The Slumdog Martini

The Slumdog Martini

The Slumdog Martini

I am not going to lie to you, I really just grabbed this cookbook: Indian Cooking Unfolded from my library because I needed something to read while my kids had appointments.  I fell in love.  It is filled with lovely recipes using TONS of spices and herbs….oh my!  Inspirational!  I have so many recipes I want to try but let’s first help ourselves to a lovely cocktail before the real cooking starts!

Although I am not really “allowed” to have martinis (let’s not revisit this lovely issue) I firmly believe that it stands for Dirty Martinis…not this lovely fragrant type of Martinis.

This Martini is inspired by the famous movie: Slumdog Millionaire, which I haven’t seen even though everyone has but it goes with my refusal to see E.T. and pretty much any massively popular movies out there.  Yes I am a rebel….if refusing to watch popular movies or reading popular books is being a rebel.  😉

Let’s not worry about why I am so weird, let’s get to this deliciously spiced beverage!

amazing color, fresh herbs and spices! YUM!

amazing color, fresh herbs and spices! YUM!


1/4 cup unrefined sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves

2 fresh green serrano chiles, stems discarded, coarsely chopped (do not remove the seeds)

1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt

2 cups crushed ice cubes

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup premium vodka or gin

How to:

Chill 4 martini glasses in the freezer.

Measure the sugar into a small saucepan and pour in ¼ cup water.  Stir in the ginger.  Bring it to a boil over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.  Remove the pan from the burner, strain the syrup through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl or measuring cup, and chill in the refrigerator as you get the remaining ingredients ready.

ginger simple syrup: perfect!

ginger simple syrup: perfect!

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Once the skillet is hot, usually after 2 to 4 minutes, add the cumin seeds and toast them, shaking the skillet every few seconds, until they turn an even reddish brown and smell incredibly nutty, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Immediately transfer the seeds to a small heatproof bowl to cool.

smelling fantastic!

smelling fantastic!

To make a single martini, place 1/8 cup of the mint leaves, a quarter of the chiles (or less see note below), 1/4 teaspoon of the toasted cumin seeds, and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt in a cocktail shaker.  Using a pestle or something you can use to pound, pummel the mixture to release the essential oils until the mint and chile breaks down a bit (not necessarily until it becomes pulpy), 1 to 2 minutes.  Scoop in 1/2 cup ice cubes and pour in 1 tablespoon of the ginger syrup, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, and ¼ cup vodka or gin.  Screw the cocktail shaker’s lid in place and shake to thoroughly mix the martini.  Pour it into a chilled martini glass.

interesting picture to take...just so you know!  ;)

interesting picture to take…just so you know! 😉

pouring it all in!

pouring it all in!

Great way to start the weekend!

Great way to start the weekend!

Repeat with the remaining ingredients and enjoy!

Note from the author:  If you drink all four, I will see you under the table. 

Hahahaha….I couldn’t agree more!  Been there….Done that….Not proud!

IMPORTANT NOTE: This is spicy….and I mean SPICY.  I loved it but it’s not for the faint of heart.  Add chiles/peppers to YOUR liking don’t worry about what he suggests. 

such a gorgeous interesting cocktail!

such a gorgeous interesting cocktail!

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Peace and Be Inspired,




Southside Cocktail

Southside Cocktail

Southside Cocktail

When in Florida….

Make drinks for your hosts!

This is one of my new FAVORITE drinks!  It is refreshing, easy and tastes like the best night of your life!

OK…I made that last part up.

I saw Geoffrey Zakarian make this drink one day on the show The Kitchen on the Food Network , my only concern is that he made it with Gin.  Gin and I don’t get along to well.  So I wondered if I switched to Vodka would the drink still work.  Vodka and I get along really really really well!  Turns out vodka or gin make this drink worthy of sharing with you my friends or sister in law 😉

Cheers (please ignore my crazy hair and the fact that Dee is looking at Matt)

Cheers (please ignore my crazy hair and the fact that Dee is looking at Matt)


2 ounces gin (gin for the hubby, vodka for the crazy…ummm me!)

