20170522

HOMEMADE BERRY LIQUEURS, Raspberry and Blackberry


HOMEMADE BERRY LIQUEURS
Today's Infusions? Raspberry and Blackberry!

Homemade berry liqueurs are a great addition to your bar and they are so easy to make there's no reason not to start adding a collection of your favorites to happy hour. It's just a matter of picking your favorite berries, adding 2 more ingredients and giving them some time to infuse.

You can use fresh or frozen berries, pick one or make some combos, it's your creative choice. My two choices this time were individual bottles of raspberry and blackberry. Primarily because berries were on sale and I can only eat and cook with so many before they go bad!

If you're using fresh berries, just make sure that there is no mold or soft spots and they are properly cleaned and dried. Frozen berries, without added sugar, are ready to use as is. All you need next is some good quality vodka. 100 proof spirits are best because the higher proof draws more flavor out of the berries quicker, but 80 proof works too. I find the 80 proof makes a milder sipping liqueur.

You can also infuse rum, whiskey and brandy and a vodka base with a bit of brandy added can be a nice touch as well. 

HOMEMADE
BERRY LIQUEUR

Ingredients
3 Cups Vodka (Whiskey, Rum, Brandy)
2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Berries, your choice
1 Cup Rich* Simple Syrup

Directions
Add the berries to a large, sterilized mason jar or capped bottle.
Pour in the spirits.
Shake daily and allow to infuse for 3 weeks.
Add the simple syrup, continue to shake daily and allowed to infuse for another week or two, taste testing for flavor.
Strain through cheesecloth (save the berries!) into a sterilized, caped bottle.
For extra depth of flavor and smoothness allow this to infuse for another week or two.

Remember I told you to save the berries? That's because these beautiful alcohol-infused berries are great as toppings on ice cream, pound cake and even pureed as a sauce. One tip, while infusing you will notice that the color might get drained from the berries along with the flavor so add some fresh or frozen berries to the boozy ones to put that color back in.

* Rich simple syrup is simply two cups of sugar and 1 cup of water heated until the sugar dissolves to create a syrup. Once the sugar has dissolved remove the simple syrup to cool then bottle. This will keep in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170518

BLOODY CAESAR COCKTAIL


Everybody knows about the Bloody Mary, but many folks aren't aware that Canada has its own special version made with clam juice added to the tomato juice. Rumor has it the Bloody Caesar was invented by bartender Walter Chell who created the drink for the 1969 opening of Marcos restaurant.  It became such an instant hit in Canada that Mott's even came up with a juice inspired by the Bloody Caesar - Clamato.

Originally called simply a Caesar by Chell as a tribute to his Italian heritage, it took a patron at Marco's who exclaimed, "Walter, that's a damn good bloody Caesar" to mix in the Bloody.

The
BLOODY CAESAR

INGREDIENTS
1–1½ Oz. Vodka
6 Oz. Clamato Juice
2 Dashes Hot Sauce
4 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Celery Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper

Garnish: Lime Wedge, Crisp Celery Stalk

Tools: Cocktail Shaker

Glass: Pint or Highball

DIRECTIONS
Combine ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake until chilled then strain into an ice filled glass, garnish and serve.

National Caesar Day is May 18th.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170511

SEVENTIES COCKTAILS

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HOW THE DISCO LIFESTYLE & WOMEN'S LIBERATION INFLUENCED 70'S COCKTAILS

Okay, here's the deal. If you were too young to drink in the seventies then you shouldn't be writing anything about 70's cocktails. You weren't there, you don't know what most of us were drinking in the seventies or why we were drinking it. I was there, I was of drinking age, I know what people were drinking in the seventies and it wasn't drinks like Pink Ladies, Brandy Alexanders, Grasshoppers, Manhattans or Rob Roys. So all you under-60 booze bloggers out there, quit saying those are 70's cocktails.Those drinks were libations of prior decades, in the days when bars were spoken of easy or were dark, burgundy boothed (primarily male) bastions* of a quiet belt or two after work.

In those olden days your friendly neighborhood bartender had all the time in the world to carry on personal conversations and to flip a fancy "girly" drink or two to placate the few female patrons who dared enter the lion's den. Before women's lib, and the influx of disco balls and fern bars, most drinks sliding across the bar were macho glasses of whiskies, draft beers or the ever powerful gin martini. When the XX chromosome invaded Hoochville the bar scene DNA was altered permanently. Instead of an escape from family life and work pressures or an XY men's club of the hale and hearty, bars became the precursors to Tinder. They were where you went to hook up because, all the sudden, that's where all the dateable women were. Yes, there was a brief invasion during prohibition and the flapper era and a few wild moments during World War II, but until the seventies a woman alone, without a male escort, was pretty much missing, sometimes even barred** from the bar scene. Then boom, in comes the bra burning, convention busting, card carrying women's movement and the mating game had moved from the ice cream social circle and into the drinking establishment.



Back in the seventies, a few older people might order a dry martini, an Old Fashioned or a Pink Squirrel at their local watering hole before dinner, but those of us in our twenties were out at crowded meeting (meat market) places, dancing and partying for hours, hoping for a love connection. We were mostly unsophisticated drinkers, prone to sweet drinks, light alcohol coolers and beers that we could balance in one hand while doing the Hustle. We were circulating the crowded discos, cruising the hip, new fern bars* and drinking (and possibly taking a few hits on doobies) through the whole night. No drinks in coupes or martini glasses could withstand the Bump or being bumped in crowded discotheques and you couldn't belt down liquor only duos or guzzle sweet, booze only trios for hours (on top of, maybe, being stoned) and not end up with a raging hangover or worse, landing behind bars after not being able to touch your nose.

