“…a subtle sense of benevolent folk magic…”

 

Click here to download Craft Cocktail.

Click here to download Craft Cocktail.

The creative process. It can be such a convoluted conundrum.

When we are brainstorming our app production, we always have these overarching ideas we are trying to invoke, but we wonder if it gets lost in execution. We recently received a beautifully written, poetic review by Stanford Friedman at Publisher’s Weekly, who called us the best of the cocktail apps and made us feel so understood!

I’m so proud of this drunk coven!

Stanford thinks we rule!

Nandini slays The Reader Cocktail Challenge with pig’s blood

Download our app Craft Cocktail! It’s a free digital zine of images, recipes, musings, and spiritual guidance for iPhone. We release chapters in intervals, and we have 2 chapters out now…

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Party Weird! What does that mean?

Allow me to present Example(s) A through Z: My partner in crime and business, Nandini Khaund, teaching us how to make a tasty cocktail with pig’s blood. 

Cocktail Challenge

Nandini Khaund preparing to slay The Chicago Reader’s Cocktail Challenge using the ingredient pig’s blood.

For our Non-Chicagoan visitors, let me tell you there is a wonderful long-standing alternative newspaper called The Chicago Reader, and they do this delightful cocktail challenge where bartenders can zing each other with difficult ingredients with which to create cocktails — complete with well-produced, entertaining videos. When the good people at the Reader came up with this challenge, they probably thought: Seasonal. Farm to table. Local.

Instead they got METAL! Nandini created the “Reign in Blood,” featuring blood orange and Pig’s Nose scotch.  Click here for unrepentant badassery.

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A tip of the hat to our dear friend from The Charleston, Kristen Wolfel, who kindly pitched this ingredient to Nandini. Be sure to watch her video here on how to make the cocktail Careless Whiskers with catnip.

 

Alive!

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We’re back, y’all! Reanimated and ALIVE.

CHAPTER 2 IS AVAILABLE NOW!

Go on… look at your phone, open your Craft Cocktail app, and check your library… POOF! Chapter 2 awaits with 10 new recipes.

We are really psyched to be in multiple locations now, based out of Chicago and Nashville. Last month, we did our recipe testing in Nashville at Pinewood Social and had a blast, thanks to the bar manager Matt Tocco and chef Josh Habiger. It’s a rare treat to have expertly made drinks, oysters, sweetbreads.. and then go bowling. Can’t wait for the upcoming Tiki bar in an AIRSTREAM TRAILER. BY THE POOL.

You can’t do shit like this in Chicago, dudes. Well played.

Bitches be Bowling!

If you haven’t downloaded it yet, Get on it! It’s FREE.

Download it here

Download it here

from the lakes of Wisconsin to the shores of France

Good Times 2013

lake

Our friends who own The Burlington throw a party every year in the idyllic little lake town of Burlington, WI.  This was their 20th anniversary of the party known as Good Times, complete with pontoon boat rides, copious amounts of fun, volleyball, swimming, fireworks, chilling, drinking, and amazing eats.  The house has been in their family for 40 years, and it is so rad-  it is very 70s, it’s right on the lake, and is set up to accommodate large gatherings of friends and family.  There is even a bar downstairs complete with saloon doors, a somewhat nautical theme, and a pool table!  People from all over come to town for it, setting up tents and glamping away.

Two of your Craft Cocktail buddies (Martha, Nandini) were in attendance, and made a punch in a giant medicinal jar.

beware
Demon Punch
1.5 c lemon juice
1.5 c orange juice
1.5 c grapefruit juice
2 c pitted cherries
1 pineapple, chunked
1 c mint, destemmed
2.5 c light brown sugar (stir into the tea, and let the whole concoction cool)
2 quarts of tea: combination of assam black tea and lapsang souchoung
1.75 L Sailor Jerry spiced rum
1 L soda water

Muddle mint (we had to use a tenderizer in such a large jar) with some of the tea/sugar combo.
Add cherries, and lightly muddle more to express the cherry juice.
Add all the ingredients, stir, and let macerate in fridge for 1-4 hours.
When ready to serve, add a ton of ice and the entire bottle of soda.
Attach warning label. Party on.

So, after we made this punch (and before we went boating) we got very exciting news. We were featured on a Parisian site called My Little Paris on Friday, in their app section called My Little App. We went “free” internationally for it, figuring it would be nice to have more exposure. I thought we’d have, I don’t know- maybe 1500 downloads or something…

Wrong. So wrong.

11,000 downloads! I can’t even wrap my head around that! Isn’t that neato?

