Thursday, January 5, 2012

Q & A with Mixologist Elizabeth Dodwell and Cupcake Extraodinaire Kimi

Elizabeth Dodwell is a Mixologist that hails from England the home of alleged bland food and drink. Her first introduction to the unique American creation, the cocktail, was in a bar in Athens (Greece). She was just 17 years old and tasted a Whisky Sour. It was love at first sip. As the years have passed her tastes have broadened and she began to experiment with her own libations. Searching for inspiration on the internet was frustrating. There was information about bartending, which was generally geared towards memorizing a bunch of recipes and learning a few techniques that would qualify you to work in the bar industry. Pretty much everything else she found seemed to be rather highbrow, with people telling her she wasn’t good enough if she didn’t make a drink just like they did.

She wanted information and encouragement that would help her blend flavors to build bold new drinks and go where no man (or woman) has gone before. So she decided she had to do it herself and so she started Mix ‘n Sip. We’re still in our “infancy” stage, but growing strong. Her primary focus now is creating personalized cocktails for clients, from wedding couples to special events, businesses and individuals. Also, her first e-book will be out soon: Skinny Jean Cocktails. (Original and old favorites, all 150 calories or less).

Elizabeth and her husband and business partner, Alex, have a host of other booze-related ideas, all embracing the concept that anyone can create a great cocktail and that imbibing is as much about enjoyment of the blend of flavors as the camaraderie of sharing your creation with others.  

Kimi's Cupcake Creations came about as a result of her passion for baking cupcakes. She loves to try new flavors-especially those of the "adult flavor variety". She loves to create cocktail inspired cupcakes!

I was able to interview these 2 wonderful ladies for our first 2012 Q & A. Check out what they had to say:

How do you convert a cocktail into a cupcake?
Kimi: I review the liquor and other ingredients used in a particular cocktail and combine the liquor and other flavors (juice, chocolate, etc) into the batter, filling, and/or frosting.  If I am creating one of my own creations, I mix liquors and cake flavors that sound good together (ie:  khalua, coffee, and chocolate)
Champagne Cupcake
How many boozy cupcakes do you have to eat to feel a slight buzz…or to possibly get drunk? 
Kimi: I do not think you can get a buzz from these cupcakes.  If it is in the cake, most of the alcohol gets burned off.  If I use it in the filling or frosting, I usually only use 1to2 tablespoons in the filling (to be divided into 12-24 cupcakes) or 3 to 4 tablespoons in the frosting, again to be divided into 12-24 cupcakes.
Elizabeth: I don’t know, but I’m willing to try and find out.

What is your favorite boozy cupcake? 
Kimi: It is hard to answer this one – I really love my chocolate coffee decadence (khalua), the crème de menthe, or the Bambam.  These have amaretto, Malibu rum, and Irish crème.  The Bambams have probably been my most popular order.
Elizabeth: I think it’s going to be the eggnog ones that Kim is making for me.

Where do you start when creating a new drink? 
Elizabeth: Inspiration can come from almost anywhere – the flavor combinations in food, a drink based on color, a passing aroma. When creating for clients I need to know their likes and dislikes. Should the cocktail reflect their personalities, business, favorite place, an event, a holiday…..? For instance, the Life is a Bitchintini, created for the book launch of Shedding the Corporate Bitch, by Bernadette Boas, which was designed to illustrate taming the inner bitch and harnessing that energy to create riches. (more here: As for building the cocktail, for me it begins as quite an intuitive process, first imagining how the ingredients will taste when blended together. From then on it’s (sometimes a lot of) trial and error to balance out the ingredients.
Skinny Margarita
Do you cook as well as you make cocktails? 
Elizabeth: I consider myself a foodie. It was my happy fortune to be born into a family for whom food, a little libation, friends and some frivolity were a major part of good living. So I learned to cook as a kid; the cocktails came later.

What is one full meal that can be made with alcohol in each portion? 
Elizabeth:Ooh! Start with amberjack ceviche, using grapefruit as well as lime and add silver tequila. Mixed greens with bourbon vinaigrette. Grilled filet mignon with a Jamaican rum glaze (Bobby Flay has a great recipe). For dessert, just give me 3 oz of icewine. (Well, maybe I could take a bit of smoked rombol cheese with it).

How do you deal with “uneducated” drinkers? 
Elizabeth: First, suggest they watch some of the Mix ‘n Sip videos for tips, techniques and recipes. To train your palate, start small: if your usual tipple is gin and tonic, try it with a little muddled cucumber and/ or mint, or just add a dash of bitters (angostura or orange bitters, for instance). It will give you a feel for how even a slight change can also “change up” your cocktail. Have a “mix ‘n sip” party. Invite some friends over and set up a bar with a few basic liquors, mixers and garnishes (eg, vodka, rum, orange liqueur, juices and sodas, mint, cucumber, strawberries), throw in a bit of a wild card liquor such as VeeV Acai spirit or Domaine de Canton Ginger liqueur. Let everybody “get in the mix” and you’ll soon be sampling flavor combinations you never before imagined and finding that you really like some of them.
What is the booziest cupcake you have ever made?  
Kimi: The booziest cupcake I have made is either the Guiness Stout cupcake with Irish cream frosting or the Bambam, which has three different kinds of liquor – amaretto, Malibu rum, and Irish cream. The recent eggnog creations had quite a bit of the dark rum in the filling and in the frosting.