1 ounce lime juice

3/4 ounce  simple syrup

1 sprig mint (optional…turns out both Dee and I don’t like mint)

How to:

Combine the gin (or vodka), lime juice, simple syrup and mint sprig in a shaker.  Add some ice cubes and shake vigorously.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish with one mint leaf, smacked to release the oils, floating on top of the cocktail.

Simple syrup:

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

How to:

In a small saucepan bring your water and sugar to a boil.  Boil until sugar is dissolved.  Let cool completely.  Use as indicated in recipe.

so fresh, tart, and slightly sweet = perfect cocktail!

so fresh, tart, and slightly sweet = perfect cocktail!

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Have a wonderful weekend from us to you ;)

Have a wonderful weekend from us to you 😉

Peace and Florida,


Pink Raspberry Margaritas

Pink Raspberry Margarita

Pink Raspberry Margarita

I found a recipe for Pink Margaritas a couple years back on Pinterest.  I have to be honest, it was barely OK.  It used Pink Grapefruit juice which sounded pretty good on paper/blog but the reality was not what I was looking for.  I need more…more flavor, maybe more texture, more color….just all around MORE….great blogging word Isabelle…MORE…that’s explains a lot!  Oh dear!

I went back and looked for the Pink Grapefruit Margarita and oh my goodness the recipe is actually Ina Garten’s from “How easy is that?”.  I am so sorry Ina…I mean I love her and her recipes but this one is….well it’s….boring…there I said it!  The taste is boring and I want MORE than a boring taste when I am having a cocktail.

Note: I usually try to make my recipes for cocktails for one selfish person (usually moi) and my food recipes for my little gang of 4.  To keep it interesting and to remind you I like to color on the outside of the lines this recipe is for two lovely love birds…Mr Man and I!  Multiply or divide as you see fit!  Easy Peasy!

oh my....look at that gorgeous deep pink color...amazing!

oh my….look at that gorgeous deep pink color…amazing!


For the simple syrup:

1/2 cup frozen or fresh raspberries

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

note: this will make about 1 cup simple syrup which is enough for 4 drinks….you never know where the night might take you…it’s good to have extras!

For the Margaritas:

3 ounces tequila (what ever brand you prefer, we tend to like that Jose Cuervo guy but it’s your drink – go wild!)

2 ounces Triple Sec (or you could be rich and famous and go with Grand Marnier!)

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1/2 cup raspberry simple syrup

Zest 1 lime

2 tablespoons Kosher or Sea Salt

1 lime quartered (for garnish)

How to:

For your simple syrup:

In a small saucepan combine your raspberries, water and sugar.  Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, puree with immersion blender and let cool.

raspberry simple syrup...such a simple perfect thing!

raspberry simple syrup…such a simple perfect thing!

syrup chillin'

syrup chillin’

Note: if you do not like seeds you could put your mixture through a fine sieve.  I happen to like the texture so I let it be.

For your margaritas: 

Prepare your two margarita glasses by combining your 1/2 your lime zest with your salt in a shallow plate.  Wet the rim of your glasses with a little water and gently coat the rim with your zest & salt mixture.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 lime zest between your two glasses, 1/4 cup raspberries in each and about 1/2 cup of ice per glass.  Set aside.

easy salt rim

easy salt rim





In a cocktail shaker combine your tequila, triple sec, lime juice, 1/2 cup raspberry simple syrup and 1/2 cup ice.  Put some power into this and shake it like you mean it!  Strain into your prepared glass.  Add a piece of lime for presentation or like me squeeze more lime into your glass so you can pucker your lips and smile a little while you take your first sip!

things are happening!

things are happening!

