Drinking with Chickens

Free-Range Cocktails for the Happiest Hour


By Kate E. Richards

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around April 7, 2020. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

It’s drinks, it’s chickens: It’s the cocktail book you didn’t know you needed!

To add some extra happy to your happy hour , invite a chicken and pour yourself a drink. Author Kate Richards serves up cocktails made for Instagram with the spoils of her Southern California garden, chicken friends by her side. Enjoy any (or all) of the 60+ deliciously drinkable garden-to-glass beverages, such as:
  • Lilac Apricot Rum Sour
  • Meyer Lemon + Rosemary Old Fashioned
  • Rhubarb Rose Cobbler
  • Blackberry Sage Spritz
  • Cantaloupe Mint Rum Punch
Cocktails are arranged seasonally, and are 100% accessible for those of us without perpetually sunny backyard gardens at our disposal. Drinking with Chickens will quickly become a boozy favorite, perfect for gifting or for hoarding all for yourself. You don’t need chickens to enjoy these drinks or the colorful photos, but be careful, because you may even find yourself aspiring to be, as Kate is, a home chixologist overrun by gorgeous, loud, early-rising egg-laying ladies, and in need of a very strong drink.





It’s pretty easy for me to talk about growing all your own cocktail ingredients and garnish in your backyard while I sit here luxuriating in my Southern California eternal growing season. I know, I know. For the record, I might be able to grow tomatoes through the winter, but it gets too hot for them here in the summer. Too hot. For tomatoes. The grass is always greener, right? Especially in SoCal where it’s all artificial turf.

My aim here is not to insinuate that you need to be growing an entire cocktail garden (complete with clucky little egg vending machines); rather, to encourage you to use seasonal, garden-fresh goodies whenever and however it’s possible for you. If you don’t have a garden to grow in, maybe you’ve got a small patio with room for a few pots, or a bright kitchen windowsill that you might grow some herbs on. But if you don’t have any of that, or, if you just don’t have the patience for it, hit those farmers’ markets hard.

My recipes include a lot of from-scratch syrups and infusions that utilize a lot of said fresh ingredients. But there’s a lot of store-bought cheats, as well. DIYing cocktails from garden to glass is great and all, but we’re all busy people. Sometimes you just want to buy the damned juice, you know?

I also like to wrap myself up in a very particular, very cozy little blanket of delusion that everyone has chickens in their life. On some basic level, I understand this isn’t true. But here’s the beauty; you don’t need to own them (cough, cough… be owned by them) to live the Drinking with Chickens life. Go forth into the world, my friends, and find chickens to drink with. They’re out there; biodynamic vineyards and breweries, bars in Key West, Florida, every beach on every island in the entirety of Hawaii; even a gorgeous little restaurant in the middle of an industrial warehouse in downtown LA. And really, chickens are only a place holder; I want you to happy hour with what you’ve got, whether it’s dogs, alpacas, parakeets, actual human people friends, or a random giant chicken statue in the middle of nowhere. You do you. Drinking with Chickens is about (*responsibly) living your very best happy hour life, no matter where you are and who you’re with.

The Disclaimer Chapter


Here’s the dirty truth about chickens: they are filthy animals. Filthy, filthy, adorable, filthy animals that have zero personal boundaries. And you really can catch all sorts of properly horrifying cooties from them. So, to be frank, they have absolutely no business being anywhere near your cocktail, your food/drink surfaces, your hands, or your face. This book is meant purely for entertainment purposes; don’t take it so damned literally.

I take a lot of creative liberties with the delivery of my “art” (I just wanna do my art, Mom!!!). I’ll often show a chicken casually strolling by a showy little cocktail, or a single, graceful chicken claw reaching out to fondle a piece of garnish. These are props. It’s chicken satire, people. If you turn your back on your drink with chickens around, they will sidle up to it and either gobble your garnish in one hot second, roundhouse-kick the entire glass to the ground, or just stand there awkwardly touching it with their fluffy chicken butt like it’s a paying job. No matter what sort of contact, any cocktail that has been compromised by a chicken should not, under any circumstances, be consumed. Heed my elaborately staged and pointlessly pretty warning photos. Do not let your chicken chill next to a drink that you are actually putting into your face.

Above all else, always prioritize safe sanitation practices, both during happy hour and with chicken keeping, in general. Aggressively sanitize all surfaces, and wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your damned hands. And don’t dial it in; sing the entire “Happy Birthday” song while you lather, okay?

The kind of “drinking with chickens” I’m happily encouraging here, though, is the sort that involves limited chance of chicken-cocktail entanglement. It’s the low-impact variety that requires you to be sitting (or, if you’re an overachiever, standing) with a drink, while bearing witness to the glory of your ridiculous birds chickening around the yard. From afar. Guard that beautiful booze with a really solid defensive zone.


