Posts Tagged ‘drink recipes’

This Saturday is Cinco de Mayo AND Derby Day! I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have to choose between a Mint Julep or this, my personal recipe for a margarita. Mixing is not an option!

I like a margarita that has a few, simple ingredients…and no sour mix. This is the one that hits the spot for me. My friends affectionately call it an “Algarita.”

 

3 oz. Patron silver tequila
1 oz. Cointreau orange liqueur
4 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 a fresh lime, squeezed

 

Place ice in a cocktail shaker and add Patron, Cointreau, pineapple juice and a good squeeze of lime juice from 1/2 a lime. Stir well, then pour it into a margarita glass (salt rim optional) and garnish with a lime wedge.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!

I love me my Mojitos, and they’re even better when I have fresh organic blueberries and raspberries to add to the mix. Frozen fruit works well, too. Make it by the pitcher and you’ll never make it any other way again!

The ingredients

The ingredients

Ingredients:

Make ahead of time…
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Mix both ingredients together and let stand at room temp. Shake until dissolved. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several weeks and ready to use any time. Shake well before using.

mojito pitcher

For the Mojitos…

1 cup sugar/lime mixture
1 cup mint leaves, packed
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 pint raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 or 4 cups white rum, preferably Don Q Cristal rum
3 or 4 cups club soda

Combine mint leaves and 1/2 cup of sugar/lime mixture in bottom of a pitcher. Muddle mint up very well to release mint oils. Add blueberries and continue to muddle.

Add remaining sugar/lime mixture, rum and raspberries. Mix well. Just before serving, add club soda and ice. Stir. Pour into glasses.

Or…for drinks one at a time, fill a tall glass with ice. Fill one-third to halfway with club soda. Top with Mojito mix. Garnish with mint leaf.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

I love me my onions! Raw, sauteed, caramelized, yellow, Spanish, Bermuda, Vidalia, Texas Sweets, scallion, pearl, Crimini, Walla Walla…they can do no wrong. In fact, my wife and daughter gave me the Lithuanian nickname: “Ponas Svogunas.” ( “Mr. Onion.”) I answer to it proudly.

I also love me my vodka martinis! So if I’m going to buy a top shelf vodka like Stoli Elit or Chopin, I’m not going to ruin it with vermouth, whether it’s mixed in with the vodka or whether I find it inside a jar of store-bought cocktail onions.

I looked at several do-it-yourself cocktail onion recipes, but I wasn’t inspired to try any of them until I found a package of already peeled pearl onions at Whole Foods one day.

Once that time-saving ingredient was in my possession, I took the best ingredients of all the recipes I found, deleted the vermouth, and proceeded.

cocktail onions

Ingredients:

8 oz pearl onions, peeled

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/4 teaspoon brown mustard seed

12 juniper berries

6 black peppercorns

3 allspice berries

3-inch fresh rosemary branch

small piece (1/4″) dried chile pepper

 

Add all the ingredients except the onions to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, making sure the sugar and salt dissolve completely.

Add the onions to the saucepan and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool to room temp in the liquid. Transfer the onions and liquid to a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the fridge. It will keep in the fridge for a month.

 

Schweppes Bitter Lemon is a carbonated beverage that was invented in 1957 and was available in the United States for a while, but poor sales forced Schweppes to withdraw the product from US store shelves.

Fanatics, however, have kept the demand up for Schweppes Bitter Lemon, and so you can now find the import at websites like amazon.com and britishdelights.com. Some say that a proper Pimm’s cup is not made with ginger ale, but with this stuff. I was curious, so I bought a few bottles and started out with a simple vodka + Schweppes Bitter Lemon: refreshing, and a wonderful twist on the basic vodka-and-tonic.

So I’m hooked.

One of my favorite new drinks of the summer is this recipe that I found on line and tweaked the proportions of the ingredients to make my own. For the light rum, I like to use the new Caliche Puerto Rican rum from the Serralles family of rums, makers of Don Q and Captain Morgan. And second to Angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters, invented by famous New Orleans apothecary Antoine Peychaud around 1830, should be a staple of any home bar, especially since it is a key ingredient in making the perfect Sazerac cocktail. It works equally well here.

banana1

BITTER BANANA COOLER

Ingredients:

3 oz light rum

3 oz of ripe banana

1 1/2 oz pineapple juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Schweppes Bitter Lemon

 

In a blender (no ice) combine all ingredients except Schweppes, and blend until smooth: just a few seconds will do. Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into a 16 oz glass filled with ice. Top off with Schweppes Bitter lemon.

banana2

 

 

I love me my Mojitos, and they’re even better when I have fresh organic blueberries and raspberries to add to the mix. Frozen fruit works well, too. Make it by the pitcher and you’ll never make it any other way again!

The ingredients

The ingredients

Ingredients:

Make ahead of time…
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Mix both ingredients together and let stand at room temp. Shake until dissolved. The mixture can be covered and refrigerated for several weeks and ready to use any time. Shake well before using.

mojito pitcher

For the Mojitos…

1 cup sugar/lime mixture
1 cup mint leaves, packed
1/2 pint blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 pint raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 or 4 cups white rum, preferably Don Q Cristal rum
3 or 4 cups club soda

Combine mint leaves and 1/2 cup of sugar/lime mixture in bottom of a pitcher. Muddle mint up very well to release mint oils. Add blueberries and continue to muddle.

