What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours but let’s not use a sharpie to personalize our cups anymore.
Instead, let’s engrave our barware, and hey, even our tequila! Vodka your thing? Say Merry Chrismukkah or whatever holiday you’re celebrating this year with bright LED lights flashing all over your liquor bottle. Drink so much of your bespoke homemade gin you forgot where you live? Put your street map on your rocks glass and never be lost again! And when you’ve just got to show off with glitter, say it with a big ass custom banner.
You know guys, if we’re all thinking ahead. Maybe we should just freeze a bunch of peach slices, and then in a few months when we’re complaining about the cold, we can turn the heat up really high in the house and make a couple of these frozen peach cocktails? That sounds like a plan.
And while we’re on the subject of future endeavors, Stir and Strain will be taking a much, much needed vacation in October. A real one, unlike last year’s where I spent countless nights staying up scheduling out content and then still kept working through the break. I have to start convincing myself now that I don’t need to bring my laptop to go look at Fall foliage for two weeks.
But until then, we got a few more recipes and a couple extra special treats coming up! And now onto those cocktails…
6 ounces white rum, such as Caña Brava
4 ounces coconut cream, such as Coco Lopez
2 ounces simple syrup
2-3 ripe peaches, pitted and cubed
8 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounce dark rum, such as Blackwell, divided (optional)
Ground cinnamon and 4 cinnamon sticks, for garnish
Combine rum, coconut cream, simple syrup, and Angostura in a zipper-lock bag or resealable container. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
To serve, transfer the rum mixture to a blender and add 3 cups ice. Blend at high speed until well mixed and thick, about 45 seconds. Pour into 4 highball glasses and top each with 1/4 ounce dark rum (if desired), a dash of cinnamon, and a cinnamon stick.
The fresh, ripe fruit adds a ton of intense flavor in this creamy cocktail. The spice from the Angostura, the slightly sweet coconut and all that rum make for a fresh, tropical cocktail. For an extra boozy punch, float dark rum on top with a dash of cinnamon to enhance the aroma.
I had promised to make a pitcher of cocktails for some friends coming over but in my usual fashion of late, left it to the night before. And because the fruit from the farmer’s market has been so good lately, I had eaten all of it. With a sad, empty fruit bowl staring at me, wagging its imaginary banana finger, I suddenly realized now might be a good time to crack open those rambutans (which, for the record, I can’t help but sing as “bam-a-lam” from that Black Betty song).
I tasted one, a little crunchy with a sweet-tart taste similar to a grape; it could only get better with some grill time. And it did. The richer flavors that developed turned out to be a just the ingredient to pair with some tequila, grapefruit and lime juice. And smoked salt. Always with the smoked salt.
If you’re not in possession of a grill, no worries! You can make this on a grill pan or under the broiler too.
If using the grill: Soak 3 wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place 4 rambutans on each skewer, and grill over high heat until char lines appear and fruit has softened slightly but still holds its shape, about 1 minute per side. Let cool and remove from skewers until ready to use.
If using the broiler: Adjust rack to 4 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place rambutans on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Broil until softened and lightly charred in spots, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes total. Let cool and remove from skewers.
In the bottom of a small pitcher, muddle the rambutans to release juices and break up the fruit. Add tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Cover and chill for at least an hour up to overnight.
To serve, add lime juice to a saucer and smoked salt to another. Dip the side of 4 rocks glasses in lime juice and then gently roll the outside edge in smoked salt. Add ice to each glass and strain the cocktail, dividing equally among the glasses.
The slightly nutty flavors pair wonderfully with tequila, while fresh lime and grapefruit juice highlight the floral and tart elements of the rambutan. A touch of simple syrup is not enough to make the whole concoction sweet; instead, it helps round out the flavor and brighten the mix.
This post is brought to you by Blue Nectar Tequila. Recipes and ideas are my own.
Right now I’m in the middle of a frozen drink-a-thon session. I fear for the life of my blender’s motor. Everything is getting thrown in there, all with a good helping of booze. As our big summer holiday draws upon us, I thought I’d get a little technicolor creative this year and bust out my red, white, and blue drink ingredients. The liquor of choice today: Blue Nectar Tequila.
When it comes to blue drinks, I usually head straight to the Tiki classic Blue Hawaii, I mean, obviously if you’re been following my Instagram account. But today I wanted to revamp that classic with a little South of the Border pizzazz. Maybe… a little Fun in Acapulco? (OK, OK, I’ll stop with the Elvis movie references).
