Doing Your Part

The best part of the holidays is the family coming together to create a fantastic meal.  Several members of the immediate family came to town to celebrate Thanksgiving and it is awesome when everybody does their part to contribute to the holiday dinner.  The combination of prepared dishes made from different hands is enjoyment for all and whether one’s contribution is from setting the table, prepping the meat for grilling, chopping veggies for sauteing, baking desserts or washing dishes, there is something for everyone to do.  My contribution this year was the preparation of an autumn cocktail to serve before and during dinner.  The two cocktails were as follows:

Smoky Harvest Apple Cider Margaritas



The Smoky Harvest Apple Cider Margaritas were definitely a hit.  It was the perfect seasonal cocktail.  I didn’t use the mezcal tequila but rather silver tequila (patron) that I already had on hand.  Unfortunately, Von’s only had a $45 bottle of mezcal and I didn’t want to spend the money on it since the recipe said that you could still make a fantastic drink without it.  That said, we missed out on some “smokiness” but that didn’t ruin the drink at all.  Everyone asked for “seconds” so I obliged and provided a round 2 to the crew.  I’ve been asked to make this for Christmas as well so I sure will.


Cranberry Chai Sangria


This one took a bit of prep time to cut up all the fruit and infuse the cranberry juice with chai tea.  I also made the mistake of packing too much fruit into my pitcher so it made it difficult to mix the drink.  I was able to improvise a bit and prepared a “shaken not stirred” cocktail.  Although this one required more prep time and labor, it came in 2nd place to the apple cider margaritas.  I think the crowd was a bit full by the time this drink was served.

The secret with these cocktails is the ice cubes.  Using larger ice cubes vs. the standard freezer cubes helps prevent water dilution and maintains the integrity of the cocktail.

What a great holiday dinner it was and I look forward to many more with family and continuing to “do my part”.  Cheers.


Family is Everything

For many people, there are few constants in their life.  Jobs, cars, pets, friends, homes — what do all of these things have in common?  They come and go.  Now, many will argue that friends do not come and go and for many who are blessed to have loyal friends, I agree completely.  But throughout life as you grow into adulthood, get married, have kids — the only constant you can always rely upon is your family.  I am fortunate that my parents are still married after 32+ years and are stronger than ever.  It’s amazing how much they care and love their kids (me and my bigger bro).  My brother lives in Sacramento and is married with 3 kids.  Me in LA with 2, and they’re always venturing out of the Central Valley either to Northern CA or to Southern CA nearly every weekend.   I feel like I take it for granted now, because they make it so easy for us to see them.  We rarely go home, not because we don’t love them or don’t want to, but because we’re “busy” with our lives here.  But the day will come when they won’t be here in LA every other weekend.  Age takes its toll on all of us, and I hope that I won’t always take it for granted.  Family is everything — family is first.  Take care of your blood.