Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Visit to Cuba is filled with Gardens, Farms, Hemingway, Lessons in Sustainability in the Urban Environment - & Yes, Cigars!


I should have written oh-so-many posts about my visit to Cuba. In light of today’s first official commercial flight in five decades, I figured the confluence of circumstances compelled me to share my Cuban sojourn stories.

I traveled with a small group of around eight, if I remember right, back in 2000. It was at the time not long after Elian was capturing headlines and heartstrings. The focus or theme of the Cuban exploration I joined was sustainable urban farming. Truth is I had been waiting and looking for a way to visit Cuba for as long as I can remember. But I could only do it legally. Besides the fact that I consider myself an American patriot - it's also true that I was - and continue to be fascinated, smitten, and downright mesmerized by countries whose impact and influence on the entire world seems way out of proportion to its size; including Great Britain, Japan, and of course, Cuba. That they are also island nations has never been lost on me. It could have been just as cozy for visitors and citizens to remain on the island: stay home and enjoy the resplendent beauty found there. Many did - and do. Yet, both natives and guests, essentially exported the culture enough to tease and tempt the rest of us.

So when a trip to Cuba salsa’d its way onto my radar screen - and that it fused with a subject that was a great passion of mine - and one that has only burgeoned as time marches on - made this an opportunity I couldn't pass up. The educational tour’s theme was Sustainability in an Urban Environment. Looking back now, it seems so prescient. I hurriedly signed on and made my travel plans. I later learned that if I hadn't joined the group - they would've had to cancel because there was a minimum participant threshold. A kind of “Kuban Karma - or Cuban Carma!” A prelude to the magic of the trip.

Bike Rides and Gardens and Farms and Fine Art and Ballet and Swimming
We were a tidy group. And got along splendidly, I might add - especially me and George. George was and is a world traveler - for his work with the US government’s Sister Cities International program. (Boy, do we need more of this friendly partnership program, launched in 1956 by Dwight Eisenhower to honor each nation’s “culture, character, history… )

George hailed from Palo Alto - now from Hawaii - but it was like we’d known each other from the streets of New York our entire lives. We loved the adventure, the cigars,
George and me smoking our Cuban cigars
the Hemingway house, Finca La Vigía and El Floridita in Old Havana for daiquiris. 


Hemingway hosted plenty of famous stars & artists at his silent

I felt the two of were kind of renegades - partners in mischief and curiosity -  because we not only wanted to experience the educational itinerary, we also wanted to visit the Cuba of our dreams… 

We especially had fun getting away on that old motorcycle with the sidecar! 

 We’re still friends today. George send postcards from his globetrotting journeys and I included a version of our Cuban daiquiris in my soon-to-be-published book: Finishing Touches: The Art of Garnishing the Cocktail

Great way to see Havana - bike riding. That's me sitting on the curb and George, far right

Our introduction to Havana was a group bike ride through the streets to the cemetery - to a late lunch comida.

Like Paris or other European cities, cemeteries are places for families to gather, picnic and honor their ancestors amid the beauty of the landscape and the sculptures.
 It was like that here in the US (not a forlorn or never to be visited place except for funerals) It still is in many places, including Green-Wood in Brooklyn.

Our group bike ride through Havana! Much-needed horsepower still used.

Our lunch was remarkable for its good, fresh food - not much but in a time before farm to table took root in the States, it was good to eat in a kind of farmer’s market - simple plate of rice, beans and vegetables and a beer. When we finished eating and asked for the check, we were told $20 - and so I chipped in the Jackson (all transactions were carried out in US currency). Much to my astonishment, we were told that the entire lunch -- for all of us - was that price!

We also learned about how the urban population in Havana was thrown into a world of near starvation after the Russians abruptly left the island. The lack of sponsorship was dramatic. We were told at one of our evening talks that the citizens were soon “muy flaco” -- very skinny - as he pulled on his belt for added emphasis.

The next day we were taken to a farm -- right in town.

We were shown how with limited to no resources - the citizens of Havana had to cope with immediately growing their own food. 

Not unlike how the Cubans learned to be expert mechanics and preserve those big American cars,
so too they learned to preserve and care for their new-found farmland.

And it was all organic - for no other reason than they couldn’t afford to purchase fast-acting fertilizers and chemical boosters. In hindsight it all worked out for the best.

