Gingerbread Winter Warm Up

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Do you have a holiday cookie tradition? I think I may have perfected my gingerbread cookie recipe this year. I mean, I’m using Thomas Keller’s Bouchon recipe as the base, so you really can’t go wrong with that. But, it is the first year that I made a cookie like this that didn’t just separate and spread all over the cookie sheet pan. I’ve yet to find my perfect sugar cookie recipe though. That I can never get right and that always spreads and won’t hold its shape. So, we all have to go without any holiday cookies that are gingerbread; thankfully no one complains. Sorry Santa.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comWhile making these cookies I thought about how great the baking spices would be in a cocktail. Sure, we see lots of dashes of cinnamon or nutmeg this time of year, but those in combination with an intense ginger flavor…well we’ve got a perfect pair for some whiskey and a hot cocktail. I refer to these heated cocktails during holiday time as winter warm ups. They’re a great companion to a fireplace and a pair of hands in need of warmth.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.com

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis month I’ve teamed up with Kerrygold Irish Cream to make my perfect fireside winter warm up with all the wonderful baking spices found in these gingerbread cookies. It packs a punch of ginger but also has lots of nice spice from the Irish whiskey, and that touch of chocolate and cream in the Kerrygold adds a superb richness to the drink that doesn’t get watered down. And that’s probably because they use real chocolate, and the cream used to make the liqueur comes from grass-fed cows and is a third creamier than what you usually find on the market. You can alter the hot water amount in here to your liking; I keep it around 3 ounces. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you might think about making your own whipped cream and adding some gingerbread syrup to the mix for a super dose of yummy gingerbread-ness (I did. It’s so worth it! Just a tablespoon is all you need to add to your canister.).

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comAfter making this cocktail I need to rethink my gingerbread recipe and add a little chocolate and whiskey and there too now. Then it will be perfect.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comLet’s get warmed up!

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up (makes two drinks)

3 ounces Irish whiskey
1-1/2 ounces Kerrygold Irish Cream
1-1/2 ounces gingerbread syrup, see recipe below
3 dashes Angostura bitters
6-8 ounces hot water (just under boiling)
whipped cream, optional

In a mixing glass, add the Irish whiskey, Kerrygold Irish Cream, gingerbread syrup and bitters. Stir to combine everything and divide between two glasses. Pour in 3-4 ounces of hot water into each glass and stir gently to combine. Optionally top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.com

Gingerbread Syrup

Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger (or 3 slices, 1/4″ thick fresh ginger with skin on)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower temperature and keep at a simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain fresh ginger out if using, and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in an air-tight container. Refrigerate up to one month.

Blood Ritual mezcal - agave - chocolate bitters - angostura - grapefruit - $50

Blood Ritual: Mezcal Chocolate Old Fashioned // stirandstrain.comWhoa. Yeah, I know. It’s not Halloween anymore so what’s up with the “blood” in the title? Well, I’ll start the story at the beginning here by asking a simple question: Who Are You?

Blood Ritual: Mezcal Chocolate Old Fashioned // stirandstrain.comYears ago when I first started writing in the small space on the internet known as cocktail blogging, I feel like I had a pretty good grasp on who else was also writing in this space. And folks, this was pre-Instagram days, you had to sometimes do a little leg work to find the other folks. I also had a good grasp on who my readers were. Mainly because people talked a whole lot more on blogs than they do now. But this wasn’t my full time gig, I was creative directing for a living for a company here in Los Angeles and this site was just a fun hobby that I popped in and out of. What that meant was that I also wasn’t super consistent and would disappear for months at a time. Readers came and went and then social media got super crazy and this little space expanded SO much and SO rapidly that it no longer felt so intimate and cozy.

Blood Ritual: Mezcal Chocolate Old Fashioned // stirandstrain.comLately then, when I do speak on here, it’s kinda just like yelling down a deep, dark well. And that’s no fun. I’m writing this for anyone who reads this site, and I’d like us to get to know each other just a little bit. So if you ever wanted to know a few tidbits about me, here you go:

  • I have zero formal training as a bartender
  • I have a fine arts background including photography
  • I have a degree in Art History that concentrated on Mesoamerican Art History (which is how I know about blood rituals and chocolate and how they all tie in together and that’s how this particular mezcal Old Fashioned got its name)
  • I have two kids that did not exist when I started writing about cocktails
  • I get motion sickness scrolling on my phone sometimes
  • I’m terrified of moths (and Ray Liotta and that’s still on my about me page which I should probably update)
  • I used to DJ all vinyl 45s of girl group and girl garage bands based from the late 50s to the early 70s here in Los Angeles for years before taking a break in 2014
  • I’m a morning person
  • Heat Wave by NARS is my favorite lipstick
  • I have ~75 bottles of bitters I will never use
  • I wanted to be a race car driver when I was 8
  • I had a blog in the early 2000’s about live music shows in Los Angeles. It’s still out there on the internet!

