The Purple Halo tequila - lime - agave - basil - sparkling blackberry pomegranate - butterfly pea flower

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comCocktails that stick with me tend to fall into two categories: those that tasted amazing and those that appealed to me visually. For example, I can tell you the first time I tasted bell pepper in a cocktail and fell in love with a whole new world of savory cocktails (Las Perlas in downtown L.A.). I can’t recall what it looked like, but I can remember how it tasted. I’ve gone to that flavor combination many times (and a few cocktail riffs have shown up on this website too).

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comAnd then there are those cocktails that, visually, wowed the pants off me. When I was in Chicago years ago for a trip I decided to pop over to The Aviary because a friend had recommended it. We went at opening and did not get a reservation as advised (Which seemed like such a crazy idea at the time. Oh how times have changed!) but lucked out and got a table with little wait. I can see the plastic bag filled with smoke, a cocktail glass hidden away within. I remember the small crack of opening the ice sphere that housed a cocktail. The feel of the paper bag wrapped glass bottle. But–– I could not tell you what any of these tasted like. I sat here and tried but it’s the memory of how they looked, more than taste, that has stuck with me.

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comToday I’m hoping to bridge that gap for you all with this newest cocktail. With flavors both familiar and a little outside the box, and a touch of theatrics in the garnish, this cocktail, which I’m calling The Purple Halo (that will make more sense later) is both tasty and a stunner to look at.

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comI’ve partnered again this week with Exotico Tequila, and long time favorite Mountain Valley Spring Water to make a cocktail you can impress your guests with all summer long. The base of the cocktail is Exotico Tequila Blanco, made from 100% blue agave and has a slightly spicy flavor profile that mixes really well here. I paired it with agave, lime, and fresh basil to play off its herbal notes. The cocktail then gets a good splash of Mountain Valley’s Sparkling Essence Blackberry Pomegranate Water. Mountain Valley has smaller bubbles, so it adds just a touch of effervescence to the drink without overpowering it. The all natural flavors also add subtle hints of flavor and don’t hijack your drink (or make it taste artificial) resulting in a nicely balanced cocktail.

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comWhile delicious on its own, I wanted you to also remember this visually, and that’s where butterfly pea flower tea comes in. If you’ve come across those color changing cocktails on Instagram, this is where they are getting their magic from. You don’t need to be a cocktail wizard to pull this trick off; you just need to be able to order online and make a cup of tea. I was introduced to this tea a few years back when I was still making cocktails with the local Los Angeles pop up The Coconut Club. We made a welcome Ti’ Punch that changed color before the guests’ eyes. They got a kick out of it; we got written up in the local paper. And now your guests will remember your drinks and talk about it for years to come (I cannot guarantee this). The tea changes color, from a dark cobalt to purple or pink, depending on the pH of the liquid you add to it. In this cocktail, the lime juice will start that color change as the ice cube of tea melts into the drink, creating rings of color in the glass.

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comThe butterfly pea flower tea is very, very mild and with the slow dilution does not contribute significantly to the overall flavor of the drink… but it does look cool! So, if you don’t want another box of tea bags taking up real estate in your pantry, you can leave this out and enjoy the cocktail as is.

Ok, so let’s make something cool now!

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.comThe Purple Halo

1-1/2 cups Mountain Valley Spring Water
2 tea bags Butterfly Pea Flower Tea

1-1/2 ounces Exotico Tequila Blanco
5 basil leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave syrup
2 ounces Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry Pomegranate

basil leaf for garnish

  1. First, make the butterfly pea flower ice cubes by bringing 1 cup of Mountain Valley Spring Water to just under a boil. Add in tea bags and steep 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and let cool. Pour water into sphere molds and freeze overnight.
  2. To make the cocktail, remove ice spheres from molds and set aside. In the bottom of a shaker, muddle basil leaves with tequila. Fill shaker 2/3 with ice and then pour in lime juice and agave. Shake 20 seconds and strain into an oversized coupe or double rocks glass. Add butterfly pea flower ice sphere and top with Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry Pomegranate. Garnish with basil leaf. Watch as the rings slowly start to form.

The Purple Halo Cocktail with Exotico Tequila Blanco and Mountain Valley Sparkling Essence Blackberry and Pomegranate. It's a color changing cocktail! // stirandstrain.com

For more information on Exotico Tequila, please visit them at exoticotequila.com. For more information on Mountain Valley Water, please visit them at www.mountainvalleyspring.com

What You Should Be Drinking This Mother’s Day (or World Cocktail Day)

Mom wants a lot of Rosé, some frozen drinks by the pool, and a whole lot less whining from you.

