Lucky Star


Lucky Star: One of the few songs not to make it into Stranger Things, I think you could call a Star the pop version of a Sazerac, which I did not expect when I made it.

Much of the taste derives from the bitters, while the kick comes from the apple brandy: pretty good stuff for a chilly winter night, with a slight aftertaste of anise.




1.5 ounces Apple Brandy (I used Laird’s)
2 dashes simple syrup
3 dashes Peychaud bitters
1.5 Sweet Vermouth (I used Tribuno)
Garnish with a twist of lemon peel

Combine brandy, simple syrup, bitters, and vermouth in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, and shake until chilled. Pour into coupes or cocktail glasses; squeeze a lemon peel over the surface, and rub the glass rim with the peel.

Enjoy with or without a cat.

Pale Fire

Pale Fire with cats, while polishing a blaster part

Blade Runner 2049: much like the original in its time, the film is a love-it-or-hate-it proposition.

We loved it for the literary references, the quality of the cinematography, and the use of silence in the soundtrack (much like The Witch, Blade Runner 2049’s soundtrack uses more ‘ambient’ noise than orchestration to accompany the action). All those factors help underscore the film’s main questions about authenticity and what it means to be real, favorite topics of mine in a different arena.

Bonus: strong– nay, kickass– female characters, two over 40. Let’s raise a glass to that, at least, even if we cannot agree on other points.


Pale Fire
140 ml Cocchi Americano
28 ml Fernet Branca
4 dashes Hella Bitters citrus bitters

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass.
Add ice and stir until chilled.
Strain into cocktail or coupe glasses.

makes two

Bound to make reading Nabokov’s work more tolerable, right?

Bonus Beverage: Curate What Ails You

Not just for museums anymore

I spent an informative but deeply uncomfortable day at the Smithsonian, attending their 2017 Digitization Fair, open to the general public for the first time. Among the things I learned? Everyone struggles with evaluating the impact of digitization, digital programs/products and tools (and every other humanities endeavor), but there is an interesting tool part out by the Europeana Foundation: The Impact Assessment Playbook. (The digital collections are here; Europeana is behind the Art Up Your Tab plugin that I really enjoy.)

It’s also really clear that even within the museum field, the words “curate” and “curator” (verb and noun) now seem to mean whatever they like to whomever is using them. It’s hard to get used to hearing “curate” used when “aggregate” or “interpret” seem more appropriate, but once a word goes rogue in language, you never get it back.

To salve my sore backside and wounded pride, I made a variation on a sherry cobbler, presented here:

Curate What Ails You

1 Tablespoon honey syrup*
2 Tablespoons amontillado sherry
2-3 dashes Hella Bitters Aromatic bitters (or Angostura bitters)
2-4 ounces hard cider, chilled (I used Jack’s Hard Cider Helen’s Blend)
Lime wedge

Combine all ingredients except the lime in a tall glass.
Add ice; stir until chilled.
Top with hard cider to taste – or – pour into an old fashioned glass and top with 2 ounces of hard cider.
Garnish with a lime wedge.

* Add equal parts honey and water to a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stir until honey is completely dissolved. Let cool, store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Cat meets Seagull


Thursday was an unusually good day: positive interactions with humans, oh my! (Really, it’s about a job search) with a bonus of battery installation on Drunk Tailor’s Blade Runner watch. We celebrated, of course, with dinner and drinks, because Friday is for early bedtimes this week.

With what, you ask? Well, ask the cat– he’s in charge.

A Seagull, this evening, using up the last of the falernum. It’s also a summery drink, and this is one of the last likely weeks for those.

The recipe, if you please:
1.25 ounces Catoctin Creek Gin (or other herbal gin)
.5 ounce falernum
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1 ounce lemon juice
Lime wedge

Combine all except lime wedge in a shaker and add ice. Shake until chilled. Pour into cocktail glass or coupe.

(Depending on your palate, you may find this a trifle bitter (lemon juice can do that) and find that adding .25 ounce simple syrup– a splash, really– improves the flavor.)

For the cat, garnish with a wing feather, but for the rest of us, a lime wedge will do.

Drink Like a Wolff

Always ready to assist with shift mending or other tasks involving sharp, pointy things.

This past weekend, we went up to Trappe with the 17th Reg’t of Foot, though they were portraying Col. James Dunlap’s Partisan Regiment, and Drunk Tailor and I were portraying refugees trying to find a safe place somewhere between the British and the Whigs– not an easy task 240 years ago. How did we celebrate? By taking Route 1 part of the way back home, and stopping at Wolff’s Apple House in Media, PA for apples, strawberries, and, of course, cider. The reward for actually unpacking like sane humans and washing body linen was a cider-based concoction I’ll call Thirsty Like a Wolff.

