Thursday, December 13, 2012

Twelve Cocktails of Christmas: Eggnog Latte Martini

Today we start a holiday countdown at Felicia's with the first of the 12 Cocktails of Christmas, which coincides not coincidentally with the 12 shopping days 'til Christmas. You're going to need a nip if you plan to brave the mall with all the other idiots. Good luck finding a parking space. @$%&! Aren't you glad you had that drink first?

To start us off this year: Why drink plain old boring eggnog when you can turn it into a latte and a martini at the same time?

Eggnog Latte Martini

3/4 ounce Stoli vanilla
3/4 ounce Kahlua
4 ounces eggnog
dash of nutmeg

Shake all ingredients into a martini glass. Garnish with nutmeg. Ho ho ho holiday cocktail!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Leftover Cranberry Sauce Mimosa

You can eat cranberry sauce, or you can drink cranberry sauce.

Every holiday should involve a good brunch that includes some version of a mimosa. Since our tummies are reserved for turkey on Thanksgiving day, my brunch occurs the morning after (and/or the day after that, and/or the day after that).
Not only does the recipe below meet one’s daily mimosa requirement, it also provides a creative way to consume some Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ve only tried it with homemade cranberry sauce (which in our house is chunky, and typically includes fresh grated ginger and a dash of Grand Marnier or orange zest), but I’d be curious to know if canned jellied cranberry sauce also dissolves in sparkling wine.
Now if someone can only find a way to get leftover turkey into a cocktail….
Leftover Cranberry Sauce Mimosa
5 ounces sparkling wine or champagne
1 teaspoon cranberry sauce
orange wheel
Place cranberry sauce in a champagne flute. Sloooowly add sparking wine (or it will bubble over!) while stirring.  Garnish with an orange wheel.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Doorbuster Cocktail on Black Friday

I'll need one of these if I shop like a locavore; six if I have to go to Walmart.

Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. Fortunately, I’m eating at someone else’s house so I don’t have to prepare to do anything other than eat and drink. The gift-giving season that follows, however, leaves me feeling like I should have started shopping months ago. I need a drink, a massage, and chocolate, STAT! And a wreath! And a muffin.

Leah and I lost our minds this year and decided to open Felicia’s at 10AM on BLACK FRIDAY, November 23, with morning cocktails, breakfast sandwiches, housemade cranberry nut muffins, chair massages by Rasa Spa, chocolate tasting/sales with Preliminaires Chocolat, handmade soap and hemlock/sage wreaths made by Tree Gate Farm, and raw honey and jam from Red Tail Farm. Last year, I bought Preliminaires Chocolat for every woman on my gift list; I think the pastry chef might indeed be God if one exists. This year, everyone is getting yummy scented handmade soaps (the men, too, which they can use should they choose to bathe in the coming year). We’ll also have Felicia hoodies, martini glasses, pint glasses, T-shirts, and gift certificates for sale. 

Call me lazy, but if I can buy it all in one place then my loved ones are much more likely to find something other than brown pine needles under their Xmas trees. 

And where else can you drink mimosas, holiday spiked coffee, Cranhattans, and eggnog martinis while conveniently completing your holiday shopping?

Here's my favorite drink to have before I hit the stores: The Doorbuster.


1 ounce tequila
1/2 orange wheel sprinkled with cinnamon

Drink shot. Bite cinnamon-sprinkled orange wheel. Shop 'til you drop.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Wiggins Cocktail

I'll have a Wiggins Cocktail or three.
Congratulations to the Wiggins family, the innovative owners of La Tourelle Resort and Spa in Ithaca. This week, they received the Howard Cogan Tourism Award for their contributions to tourism in our community.

You probably haven't heard of the Wiggins family, unless you live in Ithaca. I've met them, and they are lovely. But I admit I've never visited the spa. When I have time to relax, I get as far away from town as I can. Preferably somewhere with no cell service, and no people. And lots of booze.

