Let’s Get Fresh! what to make and drink with all that winter citrus

Winter is officially citrus season, which always seemed so bizarre to me. Why would this bright, summery feeling fruit be a winter crop? Maybe to cheer us all up during those dark winter days? Well, drink (or make!) a few of these citrus concoctions and you’ll be smiling soon.

When you have too many Meyer Lemons:

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Syrup // StirAndStrain.com

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Syrup

Meyer Lemon Bitters

What about Tangellos:

Tangelocello // stirandstrain.com

Tangelocello

Rosemary-Tangelo Shrub

Lots of Mixed Citrus…make some punch:

Smoky Sage Punch

Brûléed Grapefruit and Mixed Citrus Punch with Vanilla and Piloncillo Reduction

Smoked Rosemary Rum Punch

9 Ladies Dancing Scotch Punch

And then there’s always the cocktail option:

Sugar, Spice and Citrus Play Nice Cocktail

Smoky Citrus Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail

Hot Ward 8 Cocktails

Fresh Lime Soda Sweet, Salty and Boozy

Chamomile and Tangerine Sparkling Cocktail for Two

New Year’s Eve Bar Cart Styling

Tiny bubbles…. or big golden bubbles. Whatever your type of bubbles, don’t forget to put some out on your bar cart this weekend. Here’s how we’re styling ours!

Gold? Check. More gold?! CHECK! We’re jazzing up our bar cart for NYE with a couple of glittery touches, plus, bottles and bottles of good champagne. Disco ball stirrers? Yasssss! Let’s put a stake in 2016 cause we are DONE WITH YEAR.

1. Pop Fizz Clink Napkins 2. Disco Ball Drink Stirrers 3. Brass Hand/Gun Corkscrew 4. Metallic Rimmed Champagne Coupes 5. Faceted Cocktail Shaker 6. Gold Wine Glass Numbers 7. Olympus Bar Cart 8. 2009 Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Champagne

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Spiced Pear Fizz Cocktails

This post is brought to you by Everclear. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Are you browsing sites that are still offering to ship presents before Christmas? I am. I could have sworn I was done a week ago but there keeps popping up a missed gift or two. I’ve had to shoot a text to a few family members letting them know that their present might not make it in time (I wasn’t about to call and admit I forgot); an issue when your entire family lives 3,000 miles away and everything has to be handled by the post office or UPS and it’s obvious when you just plumb forgot.

I also found myself a little sad today that the holiday party season is coming to a close. My quota of warm punches and bottled cocktails was definitely not met. BUT! We still have New Years and I’ve been thinking about the perfect cocktail to serve for that, the last of the year’s parties.

I love the juicy, slightly citrus flavor that pears impart to cocktails and love them even more when they cozy up to some strong baking spices. My signature NYE cocktail will have all that with a touch more citrus bite from fresh lemon juice and a hint of smooth, rich maple to round the whole drink out.

The base of the cocktail uses Everclear to start and I infused that with cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom and allspice using my favorite quick infusion method (cream whipper I love you). I keep that separate so that I can tinker with the adjustments to make the final cocktail perfectly spiced; it’s just of the ways I’ve used Everclear this season for cocktails. You can check out the myriad of ways Everclear is transforming craft cocktails as part of their Make It Your Own campaign.

If all these spices seem like a lot to go and buy, remember you can purchase in bulk online for cheap. I like having the option of whole spices at home for using in recipes or infusions, and when I need ground spices, I can make them fresh and keep some small jars on hand. It’s a little extra legwork up front for better tasting infusions and food down the line.

This cocktail also batches up well so, as the spiced Everclear base will make about 8 drinks. Feel free to adjust the recipe below to accommodate the number of guests you’ll be serving. No need to make individual drinks at the party this year; you can plop all this in the pitcher and mingle.

