Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Rose and Violet Gelées

Sparkling Gin Lemonades with Flower- Infused Boozy Gelées for Easter Brunch // stirandstrain.comThis 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.comI’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.comSince 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.comThe 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.comAs 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.comSparkling 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.comRose 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.

The Brunch Round Up

It’s not very often that I do a theme week around here, but I think we can all agree that brunch is definitely worth the effort. I hope you all enjoy some pineapple or a little pisco this weekend. But if you’d like some more options, here are a few below.

Sparkling Grapefruit and Lillet Rosé Sangria // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling Grapefruit and Lillet Rosé Sangria

Not-So-Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Not-So-Classic Strawberry-Rhubarb Fizz Cocktail

Watch that pour!

Róse Champagne Cocktail

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

Frozen Peach, White Pepper and Green Tea & Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail

Sparkling and Spiced WInter Sangria // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling and Spiced Winter Sangria

**Also, today is the last day to get your nominations in for the Saveur Best Blog awards. If you’d enjoyed the content on here, please consider Stir and Strain for best cocktail site!

A Pitcher of Pisco with Grapefruit, Lime and Thyme

Pisco Brunch Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWelcome back to brunch week on Stir and Strain. Today’s cocktail gets mixed up by the pitcher and also includes a long standing feud between two South American countries.

That’s right! We’re batching up some pisco!Pisco Brunch Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Why pisco today? Well, one reason is that it’s been awhile since I’ve made a cocktail on here with it. And two, well, I swallowed the pisco kool-aide (err.. punch?) so to speak.Pisco Brunch Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Back in January I attended the second annual Golden State of Cocktails here in Los Angeles. Three days filled with seminars, demonstrations, booze, tacos, science, more booze, some bar crawls, educational booths, and so much more booze. While there were some fantastic seminars attended, the talk on the history of pisco stood out the most for me. It made me… really excited about pisco. I can’t say for certain what it was exactly that made this particular talk so great: the enthusiastic speakers? The bottled punch? The sample after sample of pisco? Whatever it was, I knew I was hooked on the spirit and had to start using it more. Hey, the title of the seminar was “The World’s Most Mixable Spirit”. (And if you’d like a little more history on it, I touched on a couple points in my Serious Eats post you can read.)

Pisco Brunch Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

So obviously I needed to start mixing with it. Consider this your gateway cocktail into the world of pisco (that is if you are still on the fence about drinking a Pisco Sour due to the egg white. OH, hey. I made a vegan version of that you should try). Here I’ve paired the pisco with the very much in season grapefruits that I had accumulated over the last several weeks from the farmer’s market. Yes, sometimes my seasonal cocktails are just a reason to get rid of some fruit I’ve over-bought. Then I spiked it with a little thyme and a splash of lime.

Pisco Brunch Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

For the Grapefruit Syrup:

Zest from one medium grapefruit
1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice from 2 to 3 grapefruits (see note above)
1 cup granulated sugar

  • Combine grapefruit zest, juice, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Strain into an air-tight container. Refrigerate until ready to use or up to 1 week.

For the Bottled Cocktails:

3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice from 3 limes
9 ounces pisco, such as Encanto
4 1/2 ounces Grapefruit Syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish

  • In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle together thyme and salt. Add lime juice and stir. Fine-strain into a 24-ounce carafe or swing-top bottle and then pour in grapefruit syrup and pisco. Cap and gently shake to combine. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
  • For each cocktail, add one large ice cube to a double rocks glass. Pour in 2-3/4 ounces of the bottled cocktail. Gently stir and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

It’s a bright, delicious cocktail that you can easily have along whatever brunch-y dishes you might be cooking up. But still palatable for a pre-dinner drink too if that’s more your thing.

The Foaming Pineapple Yes, you CAN drink Tiki for brunch

The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

That’s the sound of me squealing that we’ve got another round of The Coconut Club under our belts. This last run was the best yet. Not only were we set up in an actual, OG L.A. Tiki space, but we also had a seance and a giant glowing tiki god. Small fires aside, it was magical.The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

When you go to events like this, or any event really, where custom drinks are served up, do you ever stop and think about all the drinks that just couldn’t make it to the table that night? Nathan (who also makes drinks for the Coconut Club and who you will see behind the bar more than me) and myself spend countless hours alone and together mixing up possible drinks that we think our audience will love. As much as we’d like to serve them all, some need to get cut from the line up due to timing and to prevent you all from getting alcohol poisoning from over indulging. We have your best interests at heart.The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

This drink came about during one of my R&D days but realized we already had the Piscolada Shrimp Cocktail, a customer favorite, already on the menu and the ingredients were too close to justify serving it.

So consider this the B-side drink. Turns out it makes a fabulous brunch drink. So, yes, you can drink Tiki at 10am.The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

This recipe utilizes frozen pineapple juice cubes for two reasons:
1. I had a huge amount of excess pineapple juice leftover from another drink and I can’t bring myself to waste things so I froze the juice up instead.
2. Frozen pineapple juice cubes mean way less watering down of your drink.

The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.comIf you don’t want to go through the effort of making the cubes, then I would suggest chilling all your ingredients ahead of time so that you still get a nice cold base.

The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail // stirandstrain.comServes 4 – 6
4 ounces white rum
3 tablespoons coconut cream
5 frozen pineapple juice cubes or 8 ounces chilled pineapple juice (see note above)
3 dashes Bittercube Jamaican #2 Bitters

Champagne, Veuve Clicquot used here

nutmeg for garnish

  1. In a blender, combine rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice cubes and bitters. Blend until well combined and no ice remains; consistency will be more like a thin soup, not a slush.
  2. Pour about 3 ounces into the coupes and top with champagne.
  3. Grate fresh nutmeg over the cocktails.

An interesting effect occurs when you top the base with champagne: the cream causes the drink to bubble and foam on top. It looks like a beautiful pillow of coconut cream that smells faintly of pineapple. While the cream and juice are quite sweet, as well as some sweetness from the rum, the champagne cuts right through offering some bitter and savory notes for balance. These particular bitters lend some notes of citrus and spice for further flavor enhancement. The cocktail is super light and easy drinking. Perfect for your next brunch, breakfast, or mid-week snack.