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.