Plated or Poured: Blackberry Whiskey Smash

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Winning at life requires one to know how to do a few specific things, very well. Making a Whiskey Smash is one of those things. (Sorry for those who thought I was going to get all philosophical in this post). Even if your bartending skills are sub par, it’s a very simple drink to make. But, remember, a drink is only as good as the ingredients you use. QUALITY WHISKEY ONLY! 

Now go make yourself a drink! You can thank me later. 

 

Ingredients

4 to 5 fresh blackberries

Juice of ½ lemon

6 fresh mint leaves

3 teaspoons raw sugar

2 ounces bourbon whiskey

For garnish(optional):

Blackberries

Mint sprig

Instructions

Gently muddle lemon juice, mint leaves, sugar and blackberries in a highball glass. Stir in the whiskey. Add ice (crushed ice preferred) 

For garnish, thread a wooden skewer or tooth pick through 3 to 4 blackberries and add it to your cocktail with fresh mint.  

‘Plated or Poured’ is our new food and drink column featuring Rashad Frazier, a prolific home cook who hails from North Carolina and currently lives in NYC. When it comes to food and drink, he stands for everything good and righteous. You can keep up with his culinary exploits and so much more on his food and lifestyle blog, PULLEDTOGETHER.

Follow Rashad’s journey on Instagram

Style Is: Marcel Floruss

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Style is personal. “It’s the perfect sartorial representation of who you are on the inside. What’s stylish on one person can look terrible on the next, if it doesn’t reflect who they are: it’s a form of authentic communication.”

   
   
Growing up in Germany, Marcel made the move to NYC to study Fashion Merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Using the knowledge of his studies, experience in modeling and photography, and deeply rooted love of fashion, he started a fashion blog to share his passion and to inspire others. He shares daily street style inspirations and dapper ensembles, which helped coin his blog’s name “One Dapper Street“. Follow his journey on Instagram and YouTube. 

Photos by Lisa Dengler

The Ideal Pursuit: Authenticity

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Elegance is authenticity. There’s distinct line in the sands of disposition. On one side, there are those who do their best to play a role for the sake of promoting themselves: the man who uses the “right” lines to satisfy his amorous ambitions, versus the romantic who’s sincere in his words and actions. It’s an overall approach that takes effort.


This isn’t to say a sense of being and behavior can’t be learned. It’s unfair to assume every graceful motion occurs naturally. We evolve into a better version of ourselves. In fact, when cultivating a reputation, some behaviors may very be affected at first. That’s entirely fine, so long as they’re done with sincerity. The difference being the desire to live an increasingly well rounded life versus chasing fleeting pleasures.

  


Refinement is an abstract sensibility that takes a certain amount of effort to become natural. Of course, there’s a person’s natural disposition; reserved versus loud, philosophical versus blunt; charming versus abrasive. Following this, true personal stylishness and grace take exposure, work, research and, most importantly, an innate humility. The desire to allow oneself to be at the mercy of guidance is crucial to growth. As one traverses the path of elegance there will, no doubt, be many instances where a less desirous turn is necessary. The elegant man appreciates the bumps and dips of that road, knowing that each adds value to his overall outlook on life.


A basic tenet of elegance is taking extra time, rather than traveling down the stress-free avenue. Therein lies one of the crucial differences in the argument for authenticity, time and effort. Real gracefulness and class takes time to cultivate; it can’t be faked. It can’t be dressed up for an evening; people will see through it. Those with it-and they’d hardly admit to having it-have earned their reputation over years of sustained patterns of behavior and appearance. It’s not instantaneous. It’s work that becomes second nature.

Kamau Hosten hails from Ocala, Florida and is the founder of The Ideal Pursuit, an online platform that celebrates better living. “Only through growth and evolution, experience and exposure, are we truly able to step out of our comfort zones.” Follow his journey on Instagram

Plated or Poured: French Toast

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FACT: French Toast is only as good as the bread you use. My go to bread has always been a French Brioche Loaf. Trust me when I say the bread is game changer! Usually available at your local french bakery, it’s a rich buttery bread perfect for absorbing the custard mix. I’ll put it to you another way. I swear by NYC brasserie, Balthazar. And if brioche is their go-to, then there’s no question it’s also mine and should be yours. Enjoy your breakfast! 

Ingredients:

Thick (about two-inch) slices of brioche bread

2 eggs

1/2 cup of half and half

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tbsp unsalted butter

Maple syrup

Half of a vanilla bean, split and scraped

Spoonful of lemon sour cream*

Method:

Beat the eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon until well combined.

In a nonstick skillet, heat the butter until barely foamy.

After having cut thick slices, thoroughly coat the bread with the egg mixture (dripping off excess), dont soak the bread! Add to the pan, and cook about 4 minutes on each side or longer. The bread is thick so slices may require more time to cook through. 

Meanwhile, warm some maple syrup with the vanilla bean — throw the seeds and the bean in with the syrup.

To make the Lemon Zest Sour Cream, add some grated lemon zest to sour cream and whip until thickened, so the cream won’t just melt and fade away when it hits the hot bread.

Top with a big spoonful of lemon sour cream — the cool tartness will balance the sugar. 

Lastly, garnish with raspberries. It should look a little something like this:

  

Bon apetit!

‘Plated or Poured’ is our new food and drink column featuring Rashad Frazier, a prolific home cook who hails from North Carolina and currently lives in NYC. When it comes to food and drink, he stands for everything good and righteous. You can keep up with his culinary exploits and so much more on his food and lifestyle blog, PULLEDTOGETHER.

Follow Rashad’s journey on Instagram

The Ideal Pursuit: An Introduction to Elegance

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 To be elegant is to glide through the vagaries of life with a consistent, and understated refinement and dignity, regardless of the scenario. It, the core of elegance, is a sense of grace and humility that lingers with others long after a brief, yet pivotal interaction. There is a distinct, and nuanced, appreciation of beauty in carrying out even the most mundane duties.  


Elegance is simply as making a choice between two actions. It is much more far reaching than pursuing expensive goods and services. In many respects, there is, for certain, selflessness; putting others first, listening more than speaking, deflecting praise and accepting blame. The dignified man accepts his decisions, for better or worse. The elegant man needn’t pat himself on the back; his life’s accolades are evident. He’s the protagonist to the vulgar, self-promoting antagonist on life’s stage. He is the consummate gentleman, versus playing the role of the one. It is humility and gentility working in tandem.

   
While one may be elegantly attire
d, a boorish approach negates even the finest bespoke wardrobe. Too often, the concept of elegance is firmly tied to luxury merchandise; purchasing an ideal that immediately transforms one into a gentleman with class. Elegance is an intrinsic desire to put forth greater effort in whatever ventures come one’s way, rather than behavior merely for show. It’s not found in the label sewn onto a necktie, but rather the care in which the tie knotted. The draw is for its appreciators, is in the subtle.

Elegance is cultivating a quiet dignity and beauty in every manner a gentleman conducts his life.

Kamau Hosten hails from Ocala, Florida and is the founder of The Ideal Pursuit, an online platform that celebrates better living. “Only through growth and evolution, experience and exposure, are we truly able to step out of our comfort zones.” Follow his journey on Instagram