Cucumber Jalapeño Mule – 3 Ways (or maybe 6 ways!)

Cuc Jalapeno Lime MuleMules, those descendants of the Moscow Mule in all their forms, are becoming more and more popular.  Why?  Because they are a) easy to prepare and b) taste great.  What better cocktail to serve your guests than this popular libation?  Now, you Moscow Mule aficionados out there can rightly complain that all of these erstwhile concoctions containing ginger beer are not Mules.  Just like the Martini was co-opted into many forms, the Mule now has countless varieties.  So all I can say is: “Smile, deal with it and serve your guests delicious drinks!”

These Mules are all based on muddled cucumbers and seeded jalapeños. What changes is the fruit juice and the base spirit.  I started to call these, “South Texas Mules”, since I used either Ranger Creek’s .36 White Whiskey, or Cinco Vodka which are both distilled here in South Texas. You can use either spirit in any of these cocktails.  Each brings its own twist to the party.  I found that I preferred the Whiskey with the cranberry and the Vodka with the pomegranate.

Ranger Creek’s .36 White Whiskey is their ‘White Dog,’ or unaged bourbon.  It is slightly sweet and a bit grainy with a hint of fruit.  It also has the ‘bite’ of white whiskey.  Cinco Vodka has a slight aroma of alcohol, but beneath that is a light, pleasant note of grain. The flavors are mostly neutral, with hints of wheat and some vanilla.

The secret to any cocktail is premium ingredients, but:

The Secret to Great Mules

Rocky MuleWhether you are making a classic Moscow Mule or some variety, the one thing that will take your cocktail over the top is fresh ginger.  This will mean that you cannot build the Mule in a glass or mug, but the added zing makes the effort worthwhile.  The easiest way to use fresh ginger is to purchase frozen crushed ginger at your supermarket. This generally comes in 1 tsp squares.  I cut the frozen square into 4 pieces and use 1 per cocktail.  Alternatively, slice a coin of fresh ginger from a ginger root and crush it with your muddler in your shaking tin.  You don’t even need to peel it first.

You can easily offer all 6 varieties of this Mule at your next party.  Pre-slice the cucumber and ginger.  Stem the jalapeños and split them down the center lengthwise.  They are easy to seed this way.  Then just slice them short wise and use 4 pieces to equal 2 slices.

Cucumber Jalapeño Mule

Let’s start with lime.  This is as close the the classic Moscow Mule as any of these come.  I like both the Whiskey and Vodka versions of this.  This cocktail is ginger forward with a background freshness from the cucumber.  The jalapeño stays behind the scene enhancing the cucumber.Cuc Jalapeno Mule CU

  • 3 – 4 slices of fresh cucumber – I used the English variety
  • 2 slices seeded jalapeño
  • 1 slice Fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp fresh frozen crushed ginger
  • 2 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. White Whiskey or Vodka
  • 1 oz. 2:1 Simple Syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
  • 6 oz Ginger Beer (I use Goslings or Fever Tree)
  • Slice of lime for garnish
  1. Muddle cucumber, jalapeño and ginger with the lime juice in your shaker tin
  2. Add Spirit of choice and simple syrup.
  3. Fill shaker with ice cubes and shake to chill and further muddle: 20-30 seconds
  4. Double strain into Copper Mug or chilled Collins glass over fresh ice.
  5. Add Ginger Beer and garnish

Cucumber Jalapeño Mule with Cranberry

Cuc Jalapeno Cran MuleAs noted above, I preferred the Whiskey with this, but the Vodka is good too.  The recipe is the same as with the lime juice – just substitute the cranberry juice.  I use an organic, unsweetened brand.  The cocktail is tart with spicy ginger.  The cucumber and cranberry go very well together.  I generally serve Mules in the appropriate copper mug, but I wanted to picture this with the color.  This will make a great Holiday cocktail – bright red and fizzy!

