Swig & Swill

The Hippocrene

the hippocrene

I was recently lucky enough to be asked by the fine folks at the Poetry Foundation to whip up a fancy-pants cocktail to celebrate 100 years of Poetry magazine. The cocktail was to be called the Hippocrene after the mythological fountain created by Pegasus. After much experimentation and some very helpful taste-testers, I ended up with:

The Hippocrene


  • 1 1/4 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce ginger liqueur (domaine de canton)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint tea (brewed at double strength) and chilled
  • 2 ounces dry, sparkling wine
  • Fresh basil, for garnish
  • Dash or two grapefruit bitters


Single glass preparation:

Combine all ingredients except sparkling wine, basil, and bitters (if using) in a mixing glass over ice. Stir and strain into a glass and top with remaining ingredients.

Punch preparation:

Combine all ingredients (in greater quantities) except sparkling wine, basil and bitters in an adequately sized serving bowl, along with some large blocks of ice. It’s best to let this mixture chill and dilute a little while before adding everything else, but if time is short, it could be refrigerated beforehand and water (sparkling or still) can be added along with the rest of the ingredients at service time. The basil should still be added directly to the glass, as it is the aroma and not necessarily the flavor that you’re after. It would also be nice to garnish the mixing bowl with some citrus slices, for color and a generally vigorous appearance.



Westervin Wishlist

26 Years

Pie from Bang Bang

It’s my birthday, y’all! Well, it will be tomorrow, and I’m gettin’ pumped. I have what I think is the perfect weekend-long birthday celebration ahead: Friday off from work (did someone say shopping); a trip with some frands to Six Flags on Saturday; and a joint-birthday potluck brunch in our backyard on Sunday (our pal LB is turning 24 that day). It will make for the most perfectest combination of relaxation, excitement, socializing, sunshine, and a little alcohol (Brian will be making fresh OJ for mimosas and tomato juice for bloody marys at the brunch)! Do I have it made or what?!

Because the anticipation is killing me, I thought I’d kill some time with a birthday wishlist, which includes some of these things I’m looking forward to and some things I’m still pining for.

The first is an entire pie from Bang Bang (see above). Preferably a chilled pie, like key lime or banana cream. Mmmmmm……. We’ll be picking up my pie order on Sunday for the brunch!

Six Flags roller coaster

Roller coasters via Six Flags. I need the thrill, baby!

edible arrangement

{ image from The Beautiful Thrifty Life }

An edible arrangement. Not kidding. I really want this. I’m literally so excited about one of these bad boys being delivered to my office tomorrow that I’ve probably spent 6 hours on their website looking at all the different fruit combinations and arrangements and asking Brian 50 times what time it’s gonna arrive!

Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

More reading material! These are just two of the titles on my list of books to read before classes start again in September.  Here’s hoping I can keep it up through the fall semester! (Who am I kidding?)

handmade bracelets

Bracelets! All the bracelets!

Clockwise: Ice Blue, River, Two-Toned, Amazonite, Maidenhair Fern, Coral & Cobalt

gray and white cat

A companion for Fitzgerald. This kitteh’s name is Prince, and he wants me to give him a forever home. I can tell by the look in his eyes.

cat temporary tattoos

Or at least temporary cat tattoos. But preferably both.

Blog News, Featured

We’re in a book!!!!

Would you believe it? We’ve finally made it to the big time! Our name in neon lights! We’ll, more like black ink, but that’s still something quite special, if I do say so myself.

That’s right, our save-the-date cards, which we hand embroidered on vintage postcards, were featured in Public School‘s new fancy-schmancy book Design: Paper, published by Rockport Publishers. It’s a simple title for a simple, yet “seductive collection of alluring paper designs”, in a bold, neon green package.

Westervin handmade save-the-date postcards in Design: Paper

There they are folks — our save-the-dates in all their famous glory.

Okay, I’m being silly. They’re not super famous. But we are very seriously overjoyed to have our handmade cards, which we made together for our wedding, featured in a book. A real, physical book. I, for one, couldn’t be prouder!

The book is chock full of inspiring designs and beautiful images, like this little jar of Lovely Honey. Talk about cute.

Our save-the-dates are in the Cards & Invitations section, which features some really stellar pieces. If you’re looking for some ideas for your party or wedding, I recommend getting your hands on a copy.

Thanks, Public School, for selecting our little cards for your big, pretty book!