If you had the audacity to order something blended or complicated like the aforementioned Pink Ladies, Pink Squirrels or Grasshoppers (all popular 50s and 60s cocktails, by the way) at trendy venues that were serving tons of hot pants and bell bottom clad party animals every weekend, the so-called bartender(s) would most likely have shined you on. Not many craft cocktails were lovingly built by hand back in those days and blenders gathered dust in the back room, the bartenders were way too overworked (not to mention most were completely untrained and uninformed in the art of cocktails). The few exceptions were signature drinks served up with burgers and fries at a few eateries with liquor licenses, and those were usually premixed then sloshed into glasses just before being assaulted by a toxic cherry and tiny umbrella.

In what most cocktail historians rightly call the Dark Ages of Cocktails, we were subjected to some of the worst drinks a venue could mass produce at breakneck speed. Bottled and powdered mixes were a bartender's friend, draft beer their favorite order and a glass of rosé with a splash of soda reigned supreme. Bartenders hired for their youth and looks, not their cocktail expertise, were more interested in tips and scoring than in serving a proper cocktail. Multiple ingredient drinks, like Piña Coladas, were popular in the 70s, but those were mostly served up at in-vogue faux Tiki bars as lightweight booze icees from premixed containers, much like their fellow frozen margaritas and daiquiris were churned out at restaurant/hang-out chains like Houlihan’s from giant slurpee machines. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, had ever heard of artisnal bitters, farm to bar or bespoke booze. It was chaos in a cocktail glass and we didn't care as long as it was palatable and didn't make us too dizzy to dance.

If you preferred a stronger libation while quietly sitting out the fray, you might be sipping a Godfather, a White Russian, a Stinger or a Rusty Nail.  Whiskies on the rocks, 7 and 7's, and gin martinis were the drinks of our parents, we wanted nothing to do with them.

If you were out to get drunk instead of getting some booty or doing the Bump you had your choice of bad to worse there as well. Shots of layered sweet liquors topped with over-proof floats, like Kamikazes or B-52s, were tossed back with abandon while gyrating to Abba. Alcoholism in a glass swills like Long Island Iced Tea were gulped down, usually as a dare, to Donna Summer. There was no booze finesse to recreational drinking or to getting drunk in the seventies. We were after all, the generation of Annie Green Springs, Boone's Farm and Coors. We also had an affinity for dangerous shoes and silly drink names like Sex On The Beach, Fuzzy Navel and that friendly surfer dude Harvey Wallbanger.

There's been a resurgence and a new interest in 70's cocktails in recent years. It's been nearly fifty years but I guess everything old is new again. Barkeeps and mixologists, myself included, are cycling back to the drinks of the disco decade, bringing a 21st century sophistication and love of quality ingredients to the mistreated drinks of the Watergate and platform shoe era. After half a century maybe it's about time we attempted to apologize to the world of cocktails for a decade of disrespect.

All that being said, were the seventies a good time for cocktails? Hell, no! Did we still have a good time? Hell, yes! We didn't know any better, we were young and the only thing we cared about was enjoying ourselves. Are cocktails better now? Hell, yes! I'm older and wrinkled, but at least I can make and get a good cocktail now. And, if I miss the old days, I'll just hang a mirrored disco ball over my bar, dig out my platform boots and pop some KC and the Sunshine Band in my cassette player.


 
Staying Alive with the
REAL 70's COCKTAILS:

(Recipes and Updated Recipes Linked In Titles)
 
AMARETTO SOUR
Amaretto was big back East in the 70s, and the Sour was popular because, thanks to the sugar laden mixes used, there was nothing sour about it. If you want to experience this as a decent cocktail I've linked here to Jeff Morgenthaler's recipe.

BULLSHOT
Another East Coast seventies favorite, this was beef bouillon and vodka and a huge brunch favorite. I used the Bullshot as inspiration for my savory Thanksgiving Martini to great advantage.

FUZZY NAVEL
A peach schnapps and orange juice nightmare. Just not worth investigating again.

GODFATHER
Scotch and Amaretto. Actually one of the few 70's cocktails I still like.
 
GOLDEN CADILLAC
Galliano was the one "exotic" liqueur that was embraced in the 70s, stocked primarily for Harvey Wallbangers. This fifties drink helped use up that bottle of Galliano.

GREYHOUND or SALTY DOG
With or without a salt rim, it was basically a grapefruit Screwdriver. Made with fresh juice and good vodka, it's still a worthy drink.

HARVEY WALLBANGER
Probably THE drink most associated with the era and the reason Galliano could be found in nearly every bar in the seventies.

KAMIKAZE
The deadly shot of vodka, triple sec and lime heard round the world, especially the morning after.

LEMON DROP
Maybe the original designer martini, the Lemon Drop was created in the seventies at the original fern bar, Henry Africa's* in San Francisco. Try this rosemary imbued version.

LONG ISLAND ICED TEA 
Though this is a tall drink, it was a sneaky, powerful punch of basically all booze and just a splash of cola that sent many an unwary disco dancer home with a DUI. Try my fun martini version instead.

PIÑA COLADA
Churned out from pineapple coconut mixes, cheap rum and giant blenders with spigots. Here I link to several of my own variations made with quality rums and fresh ingredients.

SCREWDRIVER

The ubiquitous bar vodka and bottled orange juice. If you must, at least squeeze out fresh o.j. and use a good vodka.

STINGER
This pre-prohibition cocktail of brandy and white creme de menthe lingered on into the seventies, probably because it was minty and sweet. It has a place as an after dinner cocktail.