Drunken Apple and Rosé Sangria

Sweet Corn and Strawberry Smash

Rosé Champagne Cocktail

Frozen Negroni Cocktail Slushies // stirandstrain.com

Frozen Negroni Two Ways

Sparkling Grapefruit and Lillet Rosé Sangria

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail: Earl Gray Tea and Angostura Amaro for Mother's Day and World Cocktail Day // stirandstrain.com

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail (Tea and Amaro)

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail amaro - earl gray - lemon - tonic

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail: Earl Gray Tea and Angostura Amaro for Mother's Day and World Cocktail Day // stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

May is teeming with twofer drinking holidays and this weekend is another. Is Mother’s Day a drinking holiday? (This lady says YES!)

It’s also World Cocktail Day on Sunday, so I thought we would offer up this cocktail that could work for both holidays. It’s called Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail, a tea cocktail made with Angostura’s Amaro.

You might be asking yourself, “Mmm. I love amaro, but who is a Siegert and what does he have to do with this cocktail?” Well! In 1824, Dr. Johann Siegert produced his first aromatic bitters as a medicinal tincture designed to alleviate stomach ailments of soldiers while serving as the Surgeon General in Angostura, Venezuela. By 1850, Siegert was exporting This magical potion to England, the Caribbean, and United States. From there the manufacturing became a family business with his sons in Trinadad, and Angostura Bitters went on to win awards and become an integral part of cocktail culture to this day.

A fitting little tidbit as we celebrate World Cocktail Day with an ingredient that is as big a star in the cocktail world as the cocktails themselves. Now on to the drink!

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail: Earl Gray Tea and Angostura Amaro for Mother's Day and World Cocktail Day // stirandstrain.comTea! Tea service! Mother’s Day! It’s also Mother’s Day on Sunday so we’re serving up a sparkling cocktail made with aromatic Earl Gray tea syrup. Combined with a little acidity from the lemon juice and the richly complex Amaro di Angostura, it’s layered with spices, subtle citrus and just a pop of effervescence from the tonic water. This cocktail would go great with brunch or listening to Mom tell you about how much better your other sibling is doing with their life. (OK, so maybe in that case you should have this drink.) Either way, it’s delicious. Enjoy!

Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail

Earl Gray tea syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 bags earl gray tea

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Stir until sugar dissolves and bring sugar to a boil and then remove from heat. Immediately add tea bags to the simple syrup and let stand 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Let syrup cool and store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Cocktail:
2 oz Angostura Amaro
3/4 oz Earl Gray Tea Syrup
1/2 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 oz tonic water
Garnish: lemon peel

In a shaker ⅔ filled with ice, add in Angostura Amaro, Earl Gray Tea Syrup, and lemon juice. Shake 20 seconds and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Pour in tonic water and stir gently to combine. Garnish with lemon peel.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com

The Tequila Mint Julep tequila - mint - bitters

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by El Mayor Tequila. Recipe and ideas are my own.

This weekend we’ve got a double dose of reasons to celebrate. Saturday marks the 144th Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo, both happening on the same day. No need for a sad case of FOMO, we’ve got a drink that celebrates both: the Tequila Mint Julep.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comNot long ago a Mint Julep was a Mint Julep: bourbon, mint, sugar, silver cup. Bam. But as bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts have brought an inquisitive eye to old recipes, here today we’re riffing on this classic with our partner, El Mayor Tequila.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comEl Mayor Añejo Tequila is fantastic sipped on its own, but the tequila also mixes quite well in cocktails. Especially when the spirit needs to be strong and shine through a whole lot of crushed ice! The 100% blue agave añejo is aged in white oak barrels for 18 to 36 months, giving it the distinctive oak-y nose, golden color and slightly sweet and spicy flavor profile. If you’re going to use a tequila in a julep recipe, this is the one.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comFor this recipe I forgo the muddled mint (*gasp*) and instead opt for a creme de menthe liqueur to add the minty flavor and a touch of sweet. I like the bracingly cool mint liqueur up against the tequila. Also, if you’re serving this up at your party it’s going to save you some time since you won’t have to muddle all those mint leaves. To round out the drink, I’ve added in a few dashes of aromatic bitters and a touch more sweetness with some demerara syrup. The drink needs that last touch of sugar to balance it out along with the bitters.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comLastly, I gave this julep a crown of mint (I couldn’t leave the fresh mint out completely), like its own little laurel wreath. And you don’t have to make it rain powdered sugar on your julep for a garnish, but it sure does look pretty.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.comSo, let’s jump start this Cinco de Derby party and mix up a batch of Tequila Juleps. It’s a sure bet!