Howard Cogan, on the other hand, is practically famous worldwide. He's the guy who created the slogan "Ithaca is Gorges," now plastered on our cars' bumpers and across our green T-shirt chests, allowing us to find like-minded individuals when we are traveling in other parts of the country. Don't wear your "Ithaca is Gorges" T-shirt outside of this area unless you want to make friends with other displaced Ithacans who will run up to you and hug you, leaving their patchouli aura on your Ithaca clothing.

The Ithaca Visitor's Center commissioned Felicia's to make a cocktail in honor of the Wiggins family, with the only guideline being red wine as one of the ingredients. Leah created a red wine syrup with cocoa, cinnamon, mustard, and orange zest, which was slowly added to a glass of champagne. I know, mustard? Really? Really. A festive cocktail with a delightful and delicious complexity. The drink will be on our Lounge menu at least through the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Cocktails: Vote Wisely, Drink Heavily

Felicia always says: You can't complain if you don't vote!  $1 off a drink if you come wearing your 'I Voted' sticker tonight. We'll be streaming the election results via projector starting around 7:30pm. And we're definitely going to need to drink to get through this one. Join us to celebrate with a toast, or to cry in your beer with a hug chaser. Vote wisely and we'll hope for a victory toast.

And a locavore shout out to someone who also deserves national attention because he's so awesome: The elderberry juice in the Mormon Elder is from berries that were cultivated, picked, and pressed by Amelia's dad. Thanks, Pop!

Try our election day cocktails today only: President's Punch, the Baracktail, The Nutty Fruitcake, and the Mormon Elder Cocktail!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best of Ithaca

Frida loves her Felicia cocktails
Felicia got a phone call in September. "You've won best bar in Ithaca again," the reporter on the other end of the line said. "I imagine you're not surprised."

Surprised? No. Grateful? Yes. Every year, Felicia's Atomic Lounge has won a "Best of Ithaca" recognition from the Ithaca Times readers, except 2009 when the categories were more obscure like "Best Place to Release a Trapped Mouse," and "Best Ethnic Restaurant to Eat at When You're Three And a Half Months Pregnant," neither of which fits into our landscape. Here's a partial list of some of our past awards:

2006 Best Friendliest Business Owners
2007 Best Female Bartender, Best Male Bartender
2008 Best Cocktail Selection
2010 Best Drink
2011 Best Cocktail
2012 Best Downtown Bar

We've got the best patrons in the world, and the best bartenders in the world. We don't need an award to tell us that, but it's always reassuring to be reminded we are doing things right.

For more Halloween 2012 photos and other such daily updates, visit our Facebook page at

Thursday, July 5, 2012

We Bring the Bar to You: Catering Liquor

A Felicia bar at a summer wedding
We've been heading offsite quite a bit lately to do bars for weddings, barbecues, bar mitzvahs, and birthday parties. Catering is a moronic undertaking:  14 hour days consisting of packing up an entire bar at the Lounge, arriving to a location and building an entire bar, serving drinks to people for a few hours, breaking down an entire bar, and then unpacking an entire bar back onto the shelves at the Lounge. And yet we are compelled to do it, because we do it well. My heart breaks every time I attend a wedding as a guest and order a Manhattan, only to have the sixteen-year-old bartender ask, "What's a Manhattan?"

There's a lot of other good reasons to hire someone to cater the alcohol for your event, the most important one being the fact that at a wedding reception, the guests average 5 drinks each. That's the average. Grandma might not touch the stuff ('It's the devil's work'), but your college best friend Buffy sure as hell makes up for it by drinking eleven beers and four shots of whiskey. And who's going to make sure Buffy gets into a cab and not behind the wheel of a car? You think it will be you, but after your sixth glass of champagne and Buffy accidentally ripping the train off your wedding gown while doing the Electric Slide, listening to Uncle Bert's war stories is going to be much more appealing then holding Buffy's hair back while she throws up in the Deluxe Port-A-Potty. Hiring a responsible and well-trained bartender is money well spent.

