Nora Maynard

Nora Maynard is a freelance writer based in New York City. Her recent work has appeared in Salon, Drunken Boat, and The Millions. She recently completed her ninth marathon and her first novel, Burnt Hill Road. Nora wrote for The Kitchn from 2006 to 2011.
White Russians and The Big Lebowski
A rich and satisfying after-dinner drink blended from vodka, coffee liqueur, and light cream, the White Russian could almost be said to have it all. A one-stop source of alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and milk fat, the only legal substance it lacks is nicotine. The Coen brothers’ cult comedy classic, The Big Lebowski (1998), is a trippy, California-noir, loosely inspired by The Big Sleep (1946).
Dec 13, 2022
How to Properly Salt the Rim of a Glass for Margaritas and More
Here's how to get the perfect amount of salt on the glass.
May 4, 2022
The Income Tax Cocktail
Yes, believe it or not, there really is a drink called the Income Tax cocktail. And what better day than Tax Day to give this gin-based classic a try?
Jul 14, 2020
Does Liquor Ever Expire? Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Q: True or False? Spirits are completely shelf stable. Unlike wine, which can sometimes develop an off taste during storage, or rapidly go downhill once it’s been opened, liquor will keep indefinitely.A: Well, yes and no. Read on to learn how to get the most out of your favorite bottle.
Jun 13, 2020
Trend Spotlight: The Pickleback Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
There’s a new drink combo that’s been springing up on bar menus across the country: The Pickleback. Yes, that’s right – a shot of whiskey accompanied by a “back” of pickle juice. This week, with side-by-side measures of skepticism and curiosity, I gave this unlikely pairing a shot.A Little BackgroundOver the past few months, the Pickleback’s generated a lot of Internet buzz.
Jan 29, 2020
Simple Cocktails with Fresh Apple Cider Straight Up Cocktails
Sweetly tangy, and satisfyingly robust, fresh-pressed apple cider is springing up in greenmarkets and grocery stores everywhere right now. Equally delicious drunk cold straight from the fridge, or warmed over the stove with a dash of spice, this seasonal treat is something I really look forward to every fall.All this got me thinking: a liquid ingredient this good has got to have some serious cocktail potential.
Jan 29, 2020
Good Question: Know a Great Holiday Punch? Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
This Good Question comes from reader, Kristen, just in time for party season: I’m throwing my first holiday party for some close friends and colleagues soon and was wondering if any readers or contributors at The Kitchn know of a great holiday punch to make for my guests. Thank you!Kristen, there are so many great recipes to chose from! Delicate champagne punches, fruity tropical punches, hot, spiced rum punches, to name just a few.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe Review: Cajun Lemonade Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking for something cool and refreshing, with all the summery herbal flavor of a Pimm’s Cup, but with a little extra kick?How does a tall glass of spicy, spiked Cajun Lemonade sound?I came across this intriguing-looking drink while browsing through Food & Wine’s Cocktails ’09.Billed as a “salute to the flavors of New Orleans,” this mildly spicy lemonade is a riff on Napoleon House’s famous version of that warm-weather favorite, the Pimm’s Cup.
Jan 29, 2020
All About Margaritas Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. Why not get things started a little early this weekend with a Margarita?A cool, thirst-quenching combination of tart and sweet, accented by the warmth of tequila and the savory piquancy of salt, the Margarita is the perfect drink for a warm evening. But which recipe to choose?I’m going to tell you my absolute favorite way to mix one, but then I want to hear yours….THE STORYThere are many competing stories about how the Margarita came to be.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe: Spicy-Cool Blood Orange-Jalapeño Margaritas Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
So what if it’s just the 5th of March and not Cinco de Mayo. Why not toast the last days of winter (and the seasonal availability of tart and juicy blood oranges) with a spicy-cool spin on the Margarita? I recently test-drove this intriguing recipe as part of a “virtual cocktail party” hosted by Kara Newman, cocktail columnist for Chile Pepper Magazine and author of Spice & Ice: 60 Tongue-Tingling Cocktails.