  • 3 – 4 slices of fresh cucumber – I used the English variety
  • 2 slices seeded jalapeño
  • 1 slice Fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp fresh frozen crushed ginger
  • 2 oz. Unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 oz. White Whiskey or Vodka (I preferred the White Whiskey)
  • 1 oz. 2:1 Simple Syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
  • 6 oz Ginger Beer (I use Goslings or Fever Tree)
  1. Muddle cucumber, jalapeño and ginger with the cranberry juice in your shaker tin
  2. Add Spirit of choice and simple syrup.
  3. Fill shaker with ice cubes and shake to chill and further muddle: 20-30 seconds
  4. Double strain into Copper Mug or chilled Collins glass over fresh ice.
  5. Add Ginger Beer

Cucumber Jalapeño Mule with Pomegranate

The pomegranate adds a rich note and is not as tart as either the lime or cranberry varieties above.   I used Pom brand which is unsweetened, but is sweeter than some others I’ve had.  The recipe is a bit different because of the sweetness of the Pom.  You might need to adjust the pomegranate to simple syrup ratio if you use a different brand.

  • 3 – 4 slices of fresh cucumber – I used the English varietyCuc Jalapeno Pom Mule CU
  • 2 slices seeded jalapeño
  • 1 slice Fresh ginger or 1/4 tsp fresh frozen crushed ginger
  • 2 1/2 oz. Unsweetened pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz. White Whiskey or Vodka (I preferred the White Whiskey)
  • 1/2 oz. 2:1 Simple Syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water)
  • 6 oz Ginger Beer (I use Goslings or Fever Tree)
  1. Muddle cucumber, jalapeño and ginger with the pomegranate juice in your shaker tin
  2. Add Spirit of choice and simple syrup.
  3. Fill shaker with ice cubes and shake to chill and further muddle: 20-30 seconds
  4. Double strain into Copper Mug or chilled Collins glass over fresh ice.
  5. Add Ginger Beer

So there they are.  These will be a simple way to offer multiple varieties of Mules to your guests.

Cheers!





Christmas Libations circa 2015

We offered a number of libations this Christmas Season.  A few were favorite cocktails that we rechristened with seasonal names, we added some new ones that we found, and we created a couple of original recipes.  Some can be made Zero Proof so everyone can be in on the fun!

Berry Delicious

I got this idea from Porter’s Fire, which is a Canadian Whiskey with “cinnamon and hints of vanilla.”  I haven’t been able to find Porter’s Fire so I used Fireball.  The combination of cinnamon spice and the nutty Amaretto is awesome.Christmas Shots

  • 3/4 oz. Fireball Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Amaretto
  1.  Combine in a shot glass and serve

Blazing Prancer

If Amaretto works, why not Jägermeister?  Especially if the Fireball has been barrel aged.  I aged the Fireball in a small jar with a barrel stave for 2 weeks.  A little clove and vanilla to go with the cinnamon blends with the herbs in the Jägermeister.

  • 3/4 oz. Barrel Aged Fireball Whiskey
  • 3/4 oz. Jägermeister
  1.  Combine in a shot glass and serve

Three Wise Men

Three Wise Men 2Gold, frankincense and myrrh. Too many of these and you’ll act like Larry, Moe and Curly!

  • 1 1/2 oz. Ford’s Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Carpano Bianco Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • Edible Gold Stars (available here) for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine gin, vermouth and St. Germaine in a mixing glass with ice and stir to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Gently float a few gold stars on the surface and serve

Elf Magic

Christmas Cream Green 2Better than dessert—Chocolate mint cream.  (Yes, it’s a Grasshopper)

  • 1 oz. Crème de Menthe
  • 1 oz. Crème de Cacao
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass

Christmas CosmoFrosty Night

A Holiday version of a Cosmopolitan. This cocktail is pretty and sophisticated.

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. White grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2  oz. Simple Syrup
  • 4-6 fresh cranberries for garnish
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients, except garnish, in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass
  4. Either float the cranberries on the drink or skewer them on a pick.
  5. Serve

Rudolph Bubbly

Christmas RedEven Champagne can use a little dressing up!  This is from Chris Tunstall at abarabove.  I am re-posting it here because making a syrup from jellied cranberry sauce is a great idea, (for other awesome ideas, you should check out their site).