Plenty going on at the Lounge lately, too. We just finished celebrating strawberry season with a slew of Strawberry Basil Cocktails. Next week will bring back the Black Cap Yap, Watermelon Envy, and a cucumber-lavender infusion of sorts. We are keeping our farmers busy at Tree Gate Farm.

Also coming up: Our next Classic Cocktail night (July 10, 8pm-1am) will include raspberry syrup, a rum punch, and something with ice cream because it has been too damn hot out. For details, follow us on Facebook at .


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Felicia Table of Elements

Below is the Felicia Table of Elements (or is it the Periodic Table of Felicia?) as seen on display at the Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, NY.  The science lesson is we are all essential elements, and when mixed properly, we become the perfect cocktail that is known as Felicia.

Woodrow Chichester

Claire Sears-Tam

Abby Reich

Rachel Ferro

Nate Bates

Shannon Bouchard

Bobbi Estabrook

France Dewaghe

Sam Queen
Leah Houghtaling

Amelia Sauter


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Classic Cocktails, Coming Up

Since the 1930’s, the site of Felicia’s Atomic Lounge has been a bar. Though we looked up its history once, damned if I can remember what it was called back then. Chalk my bad memory up to aging and excessive gin consumption. Not sure anyone is still alive who can tell us about the early years of this saloon, especially given the fact that the West End was a rowdy, rough-and-tumble, what-happens-in-the-bar-stays-in-the-bar kind of neighborhood for many decades.

I love to say that history doesn’t matter, and that some cocktails are best forgotten (like most of my ex-boyfriends). But then Leah got her hands on a copy of The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), ironically first published during Prohibition. The guide is filled with cocktails that rely on only a few basic liquors: Gin. Whiskey. Vermouth. Kirsch. Absinthe. Sherry. Lillet. Brandy. Even my old frenemy, Fernet Branca. And so our liquid exploration of cocktail history has begun.

We decided to throw a Classic Cocktail party - maybe a series of them - the first being April 17, from 7pm-10pm. The bartenders will be mixing five or six different cocktails for you to sample. If one martini usually knocks you on your ass (like me), never fear: These cocktails will be served in small martini glasses that are about half the size of today’s giant bowls of chilled alcohol, because back in the early 1900’s, drinks were simpler AND smaller. Even the martinis on Mad Men reflect a reasonable restraint, at least in the mixing, though not in the consumption. (How do you think people managed a ‘three martini lunch?’) But, in Leah’s words, “Nowadays we’re a bunch of spoiled kids consuming ridiculous, decadent overcomplicated cocktails filled with corn syrup and food coloring.”

We’ve come a long way, baby, but it ain’t all good. Let’s pay homage to the past. At the Cocktail Classic, expect to try some creative Felicia interpretations of cocktails that have been around for 100+ years, like the Corpse Reviver, an early hair-of-the-dog hangover “remedy.”

Drink your tonic, Carrie Nation. We’re coming for you, Felicia-style.

The Cocktail Classic will be held at Felicia’s Atomic Lounge from 7pm-10pm on April 17, 2012. Also stay tuned for details on the upcoming release party for our barrel-aged cocktails.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Drink Up, Autocorrect

A "damn you, autocorrect" moment between Woody and me

We can offer you sanctuary, or we can offer you sangria. Either way, It's $5. If anyone has a good recipe for sanctuary, let me know.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What We're Drinking Now

beet graphic by Leah Houghtaling © 2012

Beets and Grapefruits

It's hard to be a locavore in the middle of winter. We could make boozy sno cones, but we haven't even had any snow to speak of this year. Global warming cometh.

This winter, our beets are from Stick and Stone Farm, which is a few miles up the road. Our spiced beet syrup is great with champagne, tequila, vodka, everything. But not with your white shirt. Watch out.

