Mother’s Day Cocktail Roundup

Both my mother and mother-in-law are not big drinkers. So imagine this roundup more for those of you who have a booze lovin’ mamma. Or spend an afternoon at the club making the boys fetch you drinks while you never get around to playing tennis. Or better, perhaps, these are for the sons and daughters having to endure hours on Sunday being told you’re not coming around or calling enough. Yes, these drinks are for you.

Burnt Sage & Blackberry Sangria. One for you, one for mom. Or two for you.

sage blackberry sangria // stirandstrain.com

 

Pitcher drinks mean all day drinking. Try this  Apple and Rosé Sangria with Sunday brunch.

Drunken Apple and Rosé Sangria // stirandstrain.com

 

Need something quick but fancy? Try this Sparkling Hibiscus Cocktail, takes but a second but super pretty to look at.

Sparkling Hibiscus #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

 

Sparkling Wine. Watermelon. Limoncello? What’s more impressive sounding than that? Whip up some Salty Melon Cocktails. They’ll be perfect with your edible fruit basket.

Salty Melon #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

 

 

Need more pink on Sunday? Electric Pink Fields is ALWAYS a winner.

Electric Pink Fields #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

 

And if you just need a stiff drink. Have a Smoky Manhattan.

Smoky Manhattan #Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Holiday Gift Guide: What I Want

I’m taking a break from reading emails where everyone is telling me to get “what I really want”. I figured I would just make up my own mind and make the last gift guide on here this season “what I really want”.

My Holiday Cocktail Gift Guide // stirandstrain.com

What I really want, is to be able to buy Stranahan’s in California again since it’s been at least over two years since I could. I’d also like to picture myself as a cocktail, something with a giant straw umbrella hat would be fitting. An ice maker that makes crystal clear ice? In my bathroom?! Or wherever the hell I want?! And seriously, I could totally use a saber to cut open bottles of champagne. Now, if only I could get a year of Uber rides for free (while eating Gin & Tonic chocolate bars and a full punch set up in the back).

1. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey 2. Punch Bowl Set 3. Veuve Clicquot Brut 4. Drinkify Me! 5. Gin and Tonic Chocolate Bar 6. Champagne Saber 7. Portable Clear Ice Maker 8. Uber Rides

Mixology Monday: Anise Cream Coffee

Anise Cream Rye-Spiked Coffee // stirandstrain.com
Mixology Monday LogoWeekend mornings always start with several cups of coffee. Years ago I had a French Press but it was kind of chintzy and broke on me; I only just replaced it a month ago. Since I am the only one drinking coffee in my house, I still make a full pot and will pour cup after cup, not thinking about how much caffeine I am ingesting until hours later my heart is pounding as if Animal is playing the drums in there. I’ve started to cut down on the coffee by replacing the giant coffee pot with a French press. It’s very unlikely I will clean the whole thing out just to make another round too.

So why the coffee talk? Well, because it’s the base for this month’s Mixology Monday cocktail! No, it’s not a coffee theme, Nick from the Straight Up blog has given us ANISE as the special ingredient this month.

Since it’s all kinds of cold lately, I decided a nice hot, boozy drink was in order. But where to put the anise? In a cream! Seriously though, I saw this challenge as an excuse to go buy myself a whip cream dispenser. It will have other purposes later (none of which will include whippets FYI) so I figured now was the time to splurge on one. Tis the season to give (to oneself).Anise Cream Rye-Spiked Coffee // stirandstrain.com

First thing you need to do is make the cream infusion:
1 cup organic whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
3-4 whole star anise

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients over medium-high heat. Bring to just under a boil and reduce heat to low. Keep at a simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until room temperature. Strain the mixture, cover and refrigerate over night. The next day, whip by hand (stand mixer, hand mixer, etc…) or funnel contents into a whipped cream dispenser. Keep refrigerated if not using right away.

For the Drink:
1 oz. Rittenhouse 100 Rye
4 oz. Hot Brewed Coffee (Groundworks Black Magic Organic Espresso used here)
1/4 oz. simple syrup (or more/less to taste)
infused anise & vanilla whipped cream

1 whole star anise for garnish

In a glass mug (or regular mug if you want), add simple syrup, rye and coffee. Stir gently to combine. Top with anise vanilla whipped cream and garnish with the whole star anise.

