“Bon Voyage Fitz!” – We Toasted with Sapphire Con Diablo cocktails!

June 6, 2011

The other evening we had our friend, Fitz, one of our oldest and dearest friends, over for a “Bon Voyage” dinner. He is soon to leave for an approximate 3 month adventure. We are very sad to see him go and know we will definitely miss him, but are very excited for him as well as about his journey. (More on this later…continue past recipe for full story)

Fitz, our Best Man at our wedding.

To get the evening started off right, we began by sampling a new cocktail I’d been dying to try out – the Sapphire Con Diablo. Bombay Sapphire is the only gin my husband will drink, especially if it’s in a Sapphire Gimlet (Bombay Sapphire Gin, lime juice and tonic water). Indeed that particular cocktail is essentially our “house cocktail” and lots of folks have kind of grown to expect one when they come by for a visit. When I saw the recipe for the award-winning Sapphire Con Diablo at the Brave Tart blog (fantastic blog if you haven’t been there yet), I jumped at the chance to try it out! It was really pretty easy to make. You do need to prepare a Spicy Simple Syrup for one of the ingredients, but that came together quite easily. And let me tell you, my “Diablo syrup” had quite a lot of devil in it….whew! SPICY!!! There is also a raw egg involved in this drink which may make some folks nervous about salmonella. However, as was mentioned on Brave Tart’s blog, one should always expect to incur some risk when dealing with the devil. So if you think you’re up to it, give this killer cocktail a shake! “Vaya con Dios” – especially since you’re going to be drinking con Diablo!

Jay & Fitz after merely one sip of the Sapphire con Diablo!

Sapphire Con Diablo

recipe by Paul Borntraeger via Brave Tart


  • 2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • 1 1/2 ounces Jalapeno simple syrup, strained (recipe below)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 slice lemon peel
  • 1/4 tsp. corriander
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg


Remove the spring from a Hawthorne strainer and have it at the ready. This will be your “whisk” when making the drink.

Fill a shaker 2/3 with ice. Crack the egg into the shaker, then pour in the gin and infused syrup. Add in the spring, and then shake all the ingredients until frothy. Strain into a martini glass.

Dust the lemon peel in the coriander and nutmeg. Then run it around the rim of the martini glass before floating it in the center of the drink.

Paul’s Sweet and Spicy Simple Syrup

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely, seeds included
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar


Combine all of the ingredients together in a small pot. Turn the heat to medium and stir occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Bottle without filtering and store, refrigerate until chilled. Makes enough syrup to create 8 Sapphire Con Diablo cocktails.

But back to Fitz’s story…Fitz had been working as a web developer for many years. He had a well-paying, secure job. However, he yearned to do something else. He understood that the path of least resistance would be to continue on with his daily existence, merely hoping things would improve. However, he knew he didn’t want to wake up 10 or more years down the road, wishing he had undertaken the effort to turn things around. So, he decided to make a BIG change. He moved against life’s inertia, quit his job, has packed up a few meager belongings and will be hitting the road in his Honda Element to hopefully gain a little perspective and insight into what his next career move will be.

While soul-searching, he will be travelling, first exploring the Southern States and then possibly even moving on to Mexico, Central America and then perhaps even onto Southeast Asia! Along the way he will be continuing to record music while on the road. (Fitz is the singer and bassist with the Mesmers, the band with which my husband plays guitar) These new “road songs” of Fitz’s will be available on Bandcamp. This service is particularly cool because you can pay what you think a song is worth (including nothing if you want to download it for free). You can also find his compositions on iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.

This life decision certainly did not come easily for him. There are many logistical, social and financial hurdles to be overcome. Fitz is not independently wealthy, so will need to adhere to a strict budget lest his trip be shortened dramatically. Therefore, hotels are right out, and camping in his Element is in. He will also be doing some CouchSurfing.This is not the couch surfing you might have taken advantage of in college where you just call up your friends and ask to sleep on their sofa for a few days. This is a world-wide network which connects travellers in need of accommodation with locals who have a bit of extra room in their homes and are willing to offer strangers hospitality in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Pretty cool huh? Take a look at the CouchSurfing site and be amazed!

No doubt, Fitz’s adventures will be fascinating! He has chosen to take that road less travelled by, and lucky for us, he will be documenting his journey on his site CitizenFitz. Make sure you don’t miss his weekly updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also catch him on Facebook and Twitter. And please don’t forget to support him financially, if you are so moved, by purchasing the new music he will be making along the way. Exciting huh? The adventure starts Friday June 10th. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Guitars and BBQ

September 19, 2010

1953 Gibson ES 175D

Jay just turned 40 this past week! We had seriously considered a trip to Tuscany to celebrate. However our poor little Mistletoe kitty is not well and we can’t leave her for over a day due to her medications. So, Italy has been post-poned for awhile. The birthday was nevertheless fantastic! Keeping with the tradition we started on his birthday last year, we traveled to Action Music in Falls Church and Jay picked out a new guitar for his prezzie from me. His newest addition is a 1953 Gibson ES 175D. There were only 182 of these guitars made at the Kalamazoo, Michigan Gibson factory in 1953. Not only does it look fantastic, but sounds amazing as well! Just listen for yourself:

Continuing the birthday celebrations, on Saturday evening we had some friends over for a southern BBQ/firepit  evening. We had quite a spread of food: delicious North Carolina pulled pork and beef from Bubba’s Bar-B-Q, coleslaw, potato salad, deviled eggs, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, cornbread ebelskivers, and three different Smith Island Cakes-a traditional chocolate, a chocolate salted caramel and a key lime. YUM! I’ve actually been driving over to Tilghman to learn how to make these cakes from my Aunt Deenie. (I’ll write more about my cake apprenticeship soon)

Everyone digs in!

Cornbread/Jalapeno Ebelskivers

Key Lime Cake

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

Ainsley Enjoys Some Corn

Jack's First Time Toasting Marshmallows

It was a very fun, laid back evening. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Happy Birthday Jay!

Hot time at Freddie’s!

May 10, 2010

The Mesmers officially released their new CD Fitz’s Subway to Another Life at Freddie’s Beach Bar on Thursday May 6th. They had a fantastic show! Quite a few folks turned up for the fun. The band is truly grateful for their support! If you couldn’t make it, we’re sorry we didn’t get to celebrate with you. Here is a video from Freddie’s of one of the new songs, World Weary:

Mesmers CD Release Party

May 4, 2010

That’s right! In a previous post, I mentioned that The Mesmers had new music available, a CD entitled Fitz’s Subway to Another Life. The official release party is just a couple days away! The Mesmers will be holding it this Thursday evening, May 6th at Freddie’s Beach Bar (located at 555 23rd. St. Arlington, Va. 22202.) The festivities start at 8 pm and the band will take the stage around 9 pm to play a short set.  You’ll hear some songs from Subway, and also some of the great tunes from the past. The guys have worked really hard on this album and hope a lot of folks will come out and celebrate with them. It should be a blast! We’ll see you there!

Mesmer’s New Music

March 16, 2010

Wow! All kinds of great stuff is now available. First Jay’s iPhone App, Yodel-Ay-Hee-Moo… now some fantastic music from The Mesmers. Congratulations to the guys on their new CD, entitled Fitz’s Subway to Another Life.

Jay, Fitz, Peter and Dave recorded it at Fitz’s mother’s farm a little over one year ago. A whole lot of work has gone into it and it sounds great! You can listen to samples of the tracks on the Mesmer’s website where it is currently available for sale. It will also be available on iTunes and CD Baby in a couple weeks. Details about their upcoming CD release party will be posted soon. In the meantime, check it out!

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