TEQUILA SUNRISE
This drink was HUGE after The Rolling Stones 1972 American Tour, aka “The Cocaine and Tequila Sunrise Tour.” My version uses fresh juice, 1800 Tequila, homemade pomegranate syrup and a little kick from some fresh basil.

TOM COLLINS
A leftover from the 60s, Collins drinks were a mainstay of neophyte boozers, basically they were lemonade made with vodka and Collins mix. I did a modern take with some hibiscus tea, hibiscus and rose syrup and, as always, fresh, quality ingredients.

WINE SPRITZER
Wine and soda coolers were the graduation cocktail for the Mateus, Lancers and Boone's Farm aficionados. Sometimes fruit juice was added to make it a Wine Cooler. My updated version uses blackberry brandy, fresh juice and a bit of bubbly instead of the soda water.

WHITE RUSSIAN
A sweet sixties drink, made with coffee flavored liqueur and "cream" over ice, probably garnered its popularity because homemade Kahlua* was a big fad in the seventies. I do remember making my own homemade Kahlua, it was the first time I ever created an infusion. I like White Russians, I like Black Russians, heck, I like all Drunk Russians.

Now, if you must ... Disco on.
But do it with better cocktails!

* Norman Hobday, owner of the famed, original seventies fern bar, Henry Africa's, likened those pre-seventies bars to cocaine dens.
 
** As late as the early seventies women were barred from bars in some parts of the United States!
 

 
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
 

20170501

TRUFFLE COCKTAILS & Confections


COULD I TRUFFLE YOU FOR A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME?
The word truffle immediately makes me think of decadence. From the naturally occurring mushroom-y truffle that is a costly, savory fungus to the delectable chocolate dessert confection more commonly associated with the term, both were originally foods of the wealthy only. The sweet, chocolate ganache versions were quite pricey as chocolate was a rare import and the savory, mushroom like truffle was a rare fungi, naturally growing on rotten logs that could only be sniffed out by specially trained pigs.



WHEN YOU THINK TRUFFLE ...
I'm surprised by the number of chocolate truffle lovers who are unaware that this candy was named after a mushroom like savory fungus. But maybe I shouldn't be, the price of the savory truffle (Tuber Genus, Ascomycete Fungus) is astronomical, sometimes coming in at $3,000 a pound or more. Not really something that can be picked up at your local A&P, so maybe it's understandable that when most folks think of truffles they first think of the more available dessert variety. But when you look at the original, classic chocolate truffle, a rolled ball of chocolate ganache covered in a fine cocoa dust, you can see the resemblance.

IT'S TRUFFLESOME ...
As for who invented the chocolate variety, some people credit August Escoffier in the 1930s while others claim it was Louis Dufour in 1895.  I tend to believe it was Louis Dafour, as Antoine Dafour, family relationship to Louis unknown, took the recipe to Prestat, the oldest confectionery in London, and started selling "Truffles" there in 1902. Plus, the earliest mention of chocolate truffles in print is in Rigby's Reliable Candy Teacher, 19th edition published in 1920. Both these dates are prior to the purported Escoffier invention/discovery date.

THE TRUFFLE IS ...
I admit, myself, to a preference for the chocolate variety, possibly because they're affordable but also because I love chocolate more than I like earthy tasting fungi. Though a few shavings of that cost prohibitive fungal delight can send an average pasta dish straight to heaven. (And truffle salt ain't bad on popcorn, either.)

The traditional chocolate truffle was chocolate ganache rolled in cocoa powder. Modern chocolate truffles are also enrobed in chocolate, often with additional accents.

Below you will find mostly recipes inspired by the sweet truffle but I couldn't leave our at least one perfect, savory black truffle cocktail tribute.

TRUFFLE COCKTAILS
& CONFECTIONS

DRUNKEN OREO TRUFFLE COCKTAIL

MOJITO TRUFFLES

ORANGE TRUFFLE MARTINI

PERFECT BLACK TRUFFLE MARTINI

LIQUEUR INFUSED CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE RECIPES

WHITE RUSSIAN TRUFFLE CUPS EDIBLE COCKTAIL

National Truffle Day is May 2nd.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170427

The GOLDEN CADILLAC Cocktail

http://themartinidiva.com

A friend of mine came over for cocktails the other day and when I asked him what he would like to drink and he immediately said, "A Golden Cadillac!"  What a trip down memory lane! I hadn't had one in ages but I do remember them fondly, mostly from my days of what I considered sophisticated drinking in the seventies.  Whenever I wanted to seem elegant and ladylike I'd order a Golden Cadillac. I grabbed the Galliano and my friend and I enjoyed several while we talked about trolling in our good old days.

I forget about this cocktail and it usually takes a memory trigger or someone else to remind me of my fondness for it and then I'll blend one or two up for a little happy hour nostalgia. I never make this with ice cream as some do, I stick with the classic and enjoy the heck out of it. It's too heavy and sugar driven and just not the same with ice cream.


Created by bartender Frank Klein in 1952 at Poor Red's BBQ in El Dorado, California for a newly engaged couple who had driven up to Red's in a brand new Gold Cadillac, the Golden Cadillac is their signature drink and still served up to this very day. It's a creamy, frothy concoction of equal parts Galliano, White Crème de Cacao and Cream blended with ice and traditionally served up in a Coupe glass and garnished with chocolate shavings. And I don't care what anyone says, it's damn delicious.

If you happen to be near El Dorado, take a side trip to Red's where they blend these up every day just like it was still 1952. You can also take a few Instagram worthy pics of the Golden Cadillac gifted to Red's by Galliano.

