How-To: The Stodtini

FYI- This post was written back in December, but for various reasons never made it onto the blog until now. W is back from her Asia travels, and I’ve been putzing around home, work, and taking care of our little Nugget. Since this was supposed to go up a few months ago and it is almost spring (but still cold as heck from this never ending winter), the drink of Winter 2013 is now the drink of Spring 2014!

darwindiscovered_stodtini-1Happy Spring! As you dream about the warm weather, how about a nice refreshing drink recipe to help you through this miserably long polar vortex winter? This past winter was a special time for me, finally finishing grad school after a long 2.5 years of work, school, and nothing else. So, in honor of the impending spring season, and my classmate Kate – who also graduated – I present to you DarwinDiscovered’s Drink of the Season, Spring 2014: The Stod-tini! It’s simple, it’s classy, and it’s delicious – so you can spend more quality time with those you care about, and less time worrying about what to drink.

What you’ll need:

  • St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • a Pear-flavored vodka of your choice (or infuse your own, like we did)
  • club soda

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Homemade infused pear and apple vodka

In our never-ending quest to stock our newly assembled bar (and cart), W and I found ourselves at our local county liquor store one evening perusing the selection of fancily-flavored liquors. We thought, “Pay $25 for a bottle of Absolut Pear Vodka? We have to be able to do it ourselves for cheaper!” And thus, our vodka infusing was borne. (editor’s note: unfortunately, it cost us just about the same amount to infuse the vodka when you consider all the materials, but I (would like to) think our choice of fresh ingredients and vodka make it a better choice)

Homemade infused pear and apple vodka Homemade infused pear and apple vodka

The ingredients:

Two 1-L bottles of Tito’s – Texas-based sextuple-distilled premium vodka, for our infusing target. Might as well have something smooth, silky, and easy to drink if you are going to make it for yourself. We also like the classic look of the Tito’s bottles, and they were perfect for pouring in our infused vodka back for storage.
10-12 Seckel Pears – These are the best for infusing, given their relatively firm flesh, and their small-ish size. I thought that the firmness might enable them to stay a bit more consistent while infusing, rather than turning into a mush. Something like a Bartlett pear may be softer and riper to use, and might turn out sweeter – but we discovered the Seckel was plenty sweet enough.
6-8 Gala or Fuji Apples – again, I don’t think it makes too big a deal what variety of apple you use, but I’d stay away from some of the darker flesh types, as the infusing process will add a bit of golden brown color to your vodka already.
Two 1L Infusing Canisters – these can really be any air-tight container that has a large enough opening to fit your fruit in. We found the glass barrel-looking ones for about ~$7 each at HomeGoods. Air-tight is the only requirement.
Cheese cloth – for straining the fruit out after your infusing period

Homemade infused pear and apple vodka

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Konichiwa, friends! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I’m currently in the Land of the Rising Sun. My better half is at home with Nugget, but my little brother and I have still been able to get into some mischief making while in Tokyo. We’re here for another day and then off to Seoul for the rest of the week. Here are a few shots from our adventures:
Tokyo, Japan- Tsukijii Fish Market Tokyo, Japan- Instant Coffee Imperial Gardens- Tokyo, Japan Ginza, Tokyo, Japan Meiji Shrine, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Skytree, Japan Tokyo, Japan Zara Asian Fit, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo, Japan Tokyo, Japan Louise Bourgeois Maman, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan Andy Warhol at Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan Tsukemen Ramen, Tetsu, Tokyo, Japan Tokyo Observatory, Japan Tokyo Observatory, Japan

