MxMo: Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash

Mixology Monday: Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com
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For this month’s Mixology Monday, hosted by the Stacy Markow blog, we get to play with the theme “Smashes” (read the whole post here).

You guys might have noticed I’ve had a couple Smashes on here lately, reason being that summer is one of the best times for making these drinks because they highlight so many of the awesome seasonal ingredients that are around. I always love berries in these, but for this month’s challenge, I wanted to mix it up a bit. And right now sweet corn is in season.Mixology Monday: Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Oh yeah, corn. In a cocktail. I only just heard of a few cocktails that use corn as an ingredient, but after poking around the internet for a little bit, I noticed that using corn isn’t SO new, it’s just not done that much. Here’s the trick though for getting this to work: please buy your corn from the farmers market where it’s in season and is super flavorful. Otherwise, it’s not going to pop in flavor and will just be a waste of time. You’ve been warned.

Strawberries are also in season and I just can’t help myself. So I’ve mixed them in this cocktail with the corn for a little sweet-tart flavor. Hey, it works in the salads I make, and it works here too.Mixology Monday: Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

So let’s embrace summer produce before it all goes away and we’re cursing the early setting sun and I try to tell you how awesome winter squash cocktails are. Get shuckin’!

2 ounces white rum, Caña Brava used here
1/2 cup fresh sweet corn kernels
1 small strawberry, sliced
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2-3 drops Bitter Tears “Scarlet” strawberry chili bitters*
1 whole strawberry for garnish

In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle together strawberry slices, lime juice and simple syrup. Add corn kernels and muddle until broken up (some kernels will remain whole). Add rum and bitters. Fill glass with ice and shake hard for about 30 seconds. Double strain into a rocks glass, fill glass with crushed ice, and add strawberry garnish.

The corn is sweet and subtle and pairs exceptionally well with the strawberry. Be careful not to use too large a strawberry so that there’s a balance of flavor. The strawberry can be overpowering if you use too much. Overall a light, refreshing cocktail that can be savored without feeling too watered down with all that ice. The bitters add some extra juicy strawberry sweetness with a kick of heat from the chili.

Thanks to Stacy for hosting this month and Fred for keeping this cocktail party going. Can’t wait to see what everyone came up with this month!

 

*Items generously given gratis and appear here because I like them. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

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Zucca Sprezzatura

Zucca Sprezzatura #Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIt might seem a little quiet around here. I’m always making apologies when the posts start to appear less frequently; it’s all that stored up Catholic guilt from my youth. But mainly 1. I’m recovering from our first real stint doing The Coconut Club and 2. it’s hot and I can barely muster the strength to stir a cocktail. So that’s why I’m all about building drinks in the glass right now. Less equipment means less time standing around washing stuff later.Zucca Sprezzatura #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

In addition to me just generally being lazy, my family is coming to visit this week and already I’ve been hearing over the phone how they can’t wait to try my “fancy drinks”. Now, I now my mom’s inability to metabolize alcohol: one drink and she’s asleep. If I made her one of my regular “fancy drinks”, she might just sleep for a day. Which… well, as tempting as that sounds, she did fly across the country to see us, not sleep the day away. So that’s where some more low alcohol drinks come in. One whole highball and only a 1/2 ounce of liquor over 40 proof. Instead of making scotch here the star, I’ve turned to Zucca, an Italian amaro that only clocks in at around 16%.Zucca Sprezzatura #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Zucca leans more towards the sweeter end of the bitter amaro spectrum, without quite evoking the flavor of its namesake rhubarb (although I’ve been schooled on the fact that it’s Chinese rhubarb used in the making of this, which gives the amaro a bitter flavor). What makes this amaro particularly special is the slightly smoky flavor profile that complements its syrupy bittersweetness. For me, it’s a perfect companion to scotch, so I’ve put them together in this cocktail*.

With these two great ingredients, I’m still considering this fancy. Looking for something a little lighter for the summer? Try this!