Blood Ritual: Mezcal Chocolate Old Fashioned // stirandstrain.comOk, now you!!! I’ve got a super short survey for you all. You don’t even have to answer all the questions if you want! And to make it worth your while, everyone who responds and leaves an email will get the chance to win a $50 e-gift card to Cocktail Kingdom. I like my readers. And I know some of you like pretty cocktail accessories too.

Take the Stir and Strain Reader survey now!

 

Blood Ritual: Mezcal Chocolate Old Fashioned // stirandstrain.comAlso! Old Fashioned Week is almost over so I thought I’d squeeze this recipe in before it’s too late. It’s rich and smoky and the chocolate comes through nicely. Don’t forget to express a little grapefruit oil with that garnish. It works best with that touch of bitter citrus.

Blood Ritual (A Chocolate Mezcal Old Fashioned)

2 ounces mezcal, use something more on the smokier side here
1/4 ounce agave syrup
3 drops chocolate bitters, Scrappy’s used here
1 drop Angostura bitters
grapefruit peel

In a mixing glass 2/3 with ice, stir together the mezcal, agave and both bitters. Strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Express the oil from the grapefruit peel over the drink and drop in the peel.

 

EDIT: giveaway is not affiliated with Cocktail Kingdom. Survey will close on November 26 and winner will be announced via email that week.

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

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

Whiskey Round the World Walnut Toffee Whiskey - Amontillado Sherry - Sweet Vermouth - Coconut - Bitters

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Cask & Crew. Recipe and ideas are my own.

My husband has this plate that hangs on the wall in our kitchen (yes, we have a decorative plate. Actually, there are two in the house. Laugh if you must but they’re pretty cool looking.). On the plate are two older gentlemen curiously hovering above a globe, one holds a magnifying glass and some papers while the other points at some uncertain location; it’s called Newfound Worlds. It’s also apparently a Norman Rockwell painting so you all can look it up and check it out too.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comWhat’s funny about this is, and how it connects to today’s drink, is the fact that these men are stationed comfortably in a library somewhere, discovering from the comfort of their armchairs. Are they really discovering new worlds? Maybe it’s a discovery for them, even if they are not actually there. My equivalent would be browsing travel sites, for hours, and not actually going on any trips. Sometimes one just needs a mental vacation.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comSo about today’s drink. Today we’re taking a tour around the world with our ingredients: we start in America, then head off to Britain, Spain, Italy, and then we dash down to some tropical islands. A delicious trip, but from the comfort of our armchair.

The star ingredient here is the Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey, a lovely balance of buttery sweetness, bitter walnuts and a punch from the whiskey. It’s tasty on its own, with a blend of 51% Canadian rye and 49% American corn, but it’s also great mixed into drinks where the notes of vanilla and spice shine through. For this cocktail, I wanted to heighten the nuttiness of the whiskey with some Amontillado Sherry and round out those spice factors with bitters and sweet vermouth. For an unexpected twist, coconut syrup adds a freshness that lightens the drink a bit. Sipping it from your armchair you experience both the familiar and the exotic.

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.comOh, and the other decorative plate…it’s a white tiger in a tuxedo.

If you’re ready to take a mental vacation, let’s mix up this drink already!

Whiskey Round the World Cocktail with Cask and Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey // stirandstrain.com

1-1/2 ounces Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
3/4 ounce Amontillado sherry
1/4 ounce coconut syrup* (see note below about making your own!)
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 dashes orange bitters

orange peel for garnish

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, add in Cask & Crew Walnut Toffee Whiskey, sweet vermouth, Amontillado sherry, coconut syrup, Angostura bitters, and orange bitters. Shake 20 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Express orange oils over the drink and garnish with peel.

*If you’d like to make your own coconut syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 1 cup flaked coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir and let mixture come to just under a boil. Turn heat down to low and stir to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 1 hour. Fine strain into an airtight container (I like wide mouth ball jars for these) and store, refrigerated, for up to one month.

 

For more information on Cask & Crew, please visit them at caskandcrew.com!

Game Day Snacks with The House of Angostura Angostura Dusted Popcorn and Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs // stirandstrain.comIt’s February and that means we’re waking up from our January slumber around here and getting ready for all the fun this month brings! Like Groundhog Day! Our SEVEN YEAR blogiversary! Valentine’s Day! All those other anti-Valentine’s Day holidays I get press releases about! SUPER BOWL!

Angostura Dusted Popcorn // stirandstrain.comOK, so it’s the last holiday there that we’re focusing on today (although, dang, I’ve been writing here for seven years now!). We’re not super big sports people around my house but since we like throwing parties for our friends, we’ve definitely been known to throw a few Super Bowl parties over the years. This year we’ve teamed up with The House of Angostura to bring you a few ways you can use Angostura in your FOOD, as well as in your drinks!