Poor Red's
GOLDEN
CADILLAC

INGREDIENTS
1 Oz. Galliano
1 Oz. White Crème de Cacao
1 Oz. Heavy Cream

DIRECTIONS
Blend ingredients with ice until smooth, strain into a chilled Coupe and garnish with chocolate shavings.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170422

EARTH DAY COCKTAILS

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HAPPY EARTH DAY!
 
My whole happy hour emphasis these days is on healthy cocktails. Whenever possible I try to use fresh and organic produce, healthier* sweeteners, garden grown herbal elements and Earth friendly ingredients.

For Earth Day I have listed a few of my favorites below, trying to cover a number of flavors and spirits, but they only cover a small percentage of the original cocktails I've created to be planet and people healthy that are available on my site here. Feel free to check out my cocktail lists to the left and use my search bar for your favorite spirits and flavors for more recipes.

How to Drink Earth Friendly at Happy Hour

Spirits themselves are Earth friendly because fermentation is a natural process but there are also numerous commercial spirit brands out there whose products are organic and planet friendly. You can buy any neutral organic spirit and infuse them yourself with your own fresh organic herbs, fruits and vegetables. Make your own Homemade Liqueurs with organic produce, start a small organic herb garden, visit your local farmer's markets for organically grown produce. You can use local honeys for sweeteners and even create your own organic fruit based simple syrups and mixers as well. Even tonic water and grenadine can be made Earth friendly by making Homemade Pomegranate Syrup and why not dump those chemical, GMO laden bottled cherries for clean and delicious Homemade Maraschino or Bourbon Cherries?

I encourage you to be creative at happy hour and look for ways to make the Earth happy as well when mixing your cocktails!

EARTH DAY
COCKTAILS

APRICOT LAVENDER BOURBON SOUR COCKTAIL

Spiced Lavender BEES KNEES COCKTAIL

BLACKBERRY MOJITO

BLACK EYED SUSAN

CANTALOUPE DAIQUIRI

CUCUMBER GIN & TONIC

DRAGON'S BREATH COCKTAIL

GARDEN IN A GLASS MARTINI
 
LUCKY CHARM SPINACH CUCUMBER COCKTAIL

MELON CUCUMBER MARTINI

MIND YOUR Ps & Qs CUCUMBER PEA SHOOT COCKTAIL

RASPBERRY TARRAGON DAIQUIRI
 
STRAWBERRY BLUEBERRY MARGARITA

THYME FOR A LEMON CHERRY SLING

TIPSY MISS SPICED PINEAPPLE COCKTAIL

WHISKEY PEACH SMASH

Happy Earth Day and Here's to an Earth Friendly and Healthy Happy Hour!

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* Yes, I use sugar, it's one of the vital elements to a balanced cocktail BUT cane sugar is NOT by nature unhealthy, it's the AMOUNT of sugars and corn syrup, ad nauseum, that is consumed that is the culprit to a healthy diet. Balance is the key, to a healthy life and a healthy Earth.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170419

DERBY ROYALE COCKTAIL


I like to think of this cocktail as a chocolate cherry Boulevardier or, perhaps closer, a Kentucky Royale but with fresh cherries instead of Cherry Heering. Basically it was something I tossed together the other night when I was goofing around with my Templeton Rye and my Cinzano Rosso trying to come up with a new cocktail. At the last minute I added some orange elements with a drop of orange bitters and an orange twist because I wanted a bit of citrus hitting my nose with the chocolate and cherries.

Damn, it was good for something I just tossed together. I had three and I was one happy little boozer. I also had with my Kentucky Derby - Triple Crown Cocktail for this year. Win, win.

Now, if only my pick for this year's Run for the Roses can also win.


The
DERBY ROYALE
COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Templeton Rye
6  Frozen Dark Sweet Organic Cherries
1/2 Oz. Cinzano Rosso Vermouth
1 Teaspoon Caffè Borghetti Coffee Liqueur
1 Teaspoon Bordeaux Cherry Syrup
2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters
1 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters
1 Tablespoon Pasteurized Egg White

Garnish: Bordeaux Maraschino Cherry, Orange Twist

Tools: Blender, Cocktail Shaker

Glass: Coupe

DIRECTIONS
Chill the glass.
Toss the ingredients into your blender and whip until volume triples and the drink is nice and foamy. (This is my cheaters version of dry shaking.)
Transfer this to an ice filled cocktail shaker, shake until chilled then strain onto the chilled coupe.
Express the orange peel over the top, add the cherry and serve.


Bailey, of course, did his cocktail wingman duty and tested it out for me:


PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170413

MINT GREEN TEA GIN & TONIC


Tea infused gin is a hot trend at the moment. I happen to have a huge collection of fun and exotic teas so I tried a few out for tea infused gins this week. One for my Wild Hibiscus Gin & Tonic, one for my Butterfly Pea Flower and Elderflower Gin & Tonic and another, at the last minute, using some mint green tea.

That was a great last minute addition, the mint flavored green tea went wonderfully with the gin I chose, Daffy's Gin, which has strong mint and lemon notes and, with the use of lemon in place of the typical G&T lime, I ended up with a bright and thirst-quenching drink.

There's something about tea and gin and tonic, it's so perfectly British. It's also a great cocktail combination.


