Kelley Lilien, aka Mrs. Lilien, has been shaking cocktails since before she learned to tie her shoes. “I would often fix up my mom and grandma’s drinks,” she says. “Which is when I discovered the creativity in it. Years later, I drew the same discovery from cooking.” As an adult Kelley has parlayed these cocktail-mixing and entertaining skills into a career as a graphic designer, influential tastemaker, and author of two brilliant books. Her first book, Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook, boasts 50 classic cocktails for colorful entertaining and her second book, Mrs. Lilien’s Dessert Cocktail Swatchbook, dives deeper into the sweeter libations such as Gin & Tonic Sorbet and Frozen Watermelon Poptails. (Both books undoubtedly include a couple recipes for Granny’s favorite drinks!) Online, she celebrates the art of turning the mundane into the magnificent with the readers of and as the head of Mrs. Lilien, a multi-faceted, lifestyle brand. “Basically,” she jokes, “my job is to pawn off every deeply fabulous ladylike obsession onto my readers on a daily (or weekly) basis.”

When cooking delicious dinners to pair with her favorite cocktails, Mrs. Lilien never follows a recipe. And you’ll never find her whipping up a cake either. “I don’t like fussiness, so I don’t bake,” she says. “I don’t like to babysit, and when you have 3 kids you have enough babysitting to do.” Instead, she prefers to prepare simple foods from the earth, like high quality meats. “The perfect meal would boast massive, beautiful, caught day-of scallops or a really, super amazing flank steak. Practically, anything so fresh it is still halfway in the ground or has a heartbeat.” Mrs. Lilien keeps it fresh at home by hitting the market often – usually 4 times a week. Her go-to dinner is one that is vibrant in color and taste, like exotic greens dressed with homemade salad dressing (really good salt and olive oil are key!) paired with a perfectly prepared protein like salmon or steak. And of course, she adds, “I drink my dessert. Always.” It’s happy hour somewhere, so go ahead and fix yourself a drink and a steak and consider stocking some of these items Mrs. Lilien always has on hand.

1. Kettle Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips – I know they’ll never go out of stock on my watch. P.S. there are ones out there that really suck and totally spoil it for potential salt + vinny lovers, so remember, Kettle is IT!

2. Meyer Lemons – Absolutely, without a doubt. I’m known to put lemon in everything I make and meyers always do the trick.

3. Olive Oil – In my world, really good olive oil is worth a pretty penny. It makes a world of a difference and you can totally taste it.

4. Honey Nut Cheerios – I could have it for every meal of the day. I have been and will be…forever obsessed.

5. Whole Milk – I can’t have anything else. No one drinks it, but it’s amazing to have for cooking. Cooking with 2% milk is just not happening – your eggs, frittatas and all the rest will NEVER taste their best.

6. David’s Kosher Salt (look for the star of david) – I’m a salt snob. I will NEVER have, use, or touch, unkoshered salt. David’s sits in my salt-cellar and is good for your everyday, general cooking.

7. Beer – Mostly local breweries, always IPA. Ballast Point IPA and Saint Archer IPA are favorites. I will only drink it from cans.

8. LaCroix – I drink like 6 a day. I get them by the truckload. My favorite is grapefruit and the lime is runner-up.

9. Endless 28 oz. Cans of San Marzano Tomatoes – I never do jarred sauces. These are seriously the best for any sauces, soups, chilis…they come straight from San Marzano, Italy and taste like it too!

Share this Post

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments (13)
  1. 1
    Karin May 28, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Sounds all good, but when I tried to buy David’s Kosher Salt and read you had 2 buy 2….you lost me…I could sprinkle it on roads to de ice them…..

  2. 2
    Emily Ruth Cannon May 28, 2015 at 8:40 am

    My kind of lady! Cereal of all sorts is a staple in my house and who doesn’t love meyer lemons and kettle chips! Thank you so much for sharing what’s on hand! 🙂 And as always, gorgeous print!

    • Kelly Colchin May 28, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Thanks Emily! She had me at Kettle chips as well.

  3. 3
    Jennifer Rose Smith May 28, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I love Mrs Lilien!!! She is such an original and I’ve always been inspired by her creative spirit.

  4. 4
    LuAnn Hughes May 28, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Love Mrs. Lilien! Always makes me smile.

  5. 5
    ashley svenson May 28, 2015 at 9:23 am

    A lady after my own heart! La Croix all day, errrday. Darling illustration too!

    • Kelly Colchin May 28, 2015 at 10:05 am

      Thanks Ashley! I agree- I love La Croix!

  6. 6
    imadecoffee May 28, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Love all the classics on this list. IPA in cans and Honey Nut Cheerios are a couple of my favorites too!

  7. 7
    melissacottonwomack May 28, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I must find out more about this Mrs. Lilian! I love precious things like the next foodie, but it’s always more interesting to find out the everyday, tried-and-trues for awesome folks. As always, well done! These are always a fave.

  8. 8
    Camille Styles May 28, 2015 at 11:34 am

    I love everything that Mrs Lilien does — definitely consider her THE cocktail genius on the web — so I love getting a peek at what’s in her kitchen on a day-to-day basis. (I feel ya on the Honey Nut Cheerios!!) Beautiful illustration, Kelly!

  9. 9
    LaCroix Sparkling Water May 28, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Hi Kelly, thank you for including us in this post. You are an amazing artist!! We would love to continue this relationship so please email us! We are super friendly, we promise 🙂

  10. 10
    Molly McConn May 28, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I’ve always had a thing for Mrs. L. Her voice is easily distinguishable amongst all the other bloggers on the web. We always had honey nut cheerios “on hand” at home growing up — to the point that I didn’t even realize regular cheerios were a thing for many years! My mom’s a big believer in whole milk…and that butter makes it better 🙂 Loved this, Kelly!

  11. 11
    Morgan May 29, 2015 at 5:55 am

    Mrs-approved! Adore her and her style.



Kelly Colchin