By itself, the coffee and rye are quite strong, and too…’alcohol forward’ if you catch my drift. The cream drastically cuts that back and evens out the whole drink. Rye and anise are a wonderful combination together. Although usually strong flavors on their own, here they work as accents to the other players in the drink. The espresso has an earthiness that pairs well with the vanilla, and as a whole, the drink is only slightly sweet with a nice kick of spice.

Anise Cream Rye-Spiked Coffee // stirandstrain.comWhy not put sugar in the cream mixture? Personally, I’m not a big sweet drink drinker. Here it’s important to balance the sweetness of each drink with the person’s preference. Did I mention this is a great brunch drink? Whipping cream has a slight sweet edge to it and I find that adding a touch of simple syrup to the coffee itself disperses enough sugar throughout. Could you flavor the whipped cream to just be sweetened? Yes, Add about a 1/2 ounce of simple syrup to the mixture before beating/funneling into a whipped cream dispenser.

The Portland 75 Cocktail

The Portland 75 Cocktail // stirandstrain.comOk guys. I might have been panicking last week but today I’ve made peace with the fact that 1. I only got Christmas cards out of my immediate family this year (sorry friends, maybe I’ll get ambitious and send out New Years ones. Maybe.) 2. I just am not going to get all those to-dos on my list done. This is ok. Save a life was not one of them so I can take a deep breath and just add them to next years holiday list. So let’s just talk about some cocktails.

Like I mentioned in the Sangria post, I have some drink recipes going up on the Serious Drinks site. This one you may have seen earlier in the week and I figured it was time to post over here just so we can all be kept up to date in the Stir and Strain universe. It’s a nice addition to your holiday table, and super easy to make. Also: it tastes like a Christmas tree. Seriously Clear Creek Distillery, you guys wowed the pants off me with this eau de vie. Yes, it’s getting some notice on this blog; remember that Pear cocktail? Here I’ve taken the French 75 and Portlandified it. No, I didn’t put a bird on it; I stuck a fir tree in it. Totally better in my opinion.

1 1/2 ounces Heritage Distilling Crisp Gin*, or another herbaceous New World style gin
1/4 ounce Clear Creek Distillery Douglas Fir Eau de Vie
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
4 dashes Lemon Cocktail Bitters
5 ounces sparkling rosé wine such as Bugey Cerdon, chilled
Lemon peel for garnish

Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add gin, Douglas Fir Eau de Vie, lemon juice, simple syrup, and lemon bitters. Stir until chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain into a Champagne flute and top with chilled sparkling rosé. Express lemon peel over the drink and add peel to the top 1/3 of the glass as a garnish.

Tart and Christmas Tree-like. The rose should have a lot of residual sugar to balance out the earthy gin and eau de vie. You can batch these in groups of 4 and top with the rosé for a Holiday brunch drink. Or just be fancy and have it a night too with some oysters (I will be doing just that on Christmas Eve).The Portland 75 Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Also, I wanted to send a big thank you and shout out to Bar and Garden in Culver City, CA who have been helping steer me in the right direction of choosing sparkling wines for drinks. The ladies there are awesome, knowledgeable and have yet to pick out something I wouldn’t want to crack open and slug down on the spot. Please give them a visit if you’re in West Los Angeles.

And stay tuned here for a few more holiday posts and irreverent boozy Gift Guides this week.

*This bottle from Heritage Distilling was generously given gratis and appears here because I like drinking it. For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

Holiday Gift Guide: Stuff Your Stocking (with booze)

Growing up, stockings were always an important part of the holiday tradition in my household. On Christmas morning they were the first things that my sister and I could touch. And what a bounty! Looking back, it was a lot of little crap, but my mom knew exactly the kind of crap we would go nuts over. Since I’ve been with my husband celebrating Christmas, I’ve reinstating stockings. From socks to swanky sunglasses, anything goes. However, if I was going to choose some items to put in there for all of you readers, here’s the loot you’d get!

Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers // stirandstrain.com

Let’s light a champagne scented candle (when it’s done you get a new cup!) and juice a couple limes. Break open your copy of Home Bar Basics and contemplate how you’re going to personalize that barrel you’ll be aging a Negroni in later. It’s the holidays, so let’s mix up that all natural cranberry syrup with some gin. Shoot it back, or get out the coasters?