But we could understand it was scary times for the Cubans. Organizing, establishing teams of urban farmers, nurturing the soil with homegrown compost and with vermiculture -- or using worms to kind of speed up the organics to produce a vermicompost.
Vermiculture was key to Havana's urban ag

There were tidy rows of vegetables and fruits in kind of raised, elevated beds to help insure better soil and growing medium - and lots of tires used as containers.

At least Cuba is favored with a kind of perpetual growing season. We all learned what citizens can do when getting food - and growing and getting that food close to home - is paramount. The urban farm experiment saved the people from starvation. It was a massive effort. The local community food stations had signs to advise the citizens on what kinds of produce would help them in terms of minerals, nutrition, and health - given they were eating the "recommended 300 grams of vegetables." (That's about 300+ calories and not even one meal by our standards.)  But they did it...

The food market “shelves” such as they were, are seen as pretty spare.   But on the plus side - no GMO's...  All organic.

At the same time, it’s a kind of observational lesson in how to utilize everything to grow food - any and all containers and land/lots. Conserving water and ensuring healthy soils. It remains a lesson in sustainable food production that we can all learn from especially given the increasing urbanization of our world.

More on the Cuban arts and culture next up.

Congratulations to today’s historic first step toward more mutual exchanges between our cultures.

Cuba was a place in my dreams for some time.  And you know how often when one finally realizes or sees the reality that the fantasy disappears? This was not like that at all. In spite of its problems and persistent poverty, visiting Cuba only increased my romance and love affair.   And bolstered my respect for the island nation and the integrity of its people and the environment - that also has been in a kind of preserved bubble... For me, Cuba was visually stunning and rich in the arts, too.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Better Homes and Gardens' Annual Stylemaker issue Highlights Artists & Tastemakers in Gardens, Food, Fashion, Home Design, & Entertaining

Better Homes and Gardens September Stylemaker issue

Better Homes and Gardens (BHG), the leading lifestyle brand reaching 50 million consumers a month, today announced the release of its sixth annual Stylemaker issue, highlighting creative forces and tastemakers who influence the worlds of fashion, food, home design, and entertaining. The issue is available now.

For the first time, seven of the BHG Stylemakers grace the issue's cover in a striking gatefold image shot by renowned celebrity photographer Robert Trachtenberg. They join 22 other Stylemakers who shape the way we decorate, cook, garden, organize, dress, and celebrate.

"We are thrilled to share our 29 trendsetters with our readers in our September Stylemaker issue," says Better Homes and Gardens Editor-in-Chief Stephen Orr. "Our Stylemaker issue showcases creative ways our readers can infuse their lives with inspiring food, fashion, entertaining, and gardening ideas."

To celebrate the issue, Better Homes and Gardens is hosting over 80 bloggers and tastemakers for a day of classes, workshops, and speakers on September 29 at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Sponsors of the event include Crate and Barrel, Dunkin' Donuts, thinkThin, and Triscuit. According to BHG, the magazine considered a variety of factors when selecting who to invite to the 2016 Stylemaker event, including a nice mix of new vs. returning bloggers; the size of the blogger’s social following; the topic area of the blog (aiming for an overall mix of home, food, beauty, garden, and general lifestyle); editorial recommendations; and the blogger’s BHG Insider status. Want to be considered a BHG Insider? (Who wouldn’t?!) To keep posted about future events and opportunities with the brand and the magazine’s editors, the magazine recommends you apply here

"The September 2016 issue is a celebration of style, creativity, and inspiration for all aspects of the home," says Christine Guilfoyle, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Better Homes and Gardens. "Each year, this special issue elevates our readers' and advertisers' style inspiration." Guilfoyle notes that the gatefold cover includes an organic integration of furniture products from lead sponsor Crate and Barrel.

The September issue also features fantastic recipes from celebrity chef Jacques Pépin, practical entertaining tips from Top Chef host and author Padma Lakshmi, (a fellow author at a post East Hampton Library fundraising and dinner party hosted by Hamptons Magazine), and aging and wellness advice from movie star Cameron Diaz.

The 2016 BHG Stylemakers featured in the September issue include:

Chris Benz –Creative Director for Bill Blass

Chris's mix of furnishings, accessories, and art follows the new-meets-old trend of his newly renovated Brooklyn house—with some high-low mash-ups thrown in for good measure. "My style is bold, casual bricolage," says Chris.

