Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda

Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda // stirandstrain.com

Here in Los Angeles I’ve been downing frozen cocktails with abandon, but there are even those days when I just can’t drag out the blender. So, in steps the two ingredient cocktail.

These “cocktail quickie” recipes migrated over to Instagram a few years back, but now with the influx of users, and that oh-so-annoying algorithm there, recipes get lost in the crowd. Now I’m back to keeping them on both sites. So, if you happen to miss a recipe on Instagram, you can always catch up here on the site.

Today we’re pouring some liquid sunshine with one of my favorite bitter liqueurs, Suze. Suze is a French apéritif flavored with fresh gentian and aromatic herbs. The taste is slightly bitter, very herbaceous (for me, bordering on vegetal), that ends on a sweeter, citrus note. It’s WONDERFUL.

Cocktail Quickie: Suze and Soda // stirandstrain.comWhile you could make this a one ingredient drink and have it poured over ice, I like to make this a highball (or lowball depending on the glass type I’m using) by mixing it with soda water over ice. It’s really an any time kinda drink: before going out, after a meal, during your kid’s nap…

Stretching the Suze out with the soda water does mellow out the flavor a lot, which, if you’re not looking to be hit in the face with all the gentian, could be the drink for you. Optionally, if you’d like a little extra sweetness with this, you can add in a 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce honey syrup (honey/water 1:1) as I love the way honey works with this liqueur. Enjoy!

Suze and Soda

2 ounces Suze
soda water to top
1/4 – 1/2 ounce honey syrup, optional

Pack a highball (or rocks glass) glass with ice. Build the drink by pouring in Suze, optional honey syrup, and topping with desired amount of soda water.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails with Wine Candied Lemon Peels for Pastéis de Nata

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Vinho Verde Wines. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Labor Day will soon be here. The end of summer is in sight…sigh. But I’m going to stretch these last few weeks of warm days and cool nights the best way I know how! With a picnic!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comPicnics sure have changed a lot since I was little, obviously. There’s definitely wine now. However, the bugs are still there in droves. But I get to stay out a lot later so…win!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comToday I’ve partnered with Vinho Verde Wines from Portugal to help you find an easy, breezy way to celebrate summer’s last hoorah. The Vinho Verde wine region has been producing these young wines for over 2,000 years and is home to Portugal’s largest wine region. While 86% of their wines are white, they also produce some red, rosé and sparkling wine as well as brandy. These wines are also super affordable, and pair well with food. In other words, a great picnic wine! Don’t think of these Vinho Verde wines as a summer sipper only though; they transition from Summer right into Fall and are the versatile wine to keep around all year long.

For our Labor Day picnic I’m bringing along this Avesso wine from the Vinho Verde region. This refreshing wine has aromas of citrus, peach, and almond with a slight acidity and touch of minerality. You can enjoy it on its own, but it’s also wonderful in a spritz cocktail, which we’ll make and take along.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comYou can’t have a picnic without some great picnic food too. And if we’re drinking Portuguese wine, we are definitely eating Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese egg tarts). These light, slightly sweetened tarts hold up well outdoors. I have a few bakeries here in Los Angeles that I like to buy mine from, although I’m linking to a solid recipe below if you’d like to bake yours. I do like to dress mine up a bit for the picnic with some wine-candied lemon peels which I DO have a recipe for below using the same wine we’ll make spritzes with.

I’m feeling so ready to spread out a blanket, have a few spritz cocktails, and snack on some yummy tarts. I can feel that warm, late summer breeze now. So let’s open that wine and start putting this picnic together!

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comA picnic should not be a stressful affair. Here’s some tips to help make your day go off without a hitch!

  • Pre-batch the spritz mix! The night before, measure out all the ingredients minus the soda water. Refrigerate the mix, and the next day bring along some ice, portion out the drinks, and top with the soda water!
  • No time to bake egg tarts, but want this transportable, delicious picnic snack? Buy them! Both Portuguese and Chinese bakeries are home to wonderful egg tarts.
  • You don’t need a picnic basket! Sure, they’re cute, but if you don’t have the space, or the desire to buy one, some reusable bags, a cooler, or even an old Amazon box will do. If it holds stuff, use it!
  • A combination wine opener/pocket knife. I’m a big fan of Opinel knives and they have a beautiful combo one. Get that wine open, zest a lemon, and cut up some tarts. Maybe whittle some sticks for marshmallow roasting later. It’s a like a picnic swiss army knife, but with only the most important tools.
  • And speaking of gadgets to have outdoors, I really love a double insulated wine chiller. If I’m going to be hanging out in the sun for a few hours at a picnic, I want to keep my wine cool.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comVinho Verde Spritz (makes one Spritz)