The
MINT GREEN TEA
GIN & TONIC

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Mint Green Tea Infused Daffy's Gin*
1 Oz. Lemon Creme Honey Syrup**
Juice of 1 Fresh Lemon
Fever-Tree Tonic Water
Ice

Garnish: Mint Sprig, Lemon Wedge

Tools: Metal Strainer, Stir Stick

Glass: Double Old Fashioned

DIRECTIONS
Preparation:
* An hour or more before serving your cocktails add one tea bag of Mint Green Tea for every one and a half ounces of gin and allow to infuse. Strain and set aside for the cocktails.
** Make the Lemon Créme Honey Syrup by mixing 2 tablespoons of hot water with 2 tablespoons of Honey Ridge Farms Honey Créme Lemon.
For each Cocktail:
Add the mint green tea infused gin to a highball glass filled with ice. Squeeze in the lemon wedges, then drop the wedges in the drink. Add the Lemon Créme Honey Syrup and stir. Top off with the tonuc, stir again, garnish and serve.

National Gin & Tonic Day is April 9th.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170411

BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER & ELDERFLOWER GIN & TONIC


While making a hibiscus tea infused gin for my Wild Hibiscus Gin & Tonic I also spied my butterfly pea flower tea in the cupboard and decided to add that to my tea infused gin session. Butterfly pea flowers are one of nature's few naturally blue foods. They're also a little magic because when you add something acidic to blue pea flower teas or essences, they will turn purple in front of your eyes. I just couldn't pass up the opportunity for a color changing gin and tonic.

I also decided to add a bit of elderflower liqueur to amp up the elderflower floral notes of the Hendrick's Gin and to complement the pea flower, then I used a light lavender honey simple syrup to sweeten the drink. The final cocktail was a gorgeous, deep blue violet/violet cocktail that tasted like a floral, lightly alcoholic lemonade. It was amazingly refreshing and tasted like spring.


BUTTERFLY PEA FLOWER
& ELDERFLOWER
GIN & TONIC

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Butterfly Pea Flower Tea Infused Hendrick's Gin (Instructions Below*)
1/2 Oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
Lavender Honey Syrup (Recipe below**) to Taste
1 Fresh Lime, Quartered
Fever Tree Tonic Water
Ice

Garnish: Lime Wedge

Tools: Metal Strainer, Bar Spoon

Glass: Highball

DIRECTIONS
* Preparation:  An hour or two before serving your cocktails add one tea bag of Wild Hibiscus Butterfly Pea Flower Tea for every one and a half ounces of gin and allow to infuse, the longer the infusion, the stronger the flavor. Strain and set aside for the cocktails.
** Prepare the Lavender Honey Simple Syrup by combining 2 tablespoons of hot water with 2 tablespoons of Honey Ridge Farms Honey Creme Lavender then set aside to cool.

For each Cocktail:
Add the pea flower tea infused gin, the lavender honey syrup and the elderflower liqueur to a highball glass filled with ice. Top off with tonic water and stir. Slowly squeeze then drop in the lime quarters, the drink will turn from bright blue to deep purple just as you serve it.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170410

WILD HIBISCUS GIN & TONIC COCKTAIL


Tea infused gin is a thing lately and, for Gin & Tonic Day (April 9th), I went a little wild with one of my favorite teas and did a Wild Hibiscus Tea infused gin. It was easy to infuse the gin, only took a few hours and I got a fragrant, rich, red colored hibiscus gin for my G&T which I finished off with Wild Hibiscus Rose Syrup and a wild hibiscus garnish.

It was a gorgeous, deep magenta cocktail with a tart, citrus and floral taste from the hibiscus rose syrup and fresh limes. Pretty as heck and a great way to bling up a classic gin and tonic, if I do say so myself.


The
WILD HIBISCUS
GIN & TONIC

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Wild Hibiscus Tea Infused Gin*
Wild Hibiscus Rose Syrup to Taste
(Use the syrup the hibiscus flowers are packed in!)
Fresh Lime Juice to Taste
Fever-Tree Tonic Water
Ice

Garnish: Wild Hibiscus Flower, Lime Wedge

Tools: Metal Strainer, Stir Stick

Glass: Double Old Fashioned

DIRECTIONS
* Preparation:  An hour or two before serving your cocktails add one tea bag of Wild Hibiscus Tea for every one and a half ounces of gin and allow to infuse. Strain and set aside for the cocktails.
For each Cocktail:
Add the wild hibiscus infused gin to a chilled glass filled with ice. Squeeze in lime wedges to taste, then drop the limes in the drink. Add Wild Hibiscus Rose Syrup to taste, stir then top off with the Fever Tree Tonic Water. Garnish with a wild hibiscus flower and serve.

National, International and/or World Gin and Tonic Day is April 9th.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170401

SOYLENT GREEN COCKTAIL


Today is #SoylentGreenDay.
Yes, there IS a Soylent Green #Cocktail.
No, this is not an #AprilFools joke!


PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170330

ELDERFLOWER SALTY DOG - A Vodka Grapefruit Cocktail


Spring is grapefruit season here in Tucson and my neighbors are always generous with their harvest. Sometimes a little too generous* and I have to find ways to use all the beautiful citrus I'm gifted with. My answer is usually to head over to the bar, grab the juicer and serve those free grapefruit right back to my neighbors at happy hour.

When I only have one or two grapefruit I'll serve up my Pink Grapefruit Martini, but when I'm blessed with a multitude of grapefruit to take advantage of then a party and a tall drink is called for. A classic Paloma, a Greyhound or a Salty Dog are all good solutions to using up grapefruit gifted by the dozen. The Paloma is made with tequila, the Greyhound was originally made with gin and I was in more of a vodka mood so I went with an adaptation of both the Greyhound and Salty Dog. As a nod to spring I added a little floral twist to the classic recipes.

Whenever you have fresh grapefruit, you need to make this cocktail. It's comparatively light in alcohol, healthy and very refreshing when temperatures and thirsts are high.


