For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy…

Winter’s got me having the feels for all things comfy, cozy, and sprinkled liberally with liquor.

Yeah.

Anyway…let’s get started.

For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy…

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Photo by holdosi on Pixabay

With the first snow comes cold, and with cold comes…feeling cold.

Naturally, the rational thing to do is warm up – with something or someone.

Like hot chocolate.

Or a hot body.

Or both.

I like both.

Both are fun.

I’m feeling pretty low key this week…thought I’d switch things up.

Get a little more personal.

And at the end of this post let you delve into the life of yours truly.

Creature comforts, personal relationships and all that.

So here’s some winter cocktail ideas with some fun back stories to warm you up during this cold spell.

First Snow

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The first snow is always a little, magical. It comes in quiet, when you’re not looking, and then surprises you when you decide to actually observe your surroundings.

The best part is when you catch it untouched – no tire tracks, no footprints, just one pure sheet of flawless wonder.

It’s a moment you can only catch once, and that you try to hold onto for as long as possible in your memory.

Well there’s good news.

There’s a way to make that memory stretch.

With this cocktail, named after (you guessed it) The First Snow.

Break out your best mixology skills here and saunter over to your mini-bar for a quick lesson on how to be more suave during the winter.

Or you know…just look impressive when you’re at your favourite lounge bar with that special someone and want to look like you really know your stuff, as you school the bartender on how to do his job.

You’ll need:

  • Superfine Bar Sugar (for rimming the glass)
  • 1.25 oz. Rye Whiskey
  • 1.25 oz. Winter Syrup
  • .5 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick (for garnish)

First things first…

You’ll have to rim a martini glass with the sugar, then set it aside.

Now grab your whiskey, Winter Syrup, and Cranberry Juice, and pour it all into a cocktail shaker that has ice in it.

Shake all those ingredients well, for around 15-20 seconds…then strain it all into that same sugar-rimmed martini glass you set aside.

Take that cinnamon stick I talked about earlier and place it as a garnish.

Enjoy.

“But Rego, I don’t know how to make Winter Syrup”.

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That’s like, drinks 101.

Alright well, stay cool…you can make your own that’ll last you for about a month – and give you an excuse to make more of this winter favorite so…you’re welcome.

So for the Winter Syrup, you’ll need:

  • 2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 2 Whole Cinnamon Sticks
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp White Peppercorns
  • 1/8 tsp Cloves

Once you’re done foraging for these necessary provisions, grab a medium saucepan.

Put your sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and peppercorns in there.

Now heat everything over a medium heat until you’ve got your water just below boiling, making sure you stir everything well in order to make sure the sugar dissolves completely (this is important, dammit).

Take your saucepan off the heat, and let your syrup cool until it’s room temperature.

Grab a mason jar (it’s really important that it’s a mason jar), pour the syrup in there, seal it, and (gently) toss it in the fridge.

You’ve gotta have some patience here.

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Let it sit in your fridge for a week, then strain out the peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon sticks.

Take another mason jar (a clean one), pour the syrup in it, seal it, and pop it back in the fridge.

Or, you know, use it, for the above cocktail recipe.

Spiked Hot Chocolate

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Photo by Edda Klepp on Pixabay

Hot chocolate is good.

Liqueur is better.

Hot chocolate spiked with liqueur is great.

When it gets cold, I drink a lot of hot beverages.

A lot.

I’m a fan of coffee and hot chocolate – not really a tea drinker (partly because I suck at making tea – except for spice tea I do a pretty bang up job of making that)…but hot chocolate is one of my all time favourites.

Considering most franchise coffee shops can’t make a good cup of espresso to save their lives (there are few, and they are legends), it’s what I opt for when I’m being asked to sit at a coffee shop and socialise with other people I’ve known for a while…or new ones.

But generally, it’s not socially acceptable to slip the barista some alcohol and ask him to spike your drink.

Nor is it acceptable to spike your own drink, apparently – otherwise that mother with her child wouldn’t be giving me the stink eye whenever I whip out a flask.

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When you’re at home though, everything’s fair game.

Wanna act like you’re the only one in line? Go for it.

Spike your hot chocolate? Be my guest.

Walk around naked? Go wild.

You get the idea.

Here’s how to do it (the spiking – not the nudity) properly.

You’ll need:

  • A decent hot chocolate.
    • 8 oz. of it.
  • 1 oz. Frangelico Hazelnut Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur
  • A Dollop of Freshly Whipped Cream (do it right – none of this pre-whipped business)
  • Mint Leaves (fresh, for garnish)

Make your hot chocolate – whichever one is your favourite, but just make sure it’s quality.

