oates and me before they performed at the Rock the Cure benefit in La Jolla.
It’s been a busy week since The Bubbly Bar launched last week with an awesome bash for 400 who sipped Domaine Chandon sparkling wine cocktails at the Hotel Solamar. The fun continued this week when I was the guest mixologist at Rock the Cure, a benefit to raise money for juvenile diabetes research through JDRF.org.
Grand Marnier and Navan Cognac make a delicious version of The Stiletto from The Bubbly Bar. (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
My signature event cocktail was The Rich Girl named in honor of the event headliners Hall & Oates. A deliciously potent blend of brut sparkling wine, Grand Marnier and Navan Cognac, the Rich Girl was a revinvention of The Stiletto cocktail from the book. I wish Navan had been around when I was writing The Bubbly Bar; the fine French cognac is infused with Madagascar vanilla and has a wonderfully warm and complex flavor. It blends perfectly with the natural curacao orange in Grand Marnier, which is also a cognac based liqueur.
To make it a more luxurious cocktail, I soaked the orange peel garnish in the Navan and then added a touch of 24K edible gold leaf to the drink. It was a hit with both men and women who liked the blend of crisp Gloria Ferrer bubbles, sweetness and potency.Thanks to Steve and Lisa Altman for inviting The Bubbly Girl to be a part of the benefit and Steve Slater and Sara Southern of Southern Wine and Spirits; and Anne Walraven of Moet Hennessy for making the cocktail possible.
The flavors of vanilla and orange liqueurs mixed with bubbly appealed to men and women alike. Both of these guests came back for seconds! (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)
John Oates of H & O got a kick out of the fact that the drink was named The Rich Girl and was kind enough to pose for a picture! And the evening was a success, raising $500,000 to help combat juvenile diabetes!
Sooo sorry for the long wait for the actual Perfect Beauty cocktail recipe, but I have been having such a good time soaking up with culinary and wine culture of the Salentino in southern Puglia, Italy for the past 10 days — more on that soon. Plus, I was waiting for the professional photo from my good friend Bob Stefanko of Ranch & Coast Magazine.
Preston Bailey, the world-renowned floral and event designer, was fêted at the home of Susie Spanos when he flew to California in early March to speak at a benefit for the Village Garden Club of La Jolla. I designed a custom floral cocktail called Perfect Beauty with fresh California strawberry juice and rose geranium syrup for the party.
During the evening, the bartenders made the cocktail with sparkling water and a variety of champagnes from the Spanos’ cellar including Dom Perignon, Bollinger’s Special Cuvee, Roeder’s Cristal and Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne decorated with anemones shown above. The garnish was a beautiful pinch of edible flower petals called Confetti from San Diego Specialty Produce.
Since I created a rose geranium cocktail for floral guru Preston Bailey, I couldn’t think of a better time to wear my geranium pink suit from Max Mara.
I was really thrilled to see that most of the guests were sipping my cocktail when I arrived at the party just after sunset. But I was ecstatic when Bailey raved “Delicious, delicious, delicious!” when he tasted a Perfect Beauty made with sparkling water. He then insisted on getting some of my rose geranium syrup, which I promised to send as soon as I get home.
Makes 1 drink
1/2 ounce fresh pressed strawberry juice, seeds removed
1/2 ounce rose geranium syrup (From The Bubbly Bar)
4 to 5 ounces chilled champagne or sparkling water
pink and gold edible flower petals
Add strawberry juice and rose geranium syrup to a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne or sparkling water. Garnish with edible flower petals and serve.
Preston Bailey with one of his floral dogs. Photo Courtesy Brides Magazine.
When I heard that Preston Bailey, the famous New York City floral and event designer, was coming to San Diego for a benefit and private party at Susie Spanos’ home, I knew I had to create a signature sparkling cocktail in his honor.
His web site calls him the world’s preeminent designer and it’s no exaggeration: he does parties for celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, the royal family in Abu Dhabi and one secret client who dropped $25 million on a soiree.
Bailey’s speaking before the The Village Garden Club of La Jolla as a part of the high powered group’s Meet the Masters series. He’s appearing at 1:30 Thursday; proceeds from the $65 tickets benefit the Club’s Schoolyard Garden Project. He’s also offering a sneak peek at his gorgeous new book Celebrations that’s being released by Rizzoli in the fall.
I adore flowers so much there’s a whole chapter of floral drinks in my new cocktail book The Bubbly Bar. I knew I had to design a floral drink for Bailey since he’s synonymous with lush and fabulous floral designs. He’s also famous for the whimsical sculptured floral dogs like the ones above. And I knew I wanted it to be pink.
First I created a delicious drink named Vintage Rose with a rose petal syrup I creation, but decided it wasn’t quite original enough.
Rose geranium leaves grow easily and are prized for adding a lemony, floral flavor to cakes and syrups, especially in England.
Then I thought of my syrup made from rose geranium leaves, which offers a tantalizing floral note along with a lemony freshness. Since the menu focuses on great regional foods like spiny lobster, upscale fish tacos and Chino farm vegetables, I decided to pair it with the new season’s fresh strawberries that are so delicious.
Check back for pictures from the party and the recipe to make your own Perfect Beauty.