France, US, Belgium, Russia, Singapore, Australia… downloads from all over! And apparently, we are making waves in Kazakhstan too. Who knew?

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Cocktail recipes and CC for iPhone

Craft Cocktail is now available for iPhone!

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It’s a gorgeous Friday afternoon, Lauren and I have the day off, and we are looking forward to a weekend of gallery openings, friends visiting from out of town, and Lauren is going to see Bob Dylan tonight… and we are celebrating NOW!
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We harvested some tarragon from the garden and got a sweet deal on tiny peaches. We made 2 drinks out of our ingredients. One is refreshing, and the other gets straight to the point, for those of you that like Old Fashioneds or just want to unwind QUICKLY.
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Tarragon-Simple Syrup
1 c sugar
1.5 c water
2 fistfuls of tarragon, de-stemmed (a loosely bunched 1/2 cup)
Bring to boil, let simmer for 2 minutes, steep for 30 minutes, and strain into lidded jar. This will keep for 2-3 weeks, but it may not last the weekend.

Tarragon Old Fashioned
1/4 ounce tarragon-simple syrup
2 ounces gin. We used Letherbee, a locally distilled Chicago gin with lovely notes of juniper blossoms and cardamom, but you can also use any other botanical gin, such as Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray.
fat slice of peach
5 drops Orange Flower Water
Stir gin, simple and peach over ice. Add 5 drops of orange flower water on top.

Peach, Gin and Tonic
2 lime wedges, cut into muddling eighths
1/2 oz tarragon-simple syrup
1/2 of a small peach
7 drops Orange Flower Water
2 oz gin
Tonic Water
Muddle limes, simple, and peach. Add gin and orange flower water, and shake with ice. Double strain into glass over ice, add tonic to taste.

iOS app developer blues

One of the things we wanted to do on our blog was to show the app development process warts and all, because this shit is interesting. And frustrating and awesome.

The list of pros and cons goes something like:
PROS: You have an app, and it was hard to make, so good for you!
CONS: Every time you mess up, it takes a week to fix it. (maybe- no one can really tell you) UGH.

We wanted so badly for our blog post this week to be about the release of our new Universal app that would work on iPad and iPhone. I submitted it to Apple last Tuesday and it was approved last night- I decided to go to Big Star to tell Nandini the great news since she was working, but on my way over, after looking at it on 3 phones- realized the update actually broke it, and the new version didn’t work.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

The app is only designed for Portrait/Vertical mode and it was locked in horizontal mode, so you couldn’t see anything at all. And if you updated the one you already bought, it would break that, too. WTF.

SO, I did go to Big Star and enjoy a margarita or three while I sent a couple of all caps emails to support teams at mag plus (our development software maker) and Apple. It made me feel a little better, I won’t lie, as did the supportive buddies we were hanging out with.

When I got home I had to pull the app from the store to prevent people from paying for something that didn’t work. I am working on the fix right now (turns out, it was a mis match between vieweing preferences set in one place and viewing preferences set in another place between the export and the build). Hopefully I can expedite this review with Apple and get it back up and out there ASAP, or at least the old version.

At the moment, I am frying bacon because I can’t install my new test app on my phone because i have too much music and pictures on it, which I just cleared a ton off of it, but you know… that takes forever. SO I decided to make a BLT, and I think it will all be better from here.

Now you have to have one, too.

Now you have to have one, too.

Craft Cocktail behind the scenes

Hello fellow party people. Sorry for the quietude over the past few weeks. We’ve been busy shooting Chapter 2 and, well… it RULES! Every drink is delicious and we had a great time tasting, styling, and photographing them all. Here’s a wee teensy peek…

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We shot in a forest preserve in Cary, IL and were greeted by this intense shadow.

Craft Cocktail Chapter 2, Day 1

Martha was a champ regarding the army of mosquitos determined to drink our blood (it was probably all the delicious booze in it).

Martha was a champ regarding the army of mosquitos determined to feast on us (probably due to the high alcohol content).

We shot a little out at our friend Heather's on the Fox River. She let us raid her insane collection of natural elements she incorporates into her magical terrariums and stunning installations (check her out at bottleandbranch.com). Super inspiring!
We also worked at our friend Heather’s house, who let us raid her abundant collection of natural elements she incorporates into her perfectly delicate terrariums and stunning ornate installations (check her out at bottleandbranch.com). Very inspiring!

 

Me (lauren) messing with tiny woodland stuffs, drinking some fairy's blood.

Me (lauren) messing with tiny woodland stuffs, drinking some fairy’s blood.

The yard at Heather's lading down to her PONTOON BOAT. Seriously.

The yard at Heather’s leading down to her PONTOON BOAT. Seriously.