Add in your hazelnut and walnut liqueur and stir everything together well – use your bar spoon for this.

Top it off with that freshly whipped cream you slaved over making, and garnish with some mint leaves (let’s say, about a sprig).

Done.

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There’s a reason for using walnut and hazelnut liqueurs…they add depth to the cocoa base.

This is perfect for when you’re sitting by the fire with your hot toddy – aka that special someone.

Speaking of – I promised you a story with a little insight into me, didn’t I?

Alright…well, let me tell you a bit about my hot toddy (pun intended).

We have a bit of a love-hate relationship…but it’s mostly love.

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Mostly.

Rewind 7 years ago.

I was in Seoul visiting a friend when we decided to go out one night and hit up this really great lounge bar (and I cannot seem to remember the name of it – it was in Korean, don’t blame me).

We were walking up to the bar and there she was.

Beautiful.

Sexy.

Hot.

So hot in fact I could swear I heard the song “Hot Tottie” ft. Jay-Z by Usher playing in the background.

Just what the doctor ordered, in fact.

Especially after recently having gone through a breakup and having a hectic rebound streak.

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It’s a gift.

I knew right then she was the one.

So I straightened up my posture, walked up to the bar, looked right at her before looking the bar tender dead in the eye and said as calmly and smoothly as possible…

“I’ll have one of those.”

And then proceeded to watch him make me the best Hot Toddy I’d ever had in my life.

….what?

You thought this was a romance story about me and someone I love?

Well no…but it’s about some thing I love…

And that’s pretty much the same thing…right?

No?

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Fine.

For the more grateful out there – here’s the recipe for that amazing Hot Toddy I discovered so many moons ago.

My Hot Toddy

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Photo by Dinah Pena on Flickr

You don’t need to have a cold or a sore throat to have this – you just need to have a desire to heal whatever ails you.

For starters, you’ll need:

  • 1.5 oz. Bourbon
  • .5 oz. Lemon Juice (Freshly Squeezed)
  • Boiling Water
  • 1 tsp Clover Honey
  • 3 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1 Lemon Wedge (for garnish)

You’ll need (obviously) a heated hot toddy glass.

Combine the bourbon, lemon juice, clover honey, cloves, and cinnamon stick in said glass.

Fill the rest of the glass with boiling water, then stir until all the honey is dissolved.

Top it off with a lemon wedge for garnish.

Baby, it’s cold outside.

Stay cool warm.

– Rego

Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego’s Life.™

For The Weekenders: First Snow, Spiked Hot Chocolate, and My Hot Toddy… is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

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For The Weekenders: NoMad Bars, Raising The Roof, Japanese Street Food

Hey everyone, hope you’ve all been having a great week and a great weekend. This week for me has been all about one thing – being as stress free as possible…and it’s been working out quite well.

Really when you think about it, the whole point of life is to enjoy it as much as possible, not just by yourself but also by being around good company and even better friends. I may write, and write….and write about a lot of great places to go and things to see – but really in the end it all boils down to seeing (most of) those things with the people who matter most in your life. Enjoy.

For The Weekenders: NoMad Bars, Raising The Roof, Japanese Street Food

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Lately I’ve been craving something that you just can’t get unless you’re actually there – Japanese street food.

But wait – actually, you can, over at Azasu – the one place in NY you can honestly say has legit J-land street food, sometimes with a twist. This is the place to go when you’ve got four or five friends who want a good night out, with good food, and even better drinks.

So what kind of street food are we talking exactly? Oh, you know, the usual – Karaage, gyoza, sukiyaki, and of course, my personal favorite, takoyaki. Here’s what I suggest ordering though:

It’s gonna go like this – first things first, book a reservation for said friends. Ask for a big table if you’re doing it up proper. Start simple – order of gyoza (pork – or tofu, for those vegetarian friends), bit of egg salad (doused in Japanese mayo and spicy karashi mustard), and some asazuke – pickled vegetables (much tastier than you may think.

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If none of those suit your taste buds, they’ve got loads of loads of other options. Next thing – for Christ’s sake, order a drink and take a load off man. Check out the variety of different Chuhai they have – Chuhai is very much like a wine cooler but stronger, in a can – and really packs a wallop, with some pretty tasty flavours, such as oolong tea, ume plum, calpico, orange, grapefruit, and many more.

I recommend no more than a couple of these though, as they also provide a killer hangover if not careful.