Jan 29, 2020
The Celluloid Pantry: A Tom Collins with Lime and Chinatown (1974)
Chinatown (1974) is a thirsty film. Private eye Jake “JJ” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) uncovers a water scandal in a drought-stricken 1930s Los Angeles, taking him from parched riverbeds to the lush, green lawns and ornamental fish ponds of a private estate. Evelyn Cross Mulwray (Faye Dunaway, above) is an icy-cool socialite, dressed impeccably in crisp linens and pearls. She serves tea from a silver service with sugar and lemon, and apéritifs in cut crystal glasses.
Jan 29, 2020
Straight Up: Lillet Blanc and James Bond Casino Royale (a.k.a. “Vesper”) Martinis
Citrusy and spicy, with a honeyed texture and the golden color of a summer sunset, Lillet Blanc is the perfect pre-dinner patio drink for a lazy June day.Produced in Bordeaux since 1872, this classic French wine-based aperitif is deliciously refreshing all on its own – either served chilled with a twist of orange, or poured over ice with a splash of club soda. It also pairs nicely with vodka and gin, giving a dash of zesty, bittersweet citrus flavor to summer cocktails.
Jan 29, 2020
Inspiration from a French Inn: Cocktail Maison
Can you guess what gives this Champagne cocktail its peachy-pink blush? After I sampled a glass of it, I just had to find out. My friend Hillary discovered this sparkling cocktail years ago while traveling through the French countryside. She was staying in small inn with an adjoining restaurant. An assortment of cocktails were offered before dinner as apéritifs. Hillary chose the house specialty, the cocktail maison. It was cool and effervescent.
Jan 29, 2020
Recipe Review: Lillet Liberté Cocktail for Bastille Day Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Just because the 4th of July weekend is over doesn’t mean our look at quick and easy celebratory cocktails has to end. After all, Bastille Day’s just around the corner, storming in next Thursday, July 14th. Here’s a light and lovely 3-ingredient cocktail to toast the occasion: the Liberté featuring the summery, citrusy apéritif, Lillet Blanc.When I first spotted this cocktail on the menu at an event I attended the other week, I was eager to give it a try.
Jan 29, 2020
The Celluloid Pantry: Stingers with Green Creme de Menthe and The Big Clock (1948)
“Green mint, that’s what the boy said.” In the noir classic, The Big Clock (1948), the dizzying sting of a certain green cocktail sends New York crime magazine writer, George Stroud (Ray Milland, left), reeling.Married seven years, and the father of a five-year-old boy, workaholic Stroud has finally scheduled a long-delayed honeymoon with his wife, Georgette (Maureen O’Sullivan). But time is of the essence.
Jan 29, 2020
Straight Up: Pimm’s Cup for the English Gardener
Cool and crisp, with a citrusy, herbaceous tang, served over tinkling cubes of ice, Pimm’s Cup is the quintessential British summer drink. Although this tall refresher is most famously enjoyed by spectators at Wimbledon and at cricket matches and sailing regattas, it will be forever tied to gardening for me.
Jan 21, 2020
Oscar Night Tipple: White Lady Cocktail Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking to channel a little Old Hollywood glamor and elegance for the Academy Awards this Sunday – all from the no-tuxes-or-gowns-required comfort of your own cozy couch? How about shaking yourself up a batch of this simple yet luscious, 3-ingredient beauty: the White Lady cocktail.A pale cousin of the blush-colored Pink Lady, the White Lady is a classic sours recipe with a gin base, featuring the tart tang of fresh lemon juice tempered by the orangey bittersweetness of Cointreau.
Sep 13, 2019
Black Cup: Like a Pimm’s, but with Port Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Impatiently waiting for spring? Dreaming about the flavors of ripe summer stone fruit and lush, dark berries? How about this tall, roaring-red cocktail made with ruby port: the Black Cup.