ABSOLUTELY ADDICTIVE!  So delicious, fresh and lots of MORE!  Flavor, texture, color and all around fabulousness!

delicious, lovely color and simply all around marvelous!

delicious, lovely color and simply all around marvelous!

Enjoy!  Summer is here!

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Peace and Pucker,


only last close look at this perfect little gem!

one last look at this perfect little gem!

Superbowl Grub

Yes, it is that time of year.  THE Superbowl….which for most is all about the football.  Unless you are like me…it’s all about the food!  So today I thought it would be lovely to share with you a few delicious ideas for the upcoming super food fest!  I had a list of about 30 things that would be Superbowl Party Perfect but in the end I realize that I might just be hungry or in need of scrumptious grub right this moment…hence why I cut the list down to 12, the yummy dozen I guess…not The Dirty Dozen…as in the movie…let’s move on!

My whole goal was minimal “kitchen time” during the party.  Prep and cook everything ahead of time so you can thoroughly enjoy the game.

Appetizers/Snack Food:

Jalapeno Popper Spread : tastes like the real deal but all put together in a lovely little dip.

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Jalapeno Popper Spread

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos : so perfectly delicious and if you happen to live when grilling is acceptable in Jan…. well you’ll look like a rock star!

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Grilled Stuffed Jalapenos

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls : it’s the Superbowl…not a dinner at the Palace, have fun!  Fun name, scrumptious taste and a crowd pleaser!

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls

Amazing White Trash Puff Balls

Salsa Verde : a versatile, easy, healthy and mouthwatering salsa.

I don't know why but this makes me happy!

Salsa Verde

Black Eye Pea Dip : perfect for little scoop chips, you can spice it up according to your gang.

Black Eye Pea Dip, Great Party Dip!

Black Eyed Pea Dip, Great Party Dip!

Buffalo Chicken Dip : a classic and tasty treat: prep ahead of time and pop in your oven when the timing is right!

    Delicious Buffalo Dip

Delish Buffalo Chicken Dip

Main Course:

White Chicken Chili : a little change up from regular red chili, still succulent!

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Chicken and Corn Chowder : looking for something more than just chili?  Or maybe you want to expand the old football watching concept?  Either way this chowder is a perfect make ahead of time dish sure to please everyone.

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Chicken and Corn Chowder


Cheesy Beer Bread : come on, you need a good side to a lovely chili or chowder (I was going to put my amazing Cornbread but I don’t want you guys to think I am obsessed…although if you have made and eaten the cornbread then you would understand!)

Cheesy Corn Bread, amazing Crust and outstanding flavor

Cheesy Corn Bread, delightful crust and outstanding flavor


Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting : a cross between a brownie and a chocolaty cake with a stunning coconut topping.

Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Buttermilk Brownies with Coconut-Pecan Frosting

Nutella Brownies with Biscoff Swirl : Nutella and Biscoff….enough said!

Nutella Brownie with Biscoff Swirl

Nutella Brownie with Biscoff Swirl


Lemon-Ginger Martini : we all know ginger is great for digestion and with all the lovely food being consumed we certainly could use a little tummy help!

Lemon-Ginger Martini, perfect for the summertime!

Lemon-Ginger Martini

I hope this was helpful and please let me know if you think I have missed something.  Or even if you have a creative idea for the Super Food Party!

Peace and Love,



You know what we haven’t talked about in a while?  Cocktails.  Well truth be said, I talk about cocktails a lot…so much so that maybe I should call my blog “Isabelle at home drinking”.  But I won’t because that would convey the wrong message.  Best if people figure out I  enjoy my drinking as they peruse my blog.  I mean, I don’t have a problem with people knowing I enjoy the occasional (read almost nightly) cocktail or glass of wine.  I just don’t want them to think I am a ragging alcoholic.


I wanted to share with you a lovely Lemontini, and NO store bought stuff here.  Honestly, take the extra step.  It’s worth it.  Store bought Simple Syrup is ghastly.  Also use a real lemon.  I would venture to say use a good vodka but it’s a debate I am not having today.  Use the vodka YOU like!

