The Music Of Food

Music and cooking both have a beat, a pulse, a flow of notes and a sequence of ingredients. Listening to music while cooking brings out the best in my recipes and in me. My spirit is light as I dance around the kitchen swaying to the tunes, singing along and feeling totally in the groove of the moment. It’s amazing how different styles of music influence my final product. My food can actually take on the character of the music being played and dictate how the recipe will develop. My favorite – Rock and Classic Vinyl of the 60’s and 70’s. What is it about the tinniness of the tambourine that makes my shoulders keep time with its beat? It brings out the edginess and risk-taking in my recipes. Sinatra’s cooing makes me slow down and go more mainstream. Maybe even create a new cocktail to honor the era. Another love – blues and soul music- touches my soul and sends me swaying into a nostalgic bliss.

Everyone knows that music is the Universal Language but recently I’ve felt an even deeper connection, an awakening as to how it enhances my everyday living and balances me like nothing else can. I even hear it in my garden with the songs of multiple birds and the sound of rustling leaves that the music of the wind creates. It’s like a spiderweb of energy that vibrates across the world, bringing hope and healing to all of us, everywhere.

Music pulls out stagnancy and draws in good vibes. It’s a tonic. It intoxicates and releases memories of old and brings them to the surface. My food always tastes better and is more attractive when listening to something that lights up my spirit and draws me in.

In honor of music’s tonic for the soul, I wanted to design a cocktail of vintage meets rock. My mom actually created this drink last night, under the influence of Frank Sinatra. I named it the Carrie Ann, after one of my favorite songs , (actually a Hollies song) by one of my favorite artists, Graham Nash. I recently saw Nash perform in Riverside and my love for him and his music was rekindled. This cocktail combines whiskey with brandied cherries and maraschino cherry liqueur. Whiskey lends the “vintage” feel while the music of Nash, inspiring the addition of the cherries, is the “rock.” You can drink it “neat” or over ice with a heavy dose of sparkling water as a delicious summer refresher. I was in love after my first sip. Thanks Mom for your superb bartending skills. I can’t wait for your next invention!

The Carrie Ann

2 brandied cherries*
1/2 teaspoon sugar or one sugar cube
1 1/2 ounces good whisky. We love Bushmills.
Dash of Angostura bitters
1/2 ounce Maraschino cherry liqueur**
1 Tablespoon brandied cherry juice
Sparkling water
cherry on top for garnish

*I make my own brandied cherries but you can purchase them too.
**I used Maraska Maraschino Cherry Liqueur from Croatia. A gift from dear friends, Alan and Jenny, it is delightful and delicious.


Start with great ingredients!

Cherries and sugar
adding ice

The Carrie Anne
Prep time

Total time


Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 1 drink

  • 2 brandied cherries*
  • ½ teaspoon sugar or one sugar cube
  • 1½ ounces good whisky. We love Bushmills.
  • Dash of Angostura bitters
  • ½ ounce Maraschino cherry liqueur**
  • 1 Tablespoon brandied cherry juice
  • ice
  • Sparkling water
  • cherry on top for garnish




Another version is to make as directed without the sparkling water and then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a cherry. A little stiffer drink but a great sipper.

“The light music of whisky falling into glasses made an agreeable interlude.”
James Joyce, Dubliners

There really is a kind of insane beauty around us all the time. It’s just a question of learning to slow down, take a deep breath and meet the moment.” Graham Nash

I couldn’t agree more!

Ciao for now,