Then comes the main meal – hopefully you’ve not filled up too much on appetizers and drink, and are ready to try some of Azasu’s delicious dishes. My advice? Stuff your face as much as you can – though the menu is straightforward, there are many tasty options to choose from.

If you want something light and fried, go with J-style fish/chicken and chips – nanban – aka tempura-fried (a light coating of breading) fish or chicken complete with crinkle cut fries and tartar sauce.

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If that doesn’t suit you and you feel like a bit of spice, be sure to check out their curry and rice dishes, with choices of additional toppings sukiyaki beef and menchi katsu. Hint – always go for the sukiyaki beef, as it melts in your fucking mouth.

Finish off with some chocoyaki or dororich coffee jelly, and you’ve got yourself a full stomach, nice buzz, and plenty of laughs with plenty of friends – some new and old.

But let’s say you wanna catch some fresh air with friends instead, or just really want a stunning view of the city with an excellent alcoholic drink consisting of gin.

Roof at Park South‘s got you covered with this one.

I know, another roof top bar, but hear me out – every time I recommend a rooftop bar – they only get better. I’m one that’s all about great atmosphere, excellent food, and hangover free drinks – I’d never steer you wrong buddy.

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So here’s the deal, bring a large group of friends and make sure you dress decent – this is one of those places you won’t mind looking snazzy at. Order up a round of Mint Billys, casually followed by some Airmail – that last one’s a drink, by the way.

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The drinks here are pretty stiff, so you’ll wanna order up some proper bar food to maintain a nice even “buzz” – what makes Roof’s bar food different from the rest? Each dish is specifically made to complement each and every cocktail on the menu – meaning an epic blend of flavours experienced each visit. If you’re a fan of red meat (like myself), go with the Wagyu beef or Lamb Polpetta and watch as each bite melts in your mouth.

If you’re not a fan of red meat – there’s always plenty of other alternatives with seafood, vegetables, and dairy (like Vermont Goat Cheese Al Forno). Lastly – sit back and enjoy around the fire.

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If you haven’t been here yet, you’re missing out on a very important part of your life.

This last one’s for when you’ve finally landed that date you’ve been vying for with that perfect 10 you met at a pretty upscale social function. The NoMad is the go to spot for when you want to impress, without looking like you’re even trying.

How so? Well – this fucking thing breeds class – and it outright gorgeous.

Seriously – and I use the adjective gorgeous rather sparingly. The care and detail put into this place you notice the minute walking in – right down to the staircase – will have you thinking you stepped into your very own custom made lounge by the designer named…..name a famous person.

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Now hang on – don’t let the looks of this place fool you – you won’t be walking into some pretentious snob fest. The atmosphere is incredibly laid back and the food selection is just as humble as it is tasty, with classic choices that have a unique spin like chicken pot pie with black truffle and foie gras, bacon wrapped hot dogs, and dry aged cheddar atop perfectly made burgers.

But if your date’s not into that, that’s okay too – they have some more “upscale” options like skirt steak, striped bass, and scotch olives (a must try).

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…and for dessert? The list goes on, from candy bars (literally) to cookies and cream ice cream.

Where the real fun begins is skimming the drink menu and noticing all the interesting names. If your date is the innocent type, order up Satan’s Circuit, and if they like a bit more of the wild side, get them to try out Berry “Danger”ous Fix. Either way picking any of the drinks you can’t go wrong – they’re all made with top shelf ingredients and leave you wanting more.

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Once you’ve got your drinks be sure to settle down at one of NoMad’s many luxurious seating options while you wait for the best food of your life to arrive, and continue in conversation as you non-chalantly explain how you found this little hideaway in the first place.

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You’re welcome.

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego’s Life.™

For The Weekenders: NoMad Bars, Raising The Roof, Japanese Street Food is a post from and appeared first on Rego’s Life

For The Weekenders: Classic Cars, Little Bars, Pizza Hackers…

This For The Weekenders is all about one thing – kicking your Converse up on the table and enjoying life. No dress codes. No fancily dressed bouncers. No 35th floor city view. Nope. This weekend we’re talking novelty, nostalgia, and all things in between. Enjoy. 😉

For The Weekenders: Classic Cars, Little Bars, Pizza Hackers…

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With the arrival of spring, fine weather calls for beach outings, picnics, and road trips. Nothing’s better than a clear blue sky with full, white clouds and the sun beaming down on you while just enough breeze makes it warm, not humid. Nothing beats hitting the highway with old tunes, close friends (or your S.O./new found spring fling), and somewhere good to go.