1 ounce Zucca
3/4 ounce Scotch, such as Great King St. Artist’s Blend
3 ounces Bitter Lemon soda, I prefer Fever-tree’s
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
lemon peel garnish

In a highball glass filled with ice, add Zucca, scotch and grapefruit bitters. Top with soda and garnish with lemon peel.

Slightly sweet, with a lingering bitterness on the tongue. The bitter lemon soda lightens everything up while adding a different layer of bitterness. The bitters add a floral note both on the nose and the palate. The cocktail is seriously refreshing and an easy to drink summer libation.

 

*I originally posted this recipe on Serious Eats!

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Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: The Boca Shake

Boca Shake Cocktail - Low Rent Cocktail of the Month // stirandstrain.comFlorida always seemed to be the place where grandparents retired to on sitcoms when I was growing up. Isn’t that where Jerry Seinfeld’s parents retired? My family, living in New England, thought moving to another humid climate was stupid and find their retirement homes out in the deserts of the Southwest. But I digress. Florida still is associated in my mind with two things: Disney and old folks. (I try not to think about their politics.)

Sometime over the past year or so I picked up a bottle of Licor 43 and was completely baffled by what the owner told me when I was thinking of things to do with it. Without a hint of a smile, he told me the geriatric crowd mixes Licor 43 and milk together. Like a shake or Orange Julius. It has an ABV of 31% so it’s not like it won’t give your grandma a pick me up, but the thought of trying this just always seemed so weird to me. So, in stepped the Low Rent Cocktail.Boca Shake Cocktail - Low Rent Cocktail of the Month // stirandstrain.com

My grandparents used to have cocktail parties when they were Mad Men-ing their lives back in the early 60′s, but now when I come to visit they mainly just have a hefty jug of red wine that gets brought out when we sit down to play dominoes. It’s my belief they ply me with jug wine so that I don’t have a chance of beating them. I can totally see them sipping a few of these, only, I think they’d make it with Lactaid.Boca Shake Cocktail - Low Rent Cocktail of the Month // stirandstrain.com

Low Rent Cocktails do not always have to be the crappiest of what you have in your liquor cabinet; they can also be what you make do with. I guess for the Florida crowd, making do with with Licor 43 and cream is just something they’re Ok with. For this LRC I decided to inject some pep into it with Orange Crush because…well, it’s Orange Crush! Why the hell not?

Truth be told, it’s pretty Ok. Think about the last time you had an Orange Julius at the mall. Well, try and think that far back I guess. It’s a lot like that. But with booze. Not only does this seem a fitting drink for the Boca Raton crowd, but it’s a fitting drink for all you legal age kids trying to figure out how to make a creamsicle get you loaded.Boca Shake Cocktail - Low Rent Cocktail of the Month // stirandstrain.com

So let’s make one!

1 ounce Licor 43
4-6 ounces Orange Crush soda pop
1 ounce heavy cream

In a highball glass filled with ice. Build the drink by pouring in the Licor 43. Add soda and cream. Stir to combine. Sit back and fan away the mosquitos and try not to think about alligators in your toilet.

Check back in next month for another late summer concoction, or check back through the archives for some more Low Rent Cocktails.

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Raspberry Amaro Spritz

Raspberry Amaro Spritz Cocktail // stirandstrain.comEarly Sunday evening is a great time to squeeze in one last cocktail for the weekend. For me, I never like to start my Mondays off in a foul, hungover mood, mainly because I’m already grumpy about it being Monday again. So Sundays I either cut myself off early, or I stick to lower alcohol cocktails, like this one.Raspberry Amaro Spritz Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Amari are a great sub in for cocktails of the lighter ABV style (as you’ve seen in this first round here) although as I’ve mentioned before, not all are going to clock in under 40% so read your labels. This drink, written earlier this week for Serious Eats, is all about my love/hate relationship with berry season. Mainly, I can’t stand the damn seeds in berries. They pretty much ruin my enjoyment of one of my favorite types of fruit. However, being the crafty person that I am, getting around the issue of the seeds in cocktails was solved with a pretty simple berry syrup. All the flavor with none of the seeds. Smart.