The
ELDERFLOWER 
SALTY DOG

INGREDIENTS
1 Oz. Vodka
1/2 Oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liquor
8 Oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
4 Tbsp. Grapefruit Lemon Honey Syrup**
Ice

Rim: 1 Part Kosher Salt to 2 Parts Demerara Sugar

Garnish: Long Grapefruit Peel, Grapefruit Wedge

Tools: Vegetable Peeler, Cocktail Shaker

Glass: Pint Glass

DIRECTIONS
Peel the entire skin of one grapefruit and set aside.
Cut 2 grapefruit in half. Slice off one wedge and set aside. Juice the remainder of the grapefruit.
Rim your glass with grapefruit juice then dip in the salt and sugar, press the grapefruit twist against the inside of the glass, fill glass with ice then chill the glass in freezer.
** Blend one ounce of warmed grapefruit juice with two tablespoons of Honey Ridge Farms Lemon Créme Honey and add this to the cocktail shaker.
Fill shaker with ice then add the vodka, elderflower liqueur and fresh grapefruit juice.
Shake until chilled, strain into the glass, garnish with the grapefruit wedge, add a straw and serve.

* I usually tell people I don't like grapefruit, but the truth is grapefruit doesn't like me. I actually love fresh grapefruit, but it can be very hard on my stomach unless it's very sweet and even then I always add a pinch of salt and extra sweeteners to ease the tartness. Canned grapefruit is always too acidic and never passes my doorstep so don't ever drop in at happy hour for a Salty Dog or Greyhound*** when grapefruit aren't in season.

*** What's the difference between a Salty Dog and a Greyhound?
The Greyhound, originally a gin cocktail, not vodka, is simply either of those spirits mixed with grapefruit juice. The Salty Dog just adds a salt rim.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170323

BLACK FOREST CAKETAIL, A Chocolate Cherry Bourbon Cocktail


I love revisiting my past cocktail recipes. With National Black Forest Cake Day being March 28th I thought it might be time to have a new take on my original Black Forest Cake Martini. Back in those days I was big into all the flavored vodkas, these days I'm exploring whiskies and decided it was time for a bourbon Black Forest Cake in a glass.

Think of a creamy Chocolate Manhattan or a maybe Fancy Free Cocktail but with Kirsch instead of Maraschino liqueur, creme de cacao added and the bitters changed to chocolate instead of orange. Before I added the creme de cacao it reminded me a bit of Cherry Bounce, a Colonial cocktail of cherries and sugar fermented in brandy or whiskey. Not a bad thing at all.  

Adding the creme de cacao is an even better thing.


The
BLACK FOREST
CAKETAIL

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz. Bourbon
1/4 Oz. Kirsch
3/4 Oz. Dark Creme De Cacao
2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters

Float: 1 Oz. Whipped Half & Half

Garnish: Luxardo Cherries

Tools: Cocktail shaker

Glass: Old Fashioned

DIRECTIONS
Chill glass in the freezer.
Shake ingredients with ice until chilled then strain into ice filled glass.
Top with whipped half & half.
Do not stir, it will gently settle into the cocktail by itself.
Tap a few drops of extra bitters on top.
Garnish and serve.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170314

DECADENT DUTCH COCKTAIL FLOAT


Quaker City Malting (@QCMalt) recently sent me some samples of their QC Malt Lemon Shrub and Old Dutch to try out in new cocktail recipes.

I'm not historically fond of malt beverages. My first exposure was back in my youth with Colt 45, then came Zima and it's ilk. None of those ever graced my lips again. Later I tried Mike's Hard Lemonade, expecting a refreshing lightly alcoholic refreshment, I didn't get past the first not-refreshing sip. My experiences had led me to be wary of anything alcoholic labeled "malt". Imagine my surprise when I popped the tops on both these beverages and drank every last drop.

I shouldn't have been surprised at my enjoyment of both these products. They are the brainchild of Steven Grasse (@StevenGrasse), father of some of my favorite bar staples including Hendrick's Gin, Sailor Jerry Rum and the beyond excellent Sweet Lips Cherry Bounce from Tamworth Distilling, to mention a few. If Steven puts his name on it, it's just plain quality.

The Lemon Shrub was automatically in my wheelhouse as I love shrubs, aka drinking vinegars. These are vinegars infused with fruit juice, herbs or spices and they make lovely mixers and syrups for cocktails. I had high hopes and I was not disappointed. Where the Mike's Hard Lemonade missed, the QC Malt Lemon Shrub hit my not-so-sweet spot. It was lightly tart, brightly lemony and judicious in its sweetness; perfect light alcoholic refreshment for a hot  day or night. I had a very hard time saving some for a cocktail recipe, but I did manage to came up with a delicious Blackberry Lemon Shrub Cooler.

With the Old Dutch I wasn't too sure what to expect, there's no mention of root beer at all, but - hello! - I immediately wanted to make a boozy float (see below). If you're looking for a root beer style flavored beer, the Old Dutch is exactly where you want to go. I not only finished the whole can, I loved it. I've tried Not Your Father's Root Beer and couldn't finish it as it was way too sweet. However, though it's not really root beer flavored but a birch sap flavored drink, the Old Dutch brought home the root beer for me. It's less in-your-face than typical "root beer" beers and the lower sweetness is perfectly balanced so the flavors could shine. What a nice surprise!

Of course, you had to know the ice cream was coming.


The
DECADENT DUTCH
COCKTAIL FLOAT

INGREDIENTS & DIRECTIONS
Take one tall, chilled mug or glass.
Add 2 Scoops vanilla ice cream.
Pour in Old Dutch.
Top with whipped cream.
Drizzle with caramel syrup.
Sprinkle on crushed cashews.
Plop on one Bordeaux cherry.
Add ice cream spoon and straws.
Get decadent.