2 oz Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine
1/2 oz Elderflower liqueur
1 oz Bitter Bianco
1/4 oz Lemon syrup from candied lemon peels
3 oz Soda water
Lemon wheels

In a shaker filled with ice, pour in Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine, elderflower liqueur, Bitter Bianco, and lemon syrup. Shake 20 second and strain into a wine glass. Add fresh ice and pour in soda water. Stir gently to combine and garnish with lemon wheel.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.comWine Candied Lemon Peels for Pastéis de Nata (Egg Tarts)

2 medium sized lemons
2/3 cup sugar, divided
2-1/3 cups water, divided
1/3 cup Avesso Vinho Verde DOC Wine

Using a wide vegetable peeler, zest the two lemons into wide strips making sure not to include of the white pith. Cut strips into quarter inch wide strips. Place strips in a small sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes uncovered. Drain. Rinse in cold water.

Return the lemon strips to the pan. Add in 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and wine. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until a syrup forms. About 8-10 minutes. Turn to a simmer and simmer 5 minutes until peels are translucent. Remove from heat. Pour remaining sugar onto a sheet pan and spread evenly around. Using a slotted spoon or fork, remove peels and place on sugar. Toss to coat peels in the sugar. Separate peels so none are sticking together. Move to a drying rack and let sit about one hour. Store in an airtight container. Will keep several months refrigerated.

Save syrup from pan into an airtight container. Refrigerate. Will keep up to one month.

Garnish tops of Pastéis de Nata with a few strands of the wine candied lemon peel and a few drops of their syrup.

**Feel like making your own tarts? Check out this recipe from Tasting Table for Pastéis de Nata.

Vinho Verde Spritz Cocktails and Egg Tarts // stirandstrain.com

For more information on the Vinho Verde wine region, please visit them at winesofvinhoverde.com



Monday Booze News COCONUTS! Amaro Parties! Aperol Spritz Deliveries!

Monday Booze News: does this flower make my daiquiri pop // stirandstrain.com

Welcome to your August Booze News. Enjoy.

Cocktail Pin Collections

Cool Sh*t: Cocktail Pin Collections // stirandstrain.comThere’s a trend gaining momentum right now that has me feeling nostalgic, and maybe you’ve seen it pop up in your Instagram too: cocktail pin collecting.

Pin collecting always seemed akin to baseball card collecting, kids mostly, or adults geeking out on some fancy pins. But right now you can get your favorite tiki drink (or mug!!) in pin form, or favorite cocktail! You can even show your love of Angostura with a teeny tiny bottle pinned to your collar.

I’ve rounded up a few small shop artisans and a few more commercial makers of pins to highlight some really cool and unique concepts that are out there right now.

Are you into pins? How do you display yours? Or is this trend not for you? Comment below!

1. Gin and Tonic Pin 2. Aperol Spritz Pin 3. Tiki Ti Bar Pin 4. Angostura Trio Pin 5. Beer Pin 6. Rosé Pin 7. Zombie Pin 8. Alien Tiki Mug Pin

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

I live in an old house. I’m in Southern California, so not that old like New England, or like, Rome. Ok, actually it’s only 50 years old so by those standards it’s pretty new. But anyways, when the house was bought it included things like appliances, and central air; these too were all old. 1980’s kinda old. And since they all did their jobs without much complaint not many were replaced. As the decade wore on they slowly started to die and everything now except the air conditioning unit, which is over 30 years old, has been replaced. This beast makes me tremble when the summer electric bill statement appears. I know the bill will be high. It’s always high this time of year. However, this thing just WILL.NOT.DIE. Every summer, usually when we hit peak highs and the thing is running 24/7, it breaks down. Home insurance gets called, 3 to 5 days later the machine is up and running again. Repeat the next summer.