  • 2 oz. Cranberry Syrup – see below
  • 4 – 6 oz. Champagne (or Sparkling Cider)
  1. Chill a cocktail glass champagne flute with ice and water
  2. Add Cranberry syrup to glass and top with Champagne or cider

Cranberry Syrup

The syrup is extremely easy.  It will take about 15 minutes, including time to cool.  You will need:

  • 1 – 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  1. In a quart sized microwavable container, melt the cranberry sauce on high in 30 second intervals, stirring in between.
  2. Meanwhile, using a small sauce pan on the stove, dissolve the sugar in the water.
  3. When the the sugar is dissolved, add the melted cranberry sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Allow to cool.  This will keep refrigerated in a sealed glass bottle for at least a week.

Santa Sparkle

Christmas GreenMint with a little sparkle!  Can be Zero Proof.

  • 2 oz. Crème de Menthe or Crème de Menthe syrup
  • 4-6 oz. Champagne or Sparkling Grape Juice
  • Chill a cocktail glass champagne flute with ice and water
  • Add Crème de Menthe to glass and top with Champagne or Grape Juice

 Holly Leaf

Creamy mint richness.Christmas Cream Green

  • 1 oz. Crème de Menthe or Crème de Menthe syrup
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  1. Chill a cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  3. Strain into chilled cocktail glass

Cheers!


 

 

 




A Tonic Bar for Your Next Party

TonicBar HeaderAs busy host/hostess, anytime you can offer a fun, engaging, self-serve cocktail bar, expect your guests to rave about your entertaining prowess!  A tonic bar is a simple way to allow your guests open access to create their own drinks while you get to enjoy your party too.  Its versatility works great for casual outdoor gatherings and equally well for holiday festivities.

GinTonic 1Before we address the blue print for a great libation station, let’s look at the recent transformation of the venerable Gin and Tonic.  About ten years ago, the “Gin Tonic” became the rage in Spain.  Bars developed their own, proprietary Tonic Waters with which they prepared beautiful cocktails in over-sized, stemmed wine glasses, filled with colorful fresh citrus and herbs.  Drinking establishments take pride in featuring their version of the “Gin Tonic.”

The most important ingredient in gin, and the one necessarily present in all gins, is juniper. Beyond that, it’s the Wild West, because there is no minimum amount of juniper required for a spirit to be labeled ‘gin.’  A single juniper berry in a vat of spirit qualifies as ‘gin.’

Fords GinI had an opportunity to discuss Gin and Tonics with Jason Kosmas, Co-founder of The 86 Company, (Fords Gin among others), Co-founder of Employees Only and Co-author of Speak Easy. According to Jason, just about any premium brand of gin can be used for Gin and Tonics.  Jason prefers that juniper be an actual flavor present in gin, followed by citrus and various herbs.  When determining what will go best with any particular gin, Jason encourages us to “read the back label” and see what is in the gin.  With Fords Gin, he suggests creating a cocktail with the addition of grapefruit, coriander, lemon, and jasmine.

qtonic Fever TreeWhen it comes to tonic water, there are several good premium brands readily available.  Jason mentioned Fever Tree, East Imperial and Q Tonic.  He looks for natural ingredients and sugars.  The flavor should be quinine first and dry rather than sweet.

For garnishes, Jason looks to rosemary for “woodsy,” and he likes grapefruit, dries spices, star anise, aromatic berries such as strawberry, cucumber and/or fresh lavender.  For sweeteners, he recommends agave, dried flowers and even herbal tea blends.

Of course, as Jason says: “It can’t be a Gin Tonic without the big, stemmed wine glass!”

The Tonic Bar

To engage your guests with making their own Gin Tonics, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible area where multiple people can be actively concocting.  Your actual tonic bar can be as minimalist or as expansive as you like.  You can offer only a single gin, vodka or rum, or multiple choices of each.  We include little tasting cups so that our guests can sample the spirits before selecting one.  (The plastic tasting cups were one lifetime supply purchase from Costco – approximately a thousand for $10!)

TonicBar Syrups

Fever Tree, Tonic Syrups for Rum and for Gin

Now for the tonic water.  We like to offer at least one house made tonic syrup.  A small amount of tonic syrup is added to carbonated water in the drink to make tonic water, (our recipes are here).  These syrups are designed for a specific spirit and make wonderful cocktails.  However, we have found that while our guests like it when we make one these for them, when left on their own, they will usually opt for bottled tonic water.   We continue to offer the tonic syrup, but we always include one premium brand of tonic water – usually Fever Tree.  We also use the small bottles so that there is no measuring required.

