Cocktails are delicious, and so is food. So combining the two must be even better! Such is the mindset of Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark, too really cool girls from Los Angeles who mix up some wacky alcoholic treats. You may remember our prior coverage of the their Ham Daiquiri, an intriguing and kind of revolting beverage. Now they have a new series on Food2.com where they're showing off their mixology skills and great vintage style.
I had a hilarious chat with them about their favorite drinks, things that shouldn't enter a cocktail glass, and how to make your home bar more daring.
So, how did you two meet?
Alie: we met at this little dive bar in the east side of Los Angeles. We met through friends, and [Georgia] would come to visit me, and I would wish she lived down here [in San Francisco].
Georgia: And I thought she was awesome.
A: We hit it off instantly because Georgia is hilarious and irreverent and outspoken.
When did you realize you had a shared passion for cocktails?
A: It started because we were just hungry. We worked really long hours so we'd start drinking...
G: ...And we would run across the street for Peanut Butter M&Ms or something and eat them at the same time [as we were drinking] and we were like, there's got to be a better way to do this.
A: So we made the McNuggetini, and the rest is history. I remember Georgia put the YouTube video on her Tumblr and it got like 200 hits that afternoon, and before we knew it was getting 10,000 hits a day. We got contacted by the New York Times and we thought it was a joke.
Do you always dress so well?
A: Well, right now I'm wearing my ex-boyfriends' shirt and shorts. But what's funny is that one thing we bonded over is that we both really like vintage shopping. When we dressed up for the McNuggetini we just wore our fanciest dresses. We weren't trying to do Mad Men or anything.
G: My whole closet is full of amazing vintage dresses, and that is how we dress pretty regularly.
What is your favorite drink you've ever concocted?
A: Mine would be the Thanksgiving special, "Shoot a Wild Turkey." It has a base of yams with wild turkey and butterscotch schnapps, then a shot of whiskey with bruleed marshmallow on top.
G: I am obsessed with cookie dough. I want a face mask of cookie dough that I need to eat my way out of. So I thought about what we could do with molasses and cookie dough. We infuse spiced rum with cinnamon and nutmeg and let that sit for two days, and then mix that with a vanilla cream and molasses—that's the "Gingerbread House." And we rimmed the glass in frosting because we are shameless.
Have you ever come up with an idea for a drink and then vetoed it immediately? Or will you give anything a shot (so to speak)?
G: I'm trying hard for us not to ever make the tuna casserole shooter that Alie came up with. The idea of using tuna juice in a cocktail is just...
A: It's like skydiving—nobody thinks they can do it, but then you can! Generally the seafood ones are good, they're kind of like an appetizer. It's umami in a glass!
What are some pantry staples for someone who wants to get more creative with their cocktails?
G: I think what's really fun is to infuse your own alcohols, which we do a lot. There's just so many flavors that you can use and it's so much more fun and beautiful to have your own homemade liquors.
A: Experimenting with infusions is a really good start to see how flavors pair; like a sweet bourbon infusion is really interesting. Vodka is really good to infuse.
You recently started airing a weekly series on Food2.com featuring your crazy drinks. Any other projects in the works?
G: We went to New York a couple weeks ago and shot a Cooking Channel special—they're all holiday-themed cocktails, like the "Meshugah Macaroon," so that was really fun. That's coming up in November. We're working on developing a TV show and we're trying to expand out of the cocktail—they're awesome and fun but kind of limiting. I think a lot of our fans are drawn to our humor and the way we come across on the camera, so we think we can expand out of the cocktails. We're both huge eaters and there's so many places we want to go.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves consuming and learning about as much food as possible. She blogs at Feasting on Providence.