1. Stainless Steel Citrus Juicer 2. St. George Spirits Tasting Bottles 3. Fruitations Cranberry Syrup 4. Home Bar Basics Cocktail Book 5. Swizzle Stick 6. Mason Jar Shot Glasses 7. Glassware Coasters 8. Personalized Mini Barrel 9. Decanter Tags 10. Champagne Candle/Glass

Holiday Gift Guide: TIKI Excess

During the winter months, those palm trees outside tend to look rather sad and dreary. But with the Grog Log in hand, and a couple of Hurricanes, suddenly it seems a bit more balmy out. For those cocktail lovers on your list that tend to dip towards the over-saturated wonderland that is Tiki, here’s a couple of choice gifts.

Tiki Holiday Gift Guide // stirandstrain.com

Tropical fruits delivered to your door? Yes please. And while you’re at it, let’s crush some ice and make a cone mold. Then stick it on a puffer fish.

1.Pineapple Drink Dispenser 2. Grog Log Cocktail Book 3. Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters 4. Star Fruits 5. Flamingo Stir Stick 6. Navy Grog Cone Mold 7. Vintage Ice Crusher 8. Puffer Fish Tiki Mug

The Rusty Rickey // Happy Repeal Day!

The Rusty Rickey Cocktail // stirandstrain.comHappy Repeal Day folks!

What? You’re familiar with Repeal Day, right? Are you holding a drink/about to make a drink/going to go and have a drink? If you are, then you must remember that without this special day in history, you might be drinking grape juice right about now. Or maybe not even have been born! On December 5th, 1933, the U.S. repealed Prohibition making liquor once again a legal and delicious pastime for all citizens.

Today I’m making the Pre-Prohibition drink, the Gin Rickey, with a little spin on the ingredients. Not much mind you, switching the gin to a barrel-aged and adding a little freshly ground coriander because it is awesome. You can make this the good old fashioned way too if you don’t have these around; just cut back the lime juice by 1/2 an ounce.

2 oz. Rusty Blade Gin
3/4 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
4 oz. Q Club Soda
pinch of freshly ground coriander

In a highball glass filled with ice, build the drink by pouring in the gin and lime juice. Top with club soda. Add a pinch of the coriander on top and swirl with a straw gently to combine.

Cinnamon, spices and lime on the nose and the palate. Light effervescence from the club soda with a mild earthy finish.

If you’d like some additional reading on Repeal Day, please visit Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s site (who has multiple postings on the subject and pretty much is the reason we were all made aware of this holiday).

Holiday Gift Guide: Booze Filled Advent Calendars

Whisky and Gin Advent Calendars // stirandstrain.com

Living under the shadow of the Roman Catholic Church growing up, December 1st meant putting up the advent calendar. If you’re not familiar with this tradition, it’s pretty much a calendar for kids to use themselves in lieu of bugging their parents about “how many days until Christmas?”. At this point in life, I’ve forgotten any other symbolic meaning it may have. Anyways, one school year the teacher brought out what I thought was the best thing to happen since the invention of Christmas, a chocolate filled advent calendar. We all picked days and when our day came up in class, we got to open the door and eat the chocolate. And I remember it as pretty decent chocolate. That moment in time has stuck with me as the best advent calendar ever, until last year, when I spotted these two beauties from the Master of Malt site. You can pick either whisky or gin for 24 days of boozy surprises. This year they have premium editions of both making your only decision whether you go brown or clear. If you can’t decided, just get both.

Premium Whisky Advent Calendar // Craft Gin Advent Calendar

Holiday Gift Guide: Into the Woods

I don’t know about you, but when I think of “nature”, I think bear attacks and canned beans. If you find yourself stuck in one of those situations, only a good cocktail will help. And also running like hell.

Holiday Gift Guide: Into the Woods // stirandstrain.com

Wilderness doesn’t seem so daunting when a bear’s roaring mouth is helping you crack open a bottle of tonic water (thanks pal!). Or that fox just chilled your drink real nice. Just watch out for the wild turkeys; they might bite.