The Usual Suspects (great movie…irrelevant but great movie!)

Ingredients: (note: this is for one selfish cocktail)

2 ounce vodka

1 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ounce simple syrup (see recipe below)

2 pieces lemon peel (no white part that’s bitter)

ice (about 2 cup)

1-2 tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

How to:

Put your martini glass in your freezer for at least 15 minutes or be like me and keep one in there at all time…ready like a good girl scout!  This is not my first rodeo folks!

In a small plate (flat surface is important) combine your sugar and your lemon zest.  Set aside.

In your cocktail shaker put your ice, vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and lemon peel.  Using your best moves/dance moves shake it like you mean it.  This will release the lovely lemon oils and cool everything to the perfect chilled temperature.  Nothing is more demoralizing than a lukewarm martini.

Take your CHILLED martini glass and wet the rim (I like to use a lemon wedge for more flavor but water will work) dip your glass into your lemony sugar, coating the rim of your glass.

Strain your martini into your prepared glass.  STOP.  Find a quiet spot, put your feet up and take a slow sip of this delightful drink.


Note: some people say you should “shake” your cocktail shaker anywhere between 30-50 shakes but really…we are all adults here….I am not counting the shakes of my drink.  I am ridiculous, clumsy and goofy…I have to draw the line somewhere!

Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 lemon peel (optional)

How to:

In a saucepan put all your ingredients, bring to a boil and let the sugar dissolve.  Cool to room temperature.  Remove lemon peel.  Use immediately or store in your refrigerator until ready to use.

Simple Syrup (my “2” pieces of lemon turned into 4-5 small pieces)

Note: this will give you an infused simple syrup.  You do not have to use the lemon peel.

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Peace and Fresh,


Canada 2012, The Grand Finale

First off: I am sorry this is so late.  No excuses…just enjoying the summer! 🙂

OKAY…I realize I am making this subject probably a bit more than it actually is by stretching it to 3 posts.  I mean, let’s be honest.  My traveling to my birth land is not all that exciting in theory and on paper (or in post) but I am that much of a nerd. So here goes this grand finale…please do not think less of me even if you feel I am being quite self-indulgent.

Here’s where I want to end: Chuck Hughes.  Yes.  Again.  Yes.  I am a bit smitten.  Yes.  It is probably good for him that I live 15 hours away.

Garde-Manger Cookbook

My mom bought me his cookbook.  I actually cried a little while reading it.  You think I am kidding?

I wanted to go to his restaurant so bad but under the rushed circumstances we couldn’t get a reservation (1-2 month wait!  yikes).  You might think that I would be the type to try my luck at the door and “force” my way in.  You would be wrong….I do fear public confrontation and embarrassing myself in order to feed myself is not my cup of tea.

So here’s the next best thing (well not really but I didn’t have many options)  I made 2 recipes from his book.

#1 Cookies…. I know I am so predictable, but would you believe me if I told you I can judge a man by the cookies he can make?  I am only half kidding 😉

aaaaah Cookies always put a smile on my face 🙂

Ice Cream Sandwiches Cookies: (that’s the name of the recipe in the book but in reality it is; Oatmeal Chocolate Chips Cookies with store bought ice cream)


1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter, melted

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

2 1/2 cups large-flake rolled oats

1 1/2 cups finely chopped chocolate

ice cream, any flavor you like

How to:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or line your baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk the brown sugar into the melted butter.  Add the eggs and vanilla and whisk until everything is nicely blended.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Stir into the brown sugar mixture, then blend in the oats and chocolate.

Using a scoop or large spoon drop your dough on your prepared baking sheets and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.

Let them cool and make sandwiches with them.

moist and perfectly chocolaty cookies

Note: I  barely let them cooled before I was shoving them in my mouth!  Delicious!

