Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. — Handcrafted in the South

Traveling through Charleston earlier this week, I kept my eyes peeled for the best artisan and handcrafted goods this venerable Southern city had to offer. Ducking in shop after shop, and talking to many of the locals, I found a treasure trove of goodies.

One that was mentioned to me a few times was the Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Fresh off a successful new launch of the Jack Rudy Small Batch Grenadine at the Charleston Food and Wine Festival, this was the perfect second addition to their eponymous Small Batch Tonic. Each batch is numbered making each bottle a little treasure to behold as it sits on your bar, waiting for company, or better yet, for the special occasions you create for yourself.

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co.

I came home with a bottle of each after dropping in at the Old World Mercantile (the worlds smallest department store) to peruse the shelves and maybe find a little something to take home to my husband. Jack Rudy’s bottles popped out at me and I didn’t hesitate. My husband is a prohibition-era cocktail aficionado and I knew these would make the perfect present and give me brownie points towards his honey-do list.

The Small Batch Tonic is essentially a quinine concentrate. It’s designed to pair with your favorite Gin or Vodka, and is then stretched with soda water to make a bright, light, refreshing highball. With a backbone of quinine, culled from the Cinchona Tree, the founders added a delicate mix of botanicals, sweetening with real cane sugar; the final product is a complex mixture that introduces a fine bitterness to any cocktail, and a great pairing with the botanicals of the finest gins in the world.

I tried it with my local purveyor, Cardinal Gin, and it makes the perfect Gin and Tonic. It’s shockingly bright with a great zesty citrus burst of flavor. Topped with soda water, it’s the perfect summer cocktail.

Handcrafted for Jack Rudy Cocktail Co, the Small Batch Grenadine is made with pomegranates (the french word for pomegranate is grenade) cane sugar, and orange flower water. Rich and full-flavored up front, it gives way to a bright, almost tropical finish that lifts a drinks profile; use it to create new cocktails, or to revisit classic drinks like a Ward 8, Jack Rose, El Presidente, or Monkey Gland. For the little connoisseurs in your home, mix it with lemon-lime soda to make a Shirley Temple, or cola to make a Roy Rogers!

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Grenadine and Tonic

My favorite way to have grenadine is in a Tequila Sunrise. This is another prohibition era cocktail that is coming back into style. What’s that? You’ve never had one. Well, here is my recipe:

  • 1 1/2 ounces white tequila, iced
  • 4 ounces cold, fresh orange juice
  • Dash of grenadine
  • Slice of orange

Pour the tequila into a chilled highball glass, followed by the orange juice. Float the grenadine on top, and garnish with an orange slice.

Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. is a family run company based in Charleston, SC and Lexington, KY.

Our goal is to take long forgotten staples of the American bar and reinvent them, in an effort to drink like our great-grandparents might once have.

Our products are crafted in the United States in small batches, and distributed carefully across the world to finer bottle shops, bars, restaurants and general fans of a delicious drink.

You can buy Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. products at many fine purveyors or on their website. Orders are sold in packs of two for $32.00 per pack.

Disclosure: This post was not sponsored, nor did I receive anything free. I swiped my card happily in the name of artisan goods and delicious cocktails.

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National Pound Cake Day

Today is National Pound Cake Day. Pound cakes hold a special place in my heart, so much my wedding cake was frosted layers of chocolate and vanilla pound cake. So it’s only natural I wax poetic for a few minutes about my love of all that is pound cake.

Pound cake is a dense, moist cake that got it’s name because it was baked with a pound each of flour, butter, sugar and eggs. I prefer to use my Grandmother’s recipe which is not an exact science, and is filled with dashes and splashes, leaving a burst of lemon on your palate. 

To help you bake your own pound cake, I’ve rounded up some of the best recipes online that will keep you baking and happy!

America’s Test Kitchen has always been my go-to source for recipes that are somewhat fussy to create and they didn’t fail with this recreation of the classic pound cake.

America's Test Kitchen Pound Cake Recipe

The Joy of Baking has taken all the guess work out of pound cake baking with this video demonstration.

Are you enjoying a pound cake today? Let us know in the comments!

Charleston Bound

We love to travel and more often than not, our travel centers around the thriving hubs of the cities and towns we’re visiting. This week, I’m Charleston bound. Voted for the second year as Conde Nast’s “Top City in the US”, Charleston is the gold standard of Southern cities.

During my visit to “The Holy City,” I’ll be making my annual pilgrimage to the Charleston City Market for sweetgrass baskets. Otherwise, I’m wide open on this trip and winging it. I reached out to my friend Christina Lor, a Charleston native currently residing in Silicon Valley, who gave me a great list of places to see in her hometown. (And that I will be sharing soon!)

Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods said it best, “South Carolina’s low country provides a low-key, old world existence to those who live here. If you want to taste it, it helps to slow down, turn off the main highways, and you can step into a unique way of life.” Those words ring true for every piece of Charleston you choose to experience. Slow down. Turn off the main highways. Live life as a native.