The Tequila Mint Julep

2 ounces El Mayor Añejo Tequila
1/2 ounce creme de menthe
1/4 ounce demerara syrup (see notes below)
3 dashes aromatic bitters
mint and powdered sugar

In a silver julep cup, or double rocks glasses, pour in El Mayor Añejo Tequila, creme de menthe, demerara syrup, and bitters. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice and swizzle until glass is frosty, about 20-30 seconds. Fill with more crushed ice. Garnish with fresh mint and powdered sugar. Add a short straw if you’d like!

Notes:

  • To make demerara syrup, combine 1 cup water with 1 cup demerara sugar in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to just under a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. When all the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and let cool. Store in an air tight container, refrigerated, for up to one month.
  • Julep cups come in all different sizes but choose one around 12 ounces for this cocktail. A double rocks glass will make an acceptable substitute.

The Tequila Mint Julep with El Mayor Tequila // stirandstrain.com

For more information on El Mayor Tequila and their entire product line, please visit them at elmayor.com!

What You Should Be Drinking This Easter

We’ve got flowers, pastel colors and a few eggs. Here’s what you should be drinking on Easter this year!

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch

Electric Pink Fields Rum #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Electric Pink Fields Rum Cocktail

Fresh Passion Fruit Sour Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Fresh Passion Fruit Sour Cocktail

Pisco Brunch Cocktail with thyme and grapefruit // stirandstrain.com

Pisco Brunch Cocktail

Fresh Lemongrass Sour Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Fresh Lemongrass Sour Cocktail

An Isle Away #Cocktail with cardamom coconut foam // stirandstrain.com

An Isle Away: Rum Cocktail with Coconut Cardamom Foam

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail

Ok, so here’s some chocolate for you too…

Bake It: Angostura Brownies with Luxardo Cherries // stirandstrain.com

Angostura Brownies with Luxardo Cherries

Angosangrita beer - citrus - Angostura - hot sauce

This post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

My calendar of nonsense drink holidays tells me that tomorrow April 7th is National Beer Day! So what are we going to do here? Make a beer cocktail of course!

Beer can be a pretty versatile ingredient in cocktails (you can even substitute it for an egg white in a sour!) but sometimes you want to play up the beer part more and not break out the hard liquor. Today we’ve teamed up with Angostura to show how their bitters can make a bold new spin on one of those classic drinks a lot of people think of when they hear “beer cocktail”: the Michelada.

A Michelada can vary greatly depending on who’s making it, but mainly it consists of beer, lime juice, hot sauce, spices… lots of delicious bits. I decided to take that spicy base and mash it up with the idea of Sangrita (no, I spelled that right, it’s not sangria), the side shot that accompanies tequila and translates to “little blood”. Sangrita is usually, but not always, a tomato based drink. Here, instead of a tomato base, we’re using a good dose of Angostura. Sound crazy? Crazy delicious!

Beer cocktails are warm weather cocktails in my opinion, and this weekend it’s getting a little toasty around SoCal so I thought now is a good time to crack open a beer and mix up one of these. It’s another great way to use Angostura bitters in a drink other than adding an accent to a cocktail.

Have you guys made a drink that uses a lot of bitters? Let me know! And if you try this, tag us and let us see! Cheers!

For the Sangrita:

2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
4 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1-1/2 ounces Angostura Bitters
1-2 dashes hot sauce (more or less to taste)
Pinch salt

For the Cocktail:

4 ounces beer
4 ounces Sangrita
Garnish: lime juice and spicy salt mix (equal parts salt, chili powder and black pepper)

In an airtight non-reactive container, pour in lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Angostura, hot sauce and the pinch of salt. Stir together and set aside until ready to use or refrigerate up to a week.

Rim a double rocks glass with lime juice and spicy salt mix. Add ice. Add sangrita mix to the glass and pour in beer. Stir gently to combine.