  1. Breakfast at the Tsukiji Fish Market. Phenomenally delicious and fresh.
  2. Our AirBnB host provided us with a bag of ‘instant’ coffee, which includes a built in individual filter that pops over your mug. Pour hot water over and…wonder why America’s instant coffee tastes so horrendous.
  3. Imperial Palace East Gardens
  4. Ginza, known for its luxury shopping, looks like someone laid out the designer Rolodex building by building. But seriously, what can you fill 12 floors of Cartier with?
  5. Meiji Jingu Shrine- went here in the afternoon and was fortunate enough to spot a Japanese wedding!
  6. Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world.
  7. My brother isn’t particularly tall at 5’9″, but appears to dwarf some of the furniture here. He also wears a size ‘Large’ in clothing…
  8. Which also leading to a few chuckles when I spotted this tag in a Zara.
  9. Maryland is keeping it real in Tokyo. Spotted this number in Harajuku, a mecca for young fashionistas.
  10. My favorite part of Tokyo is the numerous drugstores that flank the streets. Japanese women take their skincare very seriously, so these stores are oftentimes floors upon floors of various skin and makeup goodies.
  11. Louise Bourgeois’ ‘Maman’ sculpture in Roppongi Hills. No room for arachnophobia here.
  12. The Mori Art Museum is currently hosting the largest ever Warhol exhibition to be presented in Japan.
  13. There is a staggering amount of ramen EVERYWHERE (I know, I know…duh.) Gobbled this tsukemen at Tetsu in Roppongi Hills.
  14. Tokyo City View observation deck at Mori Tower.
  15. The view from Tokyo City View.

 

darwindiscovered_holidayguide_lushChristmas is quick upon us, and if you’re like me, your gift shopping progress is…zilch. Since I’ve been brainstorming what to gift to others, I figured I’d share my findings with you. If you’ve read our Build a Home Mini Bar guide, you’ll know that we like our imbibements at Casa de Darwin. Should you find yourself wondering what to gift your friend who enjoys partaking in beverage sipping of the alcoholic variety, look no further: 13 days till Christmas, 13 gift ideas that will make you want to drink.

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  1. A thoughtful post on finding happiness– through struggle.
  2. A guide to DC’s best ramen spots. We’ve been to Daikaya and Toki. Other places in the area we’ve tried include Temari and Ren’s Ramen in Montgomery County, but Daikaya is still the top contender in the area, in my opinion.
  3. The craziest OkCupid date ever. Sounds like my idea of fun.
  4. A bacon-washed bourbon recipe from one of my favorite mixology blogs, The Boys Club.
  5. Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Chad Stafko entitled, “OK, You’re a Runner. Get Over It” that evoked a wide range of emotions from the running community. Mark Remy over at Runner’s World wrote a response that garnered some chuckles from me. I just ran my second marathon last month, so let that tell you whose side I’m on.
  6. Alarming news about Baltimore’s beloved Berger cookies. Must. Stock. Up.
  7. Martha Stewart’s Instagram photos are less than inspiring.
  8. Last but not least, a certain someone was the Daily Puppy’s dog of the day yesterday! Go give him some biscuits =)

Happy weekend!

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Dear Internet Friends,

Hello! My name is Nugget and I am 12 weeks old. This weekend I met my new Mommy and Daddy. They brought me to a new home with lots of toys and treats and gave me an itchy collar. I miss my dog-parents Poe and Fae, but I am discovering all sorts of new things in this home. My favorite spot in my new house is on a big fluffy Flokati rug. On Saturday, I accidentally started peeing on it, but Mommy started yelling at me so I stopped. When I want to use the bathroom I sit on my butt near the door, and then my new parents take me on a walk. I made lots of new friends and discovered something called peanut butter. It is delicious. Mommy says I need to stop barking at other four-legged creatures, but I just get so excited! Yesterday at puppy pre-school, the trainer said that I need to make 100 human and dog friends before I turn 6 months old so that I become so-shuh-lized. I don’t know what “so-shuh-lized” means, but I heard Mommy telling Daddy that we should go play with other dogs, so it must be a good thing! Today my parents are at work, so Daddy set up something called a “web-cam” so that he can look at me on his phone while he is not at home. That’s all for now. I’m going to take a nap in my bed!

Love,
Nugget

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