You could just enjoy the tequila on its own, but today I decided to use it as the base for the cocktail. Blue Nectar Tequila’s Silver has an earthy, slightly spicy, honeyed flavor profile that is a perfect mate for fresh, zingy pineapple juice. It’s triple distilled so the flavor is not overly aggressive and works really well in cocktails. Paired with a nice splash of freshly squeezed lime juice and a touch of blue curaçao, this is definitely miles above the original. (The Blue Nectar is not actually blue, so you’ll need a little help for the blue color from the curaçao. The “blue” refers to the blue agave that is used to craft the tequila.) For a little patriotic flair, frozen watermelon gets blended in for a sweet, fresh layer of flavor. And it’s up to you: layer it between the blue, or just blend it in with the whole batch. It’s a holiday weekend; don’t sweat the small stuff.
Now, while adding ice to blend will usually either 1. water your drink down or 2. dull the flavors, here we’re adding just enough to flash blend it and get it icy while keeping the flavors fresh and bold.
While this drink can hold its own, I couldn’t resist crowing the whole affair with a salted coconut foam. Think of it as the white caps crashing on waves, or a soft cloud in the deep blue sky, or the white smoke smoldering on the lawn after you accidentally set your grass on fire trying to ignite a couple of Roman Candles. Regardless, it’s a light way to add the cream to your drink, and the salt keeps the whole cocktail from being too sweet, which I truly appreciate on a hot day.
If you’re in a place where fireworks are legal, by all means, bring out the sparklers, but, if you’re in a state like California, where the pyrotechnics are left up to the professionals, then a dash of edible gold stars is good enough for a sparkling garnish.
Add all ingredients to a whipped cream canister. Close the canister, shake hard, charge it with a whipped cream charger, shake, charge with a second canister and refrigerate at least one hour until ready to use. Will keep fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Fun in Jalisco Cocktail:
1 cup watermelon cubes, frozen
4 ounces Blue Nectar Silver Tequila
6 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces lime juice
1 ounce blue curaçao
1-1/2 cups ice cubes edible gold stars
In a blender, first blend watermelon cubes until even consistency (make sure cubes are small, if the cubes freeze up in the blender, add 1 teaspoon of hot water to the blender). Pour into a separate container and set aside. Next, combine Blue Nectar Silver Tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, blue curaçao and ice in the blender. Blend for 15 seconds until even consistency. To serve the drink, in a tall glass pour in the tequila mixture until about halfway up. Pour in a layer of the watermelon puree (about half the puree), and then top with additional blue mixture. Add salted coconut foam on top and sprinkle with gold stars.
The drink is quite refreshing with a nice blend of sweet, tart and spicy from the tequila. The salted coconut can be gently mixed in for added creaminess or left atop the cocktail for between sips.
There was a time when “drinking holiday” meant you were either wearing green and getting pinched, or you had a reason to bust out that giant plastic chip and dip set that slightly resembled a sombrero. Now, thanks to the internet and society’s intense need to celebrate something every day, we can toast to Taco Tuesdays (actually I’m OK with that), National Brisket Day (May 28th. Actually, that sounds like an even better holiday) and National Fettuccine Alfredo Day (February 7th. Because…why again?). Even though every liquor also has its namesake day, I think I’ve reached the end of all these made up holidays and just want to go back to the basics.
Like Cinco de Mayo. Now, debatably, this holiday is more for the American audience. However, any reason for me to celebrate a culture whose food I would contentedly eat on a deserted island for the rest of my life is OK with me. Also, margaritas are pretty darn satisfying too. Which brings us to this fantastic giveaway I’m hosting.
I’ve teamed up with Tequila Partida (a favorite of mine you’ve seen around on the site before) and Salt Traders for this Cinco de Mayo gift pack! Just in time for this particular holiday, you can mix up your own batch of cocktails for celebrating. One winner will receive:
1 Bottle of Tequila Partida Blanco
Partida’s Organic Blue Agave Syrup
1 Fun Shaker
Salt Traders Margarita Salt with Chipotle Chile
Just bring the limes! Check out the options below to enter and get up to 10 entries to win. You MUST BE 21 and OLDER to enter. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST May 4th, 2015. Please see terms and conditions below (some states unfortunately are excluded from shipping liquor to). For more information on Partida Tequila, please visit them at partidatequila.com and Salt Traders can be found at salttraders.com.Good Luck!
I wish I could remember the first time I tried mezcal, or even heard of it. Although I’ve tried to rack my brain for that one time, it exists as if I somehow always knew about it. I wish I was that cool. Probably it was sometime over the past 5, maybe 7, years when we collectively started giving other liquors a chance to star in our drinks.