Spiced Pear Fizz Cocktail (~28 proof)

1 ounce spiced Everclear (recipe follows)
1-1/2 ounces pear nectar
1/2 ounce maple syrup
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 -4 ounces soda water, chilled
pear slices for garnish

  • Combine spiced Everclear, pear nectar, maple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake about 20 seconds and strain into a champagne flute. Top with chilled soda water and garnish with pear slices.

For the Quick Infused Spiced Everclear:

8 ounces Everclear
2 cinnamon sticks
4-5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
5 dried allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole black pepper
3-4 whole cloves

  • Into a whipping canister (I use the ISI brand canister), add Everclear and spices. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain Everclear into a clean vessel for storage. Use spiced Everclear immediately or keep sealed in a cool, dark place for up to six months for optimal flavor.

{Now Closed} Giveaway // The Ultimate Stocking Stuffers

Our last giveaway of the year is JAM PACKED with lots of treats to go into your stocking. From mixers to bitters to cool bar tools, we’re including everything you need to up your cocktail game this holiday season. And the best part? A $50 gift card to use on Mouth.com to stock up on, you guessed it, booze. Or you could also buy food to go with your drinks. It’s up to you.

We’ll have gifts from The American Juice Company, American Heirloom cocktail accessories, Cocktail Crate, 18.21 Bitters, Barbarian Bar Tools, Monin Syrups, Owl’s Brew, Taza, and SO MUCH MORE!

We’re only running this giveaway until Friday midnight PST so you just have a few days to enter! Check out the options below to get up to 8 entries for a chance to win this stocking full of cocktail magic and a $50 Mouth.com gift certificate. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Stuff It Real Good (the stocking stuffer gift guide)

You’re going to need a bigger stocking this year.

Remember, bottles of booze fit nicely into stockings. As do magazines (about booze), gummy bears (filled with booze) and cocktail kits (for making booze). Up your cocktail party cachet with some boozy playing cards, and don’t forget the fancy glassware! Pineapples are still a thing, so throw a couple of shot glasses in that stocking. Infused ice cubes fit too! And maybe a key chain that yells I like fancy drinks!

1. Cocktail Hour Playing Cards 2. Fancy Drink Key Chain 3. Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch 4. Pineapple Shot Glasses 5. Imbibe Magazine (click for more details and a super subscription price!) 6. Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks 7. Homemade Gin Kit 8. Baby Champagne Gummy Bears 9. Saturn Rocks Glass 10. Veuve Clicquot Paris Arrow Bottle 11. Vincent Bartender’s Hand Salve 12. Hot Toddy Cocktail Kit 13. Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice Cubes

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Boozy, Edible Christmas Gift Roundup

Go the extra mile this year and make them something delicious for the holidays. Just make sure there’s booze in it.

Eggnog Jello Shots

Fernet Branca Jelly

Angostura and Luxardo Cherry Brownies

Meyer Lemon Bitters

Vanilla Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Mocha Pecan Rum Balls

Kiss of Fire (Aperol and Cayenne Jellies)

 
Holiday Spice Syrups

Holiday Gift Guide: The Naughty List

Whether Santa’s giving you coal in your stocking, or Santa’s coming round the back door, you’re on his naughty list this year.

Are you making yellow snow and beating up on innocent reindeer piñatas (even if they are filled with tiny bottles of booze)? Don’t go crying some Bitter Tears, those are whiskey stones Santa left you, not lumps of coal. Now, on the other hand, if you’re looking for a little danger, and your scotch comes out of a bottle that was possibly forged in hell, then pour yourself some stripper highballs and put on some appropriate holiday music. Santa’s making a special stop at your chimney.

1. Highland Park Scotch Fire Edition 2. Reindeeryata! 3. Rogue Yellow Snow IPA 4. Rudy Ray Moore Christmas Album 5. Strip Tea Glasses 6. The Book of Dangerous Cocktails 7. Whiskey Stones 8. Bitter Tears Lucille Blood Orange Ginger Bitters

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Holiday Gift Guide: Last Minute Boozy Subscriptions & Deliveries

Chances are you going to forget someone on your list. Here’s a helpful guide to making sure you get them something by Christmas day. Better make it boozy!

