Sunday, December 30

Theater Review: Beef and Boards' Arsenic and Old Lace


Not quite sweet enough for Grandma, yet not over-the-top enough for horror fans. Resting in between is the genre called "dark comedy." If you have left the stage or film performance scratching your head over whether it is a comedy or deadly drama, you have just witnessed a dark comedy.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” has been on stage and the big screen since the early 1940s. The film version starred Cary Grant as Mortimer Brewster, the sweet nephew of two elderly spinsters, Abby and Martha Brewster, (portrayed last night on stage by Karen Pappas and Gerri Weagraff), respectively.

 Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre, Indianapolis, opens its 40th season, as is its tradition, with a comedy. In this case, the classic story of the charitable ladies who just happen to commit murder.



Twelve murders to be exact.

Thrown into the chaos, Mortimer, played by David Schmittou, inadvertently discovers the family secret and attempts to transfer the blame to his brother. That younger brother, played by Doug Stark, happens to believe he is President Theodore Roosevelt. Yelling “Charge!” throughout the play, charging up the San Juan Hill (staircase) and digging the canal (graves) in Panama (cellar). Teddy is oblivious to his aunts’ wicked ways and … pretty much everything else. Stark clearly enjoys this role and takes to it with gusto, delighting the audience continually with his zany trumpeting, many costume changes and unwillingness to do anything not befitting a president of the United States.
Schmittou chalks up a great performance as the only sane one in the bunch, the straight man to the others’ antics. Pappas and Weagraff work superbly as a team turning the two murderesses into endearing and adorable, albeit slightly bemused, aunts. Showing no clear understanding as to the immorality or illegal facet of their unorthodox bad habit, the pair has no problem showing Mortimer exactly how they poison the elderly gentlemen boarders. Putting the deadly potion of arsenic, cyanide and strychnine into elderberry wine, the two believe they are doing the men a favor by putting them out of their loneliness.

To add more trouble for Mortimer in walks escaped-from-prison brother Jonathan (Jeffrey Stockberger), not seen for 20 years. Jonathan, in an attempt to hide from authorities, teams up with Dr. Einstein, a quack plastic surgeon, played by Eddie Curry. Curry is hysterical in this role, taking the doctor, who transforms the convict into a Boris Karloff look alike, up several notches to a whole other wacky stratosphere.
Stockberger turns in a believable character demonstrating his ability to play more than straight comedy. Bearing scary features, even scarier mannerisms, and a terrifying pleasure in murdering people, Jonathan discovers his aunts are tied with his murder record: 12-to-12. And he is not pleased.

Bodies are hidden in window seats, dragged down cellar steps and pushed through windows, all the while Mortimer tries to keep visiting cops, his fiancée, and the neighbors from finding out the secret which will send his entire family to prison.

This comedy about death, delusion and deception brings out the best in Pappas, Stark and Curry, generating some of the best performances seen out of the trio. It's apparent all in the cast enjoy their roles and the north side theater starts out the new season on a high note.

Bottom Line: Beef and Boards opens its 40th season with Arsenic and Old Lace, a madcap, zany comedy that just happens to be about murder ~ made even zanier by this talented cast.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, an in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Saturday, December 29

Movie Review: Les Miserables Perfection in its Imperfections

With an epic tale carrying a built-in audience- (and critic-) base of 60+ million, Les Miserables is an epic-size gamble. A gamble that has obviously paid off already according to the dollar followers. Is it Oscar-caliber? Certainly director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) has got the chatterboxes going...

And the actors?

So often, particularly in movies with fun-to-love-or-hate side characters, there is a runaway, steal-the-film actor or actors. Case in point: Inglorious Basterds (See review here) when a supporting role's actor took the audience's adoration (and Oscar) away from the golden boy of Hollywood. No surprise runaway in this film. The casting, with the exception of Russell Crowe, is chosen well.

Who to watch for award wins? Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Helena Bonham-Carter, along with Hooper and the picture itself, and the costume and set crews. Perhaps Sacha Baron Cohen, but I would be surprised if Crowe carries off a trophy for this one. Throughout the musical number, of which is the majority of Javert's onscreen time, Crowe seems uncomfortable with singing.