However many choices of spirit you offer, don’t skimp on the garnishes.  Arrange bunches of fresh herbs in single old fashioned glasses, with small bowls of sliced citrus and berries.  If some of your herbs are less than attractive, pinch off the leaves and present them in small bowels as well.  Release your imagination with the variety of flavors, colors and textures of garnishes and the containers in which you offer them.  The more inviting the presentation, the more your guests will be encouraged to experiment and enjoy their mixology talents. Here are some suggestions:

TonicBar Garnishes 1

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices

  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Thyme/Lemon Thyme
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers

 

TonicBar 2

Set up your Tonic Bar where it is easily accessible

TonicBar Recipe

Little recipe placards make it easy for your guests

As noted above, set your Tonic Bar up in an easily accessible location.  We use a round table.  Set out your bottles of spirits, a few bottles of tonic water along with a bottle opener, and garnishes.  You might want to set your glassware and ice bucket on a separate counter.  This will minimize the chance that they get knocked over while someone is reaching for ingredients.  We always include a written recipe with suggestions of garnishes for each spirit.  This will eliminate any anxiety your guests may have over not knowing what to make.  You want to keep it simple and fun.

TonicBar GnT

A knife and cutting board allows guests to prepare their own garnishes

To get things started, make up a Gin Tonic so everyone can see how it’s done.  Those guests can then show any late comers when they arrive.  You will then only need to refresh any garnishes, tonic water bottles and ice.

 

Recipe for Gin, Rum or Vodka Tonics

  • 2 oz Spirit – either Gin, Rum or Vodka
  • 6 oz. Tonic Water (1 1/2 oz Tonic Syrup and 4 1/2 oz. Carbonated Water)
  • Optional dash of simple syrup for gin or vodka/demerara simple syrup for rum
  • Garnish – see below

 Instructions:

  1. Add ice cubes to a large, stemmed wine glass
  2. Add garnishes except for any citrus peels for expressing
  3. Add your Spirit of choice
  4. Slowly add the Tonic Water (or Tonic Syrup followed by the carbonated water).
  5. Express any citrus peels and serve

Suggested Garnishes:

Gin or Vodka

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Fresh Lavender
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass

Rum

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Coriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers
  • Lemon Grass

 

Rum and Tonic

Rum Tonic with House Made Tonic Syrup

We have found that our guests enjoy the opportunity to experiment with the Tonic Bar.  By offering multiple choices of gin, vodka and rum along with a myriad of garnishes, you enable your guests to explore a range of Gin Tonics.  Our guests tend to lower the amount of spirit in each drink thus allowing themselves to try multiple variations.  If some of your guests may be a little more stayed or if you just wish to expand the offerings, set out a few old fashioned glasses so someone can make a standard Gin or Vodka and Tonic.  Throw in a bottle of vermouth and martini glasses and your guests can head down that road.  As always, we offer self serve wine and beer along with non-alcohol options.

Cheers!


 

 

 




Tonic Syrup: for Gin, Vodka or Rum and Tonics

This is the first in our series on syrups. The simplest syrup to make is, of course, simple syrup. However, this is not where we are going to start. While tonic syrup is more complicated, it is not difficult. Tonic syrup is easily customized and is highly adaptable to cocktails other than gin and tonics. So, we are going to discuss two different aromatic syrups that you can mix with a tincture of quinine. These “Tonic Syrups” can then be combined with carbonated water to make tonic water, or used directly in cocktails.

Tonic Syrup and TinctureI had an opportunity to discuss Gin and Tonics with Jason Kosmas, Co-founder of The 86 Company, (Ford’s Gin among others), Co-founder of Employees Only and Co-author of Speak Easy. His take on tonic syrups is to include citrus, coriander and herbs – even herbal tea. Keep in mind that the base spirit you choose will lend itself to various flavors. As Jason pointed out – read the back label for flavor ideas. For syrup used in Rum and Tonics, he would add lime, pineapple, cinnamon and vanilla. (The rest of the interview centered on Gin Tonics and will be included in a future post)

Fever TreeqtonicThese days, you are not limited to buying tonic water in 1 liter bottles. There are a number of premium tonic waters available such as Fever Tree and Q Tonic. The primary idea of making your own tonic syrup is to customize it for various drinks. These recipes will take about 15 minutes of active and 45 minutes of inactive time.

