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.
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
Casino Royale Showed Us What James Bond Actually Drank the Most
A James Bond movie is nothing without champagne, and so it only stands to reason that any good James Bond spoof needs a silly scene where corks get popped. Fortunately the first Casino Royale (1967) rises to the occasion.
Feb 7, 2014
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.
Feb 5, 2014
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).
Feb 4, 2014
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.
Feb 3, 2014
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.
Jan 10, 2014
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.
Jan 9, 2014
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).
Jan 8, 2014
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.
Jan 7, 2014
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.
Jan 6, 2014
Recipe Roundup: 12 Thanksgiving Cocktail Ideas Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking for drinks to serve a crowd this Thanksgiving? Or maybe just to toast a romantic dinner for two? Something traditional? Or perhaps something with a more modern twist? Here are 12 Thanksgiving cocktail ideas from The Kitchn’s archives that we hope will inspire you.Looking for Something Using Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients?
Nov 23, 2011
Expert Interview: Heather Greene on Women & Whisky Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Raise your hand if you’re a whisky-loving woman. Although long-prized for its delicately nuanced flavors and aromas, whisky also often carries the reputation of being a “strong,” exclusively “masculine” spirit, making it a tough sell to some female drinkers. This week I sat down to talk with whisky specialist and Glenfiddich brand ambassador, Heather Greene, a woman with a plan to change all that. Her secret weapon? The Mrs. Roberts Society.
Oct 7, 2011
Recipe for Fall: Sazerac Cocktail
image:4db405b5c855741b7a4758aeeb7f7280c1c8ef10 w:540 s:"fit" class_name:"mt-image-center" show_pin_button:"true" show_image_credits:"true" As the days grow shorter and cooler, I begin to crave drinks with subtle, complex flavors. With its delicately layered and nuanced flavors and aromas, the Sazerac feels like the perfect drink for this time of year.
Sep 30, 2011
5 Troublesome Cocktails & Spirits Terms
Do you know your whisky from your whiskey? A pony from a jigger? Here are 5 sets of cocktails and spirits terms we find to be the most frequently flummoxing. Tell us, what are yours? 1. Cocktail/Mixed Drink Cocktails and mixed drinks are the same thing, right? Well, yes and no. These days, “cocktail” is generally used as a catchall term for all kinds of mixed alcoholic drinks, from Martinis, to Moscow Mules, to Margaritas, to Mudslides.
Sep 9, 2011
Recipe: Spicy, Savory Sangrita from Mayahuel NYC Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Spicy, zesty, and addictively tangy and salty, Sangrita makes the perfect sipping partner for tequila. I recently tried a version I’m over the moon for, and am excited to share the recipe with you today. What Is Sangrita? But first a little background. Sangrita is a non-alcoholic beverage traditionally served in a small glass alongside a shot of tequila or mezcal.
Aug 12, 2011
Product Review (+ Recipes): Becherovka Herbal Liqueur Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Have you tried Becherovka? Spicy, aromatic, and bittersweet, this iconic Czech liqueur makes a surprisingly flavorful addition to summer cocktails.Up until this year, Becherovka (pronounced beck-ur-OHV-kuh) was a rare sight in U.S. bars and liquor stores. But thanks to its recent acquisition by liquor giant Pernod Ricard, it’s now popping up on shelves nationwide.And although it’s relatively new to this part of the world, the liqueur comes with a 200-year-old pedigree.
Aug 5, 2011
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.
Jul 8, 2011
Recipe Roundup: 20 Super-Simple Cocktails for 4th of July Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking for a cocktail to cool off with over the Fourth of July weekend? Something simple and not too fussy that can help max out your chillaxing time? Here are 20 quick-and-easy ones from our archives, each made from no more than three simple ingredients. Perfect for these lusciously lazy days of summer.Fizzy Free-PoursJust a shot of spirit, a couple of glugs of soda, and a squeeze of citrus – these brightly bubbly combos can be thrown together in a snap. Exact measurements optional.
Jul 4, 2011
Product Review: Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Looking to make restaurant-style Bloody Marys at home during these lazy days of summer? Have you given Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasonings a try?I usually like to keep my Bloody Marys simple. A dash or two of Tabasco and Worcestershire, a squeeze of lemon, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper are all the seasonings I need. I shy away from prefab mixes – why buy a jug of specially seasoned tomato juice when it’s so easy to stir up something yourself?
Jun 24, 2011
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 17, 2011
Quick Tip: For Aromatic Garnishes, “Spank” Your Herbs Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Mint. Lemon verbena. Rosemary. Basil. Cilantro. Lavender. Want to make your fresh herb cocktail garnishes behave beautifully? You gotta spank ’em.We saw this playfully punitive technique at work with a sprig of lavender in one of the botanically accented Gin and Tonics we took a look at last week. Since this very same method can be applied to so many more herbs in so many other cocktails, I figured it was worth revisiting in a little more depth today.
