The Rye Bar’s Romantic Cocktail Tips

Valentines Day Cocktail

What are the secrets to creating a great cocktail?  This question came up during my chat with one of the Rye Bar’s signature & most well-known D.C. bartenders, Angel Cervantes.  “The liquor must stand out and the herbs and liqueurs must always come secondary.”   I wanted to get a deeper look into how our bartenders at Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown create these unique, flavor punched cocktails, and what the basics are to create my own at home.  With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I asked Angel for his best romantic cocktail tips:

Valentines Day Cocktail

One of my favorite words of recommendation from Angel is, “It doesn’t matter what you’re making, it matters who you’re making it with.”  Creating cocktails involves letting loose and being creative.  To make it romantic, try tasting new flavors with your significant other to experience what you both like.  “Play with flavors of liqueurs, juices, sweetness, and acidity and decide what you are in the mood for.”  First, you must choose your liquor that will be the main focus of the drink.  Then think about what to add to your cocktail- herbs like lavender, rosemary, basil (infused in simple syrup), and citruses like lemons, limes, and oranges.  Once you both develop your favorite ingredients, fixings, and liquors, you will have an easier and more pleasurable time crafting cocktails.

Some of Angel’s suggested staple bar ingredients are:

  1. Lime or Lemon
  2. Sugar infused with an assortment of herbs or fruits
  3. Bitters, a liquid, often an alcoholic liquor, in which bitter herbs or roots have steeped, used as a flavoring

Will this Valentine’s Day be bitter or sweet for you? Regardless, here’s a great cocktail recipe that you can try out for yourself at home in case you’re not able to be here with us this year!

My Bitter Valentine

1.5 oz. Boyd & Blair Vodka
Dash of Hum Herbal Liqueur
.75 oz. St-Germaine
1 oz. Luxardo
Top with 3 dashes Boston Bitters
.25 oz. Lime juice

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a dried rose petal.

For a more hands on learning experience, The Rye Bar is hosting a Couple’s Cocktail Class on Valentine’s Day weekend, which is all about enjoying quality time with your significant other while developing romantic craft cocktails and learning essential bar techniques.  Guests will also delight in canapés and small bites, followed by a 3-course meal with cocktail pairings.  At the end, each couple will receive a signature take home gift from The Rye Bar!  For reservations, contact Elisabeth Thomas at (202) 617-2429 or email elisabeth.thomas@capellahotels.com.

A Spa Detox at Capella Ixtapa

Spa Detox

In my last post I introduced a detoxing tip from Executive Chef, Alex Branch.  But, if you are like me, there is still more detoxing in order!  So I reached out to Capella Ixtapa’s Spa Manager, Valentina Velazco for some additional detoxing tips.  She was happy to oblige and shared her favorite post-holiday treatments.

Valentina recommends a visit to the sauna.  Specifically she suggests combining Finn and Turkish Sauna (Ice Room and hydrotherapy), as it is a very efficient way of ridding the body of toxins.

Spa Detox

After that she recommends a 3-step treatment:

1) Body Exfoliation.  Look for options with anti-inflammatory and purifying elements like papaya or mango.
2) Body Wraps.  This is opportunity to add nourishments into the skin.  At Capella Ixtapa we often include the local Melissa plant in these sort of treatments.
3) A Massage.  Whether you like something deep or lighter, a therapeutic massage is a great way to free the tension in one’s muscles.

Also, don’t forget about your face!  A purifying facial treatment will help you remove all impurities and remedy the saturation of make up usage during the holidays.

After a spa day like that and Alex’s fantastic Cocoa Tea, it will be easy to continue with the good habits in the rest of the year.  I am implementing this plan and am already seeing results!

Do you have a special detox recipe or treatment plan that works for you?  Please share it with me in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter! Here’s to continued good habits in 2013!

Desintoxicación de Spa en Capella Ixtapa

Spa Detox

En mi último post les presenté un tip de desintoxicación del Chef Ejecutivo, Alex Branch. Pero, si son como yo, aún se necesita más desintoxicación por realizar! Así que me acerqué a Valentina Velazco la gerente de nuestro Spa para que me diera más tips de desintoxicación. Ella felizmente accedió y nos comparte sus tratamientos post-celebraciones navideñas favoritos.

Valentina me recomendó una visita al sauna. Específicamente ella recomienda combinar el Baño Turco con el Sauna Finlandés (Hidroterapia y el cuarto de hielo), ya que es una manera muy eficiente de deshacerse de las toxinas del cuerpo.

Spa Detox

Después de esto, recomienda un tratamiento de 3 pasos:

1) Exfoliación Corporal: Busca las opciones que incluyan anti-inflamatorios y elementos purificadores como la papaya o el mango.
2) Envoltorios Corporales: Esta es una oportunidad para añadir nutrientes a la piel. En Capella Ixtapa es común que incluyamos “Melissa” una planta local nutriente en estos tratamientos.
3) Masaje: Ya sea que prefieras un masaje profundo o suave, un masaje terapéutico es una gran manera de liberar tensión de los músculos.

Así también, ¡no te olvides de tu cara! Un tratamiento facial purificador te ayudará a remover todas las impurezas y remediar la saturación de maquillaje utilizado durante la temporada de celebraciones navideñas.

Después de un día de Spa como ese y el fabuloso té de cacao de Alex, me será más fácil continuar con los buenos hábitos el resto del año. Estoy implementando este plan ¡y estoy ya viendo resultados!

¿Y tu, tienes una receta o tratamiento especial para la desintoxicación? Por favor compárteme tus comentarios en este post, o en facebook o twitter! ¡Y que sigan los buenos hábitos en el 2013!

Secrets To A Christmas Goose

The Christmas season has officially arrived!  Now, last year at this time I told you about our Christmas Markets.  This year I want to fill you in on a very special dish that is served during the holiday season: roasted goose with dumplings, glazed chestnuts and red cabbage.

Do you know the feeling when certain scents are attached to memories?  Well, when I smell roasted goose and those side dishes, many childhood memories come to mind— Christmas with my grandparents, wintery evenings at home with the family and vacations in the countryside.

Also at Breidenbacher Hof’s Brasserie “1806” the season for roasted goose has begun.  And our chefs are not just preparing the traditional roast— they also created an entire three-course menu to go along with it!  In addition to the goose, the menu includes truffle and liver pate for starters and chocolate and quince dessert.  Yummy!

I have always wanted to prepare the goose for Christmas Eve with my family, but have been too intimidated.  This year I plan to conquer my fears and have asked our chefs for tips on preparing the perfect roast goose at home.

Christmas Goose

Here is what I learned:

–  The weight: A goose with a weight of 4 kilos should be enough for 6 people.

–  The ingredients: You should add water, oranges, apples, some lemon and herbs (e.g. Mugwort) to the goose in the roasting tray. Use the resulting stock to moisten the goose throughout the roasting period.

–  You can calculate 45 minutes in the convection oven (180°C) for every kilo of goose.

–  The perfect side dish: We add traditionally red cabbage to the goose. Some of you may ask, why we always eat that much cabbage in Germany.  Well, like potatoes or corn in the US, this is one of the most prevalent crops in Germany.   One secret to good red cabbage: Add some cassis liqueur and goose fat to it.  Believe me it makes a huge difference!

Hopefully I have taken some of the mystery out of roasting the ideal Christmas goose!  Let me know if you tackle this dish for your holiday meal.