Justina Blakeney – Designer, Author and creator of The Jungalow blog

This Los Angeles designer mixes fun patterns with boho-meets-tropical color choices. Her top advice for mixing patterns is simple: repetition. "I like to pick two or three colors and pull those into each piece," she says.

Steve Woodward – President and Chief Merchant for Crate and Barrel

"Clean, thoughtful, timeless design makes me happy," the retail guru says. On watching trends, he adds. "I'm addicted to decorating shows, and I think you can learn a lot from them about your own personal style. Trends open your eyes to new possibilities."

Grace Bonney – Design*Sponge Founder and Author

Her new book, In the Company of Women, brings together the collected wisdom, passion, heartache, and savvy of 100 women business owners, each of whom she thoughtfully interviewed and photographed in their work spaces.  

Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – Creators of the blog A Beautiful Mess  

The sisters have been creating together since they were little, so crafting, writing books, and creating photo apps was a natural segue beyond their blog. "We just get out of each other's way and get stuff done," says Elsie.

Roman Alonso and Steven Johanknecht – Commune Design

The Los Angeles-based design team behind Commune, Roman and Steven have partnered with West Elm to create a new line of beautifully crafted pieces with approachable price tags, so everyone can have access to their high-style California breeziness.

Katie Armour Taylor – Creator of Style Blog The Neo-Trad

A California girl living and working in Denmark, Katie's style inspiration spans the globe. Focusing on the surge of the color-blocking trend, Katie says, "I love bold color, especially pairing unexpected combinations. Today we favor more balance by mixing up the trend with natural materials or metallics."

Alec Babala, Bruce Kim, and John Humphrey – Founders of Greycork furniture

The trio started Greycork with the mission to provide affordable furniture shipped free in flat packs and assembled without tools. "We chose the name Greycork because it was our blank canvas," says Bruce.

Hana Getachew – Textile Designer

A love of her native Ethiopia led Hana to launch Brooklyn-based Bolé Road Textiles. Ethiopian weavers turn her colorful designs into fabrics for pillows, curtains, and more. She describes her style as "eclectic minimalism."

Katrina Hernandez and Josh Greene – Interior Designers

The push-pull of their personal styles—she's boho and he's classic—has made an ideal design union. They started in the fashion world, but joined forces to create elegant interiors with bold colors and patterns and high-style furnishings.

Marlien Rentmeester – Creator of the Style blog Le Catch

"Indigo is intrinsically easy," says Marlien, explaining how the distinctive shade that's synonymous with your favorite pair of blue jeans is just as versatile in your living room.

Erin Flett – Pattern Designer

For screen printer and home-goods designer Erin, growing a business means working hard, loving what you do, and adding a little color where you can. "Collect things that you love, and eventually your space becomes your story," Erin says.

Greg Salmeri – Garden Designer and Store Owner

The co-owner of Rolling Greens Nursery finds the way to inner peace with a mix of sculptural plants accented by carefully placed outdoor ornaments and salvaged pieces. "Style is important in every single thing you do. An outdoor space is no different to me in that regard than an indoor one," Greg says.

Fay Wolf – Professional Organizer and Author

Fay believes most messes can be fixed with recycled containers and commonsense labeling. "Embrace the imperfection of it all, and forget being Pinterest-perfect."

Michele Michael – Elephant Ceramics Owner

This creative pro used to be a decorating editor, prop stylist, and the owner of a prop house. But after taking a ceramics class in 2010, she realized she loved working with her hands to create something uniquely her own.

Jim Franco – Photographer, Video Director and Ceramicist

Jim says his ceramics style is simple and quiet. "It's about crafting a piece with a form that is almost plain… If I'm lucky, it might also satisfy my sense of design and proportion."

Asya Palatova – Gleena Ceramics Owner

Asya specializes in soft, sugary colors and vintage illustrations transferred in metal ink.

Kat Teutsch – Photographer and Claykat Ceramics Owner

When she started making too many ceramic pieces to keep, Kat launched her own store. For inspiration, she says, she looks to the things she loves, "from the ever-changing green of the forests or the blues from the ocean and sky."

Adina Grigore – Skincare Entrepreneur

The author of Skin Cleanse and the entrepreneur behind Brooklyn-based S.W. Basics takes us through her daily routine, focusing on keeping things simple.

Selina Lake – Interiors Stylist and Author  

"There's no such thing as too many plants," says London-based Selina. (I Couldn't agree more but good garden editing should also be considered...) 

