Cocktails

I’m in Love with Flash Blending!

That’s right, blending. Now, I am not talking about loads of ice and slushy sweet concoctions. I’m talking about the way they do it in Peru for Pisco Sours… heavy on the spirit, fresh citrus, a dash of simple syrup, egg white and a touch of ice. Then flash blended until thoroughly frothy.

Snowdrift_Lo
Photo by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Flash blending was the inspiration for my Snow Drift cocktail – a beautiful (and delicious) example made with botanical Martin Miller’s Gin, fresh lemon juice and housemade Cranberry Ginger Syrup… and of course egg white.
To continue reading and for the Snow Drift cocktail recipe, check out www.LiquidKitchen.com.

Posted by Kathy Casey on November 20th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recipes

Autumn Pears

We are so lucky here in the Pacific Northwest to have such a delicious variety of sumptuous pears! Bartlett, Bosc, Seckel, Concorde – each one different, yet they’re all oh-so-delicious!

The months of October through December are the prime time for pears.

One of my favorite preparations for pears is roasting them: just cut them into thick wedges and toss with a little olive oil, balsamic, and seasoning. Roast them on a sheet pan in a hot oven until they are just tender.

They’re great tossed in a fall salad, served with roast chicken or on a crostini with some gorgonzola for an easy appetizer like in my Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola! Or maybe even serve them with your Thanksgiving roast turkey as a tasty accompaniment!

Another idea is to make a pear wasabi puree: sauté diced pears till tender, then puree them mixed with a little wasabi for a tasty sauce for grilled fish of scallops.

And don’t forget about the drinks! Try infusing a bottle of vodka with a sliced pear. Let sit for 2 – 3 days then strain! Delicious in cocktails like my Pear Thyme Fizz or put it in bottles and give it as a great fall hostess gift! –Kathy

Roasted Pear Crostini (2)
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – Angie Norwood Browne

Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola
These are extra-delicious topped with chopped toasted nuts, such as hazelnuts or walnuts. Balsamic glaze can be purchased at gourmet and well-stocked grocery stores.

Makes 24

Pears
2 firm red Bartlett or other red-skinned pears
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

24 pieces Herbed Crostini (recipe follows)
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled gorgonzola cheese or thinly sliced Cambozola
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze

For garnishing
Tiny sprigs of fresh thyme

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F.

To roast the pears: Quarter the pears lengthwise, then core. Cut each quarter lengthwise into 6 slices (you should have 24 slices, total). In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, salt, and thyme. Add the pears and toss to coat.

Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Lay out the pears, not touching, on the baking sheet. Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden and starting to caramelize on the edges. Pears can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

When ready to serve, lay out the crostini on a baking sheet and top each piece with about 1 heaping teaspoon of gorgonzola or a slice of Cambozola, then a slice of pear. Bake until just warmed, about 4 minutes.

Drizzle each piece with about 1/4 teaspoon balsamic glaze, then garnish with thyme.

Herbed Crostini
Crostini are the must-have party basic. Use as a base for assorted toppers, such as creamy cheeses, tapenade, or spreads.

Makes 32 to 40 pieces

1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 long, skinny French baguette, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, mix the oil, dried herbs, cayenne, and garlic. Lightly brush the baguette slices with the herb oil or, in a large bowl, drizzle the bread with the oil and toss well. Lay out the bread in a single layer on baking sheets, sprinkle with salt, and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until just crispy.

Crostini can be made in advance, cooled thoroughly, and stored in airtight containers for up to 3 days. If necessary, recrisp them in a hot oven for a couple of minutes.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – www.liquidkitchen.com

Pear Thyme Fizz
Fresh thyme’s savoriness is wonderful against the crisp dryness of pear.

Makes 1 drink

1 large sprig fresh thyme
1 1/2 oz Pear Infused Vodka (recipe follows)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
Splash of chilled brut Champagne, dry sparkling wine, or soda water

For garnishing
Thin slice of fresh pear
Small sprig of fresh thyme

Bend the large thyme sprig and drop into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Cap and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of Champagne. Float a pear slice and thyme sprig in the drink for garnish.

