Sweet woodruff syrup – Waldmeistersirup & Maibowle









It is near impossible imagining Germany in May without Waldmeister, sweet woodruff. The faint vanilla-sweet smelling herb infuses the traditional Maibowle (may wine punch), imparts its astounding fresh aroma onto vivid green coloured jelly, ice creams and green gummy bears. Waldmeister syrup mixes with sparkling water for a herby-sweet spring lemonade and flavours a refreshing Berliner Weisse (beer). But drizzle it onto a perfect ball (or two) of mascarpone ice cream, add the best strawberries and you might as well find yourself in paintings by Watteau or Boucher: Continue reading

Extra-stormy Dark & Stormy + Clementine-lemon-ginger sparkler








Rezepte auf deutsch: siehe unten.

Weekend bliss: Extra-stormy Dark & Stormy + Clementine-lemon-ginger sparkler

Apparently, the cocktail party is back big-time and just in case you are planning to throw one soon… or enjoy gazing at the setting sun: Two extraordinary gingery drinks, one for the week-weary rum & rest requiring, the other an amazingly coloured fresh, citrussy spritzer sans alcohol.

Dark & stormy stands for black rum and ginger, Ginger beer to be exact, when aspiring to make an original Bermudan Dark n’ Stormy by topping Gosling’s Black Seal rum with their own stormy ginger beer and to be honest, what says great drink more than something hailing from the Bermudas? Continue reading










Apparently, the Ipanema has been around for aeons – a sufficiently long time to be mocked as a mere mock Caipirinha. Pffh… Both iconic Brazilian drinks share the muddled limes and cane sugar but this refreshing & alcohol-free cocktail is a classic in its own right and never tacky. Here, I have fiddled with the original recipe (½ lime muddled with 2 teaspoons raw brown cane sugar, shake with 4cl passionfruit juice & ice cubes, strain & top with Ginger Ale) for a less sweet and even more invigorating zingy version. Continue reading


Since the last Casino Royale we all know that the original 007 shaken-not-stirred-Martini is made with Kina Lillet and a great revival of this iconic French Vermouth has started. Lillet blanc on its own with ice & lemon twist does make a fantastic aperitif which I enjoy immensely and I just found this Lillet & Lemon which sounds lovely, too but the other night we had Vespers.

Vesper (Martini)

I know, that purists of the dry Martini drinking profession prefer that the dry Vermouth plays its dry part literally & is only shown from far away to the Gin, lesser perfectionists have the glass perfumed (swirl a little Vermouth in the glass & discard). I, for my part am in the sissy-camp, I even upgraded the prescribed quantity of ½ part Lillet to a full part and the drink is still “very strong” but also very, very nice. Serve with a twist of lemon peel for it adds just a smidgen of fragrant lemon oil and it does look pretty and after one – we expect you to get sloshed, Mr Bond.

sloshed (släSHt/)
adjective: sloshed
drunk.”I drank a lot of martinis and got sloshed”



Vesper – a dry Martini

adapted from Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, 1953: though I doubled the amount of Lillet, used Hendricks gin


1 part Lillet blanc
3 parts gin (we used aromatic Hendricks instead of a cleaner tasting Gin)
1 part Vodka (Absolut)
twist of lemon peel

Shake over ice until ice-cold, pour into a martini glass (or deep champagne goblet as does Mr Bond), add the lemon peel – I vaguely remember that you are supposed to twist the twist to release the aromatic oils.


Auf deutsch:

Vesper – ein trockener Martini

Adaptiert von Ian Flemings Casino Royale, 1953: ich habe den originalen ½ Teil Lillet verdoppelt, Hendricks Gin verwendet


1 Teil Lillet blanc
3 Teile Gin (wir hatten sehr intensiven Hendricks statt einen klareren Gin)
1 Teil Wodka (Absolut)

Über Eis schütteln bis der Martini eiskalt ist, dann in ein Martiniglas (oder eine tiefe Champagnerschale wie Mr Bond) gießen, die Zitronenschale hinzugeben – und wenn ich mich richtig erinnere, dann preßt man zuerst ein wenig des aromatischen Öls aus der Schale in den Cocktail.




Americano by the james kitchen
Americano, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.


Weekend. Cocktail. Americano. Dark red & bittersweet, this epitome of a sundowner tastes like an early evening, relaxing on a terrace in Italy, drink in hand & soaking up the last rays of sunshine and watch the sun set. At least that is my imagination here; you may conjure up your own setting.

Originally created Milano-Torino (150 years ago!) indicating the heritage of the two main ingredients: Campari from Milan & Cinzano Rosso, a dark red Vermouth from Turin, both in their own right veritable Italian aperitivi. Due to the drinks popularity with American expats, the name was changed to Americano. And to whom who thinks a cocktail recipe this old can’t be cool, let it be said: James Bond drinks it, too. Swap water for Gin (60ml) and you’ll get another classic: Negroni.

So, much later you’ll get the recipe as well. We had such unexpected lovely weather, walked the Highline to Chelsea Market, had a great lunch, did a leeettle bit of kitchen shopping (only absolutely necessary things, I swear) and walked some more through Central Park. Did you know that the Carousel stops s at 4pm? Well now we do, too.