#2 Cocktail: a very important step in my research!

Summer Cocktail….always a good time

Vodka with fresh Vanilla and Crushed Strawberries


Vanilla Vodka:

3 vanilla beans

1 bottle vodka

Crushed Strawberries:

1/2 cup strawberries (I used about 4-5 strawberries)

Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon sugar


Fresh Strawberries

Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise (I didn’t have any)

How to:

For the vanilla vodka:

Split the vanilla beans in half, scrape out the seeds, and put the beans and seeds into a full bottle of vodka.  Cap it.  Let steep in a cool, dark place for 1 month.

OR: buy Vanilla Vodka from a lovely liquor store and make the drink sooner!

For the crushed strawberries:

Crushed the strawberries with the lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar.

In a shaker, put 2-ounces of vanilla vodka, all the crushed strawberries and a big handful of ice cubes (crushed is easier in my opinion).  Shake well.  Strain into a glass and garnish with fresh strawberries and a split vanilla bean.

so refreshing

Note: I didn’t strain it because I like the crushed ice in my drink.  Do what you like.

Confession: I didn’t make my own vanilla vodka…I also forgot to buy Vanilla Vodka…so my next best option was to add about 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.  It worked just fine.  I make my own vanilla so I guess that added some redeeming qualities to the drink!

Just know that this was an amazingly delicious drink, I love the hint of vanilla and the beautiful crushed strawberries.  Perfect summer drink!

I hope you enjoyed both recipes and give them a try.  His cookbook is lovely and I know I will try more but I must be honest and tell you it is not for the amateur cook.  LOTS of steps, rare techniques and expensive ingredients, I guess all in due time.

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Peace and Let’s be Grand,


Peppery Strawberry Daquiri

I need a drink.  I guess I should leave it at that…..but I won’t!

Don’t you get tired of drinking the same old thing?  And I don’t mean water…I mean a “DRINK DRINK”.  I love wine but even I can get bored with something I love.  So today I thought why not try something new, something fresh….something very “Friday/Saturday Nightish”.

Peppery Strawberry Daquiri


3 cups fresh strawberry roughly chopped (in a pinch frozen work very well)

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (you can up the amount of pepper if you like it “spicy”)

3/4 cup white rum

1/4 cup triple sec

2 cups ice

Sugar for serving

Pepper for serving

How to:

In a medium saucepan combine your strawberries with your sugar, lemon (or lime) juice and pepper.  On medium heat gently stir your strawberries until your sugar dissolves and your strawberries start to break down.  You don’t have to worry if you still have chunks of strawberries because they will meet their maker in your blender!

start of something peppery 🙂

the finish should (or could) look something like that!

Let this cool for a few minutes (unless you are impatient like me and just stick the whole thing in the freezer for massive cool down!)

In your blender put your strawberry mixture, ice, rum and triple sec.  Blend this until you have a smooth consistency.

I like to combine some sugar with a little bit more pepper and decorate the rim of my glasses with this mixture.  Simple “wet” the rim and dip pepper-sugar mixture.  Pour your daquiri into your decorated glasses and add a sweet strawberry as an added decoration!

isn't that pretty?

Note: this recipe can be easily cut in half.  I only made half since I can’t drink 4 daquiris…I can try, but I shouldn’t, if you know what I mean.  So Mr. Man and I each had 1, because we are good like that!

ALSO: I got in “trouble” with my Aunt Suzanne when I posted about my Dirty Martini….it seems that 6 -ounces of vodka is excessive in one drink….hopefully she will be happy with the quantities in this version 😉  I know she loves me anyway!

one more shot...not of alcohol!...I mean one more picture!

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Peace and Peppery Baby!


Dirty Martini

I don’t live in London, Paris or Rome.  I did however use to live in Montreal….this has nothing to do with anything other than me hoping to throw a little “worldliness” into this post.  Bottom line: I am Captain Normal (wait wait….stop laughing) I know it the grand scheme of life I am a bit unusual…that being said, I still live a pretty average normal basic (some might say boring) life.