Jun 10, 2011
The Gin & Tonic: 4 Fresh New Botanical Twists Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
The tinkle of ice. The scent of fresh-cut lime. The bittersweet effervescence of tonic water. The soft, junipery astringency of gin. Mixed together, these four ingredients are heaven enough, no? But what would you say if we subbed out or added in one more element? Something with a botanical twist? Well, this week, I did just that: I mixed a Gin and Tonic four new ways.I’d already been hearing some buzz about souped-up gin and tonics.
Jun 3, 2011
4 New (and Very Different) Gins to Try This Summer Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
A couple of years back, we posted about some favorite new arrivals to the ever-growing gin market. Well, today, in honor of Memorial Day weekend (Southsides, Tom Collinses, Ramos Gin Fizzes, Gin and Tonics, Martinis, anyone?), we’d like to welcome a few more recent standouts – each one delectably mixable in its own way.Death’s Door GinPrice: $35/750 mlThe Story: Hailing from Washington Island, Wisconsin, this gin is all local all the time.
May 27, 2011
Bar Tool Checklist: The Basics – and Beyond Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
How many tools does a home bartender really need? I find I’m of two minds on this. Sometimes I want to go keep things pared down to the essentials (just a jigger, shaker, bar spoon, strainer, and citrus reamer, ma’am). Other times I find myself eyeing spherical ice molds and ornate absinthe spoons. Here’s my own bi-level bar tool essentials/appealing extras list. Tell us, what’s on yours?
May 20, 2011
Patio Favorite: Southside Cocktail Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Gin. Lemon. Sugar. Mint. That’s all you need to make this cool, citrusy summer sipper. So simple and so refreshingly good.There are quite a few stories about the origins of this gin-based, mint-kissed classic. By some accounts, it came from the South Side of Chicago and was enjoyed by Prohibition-era gangsters looking for a way to cover up the taste of some bad bootleg gin.
May 13, 2011
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.
May 6, 2011
Soda + Spirit + Citrus: 5 Refreshingly Simple Sippers Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
With the weather warming up now, I’ve found myself craving simple “patio” drinks. Something fizzy – and not too fussy – that can be stirred with ice right in the glass. Here are five of my favorite warm-weather classics, each made from just three basic ingredients (a soda, a spirit, and some citrus). What are some of yours?• 1.
Apr 29, 2011
A Cocktail for Apricot Lovers: The Knicker Twist Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
If you love apricots as much as I do, you’re in for a treat with today’s cocktail recipe: the luscious – and saucily named – Knicker Twist.I first tried this cocktail at Rye in Brooklyn. I’m a big fan of drinks from the sours family (alcohol + citrus juice + a sweetener) and this combination of vodka, fresh lime juice, orange liqueur, and apricot preserves immediately grabbed my interest.
Apr 8, 2011
2 Spherical Ice Makers: MoMA vs. MUJI (+ Expert Tips) Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Spherical ice doesn’t just look great in a drink, it has practical advantages too. Today we’re going to look at two trays that can be used for making spherical, er, “cubes” at home. And as an added bonus, we’ll be talking to cocktail ice expert Camper English as well.Why Use Spherical Ice?Before we get started testing spherical ice makers, it’s worth stopping a moment to consider the benefits of using the round stuff in the first place.
Apr 1, 2011
Kew Garden Cocktail: A Fresh Way to Celebrate Spring Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
I wanted to try a new recipe this week. Something light and clean and fresh-tasting as a way of toasting the new spring season. Well, I found one I’m absolutely over the moon about: the Kew Garden cocktail.
Mar 25, 2011
Two New (and Very Different) Vodkas: Purity & Wódka Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Vodka drinkers: What do you look for when you’re choosing a bottle? Value pricing? Super-premium quality? A good mixer? Something to sip neat? Today we’re going to taking an up-close look at two new unflavored vodkas that are quite different from one another: Purity and Wódka. Have you given either a try?Purity VodkaPrice: $39.
Mar 18, 2011
Buying Liquor: State vs. Private Stores Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
Location, location, location. Where you buy your liquor, how much you pay for it, and the selection available to you: these things are all determined by the region in which you live. Join us – and weigh in with your own experiences – as we take a closer look at the way liquor is sold in different U.S. states. (Readers who live in other parts of the world, we’d love to compare notes with you too.) Let’s suppose you’re looking to buy some gin.
Mar 11, 2011
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.
Mar 4, 2011
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.
Feb 27, 2011
Bar Staples: Cointreau Orange Liqueur Straight Up Cocktails and Spirits
The other day I was looking through my collection of bar ingredients and realized that there’s only been one brand-specific spirit I’ve always kept consistently on hand over the years: Cointreau.While favorite labels of other bar staples like whiskey, gin, and vermouth have drifted in and out of regular rotation in my home liquor cabinet, when it comes to the bittersweet orange-flavored stuff, there’s nothing quite like Cointreau.
Feb 18, 2011