Cakes, Cocktails and Community

Well friends, here we are. It’s 2016, we’re halfway through February and as you may have noticed, my posts have been waning as of late. My apologies for the protracted absence. And if I may be all to honest for but a moment, 2015 came to a rocky end and the new year a messy start. As with most endings and new beginnings, one can be prone to periods of self-doubt (and by “one” I mean me). My camera has felt heavier and my words less flowing. The ease with which I often found inspiration has felt more laboured as of late. And so, with a bit of trepidation and mountains of doubt, I bring the weight of this ever-shifting process back to this space- a small corner of the interweb I created in the name of building community, of coming together over a drink to share a story, a joke, a fond memory. It is my hope that while creativity has felt more laboured as of late, I can channel this weightiness into a place I hold dear  and once again find new ways of seeing, of sipping, or sharing stories that have done my heart so good for the past 2 years.


And speaking of community, I’d like to introduce you to the ever-amazing Brooke Bass. Brooke is a Portland-based food writer and photographer and the brains behind one of my most favourite blogs- Chocolate and Marrow. After a few chance encounters on Instagram, Brooke and I met in New York last spring. We bonded over our mutual awkwardness as bloggers and a desire to create community and share stories through food and drink. Over the past few months we spoke often about a potential collaboration, a project to which we were both committed but often got sidelined due to busy schedules and pending deadlines. That is, until now. Because when one of your most beloved food writers (and a very kindred spirit) tells you she made a bundt cake, you put down what you’re doing a find a cocktail to pair with it.

Photo by Brooke Bass

Photo by Brooke Bass

When Brooke shared her ingredient list (namely saffron, cornmeal and blood orange) I had all of these brilliant ideas in mind. Saffron-infused gin, a riff on a Martinez, something dark and stirred and spirit-forward. And then I tasted the cake and all of my brilliant ideas went right out the window. The corn and saffron begged to be paired with some spice and citrus. And of course the perfect cocktail wasn’t mine at all, but one that Blair made for New Year’s Eve. A riff on the Penicillin, Blair combined tequila, mezcal and a habanero-infused honey syrup which resulted in a cocktail that hits all of my favourite notes- smoke, citrus, spice and just happens to pair perfectly with Brooke’s Saffron Cornmeal Cake with Blood Orange Glaze.

The Pencilina

2 oz reposado tequila
1 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz habanero honey syrup (we used Papa D’s Hot Honey)
0.5 oz ginger syrup
0.25 oz mezcal

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled glass.




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  • elaine laurin

    beautiful, love the lead in story, the cake and cocktail look delish… may your feet find new grounding that is full of confidence, creativity, boldness and peace..

    • twoforthebar

      Thank you momma!! xo

  • I know I’m biased but I love this whole post so much. I, too, often struggle with self-doubt and feeling stuck in my photography and writing. Especially with the words, actually–sometimes they just seem like they’re jammed in there and don’t want to come out! Fortunately, time away usually helps…and for times when they’re REALLY stuck, a cocktail like this one doesn’t hurt to coax them out either 😉

    Had so much fun crafting this little collab with you, lady. Your cocktail is gorgeous. I only wish we could be together to drink it side by side! Hugs from Portland.

    • twoforthebar

      Oh my friend. I think that’s why we get along so darn well. It’s always good to know that people I hold dear understand the struggles and have gone through similar circumstances. Space and time- the only two things I know help to shift a block. I had so much fun on this one too and we will be sipping on cocktails together again before too long! xo

  • Oh, yum. Came here though Brooke’s post and her irresistible description of this cocktail – this looks amazing!!!! spicy honey and ginger syrup? Yum.

    • twoforthebar

      Thanks so much for visiting and glad you enjoyed the post. Brooke’s cake was so delicious. It made the pairing so much fun. The cocktail has become one of my favourites as I love a drink that has a bit of heat on the finish! Cheers!