Pear Infused Vodka
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 large ripe pear
1 1/2 cups vodka

Core pear and cut into thin slices (leave skin on) and place in a mason jar with vodka. Cap and shake. Leave to infuse for at least 2 days (up to 5 days) and then strain. (Discard pears.) Refrigerate until ready to use.

Simple Syrup
This is a bar staple and the most commonly used sweetener. Though you can purchase simple syrup, it is ordinarily sweeter than I prefer, so I highly recommend making your own. Proportions vary but it is easy.

Makes 3 cups

2 cups water
2 cups sugar

Mix the water and sugar together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Let boil 1 minute then immediately remove from the heat. Let cool to room temperature before using. Store in a clean glass bottle or container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks or, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.

Recipe from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books – www.liquidkitchen.com

Posted by Kathy Casey on November 14th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, appetizers

Zingy Grapefruit

We all enjoy fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for breakfast and in classic cocktails like a Salty Dog (or a Greyhound depending if salt is used) or a Paloma. All for good reasons, too.

Grapefruits contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium and they are rich in vitamins A and C. Peeled and eaten like an orange, they have a ton of good-for-you fiber and are known to help with weight loss.

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Juicy grapefruits!
Photo by Kathy Casey Food Studios
®.

I love pink and ruby grapefruit for their balance of sweetness and tang. They are perfect paired with avocado, like in my Shrimp, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Honey Shallot Vinaigrette.

Are you a Chicken Picatta fan? Try it with grapefruit instead of the traditional lemon! I love to serve this with orzo tossed with a little butter and lots of fresh herbs. Or even better if you have fresh chanterelle mushrooms available – sauté them up and fold into cooked wild rice. Yum!

And for a refreshing and bright beverage, try my recipe for Pink Grapefruit Honey Ginger Fizz. Oh! And it is also great as a cocktail with a little shot of something added…. vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon……they all work!

Enjoy grapefruits in all their zesty glory any way you like! – Kathy

Shrimp, Grapefruit and Avocado Salad with Ginger Honey Vinaigrette
Makes about 6 servings

Honey Shallot Vinaigrette
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup canola or olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
pinch cayenne pepper

——————————————————–
2 large pink or ruby grapefruit
2 ripe but firm avocados
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 cups cooked bay shrimp or cooked prawns
1 very large head butter lettuce, leaves washed and spun dry

Make vinaigrette first. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Chill until ready to serve salad.

Cut ends off grapefruit, then cut skin off the sides of grapefruit, carefully removing all the white pith. Section out grapefruit into a bowl. (Cut grapefruit out with a knife to get sections with no pith. If there is lots of juice, do not add it to salad—drink it!) Toss grapefruit with red onion. Slice avocado over grapefruit and add shrimp and half of the dressing. Fold dressing in—be very gentle.

Place lettuce in a large bowl and toss with the remaining dressing. Divide among small serving plates or place on a large platter.

Top dressed greens with grapefruit mixture. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Chicken Piccata with Grapefruit, Pine Nuts and Capers
Makes 4 servings

2 Tbsp milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/3-inch thickness
4 Tbsp salted butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tsp finely minced grapefruit zest
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
4 grapefruit wedges for garnish, and squeezing

In a small, flat bowl, mix together the milk and eggs. In another flat dish, mix the flour, salt, and pepper.

Dip the chicken pieces into the egg mixture and then into the flour mixture. Coat each piece well, then shake off the excess.

Meanwhile, in a large, shallow, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter and all the olive oil. Add the coated chicken pieces to the hot skillet, and cook until the chicken is golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Drain chicken on paper towels. Keep warm. (Keep the pan to make the sauce—don’t wash it.)

In the chicken cooking pan, add the garlic and stir around for a few seconds, being careful not to burn. Add the grapefruit juice and white wine. Increase heat to high, bring sauce to a boil, and let reduce by half. Immediately remove pan from the heat and whisk in the grapefruit zest, remaining butter, capers and parsley.

