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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
Now, please stay with me on this. First, shake off your assumptions that suddenly the lofty Negroni has gone the way of the 7/11 slurpee machine: believe me, this is nothing like that. Gone are the teeth-tinglingly sweet frozen drinks you’re used to downing in the summer. The wasted calories of footlong, electric blue “adult” slushies that have about a thimble of alcohol in them and more corn syrup than anything else. These frozen versions of the Negroni take the actual, delicious drink, and whiz it up with ice for all of the bittersweet flavor, only now you sip it through a straw.
Oh, and when I say versions, I mean you get TWO variations for this frozen cocktail: classic and a fruit-forward twist on a white negroni: watermelon. The watermelon version is inspired by a drink I just had at a friend’s wedding which was, essentially, a White Negroni whose vermouth had been infused with watermelon. The idea was playful and it was delicious and I knew I needed to make something like that for the site. Lately, I’ve been enjoying a bit more whimsy in my cocktails, I still enjoy the classics, but when you’re recipe developing all the time, your brain wants to go in warped places. At least mine does.
Anyways, the idea was great, but I wanted some flexibility with the recipe. And since I wanted something a bit more versatile that I could use in multiple drinks, I infused the gin instead. It’s a short infusion, just two days, and you could always start tasting after day 1 if you don’t want a super-watermelon-y flavor and strain when you think it’s ready. Hint: if you want something over ice, instead of something made of ice, try the watermelon gin with some tonic; the sweet and bitter work well together.
OK! So let’s stop taking ourselves SO seriously, at least for today, and enjoy some frozen cocktails.
4-1/2 ounces gin, such as G’Vine or Fords
2-1/2 ounces Campari
2-1/2 ounces Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
3 cups ice (for a thicker drink, add an additional 1/2 cup ice to each batch)
Orange slices, for garnish
Combine gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth in an airtight container. Place in freezer and freeze for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, add chilled alcohol and ice to blender. Blend on high speed until uniform and smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour into rocks glasses or small wine glass. Garnish with an orange slice and serve immediately.
Frozen Watermelon White Negroni
1/2 cup cubed watermelon
1-1/2 cups gin, such as Broker’s or St. George Botanivore
4-1/2 ounces watermelon gin (see recipe below, line 1)
2-1/2 ounces Cocchi Americano
2-1/4 ounces Dolin Dry Vermouth
3 cups ice (for a thicker drink, add an additional 1/2 cup ice to each batch)
Watermelon and orange slices, for garnish
For the watermelon gin: In an airtight container, combine gin and watermelon. Keep in a cool, dark place for 48 hours. Strain into a clean, airtight container until ready to use. Will keep up to one year.
For the Watermelon White Negroni Slushie: Combine watermelon gin, Cocchi Americano, and vermouth in an airtight container and freeze for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.
When ready to serve, add frozen alcohol to a blender with ice. Blend on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds. Split between rocks glasses or small wine glasses. Garnish each glass with a watermelon.
First, drink these with an ounce of caution; they kinda go straight to your head if you sip them up quickly. Second, the chilling overnight is so your mixture does not dilute the ice too quickly while you blend (this step is optional). The classic Negroni tastes pretty much like what you’d get in its natural state. Even though the bitterness is still very present, with this icy state it’s lovely and the citrus notes are quite present. And not watered down tasting! The watermelon on the other hand is delicate with only a hint at the bitterness from the Cocchi Americano. While the fruity watermelon is present, it doesn’t overpower the drink as a whole – it’s a nice accent.
So choose one, or both, to make this weekend. I choose both.
There were a couple methods out there for making the gomme, but for sake of time, I chose the most rapid method via A Mountain of Crushed Ice.
4 tablespoons gum arabica powder (or acacia powder)
2 ounces hot water
Heat water to just about boiling (I used an electric water kettle) and slowly mix into the powder in a heat-proof bowl. Then stir to combine, pushing clumps of powder into the side of the bowl to break it up. Let the mixture absorb for 20 minutes and then briskly stir again. Repeat process until all the powder is dissolved (this took about an hour for me).
Next, make a pineapple syrup. Unlike my other syrups, this will be a 2:1 ratio, or a rich syrup.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup pineapple chunks, plus 2 tablespoons juice
In a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Stir until dissolved and add pineapple chunks and juice. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let sit two hours (if you desire a stronger pineapple flavor, let it sit up to 4). Strain pineapple chunks (use them for garnishes or to top some pancakes). Add gomme and stir to combine. Bottle in an airtight container. Total mixture yields about 2-1/2 cups.
