Here is a little something that I put together last year and never got around to posting – a little IKEA hack for a fun cocktail. I’m a big fan of bourbon, and I love a good old-fashioned. This recipe isn’t strictly an old-fashioned but, ticks all the boxes for a good quick cocktail that is a real crowd pleaser. I give you the IKEA Lingonberry Old-Fashioned!
In this world of internet shaming and trolling there is always going to be someone out there who is going to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, no matter what you do. This is especially true in the world which I have chosen for my photography business: food and beverage photography. No matter what you eat or drink, someone out there is going to tell you that you’re too low-brow, that you’re too high-brow, that your beer is too cheap or too expensive, that your pommes frites aren’t appropriately truffled.
It has been a while since I’ve done a how to post, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about a really fun photograph that I shot for the June issue of Feast magazine here in St. Louis. Each month I shoot a cocktail column for Feast called The Mix which is usually a studio shot. I am responsible for both the propping and styling of each of these cocktail shots – some are easy, some are harder.
This month’s cocktail is the Moscow Mule, which is a fairly simple cocktail consisting of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. The drink is traditionally served in a copper mug, and much to my surprise I found it difficult to locate the appropriate mug. In the end, I was able to borrow an antique mug from the writer for the column – an original Moscow Mule mug produced by the makers of Cock & Bull ginger beer – who also created the cocktail in the first place.
Last month I got a fun assignment for Sauce Magazine: photographing Tripel in Lafayette Square for the November issue. The photos were for the the Nightlife section, which is a column that I cover regularly. Each month the column includes a main opening photograph of the crowded nightspot and a couple of food shots for the side bar. Despite the fact that the brief is usually pretty simple, this column is a little tricky to shoot each month. For one thing, most bars and restaurants don’t want you to come in during peak hours to photograph the food portion of the assignment. Unfortunately it’s hard to get a good crowd shot of a bar in the middle of the afternoon. As a result I usually end up going back at least once more after dark to get the “nightlife” shot, sometimes multiple times because inevitably the bar has a slow night, or empties out exactly when I arrive with my camera. Gar.
Good ‘ole Jeeves always gave Bertie Wooster Prairie Oyster in the morning for a hangover cure, but me? I prefer a good old fashioned Bloody Mary. A little bit of spice, some calming tomato juice, and just enough hair of the dog to smooth out the crinkles of a long night out. I have had all sorts of Bloody Marys in all sorts of places: plastic cup bloodys after a 5k, canned bloodys on airplanes, beef bouillon bloodys at upscale brunch joints, and solid down and dirty sports bar bloodys on a Sunday morning. Each has it’s own charm, but when I want to make a Bloody Mary at home, here is the recipe that I prefer, adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe:
As I mentioned in my first post about making cocktail bitters, (Making Cocktail Bitters (Part 1)), the process starts with making your own extracts. After many weeks of waiting and shaking my mason jars filled with citrus, spices and bittering agents, I was finally ready to concoct my first batch of bloody mary cocktail bitters.
In an episode in the most recent season of Mad Men, Don Draper orders a drink at a dinner party by asking for something “big and brown.” A dedicated Irish Whiskey, bourbon and rye drinker, I applaud this pithy request. I like nothing more than a glass of the brown stuff, preferably in a nice heavy rocks glass with ice.
However, I also likes me some cocktails, and while my tastes trend towards simple and savory as opposed to complex and sweet, I am definitely not opposed to trying new things. We have a pretty well stocked bar at the studio, although when you get into the realm of fancy cocktails, our options are relatively limited. When making the type of cocktails that I really like, sometimes all it really takes is the addition of some bitters to make a drink’s flavor profile really sing. Unfortunately, behind our bar the only bitters on hand are of the more typical angostura and orange bitters variety. Tasty? Yes. Outside of the box? Not so much.
For anyone who has worked with beverage photography, they will all tell you that ice cubes are a real pain to shoot. First of all, unless you have a professional grade Kold-Draft ice maker (which will set you back quite a few bucks) you’re most likely stuck with those ugly half moon “cubes” from your fridge – clearly these will not work for beverage photography. Ugly ugly ugly. A cheaper alternative to a professional ice machine is to make pretty cubes that are actually cubes by using square ice cube trays – from which I’ve gotten decent results. However, it is fairly difficult to get beautiful, clear cubes even if you have a method of crafting the correct shape for your particular shot.
It’s the start of a new year, and I’m really excited about all of the photography I’m going to be shooting in 2013. My calendar is filling up again now that the wheels of industry are getting moving again after a long holiday vacation, and as we get really to roll up our sleeves and get to work, I wanted to share one of my last big projects from 2012.