Thursday, April 23, 2015

Irish Cooler

In honor of St. Patrick's Day.

Irish Cooler
by Willie

2 ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
4 ounces Sprite
1 drop of Angostura Bitters
a squeeze of lemon juice
a squeeze of lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake. Fill a Tom Collins glass with ice and pour the contents of the shaker over the ice. Garnish with lemon or lime or both. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Texas Ruby Red Martini

Boutique distilleries are popping up all over Austin area and are adding a taste of Texas to the spirits map. Local restaurants and bars are sourcing from these distilleries and crafting amazing concoctions. I'm lucky to live in the area to be able to get a taste of what's new.

Have you ever had a drink at a restaurant and thought, "I've got to try to reproduce this at home?" This was the case for me with this grapefruit drink that I had at a local restaurant. The combination of Republic Spirit Blends Prickly Pear Mixer with fresh ruby red grapefruit juice gives the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Layering Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka with the juices makes the grapefruit shine in this drink.

Texas Ruby Red Martini
by Tonda

1 ounce St-Germain
6 ounces Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka
6 ounces Republic Spirit Blends Prickly Pear Mixer
6 ounces freshly squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice
1 ounce simple syrup

Add ice to a martini shaker and add all of the ingredients. Shake until well mixed. Serve in a martini glass.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Minty Carrot Gingerade

I bought my husband a Ninja Professional Blender for his birthday and we love mixing up our own fresh and healthy concoctions. We hadn't tried carrot juice as an ingredient, because I didn't think my husband would like it. However, when I saw See and Savour Blog's recipe for Carrot Lemonade, a light bulb went off in my head on how I could get him to enjoy it. With a few of our favorite things added, it is now a refreshing, healthy drink we will enjoy time and time again.

Minty Carrot Gingerade
by Linda
Adapted from See and Savour - Carrot Lemonade

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
1 16.9-ounce bottle of diet ginger ale
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cubes Dorot Crushed Ginger or 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 Tablespoons fresh orange mint, finely chopped*
6 large ice cubes

1. Place carrots in saucepan and cover completely with water.
2. Place on medium heat and cook for approximately 30 minutes, until carrots are soft and tender.
3. Remove from heat, drain and allow carrots to cool.
4. Place carrots, diet ginger ale, lemon juice, ginger and mint in blender (I used my Ninja Professional Blender)
5. Blend until smooth.
6. Add ice cubes and pulse until ice is crushed and incorporated with juice.
7. Serve and enjoy!

*Special thanks to Old School Produce for providing me with my fresh mint and the adorable miniature carrots in my picture.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Vodka Apricotini (a/k/a “Mine!”)

This was a fun challenge. I had a lot of fun making it and my husband had a lot of fun drinking it. But, I think the funniest part of this challenge was the day I prepared the cocktail for a photograph. From the outset, I had decided that no matter what I was going to use the two funky martini glass (pictured here) that I won at a fundraiser in January this year. I filled one of the glasses and walked it out to the garage to show my husband and to give him a sip. I asked him what I should call it and he promptly said “Mine!” Ultimately, I landed on Apricotini. But that wasn’t the funny part. I left him with the drink, went back inside and made another one to photograph. Picture taken, I drank it. Only trouble was I ended up wearing most of it. I could have sworn I aimed for my mouth. I mean, I’ve been eating and drinking things my whole life. Why, all of the sudden, can I not get the edge of the glass to my mouth? I made another cocktail and it happened again! Seriously? What was wrong with me? Just then, my husband came back into the house…with cocktail down the front of his shirt! We decided that the funky shaped martini glasses were the problem. That’s our story and we’re sticking with it!

Vodka Apricotini (a/k/a “Mine!”)
by Maryjo

1 cup of ice
1 Tablespoon apricot puree (recipe below)
1 Tablespoon flavored simple syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 ounces of your favorite traditional Vodka (right now, my fav is Ivanabitch)
1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Shake all of the above ingredients in a cocktail shaker until well blended. Strain into your favorite martini glass and enjoy!

Apricot Puree
by Maryjo

20 dried apricots
2 cups water
2-inch knob of fresh ginger, sliced into 1/4” pieces
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

Place the dried apricots in a small sauce pan, cover with 2 cups of water, the sliced ginger, and the cardamom. Stir, bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Drain the liquid from the apricots and ginger into a bowl to be used in the simple syrup. Pick out and discard the ginger. Put the now plump apricots into a blender with about 1/4 cup of the drained liquid. Blend until it is a smooth puree. Press the puree through a fine mesh strainer to be sure all of the lumps are out. You’ll be left with about 1 Tablespoon of pulpy (is that a word?) stuff in the strainer that should be discarded. You've made a beautiful, bright orange colored apricot puree with a hint of ginger and cardamom. This recipe will make about 1/2 cup of puree, or between 6 and 8 Apricotinis.

