Yes, I’m aware there’s been quite a number of round ups on the site this summer. But you know what? It’s SUMMER. Give me a break. To continue the trend of taking it easy as we head into Fall, I’m giving you yet another list of cocktails ideas. This time though I’m making sure they’re batched and sitting pretty in your fridge, waiting for you to break out a pitcher or blender to wizz them up at the touch of a button.
Pro tip: get someone else to make the bases for you.
Frozen Negroni Cocktails. In regular flavor and watermelon.
Salted Peanut Old Fashioneds. You should already have these made and in your fridge.
Hibiscus Lime Cooler. Because you should.
Sex on the Beach Sailboat Cocktails. Cocktails you can eat are always a win.
Drunken Apple and Rosé Sangria. I just love an excuse to make Sangria.
See? (Sparkling Grapefruit and Lillet Rosé Sangria)
Lazy Cucumber Punch….
Happy long weekend everyone! Let me know what you’re drinking!
The base of this cocktail is the summer melon pictured above. I actually bought this little guy based solely on a photo I saw online. One great thing about living in a major city like Los Angeles is the sheer number of delivery services available to us. Did you guys see the Booze News where I mentioned you can get booze delivered by underwear models? Yeah, that’s a thing here. But not everything is pointless like that. We have so many farmer’s markets in all corners of the city that one would just assume that on every given day you could drive or bike or walk over to one of them, get your produce for the week and carry on. Somehow that just wasn’t working out for me. Work, unfortunately, was becoming a 7 day a week affair and breaking to get fresh, local produce was suddenly becoming a far away dream.
In the past, we’ve used a few of the CSA delivery services. Which, for the most part are awesome and ensures we get fresh, local produce thrown at us every week. The problem was: it wasn’t always what we wanted to work with, or quantities were just wrong. For example, how the hell does one lemon suffice for a whole week? Answer: it doesn’t.
About a month ago we tried out a new service that combined both CSA boxes, single produce items and dairy and pantry staples. Pretty much like a virtual farmer’s market. With free delivery. That melon sat on the page, looking delicious and so more appealing than a regular cantaloupe (even if it was just, well, a cantaloupe). So I impulse bought it. In fact, I impulsively added a whole bunch of stuff into my cart. And then I saw the price. And then I slowly decided what to put back. I mean, part of being able to pick exactly what you want is also so that you’re not wasting food; I absolutely hate throwing anything uneaten in the trash.
This post is in no way sponsored by this delivery service, which if you’re interested you can check out Good Eggs yourself. They have no idea how much time and effort they are saving me. I’m just admitting to you all how sometimes in life I like to throw money at my problems to try and make them go away. Eating local and seasonal seems like a reasonable cause to throw money at. That cilantro up there also came from them.
OK, so let’s get to the cocktail.
There are a few components to this that are make ahead. You know how I love my projects! It’s probably why I can’t make it out to the farmer’s market. The first is that the melon gets steeped in gin for a few days; it’s so worth it. Next, cilantro gets chopped up and mixed into a simple syrup. Then everything is combined with some Dolin Blanc, lime juice and cayenne pepper. This whole concoction was really based on the fruit cart vendors I see all over Los Angeles. Another food item I used to impulsively buy until I learned just how simple it was to make at home.
For the Melon-Infused Gin:
1 cup London Dry gin, such as Ford’s
1 cup chopped skinned and seeded cantaloupe (about 1/2 melon)
Combine gin and cantaloupe in an airtight container; cantaloupe should be completely covered with gin. Let stand at room temperature for 3 days. Strain into a clean bottle. Refrigerate up to 6 months.
For the Cilantro Simple Syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely minced cilantro leaves and stems
Combine water with sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Add cilantro and let stand for 1 hour. Strain out cilantro. Cool before using. Simple syrup will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
For the Cocktail:
2 ounces Melon-Infused Gin
3/4 ounce Cilantro Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from 1 lime
1/2 ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
Pinch cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish
Melon slice, for garnish
Combine melon-infused gin, cilantro simple syrup, lime, vermouth, and pinch cayenne pepper in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 25 seconds. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with a melon slice sprinkled with additional cayenne and serve immediately.
A strong juniper palate, along with the herbal and citrus hints found in a London Dry gin style work really well to balance the sweetness of a melon like cantaloupe. Adding the element of grassy cilantro into the mix here gives the whole drink a touch more savoriness. A generous squeeze of lime juice and a big pinch of cayenne transforms the base into a juicy, fruity, spicy cocktail.
This recipe came about in my search to find a light, refreshing cocktail that wasn’t weighed down by the usual culprit of coconut cream. However, I still found myself wanting to mimic the cream and I remembered awhile back that Todd over at Honestly Yum, did a pear foam last year that had similar structure for what I was looking for: light as air foam that still had a dense appearance. So here coconut water becomes a coconut foam. Adding the cardamom to the foam also meant getting the lovely aroma in there, but not effecting the taste profile I wanted for the cocktail under the foam. This is one of those times where I was looking to transform the drink from first sniff to last sip.
Again, as for many posts, you will need a piece of special equipment. An ISI whipped cream canister makes this fast and gives you a stable foam. I suppose you could whip this up in a stand mixer and then spoon it on your cocktail, but, well, I like an excuse to bring out the toys. All of this is available online and I’ll provide links below.
