Michael Cecconi is the former mixologist at New York’s Back Forty; he's currently the head bartender at San Francisco's Two Sisters Bar and Books, and teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education. Here he shares a quick summertime drink idea, called a Scotch Blossom: 2 ounces of Scotch, 1 ounce of honey simple syrup, 1 ounce of lime juice, 4 to 8 mint leaves, and ice. Shake vigorously, add soda water, and enjoy.
Cooked dried black beans provide the wow factor in this simple dip; you could serve the blended beans alone and guests would swoon over the rich, full-bodied flavor. Use leftover dip as a spread for sandwiches or burritos, or stir into a bean soup.