What is the key to making a cocktail that is alcohol heavy, but does not taste like alcohol? 
Elizabeth: OK, we’re on slightly uncomfortable ground here. If someone wants a boozy beverage that doesn’t taste like booze then perhaps they shouldn’t be drinking at all. When your stiff lemonade tastes like your kid’s lemonade it can be all too easy to over-imbibe and that can be dangerous. That said, I understand there are folk for whom just a couple of cocktails now and then is a way to relax and have fun, but they don’t care for the strong taste of the alcoholic component. For them, there are two ways to go. Either “overpower” the liquor with something equally strong or stronger – sweet, sour, herbal or bitter (amaretto sour is a good example) – or find a liquor that better suits your tastes. There are umpteen new flavored products on the market today. Some are sweet but many are not and they have the same alcoholic content as the basic booze.

Have you ever used any of flavored vodkas such as Cotton Candy, Cake, and Butterscotch etc.?  
Kimi: I have used cotton candy vodka, but not the others yet.  I would love to do so, though!
Elizabeth: Mostly I infuse my own alcohol when I want to add flavor. However, I have tried a few flavored vodkas and think they’re a great addition to the market, and I love that they’re introducing people to a whole new cocktail culture.
Cotton Candy Cupcakes
What are some of your signature cocktails? What is your favorite drink to make?
Elizabeth: Hmm. Though I’ve created many cocktails, I don’t actually have a signature drink. I’ll have to rectify that. Some of my favorite creations are the Lavender Green ( , the Mistletoe for something seasonal ( and for my dog, the Dirty Muttini (

What was the last cocktail you made? What’s in it?
Elizabeth: Recently I put together three drinks for Bob and Holly Sawyer and their kids. I created Bob (scotch, ruby port, redcurrant jelly, sambuca and rosemary), Rum Lady (strawberry honey puree, golden rum, Blackbeard spiced rum, pecan liqueur and light cream) and the Pina Kid-lada (vanilla ice cream, pineapple juice, chocolate coconut water and a garnish of  Sour Patch Kids with a cocktail umbrella.

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to the "Mixology world"?
Elizabeth:Actually, the thing that really ticks me off is the attitude that a drink must be made a certain way and, if you differ from that, it’s wrong (or worse, there’s something wrong with you). The most glaring example of this is the martini. There are some who insist that a martini is only made with gin and the name should not be applied to any other adult beverage. I say “Bollocks!”  What about meatloaf? There are thousands of variations of meatloaf recipes but they’re all still meatloaf. Point being, it’s only a name.

If you could have a drink with one famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
Elizabeth:Winston Churchill. The man enjoyed his drink and a good cigar and had one of the greatest minds of the previous century.

Do you use any Molecular Gastronomy techniques?
Elizabeth: Occasionally, by default rather than design. I do infuse liquors but my interest is in the resultant flavor, not the molecular changes they may undergo during the process. I still create foam the old-fashioned way – hand-beating. And I don’t own any fancy gizmos or gadgets; not even a soda siphon (though that I would like to have).

What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market?
Elizabeth: There’s a growing interest in low-calorie (skinny) drinks and the use of more organic ingredients. The number and use of flavored liquors continues to increase. On a lesser level I see more home bartenders and professional mixologists creating their own bitters, syrups and infusing alcohol. Also, a small faction of enthusiasts are making barrel-aged cocktails; intriguing but certainly not mainstream.
Have you ever competed in any Mixology competitions?
Elizabeth: I keep saying I should but always seem to be too busy creating cocktails for clients. The only contest I have entered was the one I mentioned earlier, when I created the Life Is A Bitchintini and won.

If you could invite 3 people to dinner, who would they be and what drinks would you mix?
Elizabeth:Winston Churchill (again), Dinah Washington (love that lady’s voice), my dad (one of the smartest, funniest and sweetest guys you could ever know). We’d have a simple Pernod cocktail as an aperitif (Pernod, sugar syrup and angostura bitters), wines with appetizer and entrée, a little homemade limoncello to cleanse the palate before dessert. With dessert I always love bubbly (actually, I love champagne just about any time), perhaps Gloria Ferrer brut, which is within my budget. A tawny port and a selection of cheese to follow and rounding out the repast with Janneau VSOP armagnac.

Do you have any hangover advice?
Elizabeth: I’ve done extensive research on this over the years!!! Nowadays, I simply don’t drink too much but I used to go for protein, carbs and grease.  Here’s an article on MixnSip that might help you more -

What advice do you have for amateur Mixologists? 
Elizabeth: Be bold. There’s no such thing as a mistake; you’re just taking the recipe in a new direction.

Be sure to check out Elizabeth's website Mix n sip for recipes and more information!
Follow her on twitter @mixnsip

Check out Kimi's Cupcake Creations to place your orders (GA area) 
Like her facebook page

Don't we think Elizabeth should enter a few competitions and Kimi should enter cupcake wars? I think so! 

Conducted by Celeste



Hey, it was really fun doing this interview, and I have to tell you that Kim's eggnog cupcakes were stupendous!!


Thanks Elizabeth! So glad you enjoyed them! And, thanks for taking the time to work with us on this interview! Let me know what kind of cupcakes I can create for you! I actually have a Winter Wonderland cupcake - a white chocolate cupcake infused with chambord and topped with a chambord butter cream and a drizzle of raspberry. A lucious way to enjoy a cold winter's day!


I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good. I don't know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!
Goodwood 12-Pack Drumsticks 5A Wood

The Picky Eater

Thank you Gregory! I hope you continue to tune in. I really appreciate it!

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