Now at this point you can pat yourself on the back and stare at your freshly made bottle of pineapple gomme syrup and then exclaim, NOW WHAT? Put it in a cocktail!
Pineapple gomme syrup seems to be most commonly used in the Pisco Punch. So start there if this is all new to you. If you’ve covered this base already, please feel free to share what you use it in.
2 ounces pisco, Campo de Encanto used here
1/2 ounce pineapple gomme syrup (recipe above)
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
pineapple chunk and sprig of mint for garnish
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add all ingredients and shake well about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a pineapple chunk (those sugared leftovers are perfect here) and a sprig of mint.
Since we’re using a rich syrup here, I cut the amount back from the original recipe by a 1/4 ounce. I found the drink a touch too sweet on the first try. By doing this, the fruitiness of the pisco comes through a bit more with hints of peach and citrus. The lemon juice gives a pleasant bite that contrasts nicely with the sweetness. Overall, super smooth (thanks gomme!) and an easy sipper.
Thanks again to Thiago for hosting this month and Fred for keeping Mixology Monday alive.
Since I tinkered awhile with this technique, here are some tips to consider:
A smoker makes this easy. Whether it’s a stovetop smoker, or an electric smoker (which is what we have already), it means just dumping wood in and starting a fire. Easy.
The type of wood you use is important! Apple wood is very mild. Mesquite is quite strong. It really just depends on your tastes, but I would consider playing with a few if you’re already gone this far considering it.
The size of your ice matters! Do you want your drink to quickly taste of smoke? Use small ice that melt fast. Want your cocktail to take its time changing flavors? Use big ice.
And speaking of ice, yes, it totally makes sense scientifically that starting with ice cubes, letting them melt, and then refreezing them will give you smokier ice cubes per the principle of thermophoresis.
Lastly, consider your cocktail. If you have doubts that smoke will improve, or at least make interesting, your drink, then perhaps you should pick another to work with.
Ok, so let’s start with that ice!
1 tray ice cubes
Wood chips for smoking
stovetop or electric smoker
Place ice cubes in baking dish or pie plate. Following instructions of your smoker, heat wood chips until smoking. Set dish of ice in smoker, cover, and smoke until ice has melted, 10 to 20 minutes. Alternatively, line bottom of roasting pan with aluminum foil and arrange 1/2 cup wood chips on one side of pan. Using a butane torch or long-reach lighter, carefully burn wood chips until smoking but not in flames. Carefully set rack in roasting pan, set dish of ice on rack opposite the wood chips, cover, and smoke until ice has melted, 10 to 20 minutes.
Pour smoked water into ice-cube tray and freeze.
For the cocktail, I wanted something a bit surprising that would really showcase how the smoked ice slowly changed the flavors of the drink. I’ve created this recipe specifically to highlight that transformation; you can, however, think of it as a suggestion or a first-timer’s guide… and then feel free to try the same technique on another drink. This cocktail, the Hazy Sunset, is at first sip a tropical, Tiki-inspired pineapple-rum drink. However, as the ice cubes melt, it starts to add just a subtle hint of smoke until the entire drink is transformed into a rich, almost savory sipper. A long way from its beginnings.
Ready to try those smoked ice cubes in a drink now?
1-1/2 ounces light rum, such as 10 Cane
1/2 ounce overproof rum, such as Lemon Hart Demerara
2 ounces pineapple juice
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime
1/4 ounce simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
non-smoked ice cubes for mixing
Smoked ice cubes
Fresh cherry, pineapple chunk, and mint sprig, for garnish
Add both rums, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters to a cocktail shaker and fill 2/3 full with non-smoked ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Add smoked ice cubes to a double rocks glass, and strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with a cherry, pineapple chunk, and mint sprig. Serve immediately.
If you try this experiment out, I’d love to hear what you’re using them in!
So I decided to use one of these unique spices to come up with a drink for the Serious Eats team: sumac. Sumac is awesome by the way. It has so much going on that it’s a pretty versatile spice to have on hand. Both sweet and savory, a little bitter, a bit more sour… it really can be used in place of lemon in a lot of dishes. But, since we’re talking cocktails here, I decided that those sweet summer cherries could use a little sourness to them. That and tons of ice.