In her new book, Botanical Style, she shows how to use plants and nature in interiors.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Beat the Heat: No-Cook, Cool Breakfast & Snack Recipes made Overnight with Quaker Oats

Overnight Oats, is a cool, delicious "grab & go" breakfast or snack. Photo courtesy of Quaker Oats
Quaker Oats is raising the breakfast bar with their innovative take on the day’s most important meal - along with their timeless, classic recipe that’s practically synonymous with oatmeal itself.

Say hello to oatmeal with a twist!

Now, when the sizzling summer heat makes the mere thought of cooking anything has you wilting, you can beat the heat faster than the mercury-popping thermostat soars past the 100 degree mark. Quaker Oats and that ever-smiling Larry - the Quaker Oats Man -- has come up with truly cool ways to enjoy nutritious oatmeal. And that cool factor extends to how these delicious recipes are made and how to enjoy them. Think of Quaker Oats Larry doing the work for you overnight while you’re sleeping! In the morning - it’s all about grab and go!

This is a fun treat to make with the kids, too; creating sweet or savory ways to have a complete, refreshing, and nutritious breakfast, even when you’re in a hurry. Soaking the Quaker Oats overnight - and adding seasonal berries from the Greenmarket or the garden, means it’s ready and waiting for you in the morning!
Raspberry Coconut Overnight Oats, photo courtesy of Quaker Oats

Check out Quaker Oats’ Overnight Oats website for tips, tricks, and a video of ways to pair your oats with yummy ingredients most likely found in your house pantry. The recipes are super easy and delicious! As a fruit and yogurt lover, I found that Quaker Oats has been the missing grain in my creations. Not only are the Overnight Oats a perfect summer breakfast, they make for a great snack or dessert as well.

Here are some quick and tasty recipes to make -- and get inspired to vary the ingredients to your own likes and seasonal bounty:

Banana Nut Overnight Oats (courtesy of Kimberly Sneed):  
Banana Nut Overnight Oats, photo courtesy of Quaker Oats

¾ cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats

1 cup vanilla almond milk

Dash cinnamon

Banana, sliced

Handful of pecans

* My Garden Glamour note: If you don’t want to use flavored milk, you can also use fresh, whole milk from the local dairy, add a ¼ teaspoon of almond flavor or almond butter and vanilla flavor.

Add Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, vanilla almond milk and dash of cinnamon to a jar. Stir and refrigerate, covered, overnight. In the morning, top the oats with sliced bananas and pecans. (Yes, it’s that easy!)

Peaches and Cream Overnight Oats (courtesy of Robyn Stone)

½ cup Quaker Old Fashioned Oats + 1 tablespoon for serving (optional)

½ cup milk, coconut milk, or almond milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey (optional)

½ fresh peach, cut into slices or chopped

1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or coconut cream

* My Garden Glamour note: I’ve been testing out the organic coconut from Edward & Sons - the company that introduced the first organic coconut products to the US market and can highly recommend their Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk and their brand new organic Heavy Coconut Cream. Both are a healthy, tasty partner ingredient to the Quaker Oats stone fruit overnight recipe.

Stir the Quaker Old Fashioned Oats, milk, and maple syrup in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Secure the lid and store in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, top the oats with a tablespoon oats, peaches, and cream.

PB&J Overnight Oats (courtesy of Quaker Oats)

½ cup Quaker Oats

½ cup milk

½ cup strawberries

½ cup peanut butter

Add Quaker Oats and milk in a jar. Then add a layer of strawberries and top it off with a layer of peanut butter. Refrigerate and enjoy in the morning (or a few hours later)!

Pomegranate and Cocoa Nibs Overnight Oats (courtesy of Quaker Oats)

½ cup Quaker Oats

½ cup milk

½ cup pomegranate seeds

2 tablespoons cocoa nibs

2 teaspoons ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add Quaker Oats and milk to a container of your choice. Alternate between layers of pomegranate seeds and layers of cocoa nibs. Top off with flax seeds and a drizzle of vanilla extract. Place in fridge and enjoy in the morning (or a few hours later)!