I keep waiting for the repair man to finally come over and tell us, Sorry, this unit is done for and the home insurance to cough up the money to replace it. Because really, we’re not spending 10k+ ourselves on a whole new unit anytime soon. So when it gets this hot out, I simultaneously hope that it won’t blow out on us and cause the internal temperature of the house to go over 90 (that has happened to us a few times now) and also sorta want it to just DIE ALREADY so we can get a new, energy efficient model. The joys of home ownership…oy!

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comWell, I don’t know whether to chalk these scorching summer days up to climate change or just admit that Los Angeles is the desert and this is part of the package you get when you move here. Sure, you get warm, sunny days in January, but then you have to take those 100+° days in the summer (and early Fall). To help ease these heat-aches, I partnered with The House of Angostura for a chilly, boozy treat this week (and yes, just in time for #NationalIceCreamDay on 7/15).

Did you grow up eating/drinking ice cream floats? We didn’t get them all too often, but I do recall stopping by an A&W when I was a kid and having a root beer float. In retrospect, whichever family member took me and my sister there and gave two small children ice cream floats in the car to eat was a rather brave soul. Today we’re not only refining that childhood treat with some black cherry soda and super premium vanilla ice cream, we’re also adding in RUM. And bitters. And Luxardo cherries! All the good adult stuff but with enough kid stuff to still have a whiff of nostalgia.

The Angostura 7 Year Rum has lots of cinnamon and vanilla flavors that make it a great match for this boozy adult treat. I’ve added in the Angostura Bitters and their Orange Bitters to punch up the spice of the cherry soda and to cut through some of the sweetness. The orange aroma in the nose is an unexpected and pleasant surprise when you take your first sip. For something so fun like an adult ice cream float, I found this combination to be much more complex with lots of subtle flavors. It was also a great way to forget about the heat for just a little bit too. Fingers crossed that air conditioner makes it through one more summer.

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float // stirandstrain.comReady to dive into your own float? Let’s make one!

Angostura Rum & Black Cherry Soda Float

2 ounces Angostura 7 Year Rum
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2-3 scoops vanilla ice cream
4 ounces Black Cherry Soda, chilled
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Orange slice and Luxardo cherries for garnish

In a mixing glass filled with ice, pour in rum and bitters. Stir to chill 20 seconds and strain into a soda glass. Add ice cream to glass and top with black cherry soda. Dash orange bitters on top and garnish with orange slice and cherries.

 

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

Monday Booze News beaver flavored whiskey, a new golden age of tiki, and fireballs caused by fireball

 

Monday Booze News: deep in the summer heat // stirandstrain.com

It’s July! We’re back with some new boozy stories for you. Enjoy!

What You Should Be Drinking This 4th of July 2018

Warning: do not attempt to set off firecrackers after drinking these cocktails.

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

The Purple Halo Cocktail

Smoked Ice Hazy Sunset Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Hazy Sunset Cocktail with Smoked Ice!!

Fun In Jalisco Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Fun In Jalisco Cocktail

Aquafaba: what is it and how to make cocktails with it! Like a Vegan Sloe Gin Fizz // stirandstrain.com

Vegan Sloe Gin Fizz

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.com

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle

Peach and Tequila Frozen Blended Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Peach and Tequila Frozen Blended Cocktail

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: The Snowden // stirandstrain.com

And the perennial favorite… The Snowden

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

Gift Guide: Father’s Day 2018

Dad does not want a tie this year…unless that tie is covered with tiki drinks.

Gift Guide: Boozy Father's Day Gifts for 2018 // stirandstrain.com

What kind of boozy Dad do you have? I’m sure we’ll find a gift for him! Mail order of the month club Dad? Now with Rum! Athletic Dad? Beer bike! Swinger Dad? Sexy coasters! DIY Dad? Mix your own cocktail! Grilling Dad? Hot Dickel! Nerd Dad? Vader-Stein! Gourmet Dad? Beer chocolates! Getting Dad a bad gift is not an option this year.

  1. Flaviar world of spirits members club 2. Whiskey Wood Engraving 3. Cocktail Crate Classic Old Fashioned Mixer 4. Darth Vader Stein 5. Sexy Legs Coasters 6. Tiki Cocktail Tie 7. Hot Dickel 8. Theo Beer Chocolates 9. Peroni Bike

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Monday Booze News Memorial Day 2018 Edition

Monday Booze News: but do you even Spritz?! // stirandstrain.com