With a rich 300 year history, Charleston today is America’s most beautifully preserved architectural and historical treasure. The city’s past is a testament to the spirit and tenacity of its citizens. Its appeal has been described as a “living museum.” As Charleston native Elizabeth O’Neill Verner once said, “It is impossible for me to enter Charleston from any side, whether by land or by sea, and not feel that here the land is precious; here is a place worth keeping.
Charleston Church
That’s one of the reasons I love Charleston. I love slowing down, breathing in the coastal air and stepping back in time as I walk down cobblestone streets, enjoying the beauty of this charming Southern city. To walk in Charleston is to take a walk immersed in gentile history and to really discover the soul of the city. A soul steeped in tradition and heritage.
Charleston Cemetary
One of the things I love photographing when in Charleston are the window boxes of flowers, such as this one from September, 2009.
charleston flowerbox

I hope you join us in this adventure. We’ll be bringing you the best of each city we travel to has to offer by way of the people that make the cities breathe — the artisans who are keeping the tradtions and cultures alive. It’s their gift to us and future generations. Enhanced by Zemanta

Easter Burlap Wreath by Top This Top That

I love to change my wreaths by the holiday, however I’m also limited on storage space. Top This, Top That’s Burlap Easter Wreath is the easiest wreath you will ever make.

Top This Top That Easter Burlap Wreath

Laura takes you through all of the steps in creating this gorgeous wreath and includes versions to make for summer and fall. Talk about versatile!

To find out how to make your own Easter Burlap Wreath, visit Top This Top That! 

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St. Patrick’s Day — 5 Ideas from Pinterest to Get You Started

St. Patrick’s Day is primarily observed as a celebration of Irish and Irish American culture in the United States. This Irish religious holiday is now celebrated by those of Irish heritage as a symbol of patriotism. People of all backgrounds celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today, so we’re going to be sharing some of our great finds to help you create your own St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

1. These St. Patrick’s Day Mint+Chocolate Rice Krispy Treats from Lolli at Better in Bulk whets our whistle for something sweet, green and fun for kids and adults.


2. For the wee lads and lassies in your life, the Editors at Babble have shared 12 fun crafts to introduce them to all things Irish.


3. It wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without Irish Soda Bread.

Source: greeneggs-and-spam.com via Misty Kearns – CEO of Me® on Pinterest

4. Setting a festive table is something we strive for and this one is a particular favorite of ours!

Source: pier1.com via Dorothy on Pinterest


5. We can’t leave out the adults! This Tyrconnell Clementine is made with Irish Whiskey and perfect for those of us not wanting to feel the burn normally associated with straight whiskey.

Source: blog.freshdirect.com via Amy on Pinterest

What St. Patrick’s Day festivities do you enjoy?

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Tesler + Mendelovitch — Wearable Wood

Tesler + Medelovitch is quite possibly the most eye catching textile design and development team I’ve seen in quite some time. T+M incubate and create totally original, never-before-seen materials, transforming them into high quality custom-made products for industry, art and fashion.

Wood as a textile

Wood Clutch by Tesler + Mendelovitch

Their recent work has resulted in the transformation of wood into a new textile. The texture, properties and appearance of our “wearable wood” series as a simultaneously delicate, flexible, durable material, we researched the potential of integrating these opposing elements to form new product identities.

T+M’s goal of creating original materials from “the ground up” demands an intensive incubation period of careful thought, experimentation, research, as well as tremendous effort to convert their vision into a unified aesthetic, technical and functional product.

Tesler Mendolovitch Creme Clutch

Featuring a magnetic clasp and a soft underbelly for a comfortable grip, all wood used in our designs is hand-selected, individually and meticulously crafted to a high quality standard.

This thought of wood as a textile is brilliant and the geometric angles creates an architectural looking “skin” for this clutch that provides flexibility. These clutches are constructed of 100% wood, 100% hide, making them delicate and wear resilient.  Tesler Mendelovitch Americano Wooden Clutch

Orli Tesler + Itamar Mendelovitch
We are a design couple and have been working together for 5 years. We met at school and founded a mutual friendship based on polarizing design philosophies. We design our middle ground and somehow it works!
Shop their products on Etsy:

Find them on Facebook:

And on Pinterest:



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Shops we love: Oakleaf and Acorn – Select Findings for Men

One of my favorites places to shop when I’m headed down 85 South in Georgia is Oakleaf & Acorn in Brasleton. Purveyor John Rich’s goal is to bring you the finest quality men’s goods. Products that are representative of a man at the point in his life where quality and craftsmanship are priority, sharing the value, enterprise and effort of a dedicated few.

What do I have for my children to remember me by?

That question is what led John to open Oakleaf and Acorn. His goal was to make sure that not only do we live life to fullest, but that the items we used to enhance our lives are ones that add to the richness of our experience and bring enjoyment to those around you.