Swizzles are serious drinks with a not so serious name. They can pack a punch on the booze side, and should be treated as a sipper, not a big gulp. Also, they require special tools. To make a proper swizzle one must use a swizzle stick that comes from the swizzlestick tree. Seriously, that’s its name. You can get by with a bar spoon too, so don’t feel like you need to go buy any special equipment. Although, if you’re already planning on doing that, I’ve picked out a couple things at the end of this post.
Now, some of you are probably properly trained in the ingredients of a swizzle, so allow me some liberties here as I tell you I left out the traditional lime juice so that the tartness from the sumac shines through. There’s some falernum added to justify that though too.
For the cherry-sumac syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and quartered
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sumac
For the cocktail:
2 ounces demerara rum (such as El Dorado 15 year)
1 1/4 ounces cherry-sumac syrup
1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum
Dried sumac, for garnish
For the syrup: Combine sugar, water, cherries, and sumac in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 2 hours. Strain into an airtight container, reserving cherries for garnish. The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
For the cocktail: In the bottom of a highball or pilsner glass, add rum, cherry-sumac syrup, and falernum, and fill glass with crushed ice. Throw in a couple of those reserved cherries left over from the syrup too. Using a swizzle stick or bar spoon, rapidly spin back and forth between your hands while also moving it up and down. Add more ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of sumac and several of the reserved cherry quarters from the syrup.
First, this is a pretty satisfying drink. The tangy sumac and cherry syrup balances the heady vanilla and spice flavors of the rum and falernum. Second, it’s not super boozy, but the rum is very much present.
Will you be seeing more crushed ice recipes on here in the coming months? Yeah, probably, so be prepared to whack that hammer.
On twitter, there are a hefty amount of bakers, food bloggers, etc. that I follow. And why not? I like food. At some point this week I picked up on the hashtag #doughnutweek and realized that it culminated with this Friday being national doughnut day. Now, lately I will look for any excuse to make doughnuts. And before you go thinking I’ve got a fryolator out on my back porch, I mean baked doughnuts. The easiest, fastest, marginally-better-for-you-version of the regular doughnut. So I decided I’d add one more recipe to this pile; except my recipe would have rum in it. Naturally.
I’m not even sure why I thought a Piña Colada doughnut would have to be it. Maybe it was that dang song I had stuck in my head. But that was pretty much my first thought about what doughnut to would make an appearance on the site. So here you go folks, let’s bake.
Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction yields 6-8 doughnuts
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
scant 1/3 cup (59g) granulated sugar (I used Zulka Pune Cane Sugar here*)
1/4 cup (60ml) Coco Lopez Coconut Cream (or sub full fat coconut milk)
1/4 cup (60g) Greek yogurt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon amber rum
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon amber rum
2-1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tablespoons pineapple pieces
For the toppings: Heat oven to 250°F.In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add shredded coconut. When it starts to brown, start stirring so nothing burns and all the coconut gets browned evenly. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Place pineapple pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or a silpat, spread so none are touching. Bake to dehydrate for 3 hours, turning with a spatula every hour. Turn off heat and let rest for an additional hour. Remove from oven and cool in an airtight container.
For the doughnuts: Heat oven to 350°F. Spray doughnut pan with nonstick spray, or, if your pan is nonstick, this is optional (I never need to add anything to my pan).
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and granulated sugar together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Whisk the Coco Lopez, yogurt, and egg together until smooth. Add the melted butter and rum, whisking until fully combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. The batter will be very thick.
Spoon the batter into the donut cups. (I also used the trick mentioned in the original recipe where the batter is spooned into a ziplock, one end of the bag snipped off, and the batter piped into the doughnut pan. This is a pretty good trick)
Bake for 9–10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Allow the donuts to slightly cool before glazing.
For the glaze: Combine sugar, rum and pineapple juice in a small bowl. Using a small whisk or form, stir until all sugar has been dissolved. Add dehydrated pineapple to the glaze.
Assembly: When doughnuts have cooled slightly, dip into glaze and then dip into toasted coconut shreds.
These doughnuts are SO moist. Not too sweet and super coconut-y. If you’d like to make these kid friendly, just take the rum out. It’s not like they’re going to miss it (or at least I hope not). The pineapple pieces stay in place if you stick them in the glaze first and then dip the doughnuts in. Also, dehydrating the pineapple is totally optional. They taste great fresh too. And if you want to completely skip the toppings and just eat them straight out of your pan, you can do that too. It’s doughnut week after all.
*Zulka Pure Cane sugar is an all natural, vegan, non-gmo and minimally processed sugar. 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.