All Quaker Overnight Oats recipes can be found on

Raspberry Coconut Overnight Oats, photo courtesy of Quaker Oats

This feature was prepared and written in conjunction with Shannon Ho, Garden Glamour guest reporter and intern.  Thank you. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Celebrate National S’Mores Day: Sophisticated Recipes Profile Childhood Comfort Food We Crave

S'Mores & Bacon Pancakes - photo Colin McGauley, courtesy of BernzOmatic  
Bet you didn’t know it was National S’Mores Day August 10th. But really, every day is a kind of s’mores day when you love chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers. Add in some bacon and whiskey (who says the kids have all the fun?!) and it’s a kind of tasty hat trick you can make at home to rave reviews. No need to build a campfire. 

The recipes are courtesy of Chef Cory Morris, winner of Food Network’s Chopped, now chef at Rural Society, and BernzOmatic.


S'MORES AND BACON PANCAKES - Make this for the ultimate breakfast!
8 Servings

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs 
  • 2 Tbsp. baking powder 
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt 
  • 2 large grade "A" eggs, well beaten 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1 tsp. powdered ginger 
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter 
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 16 pieces of cooked bacon 
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows 
  • 16 oz. of chocolate sauce 
  • ½ cup powdered sugar 
  • Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch 
  • Bernzomatic 16 oz. Propane Camping Gas Cylinder 
  • Standard campfire stove or open campfire with grill grate 
  • Fork or whisk 
  • Metal spatula 
  • Cast iron skillet or large sauté pan 

Preheat griddle over gas camping stove using Bernzomatic 16 oz. Propane Camping Gas Cylinder (medium heat) or over an open fire.

Combine dry ingredients (flour, graham cra

Whisk in milk, egg and butter.

Spray the cooking surface with pan spray, then place two pieces of bacon on the skillet and spoon pancake batter over them.

Let the pancakes cook until the edges are golden brown.

Flip the pancakes and finish cooking (1-2 minutes).

Remove from the skillet and top the pancakes with mini marshmallows, chocolate sauce, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Be still, my heart!

(PRO TIP – use the Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch to lightly torch the mini marshmallows to a golden brown before adding chocolate sauce and sugar.)

S'Mores Tartine - photo Colin McGauley, courtesy of BernzOmatic 
10 Servings

  • 5 graham crackers crumbled into large pieces 
  • 10 pieces of brioche sliced 1/4 inch thick 
  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows 
  • 3 high-quality chocolate bars roughly chopped 
  • 2 cups mini pretzels 
  • 2 Tbsp. sea salt 
  • 2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
Cinnamon Butter topping:
  • 8 oz. unsalted butter 
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon 
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch Bernzomatic 
  • 16 oz. Propane Camping Gas Cylinder Sauté pan 
  • Safety glasses and gloves

Mix together butter, cinnamon and brown sugar topping.

Brush brioche on both sides with cinnamon butter.

Toast the bread over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.

While the bread is still warm, top it with an even distribution of chocolate pieces and mini marshmallows.

Make sure to cover the entire surface of the bread.

Toast the marshmallows and melt the chocolate using the Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch.

While the tartine is still warm top it with pretzels, pecans and sea salt. Serve warm and enjoy.

Now that the family is “s-morely satisfied” now it’s time for you and friends to indulge in some adult s’more treats!

Whiskey S'Mores Lollipops - photo Colin McGauley, courtesy of BernzOmatic 
40 Servings (may seem like a lot but they go fast)

  • 1 bag of jumbo marshmallows 
  • 2 cups of graham cracker crumbs 
  • Chocolate Ganache: 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate 
  • 1 cup of heavy cream 
  • 1 tablespoon of whiskey 
  • Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch Bernzomatic 
  • 16 oz. Propane Camping Gas Cylinder 
  • Standard gas camping stove 
  • 40 lollipop sticks 
  • 2 quart sauce pot 
  • Whisk Safety glasses and gloves 

Begin by making the ganache. Place the saucepan over medium heat on a standard camping stove using fuel from Bernzomatic 16 oz. Propane Camping Gas Cylinder and bring heavy cream to a simmer.

Add the chocolate and mix until incorporated.

Whisk in the whiskey, and remove from the heat.

Keep warm (if it cools down too much the chocolate ganache will not coat the marshmallow). Skewer the marshmallows with the lollipop sticks. Dip them quickly in the ganache and roll them in graham cracker crumbs.

Let cool at room temperature.

Once the lollipops have cooled, lightly torch with the Bernzomatic WT2301C Campfire Torch (be careful not to burn the graham crackers).