Tonic water is primarily carbonated water and quinine. Quinine is most famous for treating the symptoms of malaria. The idea of mixing gin and quinine dates to the British in various malaria prone climes where soldiers used gin to make the bitter quinine more palatable. In those days, quinine was extracted from cinchona bark in a process not unlike making tea. Since World War II, quinine has been manufactured as a white powder formed into pills. You can purchase quinine pills over the internet and dissolve them to use in tonic water. This is a bad idea. First, you can poison yourself and guests with too much quinine. Secondly, an extract of cinchona, which you will make in 30 minutes or less, brings a lot of flavor to your cocktail. If you want quinine water, buy commercial tonic water, it’s cheap.

Making tonic water at home became a widespread fashion in the early 2000’s. An internet search for ‘DIY tonic water’ will result in a number of recipes. Jeffrey Morgenthaler posted a recipe in 2008, (found here), which became one of the most popular. Since then, he has published a newer version in his book, The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique. I like his new version, which can be found on line here, because he separates the aromatics from the quinine. This lends itself to easy modification. My recipe for tonic syrup for use with gin differs only slightly from his.

The only equipment you will need that is slightly out of the ordinary is a digital food or postage scale. Only the precise weight of ingredients ensures that your syrup will be consistent from one batch to the next.

For the Quinine Tincture:

Quinine Tincture

  • 6 gr. Powdered red cinchona bark
  • 150 ml 100 proof vodka
  1. In a 1 cup measuring cup, dissolve the cinchona in the vodka
  2. Allow to sit 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Strain the liquid into a second measuring cup. This will take up to 30 minutes total time. Filter the tincture back and forth between the 2 measuring cups in the following order:
    1. First through a fine mesh strainer
    2. Second through a metal “Gold” coffee filter – preferably cone shaped
    3. Thirdly through a paper coffee filter
  4. Pour into a small bottle and store at room temperature. The tincture will keep indefinitely.

For the aromatic syrup for gin or vodka and tonics:

 

Tonic Syrup Aromatics

  • 20 gr. citric acid
  • 10 gr. whole gentian root
  • 1 gr. coriander
  • 1 gr. Ceylon soft-stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
  • 30 gr. lemon peel
  • 30 gr. grapefruit peel
  • 400 gr. sugar
  • 500 ml. water
  • 2 – 3 to 4 inch sprigs of fresh lavender (optional)

Tonic Syrup Prep

  1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the lavender, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  3. Remove from the heat, add the fresh lavender and allow to cool.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Add 1 ½ oz. Quinine Tincture and store, refrigerated, in a seal-able bottle or jar. It will keep 3-4 weeks before it turns cloudy.

 

 

For the aromatic syrup for rum and tonics:

 

Tonic Syrup Rum Aromatics

  • 20 gr. citric acid
  • 10 gr. whole gentian root
  • 1 gr. Star Anise
  • 2 gr. Ceylon soft-stick cinnamon, broken into small pieces
  • 3 Kaffir Lime leaves (Optional – available at Asian Markets)
  • 10 gr. lemon peel
  • 50 gr. Lime peel
  • 400 gr. Turbinado sugar
  • 500 ml. water

 

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes
  3. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  4. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Add 1 ½ oz. Quinine Tincture and store, refrigerated, in a seal-able bottle or jar. It will keep 3-4 weeks before it turns cloudy.

 

To make tonic water add 1 part Quinine Syrup to 3 parts carbonated water.

The resulting tonic water will be brown.  It is not unattractive and tastes amazing!!

