The French Blonde is a beautiful cocktail featuring French liqueur Lillet Blanc, elderflower liqueur and dry gin accented by sunny, freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. We like to use St. Germain elderflower liqueur paired with Broker’s dry gin and the resulting drink is a lovely mixture of floral, fruity, citrus and oh là là!
We probably eat more eggs than anyone we know, so it’s lucky for us that we live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania where we have no trouble finding farm fresh and organic eggs wherever we go. Just two minutes up the road is Rick’s Egg Farm and our local grocery store Kimberton Whole Foods carries a wide variety of local eggs including Meg’s Eggs from pasture raised hens which produce the most beautiful multicolor eggs. Alderfer organic eggs from Montgomery County, PA are also readily available in our area.
Baking eggs is a easy way to enjoy farm fresh eggs and keep the yolks just a little underdone and velvety so you can appreciate all that went into making them. As with assembling savory tarts, the egg base here again gives us another savored opportunity to be creative as food photographers and stylists and paint our palette with herbs, vegetables, cheese and anything we want in the interest of art and good taste.
For these eggs we used sliced heirloom cherry tomatoes, fresh thyme, goat cheese and a little minced garlic and thyme but we often experiment with other combinations depending on what we have around and what’s in season, like fresh chives for instance. It’s worth noting that these are the ultimate Dippy Eggs, so get your favorite toast ready for dipping!
To finish these eggs right before the photoshoot, we sprinkled them with some adorable and peppery micro-arugula from our good friends at Blue Moon Acres in Buckingham, PA.
Scroll down below to get the recipe and photography notes!
Food Photography Notes: Natural light at a 12 o’clock position was filtered through a white diffuser. Two large black foam core boards were used on either side of the setting to provide more depth to the shadow areas. The camera system is a Leica S Medium Format with a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S lens.
Food & Prop Styling Notes: We custom painted this tabletop surface with distressed white crackle paint to create a high key, light and airy feel. Ingredients were dispersed around the setting in an energetic pattern to create a visual rhythm and provide a sense of organic liveliness to the shot.
The Black Velvet Cocktail was created in 1861 London at the Brooks Club after the death of Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert. The country was in mourning and they decided that the champagne should be in mourning as well and so dark Guinness stout was added. In Germany the cocktail is also known as a Bismark, but the recipe is the same – a stout beer poured with a dry champagne. A variation that uses a dry hard cider instead of champagne is called a Poor Man’s Black Velvet.
Today the Black Velvet has become more of a novelty cocktail enjoyed during celebrations and, because it’s decidedly Irish, on St. Patrick’s Day as a way to toast the occasion in an extra special way. It’s great as a showy party starter, or as an alternative brunch cocktail to the traditional mimosa. Allowing the drink to settle for a minute or two after pouring allows the Guinness and champagne to separately due to their different specific gravities creating an attractive layered look, but many mixologists prefer to mix the two together.
Whether the beer and champagne are blended or layered is truly a matter of taste, as is the cocktail itself not surprisingly. Some hard core Guinness fans may find the addition of champagne to their beloved stout a sacrilege, but others find the cocktail to be a heavenly mixture and enjoy how the champagne brings out a surprising fruity side of the beer. Personally, we have to admit we prefer our champagne and Guinness to be in separate glasses altogether, but we do love the look and appreciate the history of the cocktail which is why we truly enjoyed photographing it. Scroll down below for the recipe and photoshoot notes and also check out our animated Instagram video of this cocktail! Be sure to follow our Instagram feed for more behind the scenes posts.
Drink Photography Notes: Lighting provided by 1 strobe with a grid, placed at a 2 o’clock position at about five foot elevation, to create dramatic detail. Using strobe lights also allows us to capture the beautiful bubble details as the drink is poured. A reflector card was added at a 9 o’clock position. The camera system is a Leica S Medium Format with a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S lens.
Drink & Prop Styling Notes: Real Guinness and champagne were used to keep the subject matter authentic, as most of our photoshoots tend to be. The story boarded concept was to have the cocktail poured and captured in various stages, with the final shot being an overflowing glass. Several takes were done before the final photo session, to ensure that the cocktail would overflow over the side of the glass that we wanted, which can be a be a tricky accomplishment requiring patience, experience and pouring finesse.
Click on the video below to see the pouring in action!
We love savory tarts and quiches. Not only are they a satisfying and easy to make dish, but they are great fun for us as photographers and food stylists. The egg custard base provides a beautiful golden canvas allowing us freedom to decorate and style it with vegetables, herbs, meats and cheeses.
This is a pretty simple mushroom and chorizo tart, but other addtions we love to use include goat cheese, roasted red peppers, sweet onion, spinach, kale, ham, bacon and gruyere. Scroll down below to get the recipe and photography notes.
Food Photography Notes: Natural light at 12 o’clock position was filtered through a white diffuser. The camera was a Nikon D800 hand-held, with a 24mm-70mm F2.8 VR lens. The main shot was taken from straight down to show off the tapestry of ingredients and the irregular shapes of the cut tart pieces.
Food & Prop Styling Notes: The tabletop surface was custom-made for our food photography and was painted with distressed white crackle paint. Extra mushrooms and peppers were sautéed seperately to use for final styling after the tart was baked to create more dimension. The tart was cut in an unconventional grid pattern, instead of the usual radial pie cuts, to create a more interesting geometry.
Click here to see our behind the scenes Instagram video!
One of our favorite cocktails of all time is the classic Gin Martini. For us the ethereal botanicals from the gin combined with the earthy brine of vermouth create one of the most perfect cocktails ever shaken or stirred.
Admittedly attracted by the label at first (yes we’re suckers for a pretty label) we recently sampled Monkey 47, a very unique gin, and were intrigued by its aromas of lime and of woody spruce and couldn’t wait to try it in a martini. Made in Germany using 47 different botanical ingredients, we found this gin to be utterly entrancing when sipped on its own and it resulted in a lovely martini, paired with Dolin dry vermouth from France.
Truth be told, after auditioning several combinations over the years, Broker’s Gin and Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth have become our favorite pair for both the classic martini and Andrea’s most favorite variation, the Dirty Martini which will be featured soon in an upcoming post. Although Broker’s and Noilly Prat are our own go to cocktail combo, we’d love to hear about your favorite Martini duo, and hope you’ll share your recipes and photos with us! We know some people love to include a dash of orange bitters in their classic martinis and want to hear who else is hooked on this bitter addition too!
Scroll below to see the recipe for our version of the classic gin martini as well as our photography notes from this photoshoot.
Drink Photography Notes: Lighting provided from 2 strobes – one with a grid placed back right at 1 o’clock position to create the high contrast lighting and one strobe light with soft box at the 3 o’clock position to help slightly bring back details and add better dimension. Pinpoint mirrors were used to reflect targeted light onto the bottle labels and olives. The camera system is a Leica S Medium Format with a 30-90mm f/3.5-5.6 Vario-Elmar-S lens.
Drink & Prop Styling Notes: Hand-stuffed Gaea green olives were selected. Test cocktails were made ahead of time using just water to determine ideal olive placement in the glass, and to rehearse the pouring action shots. Various antique or unique objects of interest such as books, a curio box, cocktail trays and a small elephant were placed throughout the setting to create the unusual visual narrative.