I must remember to send Steven Grasse hugs and kisses.


PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170310

BLACKBERRY LEMON SHRUB COOLER COCKTAIL RECIPE


Having a newly created bottle of homemade Blackberry Simple Syrup from my Blackberry Daiquiri of yesterday, I decided I'd better get at least one more cocktail out of the delicious syrup before I poured it all on pancakes or ice cream in the next few days. Since Q.C. Malting Company had sent me samples of their Lemon Shrub Malt Liquor, I thought the combo sounded like the beginning of a nice afternoon cocktail cooler and got to it.

Good thing I made that syrup too because I was in danger of finishing every one of those Lemon Shrubs before I ever got around to making a cocktail. Yup they're that good, and perfect for 90° March Tucson temperatures, so the danger was real.


BLACKBERRY LEMON
SHRUB COOLER

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz Fresh Blackberry Simple Syrup
1 Ice Cold Can Q.C. Malt Lemon Shrub Malt Beverage
3 Mint Leaves
Crushed Ice

Garnish: Lemon Wedge, Sprig of Mint

Glass: Large Mug or Tumbler

DIRECTIONS
Chill mug in freezer.
Crush ice.
Fill the chilled mug with the crushed ice, gently rub the mint leaves between your fingers and drop on top of the ice.
Pour the Blackberry Simple Syrup over the ice, top off with the Lemon Shrub, garnish and serve.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170309

BLACKBERRY DAIQUIRI COCKTAIL RECIPE


I got some out of season blackberries on sale yesterday which leaned pretty far to the tart side for munching on. Being on sale, and out of season, I suppose that was to be expected, but that didn't mean I couldn't make a great cocktail with them. It was just a matter of helping Mother Nature along a bit.

To turn my slightly sour blackberries into a great cocktail ingredient I simply turned them into a delicious simple syrup. Problem solved, cocktails served.


The
BLACKBERRY DAIQUIRI

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz Light Rum
1 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 Oz Blackberry Simple Syrup
Pinch of Sea Salt*
(Recipe Below)
1 Cup Ice

Garnish: Sugared Blackberries (Recipe below.)

Tools: Cocktail Shaker, Hawthorne Strainer

Glass: Coupe

DIRECTIONS
Chill glass in freezer.
Make the Blackberry Simple Syrup from the recipe below and set aside to cool.
Shake the ingredients with a cup of ice until chilled, strain into the cold coupe, garnish with the sugared blackberries and serve.

* Why the sea salt? To balance out the tartness of the lime juice and the particularly tart blackberries that I had without adding additional syrup.

BLACKBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

Ingredients
2 Cups Sugar
1 Cup Water
1-1/2 Cups Fresh Blackberries
1/4 Tsp. Lemon Zest
1/8 Tsp Lime Zest

Directions
Add the ingredients to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat then simmer until the sugar has dissolved and berries are soft, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and let it cool completely.
Strain into a bottle squeezing out any excess juice from the blackberries.
Makes 10 – 12 oz.

Save some for ice cream and waffles!

SUGARED BLACKBERRIES

Ingredients
1 Egg White
1 Tsp. Water
1 Pint Berries
1 Cup Sugar

Directions
Whip the egg white and water until slightly frothy. 
Dip the berries in the egg white then drop the berries one by one into the sugar and toss until coated.
Lay the berries out to dry on parchment paper until they're no longer sticky.

National Blackberry Day is September 12th and National Daiquiri Day is July 19th.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170307

TEQUILA TUESDAY MARTINI, A Tangerine Tequila Cocktail

http://themartinidiva.com
 
Making Tuesdays just a little better one shot of tequila at a time.
 
The
TEQUILA TUESDAY
MARTINI
 
INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz Tequila
1 Oz Triple Sec
1 Oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 Oz Fresh Tangerine Juice
1/4 Oz Agave Syrup
1/4 Oz Grenadine
 
Garnish: Maraschino Cherry
 
Tools: Cocktail Shaker, Hawthorn Strainer
 
DIRECTIONS
Chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill cocktail Shaker with ice then add the tequila, Triple Sec, lime and tangerine juices and agave syrup, shake until chilled, strain into the glass.
Gently pour the Grenadine down the side of the glass so it settles on the bottom Garnish and serve.
 
Purchase the Tequila Tuesday Martini Recipe Card Here 
 
Oh, tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion & mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate ~ Tom Robbins 
 
Happy Tequila Tuesday!
 
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY
 

20170305

DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON Cocktail, Hemingway's Champagne


Since it's National Absinthe Day a good cocktail to talk about would be what Ernest Hemingway himself called Hemingway's Champagne, otherwise known as Death In The Afternoon, named after Hemingway's book of the same name. It's a potent drink supposedly enjoyed by Hemingway after his stay on the Left Bank of Paris where he was introduced to Absinthe.

Hemingway later contributed the recipe to a 1935 celebrity cocktail book called So Red the Nose, or Breath in the Afternoon by Sterling North and Carl Kroch. In it Hemingway states the drink originated "by the author and three officers of the H.M.S. Danae after having spent seven hours overboard trying to get Capt. Bra Saunders’ fishing boat off a bank where she had gone with us in a N.W. gale." Or so the tale goes.

Since Hemingway was known to be very inventive when it came to cocktails, (he also has his own Daiquiri namesake) I'd take the whole story with a grain of salt. Created in the days when absinthe still possessed it's infamous Green Fairy punch, I think they all might have had three to five of the powerful drink before putting pen to paper.