Gin, Rum or Vodka Tonics

  • 2 oz Spirit – either Gin, Rum or Vodka
  • 6 oz. Tonic Water (1 1/2 oz Quinine Syrup and 4 1/2 oz. Carbonated Water)
  • Optional dash of simple syrup for gin or vodka/demerara simple syrup for rum
  • Garnish – see below

Rum and Tonic

Rum & Tonic

Method #1

  1. Add large ice cubes to a large, stemmed wine glass
  2. Add garnishes except for any citrus peels for expressing
  3. Add your Spirit of choice
  4. Slowly add the Quinine Syrup followed by the carbonated water.
  5. Express any citrus peels and serve

Method #2

  1. Fill your large wine glass with large ice and garnish
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir
  3. Strain into your prepared glass
  4. Express any citrus peels and serve

Suggested Garnishes:

You should let your imagination run with the garnishes.

Gin or Vodka

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Grapefruit Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Fresh Lavendar
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Fresh Sage
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Lemon Grass

Rum

  • Lemon & Lime Wheels
  • Lemon & Lime Peels
  • Sliced Berries
  • Kaffir Lime Leaves
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Pineapple
  • Corriander
  • Fresh Hibiscus Flowers
  • Lemon Grass

Tonic Garnishes

G-n-TiniGnTini

Here is a cocktail that uses Tonic Syrup directly in the drink.

Fords Gin

  • 1 1/2 oz. Fords Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • 1/2 oz. Tonic Syrup for Gin
  • Grapefruit peel for garnish
  1. Stir the first three ingredients in a mixing glass with ice to chill
  2. Strain into a chilled coup
  3. Express the grapefruit peel over the drink and float the peel

Cheers!


 




Ciroc Fizz

Our daughter was gifted with a bottle of Ciroc Red Berry Vodka at a Christmas Party and asked me to use it to create a cocktail.  I like champagne cocktails and ’tis the season.  So this is a rif on the  French 75.ciroc-fiz

  • 1/2 oz. Ciroc Red Berry VodkaCiroc
  • 1/2 oz. St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. Simple syrup
  • Chilled prosecco or champagne
  • Sprig of fresh thyme for garnish
  1. Combine first four ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake to chill
  2. Strain into chilled champagne flute and top with the prosecco
  3. Smack the thyme sprig in your hands to release the oils then float it in the drink.

Cheers!




Bloody Mary Oyster Shooters

Oyster shooters are simply awesome.  They are also unusual enough to impress your guests. While there are those who don’t care for them, most people like oysters.  Plus, you’ll find a number of your friends haven’t tried them – raw anyway.  So, plunge in!

Oyster ShooterWhile fresh shucked oysters are the best, the necessity of shucking is frequently the barrier that prevents the busy host from serving them.  Enter the fresh, pasteurized variety, (and exit the oyster aficionado).  These are probably better for cooking, but work quite well in shooters.  The containers come in a variety of sizes, as will the oysters.  You may want to cut particularly large oysters in half, and double up the small ones.

To build multiple shots, I suggest that you line up the glasses and make them assembly line fashion.  Start with an oyster in each glass followed by the next ingredient, in the order listed.

  • 1 oyster
  • 2 tsp. Zing Zang (or other Bloody Mary mix)
  • 1/8 tsp. Horseradish
  • 1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 drops hot sauce
  • 1/4 oz. Lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Chilled Cinco Vodka
  1. Chill vodka in the refrigerator for several hours or “freeze” in the freezer for an hour. See note below.
  2. Line up shot glasses and place an oyster in each
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, in the order above, to each glass
  4. Serve immediately

Note: Vodka will not actually freeze, so the bottle won’t break if you leave it in the freezer. Frozen vodka has a silky mouth feel.

Cheers!




Christmas Cocktails

Christmas is upon us.  In other words, it’s that time of year when we find ourselves faced with last minute entertaining “opportunities!”

You don’t have to reinvent the cocktail to provide your guests with memorable Holiday themed libations.  Simply use great existing recipes and give them festive names.  The following examples are easy to make using common ingredients:

The Christmas Punk

Christmas Punk from Imbibe Magazine

  1. Conquistador Punch from Imbibe Magazine
  2. Christmas Punk also from Imbibe Magazine
  3. Snow Drift from Cinco Vodka
  4. Midori Sour

Krampus Dare – aka Conquistador Punch

I-saw-mommy-kissing-krampusThis is a punch, which means that you can make it as a single cocktail or in small to large batches.  While definitely a tequila drink, it is balanced by the brightness of the citrus and mellowed by the sherry.

