Suzi's Blog

Brian’s Frozen Banana Pineapple Calmer

To be fair, it was my fault. To be honest, he should have known better.

Most evenings my kitchen is filled with 20 or more people cooking a meal together. Cooking by the Book is a leader in culinary team building, so we have firms from around the world coming to learn and laugh and dine. Now, for that many people, I don’t shop. I order. And the orders arrive in the morning for that night’s meal.

I time the orders to arrive when I am here. And on Friday, they were to come after 10AM — because I was at the gym. [Once you find a great spinning instructor, life determines new priorities!]

It was only 9AM, the buzzer rang, the food delivery arrived, and only my husband Brian was here. I had ordered a, that is one, pineapple. He accepted delivery of a case of pineapples. A case.

“I’ll make it up to you,” he apologized.

“How are you going to do that?” I asked.

“One pineapple at a time,” he said. There was confidence in his voice and a bottle of 99 proof banana liquor in his hand. Clearly, he intended to drug me into calmness.

He succeeded. This drink is really not too boozy, although you can control that to your pleasure. This frozen beverage is thick, flavorful and quite capable of decreasing your anxiety. One pineapple at a time.

Brian’s Frozen Banana Pineapple Calmer

Yield: drinks for 4


  • 2 ripe [but not overripe] bananas, sliced
  • 1 cup freshly diced pineapple [about ¼ of a whole pineapple]
  • ½ cup sugar syrup
  • ½ cup banana liquor [or simply use rum]
  • 2 cups of medium size ice cubes


Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process for 1-2 minutes. Add ice to achieve the thickness you desire.

You can start with less sugar syrup and adjust to your taste. The driver here is the bananas: no matter how yellow, they can demand more or less sweetness to complete the beverage.

Source Brian O’Rourke


Honest Whisky Sour

whisky sour

There are times when you want the original. The real original. Not the new thing, not the bottled thing, not the artificial thing.

We’ve had two days of sunshine with scattered clouds and snow showers. It’s beautiful to have golden sunlight dash each flake as it drifts down. It’s also a sign from God to stay indoors. Two months from now, a day like today at 30°F will seem warm. Today it seems cold.

So we had a football day: nachos and pig-in-a-blanket. Fire in the fireplace. And I wanted a classic drink: a good, honest whiskey sour. That drink needs three things: great whiskey, great sour, and great ice cubes. Yes, ice cubes. As it melts, any flavor in the ice is transferred to the drink. Our water comes from a deep well, and the watershed here is drained into a reservoir that eventually feeds New York City. The water is famous for being pure.

That leaves the whisky and sour. Our whiskey is from Tennessee and, like the ice, is no problem.

The sour part is the challenge. Yes, you can buy those lovely plastic bottles of sour mix. I’m sure that there’s no contamination from the plastic. And even if they are made in China, Indonesia, or somewhere in Illinois, I know there is no issue with the quality or anything at all harmful with those chemicals in there. The chemicals that let the bottle sit on the shelf for years with no change in content flavor. That’s right whether you drink the stuff on day one or year four, it’ll taste the same.

That’s just why I make my own sour mix. I’ve posted some recipes here before, but I have a new, very quick one. Kim Haasarud in 101 Champagne Cocktails suggests this wonderful recipe:

Fresh Sour Mix

Yield: 1 cup


  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup simple syrup


In a small bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix to stir, place in a covered container, refrigerate between usage. The lifespan is 2-3 weeks.

With that sour mix, here’s how to have a bright, intense and honest whisky sour:

Honest Whisky Sour

Yield: 1 drink


  • 2 ounces premium whisky or bourbon
  • 3 ounces fresh sour mix
  • Cherry or orange or lemon slice for garnish


Place ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into an Old Fashioned glass. Add 2-3 large ice cubes. Do not add shaved ice, since it will melt quicker and dilute the drink.

If you prefer you can garnish with a cherry or slice of citrus. Personally, I don’t like things rubbing against my nose when I drink.

Source: Brian O’Rourke with Inspiration from Kim Haasarud