Additionally (and I really, really, really wish I didn’t have to say this), please do not give your birds, or any animal, alcohol. It is terrible for them, and it is not funny. At all. Drink all the booze (*responsibly) yourself. Do it for the chickens. Do it for the chickens.

Furthermore, do not ever leave your cocktail unattended in the presence of poultry. They are ninjas and will descend upon it before you have time to actually blink, compromising not only the safe drinkability of your booze, but probably also helping themselves. So, guard it with your life.


Oh yes. There are plenty of other things to worry about besides unscrupulous livestock.

Raw Egg

I’m a big fan of raw eggs in cocktails. They add a lovely layer of texture and flavor to many different types of drinks, and egg cocktails usually look pretty dang gorgeous, as well. Clearly, I also have a tendency to use them because I am muchly overwhelmed with fresh eggs on a daily basis. Because let’s be really honest: what the hell else am I going to do with them?

Raw eggs do come, however, with their own set of cautions because they can definitely get you sick. It goes without saying that the very young, the very old, the pregnant, and the immunocompromised should avoid consuming raw egg. They should also… yanno… not be consuming alcoholic beverages from this book. For the rest of us, putting raw egg in our face holes must be done with a healthy dose of caution. Use only the very freshest eggs, plus common sense (Gasp! What’s that?!). Use the float test to check the freshness of even store-bought eggs: drop each egg in a glass of water and if it sinks and lays flat on the bottom, it’s fresh as a daisy. If one end floats up and one stays on the bottom, it’s edible only if fully cooked. If the whole thing floats, it’s gone bad. Furthermore, once you crack it, if it smells or looks funny, it’s best to scrap it. For those who are extra leery, buying pasteurized eggs is definitely an option (and let’s just emphasize here that “pasteurized” does NOT mean the same thing as “pasture-raised”… ahem). And for those who are extra, extra leery of raw egg or avoiding animal products, you can substitute a lovely little thing called aquafaba (the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans… Yup, you read that right) in a recipe that calls for egg white. One tablespoon of aquafaba equals 1 large egg yolk, 2 tablespoons of it equal roughly 1 large egg white, and, you guessed it with your nimble mathematical acuity: 3 tablespoons equals 1 whole egg.

Garden Fresh

Harvesting fresh ingredients from your garden is all fun and games until you unwittingly grab the wrong thing and wind up in kidney failure. Sorry to be dramatic, but it’s true. If you don’t know with absolute certainty that what you are gathering is safe to consume, do not use it. Period. Also, don’t feed it to your chickens.

First, make sure that all garden ingredients are organic and have not been treated with pesticides or herbicides. Make damned certain. Especially if you have chickens. I will very often encourage the use of edible flowers as both garnishes and ingredients, but these are all materials I personally grow and maintain organically in my yard. Do not buy flowers off the stand at supermarkets to use in any consumable capacity unless they are certified organic/food safe.

Second, the world of edible flowers can be surprisingly disingenuous. Many popular edible flowers have both edible and nonedible varieties just to shake things up. And when I say “nonedible,” in most cases, I mean “highly toxic.” Jasmine and honeysuckle (though we don’t use them in any of these recipes) are two such plants. Using them as an inedible decorative garnish is one thing, but if you are cooking or infusing with them, be dang sure you know your variety is the edible kind.





Listen, I’m not a professionally trained bartender by any far-fetched stretch of the imagination. I don’t even much like the term home mixologist (home chixologist? Anyone? Anyone?). What I am, however, is a really, really enthusiastic drinks enthusiast stumbling awkwardly through the craft cocktail ropes one beverage at a time. It ain’t always pretty: there are a lot of mistakes, and a lot of cursing, and a lot of clumsy dropping of shakers and startling of adjacent poultry. But you know what? Proper equipment really helps. And while I’m not saying you need to have a complete arsenal of expensive barware and surgical craft cocktail instruments, or the full-fledged skill to use them properly, I am saying a few key items will make things a little easier, quicker, and hey! maybe more fun.


Most of the recipes in this book rely on being shaken in a shaker, so I thought it prudent to discuss a little bit for those who aren’t necessarily familiar with them. Several different styles of shakers are available, and they all have their positives and their negatives. Let’s discuss:

The Cobbler: This is the one most readily available over the counter to the average consumer. It’s easy to find, it’s easy to understand, it has a built-in strainer, and frankly, even though I’m supposed to be this fancy home chixologist, it’s the one I use most. The downside to them is that most are pretty cheaply made and when they get chilled (which is basically the point of their very existence), the air inside creates a vacuum that can sometimes make it very difficult to open up after you’ve been shaking a drink in them.