Transfer chicken to a warm platter and spoon sauce over each breast, then sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve with grapefruit wedges for squeezing over chicken. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Pink Grapefruit Honey Ginger Fizz
Try substituting ginger ale for the soda water in this refreshing drink for and extra ginger kick. To make it libatious, add a shot of your favorite spirit!

Makes 1 drink

3 oz fresh squeezed Sunkist Pink Grapefruit juice
1 oz Honey Ginger Syrup (recipe follows)
1 oz soda water, chilled
Garnish: Sunkist Grapefruit wedge

Fill a tall glass with ice. Measure in the Sunkist Grapefruit juice, Honey Ginger Syrup and soda water. Stir to combine and garnish.

Honey Ginger Syrup
Makes 10 ounces

1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup water

Combine ingredients in small saucepan. On medium-high heat, bring liquid to a boil while stirring to combine well. Immediately reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool. Store refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on October 18th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, meats, salads

Harvest Dark & Stormy

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I make an Apple Ginger Puree for my Harvest Dark & Stormy! Using my Vitamix The Quiet One, I puree a d’lish combination of fresh diced apples (I like using Granny Smith for their tart flavor), coarse minced ginger, sugar and water. The mixture compliments the ginger beer and the dark rum (you can also use a spiced rum) for my twist on the classic Dark & Stormy.

Cheers! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 24th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recent Posts, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Grand Salted Caramel Old Fashioned

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I stir a Grand Salted Caramel Old Fashion! My spin on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail incorporates Templeton Rye Whiskey, an easy to make spiked Salted Caramel (made with Grand Marnier!), and Bitter Truth Orange Bitters. Perfect as an after dinner cocktail or use the Salted Caramel with Grand Marnier as a dessert topping!

Santé! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on September 10th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Cocktails for a Crowd

Are you gearing up for your Labor Day picnic? The last thing you want is to be tied to the bar the whole day. So how about pre-batching a signature cocktail and keep things easy breezy.

Go tropical with my Royal Orchid! It is a d’lish blend of lime juice, guava nectar, gin, gold rum, and for a floral note St. Germain elderflower liqueur! One batch makes about 6 drinks, and it’s easy to double or even triple. You can make it a couple days in advance and keep it in the fridge!

Or how about my Whisky Spiked Iced Tea Punch? With lots of warm spices, mint, brewed black tea, citrus and bourbon…. this cocktail will add some southern charm to any patio party.

Did you know most of your favorite cocktails can be batched up just like any recipe? Think Margaritas, Cosmos and Mojitos… Just make ahead and store in the refrigerator. When you’re ready to serve, shake them up or serve over ice. IT’S JUST THAT EASY! Just turn the ounces into cups for a quick conversion!

And because they have alcohol in them, the pre-mixes can be made a few days ahead and refrigerated – this is great if you make too much… but I doubt that will happen.

Enjoy a cocktail and have fun in the sun this Labor Day! – Kathy

Royal Orchid
St. Germain’s subtle elderflower flavor and light essence of lychee play nicely with the other spirits in this new-generation tiki drink.

Makes 1 cocktail

3-4 ounces Orchid Pre Mix (recipe follows)
Garnish: long strips of lime zest, or orchid or edible flower if available

Measure 3 – 4 ounces of the pre-mix into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish with zest and orchid or edible flower.

Orchard Pre-Mix
Times recipe up as needed depending upon how many guests you are having.

Makes enough for about 6 – 8 cocktails.

3/4 cup St. Germain liqueur
1/2 cup gin
1/2 cup gold rum
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup guava nectar

Mix together and refrigerate up to 5 days or until needed.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Whisky Spiked Iced Tea Punch
Punch is the perfect party cocktail!  For a more-spiked interpretation, let guests add a little more whiskey to their individual drinks. For summertime sipping add in a few slices of fresh peach or nectarine. For more cocktail inspiration, check out www.LiquidKitchen.tv.

Makes about 8 cups, enough for 10 to 12 servings.
20 cloves
1 orange
6 very large sprigs fresh mint
3 tea bags black tea
3 cups boiling water
1 cup ice water
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups whiskey

Poke the cloves into the orange, then cut it into 3 slices. Put the orange slices, mint, and tea bags in a heatproof pitcher or bowl. Add the boiling water, let steep for 1 hour, then remove the tea bags.

