Make It Work: Substitutions Strike Again!

I’ve found a kindred soul in our new roommate.

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. I’ve found someone who will go to Target with me. Frequently.

I know. You’re jealous.

So today we took a lovely walk toward the land of plenty – aka the 4 floors of shopping that include Costco, Gamestop, Target, Marshalls, Bobs Discount Furniture, Best Buy and Old Navy.

There’s also a Petsmart, which prompted me to pretend I could get another dog and use to find the perfect one. His name is Cody, and if I were home for more than half my day, this little bugger would be all mine.

I digress. Andy was insistent on finding a vegetable steamer. When he found out that a vegetable steamer and a rice cooker could be the same machine, he was ecstatic.

When I found out that the machine could steam rice, I thought, “THAI FOR DINNER!”

Red Curry Chicken over Jasmine Rice.

Obviously Target had everything I could possibly need. Although the Thai Kitchen recipe asked for 1 tablespoon of Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce.

Quoi ? Fish Sauce ? Vraiment ? Non ! Absolument pas !

I mean, why would you need anything to do with fish? Je fais le poulet, pas des fruits de mer! So I carried on, sans Fish Sauce. Dinner was delicious. The flavors were all there, but not very strong. Perhaps something was missing? Ok, I guess next time I’ll try this so-called Fish Sauce, or maybe I’ll just buy all the spices that I need and make my own curry from scratch! Ha!

Although dinner was appétissant, we found ourselves suddenly assoiffé. Perhaps it was all the Sriracha we had added.

Andy suggested taking a trip to the bar Paddy and I work at so that Paddy could make us some a Gin Fizz (I’d been craving one).

Groan. “You are more than welcome to make that trip, but the last place I want to be is work.”

It’s true. I’m grateful to have the day off, and I don’t want to be anywhere near work today.

“Can we make them here? Or make something? We have a whole bar!”

It’s true, we have a not-so-basic bar. Basic by David Wondrich’s guidelines maybe, but certainly not by your local pub’s. Though there is plenty of beer in the fridge. We have 5 different types of bitters, Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash, Bols Genever (think whiskey-like gin) Rittenhouse Rye, Sombra Mezcal, Luxardo Maraschino, some other whiskey, a vodka, rum, Cocchi Americano and the God among vermouths – Carpano Antica.

Surely, we could figure out something. I started Googling.

“None of these recipes call for egg whites. I want one with egg white.”

It’s just no fun without egg whites.

“Wait! Where’s Padraig’s book, the one that’s not Punch, but it’s by the same guy…”


“I don’t know, I know what it looks like.”


We began our search. He went through Padraig’s room – which was a feat in itself. I eventually found myself lying on the ground looking under the couch.


We looked at a lot of different recipes. I really wanted a Ramos Gin Fizz. Alas, we had no Orange Flower Water. As we began rummaging the kitchen for the necessary ingredients, but realized that no matter what recipe we looked at, we would be missing a really important ingredient. Gin.

Can’t make a Gin Fizz without Gin.

Also, we didn’t have a cocktail shaker/tin. We didn’t have a strainer, which has a tool on it called a “cage” that helps in breaking up the egg white. So, no strainer, no tin, no little metal thing to put in the tin. Oh, and no muddler to muddle sugar and make a sort of simple syrup.

“We can make it work!” I insisted. (PS – I need a new quote for this because this one totally belong to Tim Gunn.)

I had a protein drink bottle. Basically a large water bottle with a mixer in the middle.

√ShakerNow we needed a strainer. We grabbed a little one I usually use to put decorate cocoa or powdered sugar on cookies and cakes.


Muddler. Hm. He grabbed the frothing-thing-a-ma-jiggy I got from Ikea. Nope. I grabbed a super heavy duty spoon that shouldn’t even be called a spoon because it seems more like the blunt object a perp would use on an episode of Law & Order SVU. That’ll definitely work.


One more item…the cage thing. We decided on two things, a star shaped cookie cutter and the jigger Paddy had in the draw.

√Cage thing

We were on our way. We looked at the ingredients:

Egg White
Juice of ½ a lime
Juice of ½ a lemon
Seltzer Water
Gin (Sweet)
1 oz. Cream
1 tablespoon Raw Sugar with Equal Parts Water

Well, if ya’ll know me there’s one thing on that list that SCREAMS for substitution.

Au revoir cream, hello almond milk! Now, I know that cream is thicker than almond milk, so we decided to use half the amount of cream called for. I didn’t want to water the drink down.

One more substitution. Gin. We didn’t have Gin. The Bols Genever may have been a delicious possibility but it wasn’t what we were going for. I chose Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Bourbon. Distilled and distributed by the Buffalo Trace Distillery – one of my favorites – it’s sweet with a little spice to it.

I know, it’s starting to sound more like a whiskey sour. Well, not quite. Here’s a Whiskey Sour recipe:
2 oz Bourbon
1 oz Simple Syrup
¾ oz Lemon Juice
1 tsp Egg White

Satisfied with our decision to use bourbon, we got to work. He juiced a lime and a lemon while I muddled sugar and water. We filled up our Shaker with every ingredient (or it’s substitution) with the exception of the seltzer water and threw in our ‘Cages’ – the jigger and cookie cutter.

To make a Gin Fizz you have to shake it for 6 minutes. Not a joke. Padraig suggests 30 seconds without ice, and then add the ice and shake until the metal tin gets so cold your fingers stick to it. We didn’t have a metal tin, but we took turns shaking for six minutes.

It almost made me feel better about skipping the gym, then I just felt like a wicked fat kid because shaking the shaker made my arms so tired.

We filled up two glasses (I unfortunately don’t have high balls, so we had to use rocks glasses) with the seltzer water and the concoction in the shaker.

We clinked glasses and took a sip. We both smiled, eyes wide, that look of, “Oh my God, we actually did it,” glowing from our faces. Proof again that the right substitutions are just as good – and sometimes better!

However, could someone tell my roommate to get his ass to Chelsea Market or Cocktail Kingdom and buy himself some actual bar ware. I bought the bar, we have the alcohol, we just need the tools! Er, um, you just need the tools. Because, you’re um, a bartender.

Chop, chop, boy! Get to it! (Or should I say, “Shake, Shake?”)

P.S. I seriously need to get my camera back and bring this Canon to get it’s flash fixed, because it’s totes mcgotes broken. Bah.

French Lesson

Quoi ? What?
Vraiment ?
Non ! Absolument pas !
No, absolutely not!
Je fais le poulet, pas des fruits de mer! I’m making chicken, not seafood!
appétissant. appetizing, delicious.
assoiffé. parched/very thirsty.
au revoir. Good-bye.

One thought on “Make It Work: Substitutions Strike Again!

  1. You should have just called me, I would have told u it was under the couch. Lol It was making its way under when we were there. 🙂

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