Vinyl Me, Please
First up, forget about Netflix and chill. Wine and records is where it’s at. Vinyl Me, Please has partnered with Vine Box to create the ultimate bundle: Two Nights of Music and Wine. You get two albums and 6 glasses of wine. You bring the crackling fire. This deal is only around until December 18th so you’ll want to jump on this deal NOW.

SaloonBox
If your relatives can’t be trusted to buy good booze and never have any ingredients to work with, SaloonBox is for them. Everything is included in these kits and delivered to their doorstep. Sign up for a subscription or browse their selection of bar tools, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift.

Shaker & Spoon
If your house is full of good booze, but you get stuck making the same drinks over and over, Shaker & Spoon should be the gift you give yourself. Every month you can get 3 recipes curated by top bartenders with all the ingredients to make up to 12 drinks (minus the booze). That’s a lot of good cocktails!

Flaviar
If you just want booze, or even, rare, hard to find, or smaller unknown brands, Flaviar has introduced an online speakeasy for just this reason. You get personalized recommendations and a FREE tasting box. And again, it’s being shipped to your doorstep, so no need for pants.

Robb Vices
Chances are there is someone on your list with fancy tastes, but who wants to figure out what to get them? Have Robb Vices do that instead. Each month there is a curated box filled with luxury items and usually booze. Maybe one month it’s a scorpion lollipop. Another month it could be specially designed whiskey drinking glasses. Regardless, it will be fancy and cool.

Cocktail Courier
Choose what cocktail you’d like, or pick one from their extensive list of drinks, Cocktail Courier will get that to your doorstep ASAP. If you’re thinking about having a holiday party this year and need help at the bar, they can even deliver a bartender to you. Holiday drinking is so easy this year!

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

{Now Closed} Giveaway // Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers & Cocktail Books!

Giveaway: Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers and Cocktail Books // stirandstrain.comDo you find yourself with not enough time to make your own yummy cocktail mixers because you’ve been inundated with holiday office parties/yule log cutting parties/tree singing soirées/ etc and so on? Me too.

So, I’m stepping in to save you from chugging that bourbon alone for this week’s giveaway. We’ve teamed up with Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers to offer THREE lucky Stir and Strain readers a 3-pack variety of mixers including their Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Blood Orange Muscat, and Hibiscus Grenache. And, because you can’t show up to a holiday party empty handed (and you’re keeping the mixers to yourself), here at Stir and Strain we’re giving away a surprise cocktail book to each winner as well! Take it to the party, leave it at the White Elephant table, gift it to drunk uncle Frank… it’s up to you what you want to do with the books. You could, of course, keep it for yourself as well.

The StirAndStrain.com BookshelfStolen Fruit does not have anything to do with the legality of the product, FYI. The “stolen fruit” refers to the blend of verjus – the fresh pressed juice from green grapes – varietal grape juice, and grape skins that make up the base of the mixers. Then they’ve added in fresh, unique ingredients for a mixer that is great with any kind of booze, or if you’re not into the hard stuff, sparkling water or seltzer. It’s the perfect bottle to keep on hand when the holidays get hectic and you just.need.a.drink. But one that tastes good and you don’t regret.

Giveaway: Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers and Cocktail Books // stirandstrain.comReady to mix it up? Enter below and get up to 12 entries to win. Remember, THREE of you are going to get a 3-pack AND a book (Open to US residents only). Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Tuesday December 13th, 2016. For more information on Stolen Fruit, check out their website at www.stolenfruit.com! Good luck!

AND! Stolen Fruit is offering FREE SHIPPING from now until December 20 with code stir16 (all lowercase). YAY!