Hooper's non glitzy style has served him well in what could have been an over-polished caricature of the Victor Hugo work. When the 1862 book came out, there was a definite look at the gritty underbelly of the French culture. To have prettied it up for the film would have been morally wrong.

Hooper maximizes the grime and suffering to bring the viewer into the horrific happenstance of Jean Valjean (Jackman) a prisoner for stealing bread to feed his family. Upon serving the 19 years in a prison no one would ever want to behold, Valjean turns his life around, becoming a changed man (along with a changed name) creating a successful life. Unfortunately, he breaks parole in doing so and now is ever watchful for the by-the-book guard-turned Inspector Javert (Crowe)

Jackman's stage background prepares him well for this musical, showcasing his talents of live performances blending well with his movie background. Seamless and believable, we suffer along with Valjean as he trembles in the cold, fears of recapture and feels remorse for his part in the downfall of Fantine (Hathaway).

Fantine's illegitimate, secret child, Cosette, (Amanda Seyfried), is disclosed forcing the penniless and homeless mother to live in the gutters of French society. Selling her hair, teeth and body for money to pay for her daughter's caretakers, Hathaway's remarkable, "I Dreamed a Dream" brought down the house, and brought out the tissues. The closeup of Fantine's face as she weeps her way through the song shares her inner loss of innocence and tortured soul.

When Valjean reaches her deathbed, Fantine dies knowing he will find Cosette, and raise the child as his own, away from the prostitution and degrading circumstances which caused her own early death.

Apart from his labored singing, Crowe is perfect as the unrelenting tracker, Javert's full fury and wrath creating sparks (and spittle) during his musical numbers. Crowe's acting ability is brought to a new level matching against Jackman.
One of the best decisions by Hooper ~ which brings this entire piece of work to the very core of the audience ~ is to have the actors sing live rather than lip sync and dub in later. The performers are much more believable with their voices taxed by the cold, emotions of the moment and the missing safety net, proving reality cannot be faked.

I cannot fathom anyone who could have lightened the mood more than Bonham-Carter with Cohen for the caretakers' scenes. She and Cohen as the scruffy, immoral innkeepers, Thenardiers, bring the audience to tears with laughter, as much as Fantine's meltdown brought the audience to tears with pity.
"Master of the House" is a raucous, filthy good time which describes the couple as the worthless lot they truly are with a tongue-in-cheek romp of a tune.

Between the close ups, the live singing, the plot and the quality of performers used, Hooper has proven once again that there is more than one way to win an Oscar.

Bottom Line: The imperfections are exactly what makes Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" absolutely perfect.

Images provided by image.net

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at GottaGo.us and FoodDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, an in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thursday, December 27

Orchids at Palm Court at Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Named One of Top 100 Restaurants

 *Press Release*
CINCINNATI – Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is pleased to announce that the hotel’s fine-dining establishment, Orchids at Palm Court, has been recognized as One of the Top 100 Restaurants Overall in the U.S.A. by OpenTable. The list of winners is derived from nearly five million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The best overall restaurants award is based on reviews collected from OpenTable diners between December 2011 and November 2012. For more information about all of the restaurants on this list, visit OpenTable.com.
Orchids at Palm Court and Chef Kelly have been honored with numerous awards including the American Automobile Association’s (AAA) coveted four-diamond award for excellence for eight consecutive years; Polly Campbell, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s restaurant critic, gave the Orchids a five-star (extraordinary) rating; Zagat Survey named Orchids Cincinnati’s “Top Overall Restaurant” for 2013, 2012 & 2011; Cincinnati Magazine named Orchids #1 restaurant in the city for the fourth consecutive year (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009); Chef Kelly was named the American Culinary Federation’s 2011 Chef of the Year, the highest honor given in the 50,000+ chef national organization, and he is one of Hilton Hotel and Resorts’ Signature Chefs, just one of six in the USA.

Click link to order Chef Todd Kelly's Cookbook Todd Kelly's Orchids at Palm Court.