But sporting around in a Prius just won’t cut it. No, you need something real. Something respectable. Something unforgettable.

This is where DB Autosportif comes into play.

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For those days when you just want to get away from it all and just enjoy the hum of an engine, good tunes, and the wind in your hair. What’s really cool about this company is they’re small, but take great pride in what they do. Run by a team of three, these guys decided to take their passion and turn it into something they could share with people everyday.

So here’s how it goes – you order up a car 24 hours in advance and have it delivered to wherever you want within the Bay Area of Northern California. Literally – anywhere. So if you thought about playing hooky at work tomorrow and want to pull a Ferris Bueller, you can.

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“Oh Sloane, dear, hurry along now.”

Once you order the car it’s delivered to you the next day – the question is though, which car do you want? That depends really – whether you’re a fan of convertible or standard top….but if you picked convertible, I recommend an American classic, the 1960 Chevy Corvette Roadster – also known as “Eddie.”

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There’s just some things in life that no matter how old they get, beat even the newest, most cutting edge inventions. This ’60 Corvette is one of them. It’s the perfect car for that day when you just want a little one on one time with someone that means something special to you.

I’ve always been more of a fan of standard top cars, but pieces of art like these have a tendency to change my mind and throw “preferences” out the window – because at the end of the day, it’s the fact that at some point in history, a group of people took science and art, and made something fucking beautiful…yet powerful. Take this car on one of the scenic drives DB Autosportif offers with a picnic basket (containing some choice wine) and you won’t be disappointed.

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If you’re really more of a standard top fan though, don’t hesitate to try the 1965 Ferrari 330GT 2+2, aka “Enzo.” A four seater instead of a two, you can bring some friends along and make a day out of cruising around to different awesome places.

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Or, you know, just cruise to the next private airport.

…so let’s say you skip the picnic for two and do decide to hit the town with friends instead? Couple things – you’ll want to start with a full stomach.

But I’m not talking about the nearest franchise restaurant…and God knows sitting in some air conditioned upscale restaurant wouldn’t exactly mesh with the kind of day you’re trying to create. Nope – remember, it’s all about casual clothes, comfortable shoes, and enjoying things most people take for granted.

So it’s gonna be first stop, PizzaHacker. Why? Because…

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LOOK AT ALL THIS DELICIOUSNESS.

Seriously. There’s pizza. Then there’s wood burning oven baked pizza. Pies like this beat your standard franchise pizza any day. Care, energy, and emotion is put into everyone of these pizzas, because when someone’s passionate about what they like, that’s exactly what happens.

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The guy Jeff who crafts these things is no cheapskate when it comes to ingredients either. He’s all about organic ingredients, “fancy” salts, choice toppings, and carefully crafted dough. I have ALWAYS been a fan of pizza, so whenever someone comes along and shares that same passion, I’ve no choice but to tip my hat to them and say “well done sir/madam.”

I admire this guy for what he does – how he started. Entrepreneurship at it’s best. So if you’re in SF be sure to check out his website and his food. You won’t regret it – but you will regret not doing so.

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So you and a few friends have loaded up on pizza, checked out one of the great scenic drives recommended by DB Autosportif, and now you’re looking for someplace to rest your Ray-Bans and have a good drink.

But you don’t just want a standard beer. Naa, you want something different. That’s what this weekend is all about. So you all agree to hit up SRO, cleverly hidden in OddJob over on Mission St…and once you get there, you realize you couldn’t have made a better choice.

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The place is similar to that of some Japanese bars I’ve been in. So small it’s not like your standard bars where you can sit back, lounge, and relax – but it’s that same smallness that adds intimacy on a great date or closeness with friends when you all feel like really bonding.

SRO stands for well, Standing Room Only, and rightfully so – it’s only got a few stools. So don’t expect to be all sprawled out – this is the kind of place you have to feel comfortable being close to strangers in, in order to truly enjoy it.

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While the mixologist here will make you a drink on request, it’s best just to let these guys do their thing and use their imagination. After all, there are hundreds if not thousands of bars, lounges, and restaurants that you can go to and simply tell someone what drink you want. The treat at SRO is, these guys will mix something up for you, and see if it’s to your liking. Look for Joey, and he’ll be sure to take care of you.

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One last thing, no plastic allowed here – cash only. Quit your whining though – you wanted the classic experience.

Plus, driving a 1960’s sports car while paying for everything with plastic is a little goofy to say the least.

As always…

Stay awesome.

– Rego

Improve Your Lifestyle. Improve Yourself. This is Life. This is Rego’s Life.™

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