If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Rose and Violet Gelées

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

This post was made in partnership with Truvia. Recipe and ideas are my own.

This summer one of my best gal pals is packing up her family and leaving SoCal for humidity and real winters on the east coast. Boo. As much as I’d like to sit and cry about it, we’ve decided to go full on into crafting and get togethers as much as possible before she leaves.

Our biggest project together will be for Easter. This year we’ve decided the adults should have some candy fun too. So, we’ve come up with a fun brunch cocktail DIY that we can make, eat, AND drink. Intrigued? Read on!

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

I’m not a giant candy fan, but I do love jelly candies. Jelly beans, pâtes de fruits, those weird orange slices found in the bulk candy section… all of them are favorites of mine. And, if you’ve been a long time reader you know I also love making edible cocktails in the “gelée” way. This week we’ve teamed up with Truvia Natural Sweetener, the zero calorie sweetener with natural sweetness from the stevia leaf that gives you that sweet touch without all the calories! The stevia-based sweetener is also twice as sweet as regular sugar, which means you only need to use half as much! Truvia also comes in several different varieties but today we’re using the zero-calorie Natural Sweetener for the base of our gelées and our cocktail syrup. Truvia Natural Sweetener dissolves crystal clear so there are no lumps, bumps, or crystals floating around in the gelées.

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

Since we have three different flavors, the two gelées and the syrup for the cocktails, it’s easiest to start with one large batch of simple syrup then divide and conquer! If you want to have your own get together like us, you can assign your friends each a flavor station. I’m including some notes on batches below if you want to create more flavored edible cocktails than just the ones I’m providing.

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

The fun part of this cocktail is the tiny edible cocktail garnishes, but let’s not overlook the actual cocktail too! Brunch almost always means sparkling cocktails, and while you could easily pop open a bottle of bubbly, I like my brunch cocktails with a bit more character. An easy one to use as the base is to make sparkling gin lemonades. I always make a fresh batch of lemonade during the winter, because: hello, SoCal; lemons practically fall from the sky here during the winter/early spring. I like ginger lemonade but this cocktail is so versatile, any variation, or just plain lemonade, would work. Lemonade is also a great base for a cocktail because you have your sweet, sour and a touch of bitter. So all you need is the booze part! I’m including just a straight lemonade recipe below, but feel free to play with what you like. For the sparkling part, I like a sparkling water, but you could get extra fancy and pop that bubbly anyway to top these off. The effervescent bubbles meld the flavors of the lemonade and the herbal notes of the gin (use an American batch here, not a London Dry, so it’s not all juniper and a touch of a softer palate), and of course: bubbles = brunch.

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

As for the gelées, and since it’s finally spring (!!!), I’m playing with the idea of flowers. There are a few ways you could incorporate flower aroma into your gelées, from making syrups to using flower infused spirits, but today we’ll use rose water and creme de violet to flavor them. I’ll be using the Truvia Natural Sweetener to make a simple syrup, and then will add the flavors to the divided batches. These firm up super quick, so if you make them in the morning, you’ll definitely be snacking on them come brunch time.

This Easter brunch theme has me feeling spring big time! I hope you all enjoy a few flowery gelées and a nice glass of sparkling gin lemonades. Cheers!

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling Gin Lemonade Cocktails with Rose and Violet Gelées (makes 2)

3 ounces American Style gin
2 ounces lemonade (recipe follows)
4-6 ounces sparkling water

rose and violet gelées for garnish (recipes follow)

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in gin and lemonade. Shake 20 seconds to combine and strain into two rocks glasses filled with ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with rose and violet gelées. Serve immediately.

Lemonade Recipe

1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups simple syrup, sweeten to taste (see notes for big batch simple syrup)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups water

In a large pitcher, combine simple syrup, freshly squeezed lemon juice and water. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep up to one week in the refrigerator.

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.com

Rose Gelée Recipe

1-1/2 cups simple syrup
2 packets gelatine
1 teaspoon rose water
1/2 cup vodka
pink food coloring, optional

  • In a small sauce pan, pour in simple syrup. Sprinkle gelatine packets over the simple syrup and let bloom for 1-2 minutes. Turn heat on high and bring to a simmer, whisking gelatine to combine. Remove from heat and stir in rose water and vodka. Add food coloring if using. Stir to combine and pour into a small baking tray or molds if using.
  • Refrigerate for two hours. You can then remove from molds, if using, or cut into shapes and garnish cocktails. *I used these mini cutters to make the shapes!

