Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Whiskey Sour

Original oil on panel, 12" x 12". $500 (unframed). Click to buy.

The best whiskey sour I ever had was at a speakeasy-like bar tucked away behind a crepe shop in downtown Portland. Sadly, Central has closed, but not before greatly raising my standards for an already-favorite drink. Not only was it my first scratch whiskey sour, it was my first one with egg white. So good!

My own recipe is a work in progress, but the ingredients are simple enough to go ahead with the painting. The egg was a refreshing new challenge to paint. Cheers!

Me making a big mess testing whiskey sours on… me.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Original oil on panel, 12" x 12". $595. Click to buy.

One September I went to Boots vegan bakery and lounge with a friend. It was the first cool day in a long while, and I asked the owner, Alison, to make me a drink that "tastes like Fall." I've known Alison long enough to know she would pull it off, and she did not disappoint.

The drink she made was the Embassy, and it was about to become my new favorite drink. The Embassy is richly layered, warming and a bit spicy. Basically, Fall in a glass. It has three different liquors and liqueurs, plus citrus and bitters.

As I debated how to represent so many ingredients, I had a stroke of luck. Raising the Bar, a vintage travel trailer filled with old-school barware goodness, appeared in my neighborhood. Just inside the door was a fantastic set of multicolored cordial glasses, three of which appear here with dark rum, Cointreau and brandy.

To top it all off, the fall theme gave me the perfect excuse to use some leftover wallpaper from my parents' old house. All of this added up to a fun challenge, and I'm happy with the result.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

The Green Fairy


Original oil on panel, 8' x 8". 
Sazerac's absinthe bottle and light palette were enough fun to do again. Plus the stirring spoon that came with the absinthe bottle looked like a good challenge. This is not that bottle, though. It was too modern looking, so I googled absinthe, found a (hopefully) vintage label, printed it out and applied it to a clear bottle that showed the gorgeous color of the absinthe inside. 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


Original oil on panel. 12" x 12". $595. Click to buy.

The amazing colors of the Sazerac ingredients inspired something really different. Despite the complex label, this painting came together as if it wanted to be! 

We tried out Sazerac recipes the same night as Old Fashioneds, both being whiskey-based drinks. Teya made a beautiful slaw, which I forgot to photograph until the next day. Those particular recipes required an unusual amount of testing, so I probably forgot a lot of things that night. Fortunately, I didn't forget to record the recipes. The Sazerac turned out so deliciously subtle, even Absinthe skeptic Tom loved it. The key is rinsing the glass with the Absinthe.

Teya's Slaw

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Original oil on panel, 12" x 12". $595. Click to buy.

This one has been a long time coming! In an earlier post the Angostura bottle became a bottleneck (literally?). No Manhattan painting could possibly be complete without a vintage bottle, so weeks passed as various prop parts arrived and assembly commenced. 

The final bottle looked pretty good, except… while matching the original in size, it dwarfed the glassware. For an ingredient you basically look at from across the room while mixing the drink, the proportions were all wrong. The solution: move the bottle just out of frame and paint its reflection in the mixing cup.

This is a drink I have made for years, so there was no test for this one. My own recipe went into the book. Just for fun, here it is:

1-1/2 oz. rye whisky
1/2 oz. sweet vermouth
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of maraschino cherry juice*

Stir ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a good maraschino cherry (many tasty craft versions are available).

Stirring maintains the color and clarity of the drink.

*optional, but good.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Old Fashioned

Original oil on panel, 12" x 12". $595. Click to buy. 

This one gave me fits---not so much the painting as the set up! The plan is to include every ingredient for every drink. There's not a lot to this one, so it seemed simple enough. The problem came with the bitters. My recipe uses Peychaud's, and the bottle dwarfed the glasses. So, I bought a tiny bottle the same shape and added a fake label. It looked silly yet dull. Luckily I had also picked up a pale purple bottle that was a miniature of my "soda" bottle. It shows the beautiful color of the bitters, and the repetition of shapes was a bonus, too.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Margarita. Original oil on panel, 12" x 12". $595. Click to buy.

This weekend my husband Paul made his Top Shelf Margaritas for the second of many tasting parties. The recipe dates back to his bar tending days and is pretty much perfect. Our friends Tom and Teya hosted, and made two beautiful paellas to go with the drinks. (Here is a photo of the vegetarian one in their beyond-cool mid-century oven.)

The painting required a lot more prop wrangling than I would have expected. Once I finally got started, though, it came together pretty painlessly for as complex as it is. Paintings for the book will become available after the book release this fall.

Paul serves some delicious margaritas

Margaritas and Paella with (l-r) Teya, Amy, Tod and Tom

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014



Original oil on panel, 8" x 8".

I have no idea what is actually in a Cosmo; I've never made one. But something about all the pinks and reds on the silver tray reminded me of makeup.

Another quick painting while I prepare to do more "book work."

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014



Original oil on panel. 8" x 8".

Today I intended to paint the "Manhattan" piece for the book and SQUIRREL!!!

The Manhattan recipe includes Angostura bitters, which are great, but no great shakes bottle-wise. I was pondering this when my husband found a photo of a vintage Angostura bottle. Well out of my price range on ebay, it was so cool. Shaped like a light bulb in frosted glass, it sported a long neck and a metal pour spout. I decided a vintage Manhattan painting would not be complete without at least a reasonable facsimile of this bottle. Now I am waiting for my cheap knock-off bottle to arrive, so…

In the meantime I painted Waiting with the props I already have, plus one I picked up last night. I thought my new skinny glass was perfect to show off the deep red Sweet Vermouth. I love how the lit part echoes the color of the cherry. I had fun keeping this one super loose, in contrast to the somewhat tighter pieces for the book.

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