Enjoy the varied recipes that offer a sophisticated indulgence to that childhood comfort treat dessert. Campfire optional.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gin Mare is a Hand-Crafted, Light Botanical new Gin Perfect for Summer - Plus Cocktail Recipes

Gin Mare 
I’d heard the common stereotypes about gin: it’s a man’s drink, it’s a classy “old school” drink, and the devilish old adage, “gin makes you sin.” For whatever reason, gin was never even on my radar during a night out. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever ordered any type of gin drink. 

But then I discovered Gin Mare.

Distilled in a small fishing town near Barcelona, Spain, Gin Mare is a Mediterranean drink with a barley base and light botanical tones. The name itself, “Mare,” is derived from the Italian word for sea (“mar”). Gin Mare’s name reflects back to the Roman Empire’s Latin phrase “Mare Nostrum,” which means our sea, since the Romans relied on the Mediterranean Sea during their conquests. Gin Mare pays homage to the region’s rich resources, beginning with its moniker.

The Mediterranean spirit contains traditional gin ingredients such as juniper and citrus fruits. What sets Gin Mare apart, though, are unique ingredients -- all sourced from the Mediterranean region: basil from Italy, thyme from Greece, rosemary from Turkey, and Arbequina olives from Spain.

Another unique attribute of Gin Mare is that it is entirely hand-crafted. Each of the botanicals are distilled separately, which allows for a greater harmony in the taste. After three years of testing and refining the taste, Gin Mare released its first batch in 2010.

Guest blogger Shannon Ho at Gin Mare rooftop tasting event

Gin Mare made me recalibrate the way that I think about gin. My first sampling of Gin Mare was during a city rooftop party hosted by the distilled spirit. It was all first love romance … My drink was as light and breezy as my surroundings. The taste was versatile and refreshing. That first flirty cocktail lead to my crush on the beverage, an inevitable part of drinking this smooth, botanical gin. So, toss your preconceived notions about gin off the roof! Sit back and relax with a Gin Mare drink in hand.


JBF Award-winning Chef Michael White & Garden Glamour guest blogger Shannon Ho at Rooftop Gin Mare event

Here are some recipes that pair perfectly with a sunny, summer day.

(Side Note, Gin Mare’s cap is approximately 50 ml, and an ideal measuring tool for the below recipes.)


A contemporary revisit of a classic cocktail, such as it’s Tequila Sunrise, with a own twist to celebrate the season that you’re always dreaming of and you never want to end up.

40 ml. Gin Mare

15 ml. Aperol & Grenadine (pre mix at 50-50%)

10 ml. Gomme

15 ml. Limoncello

75 ml. Orange Juice

20 ml. 1724 Tonic Water

Method: Shake all the 4 first ingredients and double strain in a Collins glass filled with ice cubes. Let it settle and then add the Top it with 1724 tonic water and decorate with a half slice of orange, a slice of lemon and fresh thyme sprigs.

Perfect Martini

Or a Martini that is perfect...Using an advanced chemical analysis tool called “Gas Chromatography,” Gin Mare investigated the perfect vermouth for Gin Mare, and found the metric -- as well as a garnish that can compliment this mixture.

50 ml. Gin Mare

25 ml. Lillet Blanc vermouth

0.5 ml. of salt solution (25 g. sea salt dissolved in 100 ml.

Method: Stir over ice for 20-30 seconds until chilled and diluted properly and serve into a cold Martini glass and garnish with half strawberry.

Red Tonic

This drink is another great recipe innovation that pays homage to the classic Gin & Tonic. This is a refreshing drink with gentle spicy notes and because of its hot red color, you’ll want a beautiful glass to show it off. Think balloon glass, snifter, red wine glass...

60 ml. Gin Mare

10 ml. tomato juice

2 slices of fresh ginger

1 piece of rosemary

200 ml. 1724 Tonic Water

Method: Muddle lightly the Ginger, the Tomato Juice and the Rosemary at the base of the glass and then build your G&T in a normal fashion and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

Nothing beats a Gotham rooftop event - capture the sunset - with Gin Mare

Chef Michael White's Gin Mare menu pairs with the lighter, more botanical Gin Mare. Chef Michael White is the head chef and owner of the Altamarea Group. Especially love his Ai Fiori restaurant. (Check out his the others in chef's culinary constellation.)

Me/Leeann with superstar/super-nice Chef Michael White at Gin Mare event

This feature was prepared and written in conjunction with Shannon Ho, Garden Glamour guest reporter and intern.  Thank you!