Monthly Archives: June 2008

Interview with Liquid Chef Kim Haasarud

Kim Haasarud is the author of 101 Margaritas, 101 Martinis, 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks, and 101 Champagne Cocktails.

In 2002, she founded Liquid Architecture, a beverage consulting firm that creates signature drinks and bar concepts for a wide variety of clients, including The Atlantic magazine, Mont Blanc, Fox Searchlight, Warner Brothers, HBO, Comedy Central, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

You won’t find the standard neon green Appletini on her ever-changing bar card. Instead, this Alice Waters of bartending might shake up an Appletini using fresh-pressed apple juice with a dash of clove or cinnamon.


Gina: What is your creative process for concocting signature cocktails for events? On your website, I see that you designed drinks for Maxim’s party with the Pussy Cat Dolls. Please describe the drinks and why and how your chose them. Did the event planner give any direction beyond “make sexy cocktails”?

Kim: I easily get inspired by taking trips to my local farmer’s market. A lot of the inspiration from my 101 books came from those trips. I would see some fresh, seasonal ingredients–like cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. and build a cocktail around it. For events, I can get inspired by a particular theme. For example, at the Maxim Pussy Cat Dolls party, I wanted to use some “sexy” fruits and aphrodisiacs –chocolate, cherries, martinis, and tequila. (Yes, tequila can be very sexy.) Sometimes I will incorporate a sponsor into a cocktail. For example, one party I did, Garnier Fructis (the shampoo) was a major sponsor. I created a “Fructini” made with various citrus fruits used in the shampoo–grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

Gina: How many cocktail resource books do you own? What are a few of your favorites?

Kim: I own a ton. A few of my favorites include:
Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail
Ted Haigh’s Vintage Cocktails
How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas (the Godfather of Bartenders)
Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
Drinks by Vincent Gasnier (he has a lot of great recipes for various syrups and punches)
Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide by Anthony Giglio

Gina: My father-in-law passed away this week. Are there traditional drinks associated with funerals, wakes, or grieving?

Kim: Good question. I think the best tribute to someone who passed away would be to toast with a drink that was their favorite. Savor those flavors that he/she really loved. (And that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to have alcohol.) I know at my funeral, I want people to be toasting with Margaritas made with a good silver tequila and fresh limes! (No salt.)

Gina: If you were a cocktail, what cocktail would you be?

Kim: I think I answered it above–a Margarita of course! It’s a casual, non-pretentious drink that can be enjoyed year-round.

Sangria Recipes

From Kim Haasarud’s 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks:

Spanish Sangria
1 bottle Spanish red wine
1/4 cup cognac
1/4 cup orange curaçao
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 oranges, cut into half-wheels
2 peaches, cut into cubes
2 lemons, cut into half-wheels

Place all of the ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container and sir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice in rocks glasses. Garnish with additional fruit if desired.

Serves about 6

Watermelon Sangria
1 bottle dry white wine
3/4 cup watermelon schnapps
1/2 cup white cranberry juice
2 cups freshly scooped watermelon balls
2 limes, cut into half-wheels

Combine all of the ingredients in a large glass or ceramic container and sir well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice.

Serves about 7

R.I.P. Robert Barrett

My father-in-law passed away last night.
He was a kind and honorable man.

The Garden Conservancy's Open Days

This Saturday, June 14 is the Columbia County Open Day. Click here for the schedule. My weekend is looking topsy turvy, but I hope to stop by at least one of the gardens.

Watermelons in China

Speaking of Radishes

I can’t speak of radishes without thinking of Noche de Rábanos (Radish Night) in Oaxaca. For more about the holiday, including a video and lots of wonderful photos, see this article by Ron Mader on

Great Barrington Farmers’ Market

Paige inspired me to pick up French radishes this morning at the Great Barrington Farmers’ Market. I’m going to do as she suggests and shred them atop a green salad, dressed with her special vinaigrette.

The Orloff House Vinaigrette

1/2 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T champagne vinegar
1 t dijon mustard (or more to your taste)
1/4 t lemon oil
a pinch of Maldon salt
a few grindes of good pepper
a pinch of herbes de provence (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a screw-on lid, and shake to emulsify.

Paging Germantown, Maryland

This blog is oddly popular in Germantown, Maryland, a place I’ve never visited. Who are you people? Do you know each other? I’m mystified, but appreciative of your interest.

For the Love of Our Funky Cheese Shack, Part Two

This fabulous new poster for WBCR was designed by Karen Skelton. I love it that Our Funky Cheese Shack and Democracy Now! get equal billing.

Ten Minutes to Count to Ten

This meme comes by way of Ericka Lutz. It’s called “The Power of Ten” and I tag you.

Ten Years Ago
We were living in a rented casita in Corralejo, a dusty village located in the countryside outside of San Miguel. Our little house had a cactus fence around it and brick boveda domed ceilings. Annalena was three and attending a Mexican Montessori preschool. My father had just recently passed away. I spent a lot of time staring at the mountains and listening to Junior Walker.

Ten Months Ago
Last August I was in the homestretch of the BTF season. I enjoyed seeing Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession.

Ten Days Ago
I was wrangling actor bios for the program.

Ten Hours Ago
I was finishing up a magazine assignment about Canyon Ranch. I did not write about stumbling upon Cameron Diaz in the locker room.

Ten Minutes Ago
I was writing my mother an e-mail about yesterday’s lovely lunch with a new friend at Blue Ribbon Sushi

Ten Minutes from Now
I will eat some low-fat dulce de leche Häagen-Dazs.

Ten Hours from Now
I’ll be at the office.

Ten Days from Now
I will be researching an article about breathing rituals. I will also likely be stressed out of my mind at work.

Ten Months from Now
I hope I’ll be writing a new book.

Ten Years from Now
I do have long-term wishes, but feel too superstitious to share them here.

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