The Boston Shaker: This is the kind you’ll likely see professionals using behind the bar because it’s versatile and can be used to both shake and stir cocktails. It’s a simple, two-piece contraption consisting of a mixing glass and a metal tin. There are also fully metal versions. You’ll need an auxiliary strainer to fit over it to strain liquids.

The Boston shaker can be a little daunting for those of us new to cocktail making; you’ve got to pop the mixing glass and the tin together just so to create that perfect seal (cue: repeated scenes of me shaking and margarita liquids spraying everywhere), and likewise, once you have that seal and have finished shaking, you’ve got to break that seal with an expertly aligned spank. And if you don’t hit it just right, you stand there spanking your shaker over and over and it gets a little awkward. It all just takes a bit of practice to get right.

The Mason Jar: I mean, why the hell not? There are actually pretty fancy little cobbler-type shaker lids you can get for them these days, but honestly, you can even shake a cocktail with just the normal screw-on jar lid. You’ll need to slap a strainer on that sucker to strain your beverage out, but overall, I feel like it’s a pretty nifty way to shake up a drink. The downside? If you’re like me, and you’re prone to dropping things: glass.


Strainers: There are a few different styles, but for the purposes of this book, we’re only going to care about the Hawthorne strainer and the fine-mesh strainer. The Hawthorne is the typical style of cocktail strainer that you’ll usually see bartenders using; you’ll need one for your Boston shaker and also your mason jar shaker. They adapt nicely to a variety of different sized containers, and they strain fast. The problem with the Hawthorne strainer is that it doesn’t strain on a superfine level, but never fear: the fine-mesh strainer is here. To get a supersmooth cocktail, strain with a Hawthorne into a fine-mesh strainer. I also use them to strain all my small-batch syrups and diffusions.

Jigger: These cute little measuring vessels come in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials, and styles. I mean, you could measure stuff with your giant plastic 2-cup kitchen measuring cup, but it’s a little needlessly bulky.

Cocktail Muddler: I definitely suggest you have a muddler. If you’re using all these fresh ingredients that I’m pressuring you to, you’re going to need to muddle some stuff. They also come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, so pick whatever floats your goat.

Bar Spoon: It’s a spoon. That you use for bar things. Technically, you could get away with using just a normal spoon, but the long, delicate handle makes stirring a little more efficient, and the tiny spoon at its end is a great measuring tool for small ingredient quantities.


If you’re happy drinking out of a souvenir plastic cup that you got back in your Trashcan Punch days of college, you do you. I ain’t even about to judge (cough, cough… drinks with poultry). So if you don’t care about all the various glassware, just go ahead and skip this part. I still love you. Actually, if you are truly still dedicated to drinking out of your Trashcan Punch cup, I kind of love you more now.

Rocks Glass (a.k.a. Old-Fashioned Glass, Lowball Glass, Tumbler): You’ll see me use this one a lot. It’s pretty versatile, and if you have absolutely no cocktail glasses and wanted to get just one, I’d probably tell you to get this one. They come in a standard size, which holds 6 to 10 ounces of liquids, and also in a double size, which holds more like 12 to 16. You can put your margaritas in them, your mai tais, your sours, your old-fashioneds: TRUE STORY. You can get away with putting a lot of stuff in a rocks glass.

Collins Glass/Highball Glass/Delmonico Glass: These are all technically different shaped tall glasses made for different types of tall drinks, but unless you are super particular, they’re all fairly interchangeable. You’ll use these for your Tom Collinses, your Mojitos, your gin and tonics: drinks that take a lot of ice and a lot of mixer.

Coupe: Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is my favorite glass. I abuse it. Just like the rocks glass, it’s pretty damned versatile, and also pretty damned pretty. Use it for Champagne and Champagne cocktails, but also use it for a myriad of mixed drinks: Daiquiris, sours, martinis, Manhattans, margaritas—am I repeating myself? Yes. Many of these cocktails can go in different glasses. They are equal opportunity.

Flute: Interchangeable with the coupe for your Champagne, sparkling wine, and sparkling wine–based cocktails. But less spilly.

Wine Goblet/Wine Glass: Obvi, you put your wine in it. But these can be great for wine-based cocktails; things like sangria. And also sangria.

Pint Glass/Pilsner Glass/Weizen Glass: Things for putting your beer in. And your beer cocktails. And sometimes, other random cocktails.

Punch Cup/Eggnog Glass: You know… the little mug thing that comes in the set when you buy a punchbowl.

Irish Coffee Glass/Hot Toddy Mug: These are for your hot booze situations. These clear, graceful mugs are like the elevated version of the mug you drink your coffee out of every morning that you won in the office raffle. You know, the one that says “There May Be Whiskey in This,” in dishwasher-weathered Comic Sans.

Tiki Mug: Do I really need to explain this? It’s where your ridiculous tiki garnish is going to hang out.