In lil' ol' Ithaca we can buy almost any produce we want from farms within ten miles of the Lounge. Except citrus fruits, but with how crazy warm this winter has been, I think we could be growing them soon. For now we'll have to get our Florida grapefruits for our fresh-squeezed grapefruit cocktails at the grocery store.


Leah's latest infusion? Caraway seeds in vodka. Smells like fresh-baked rye bread. We're still tweaking recipes, but stop by the Lounge to taste-test our latest cocktail, Carried Away. The caraway vodka is combined with fresh-squeezed grapefruit (of course), and lavender syrup. An incredible, unexpected joining of flavors.

And a non-caraway kind of rye is in the house: Bulleit Rye Bourbon. The bartenders are practically shooting it up. Even Abby made a cocktail with it - without Midori or Peach Schnapps! Our little Abby is growing up...

Catcher in the Rye

2 oz. Bulleit Rye
3/4 oz. Pimm's
1/4 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. lemon juice
lemon twist

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


We bought a bottle of Chartreuse after a period of abstaining from weirdly colored herbal liqueurs, and the bartenders have gone ga-ga for it. Here's a drink that has been wildly popular this week:

The Gypsy

1.5 ounces gin
3/4 ounce St. Germain
1/2 ounce Chartreuse
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
lime wheel

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.



Jelu Malbec
Ports of New York's Meleau Semi-Dry

Monday, January 16, 2012

Southern Migration

I recently wrote about how much we love Imbibe Magazine’s new cocktail book, The American Cocktail, and that we were planning to “drink the book” during the month of January as we traveled South in our teardrop trailer, affectionately known as the Alligator Teardrop.

We are not following through with this promise, for a number of reasons:

One is because we didn’t find a corporate sponsor for the blog (didn’t even try to find one, actually), I’m accountable to no one but me, which makes me lazy.

Two is that camping itself makes one lazy. We landed in a campground near Jacksonville, Florida, and are spending a lot of time sitting around the fire drinking El Presidente beer (which is much cheaper in Florida than in New York; in fact, the money that we’re saving might fund our whole trip).

The third reason is that camping makes you avoid civilization. It’s so peaceful here in the woods, with the owls, the rats (!), and the El Presidente. Why leave?

We did sneak out to a roadside fruit stand boasting Florida Oranges! Florida Grapefruit! Pecan Syrup! Authentic Georgia Cane Syrup! Unsuspecting, we got sucked into their tourist marketing scheme.

We caught the “Pecan Syrup”, because it had a label listing that the only three ingredients were corn syrup, artificial pecan flavoring, and artificial color. The oranges, which the kid convinced us were called something exciting like “Honey Dreams,” turned out to be plain old navel oranges. And Authentic Georgia Cane Syrup? A fancy name for molasses.

But Leah says, when life gives you lemons (or an excess of some other citrus fruit), make cocktails. The Southern Migration may be best attempted in the South in winter, if only because of the abundance available citrus fruit (of suspicious origin) and the fresh “Florida” tomatoes we got at the stand that actually taste like fresh tomatoes.

Don’t expect to see this cocktail at the Lounge anytime soon. However, if you’ve got some molasses in your cupboard, imported grapefruits, and a local grocery store that carries tomatoes in winter that don’t taste like rocks, give it a whirl. It’s incredibly delicious. But beware tourist traps (like billboards advertising “87 more miles to South of the Border!”) and don’t drink too many of these or you’ll get a wicked headache and yet another reason to never leave the campsite.

Follow our traveling adventures at!

Southern Migration

1.5 ounces tequila
the juice from 1/2 grapefruit (fresh-squeezed)
1/4 ripe tomato, chopped
1/2 ounce molasses, also known as Georgia Cane Syrup

Muddle tequila, tomato, and molasses in a shaker. Shake with ice. Pour over ice in a rocks glass, adding grapefruit juice last.