Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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May 3, 2012

Mint Juleps & Margaritas

There is so much for the Lush Chef to celebrate this coming weekend.  There are two, count 'em two, festive events happening that involve imbibing on Saturday—the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo.

Last year, I co-hosted a now legendary Derby party with some girl friends of mine at the Downtown Independent.  Everyone dressed up in their finest—the boys were wearing their fedoras and suspenders and the ladies had on vintage dresses and decorated hats.

LA mixologist Joel Black made us mint juleps, Elijah Wood DJ'd and I baked 100 mini mint julep cupcakes.  The drinks were flowing and people were dancing.  If you want to throw your own Kentucky Derby soirée, here are some recipes you'll need to get started.

Mint Julep Cocktail - stock up on plenty of crushed ice, fresh mint and bourbon.  These things can go down fast.

Mint Julep Cupcakes - Yes, there's bourbon in the cake and the frosting.  These are some boozy little confections and still one of my favorites that I've made.  You'll need more of that fresh mint to garnish the tops.

This Saturday, I'll be hitting up Get Me Out of LA's Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Venice.  She's hired someone to come and make tacos and there will be plenty of Mexican beer flowing, so the Lush Chef doesn't plan on lifting a finger (except to open my beer).  But if you do plan on hosting and need some cocktail ideas, here are two very different margaritas to get people salsa-ing, and a treat to wash it all down.

Spicy Strawberry Basil Margaritas - I came up with this cocktail idea last summer after I had made a bunch of jalapeño-infused tequila and had a bunch of fresh strawberries from the market.  The basil adds a nice herbal flavor and color.

Children of the Sun Cocktail - This is a twist on a cocktail originally made with Mezcal at Las Perlas in downtown LA.  I used smoked salt along the rim, so when combined with tequila, the flavor is reminiscent of Mezcal.  The jalapeño-infused tequila gives it another kick in the pants.  We downed pitchers of these at Coachella last year while lounging by the pool.

Margarita Cupcakes - This is another favorite cupcake of mine.  They're not quite as boozy as the Mint Julep Cupcakes, but there's still tequila in the batter and frosting.