1. Animal Print Cocktail Napkins 2. Fox Shaker 3. Animal Head Shot Glasses 4. Bear Bottle Opener 5. Giraffe Cocktail Stirrers 6. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon 8. Zebra Coaster

The El-El After-Dinner Cocktail

El-El Cocktail // stirandstrain.comLet’s jump into this post with a story.

A few weeks ago I received an email from a friend of mine asking if I was available to make some drinks for a Thanksgiving-Hanukkah related dinner party. Not just any dinner party, one hosted by the guys behind The Table Set Podcast. I would be responsible for providing a dessert cocktail to accompany dessert. Naturally I jumped at the chance. And in the end, they let me do TWO drinks. The first one you guys have seen before, the Averna Highball, which proved itself a lovely companion to some Turkey Broth with Thanksgiving “Stuffing” Matzo Ball soup.

Dessert was going to be a new to everyone cocktail. Besides working as an ‘after dinner’ type drink, it also had to pair with the actual dessert (which you can find out more about by listening to the podcast. It’s a doozy! Look for it later this week.). In my mind, after dinner drinks fall into 3 categories: coffee, port and, well, more cocktails. For this drink I decided to dump them all into one cup. One tasty, caffeinated cup.El-El Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Prior to this, I had been considering infusing coffee into a rum to try out for drinks, and low and behold, the opportunity presented itself here. This is a quick infusion folks, so don’t go fretting about having to wait. I mean, it’s not going to be ready in an hour, but at least you’re not waiting a whole week!

The garnish you’re looking at is a nod to the dessert it accompanies, and no, it’s not the dessert you think it is. Since this was at a Thanksgivukkah dinner, originally I had thought of including a gold coin garnish (admittedly I know very little about the holiday, being raised Catholic and all, even we got these coins in our stockings at Christmas), but decided that a gilded pecan would look prettier (it does). Paired with a Luxardo cherry it’s also mighty tasty too.

The dinner itself was great, and I’m still dreaming about the dishes. Also, I learned how to actually play the Dradle game for real; and I won. And if you’re curious, the El-El is not a phonetically Jewish spelling of some sort. I just combined the names of the rum and coffee because I was drawing a blank on what to call it… real imagination here.El-El Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

1-1/2 oz. Intelligentsia El Diablo Dark Roast infused 15 year El Dorado Rum (see recipe below)
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1/2 oz. Yalumba Antique Tawny Port
1/2 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth

Garnish:
Maple Glazed Pecan (see recipe below) dusted with edible gold glitter
Luxardo Cherry

Combine rum, allspice dram, port and sweet vermouth in a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice. Stir about 20 seconds and strain into a chilled miniature snifter glass. Garnish with a cocktail pick speared with the pecan and cherry.

Rich and decadent are the two words that first popped out of my mouth. Full coffee wafts up on the nose and stays on the palate. A spicy, bittersweet finish pops with each layer of flavor. This is definitely an after-dinner sipper with a lot of complex allspice, ginger and chocolate notes to it. It pairs wonderfully with a vanilla ice cream. So, if you’re looking for something to pair with dessert this holiday season, here you go.

Make It: Intelligentsia El Diablo Dark Roast infused 15 year El Dorado Rum

14 oz. 15 Year El Dorado Rum
1/2 cup Intelligentsia El Diablo Dark Roast

Combine ingredients in an airtight container (I reused my rum bottle). Swirl to cover the beans. Let sit for 2 days. Fine strain to catch any broken coffee beans. Bottle. Use within two years.

Golden Maple Glazed Pecans

Adapted from Food Network
1 cup pecans
3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
pinch of salt

Dry heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is hot, add pecans, maple syrup and salt. Stir to combine and keep stirring until pecans are covered and syrup has evaporated from the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes. Pour out pecans onto a silpat or parchment paper to cool. While still warm, dust edible gold glitter over the pecans. Shake off excess. (This is easier if you spear onto toothpick first.). Tastes best up to a week in an airtight container.

Action shot from dinner.
Action shot from dinner.

Big thanks again to Andy, Greg and Nathan from The Table Set for inviting me over to talk cocktails and for allowing me to serve strangers alcohol.

Also, in case you haven’t see all the tweets, Stir & Strain now has a Facebook page! You can find it over here.