About Orchids at Palm Court and Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Orchids at Palm Court is part of The Restaurants at Palm Court which also includes The Bar at Palm Court and The Grille at Palm Court. They are located in Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, 35 West Fifth Street, downtown Cincinnati. Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza opened in 1931 and is one of the world’s finest examples of French art deco architecture, while the restaurant features rare Brazilian rosewood walls with German silver-nickel metalwork and lighting fixtures.
The two-story ceiling features large Romanesque murals and on the north end of the restaurant is an original Rookwood Pottery fountain flanked by two large seahorses which illustrates the magnificent examples of art deco in the restaurant. The hotel is a charter member of Historic Hotels of America, is a registered National Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Website: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Website: OrchidsatPalmCourt.com

Images furnished by Hilton-Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, an in print. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Friday, December 21

Infused: Top 10 Holidays Inspired Cocktails 2012

Winter wonderlands made of snowflakes gently floating downward, peppermint candy canes and pine trees fulfill memories of the Christmas season. Champagne, balloons and midnight kisses bring in the New Year with pleasure. This holiday season has many traditions and one of the most fun are the parties. Dancing until dawn, friends and family gatherings, and food and adult beverages create a festive party atmosphere.

I invited experts in the world of spirits, wine and beer, including sommeliers, mixologists, restaurants, pubs, distillers and manufacturers to send their Christmas and New Year's-inspired cocktails. The response was overwhelming once again, with recipes pouring in from across the United States.

I compiled the list and narrowed it down to the ones most in spirit with the holiday and consisting of uniqueness, great taste and visual appeal. I present to you the...



Top 10 Best Holidays Inspired Cocktails 2012

(1)
The White Christmas
(image above)
Who: My Moon
Where: Brooklyn, NY
Website: MyMoonNYC.com
Twitter: @MyMoonNYC
Inspiration: The inspiration came from Jared’s childhood, in which there was always eggnog around throughout the holidays (only then, non-alcoholic, of course).
Recipe: ¾ oz of pasteurized egg yolk, 1 oz heavy cream, ½ oz Frangelico, ¼ oz amaretto, ¾ oz Patron Café: Dry shake until foamy & homogenized. Add ice and shake well until cold and slightly diluted. Dust with grated or powder nutmeg and cinnamon

(2)
The Merry Mint
Who: Blush Ultraloung in Le Merigot Hotel at Casino Aztar (Steven Lagenourand Catherine Daters)
Where: Evansville, IN
Website: CasinoAztar.com
Twitter: N/A
Inspiration: This creamy, minty Christmas drink captures the popular flavors of Christmas: eggnog, mint, chocolate, and coconut, all combined into one sweet dessert drink.
Recipe: 1 oz Baileys mint chocolate, 1/2 oz van Gogh coconut, 1/2 oz creme de menthe (green), 1 oz Pinnacle whipped, 1/2 oz egg nog, Whipped cream, Chocolate syrup, Snowflake coconut; Put Baileys in martini glass. Rim top of Baileys with chocolate syrup. In shaker combine van Gogh, creme de menthe, and egg nog. Slowly poor mixture on top of Baileys in martini glass. Add pinnacle to martini glass. Finish with whipped cream, drizzle of chocolate syrup, and top with sprinkle of snowflake coconut.

(3)
Haute Holiday
Who: Fleming's Steakhouse
Where: Indianapolis, IN
Website: FlemingsSteakhouse.com
Inspiration: A perfect way to start off a holiday toast or the New Year.
Recipe: 1/2 oz. Quady Elysium Black Muscat Dessert Wine, 1/2 oz. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, 4 oz. Mionetto Prosecco, 1 Luxardo cherry; in a chilled Champagne flute glass, combine Quady Elysium and St-Germain Elderflower; top gently with Mionetto Prosecco; garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
(4)
Sparkling Peppermint Swirl
Who: Voga Italia Wine
Where: Italy
Website: VogaItalia.com
Inspiration: The holiday's favorite candy
Recipe: 2 ½ oz VOGA Sparkling, 1.5 oz Vanilla vodka, 1 oz crème de menthe liquor, splash of Grenadine; In a shaker, combine ice, vodka and crème de menthe and grenadine; stir gently and strain into a chilled martini glass rimmed with crushed candy canes; top with VOGA Sparkling and garnish with a candy cane.

(5)
Santa's Hot Chocolate
Who: Dead Rabbit (Pamela Witznitzer)
Where: New York, NY

Inspiration: Anyone can have regular hot chocolate ~ the tequila and cayenne pepper give an unexpected kick for Santa on a long night out in the cold
Recipe: 1 part Tequila Avión Añejo, .75 parts Galliano Ristretto Coffee liqueur, 2 ½ parts hot cocoa, Cayenne pepper, Whipped cream; combine 1 part Tequila Avión Añejo, ½ part Galliano Ristretto Coffee liqueur, 2 ½ parts hot cocoa into a pot and heat; once heated, strain content into a coffee mug; put a few dashes of cayenne pepper and stir hot; top with whipped cream and a pinch of cayenne pepper for garnish.

