1920s French-Style Oscars Party

Aida Mollenkamp Oscars Viewing Party

Today was très amusant! I woke up to throw together a 1920s French-themed party and share it with my friends on Access Hollywood Live. Seeing as I’ve been working with Moet & Chandon a French-ified party seemed parfait. So, I donned my best 1920s makeup, decorated with a mix of modern metallics and vintage glasses, and assembled an assortment of finger foods with classic French flavors.

Here’s a few tips I passed on, a menu inspired by classic French foods, and a few behind-the-scenes snapshots of  the food I prepared.
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Happy Hour: Berry Crush

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Cocktail Recipe Bramble Cocktail

Have you ever had a Bramble? No, I’m not talking about the thorny bush, but about a cocktail. If you haven’t tried it, consider this an intervention — you must have at least one before the summer is through.

I can’t remember where or when I first tried the Bramble, but I do recall that I fell for it instantly. That’s saying a lot because it’s gin-based and I’ve never been big on the often overpowering flavors of gin. But, the Bramble’s a different story. It’s a balanced mix of sweet, sour, fruity, and botanical (from the gin), so no one element overwhelms the other.

There’s something about the drink — perhaps the name or the traditional method — that has an air of an old school cocktail, but, by cocktail standards, it’s a spring chicken. The London-based bartender, Dick Bradsell, came up with the Bramble in 1984 when he added berry liqueur to a Gin Sour. Since then it has since become so popular in England some have coined it the Cosmopolitan of the UK. (Though, it must be said, that I think the Cosmo pales in comparison to the Bramble.)

And, as you can see above, this drink has as much going for it in looks as it does taste thanks to the berry liqueur that stains it an intense purple hue. But, my favorite part? The whole thing gets strained over crushed ice and looks like a snow cone, be it a very adult, boozy take on a snow cone.


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Summer, From Concentrate

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Recipe Cocktail Shrub

If only it were possible to bottle summer and store it away. Then, on a whim, you could open it to let sunshine, frozen desserts, and grill smells brighten even the rainiest of days.

When I was a kid, I almost had it figured out. I’d be at my grandmother Noni’s house in late summer — where time was kept in matches of badminton and meals defined by how many grilled scalloped potatoes you ate and I’d run about with a net and jar bottling fireflies. To me, fireflies were the epitome of summer because they’d dance about in the dark and make the room so bright that I could read Nancy Drew by their light. The next day we’d let them go and I’d inevitably be saddened because I’d remember that both the fireflies and summer were fleeting.

Now that I’m older, I take a different approach. Each season, I round up the season’s produce, get crafty in the kitchen, and lock in the flavor at its prime. Over the years I’ve pickled, preservedcandied, and canned all in the name of sealing the season tight in a jar. But this year, I took a different approach and started distilling those sunshine-filled flavors into shrubs.
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The Great Margarita Debate: Guava Cadillac Margarita

Mazda 5 - Guava Cadillac Margarita Cocktail Recipe // aidamollenkamp.com #pairswellwithfood

Road trips are where friends reveal their true colors. Yet after double-digit hours on the road, thousands of miles traveled, and getting to know my friends on a whole new level, I still adore them thoroughly. I may like them even more than when we started, but, we have decidedly different views on things — particularly  when it concerns margaritas.


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Grill Bird and Other Adventures

Local-Flavor

There is one less bird in Texas because of me. Technically, I wasn’t driving but I feel guilty just the same. While zooming our Mazda rental through the midst of nowhere Texas, there was a sudden flash of yellow and a thud. We wrote it off as a close call until we went to return the car and noticed the looks on the employees’ faces. Turns out a yellow-breasted bird was lodged firmly into the grill of our car and we unwittingly traveled a few days with it there– suffice it to say I was horrified at our new hood ornament.


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