Contributor Shana holds the cocktail glass this week. Here she is: Last week I tried to join the Cocktail Hour and make myself an espresso martini. But we didn’t have any espresso. No worries. The Internet told me it was an easy pivot to a White Russian; all I had to do was swap the espresso for heavy cream and shake with vodka and Kahlua.
Cool, cool. Except, at Ferrbantios Estates, we can't bring ourselves to do anything normal.
We don't have Kahlua; we have a special edition Matcha Kahlua, a souvenir a friend brought back from Japan. That weird bottle hanging out at the back of our bar is a reminder of what I love so much about travel: having a new experience that changes you, even in just the tiniest bit.
We've brought back lots of interesting stuff. Some are fantastic discoveries! Cuba taught me that rum (omg, Havana Club!) is delicious. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have shipped home a case of the insanely good gin we picked up in the Czech Republic. Some are uh, interesting. If anybody has any idea what to do with Icelandic schnapps made from moss, please let me know!
So, I figured I should put our bottle of Matcha Kahula to good use and at least try making White Russians with a liqueur that promises to taste like coffee and green tea. I don’t really remember what a regular White Russian even tastes like anyway; I think I've only ever had one before, at the Lebowski Bar in Iceland.
The verdict? It was ... fine? The murky pea soup green cocktail was just really....not my drink.
But I feel like it might be yours. Or, at least, all Bar\Heart readers should also get to experience a murky pea soup drink that is, according to the infallible-Internet, popular in Japan.
I can't give you a recipe that calls for a bottle you can only get in Japan or for $99 on eBay. That would be rude. So I set out to make a Matcha Russian without the fancy special edition Kahlua. And what would The Dude say if I tried to make a soy milk version for our lactose intolerant friends? Why am I not watching The Big Lebowski right now?
In the name of science, I fetched a regular bottle of Kahlua, a box of matcha powder and got to work.
Methodology: In all, the Consort and I tested eight drinks. I assure you, we did not drink eight full cocktails; the thought of a White Russian hangover is horrifying, and I do not love you enough to try it for science! I made half-sized cocktails, and nobody finished anything.
I made a soy milk version and a heavy cream version, and tried both regular Kahlua and a local coffee liqueur by Ann Arbor Distilling Co. We sampled each of those and then I added the matcha powder -- the Consort got super fussy about making sure the matcha powder was well blended; he was not wrong -- and sampled again.
The winner at Ferrbantios Estates was vodka, regular Kahlua and soy. It's a little less sweet and the closest to the Matcha Kahlua version. If you're a serious coffee person, you’ll prefer a stronger coffee liqueur, like the one from Ann Arbor Distilling Co.
Recipe: I stuck with the traditional 1:1:1 ratio of 1 oz. vodka, 1 oz. heavy cream or soy, and 1 oz. Kahlua or coffee liquor, plus 1/2 teaspoon of the match powder. But go with your taste preference. Plan to stir the hell out of the matcha powder. I see both the Lebowski Bar and AA Distilling have their recipes on their sites, if you want to get creative. We had some hazelnut bitters that were a great addition to everything.
I don’t know what it means, but I feel exactly like these boars running the streets of Italy, the wrong way. Thanks to Friend of Bar\Heart Joanne for always being on the lookout for #CocktailHour material!
I started a novel this week that I thought I was going to be a rave. Halfway through it got tedious, so I gave up and tossed it in my #DNF list. My younger self always finished books, even the ones she hated. Grown-ass woman Amy says life is too short for boring books, and I dump them with abandon.
What are y’all reading? I'm in a slump and don't want to read anything in my towering to-be-read pile, including the new books that Amazon (shame!) just delivered. Leave me some reccos in the comments.
SH*T I NOW KNOW AND SO MUST YOU: Kill! Kill! Kill! Spotted Lanternflies
If you see it, kill it. Or, more specifically, squish it. That’s the official directive on how to handle Spotted Lanternflies. These beauties of the entomology world can f*ck up an environment right quick. I didn’t even know they existed until pictures of the polkadotted bugs started streaming through my Twitter and Facebook feeds last week.
Originally from Asia, the Spotted Lanternfly first landed in the U.S. in 2014 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Since then it has spread across the northeast, feeding on its meal of choice, the invasive Tree of Heaven, otherwise known as a stinking sumac. In Colorado, where I’m from, sumacs are the bane of every gardener's existence. They’re the zombies of trees. I’ve tried chopping them, smothering them with gasoline, and burning them — and they still come back. Much like the bugs that make a meal of them, apparently.
But the Spotted Lanternflies also attack vineyards:
Squish them before they drink our wine!
Could teen magazines be a thing again?! Editor Caitlin here: I was obsessed with Atoosa Rubenstein and her era of Seventeen. And Girls’ Life. And CosmoGirl. And StyleRookie. And I really, really hope girls can find that kind of community in magazines again someday.
Abortion funds are being stretched to the limit. These funds are a type of mutual aid that help pregnant people pay for an abortion or the practical needs that arise from needing an abortion (hotel room, gas money, transportation, childcare, etc.), but all the six-week ban laws are straining their already underfunded work.
One of R. Kelly’s defense attorneys is a former longtime sex crimes prosecutor. This profile of Nicole Blank Becker is fascinating, especially when it consults fellow attorneys who have been watching her work at his federal trial in Brooklyn.
Texas Monthly interrogates the belief that more Tejanos means a growing Democratic wave in the Lone Star State by asking a simple question: What do Latinx in Texas really believe and want?
Lovey and I have been on the road a lot this summer, and we’ve had The Marfa Tapes by Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram and John Randall on repeat. The trio headed to Marfa, Texas, during quarantine, and wrote and recorded this album using just two mics and two guitars. The result is a raw, low-fi ode to joy that gives you a glimpse inside the writers’ room. You can hear them laughing and joking between takes of playful songs like “Homegrown Tomatoes” and sitting in awe of each other after a take of “In His Arms” or “Amazing Grace (West Texas).”
One of my favorites is, “Geraldine” about a woman who is no Jolene.
I was in Colorado this summer to help my mom pack and move, and she gave me one of her spider plants to take with me. I named it Geraldine, and she rode in my backseat for two weeks, my only companion as I reported through the remote Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
I’ll be heading to New York in a few weeks to see The Bestie™, and you know this will keep me company across the endless highway of Pennsylvania.
YOUR WEEKLY HANK: Lap Dog Edition
In Hank's mind, he is very tiny and fits in everyone's lap. Make sure you have friends that love you the way Liz loves Hank.
That's all for this week, friends. See you next Friday for Cocktail Hour.