(6)
Monkey Business
Who: House of Marnier-Lapostolle
Where: Chile
Website: KappaPisco.com
Twitter: @KappaPisco
Inspiration: KAPPA has put their own spin on a traditional Chilean Christmas cocktail called "Cola de Mono" (Monkey’s Tail). Cola de Mono is served in Chile around the holidays, similar to eggnog in the U.S.
Recipe: 1 cup KAPPA Pisco, 1 c. water, 1 gallon milk (cold), 1 c. white sugar, 1/4 c. instant coffee granules, 20 whole cloves, 5 cinnamon sticks, 1 TB. vanilla extract (optional); gently simmer the cloves and cinnamon sticks in water until reduced by half (about 30 minutes). Add 1 cup of milk and heat to a simmer. Then stir in and dissolve the coffee and sugar. Strain the coffee mixture into the remaining cold milk, and discard the cloves and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the KAPPA Pisco and vanilla extract. Store in refrigerator until well-chilled (4 hours). Serve (do not serve with ice) in a high glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

(7)
New Year's Resolution
Who: Cruzan (Jesse Card)
Where: St. Croix
Website: CruzanRum.com
Inspiration: Always have a non-alcoholic choice at your party.
Recipe: 1 part Cruzan® Black Cherry Rum, 1 dash Bitters, Sparkling Wine (non-alcoholic), Lemon Twist, Black Cherry; Pour rum into a champagne flute and top with sparkling wine. Add a dash of bitters to finish. Garnish by dropping a lemon twist wrapped cherry into the flute.
(8)
Blanc Vermouth Fizz 

Who: Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel
Where: 500 W. Florida St., Milwaukee, WI
Twitter: @ironhorsehotel
Inspiration: The holidays are always celebrated with bubbles, this is reminiscent of the vintage liquor posters with old school, classic ingredients.
Recipe:  2 oz Dolin Vermouth Blanc, .5 oz St. Germaine, .5 oz Simple Syrup, 4 springs mint muddled, 2 raspberries muddled, topped with Prosecco, serve in a champagne saucer.

(9)
Peppermint Mochatini
Who: Ruth's Chris Steakhouse (Jordan Ward)
Where: Indianapolis.
Inspiration: Thetraditional holiday flavors of mint and chocolate.
Recipe: 1 oz. Sobieski Vanilla Vodka, .05 oz Kahlua, .05 oz Creme de Cocoa Dark Espresso, .25 oz Peppermint Shcnapps, .25 oz Half and Half; Glassware-chilled martini glass drizzled inside with chocolate syrp; add all ingredients to a martini shaker, shake and strain into chilled martini glass.

(10)
Egg Nog 46
Who: Maker's Mark Cookbook (Lee Ann Wong, Bourbon Diva)
Where: New York, NY
Twitter: @leeannwong
Inspiration: Nothing says holidays like this rich homemade treat. This spiked version of a holiday classic, enhanced by the spicy caramel undertones of Maker’s 46, is the perfect drink when curled up by a fireplace. 
Recipe:  2 c. whole milk, ½ vanilla bean, split and scraped or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ tsp salt, 4 egg yolks, ½ c. sugar, divided, 1 c. cold heavy cream, 4 parts Maker’s 46™ Bourbon, 4 egg whites (optional); combine the whole milk, scraped vanilla bean seeds and the bean pod in a small pot; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; then stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; turn the heat off and allow the milk to infuse for 20 minutes; reheat the milk to a simmer; have a large metal or glass bowl sitting in a large bowl of ice water and a fine mesh strainer ready. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 7 T. of sugar together briskly until the egg yolks become pale and fluffy. Add a ½ cup of the hot milk to the egg yolks while whisking quickly to temper the egg yolks. Once evenly combined, pour the mixture back into the pot and cook the mixture over low heat until it thickens, stirring the bottom of the pot constantly using a wooden spoon, being careful not to overcook/scramble the eggs. The eggnog is ready when the mixture coats the back of a spoon and you can draw a distinct line through it. Pour the eggnog through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl on ice. Whisk in the heavy cream and Maker’s 46 Bourbon. Stir the egg nog until it begins to cool down, then place the mixture in the refrigerator to chill overnight. You can serve as is (adjust texture with cold milk or cream), or whip the 4 egg whites with the remaining tablespoon of sugar to soft peaks, then fold into the chilled egg nog. Serve immediately into a mug.