The recipe is:

  • 3 parts Reposado Tequila
  • 1 1/2 part Sherry
  • 1 1/2 part Lime juice
  • 1 1/2 part Orange Juice
  • 1 part simple syrup

For 2 single drinks, think ounces for parts and shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses.  Garnish with an orange peel.

For a pitcher, combine ingredients with ice and stir to chill.  Strain into a pitcher and refrigerate.  Serve in chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with fat orange peels.

For a punch bowl, combine ingredients with ice cubes and stir to chill.  When chilled, remove ice cubes and replace them with a large piece of ice.  Add slices of limes and oranges and ladle into cups.

St. Nickolas Punch aka Christmas Punk

St Nick Krampus

Left to Right St. Nicholas Punch and Krampus Dare

This drink combines apple and ginger with the richness of port and the spice of the bitters.

  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 1 oz. Domaine de Canton
  • 3/4 oz. Port
  • 3 dashes Fees Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
  • Long Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with the lemon peel
St Nick n Krampus

Snow Drift

This is a pretty drink reminiscent of eggnog with a hint of chocolate.

  • 2 oz. Chilled Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. White Creme de Cacao
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  • Grated white chocolate for garnish
  1. Combine the ingredients except the garnish in a shaker without ice.  Shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice and shake until welled chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail or martini glass and garnish with the chocolate

Christmas Kiss aka Midori Sour

Midori SourBright green always works for the Holidays.  This sweet and sour drink is always a hit with the sweet drink crowd.

  • 2 oz. Midori
  • 2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Brandied cherry for garnish.
  1. Combine all ingredients except the cherry in a shaker with ice.  Shake until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass and drop in the cherry.

Remember to use premium ingredients and fresh juices.

Cheers!




Ten Four

I offer up this drink in honor of National Vodka Day, which is also National Taco Day, and in 2014, falls on Saturday, October 4.  This just happens to coincide with our daughter’s wedding day.  Her Groom has suggested the name and I think it covers all of the bases.Ten Four

I didn’t want to just make up another version of a cilantro-lime martini.  The Chartreuse accentuates the herbal cilantro while the pepper adds a nice background bite.

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz fresh lime
  • 1/2 oz Chartreuse
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 slice jalapeno seeded
  • 1/8 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno stuffed olive for garnish – optional.
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the garnish, in a shaker with ice cubes (not crushed ice).  Shake until well chilled.
  2. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with the olive (optional)

Cheers!


 




Blue Hawaii

The first “Blue Drink.”  Invented  in 1957 by Harry Yee of the Hilton Hawaiian Village.  It was an instant hit and, yes, the movie was named for the drink!

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii

  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. blue curacao
  • ¼ oz. simple syrup
  • ½ t. cream
  1. Shake with crushed ice
  2. Pour unstrained into tall glass
  3. Garnish with fruit stick



Chocolate Martini

The hardest part about this drink is rimming the glass.  Plus you can easily play with this by subbing vanilla or orange vodka, etc.

  • 1 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Frangelico
  • 1 oz. Creme de Cacao, preferably white
  • Optional chocolate for rimming glass – see note
  1. Chill a martini glass with ice and water
  2. Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice
  3. Strain into chilled glass

Note:  Here are a few ways to rim a glass for this drink:

  1. Use dark or semi sweet chocolate and melt with a small amount of water.  Allow to cool slightly, then dip the glass rim into the melted chocolate.  After all excess chocolate has dripped off, set the glass upright in the freezer until ready to use.
  2. Use melting chocolate.  Melt the chocolate as per package instructions.  Allow to cool slightly, then dip the glass rim into the melted chocolate. This will stay hard at room temperature and can also be used in a small squirt bottle to actually decorate the glass.
  3. Use finely chopped dark or semi sweet chocolate.  Moisten the rim of a dry, chilled glass with water or vodka and dip into the chocolate.
  4. Use black decorating sugar.  Moisten the rim of a dry, chilled glass with water or vodka and dip into the chocolate.