There was a possibility that this drink was going to make it on to the supper club menu, but we decided to go another direction. Also, I’d hate to ruin the surprise at the dinner when you get one!
The foam makes enough for quite a number of drinks, so if you’re having some guests by, table side foam art is highly encouraged.
Add all ingredients to a whipped cream canister. Close the canister, shake hard, charge it with a whipped cream charger and refrigerate at least one hour until ready to use. Will keep fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Part 2: Make the Cocktail
2 ounces white rum, such as Selvarey*
2 ounces coconut water
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 ounce passion fruit syrup
cardamom pod for garnish
In a cocktail shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine rum, coconut water, lime juice and passion fruit. Shake to combine about 20 seconds and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Using the whipped cream canister pointed straight down over the drink, add foam in a circular motion until the top of the drink is covered, about a 1/2″. Add a cardamom on top for a garnish.
Strong cardamom aroma with a hint of coconut. The cocktail itself is very light and dry. Coconut flavor sits in the back while more of the fruit notes move forward from the passionfruit and this particular rum’s flavor profile. Quite delightful.
This tincture is pretty easy to assemble, it just takes a few days to brew.
1/2 cup grain alcohol
1/3 cup green cardamom pods, slightly cracked
In an airtight container (mason jars with lids work great) combine alcohol and cardamom pods. Swirl to combine and leave in a cool, dark place for 6 days. After 6 days, strain out solids using a fine strainer and cheesecloth. Store in a airtight jar. Flavor will last up to a year.
The aroma the tincture imparts is an intense cardamom smell that has sweet, floral notes. Looking for a recipe to go along with this? Stay tuned! One coming up this week.
Bottling cocktails to have on hand at home (or to bring to a party, or give out as baby shower gifts, whatever) is really very easy. Yes, like any project, you need to invest in some basic equipment. The internet is a great source for that (I’ll post some sources below), but if you’re in a town that has a beer supply shop you could also hop on down to one and very likely find these items. Let’s assume you have the booze on hand for a cocktail you’d like to bottle, then all you need are bottles, caps and a capper. And 2 out of the 3 items can be used over and over again.
Now what to bottle?
Last week Serious Eats published a recipe of mine that was a jumping off point to start bottling cocktails at home. I love single serving bottles that can be handed off to guests when they show up late to your house and demand that you make them a fancy cocktail. I’m not a night person, so my brain after 9pm is staticky at best (no one ever shows up for cocktails at 10am). However, if I have a small supply of varying fanciness in the fridge ready to go at a moments notice, then I look cool. And no one can tell I’d rather be in bed then entertaining (until I fall asleep mid-sentence on the couch).
Cocktails that work well in a bottled cocktail form have the standard rules of NO dairy and NO fresh juice due to stability issues (although I’m testing one of those out next week so check back in here!!). Instead of bottling the household standards of a Manhattan or a Negroni, likely choices since they’re all booze, I decided to riff on an Old Fashioned. It being summertime, I wanted a recipe that worked well both in terms of summer flavor and also would work in a bottle. Thus, the Salted Peanut Old Fashioned was born. Using peanuts in an Old Fashioned I’ve seen before, but I see it a lot on the sweet side. For this drink I wanted to cut back on the sugar, and create a more savory profile. The whole idea made me reminisce about late summer baseball games and eating peanuts and you can read all that in the original post. The summer 6-pack of beer was being replaced by a 6-pack of cocktails!
Couple facts to point out before we begin:
Water. Water is added to the base since we will NOT be stirring the cocktails. These are stand alone and can be poured right into your mouth and enjoyed from that bottle they’re living in. Or, if you want to get sophisticated, they can be poured into a chilled cocktail glass too. Also, the amount of dilution can be based on YOUR desire as well. Want it to be a tad stronger? Decrease the amount of water, but don’t forgo it altogether unless you want to stir these with ice when you crack them open.
Yes, there is an infusion in the recipe, but nut infusions tend to move rather quickly. 24 hours isn’t that long if you’re already dedicated to the project.
The amount of salt added is to MY taste, not your taste. So if you like things less salty, add less. More salty, add more. You should actually want to drink this.
Ready to start bottling? Let’s go!
Peanut Infused Rye
Note: the peanuts will soak up a few ounces of liquor, so you’ll start with more base rye than you think you’ll need.
16 ounces rye whiskey, such as Rittenhouse 100
1 cup (about 5-6 ounces) raw peanuts
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread raw peanuts on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Let cool. Combine rye and roasted peanuts in an airtight container for 24 hours. Strain peanuts through cheesecloth over a fine strainer, and then strain liquid once more through a new cheesecloth. (If you feel like you’re not getting all the oils/fats/solids out, freeze the mixture for a few hours and scrape off any fats that rise to the top. Thaw, and then use below)
In a large measuring cup, combine all ingredients. Using a small funnel, pour 4 ounces of the mixture into each bottle. Using a capper, cap each bottle. Refrigerate if you’re using soon or you can store in a cool, dark place for several months.
The aroma is sweet and nutty while the cocktail has a rich, savory flavor that is complimented by the addition of salt. Bottling this will not change the flavors too dramatically (yes, they will meld a bit together) as we are not barrel-aging, we’re stopping the flavors in time. Summertime.
All of the materials to bottle cocktails can be found online and probably at your home brewer store. Want some guidance? Here’s where I got mine:Caps / Bottles / Capper
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!