12/23/15 12:31pm

Coquito, it’s like eggnog—con sabor.

As a kid I grew up sipping egg nog at Christmastime, the stuff from the container, not the homemade kind. With a dusting of nutmeg, the rich brew was kind of tasty, even better with a splash of rum. To tell the truth, I always thought that my brother, John, liked it better than I did. Sometimes I wish I grew up Puerto Rican, then I’d know how to dance, and, instead of store bought egg nog, I’d have had coquito. For those who haven’t heard of it, think of this festive libation as the love child of the piña colada and egg nog, that is if the pineapple gene was recessive.

Third generation barman Giuseppe González—the mastermind behind the Lower East Side’s Suffolk Arms—has spent more time behind the stick than I have at the bar and he was kind enough to share his thoughts on his home country’s national holiday drink. With the tropical weather we’ve been having coquito seems more appropriate than eggnog anyhow. Best of all you can make several bottles and lay in a supply for the upcoming New Year’s Eve festivities. Take it away Giuseppe!

Coquito. It’s basically three ingredients: Puerto Rican rum, evaporated milk and cream of coconut. Spice it how you want (cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, etc).  Simple. Work your way up and incorporate what you want.  All variations should have something that resembles those three.  (more…)

10/04/15 11:37am


When people think of the best ways to drink white wine they tend to picture a warm afternoon and chilled bottle of their favorite varietal on hand, but there are plenty of other ways to enjoy the great taste of white wine. White wine makes a great base and mixer for cocktails. So if you’re looking to freshen-up your afternoon or evening, here are five great white wine cocktails..

1. Berries and Whites Wine Sangria
This delicious cocktail puts a new twist on a classic, and makes for a very refreshing drink on a hot day. It’s easy to prepare, and can be made in large batches for all your guests to enjoy. To make this delicious sangria, take one bottle of dry white wine, add a cup of lemon-lime soda, ½ a cup of raspberry vodka, ¼ cup of brandy, and a selection of chopped berries (consider chopped strawberries and raspberries).

2. Star Gazer
This delicious drink has a Caribbean flair, making it a perfect afternoon beverage to sip and enjoy at the beach. It’s made with 2oz. of Chardonnay, 1 oz. of dark rum, ½ oz. of vanilla bean syrup and a dash of pineapple juice. Be sure to give it a proper shake before serving over ice with a wedge of lime for garnish. (more…)

09/21/15 10:32am
Malaysian pandan mooncakes are my favorite.

Malaysian pandan mooncakes are my favorite.

“Mooncakes!!??, a Chinese friend said to me over breakfast recently. “Nobody likes them, they’re like fruitcake for Asians.” The dense cakes stamped with Chinese characters are traditionally eaten (sometimes begrudgingly) and gifted—much like fruitcake—for the Moon Festival, which falls on Sunday, September 27 this year. All sorts of mooncakes, including novelty ones for pandas and those made from Taiwanese hornet hives are prepared for the fall harvest festival, which is held on the night of the full moon between early September and early October. (more…)

04/19/13 11:51am
Shrimp cocktails in the sun, a taste of Mexico City on Roosevelt Ave.

Shrimp coktels  in the sun, a taste of Mexico City on Roosevelt Ave.

I recently wrote about the return of Pedro El Cevichero to the streets of Jackson Heights. This past weekend I checked out his new digs. Pedro has taken his old sign reading La Esquina Del Camaron Mexicano, or “the corner of Mexican shrimp,” with him and he’s gained three helpers. By the time I got to him I felt like I’d already eaten my way through half of Thailand. So in lieu of eating a coktel de camaron, I took a mouth-watering photo of a pair of freshly made ones. I can’t wait to go back and try the first coktel of what are sure to be many. Shrimp coktels are available in three sizes ($8, $10, $12). The excellent mixto, shrimp and octopus is ($6, $8, $10). Find Pedro on weekends at Roosevelt Ave. and 80th St. from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

04/01/13 9:55am
Coffee and cocktails combine thanks to a partnership between Dutch Kills and Sweetleaf.

Coffee and cocktails combine at the new Sweetleaf.

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of the third location of third wave coffee bar Sweetleaf for months. When I heard that it would be serving cocktails from Richie Boccatto of nearby Dutch Kills I became even more intrigued. So the other day I stopped by, partly to get a jolt to ward off an M.Wells-induced food coma and partly to check out the joint. Coffee maven and Sweetleaf co-owner Rich Nieto fixed me a macchiato while I soaked up the atmosphere. The wooden bar is equally suited to downing an espresso or sipping a fine libation. Ditto the comfy chairs in the front. There’s even a design element that pays homage to the gantries which are just down the road. (more…)