Now I like to put mezcal in everything. And today’s drink is one from my ongoing “to make” list. Here my notes were: meaty, but refreshing. I’m guessing this was a late night scribbling where I had something particular in mind but what exactly is no longer clear. But I like these challenges. To make things even more interesting, bitters will play a unique supporting role in transforming the drink into two different sips. For a slightly savory cocktail, Angostura will be dashed in. And for a sweeter alternative, chocolate bitters will be used. All versions have Aperol there, an assertive liquor that stands up next to the flavors of mezcal without getting lost.
It’s kind of a choose your own adventure cocktail.
Now that I’m remembering that liquor store, I’m realizing that the other reason I liked going over there was that next door there was a Christian store that sold Bible action figures like Samson and Delilah. What a way to get kids thrilled about the Old Testament. When I was Catholic I was all in, until I wasn’t anymore.
Ok, enough about Bible Liquor stores. Let’s get to cocktail making!
1 ounce mezcal, Del Maguey Vida Organic used here
3/4 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
3 ounces club soda
2-3 dashes of either Angostura or Chocolate bitters, like Scrappy’s Chocolate Cocktail Bitters
lemon peel for garnish
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add mezcal, Aperol, lemon juice and bitters of your choice. Shake to combine and then strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Top with club soda and garnish with lemon peel.
I’m using the Vida mezcal here because it’s both a wonderful sipping liquor and it mixes well with others. It’s assertive without being aggressive. Aperol is not too bitter and not too sweet. (But it’s just the right amount of both that you don’t need to add another sweetener.) Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds in a touch of tartness, and the whole thing is topped off with a glug of club soda to mellow it out and give some effervescent pep. Angostura adds spice that compliments some of the cinnamon and earthy flavors found in the mezcal. Or you can change that up with a few dashes of chocolate bitters. The sweet, roasted chocolate flavors in the bitters play up the sweet and bitter orange in the Aperol and also some of the vanilla found in the mezcal. This makes the drink excellent for a slightly sweet digestif or a surprisingly refreshing nightcap.
The Traveling Bar is an on-going series where cocktail bloggers, bartenders and boozy professionals pick their favorite neighborhood watering holes. Today we’re back in the East Bay (in Northern California) joined by Todd from Honestly Yum for his favorite place to get a drink. Read on to find out where you can oogle a tower of gin and then later feast on tacos. Mmmm… ~Elana
While admittedly I’m quite the cocktail nerd, by no means would I consider myself a cocktail snob. Consequently, I like a bar that takes its craft seriously, but doesn’t take itself too seriously; a place that can mix me up a boulevardier or a last word, but won’t get snarky if I order a rum and coke or a screwdriver. I’m a sucker for a good tequila selection and fresh citrus. Friendly bartenders go a long way, especially when I see they have a group of loyal regulars.
2. Here’s the scenario: your cocktail lovin’ friend is coming to your town for ONE night. You only have time for ONE bar. Which one is it?
The first place I always take my friends is the Hotsy Totsy Club in Albany, CA. It’s my favorite neighborhood bar – I grew up just around the corner. Nothing beats it!
3. What makes this place so special you’d bring them here?
The Hotsy Totsy has it all: the charm of your friendly neighborhood bar, mixed with the craft of today’s cocktail scene. The local regulars are practically family. The owners Jessica and Michael keep the bar stocked with an evolving selection of spirits, old and new, including an impressive tower of gin. The bartenders are all incredibly knowledgeable, and in times of indecisiveness they never fail to mix me up something delicious.
4. What do you order for your friend? What do you order for yourself?
Hmm, so many choices…if it’s chilly outside I’d probably order my friend a “Hot Totsy”. It’s a flaming drink that uses overproof rum, brandy, honey syrup, lemon juice, hot water, and a winter spice blend. The spices are toasted over the flaming glass, which always makes for an impressive show (and smells incredible, btw). If the weather’s warm, and let’s face it we’re in California, I’d probably go with something cold and refreshing like “El Matador” (pictured here) – Hangar One chipotle vodka, Ancho Reyes, lime juice, agave and cilantro with a sriracha-salt rim. As for me, I’d probably order a glass of well-rum and fresh-squeezed grapefruit. Old habits die hard.
5. Does the bar have food? If not, where would you go for a bite?
The bar itself doesn’t serve food, but there’s an incredible taco truck called Tacos El Autlense parked in the Totsy’s parking lot, 7 days a week. Cocktails and tacos…it doesn’t get much better than that!