Combined with Cocchi Americano, this syrup gives just enough sweetness so that it’s refreshing to drink while not being too overpowering in the fruit department. Mainly, it’s balanced quite nicely. Raspberry Amaro Spritz Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

So please enjoy this late Sunday sipper while we still have long, bright evenings here in the Northern Hemisphere (sorry Australia, you get yours in December). And learn to be OK with drinking cocktails that end in -spritz and are pink.

For the Raspberry-Mint Syrup:
1 cup raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
10 mint leaves

In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, and water over medium-high heat. Mash raspberries with a wooden spoon to break up. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat. Add mint leaves and stir to combine. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain into an airtight container. Syrup keeps up to 1 month in the refrigerator.

For the cocktail:
3 ounces dry sparkling wine
1 ounce club soda
2 ounces Cocchi Americano
3/4 ounce Raspberry-Mint Syrup
Raspberries and mint, for garnish

Fill a rocks glass or goblet with ice. Add sparkling wine, club soda, Cocchi Americano, and Raspberry-Mint Syrup. Gently stir to combine. Garnish with raspberries and a sprig of mint.

I’ve got some more of these low alcohol summer cocktails coming at you over the next few weeks so I really hope you enjoy them! As always, let me know if you’re enjoying one through the internet! It’s online all the time!

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Nut Syrup. Coming soon.

{now closed} Cucumber Basil Caesar and a Caesars Cocktail Book Giveaway!

Cucumber Basil Caesar Cocktail and a Giveaway! // stirandstrain.comHappy Canada Day to all my Canadian readers out there! I know you exist (my stats tell me so). Today I honor all of you with your national drink, the Caesar.

However, I’m not excluding all of the rest of the world with this post, because I’m also opening up a contest for all my Canadian and US readers with a cocktail book giveaway on this very drink. For the next week, enter win your own copy of Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite Cocktail by Clint Pattemore.Cucumber Basil Caesar Cocktail and a Giveaway! // stirandstrain.com

And for everyone across the globe, I’m also giving you a cocktail to try out. Because you’ve read this far.

I have to admit it, I didn’t realize that a Caesar was specifically a Canadian invention. Like many drinks with a history, I had a vague idea of its origins. Wasn’t it a cousin to the Bloody Mary, just with clam juice? Well, I consider myself schooled now. The Caesar I still work into the realm of day drinks, or even Sunday morning drinks (or Monday morning if Sunday was rough). And today I’m gussying up the classic with some fresh Persian cucumbers and basil from my garden. It’s seasonal and refreshing and only has a touch of savory flavor to contrast against the bright vegetable flavor.Cucumber Basil Caesar Cocktail and a Giveaway! // stirandstrain.com

Try this, or one of the many (like, over 50) ways to create a Caesar from your own copy of the book. But! You have to enter to win a copy first!

Actually, let’s make a drink first…

Slightly Adapted from the Caesars cocktail book
4 cucumber slices (preferably Persian cucumbers that you don’t have to peel)
4-6 basil leaves
3 dashes hot sauce (I use Tapatio)
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
1-1/2 ounces gin
4 ounces Clamato

1 tbsp smoked salt, 1 tsp pepper, cucumber spears for garnish

Garnish your highball glass (or small goblet) first by rimming the outside of the glass with a cucumber slice then dip in salt and pepper mixture poured into a small bowl. In a mixing glass, muddle together cucumber slices, basil, hot sauce and pepper. Add gin and Clamato. Stir and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Finish garnishing with a cucumber spear. Straws are always optional!

Enter below for your chance to win a copy of Caesars: The Essential Guide to Your Favourite Cocktail! You can get up to NINE entries to win. Contest runs until midnight PST Wednesday, July 9th, 2014. Please see terms and conditions below.

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