First thing to know, as previously stated, I open my mouth and people know immediately I am not from Indiana.  It’s the accent…and maybe the “demeanor” who knows?  Second, I live on 5 acres in the booming city of Bargersville, In.  Never heard of it?  I am shocked!  This is a happening place, filled with corn and soy fields, a huge soccer field, a rockin’ feed store, a few gas stations…oh my I could go on!

where I live…. ❤

Needless to say I don’t spend my nights and days hobnobbing with the Super Stars of our society….but…..

In order to prove that I can be worldly (yes, this was a loooong way to get to this recipe!) I present to you the “Dirty Martini”.

Dirty Martini


6 ounces Vodka

1/2 ounce Dry Vermouth

1/2 ounce Olive Juice (from the jar) *you can up the amount of olive juice if you want*

2-3 stuffed olives (I like the Jalapeno Stuffed Olives or Blue Cheese but any will work)

“Frozen” Martini Glass (hugely important)

How to:

Here’s where I might get into trouble: I like my martinis shaken not stirred….but what the heck, do what you like, I don’t mind it’s your drink…let it make you happy!

The Usual Suspects (great movie by the way….)

Fill a shaker with ice, add your vodka, dry vermouth and olive juice.  Give it a good shake, maybe sing a little song, do a dance…you know shake your money maker…KIDDING!  Pour/Strain your magic potion into your FROZEN Martini glass.  Add your stuffed olives and take a sip….aaaah….perfection!

Time to sit back, relax and enjoy the weekend!

What’s with the FROZEN glass: well, it’s what keeps your cocktail to the perfect chilled temperature.  Trust me, a “room temperature” dirty martini tastes like carpeting. 😉

Note: in my experience using a decent vodka is the key…not so much for taste but after “effects”!

Note #2: this recipe makes only 1 cocktail….that’s my limit if I want to stay married… 🙂

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Peace and Money Makers!


The last straw…berry cocktail!

Hopefully my strawberry saga is coming to an end.  You have to admit for a girl who doesn’t like strawberry I did OK.  Well, you don’t have to agree but I am giving myself a little pat on the back, a good ol’ high five, an atta girl… I feel better already 🙂

So here is the twist; I do love cocktails, but truthfully I am a wine kind of person with the occasional vodka and diet tonic (I know too much info but I won’t lie!)  The problem with cocktails: martinis, daquiris, etc… is that they take time to make.  I AM NOT a patient person.  Instant gratification should be my middle name (alas it’s Marie!).  But for this special drink, I encourage you to take your time and let it “marinate” properly.  Trust me it’s worth it!


1 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup vodka

1/2 cup triple sec

1/2 cup orange juice

Juice half lime (keep other half for decorations)

1/4 cup sugar

a few strawberries for decorations

Sprite (diet or regular) or Club Soda

How to:

In a large bowl or your food processor, put your strawberries, vodka, orange juice, triple sec, sugar and lime juice.  Puree until you have no more strawberry chunks (technical word of the day!).  If not using your food processor (like me) you may use an immersion blender and have the same results.

Put in a container with a lid and set in your refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

After your required 4-5 hours of “getting to know each other” time.  Strain your mixture through a fine sieve.  You don’t have to but the little seeds from the strawberry is nothing you want stuck in your teeth….just saying…

Pull out your chilled martini glasses and fill 3/4 full with your strawberry mixture and add about 1 -ounce of club soda or sprite.  Finish with a piece of lime and strawberry (omit for Isabelle).

Here goes:

Note: please put your martini glasses or any glasses you wish to use in the freezer when you put your mixture in the refrigerator.  Nothing makes a martini taste better than an extremely chilled glass!

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Peace and booze (sorry….I couldn’t resist!)