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Peppermint Mocha S’Mores Cocktails with brown-butter bourbon and marshmallow creme

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.com

This post is brought to you by Jackson Morgan Southern Cream. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Don’t ever let someone tell you s’mores are only for summer. Can you get your hands on a kitchen blow torch? Yes? Then you’ve got a reason to have s’mores all year round.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comToday though we’re going to be drinking our s’mores! Holiday style!

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comWe’re back at the bar mixing it up with Jackson Morgan and their delicious, and very holiday appropriate, Peppermint Mocha Cream. I always associate peppermint and chocolate with Christmas time. It’s about the only time of year I bake something with that flavor profile because there is always a party I can bring them to. See, you are either a lover or a hater of that flavor combo. I, obviously, am a lover. My husband on the other hand…. Let’s just say if I make some Grasshopper Brownies and don’t have a reason to bring them out of the house, I am probably consuming that whole pan by myself. I’d tell you I would regret it, but I’d be lying.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comThis is also perfect for holiday time because it’s pretty decadent. When are you infusing browned butter into whiskey and topping your cocktails with marshmallow creme? During the holidays, when all bets are off. So let’s talk about what is going into this s’mores cocktail. First, Peppermint Mocha Cream, of course. Next takes a little prepping but it’s worth it for the final result and you also get extra to just chug straight if you choose: brown-butter infused bourbon. This gives the cocktail a subtle nutty, buttery component that you’d get from the graham cracker. And a s’mores cocktail wouldn’t be complete without marshmallows! I’m giving you an easy way and a homemade way to do this in the recipe below. Both will work but honestly, making your own version of marshmallow Fluff is dang easy!

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comYou might think that the consistency would be very thick and rich tasting, but the brown-butter bourbon cuts through the peppermint mocha cream for a nice balance. Served over ice the cocktail goes down very smooth and the peppermint is not quite as strong as it is on its own. Torching the marshmallow creme binds it together a bit so you can pop off pieces from the top while sipping on your drink. It’s like you have your own bar snack you don’t have to share.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comSome notes on the cocktail:

  • I’ve made the recipe for one but this easily doubles and batches well.
  • The brown-butter bourbon yields 16 ounces (2 cups) so there is plenty left over if you are going to batch multiple drinks.
  • The topping is marshmallow creme, not marshmallows. The marshmallow creme has a soft consistency and therefore easily piped.
  • If you are torching the marshmallow creme, use heat proof glassware. Even kitchen torches get quite hot and I don’t want to be held responsible if you explode your favorite vintage glass.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comFor the cocktail:

3 ounces Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Creme
2 ounces brown-butter infused bourbon
marshmallow creme (I made this recipe from The Kitchn, but store bought Fluff will work as well)
graham cracker for garnish

In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, add in the Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Creme and brown-butter infused bourbon. Shake well for 20 seconds and then strain into a heat-proof glass or mug filled with fresh ice. Pipe marshmallow creme on top. Using a kitchen torch,brûlée the marshmallow creme to desired “doneness’ (I like mine lightly toasted but I know some of you probably like your s’more’s marshmallows burnt to a crisp). Garnish with a graham cracker square.

For the brown-butter bourbon:

*Adapted slightly from Gabriella Mlynarczyk for NYT Cooking

16 ounces bourbon
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • Pour bourbon into a wide mouth jar or heat-proof container. Cut butter into cubes and add to a heavy-bottom small saucepan over medium-low heat. You’ll need to watch the pan as the butter will go from being nutty and golden to burnt pretty fast. Watch for the butter to start to foam and stir until you see some brown flecks on the bottom of the pan. At this point you’ll smell a nutty aroma, like hazelnuts. Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool for a minute and then pour into the bourbon. Whisk together until well incorporated and let sit at room temperature for one hour. Then refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • The fat will separate from the bourbon while it cools. Use a butter knife to loosen the edge of the fat and it should pop right out of the container. Then strain bourbon through a coffee filter to remove any additional fat solids and debris from the butter. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.