This time it was for the folks over at Serious Eats; they enjoy a good grilled fruit drink every once in awhile. One life altering aspect of this drink, besides telling people you own and have used a bottle of cachaça, is that you get to grill cherries. I’m sure you’re reading that sentence and going… and? No, but really, have you done this before? Have you experienced these awesome morsels that have somehow gotten transformed on the grill from just yum into the intoxicatingly rich, smoky, sweet bites? Do yourself a favor and grill a bunch of these, not just for the drink, and then while you’re sipping your cocktail, pop these in your mouth. By the handful. Also, I’m grilling lime wheels, which is sorta covering up the fact that I’m still finding sad, sad limes at the store.
Oh! So let’s talk about the cachaça for a second. Cachaça is the national spirit of Brazil and is a very close cousin of rum. In fact, we could just call them siblings. The only major difference, if we’re generalizing here, is that cachaça does not have to be aged, unlike rum which needs to be aged to some degree. It’s distilled from fresh sugarcane, like rhum agricole and has that funky aspect in the flavor profile. For this recipe we’re actually using aged cachaça, so if you just can’t get your hands on that, substitute a golden rum like Flor de Caña 12 Year (I tried both versions and quite frankly, am a fan of both for this drink).
So have I piqued your interests in grilling up some fruit? Let’s have at it…
Makes two drinks!
1 nectarine, halved
1 lime, cut into 4 wheels
1/2 ounce simple syrup
4 springs lemon thyme (or regular thyme with a pinch of fresh lemon zest)
2 cups crushed ice
3 ounces aged cachaça, such as Novo Fogo Barrel-Aged
Skewer halved nectarines, lime wheels, and cherries on three skewers (with one variety of fruit per skewer) and place on a hot, oiled grill. Cook until fruit begins to bubble and char lines are visible on all sides, rotating as necessary, about 4 minutes for cherries and 8 to 10 minutes total for nectarines and limes. Remove from grill and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut nectarines into quarters.
For each drink, muddle 2 cherries, 2 lime wheels, 2 nectarine quarters, one sprig thyme, and 1/4 ounce simple syrup in the bottom of a rocks glass until nectarine is broken up. Remove lime wheels from glass. Pack 1/2 cup crushed ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces cachaça and stir gently. Pack 1/2 cup more crushed ice into glass and garnish with second thyme sprig. Repeat for second drink. Serve immediately.
The nectarine flavor really sings in this drink, and the cherries add wonderful richness. One might think these fruits would be heading you toward the overly-sweet side. But the lime, once grilled, actually takes on a slightly savory essence that only gets more earthy with the addition of lemon thyme.
So, it’s Sunday, and as much as I’d like to go sit outside and continue to enjoy the weekend, I wanted to get this drink post out to you all since it’s both seasonally, and Sunday, appropriate. I originally wrote this recipe for the Serious Eats site a few weeks ago when they were looking for some more patio drinks to feature (and I love a reason to sit outside with a cold pitcher of something good to drink). This time around, instead of wine in a Sangria, I decided on featuring Lillet, and in particular, Lillet Rosé.
We’re still getting grapefruits here, although not the best since the season is ending, however their delicious flavor can still go a long way in a Sangria. Since I was set on using them up, I chose Lillet Rosé as a base since it’s very grapefruit forward and would only enhance that flavor. I followed that up with grapefruit’s best friend mint, and topped it off with Cava. Pretty simple, but super tasty. Now, as far as simple syrup is concerned, you’ll need to taste your grapefruit and see just how sweet it is, or if you just like your Sunday Sippers a tad on the sweet side, use the full amount suggested in the recipe. It’s up to you!
15 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 cup fresh grapefruit juice, from about 2 Ruby Red grapefruits, plus 1/2 of one grapefruit, peel intact, cut into rough chunks
1 cup Lillet Rosé
1 bottle Cava, chilled
In the bottom of a pitcher, gently muddle together the mint leaves and simple syrup. Add grapefruit chunks, grapefruit juice, and Lillet Rosé. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, add Cava to the pitcher and stir gently. Serve over ice.
Grapefruit has a bitter, floral flavor that works really well with the sweet, cooling mint. Ruby Red is what is available right now, and these actually veer more towards tart than sweet (if you substitute white flesh grapefruits like an Oro Blanco you’ll need less sugar). The Lillet Rosé makes this a super grapefruit treat that is just a touch sweet and with the bubbly cava, totally summer in your glass.
Now if you all would excuse me, I’m going to go pour myself another glass of this and enjoy the rest of my Sunday, as should you.