Images furnished by entries
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 12

Infused: Cookbook Review: The Butch Bakery Cookbook

I enjoy reviewing cookbooks, especially when it involves creating something that stands out in a field inundated with cookbooks. “The Butch Bakery Cookbook” by David Arrick has done just that with “man-inspired” cupcakes infused with whiskey, rum and other adult flavors.

Created by Arrick, (former Wall Street suit-wearer) the owner of Butch Bakery, New York City, along with Janice Kollar, former owner of Kollar Cookies, NYC, created a book rich with recipes and delectable images by Jason Wyche. The step-by-step guide takes readers on a journey illustrating the importance of quality ingredients, stepping outside the box and having fun while making cupcakes.

If you have always wondered why there is no bacon on the trending, tiny cakes, wonder no more. Arrick recognizes the importance of appealing to a man’s taste buds and applies various “manly” ingredients, including pork, peanut butter and root beer. No sparkles, polka dots or fancy glitter appear in these recipes. However, if women want to commit to the old adage, “the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” she won’t go wrong with this collection.

Giving specific instructions on needs prior to starting each baking project, the bakery owner gets the mindset of men and applies the correct style of writing: efficient, direct and appealing chapter titles. “Desserts for Dudes,” includes boot camp, exact needs for the male baker’s toolbox and other pertinent information. After that, chapters are named for the type of goodie recipes included: “Play Ball,” “Touchdown” and “Barbecue” to name a few.

Don’t be discouraged that this is just another collection of cupcake recipes. The ingredients will put that idea right out of your head. Craving a chili dog? It’s in here, along with the secret ingredient of cayenne powder. The Chocolate Stout Cupcakes, aka Beer Run, hits the Guinness tap for both the cake and topping. Defense Defense’s red velvet cupcake gets topped with a Jack Daniels’ frosting.

Having ladies over? Mojitos are jazzed up via dark rum, lime zest and cream cheese. A Rum and Coke is baked goodness due to a heavy dose of rum raisins, white chocolate chips and nutmeg perks up the adult-style dessert named “Big Papi.” The B-52 makes a splash with a Kahlua-soaked Madagascar cupcake with a Bailey's Bavarian filling.

The Old-fashioned, once a standard male drink gets a contemporary touch with this baked version of whiskey, orange zest and bitters. The Side Car shimmies up to the bar stool in its cupcake liner and filled with brandy, Cointreau and butter-cream frosting.

“Butch’s Baking Lesson” included after every recipe gives the must-not-forget detail, while, also at the end of the recipes, are handy mix-and-match ideas, alternative recipes and “Plan of Attack” hints and tips.

Bottom Line: “The Butch Bakery Cookbook” is certain to be a favorite with men ~ and anyone cooking with men in mind.

Image provided by Wiley Press
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thursday, December 6

Infused: How to Make a Wine Reduction Sauce 101

When discussing wine reduction(s), the normal home cook may be a little overwhelmed to even think about cooking with spirits, wine and beer. The idea of using an expensive ingredient ~ whether an herb, spice or alcohol ~ is daunting.

When do you use a wine reduction? What goes in it? Will it be superfluous? Which wine do I use? A person could go more than slightly insane with questions.

Here are a few tips I have picked up along my travels in various chefs' kitchens over the years.

First tip (and I applaud this one heartily) is NEVER cook with a quality of wine you don't like well enough to drink. Pretty much common sense, I would think, but over and over I hear people remark, "Well, that's not all that great, put it back for cooking." Ugh. If you don't want to drink the flavor, why would you want to eat food enhanced with the same flavor? Some of the alcohol cooks out ~ not the flavor. Also note that not all alcohol cooks out, particularly with the wine reduction sauce as it is cooked quickly.