Add the ice water, juices, and brown sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, add the whisky, and chill until ready to serve. Serve in ice-filled glasses. Garnish as desired.

Recipe adapted from Kathy Casey Sips & Apps, Chronicle Books.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 29th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Pineapple Mezcal Cooler

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I shake up Pineapple Mezcal Coolers! This cocktail uses my Fresh Pineapple Agave mix, made with fresh pineapple chunks and organic agave nectar then blended until nice and smooth – I love using my Vitamix The Quiet One blender! Add this to unaged mezcal (or silver tequila), fresh lime juice, earthy sage, and a splash of soda water for a late summer sipper. The Fresh Pineapple Agave also works as a tasty non-alcoholic beverage as well – just add soda water.

Enjoy! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 27th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Lifestyle, Small Screen Network, videos

Spirits Shine at Tales of the Cocktail

What do you get when you combine thousands of mixologists, spirit industry professionals, bar enthusiasts and a lot of libations together in New Orleans? Tales of the Cocktail, of course! Like a five day summer camp for the best and brightest in the spirits industry, Tales is THE highlight of the bartender circuit. Held annually in New Orleans, the week features seminars, parties, and cocktailing galore in this boozy 24-hour playground. It can be a liver workout – trust me!

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Guest Mixologists shaking up and showing off their creations at the Diageo USS World Class Happy Hour event: Tony Devencenzi, Beckaly Franks and Tim Cooper

The Competitive Spirit at Tales

Mixologists love to collaborate, but they also love to compete! And competitions abound at Tales, from this year’s challenge to create the best spin on the Rickey for the title of Official Cocktail of TOTC’13 to the Stoli Most Original Bartender competition and the Cocktails on Tap Contest sponsored by Drambuie.

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Jacob Greer’s Portland Rickey – official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2013

Reading, Learning, Shopping….Boozy Style!
No trip to Tales is complete without a stop at the TOTC Bookstore by Octavia Books. It is the definitive place to go for spirited books. All the new boozy tomes are there, from Molly Wellman’s Handcrafted Cocktails to bar pal Matt Seiter’s The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars which was a top 10 nominee for Tales’ Spirited Awards best new book. And this year they also incorporated a Bitters Market featuring a huge array of bitters — it’s hard to control yourself in there! So many great new books and bitters… HIDE my credit card!!!

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Molly with her new book, Handcrafted Cocktails!

And speaking of shops, Cocktail Kingdom transformed the Hotel Monteleone’s gift shop into a Pop-Up! Sparkly cut-glass yari cocktail mixing pitchers, gold stirring spoons, ice ball molding machines, sexy jiggers… if you have never shopped their site check it out – it’s my go-to for unique barware and cool cocktail products.

There were a lot of great panels and seminars but my favorite was “Fun with Hydrocolloids”. Molecular mixology and its techniques can sometimes be a bit intimidating but this crash course on hydrocolloids and its many uses was enlightening! They presented on the different types and what their textures were like – it was great for attendees to experience and feel these in a comparison tasting.

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Sazerac in an “Edible” Absinthe Shot Glass

I enjoy making cocktail gelees for seminars and love to discuss how “eating” liquor is so much different than drinking it, so I was very intrigued by the panelists take on a Sazerac. The drink was presented in an edible absinthe-infused gelee shot glass! Fair warning – spirited gelees look innocent enough, but their boozy bite might sneak up on you!

Those that know me well know that I am a garnish freak… I’ll admit that I can sometimes to get carried away. From edible gold flakes to baby coconuts and fluffy fire sticks…..I just love a good garnish! Garnishes are the finishing touches on our cocktail experience, and Francesco LaFranconi and Charlotte Voisey led a seminar about that very subject.  “Hey, Good-Looking” went through the history and functionality of garnishes and how to really jazz up your cocktail.