Violet Gelée Recipe

1-1/2 cups simple syrup
2 packets gelatine
1/2 cup creme de violet

  • In a small sauce pan, pour in simple syrup. Sprinkle gelatine packets over the simple syrup and let bloom for 1-2 minutes. Turn heat on high and bring to a simmer, whisking gelatine to combine. Remove from heat and stir in creme de violet. Stir to combine and pour into a small baking tray or molds if using.
  • Refrigerate for two hours. You can then remove from molds, if using, or cut into shapes and garnish cocktails. *I used these mini cutters to make the shapes!

Notes:

  • The gelées are best used within a few hours, discard after 24 hours.
  • The main ratio for making a gelée is 1:1 (one cup liquid to one gelatine packet). The only issue I have had in the past is with pineapple juice. You will need to cut it with water as the gelatine does not bloom and hold when there is just straight pineapple juice. You can vary the amount of alcohol (or make it nonalcoholic) but do not go more than 50% alcohol in your liquid ratio.
  • If using molds to make the gelées, use silicone, as there is no need to grease and they pop right out.
  • To make a large batch of simple syrup for all 3 recipes: combine 3 cups water and 3 cups Truvia Natural Sweetener in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to just under a boil, whisking to dissolve Truvia. Remove from heat, whisk again. And cool to room temperature. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container up to two weeks.

For more information on Truvia and all their products, please visit their site at www.truvia.com.

National Cocktail Day Greatest Hits

It’s National Cocktail Day tomorrow in case you didn’t know (And it’s totally fine if you didn’t know. I forgot too until I read a recent press release). So I thought I’d round up a few of you readers’ favorite posts from the site because, if you’re here, you like cocktails. Funny thing though, you guys seem to like a lot of the DIY syrups/bitters/tincture posts just as much as the drinks. So I’m including those too because it’s always good to have some fun syrups and mixers around to get your creative cocktail juices flowing. Cheers!

Passion Fruit Syrup // The Hurricane Cocktail

Classic Blackberry Shrub

Pineapple Gomme Syrup

Burnt Sage and Blackberry Sangria

Smoke Tincture and Boulevardier

The Vegan Pisco Sour

 

And if you’re looking for more inspiration, here are a few of my favorite books on cocktails (in no particular order) and all the fun stuff that goes into them! Enjoy!

There’s so many more I like to read, you can check out the Book Shelf Page for even more (not currently updated but it’s a lot to start with!).

24 Karat Irish Coffee whiskey - Chila 'Orchata - spiced coffee - coconut cream - gold

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Chila ‘Orchata. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Next week is St. Patrick’s Day, and while some of you out there might be stockpiling green food coloring and cheap beer, I implore you, back away from that green squeeze bottle and pick up… a coffee.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comNow there might be some purists out there who like their Irish Coffee in the straight, no nonsense way: Irish whiskey, coffee, cream. And that’s all good and fine, but I did not create this website to just stick to the classics. So, for those of you looking for a way to make an Irish Coffee even better (yes, I am saying I like my version better), then let’s talk about how to do just that.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comI’ll just say that we’re going to leave the Irish whiskey where it is; you really don’t need to change that part. But now here’s the fun parts: Chila ‘Orchata and spiced coffee syrup. Today we’re teaming up with Chila ‘Orchata, the most delicious blend of Puerto Rican rum, real dairy cream, Tahitian vanilla, and cinnamon, to make an iced version of this classic drink. Why iced? Because I drink about 3 cups of iced coffee a day and prefer that over hot. Also, I get to make more yummy coffee syrup this week and change it up by adding some warm spices to it. Playing off of the vanilla and cinnamon in the Chila ‘Orchata, I’m adding some additional cinnamon and star anise to the coffee syrup; it’ll be a warm spice bomb to the chilled booze.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comAnd while you could definitely top yours off with plain old whipped cream, I’m going the coconut cream route with just a touch of sweetness from maple syrup. You can actually pick up coconut whipped cream at the grocery store now, but if you have a can of coconut cream at home and a whipper, I’m including how to make it in the notes below. The coconut cream pairs really well with the cinnamon and spices, and I prefer mine barely sweetened to offset the sweetness in the drink (another plus to making your own coconut whipped cream is the ability to control the sugar going into it).