Add remaining sugar/lime mixture, rum and raspberries. Mix well. Just before serving, add club soda and ice. Stir. Pour into glasses.

Or…for drinks one at a time, fill a tall glass with ice. Fill one-third to halfway with club soda. Top with Mojito mix. Garnish with mint leaf.

 

Cheers!

Cheers!

The Mint Julep is such a perfect, classic and historic bourbon drink, I really don’t know why I wait until Derby day to have one. Of course, as any aficionado of spirits will tell you, there are as many right ways as wrong ways of making one, depending on who you talk to. This is true for any classic cocktail, from a Sazerac to a Manhattan.

The first step in my Mint Julep is making the simple syrup. I use the standard ration of 1 cup of clean, filtered water to 1 cup of sugar, but I use an organic product like Woodstock Farms Organic Pure Cane Sugar. Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until just boiling. I’ve found that it needs to reach this stage for the unbleached sugar to really dissolve. As soon as it starts to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat, and throw in a handful of freshly picked mint leaves. Stir to make sure the mint gets in there, and then leave the saucepan to cool to room temperature. Once it’s at room temp, strain the simple syrup into a bottle with a tight sealing lid, and place in the refrigerator to cool. It will keep for about a week.

The next step is the tough part: the battles of the bourbons! The recent explosion of choices on the bourbon market has make it all but impossible for the average imbiber to know which bourbon is best for their tastes. My suggestion for this is to go to a trusted bartender and explain that you’re new to the bourbon world, and could you have the tiniest of tastes and sniffs of what he’s got at his bar. Chances are, you’ll get a sampling of some of the better known standards: Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, perhaps Buffalo Trace or Bulleit, and the standard Jim Beam. This is a very good start. If you have deeper pockets, go to the manager of a trusted higher end liquor store and explain that you’ve had all the rest, now what does he think is the best? This is how I came across a fabulous 17-year-old bottle of Eagle Rare, my choice for my Mint Julep. And of course, hinting to wife and friends that “I’m trying new bourbons” around your birthday or the holidays inevitably gets you a few bottles as well, like the very tasty 15-year-old high-alcohol Pappy Van Winkle, excellent for special sipping occasions (when you don’t have to operate heavy machinery for a while!)

Other ingredients for my perfect Mint Julep include crushed ice from clean, filtered water. Don’t even think of using tap water for any cocktail much less this one. Why ruin an expensive bottle of bourbon by going cheap on the ice? I make my own ice cubes, then put them in a canvas ice bag and bash them to the perfect crushed size.

And a Mint Julep needs a metal–not glass– Julep cup. Made of pewter or aluminum, it frosts on the outside as you stir your drink, keeping your beverage ice cold on even the hottest of days. You simply need to have one to make the perfect Mint Julep.

So many choices...

So many choices…

 

So here’s my recipe…

 

ALZ MINT JULEP

 

Ingredients:

3 oz bourbon

1 oz mint-infused simple syrup

crushed ice

Julep cup

Fresh mint for garnish

Crush the ice and pack it into the Julep cup, even letting it dome slightly over the top. Don’t worry…the alcohol will melt it.

I like to add 1 jigger of bourbon (1.5 oz), then the shot of simple syrup (1 oz), then another jigger of bourbon on top. Break off a few mint leaves from the stem and push into the ice. Using a long spoon, stir the drink well. A beautiful layer of frost will form on the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

 

I like a margarita that has a few, simple ingredients…and no sour mix. This is the one that hits the spot for me.

algarita 2

 

 

ALGARITA:

3 oz Patron silver tequila

1 oz Cointreau orange liqueur

4 oz pineapple juice

1/2 a fresh lime, squeezed

Place ice in a tall glass and add Patron, Cointreau, pineapple juice and a good squeeze of lime juice from 1/2 a lime. Pour into a margarita glass (salt rim optional) and garnish with a lime wedge.

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!

I love cocktails that are full of herbaceousness. (Got that right without spell check!)

So whenever my wife and are dining in a higher-end restaurant, where we see that mixology matters to them as much as the food, we take advantage of their knowledgeable bartenders and have them create something special for us to try.

Coppa is my second favorite restaurant in Boston–Toro being at the top of the list–and both are part of the Ken Oringer empire, with head chef Jamie Bissonette at the helm. Both also take pride in their cocktails, and this one from Coppa, named “Hey Neon,” is a personal favorite that I regularly re-create at home for myself.

The Coppa finished drink:

 

HEY NEON, BOTH WAYS
1.5 oz Aalborg aquavit

.75 oz Punt e Mes

.5 oz Cynar

.5 oz green Chartreuse

Finely minced, dehydrated kalamata olives

 

Combine the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Stir briskly and pour (straining the ice) into a rocks glass rimmed with the minced kalamata olives.

 

My version of the cocktail:

 

I tried mincing and dehydrating the kalamata olives, like they do at Coppa. But the oils in the olives kept them from drying out enough–maybe I was just too impatient for a drink! And I couldn’t get the minced olives to stick to the rim of my glass.
My solution was pretty simple: pour the drink into a martini glass and serve with a skewer of kalamatas. Works for me!