Ginger/Cardamom Flavored Simple Syrup
by Maryjo

Using the liquid from the puree above, filter the remaining apricot and ginger liquid through a coffee filter to remove the gritty ground cardamom. Discard the cardamom. Now it’s time to make a simple syrup with 1/2 cup of the filtered liquid and 1 cup of white sugar (if you don’t have enough filtered liquid, just top it off with water until it measures 1/2 cup.) If you've never made a simple syrup before it’s super “simple”! In a small sauce pan, add the 1/2 cup of liquid and 1 cup of sugar. Over medium high heat, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Just be careful not to boil the mixture (it’ll mess with the sugar to water ratio.) Remove it from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Voila! Sweet, sticky goodness.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cherry Amore

I've had enough of winter already! It's been colder and snowier than usual here (I'm in Michigan) and I'm just about ready to declare it's time for sun, summer breezes and fruity drinks.

This is so simple, I almost hesitate to dignify it with a recipe. To make up for it, I'll list instructions for making the cherry cordial that forms the base of the drink. Plan ahead, you'll need fresh sour cherries in season to make it, and six months to age it properly. Once that's done, though, you're all set for an unseasonal sip of summer whenever you've had enough of cold, nasty weather.

Cherry Amore
by Maurita (Good Stuff Recipes)
Makes one - as large or as small as you like. Play around!

1 part cherry cordial (see below)
1 part Amaretto liqueur (I like Lazzaroni Amaretto, with the orange label)
Splash fresh lime juice, to taste

Combine all ingredients, pour over 1 or 2 ice cubes, garnish with a lime twist.

Summer's Harvest Cherry Cordial
by Maurita

You can use this method to make a cordial from just about any fruit. Have fun!

Start with a sparkling-clean one-quart Mason jar. To this jar, add 1 pound fresh sour cherries, sliced to expose the pits. This should fill the jar about three-quarters full. Pour in a couple handsful granulated sugar (oh, if you must measure it, this is about one-half cup.)

Now completely fill the jar with a decent, but completely neutral, vodka. My brand of choice is Sobieski.

Cover the jar tightly, shake it a few times, and store it in a cool, dark cupboard for 6 months or so. Strain and save the cordial in a fancy bottle with a good cork - and if you like boozy fruit, eat the cherries over ice cream.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Spring Fever

I'm obsessed with juicing - the combinations are endless and freshly extracted juice tastes incomparably better than anything you can buy at a supermarket. One of my favorite combinations is pineapple and fennel - the pineapple is sweet and acidic, and the fennel lends a slightly herbaceous freshness to the juice.

I'm also fond of drinks that are relatively strong - and the Spring Fever is no slouch. The egg white gives it a charmingly frothy top, and the ginger gives it a nice little burn. For an egg-free, alcohol free version - give the second version a try!

The Spring Fever
by Sarah

Lemon juice
Chile salt, for rim (I make my own chile mix, here - and mix it with salt in a 1:1 ratio)
1 ounce pineapple fennel juice (for juice: 1/2 large gold pineapple, 1/2 large bulb fennel)
1 teaspoon ginger juice (or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon honey
1 ounce white rum (I used Bacardi Superior)
1/2 ounce St. Germain
1 large egg white (approximately 1 ounce)
Basil leaf, for garnish

Rim a coupe cocktail glass by dipping the edge of the glass first into lemon juice, then into chile salt.

In a cocktail shaker, combine liquid ingredients. To make the egg white frothy, first do a dry shake (without any ice) - shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Add a scoop of ice, then shake vigorously again, harder and longer than you normally would shake a cocktail.

Strain into the glass (if the egg white doesn't come out of the shaker, scoop it out with a spoon), and top with a basil leaf.

The Spring Flush (egg-free, alcohol-free, light)

Fill a double old-fashioned glass halfway with pineapple fennel juice, then add a teaspoon each of ginger juice, lemon juice, and honey. Stir well, then top with tonic water and a basil leaf. You could also add a shot of vodka, if the "alcohol-free" thing doesn't work for you.