Copper Moscow Mule Mug: I get a little itchy about these mugs. Because they are only good for one kind of drink (although you can do juleps, or Greyhounds, or really anything you damned well please in them), let’s call a spade a spade: if you see one of these mugs coming at you, you’re expecting a Moscow Mule. End of story.

Mint Julep Cup: Although we don’t technically have a julep recipe in this book, I suggest its use at least once. It’s kind of interchangeable with the Moscow Mule mug, in my opinion.

Gin Balloon: A ridiculously glorious goblet to sip your gin and tonic from while you pretend that you’re fancy. The wide-open style of the vessel helps the gin to loosen up, while the slender stem encourages your pinkie finger to take the full upright locked position.

Martini Glass: Don’t even mention these in my presence. I do not possess the coordination to drink from one without sending three quarters of my beverage down my shirt. I’m still convinced this glass was designed as a joke (and the haziness of its actual origins further fuels my theory that it was forged in the bowels of hell). I understand that the wide brim is better for the gin, blah blah, yadda yadda, but Not today, Satan. If I martini, I put it in a coupe.


Oh, ice. Its clarity and shape inspire much heated debate throughout the cocktail world; so many damned feelings over a little hunk of cold water. At one end of the ice spectrum, you have basic refrigerator ice: the kind that your fridge barfs out all day long. It’s cloudy, it’s awkwardly shaped, and it hints of plastic and electronics on the nose. But, hey! It gets your beverage cold! On the other end of the spectrum, there is that really ridiculous artisan ice. The kind that is so clear that you put it in a drink and it visually disappears. Seriously, what is that stuff made from? Moonlit mountain stream water collected by virgins, then filtered through diamonds?

I fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes. Which is, I believe, the realistic camp for most people to hunker down in; those who care a little about how clear their ice is, but aren’t going to dedicate themselves to being able to read newsprint through it. And frankly? I like to see my ice in a drink: it adds visual texture to the overall presentation (in my nonprofessional opinion). It just doesn’t need to be chalk white.

I should note that there are some pretty cool gadgets out there on the market now that will help you easily make clear ice at home. I just don’t have any of them.

So, here’s how I make mine: You start with distilled water, then you boil it. Then, you let it cool. Then, you boil it again. Then, you cool it again. And you know what? I do this a third time because: third time’s a charm (it’s science). Why does boiling your water make clearer ice? Because the opacity in ice is really just tiny trapped air bubbles and impurities, and boiling the water releases some of these.

When your thrice-boiled water has cooled, place it in ice trays or molds and freeze it. It’ll probably still have some vague cloudiness to it in spots, but for the most part will be clear. As I said before, that little bit of opacity actually helps the ice be visible in a drink. So, I’m not mad at it.

I use crushed ice in a lot of my recipes. You can crush it by hand (some great ice-crushing kits are to be had online), get yourself a fancy countertop ice machine, or just use the crushed ice option from your fridge. I do that. For some reason, I like how the white fridge ice looks in a cocktail when it’s crushed into tiny pieces. Haters gonna hate.

Shaved ice is another way of fancying up your ice. You’ll need either a hand-cranked shaved ice maker, or a spiffy electric one. Or just used crushed ice from the fridge. Who really cares.

You’ll see me use flavored ice in some of my recipes, as well. Ice made from frozen juice, or filled with pretty things like flowers, fruits, and spices. It’s just another creative opportunity to up the visual appeal of your beverage.

Which brings us to garnish.


Yet another rather polarizing topic in Cocktailville (these are very important issues, people) is garnish. If you flip through the pages of this book, you will see that I am, indeed, rather fond of garnish. I like it a lot. When all else fails, I will, at the very least, throw a charming edible bloom on the top of my drink because it’s charming. And I have no remorse that it serves absolutely zero function other than that it’s pretty to look at. But oftentimes, garnish is actually a legitimate part of the experience of consuming the drink. The fragrance of a garnish can add a whole different level/layer to the flavors of a beverage.

But… if you leave the garnish out, will the poles reverse? No. The garnish suggestions on each recipe are just that: suggestions. You can skip them. You’ll break my little drinking-with-chickens heart, but you can omit them. Just promise me this: don’t skip the garnish on a tiki drink, okay? There’s only so much I can take.


On Sale
Apr 7, 2020
Page Count
192 pages
Running Press

Kate E. Richards

About the Author

Kate Richards is a professional blogger, drinker, and freelance writer currently channeling her creative cocktailing skills into DrinkingwithChickens.com. Her work has also been featured at Liquor.com, TheFeedFeed.com, BHG.com, HGTV.com, and ApartmentTherapy.com, and in Country Living Magazine. She was nominated for a Shorty Award in the Food & Drink category, and took home the Saveur Magazine 2017 Blog Awards Reader’s Choice win for Best Drinks Blog. She lives and drinks (with her chickens) in Los Angeles, California.

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