Some of our foraged elements for Shoot Day #2, at Nandini's apartment.

Some of our foraged elements for Shoot Day #2, at Nandini’s apartment.

Our Humboldt Park neighbors were have a rad weekend BBQ that provided us with a killer reggaeton and gangsta' rap soundtrack, gratis. Thanks dudes! Watching the kids bat the dollar bill pinata was entertaining, too.

Our Humboldt Park neighbors were having a rad weekend BBQ that provided us with a killer reggaeton and gangsta’ rap soundtrack, gratis. Thanks dudes! Watching the kids bat the dollar bill pinata was entertaining, too.

This guy.

This guy.

Making watermelon juice and lemon juice

Making watermelon juice and lemon juice

I don’t have a photo but around this time we went swimming at the public pool in Smith Park- great idea, Martha- and we hit the food truck.

What the hell is Nandini doing? You'll find out in Chapter 2!

What the hell is Nandini doing in that alley? You’ll find out in Chapter 2!

So to recap: Chapter 1 for iPhone will be released sometime this week, when Apple approves us for sale. (Quick note to you ‘droids, etc: We are thinking of you! Once we have enough downloads to support the smaller markets, we’ll certainly add it! Sorry for the delay).

Chapter 2 is on its way, hopefully hitting in the next month or so for iPad & iPhone.

WIIG

Thanks for keeping tabs on us!

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Dewin’ it and dewin’ it and dewin’ it well

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We made a facebook page!  Click on the image above, we like likes.

In other news, we are on DNAinfo today.

Booze Pros” y’all!  We dig.

 

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Hey June

This month has been so full, but has passed so fast- not only did we release Chapter one, but last weekend we had our first photo shoots for Chapter two. We had a great time, and the pictures turned out ethereal and beautiful and romantic. I’ll share some verdant forest-y behind-the-scenes pictures in another post.

I’m happy to be back to the creation phase again- the cocktail concepts, the shot planning and photo shoots! After this comes the retouching and editing and design. That is exciting because you get to watch it come together. We have done an amazing job of keeping this fun.

Which leads us to little details like- we want more downloads! Its only been out for a couple of weeks but we’re learning about the importance of social media and press to grow, but also time. Patience will be key as we wait for people to discover us. Also, we’re always listening to people’s ideas- like everyone wants this available for iPhone. Well we love you, so…

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we did it! This is the same process as the first app submission for the iPad version, only now we’ll have a “universal app” where you can find it in the app store for both devices, optimized differently for each. I’m hoping this is a little easier the second time around- however it still has the same 7- 10 day waiting period for approval. I’m excited about opening this up to a bunch more people. I have it on my iPhone because it is a test device. It’s so fun to look at, and I think it translates well. Craft Cocktail in the palm of your hand!

Next week while we’re waiting for approval, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be on a lake in Branson, MO, so there’s that… I’ll need to consult Nandini to create an appropriate après-jetski cocktail for sunsets over a lake with sunburned knees. Maybe it’ll end up in Chapter two!

 

DOWNLOAD CRAFT COCKTAIL 

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Thunder and Supermoons

rainy

It’s a dreary, thunderous, rainy day in Chicago.

It RULES.

We’ve all been very busy with the app, our jobs, figuring out press, and other projects… but today is a good day to be chill and ramble about, and maybe… make a drink!  I played a show last night with the band I’m in at a Three Floyds (killer beer from Indiana) event, and I was really psyched about how much support the community had for Craft Cocktail.  Those without iPads were asking about other devices and platforms- this is something we will address and eventually sort out!

Doing this app is quite similar to self-releasing a 7″ and trying to get heard.  We made business cards and thought about discreetly leaving them at the Apple Stores in town (a strange version of wheatpasting flyers, right?)  A reminder- if you’ve downloaded it, please write a review in the App Store!  We need help in improving our rankings…These are strange and rough waters we are sailing!

Our cards DO have a moon on it, which reminds me of more fun and mysterious things…

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It’s a SUPERMOON this weekend!  As a superstitious mischief, I feel this is auspicious!

Check out this video I found on space.com that will make you happy.  Despite all the awesome visuals designed to make us think otherwise, I disagree with the staid pragmatism – the Moon has Mega Moon Power dammit!

I’ve also just realized something- I’ve never posted anything about cocktails.  I apologize, new readers.  (I’m so glad Martha is going through the app and documenting the making of these drinks!)  Until now, it was just our friends coming to check in on us who already know how we roll.  I swear we’re more than goofy gifs and machetes.

I hereby promise to drink more.  Oh yeah..  and write about it too.

xxoxx

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