Sep 13, 2019
Recipe Review: Homemade Eggnog Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
A fresh-tasting blend of cold milk, cream and eggs seasoned with sugar, vanilla and nutmeg and spiked with dark, rich liquor, homemade eggnog is a far cry from the cloying, chemical-laden stuff that comes from cartons. And the biggest surprise? It’s quick and easy to prepare.As last year’s poll here at The Kitchn showed, the mere mention of this holiday classic can trigger some pretty strong reactions.
Sep 12, 2019
Garlic Prep, the Goodfellas Way
Every family has its own way of prepping garlic. Some, proud of their knife skills, wouldn’t be caught dead with a garlic press; others — the specialists — go for the high-end uni-taskers, swearing by the Zyliss Susi 2. In Goodfellas (1990), mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) recalls his days in stir, where Paulie (Paul Sorvino) developed a method all his own: “He was in a year for contempt and he had this wonderful system for doing the garlic.
Jul 22, 2019
Recipe Review: The Lazy Boy from Left Coast Libations Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Bourbon. Figs. Ginger. Honey. While this might sound like the beginnings of a luscious dessert, it’s actually the shopping list for a culinary-style cocktail with a sassy name.One of over 100 original recipes featured in Left Coast Libations, a cocktail book showcasing the creations of 51 mixologists from the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada, The Lazy Boy by Chris Churilla takes its inspiration – and most of its ingredients – from the kitchen.
Jun 9, 2019
The Celluloid Pantry: “Pixie Remover” and My Man Godfrey (1936)
[Beginning next week, The Celluloid Pantry will take a short hiatus while Nora spends the month as a writer-in-residence at the Ucross Foundation. We’ll return December 12.] “You must never be rough with them. You must always send them away quietly.
Jun 9, 2019
Donut-Dunking and It Happened One Night
“Twenty millions and you don’t know how to dunk.” Donuts have long been an American staple, but in 1934 they hit the big time when they were billed as “The Hit Food of the Century of Progress,” and churned out to the masses by up-to-the-minute machines at the Chicago World’s Fair. The same year saw the release of the screwball classic, It Happened One Night (1934).
Jun 6, 2019
Recipe Review: Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking for a mouthwateringly good warm-weather cocktail with garden-fresh ingredients? How about a savory-sweet Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher?I was leafing through DIY Cocktails when this summer sipper immediately caught my eye. A drink made from cool slabs of sweet watermelon and soothingly vegetal cucumber seemed like the perfect thing on a hot day.
Jun 5, 2019
Tall, Cool Drinks for a Relaxing Long Weekend Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Memorial Day weekend’s almost here. These last lazy days of May call for something tall, cool, and refreshing. Something that’s quick and easy to mix so you can get back to that very important job of relaxing…Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite no-hassle patio drinks:Dark and StormyDeliciously spicy ginger beer is mixed with rich, dark rum and accented with a zippy wedge of lime.
Jun 5, 2019
Quick and Easy Thanksgiving Cocktail: The Poinsettia
Keeping in mind all the multi-dish bustle that comes with Thanksgiving, this year I set out in search for a cocktail recipe that would be quick and easy to prepare (and replenish!); adjustable to suit a wide range of age groups and tastes (with and without alcohol); pretty and festive on the holiday table; and a good pre-dinner drink, but also something that could carry over to complement the flavors and textures of the Thanksgiving meal. Tall order?
Jun 5, 2019
Recipe: Tribute Cocktail for the Bronx Zoo’s Cobra Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
TGIF: Thank goodness I’ve fangsIf anyone deserves a drink this weekend, it’s the Bronx Zoo’s Cobra. Allow me to explain.The freedom-loving reptile became an instant celebrity when she escaped from the Bronx Zoo in late March. Tweeting as @BronxZoosCobra, she kept her followers entertained with witty reports of her exploits around New York City before she was finally apprehended and returned to her high-security enclosure six days later.