Blog News, Swig & Swill

World Party Day: Margarita Jello Shots

Nothing says “party” like jello shots, right? Well, maybe that’s more “college party.” Let’s try again. Nothing says “party” like a crafted gelatin preparation with homemade bitters and infused rye, right? Well, maybe that’s more of a “bourgeois hipster party with artisinal pickles and such.”

margarita jello shots in lemon slices

While both of these can be great, wouldn’t it be even better if we could combine them? Here’s our proposal: top shelf margarita in a jello shot. No preflavored jello, we’re going to be squeezing some limes ourselves. This gelatin will be equally at home in the casual cofines of college or amongst the disposable income set.

colored margarita jello shots

Following the wisdom Gary Reagan’s Joy of Mixology (and if you haven’t been following Gary, I suggest you do) we learn that alcohol + gelatin has been around since at least the mid-1800s, and you can make just about any old-timey cocktail or punch into gelatin if you are careful to adjust the levels of citrus, sugar, and water. Citrus becomes amplified, so it’s a good idea to cut it and/or add some extra sugar. If you are planning on using a cocktail that would have been shaken or stirred over ice, you’ll need to compensate for the water. Reagan suggests calculating the total number of ounces of liquid in a cocktail and using as much extra water as a third of that number. If you’re trying something new, I’d suggest starting with a small batch. You’ll probably have to make a few.

ingredients for margarita jello shots

Not interested in creating endless batches of subpar gelatin. Don’t worry. We’ve got a top-shelf margarita recipe right here:

1oz fresh lime juice
1oz simple syrup
1oz water
1 package unflavored gelatin (1/4 oz)
3oz white tequila
2oz triple sec
food coloring (you’ll probably want some excitement, right?)

Place the lime juice, simple syrup, and water in a small glass mesuring cup, and add the gelatin. Allow this to sit for one minute, then microwave the mixture on high for thirty seconds. Stir thoroughly to make sure that all the gelatin has dissolved, then add the tequila, triple sec, and food coloring. Stir thoroughly again and pour the mixture into a mold. Refrigerate for at least one hour or, preferably, overnight.

cored lemons filled with margarita jello

To make the snazzy lemon peel jello shots, you’ll need a handful of large lemons. We had three total, but you might use more for larger parties. Start by cutting the lemons in half, then scraping out the inside, trying to remove as much pith as pothible. Next, we placed each of the empty halves upright on a cookie sheet and filled them with the liquid jello/drink mixture. You may want to use pieces of crumpled tinfoil as supports to keep the lemon halves upright.Then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

slicing margarita jello shot lemon wedges

After the jello has… well… jello-ed, slice the halves into thirds. And bam! You’ve got lemon slice jello shots! These margarita slices are especially tasty sprinkled with a bit of sugar.

dyed margarita jello shots in lemon wedges

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Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: French Lover’s Punch

french holiday punch with lemon and raspberries

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day, whether with friends, family, or a special someone (your cat?), you can class up your shindig with some glamorous champagne punch! This is actually an old holiday recipe (it made for a delightful new year’s celebration at the Westervin’s), but the raspberries and bubbly make this a perfect drink for the holiday of lurv.

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You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello

december holiday photo collage

Christmas is over and the New Year is here. We are finally back at home, having brought our journey through the center of America to a close. It was a great trip filled with highs and lows and hours and hours in the car. We drove through six states starting from our homebase in Chicago and ending up in Louisiana, with a layover to see friends in Little Rock on the way back. We were able to pack quite a bit into just over a week. So much excitement, from our trip as well as some pre-celebrations in Chicago, that we just have to share some of it with you. Let’s take a quick look back before we move forward with a new year:

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Daily Pretties

Daily Pretties: Spirit Dance

{ maryamor_4 by RR’s photos of James R.B. + other things }  { la llorona by Rebecca Artemisa }

Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Beer!

I got a few books recently, one of which, Tasting Beer, has inspired me to, well, taste beer. You should, too. Let’s have a tasting party. An e-tasting party.

Vintage photography of woman drinking beer

{ Hot Day, Cold Beer from Angelica of Swapatorium2 and Scrapatorium }

How’s it going to work, you ask?

  1. We need to pick one or two beers that we can all get our hands on. Any suggestions? Any particular beer you’ve been wanting to try?
  2. Sometime after we decide on a beer, I’ll post some general notes on tasting and anything unique about the style of beer we’ve chosen.
  3. Tasting. Everyone can taste the beer, jot down some tasting notes, and post them as a comment.

Remember you can be a tasting novice or pro, it doesn’t matter. Heck, you don’t even have to like beer. If you think beer tastes like cardboard, let us know, just make sure you tell us what kind of cardboard it tastes like—is there lots of Sharpie-scrawl, packing tape astringency, unbalanced corrugation?

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Swig & Swill

Swig & Swill: Morning Glory Fizz

Natuer photography by Roger Tuttleman

{ Morning Glory Pool by Roger Tuttleman }

Scotch is a difficult ingredient to mix, at least for me. I think this conclusion is at least somewhat supported by the dearth of classic Scotch-based cocktails, the most common of which is the Rob Roy (bonus tip, I’m pretty sure that is an answer to a Trivial Pursuit question). Unfortunately, the Rob Roy isn’t fizzy, it’s basically a Scotch Manhattan. For my party I needed something fizzy. Luckily there is such a cocktail outlined in Imbibe by David Wondrich.

Morning Glory Fizz

3/4 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 tsp Absinthe
1 egg white
2 oz Blended Scotch

In a shaker dissolve sugar in 1 tsp of water, add remaining ingredients and fill 3/4 full with ice. Shake and strain into a good sized bar glass and top with Seltzer. Note that this is a “morning beverage, which will give good appetite and quiet the nerves.”

From Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual, 1882, via Imbibe.

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