Ernest Hemingway's
DEATH IN THE AFTERNOON
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS
Absinthe
Champagne

Glass: Champagne Flute

HEMINGWAY'S ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS
"Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness.Drink three to five of these slowly."

I suggest just one.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170304

The CHICAGO COCKTAIL


The Chicago Cocktail is a drink mentioned in several cocktail books around the early 1900's. Obviously named after the city of Chicago, there's no evidence of its actual origin in any information I could find  but the 1931 Dining in Chicago guide by John Drury states it was being served at the American Bar in Nice and the Embassy Club in London.

My recipe is adapted from the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book.


The
CHICAGO
COCKTAIL

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz. Brandy
1/4 Tsp. Cointreau
Dash Angostura Bitters
Champagne Float

Rim: Sugar

Garnish: Slice of Lemon

Tools: Mixing Glass, Barspoon, Hawthorn Strainer

Glass: Champagne Flute

DIRECTIONS
Rim the glass with lemon, dip into the sugar then chill glass in the freezer.
In a mixing glass stir the brandy, triple sec and bitters with ice until chilled, strain into the chilled glass, top off with a splash of Champagne then garnish with the lemon slice.

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

20170221

A Clockwork Orange Bourbon Crusta Movie Cocktail


(Cocktails inspired by the movies, Oscar nominees and winners.)

A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, 1972
Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee
Nominated (1972) for: Best Picture, Best Director (Stanley Kubrik), Best Writing, Screenplay (Stanley Kubrik), and Best Film Editing (Bill Butler).

Just before the Oscars every year I try to come up with a new movie themed drink. I rarely relate them to the current Oscar contenders, preferring to stick with movie classics, mostly because the puns have better possibilities and I am a huge old movie cinemaphile.

This year my punny play is on the cult SciFi movie classic A Clockwork Orange. Despite most people thinking the story was written by Stanley Kubrik, the movie is based on the 1962 futuristic, morality novel by Anthony Burgess. Like the book, Kubrick's vision is a dark, disturbing story of aimless youth gone terribly wrong in a weary socialist state, but it is a cinematically beautiful one that I admire for the visuals while cringing at the violence. I have to be in just the right head space to watch this film but the title is just too good not to booze pun.

This cocktail movie pun is a loosely based adaptation of a Bourbon Crusta which is a bourbon version of a Brandy Crusta, a mid 1899's cocktail invented in New Orleans by a gentleman named Joseph Santini. The only relationship to the movie is the addition of the blood orange and the possibility of ending up talking like Alex if you have too many.

"Well, well, well! Well if it isn't fat stinking billy goat Billy Boy in poison! How art thou, thou globby bottle of cheap stinking chip oil? Come and get one in the yarbles, if ya have any yarble, ya eunuch jelly thou!"
Alex DeLarge, A Clockwork Orange


The
CLOCKWORK ORANGE
CRUSTA

INGREDIENTS
2 Oz. Four Roses Bourbon
1 Tsp. Cointreau
1 Tsp. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
1 Tbsp. Fresh Blood Orange Juice
1 Tsp. Blood Orange Honey Creme Syrup*
1 Dash Orange Bitters 
Ice
Large Ice Cubes

Tools: Large Ice Cube Molds, Cocktail Shaker, Strainer

Glass: Old Fashioned

Garnish: Sugar Rim, Blood Orange Curl, Sugar Dipped Blood Orange Suprême (Segment)

DIRECTIONS
* Prepare the Blood Orange Honey Creme Syrup by mixing 1 teaspoon of Honey Ridge Farms Blood Orange Honey Creme with 1 teaspoon of hot water.
Pare the full peel off the blood orange, set aside then squeeze the juice from the fruit.
Prep glass by moistening the rim with juice and dipping it in sugar.
Add the large ice cubes to your glass, fit the peel around the inside of the glass, lifting it slightly outside the glass.
Combine the ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, strain into the ice filled glass, garnish and serve.

“The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation, against this I raise my sword-pen.”
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess, (Part 1, Chapter 2)

  

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

GIRL SCOUT COOKIE COCKTAILS


Since we are smack dab in the middle of Girl Scout Cookie Season, it's probably a good time to share some cocktails I have that are basically drinkable Girl Scout Cookies. If you think the cookie flavors are delicious, just wait until you add some booze.

On my honor, I think you'll enjoy these.

GIRL SCOUT COOKIE
FLAVORED COCKTAILS

Like Thin Mints? Try my
GRASSHOPPER

Here's your drinkable S'MORES Cookie
BOOZY SAMOA COCKTAIL SHAKE

Is your favorite the S'mores Inspired Cookie? Drink this
S'MORES COCKTAIL

Love those peanut butter and chocolate Tagalongs? Try my
PEANUT BUTTER CUP MARTINI

How about just the peanut butter Do-SiDos? Sip one of these
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE MARTINIS

Like the Toffee-tastic™? Try this
ENGLISH TOFFEE COCKTAIL

Prefer the Lemonade or Savannah Smiles®? Pucker up for this
LEMONADE MARTINI
or shake up one of these
LEMON DROP MARTINIS

Got a craving for those Trios?
COMBINE these 3 Cocktails together!
OATMEAL COOKIE MARTINI +
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MARTINI +
PEANUT BUTTER MARTINI

National Girl Scout Cookie Day is February 8th, Girl Scout Cookie Weekend is typically held the last weekend in February.

*DYK? The very first published recipe for S'mores (“some mores") appeared in a 1927 publication called "Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts".

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY

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