Makes either one large cocktail for one, or two decent sized ones

¼ cup (60ml) Campari
¼ cup (60ml) Cinzano or Martini rosso
ice cubes
Sparkling or Soda water
orange slice

Place a few ice cubes into a cocktail glas (traditionalists use an Old Fashioned glas), add Campari & red Vermouth of choice, top with sparkling water (to taste). Garnish with a slice of orange or blood orange.



Americano auf Deutsch:
Rezept für einen großen Cocktail (manchmal braucht man das ganze Glas) oder zwei normale

60ml Campari
60ml Cinzano oder Martini rosso
Sprudelndes Wasser
Orangenscheibe (auch lecker: Blutorange)

Einige Eiswürfel in ein Cocktailglas geben (Traditionalisten bevorzugen ein hohes schmales Old Fashioned Glas), Campari & den roten Wermut ihrer Wahl hinzugeben, dann mit kohlensäurehaltigem Wasser (nach Geschmack) auffüllen und mit einer Orangenscheibe garnieren.

In the Guardian: my Mexican hot chocolate

Allegra McEvedy had to drink a lot and went to bed by noon, but did it all in the name of research (bedtime drinks) and my Mexican hot chocolate recipe is in The Guardian (Sat, 8th Feb 2014). Yipee! Thanks.
I like her a lot, a lot and just a few days ago listened to the story about her Mum’s lost orange recipe folder (I cried in the car) & the recipe collection for her daughter Delilah (Big Table, Busy Kitchen) covering events and things in life like: Impressing the Pants Off or Broke & Bored. That is exactly what one needs & what I felt about starting the blog: recipes tell a story, remind you of people and places, smells and tastes, feelings and moods; they are a diary of the past & a guidebook for the future.
Have a nice Sunday evening, I am off to see about my grandmother Anni’s Rote Grütze (coming soon).

perfect Bloody Mary

perfect Bloody Mary by the james kitchen
perfect Bloody Mary, a photo by the james kitchen on Flickr.

A perfect Bloody Mary for Burns Night, celebrating the birthday of the Scottish poet Robert Burns (the one who wrote the poem “Auld Lang Syne”) on January, the 25th with all the paraphernalia: speeches, toasts, bag pipes, Haggis & Whisky. No Haggis in sight here and I have not yet tried one, our plan was a nice cocktail and I thought about a nice Manhattan, well, how Scottish is American rye whiskey? Bloody Mary it is…

…Don’t you think I already had one too many, Bloody Mary, of course, refers to Queen Mary I. of England, executed by her sibling & fellow redhead Elizabeth I. of England and not the other Mary in the whole mix-up, Mary, Queen of Scots. Noohooo, my reference to Scotland is that we learned how to make the perfect Bloody Mary from a (now) quite famous recipe from the Canny Mans pub in Edinburgh shown on Rick Stein’s Food Heroes. Long winded explanation but they added dry sherry and a really generous helping of Worcestershiresauce (say: Wooster sauce) to the rest of the ingredients and this is it, the perfect Bloody Mary.

By the way, Michael Ruhlmann has a quite interesting Bloody Mary with Fish sauce, lime juice & horseradish in his (highly addictive) Friday Cocktail section. A subtle hint of fresh horseradish (frischer Meerrettich) adds a nice kick, I think, a little bit too much though always reminds me of a rather strange cocktail sauce for Dungeness crab eaten at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. But that’s just me. Tourist tip:  If you are already at Pier 39,  you must visit the whimsical & quirky Musée Mécanique on Pier 45 for a few hours of childhood away from the beaten path. Bring change.

Just in case you’ll need some lyrics, here’s the original Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and auld lang syne*?


For auld lang syne, my jo,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!

and surely I’ll be mine!

And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,

and pu’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,

sin auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,

frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d

sin auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!

and gie’s a hand o’ thine!

And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,

for auld lang syne.


(from wikipedia, where one can find todays version, too)

Bloody Mary
for two or make double the quantities in a pitcher and invite some friends

120ml proper tomato juice
40ml vodka (we had Absolut)
20ml dry sherry (I used Tio Pepe Palomino Fino)
a spritz of lemon juice and a twist of lemon peel
several generous dashes of Worcestershire sauce
red Tabasco
a good Celery salt
black pepper or cayenne pepper (as used in the Canny Man Pub)
a celery stalk (or more for your guests)

Place some ice cubes in a pitcher, add all the tomato juice, vodka, sherry and season with the other ingredients to your taste, garnish with lemon peel. Stir with the celery stalk and pour. Start singing now.

Bloody Mary (deutsch)
für zwei, oder am besten gleich die Quantitäten verdoppeln, Freunde einladen und in einer Karaffe servieren

120ml guter Tomatensaft
40ml Wodka (wir hatten Absolut)
20ml trockener Sherry (Tio Pepe Palomino Fino)
einen Spritzer Zitronensaft & eine Spirale Zitronenschale
mehrere ordentliche Schüsse Worcestershire Sauce
roter Tabasco
gutes Selleriesalz
schwarzer Pfeffer oder Cayenne (wie im Canny Man Pub)
eine Stange Bleichsellerie (oder mehr für die Gäste)

Einige Eiswürfel, den Tomatensaft, Wodka & Sherry in eine Karaffe geben und mit den anderen Zutaten abschmecken & mit Zitronenschale garnieren. Die lange Bleichselleriestange zum Umrühren benutzen und schon mal mit dem Singen anfangen.