Be it a shaving kit that follows you through your journeys, a scent that reminds you of a special person or place, the interesting objects that sit on your desk, or the bag that carries you through the day. Things and experiences your loved ones will remember.

I’ve selected three items to highlight from Oakleaf and Acorn to share the great pieces curated by John for his shop.

The jeans are produced by Stovall & Young. They are White Oak Cone raw 12 oz. selvage denim made of natural indigo and 100% cotton from Greensboro, NC. The denim has been Sanforized to reduce shrinkage. The leather trim is hand-crafted in Portland, OR. Belt loops are selvage and copper stitching with a chain stitched hem. Hand sewn with care in San Francisco.

These ties were made exclusivly for Oakleaf and Acorn by Sally Peek in Columbia, South Carolina. John choose “Civil War” fabrics for this limited edition of 18 ties made of 100% cotton with a skinny staight style. My husband owns one that have bull dogs on them and can wear from work to a night out with the boys.

Our final share is the Spice Tin candle from Himalayan Trading Post, produced in Decatur, Georgia. This replica of spice tins, used to store baking soda and spices, has an antiqued distressed finish and comes with hardwood wooden lids. They are filled with fragranced soy wax and burn for 50 hours.

Oak Leaf and Acorn -- Select Findings for Men

Have you checked out Oakleaf and Acorn? If so, tell them Straight Up Crafty sent you!

You can shop Oak Leaf and Acorn on their site: http://www.oakleafandacorn.com

Oakleaf and Acorn on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakleaf-Acorn/

Contact John.

Cardinal Gin — Southern Artisan Spirits

Not too long ago, I was in Asheville, NC, and introduced to Cardinal Gin. I was shocked when the barkeep explained they were from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, — here’s a craft gin in my backyard. My bartender knew I wasn’t a gin fan, but felt this artisan gin from Southern Artisan Spirits would be a good flavor profile for me to test.

I quickly became a fan.

Cardinal Gin by Southern Artisan Spirits

Cardinal Gin - Artisanal Southern Spirit

Dedicated to the revitalization of the lost art of craft distillation, Southern Artisan Spirits hones their craft in an old textile factory in Kings Mountain. Considered a Western-style gin, like Hendricks, award-winning Cardinal Gin has a beautiful botanical (very herbal) bouquet with a stronger mint finish on the end than you’d find in other gins.

Distilled with organic juniper, spearmint, clove, grains of paradise, coriander, orange peel, apricot kernels, cardamum, frankincense  angelica root, and orris root, Cardinal is perfect for prohibition era cocktails, such as the Corpse Reviver. The distillation process takes place with modern tools, using a stainless steel vat and induction heating. This gives the distillers greater control of the product, ensuring the flavor is consistent with each batch.

The bottle housing Cardinal Gin is one that denotes the seriousness of the product you’re about to consume, with the Cardinal, North Carolina’s State Bird, embossed upon it.

Awards for Cardinal Gin

Cardinal Gin Awards

How do I enjoy Cardinal Gin? I’m still developing my palate and haven’t adapted to sipping it straight, but I do like to mix it with tonic or in my favorite cocktail, The Corpse Reviver #2.

Corpse Reviver #2

1 oz. Cardinal gin
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Lillet Blanc
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 drop absinthe (you can substitute pastis)
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: cocktail

Garnish: orange peel or cherry

1. Shake ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker

2. Strain and enjoy responsibly

Cocktail jigger and strainer

[Photo: Jessica Leibowitz]




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Etsy Sellers We Heart: Super Love for BabyPop Designs

One of our favorite companies that we have super love for is BabyPop Designs. We first met Sherry from BabyPop at the Type-A Parent Conference in 2010 and fell in love with her capes faster than the speed of light!

Each cape is handcrafted with loving care to your specifications and based on your child’s favorite cape colors, and logo. The personalized initial make them a REAL superhero or princess. Her superhero capes shields and custom letters use felt made from recycled soda bottles, so her products are good for the environment and fun for the kids to dress-up!

Saving one backyard at a time!

BabyPop SuperHero Capes

BabyPop is more than just capes. They are purveyors of full costumes, SuperHero Masks, gloves and will even dress up your favorite teddy bear or four-legged friend! Want one for yourself? Sherry makes costumes for adults as well. We’re thinking about capes that say “Crafty Gals!”

You can find Sherry’s designs over at BabyPop and on Etsy. Tell her Straight Up Crafty sent you!


4 Quick Valentine’s Day Crafts

It’s never too late to get your craft on and here at Straight Up Crafty we know that some of the best gifts can be made at the last minute! These sweet Valentine’s Day crafts don’t require much planning- just a few basic supplies and a few minutes of your day! So get your craft on for more fabulous items to share with your loved ones! After all, no one ever said being crafty had to be hard! Happy Valentine’s Day!

Radiating Hearts Valentine Card

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