Today we’re including TWO recipes you can whip up for the big game day. Both are super easy with one being really quick and the other pretty much hands off while you wait.

If you’re looking for a quick snack, Angostura Dusted Popcorn is where it’s at. Angostura Dusted Popcorn // stirandstrain.comClick on the photo for recipe!

Second, here’s a hands off Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs. RIBS! With AMARO AND RUM!!

Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs // stirandstrain.comClick on the photo for recipe!

And there you go folks! I hope your football party is made just that much tastier with a little touch of Angostura.

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

Make It: Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs

Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.

The secret to a really tasty sauce is layering flavors. With a little help from Angostura Amaro and Angostura 7 Year Rum, this rich sauce is both sweet and spicy, and the perfect companion to a plate of ribs (or dip for chicken tenders, or slathered on a hamburger, or sauce for french fries…).

Sweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs // stirandstrain.comSweet and Spicy Angostura Sauce for Ribs

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
½ red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
⅓ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup Angostura 7 Year Rum
2 tbsp Angostura Amaro
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

In a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat, saute onions until soft, about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and ginger, stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in ketchup, apple cider vinegar, ancho chili powder, sugar, molasses, rum, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 25 minutes. When sauce has thickened and reduced, whisk in amaro. Season to taste. Sauce can be used as a glaze before cooking ribs, or as a sauce for after cooking ribs. Also great in place of BBQ sauce!

Make It: Angostura Dusted Popcorn

Angostura Dusted Popcorn // stirandstrain.com

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

Whether you want something different for snacking during the big game (*ahem*, like this Sunday!), or if you’d like a little pink-tinted treat when you’re watching a movie just for two, Angostura Dusted Popcorn checks all the boxes. Super easy to put together but a snack like none they’ve seen before!

Angostura Dusted Popcorn // stirandstrain.comAngostura Dusted Popcorn

25 g tapioca maltodextrin (available online and on Amazon)
30 g olive oil
10 g Angostura Bitters
3 g kosher salt
popcorn

Combine olive oil, angostura bitters and salt in a small bowl, whisking to combine. In a food processor, add into the largest bowl the tapioca maltodextrin. Place the cover on, begin pulsing and slowly pour the oil and bitter mixture through the feed tube. Continue pulsing until all the liquid is absorbed and powder is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and pulse a few additional time to combine. Mixture will keep in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place for up to two weeks.

Pop popcorn using your desired method. When finished popping and still hot, sprinkle Angostura dust over the popcorn. Enjoy!

A “Fruitcake” Cocktail tequila - maraschino - citrus - currants - walnut - cider

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Exotico Tequila. Recipe and ideas are my own.

I think fruitcake gets a bad rap. If someone gifted me one, I’d probably say thank you, dunk a slice in some milky coffee and enjoy my day. Who had it in for this fruit and nut studded loaf? Who made the association between fruitcake and a brick? Was it a slew of poorly made, overly manufactured cakes hitting the market all at once? These are the questions keeping me up at night, making me scratch my head and then making me wander into the kitchen looking for a piece of cake.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comSo today I thought I’d get a little unconventional and create a cocktail that evoked “fruitcake” but in some surprising ways. I also have your time in mind dear readers and wanted to make sure you had a holiday-ish cocktail in your back pocket you could whip out next week, or in the coming weeks, and not have to do any heavy lifting (No syrups or infusion making today! That’s next week!).

I’ve partnered with the award winning Exotico Tequila and their reposado expression made with 100% blue agave today as the base of the cocktail. Their reposado has lots of warm vanilla, dried fruit and spices in their flavor profile that make it the perfect compliment for those spices you’d find in the cake. I also like the tequila’s more savory notes to balance out the cocktail. To really bring in the fruit and nut flavors I muddled some citrus and dried currants along with maraschino liqueur and rounded it all out with a few dashes of black walnut and Angostura bitters. To brighten it all up it’s topped with just a touch of sparkling apple cider. The end result is tart with lots of spice and a hint of savory from the tequila and the walnut bitters.

It’s an easy to drink, holiday friendly cocktail. You might just find yourself reaching for a real piece of fruitcake too.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.com

A “Fruitcake” Cocktail

2 ounces Exotico Reposado Tequila
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 orange slice
1/2 teaspoon currants (or one large pinch to taste)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 1/2 a lemon
2 dashes black walnut bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounces sparkling apple cider
orange slice for garnish

In the bottom of a shaker, muddle together maraschino liqueur, orange slice and currants. Fill shaker 2/3 with ice and pour in Exotico Reposado Tequila, lemon juice, black walnut bitters and Angostura bitters. Shake hard about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with sparkling apple cider. Garnish with an orange slice.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comFor more information on Exotico Tequila, please visit them at exoticotequila.com.