Because it’s not St. Patrick’s Day without a little gold, I’m garnishing the whole thing with edible gold leaf. It maaaay be too pretty to drink, but I’ll try anyway. And I hope you do too! Cheers!

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.com24 Karat Irish Whiskey

2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 ounce Chila ‘Orchata
1 ounce spiced coffee syrup, see recipe below
1 shot espresso, chilled (optional, see note below)
whipped coconut cream (see note below)
edible gold leaf

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine the Irish whiskey, Chila ‘Orchata, spiced coffee syrup and espresso shot, if using. Shake for 20 seconds and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Top with whipped coconut cream and a gold leaf garnish.

Spiced Coffee Syrup

½ cup strong espresso
¾ cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise, whole

Combine espresso with sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to almost a boil and lower to a simmer. Add cinnamon and star anise. Reduce until thickened about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Will keep up to 2 weeks.

Notes:

  • If you like your coffee bev to be even more coffee-y, you can add in an additional shot of espresso.
  • To make your own coconut whipped cream using a whip cream canister: add the solids from a can of chilled coconut cream (refrigerate the can for 3+ hours in advance) into the canister with about one tablespoon of the coconut water from the can. Then pour in 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to taste or leave out if you prefer unsweetened. Attach the nozzle, give a good shake to combine, and charge the canister with N2O. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated. I use this whipped cream dispenser and these N2O cartridges.

For more information on Chila ‘Orchata, please visit their website at chilaorchata.com.

Make It: Orange Bitter Pickled Beets and Fennel

Make It: Angostura Orange Bitter Pickled Beets and Fennel // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

We are big fans of all things pickled around our house. My older kid’s first solid food was a bite of cornishon. She’d just eat pickles and olives all day long if you let her. My husband will sit and eat fistfuls of pickled spicy green beans. And if you left me alone with a jar of pickled cherries, I’m sure to finish the whole thing. So, when I started working with Angostura on some unique ways to use their products in food recipes, my mind at some point during R&D went to pickles.

Or rather, pickled beets. There’s still a part of my brain that, when I hear someone mention pickled food, it goes straight to a memory of a rather large, glowing jar of pickled eggs sitting on a counter. I can’t quite remember where this was, but I can very clear picture the jar. I had never eaten one, and my five year old self was repulsed at the idea of someone actually consuming one, but, honestly, I’d give one a try now. What I’m saying is, I’d eat most anything pickled. Pickling somehow magically transforms food into piquant morsels I will happily devour; that magic is your brine.

Make It: Angostura Orange Bitter Pickled Beets and Fennel // stirandstrain.comChanging up your brine means you can have pickled beets 5 different ways if you liked. Today I’m adding in fennel and dashing pouring in some Angostura Orange Bitters. Orange is a great pair to beets and fennel and the subtle spice was a nice change to my usual brine. You’ll find a few floral notes in there along with the zesty orange.

As any bartender will tell you, bitters are like salt and pepper for cocktails, and you can think of them similarly with food as well. I mean, you’ll probably also need to salt and pepper your dish, but bitters can be yet another way to season your food.

If you’re looking for a fun DIY food/drink project for this weekend, I hope you’ll try out these pickled beets and fennel and taste how a little Angostura Orange Bitters can bring the flavor! Enjoy!

Make It: Angostura Orange Bitter Pickled Beets and Fennel // stirandstrain.com3 large beets (about 1 lb)
1 head of fennel
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1-½ tsp white pepper, whole
1 tsp celery seeds
2 star anise
1 tsp yellow mustard seed, whole
1 tsp coriander seed, whole
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 ounces Angostura Orange Bitters

In a medium stock pot, bring 8 quarts of water to a boil. Scrub beets and add to the pot. Boil for 30 minutes until tender. Drain the beets, reserving 1-3/4 cups of water. Once beets have cooled, peel and set aside.

Wash fennel and slice off stalks and 1/8” of the bottom. Halve, quarter, and then slice ¼” thick. Quarter cooled, peeled beets and place in a non-reactive, air-tight container. Add fennel slices and set aside.

In medium saucepan over high heat, pour in the reserved beet liquid, white wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, white pepper, celery seeds, star anise, yellow mustard seeds, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes, and orange bitters. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and pour hot mixture over beets and fennel. Let cool to room temperature, cover and refrigerate. Let sit at least 4 hours or overnight before eating. Best within 3 days and will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com