Don't be scared to ask for help. There are too many resources available these days to not take a look at when troubled by choices. There are many, many wines out there and no one outside of Master Sommeliers is likely to know all of them.

Start with what you know. When beginning this new adventure, use wine you are familiar with already. Now is not the time to pick up an expensive, collectible wine. Experiment with unknown flavors later on. Get your feet wet, and your appetite whetted, with friendly wines first.
Below are step-by-step instructions on your first wine reduction. Reduction sauces are simply that: sauces reduced to about three quarters of the original amount of liquid. For a thicker sauce, reduce it to about one-half of the original amount of wine. It is all based on how concentrated a flavor you desire.

Reds are great with beef, lamb and pork dishes, while whites pair well with pork (also), chicken and seafood. Begin with the wine. Since the idea of leftover wine is mind-boggling, let's assume you will use the same wine you will be drinking during the meal. It's safe to bet it will pair nicely. Next, keep with the pan you used for cooking the meat.

Taking the meat out of the pan, set it aside and keep warm in oven, covered with foil. Pour wine into the pan with the leftover bits from the meat. Cook over medium heat until (Don't forget to sip a little wine as you go to enjoy the experience more) wine is consistency you want.

Pull pan off heat, swirl in a tablespoon of butter. The butter adds shine to the sauce and enriches the flavor. Drizzle sauce over the meat, around the meat, or make a pool under the meat, on its serving platter. Serve, sit back and wait for the rave reviews.

Variations are as numerous as there are cooks in the world. Experimenting with your favorite foods, herbs and spices will make this sauce your own special recipe. Many will add in mushrooms, Thyme, Rosemary, salt, pepper, unsalted butter. It mostly depends on the meat, side dishes and preferences. There are no real rule breakers with the exception of the one which bears repeating. Never use a quality of wine you wouldn't drink.

Bottom Line: Don't worry if it doesn't come out perfect the first time. And...don't be surprised if it does.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, December 5

Infused: Wanted: The Best Christmas-Inspired Cocktails

Think you or your mixologist have the best recipe for a cocktail inspired by Christmas? I will be featuring Christmas-inspired cocktails in Infused, giving everyone the Top Ten best entries to enjoy throughout the 2012 holiday season. All recipes, images and contact information for the submission need to be in via email at elizabethjmusgrave@yahoo.com, by Monday, December 17. This will be a fun way for readers to enjoy cocktails made with great products and inspired by a fun holiday.

All entries must absolutely include images for the cocktail and all of the below information. Please remember to send the Twitter handle/link and website link. This helps the readers go immediately to you and check out how wonderful your company, bar, restaurant, et al, is and follow you on Twitter.

No stress, just fun!

Those chosen will be featured in Infused, on GottaGo.us and Food Digital the week of December 19. E-mail submissions only are required, no physical attendance needed for this one.

Include (in order and completely) the following information:

1) Cocktail's themed name
2) Bar/company/restaurant/mixologist/winery name and location
3) Website and Twitter handle so readers can check you out!
4) Recipe, including measurements, garnish and glassware
5) Inspiration for drink- obviously Christmas time, but what exactly inspired you to make this particular drink? Why a red and white layered cocktail? Are candy canes your favorite holiday candy? If inspired by a holiday movie or song, why? Have fun with it!
6) Image-Please make sure it is a good quality.

This is open to anyone within the spirits/wine/beer/restaurant realm including mixologists, bars, fine dining, bartenders, sommeliers, hotels, companies, spirit entrepreneurs, et cetera. The idea is to feature cocktails inspired by Christmas and all the fuzzy, warm nostalgic feelings about the holiday. Let your imagination run wild with this one...it can go many directions: Christmas candy, jolly old St. Nick, Santa Claus, elves, Frosty the snowman, a favorite holiday carol, a holiday movie (numerous options there!), gift wrap...you get the idea!

***Special Note***
Several cocktails were disqualified for the last two Top 10 cocktail lists due to the name and/or inspiration missing or not applicable to the theme. Let's see your best THEMED drink! Sending in a cocktail with a non-themed name and/or inspiration won't make it in the list. (Ex. sending a chocolate martini with the liqueur brand as the name or stating it is inspired by your love of chocolate has nothing to do with Christmas. However, a chocolate martini with a maraschino cherry floating in it ~ named and inspired by Rudolph ~ would work....)

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.