1 ounce Jamaican/Plantation Rum (lighter is better)
1/2 ounce orgeat syrup (mine is homemade, recipe here)
3 ounces fresh, unpasteurized cider
2-3 dashes Hella Bitters Aromatic bitters
lime wedge

Combine all ingredients in shaker.
Add ice.
Shake until chilled; strain into an old fashioned glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge.

Foul-Weather Fighter

Tricked out for fighting with a shako

I’ve been reading Revolution in Color lately, which is a noisier business than you might think, as every eight or so pages I find a new annoyance, which I must of course share with my companion. The most frequently referred to irritation in this house is to the cartridge box “tricked out for foul weather fighting,” as we pack for various events, discuss furniture tacks, and generally comport ourselves with all the dignity expected of those engaged in this foolish practice of living history.

Thursday evening, like many people my age, I was fighting pain in various regions of my anatomy and was therefore searching for a remedy to augment the acetaminophen and naproxen cocktail I’d already taken onboard. With ginger beer in the fridge, I searched the handy NYTimes Cooking app and hit upon Julia Moskin’s Cantina Band. I’ve renamed it the Foul-Weather Fighter in honor of the historian’s interpretation of Mr. Copley, and provide the adapted recipe forthwith:

1.5 ounces Fernet Branca
.5 ounces Catoctin Creek Gin (or the gin of your choice)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
.75 ounce simple syrup
Ginger beer

Combine the Fernet Branca, gin, lime juice, and simple syrup in shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Pour into a tall glass, and top off with ginger beer.

It’s hard to describe the taste of Fernet Branca; it’s a challenging amaro, and combined with the Catoctin Creek Gin, lime, and ginger, this has a slightly minty but herbal flavor that’s aromatic, but not bitter, the way Campari can be– or Fernet Branca on its own. Combined with gin and ginger beer, it’s the perfect thing to drink when you’re trying not to be bitter about the way some historians ignore material culture.

Sweet Cinderella

Or, the Bitter Heiress variation.

A couple of weeks ago, I made actual Bitter Heiresses for brunch with friends. (What is the point of a long weekend if you can’t eat bacon and drink alcohol on a Sunday morning?) This week, making scalloped potatoes for dinner — fat is calming– I looked in the fridge and pondered an aperitif.

There was Lillet Blanc in the fridge, and an assortment of bottles on the counter, including Aperol and Campari.

No orange juice though, and no oranges, either (when I made these for brunch, I used fresh-squeezed juice that my wrists are still recovering from), and I didn’t want a Negroni. So, the cheap and cheerful Heiress variation:

3 ounces Lillet Blanc
Splash Campari
Tonic Water
Lime wedge

Pour Lillet over ice; add a healthy splash of Campari. Stir until chilled. Add tonic water, squeeze in lime and rub the peel on the rim of the glass. Voila: cocktail aperitif for a weeknight, that will not interfere with your ability to work in the kitchen.

I’ll Take Manhattan

Not that Manhattan; the kind you have *after* you cross this bridge.

The falernum Manhattan? Who knew how delicious it could be? Well, I do, now.

Food and Wine gives a pretty general recipe, but here’s what I found most delicious:

2 ounces Sazerac Rye
1 ounce Falernum
1 dash Fee Brothers aromatic bitters

Combine ingredients with ice in an old fashioned glass; stir until well chilled (30 to 60 seconds). Slice a lime wedge; hold skin-down over the drink and bend to release oil and rub on glass rim. A quick squeeze of lime juice and wedge garnish optional.

Consume while polishing a Blade Runner blaster or sewing a bonnet.



Two years ago, Tipsy Milliner was invented as an alter ego to Kitty Calash, but Kitty found a way to say what she wanted to, and the Tipsy Milliner languished in blog limbo.


But wait! Kitty’s got a new bag: cocktails. It started simply enough, making punch for His Excellency, but as time has gone on, Kitty’s taken a renewed interest in cocktails- they’re like miniature punch recipes, served in a glass or two at a time– and in the history of cocktails and liquor. So Tipsy Milliner is back, to talk about cocktails, share recipes, and probably wear some pretty awesome hats.

Join us weekly for a brief history of a cocktail, a recipe and a review.

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