Maureen Petrosky, a CIA graduate who holds a sommelier certification from the Master Court of Sommeliers, was a member of a book club that met once a month at a rotating number of houses hosted by members of the club. Eventually the gathering of friends realized what everyone really enjoyed was taking time out of busy work schedules and family duties to relax and enjoy each other’s company. They liked reading and discussing books but it was social conversation and a glass of wine they craved. If you’re a busy parent, just having an uninterrupted conversation with another adult is a pleasure.
The focus shifted to being a social get-together only and The Wine Club was born. The wine gatherings, with various labels to taste, were the motivation for Petrosky’s first book, titled The Wine Club. A phone call to Petrosky from a club member who was getting ready to host the group took them in a whole new direction. The group member wanted to make some fun cocktails and Petrosky helped her plan the menu with an Aperol Fizz, a spritzer with a burst of orangey flavor, served in champagne flutes. The group moved from monthly wine tastings and officially became The Cocktail Club.
As of this month, you can get started with your own ideas for a cocktail club with Petrosky’s latest book, The Cocktail Club: A Year of Recipes and Tips for Spirited Tasting Parties (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, May 2014) available now. The pages of The Cocktail Club are filled with beautiful photos of drinks, and small bites to go with them, for every month of the year. Even if you are completely new to tumblers, shakers, and cocktails, Petrosky’s tips for getting started and setting up a bar to make a year’s worth of cocktails are easy to follow. The recipes include drinks like a Hot Salted Caramel Cocktail or Spiked Hot Apple Cider for cooler months paired with an Easy and Elegant Cheese Platter or Simply Addictive Sugar and Spice Nuts.
Get a copy of The Cocktail Club now and jump into the month of May to kick off Memorial Day and the outdoor dining season. Petrosky includes the classic cocktail recipes like The Famous Margarita where she encourages readers to make a margarita from scratch for a true margarita flavor and not use the powdered margarita mixes in a bucket. Remember the lime shortage everyone was talking about this spring? The limes might be a little pricey in your area. Use Petrosky’s margarita recipes and give them the respect they deserve. Flip the page and find her twist on the classic version with a Strawberry-Basil Margarita to serve your guests with her recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread with Cayenne-Honey Butter.
If you’re playing host to a “staycation” this summer, you’ll want a copy of The Cocktail Club on hand for when the heat is on so you can make a Cosmo Slushy or some Prohibition Punch to sip by the pool. Dessert ideas are there for you too with recipes for a Root Beer Float with Bourbon Ice Cream or Cherry-Vanilla Popsicles on a sultry evening.
Visit Petrosky’s site for entertaining ideas and watch for her appearances on the Today show with Hoda and Kathie Lee, where it seems it’s always cocktail hour. Get a copy of The Cocktail Club for fun cocktail and food ideas all year long.
Alice Knisley Matthias is a mom of two boys who love to trade weird-but-true facts. She writes about food, family, education and garden. She loves to cook, grow fresh herbs, and believes in an organic lifestyle for her family in the kitchen and the garden. Her work has appeared in Eating Well, Highlights for Children, Boys’ Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul, What to Expect, Cook n’ Scribble and an America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country Cookbook. She is the author of herbinkitchen.com and a regular blogger for KIDS DISCOVER. Find her on Twitter.