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I love Edible Fire Sticks for Garnish

The Ladies were in the House!
The west coast has always led the country in the local and sustainable food movement, and it’s evident in our many restaurants and bars installing everything from full working gardens to beehives on their premises. The trend is sweeping across the country, and Amy Stewart -also known as the Drunken Botanist- and Susan Morrison captured the essence in their panel, “Successful Bar Gardens”. These two ladies brought their considerable know-how and sage advice about all things green and gave us a panel chock-full of ways to put your green thumb to work for you and your bar, and the benefits having fresh produce right at your fingertips. And if that has your interest peaked check out my blog that I did on Amy’s Book The Drunken Botanist.

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Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist

Speaking of the ladies: women were definitely shaking things up this year! Bombay Sapphire Gin Most Imaginative Bartender All-Stars Competition was won by a woman for the first time in Tales history! Miami’s Cricket Nelson took gold with her “Sapphire East Love Game”, a delicious elixir crafted with Earl Grey tea, rosebud syrup and fresh Thai basil. Yum!

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Cricket Nelson serving up her winning “Sapphire East Love Game” cocktail.

And then there were the Tastings….
All day, every day, spread throughout the city, from rum and mezcal to vermouth and champagne. Having just come back from Peru and a tour of the Porton distillery, I had to visit the Pisco Pavilion for a taste of my travels! Can I just say that Pisco Sour is my favorite new drink!

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Inspired by Tales – A Passion Fruit Pisco Porton Sour with Edible Baby Orchid I made at the Recent Flavor Experience Conference with Monin

And then it was on to all the special events that take place – the USS Diageo World Class Happy Hour for a libatious trip around the Mediterranean with featured cocktails with some of my favorite mixologists. Next it was off to see Liquid Kitchen associate Danny Ronen at the Krug House Champagne Tasting where he welcomed guests with ice-cold glasses of bubbles – a bit of a welcome reprieve from all those cocktails!

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Me enjoying the Krug House champagne tasting party with famed mixologist Francesco Lafranconi
photo by Danny Ronen

Spirited Dinners…
…are always the highlight of Thursday night. And this year I attended the Beam Great Whisk(e)y Debate. Held at the Bourbon House Restaurant, this spirited showdown aimed to determine once and for all what America’s favorite whisky is! Fred Noe III, 7th generation Master Distiller for Jim Beam, squared off against Kieran Folliard (Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Dan Tullio (Canadian Club Ambassador) and Simon Brooking (Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Ambassador ) and engaged in a good-natured -but not without much teasing, elbowing and well-meaning jibes- debate. Everyone fought valiantly, but in the end, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, the moderator called a draw. We were more than happy to continue debating amongst ourselves over courses of whisky, naturally!

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The lords of whisky at The Great Whisk(e)y Debate – Simon Brooking, Kieran Folliard, Fred Booker Noe III and Dan Tullio – Yes! There were pins to support your favorite whisk(e)y guy.

The Spirited Awards
The Spirited Awards are the capstone event, honoring the cocktail industry’s top dogs over the past year. This year’s theme was The Roaring 20’s by way of The Great Gatsby, which was the perfect way to honor all things libatious!  And I want to give a special congratulations shout out to Charles Joly beverage director of The Aviary in Chicago on his win as American Bartender of the Year. I recently visited Charles at The Aviary on a trip to Chicago and had some of the best cocktails of my life – and that is no small claim considering how many I’ve tasted in my time! A well-deserved win!

And then there is all the swag that has to find a place in my suitcase:
One of the coolest perks of attending Tales of the Cocktail is the mysterious curtained-off lagniappe room.  Presenters, media and VIP’s were given a special bottle cap to obtain entry into the swag room and an “all you can fill bag”, then let loose upon the mountains of swag! I stuffed my bag with all sorts of goodies – from bar tools to key chains, little bottles of amaro, swizzle sticks, a handy compact raincoat – I’m from Seattle, of course I needed that! – and tons more boozy mementos of my wonderful time at Tales.

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Tales Swag

Leaving Tales is always bittersweet – I love learning new things and seeing my cocktail friends from all over the world, but eventually you’re up to your eyeballs in drinks and the floor at the Hotel Monteleone starts to just get a bit too sticky… that means it’s time to head home! See you next year at Tales!

-Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 14th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Conferences, Recent Posts, Tasty Travels, events
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