Jun 5, 2019
Whiskey vs. Whisky: What’s the Difference? Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Now that the days are getting shorter and chillier, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a good book and a nice warming glass of whisky – or should that be whiskey? Same thing, just different spelling, right? Well, that depends…Before we get going, let’s define the liquor in general:No matter how you spell it, whisky/ey is an umbrella term for a type of spirit distilled from a mash of fermented grains.
Jun 5, 2019
We Review Alaskan Polar Bear Heaters, the Crazy Cocktail from The Nutty Professor
“You going to drink this here, or are you going to take it home and rub it on your chest?” It’s the cocktail to end all cocktails. In The Nutty Professor (1963), nebbishy chemistry instructor, Julius Kelp (Jerry Lewis), goes all Jekyll and Hyde when he mixes himself up a strengthening potion with some startling side effects.
May 30, 2019
Big Cold Cuts, Small Bread and This is Spinal Tap
There’s a story about Van Halen and M&M’s. The band’s tour rider was said to specify that a bowl of the candy always had to be waiting backstage with the brown pieces removed. If a single brown one was found, all bets were off. Lead singer David Lee Roth later claimed this was only a litmus test, a kind of a marker for the ability to follow instructions. “We have a very technical tour operation,” he explained.
May 30, 2019
Ramos Gin Fizz and Dead Reckoning
A delicately floral-scented cocktail with a smooth, creamy finish, and the heady kick of gin, the Ramos Gin Fizz is the perfect drink for a Southern femme fatale. Invented in 1888 by Henrico C. Ramos at the Imperial Cabinet Saloon in New Orleans, the formula for this drink was a closely-guarded secret for many years. But when the saloon closed in 1920 under Prohibition, Henrico’s brother, Charles Henry Ramos, shared the recipe with the public in consolation.
May 30, 2019
Baby Carrots and Rushmore
This is going to sound odd. But of all the food seduction scenes in movies, this one’s our favorite. While the elegant picnic innuendo in To Catch a Thief (“a leg or a breast?”) and the racy dinner-table antics in Tom Jones (lobster, chicken, and oysters) are both standout classics, the strange, subtle poignancy of baby carrots on a plate in Rushmore (1999) deserves a romantic category all its own.
May 30, 2019
A Picnic of Chicken, Beer, and Innuendo in To Catch a Thief
In Hitchcock’s lush thriller, To Catch a Thief (1955), a cliff-side picnic lunch gets served up with equal measures of innuendo, elegance, and cheek. Have you seen this film? If not, you must. Now retired in style to the French Riviera, John Robie (Cary Grant), a.k.a. “the Cat,” is a reformed jewel thief and former French Resistance hero wrongfully under suspicion for a series of burglaries done by an imitator of his distinctive techniques.
May 30, 2019
French Soufflés and Sabrina
“A woman happy happy in love, she burns the soufflé. A woman unhappy in love, she forgets to turn on the oven.” In Sabrina (1954), Audrey Hepburn plays a chauffeur’s daughter in love above her station. Unnoticed and brokenhearted, she goes to culinary school in Paris to forget. But even so far away, she can’t keep her mind on her cooking.
May 30, 2019
Bar Tour: Pravda Infuses Russian Mystique Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Something’s brewing in NYC’s Nolita. Hidden away down a narrow flight of concrete steps off Lafayette St. is Pravda, an atmospheric Russian bar-bistro. Infused with the rich, warm tones of well-worn wood and old leather, and accented with earthy reds, Pravda’s Old World style doesn’t end with the decor.
May 30, 2019
Warm Up to St. Patrick’s With an Irish Whiskey Skin
During these brisk/balmy, lion/lamb days of March, the turn of season alternately calls for something light and fresh – and also with a hint of warmth. Mellower than Irish Coffee, and good for whatever ails you, the Irish Whiskey Skin is a bright and zesty pick for St. Patrick’s Day. You can spot a Whiskey Skin from across the room, thanks to its very distinctive garnish: a long, ribbon-like strip of lemon peel.
May 24, 2019