My 5th Blogiversary Party at First & Hope + Cocktail Punch Recipe

— by Caroline on Crack

Beth, Lara, me, Aidan and Marcos on Caroline on Crack

Beth, Lara, me, Aidan and Marcos at First & Hope for my 5th blogiversary.

If you were a reader of my blog two years ago, no doubt you attended my 3rd blogiversary party at Bar Lubitsch. That was a big ‘un with liquor sponsors and a raffle-like giveaway. Since this year was my 5th, my friends and crackheads were asking if I had planned to do anything that big or bigger. But since I’m focusing my resources and time on blogger prom (which is September 22), no such luck for a huge shindig of my own. Perhaps next year, though.

Fortunately, First & Hope and my ol’ friend Aidan Demarest were kind enough to offer up the supper club’s swank and intimate Fedora Lounge as the venue for my 5th blogiversary party. Very nice considering it was pretty last minute; on Friday, I put on my Facebook that I wondered if I should celebrate my blog’s anniversary and later that afternoon Aidan offered up First & Hope. He promised punch, Edison beer and appetizers. OK!

But when I arrived at the downtown supper club that Tuesday night, I saw that the folks there went above and beyond. We had our own bartender, the whole room to ourselves, wonderful apps, a delicious punch created by bartender Brent Falco (for the recipe, hit the jump) and even a “5 Years! Caroline on Crack” slide on the big screen over the stage.

And, sure, I didn’t have nearly the same huge turnout that I did for my 3rd but all my blogger pals showed up to give me a high-five and to partake of the tasty beverages of course. So great hanging out with HC of LA/OC Foodventures; Andy, Elise, Julie and Lindsay of LAist; Matt of Mattatouille; John of Social Domain; Daniel of Thirsty in LA; Nancy of The Wanderkind; Julian of Jewelz; Christine of Folie a Choisauce; Fiona of Gourmet Pigs; and Connie of Hey, Hey Scenesters.

Marcos Tello and Aidan (the mixologist duo behind First & Hope’s bar program) joked that they did a collection to finally get me a crack rock and then proceeded to give a very sweet speech that brought a tear to my eye. Can’t believe I’ve known those guys since that downtown whiskey bar that shall be unnamed first opened! For sweets, old friends Beth of Busy Beth’s Blog and her sister Lara brought me a tasty strawberry cake from Phoenix Bakery in Chinatown.

We all ate, drank, laughed and drank some more. I couldn’t ask for a better celebration. Thanks, First & Hope and all my friends. And if you weren’t there due to whatever illness, you were missed!

Southern Picnic Punch
By Brent Falco

  • 1 1/2 Seedless watermelons
  • 8-10 Sage sprigs
  • 8 lemons (8 long lemon peels)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 bottle (1 liter) Oxley Gin
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup simple syrup
  • equal parts yellow chartreuse; benedictine; falernum (to taste)
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
  • 1 bottle Charles Heidsieck

Take the 8 lemons and make 8 long peels and place in big mixing container. Pour in 1/2 cup granulated sugar on top of peels. Muddle sugar into peels until all sugar has been absorbed by lemon peels. Puree watermelon and fine strain excess pulp.  Pour in Watermelon Puree and Sage Sprigs into mixing container with lemon peels. Muddle Sage into Mixture. Add Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup. Taste base mixture and add more lemon juice or simple depending on your taste. Add 8 dashes angostura bitters. Now add equal parts yellow chartreuse, benedictine, and falernum (again to taste). Lastly add 1 bottle (1 liter) of Oxley Gin.

Let mixture sit for an hour, and then fine strain out the lemon peels and sage, and place it in your punch bowl to serve (may put 3 Sprigs of Sage on top for decoration).

To serve: One ladle of punch over crushed ice, and top with Charles Heidsieck ( or your favorite champagne). Then add a one sage leaf (give it a good slap) on top for presentation and aroma.