Sparkling Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails

Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails with White Claw // stirandstrain.com
This post is brought to you by White Claw Hard Seltzer. Recipes and ideas are my own.

I could drink green tea all the live long day. I’ve convinced myself it’s a cure all drink; tired: drink tea. Feeling like I’m about to catch a cold: drink more tea. Stressed: GREEN TEA. But it’s also my secret cocktail ingredient. Green tea adds an earthy layer of flavor that gives a touch of savory to whatever drink you add it to.

Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails with White Claw // stirandstrain.comThe summer months mean I switch from hot to iced tea, and now I include big squeezes of lemon, and maybe a little simple syrup. OK OK, I’m making green Arnold Palmers half the time and today I’m using that as the base for my new summer cocktail with White Claw Hard Seltzer.

Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails with White Claw // stirandstrain.comYou might not have heard of this brand before and that’s OK. They’re not only brand new on the market, but hard seltzer is a whole new category unto itself. The best part of adding them to cocktails is that they’re all natural and additive-free. You guys know I just can’t tolerate the taste of synthetic–yuck. To add some effervescence to my cocktail, and just a hint of sweet fruit juice, I chose their Black Cherry flavor (my husband’s favorite) to compliment the earthy green tea and tart lemon. The seltzer is only 5% alcohol so I paired it with some white rum to round out the cocktail.

Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails with White Claw // stirandstrain.comI’m loving this cocktail right now as I’m sweating to death here in Southern California. It’s so refreshing and light which is what I’m looking for with my summer drinks. Who wants something heavy and sickly sweet? And even though the White Claw Hard Seltzer is delicious all on it’s own (they come in 12 ounce cans you can just throw in your fridge for a chilled low cal drink anytime), it’s a great addition to my summer drink line up.

So let’s crack a can open and start mixing!

Black Cherry + Green Tea Cocktails with White Claw // stirandstrain.com1-1/2 ounces white rum
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 green tea syrup (recipe below)
5-6 ounces of White Claw hard Seltzer, Black Cherry flavor
lemon wedges and cherries for garnish.

In a highball glass, build your drink by filling your glass with ice. Then add in white rum, lemon juice, green tea and top with White Claw Hard Seltzer. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with lemon wedges and cherries.

Green Tea Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 green tea bags

In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once a boil is reached, turn off heat and remove the pan from the stove. Add in the two tea bags and steep for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove the tea bags and let cool. When the syrup is cool, use for drinks or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

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.

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.comSo you’re not into frozen fruit daiquiris. Although the peachy one looked tempting, it’s not for you. That’s cool; I’m not going to judge you. You want something more on the savory side? I can help with that too.

Cucumbers!

Cucumbers are that gateway vegetable where fruit isn’t going to cut it in your cocktail, but you sure as hell are not going to put kale in there. Please don’t put kale in here.

A daiquiri base is a simple yet beautiful combination of rum, lime juice and sugar. If you have great ingredients to begin with, you’re outcome will be fantastic. Although, one bad lime will completely ruin a drink (I speak from experience on that one). The base though is also super versatile and a little savoriness will do it no harm.Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Now, we’re not just going to add in cucumbers and call it a day. I’m not that lazy. Instead I tweak it just a little more with the introduction of Green Chartreuse. A little bit added here gives the whole cocktail a spicy punch: hints of licorice, some bitter citrus in there, and lots of other mysterious herbal flavors that make up the ridiculous amount of ingredients found in one bottle. Green Chartreuse balances everything out, taking a somewhat demure drink into very bold territory.

Yes, it might seem like suddenly frozen drinks are popping up on my Instagram feed like mushrooms in a forest, but trust me, this is all in the name of science (not really). I’m just here to make blended alcoholic drinks not suck. Again, as with the frozen peach daiquiri, chilling beforehand will give you a freezing cold base to start with, offering very little dilution when you add the ice. However, if you’re short on time, feel free to skip this step.

8 ounces white rum, such as Caña Brava
4 ounces freshly squeezed juice from 4 limes
1 1/2 ounces Green Chartreuse
2 ounces simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 cucumbers, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
4 cups ice cubes
4 cucumber spears and lime zest for garnish

At least 1 day before you’d like to serve the cocktail, combine rum, lime juice, Green Chartreuse, and simple syrup in an airtight container. Store in the freezer for at least 8 hours. Pour pre-chilled base into blender with cucumber rounds and ice. Blend until even in texture. Pour into serving glasses, garnish each drink with a cucumber spear and lime zest, and serve.

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

 

And if you’re on board the frozen daiquiri train now, you can always go back and check out that peach one.

 

*This post was originally part of a longer article I wrote over on Serious Eats.

Electric Pink Fields

Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.comWhen I was young and trying to be fancy on the weekend, I’d order a Kir Royale at brunch. At 21, even brunch seemed like a novel idea at the time. Drinking at breakfast? Other than seeing my father mix himself a Bloody Mary while frying up some eggs on a Sunday, drinking before 3pm was unheard of growing up. Now, occasionally the odd Kir Royal pops up, usually it is at my in-laws and we’re doctoring up a bottle of champagne someone has given them as a gift. A bottle of champagne that clearly has been re-gifted because the original recipient also knew it was crap. An ancient bottle of Creme de Cassis sits at the back of their fridge just for these occasions. So why did I pick up a bottle recently? It was on my ‘to get’ list. I’d seen it listed in a particularly tasty cocktail someplace and I was reminded it would be a great ingredient in drinks other than the sweet covering up some bad bubbly.

My husband was on a liquor run for himself and had called to ask me if I needed anything, knowing probably there was something I wanted. I told him Creme de Cassis and without missing a beat he said Ok, he’d go look for some. When he was back he proudly showed me a handsome bottle acknowledging that he bought it because it’s price point suggested it was good stuff. “And look at the label!” he said, totally fancy pants.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

I think this happened close to 4 months ago. To which, at least every few weeks, he turns to me asks when I’m going to make something with it.

A serious of unfortunate incidents led me to finally cracking it open the other night. First, my cantaloupe I was going to use had gone bad. Then my cherry syrup shattered. I found myself staring down at a bunch of bottles and just huffing to myself. And then I saw the Creme de Cassis and shrugged. I could use this; it’s fruity. I would sub this in for simple syrup.

The liqueur ended up being a very happy incident. So, working on a daiquiri variation, the first pass was too sharply tart. Bringing the lime juice down to 3/4 ounces on the next pass then rendered it not tart enough. It also felt it was lacking a missing flavor. Tarragon! I know that for some of you, this herb is scary, and completely useless in your kitchen. But really you need to give this herb some love, so, put it in a cocktail at least.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Adding tarragon not only gave it a lovely aroma, it toned the tartness down just enough so that it found balance.

2 oz. Oronoco white rum
1 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 oz. G.E. Massenez Creme de Cassis
8 tarragon leaves

In the bottom of your shaker, add the tarragon leaves and lime juice. Lightly crush with a muddler. Add ice 2/3 up the shaker. Pour in rum and creme de cassis. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.

Magenta in color with flecks of tarragon throughout. The nose is berry and tarragon, or rather a subtle licorice smell if you’re unfamiliar with this herb. The cocktail itself is tart and sweet. More berry on the palate with a grassy aftertaste. Dry in the mouth but flavor profile is refreshing.Electric Pink Fields Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Behold, the Spice

tikispice-1Making cocktails does not solely get delegated to me at home. My husband enjoys them as much as myself, and sometimes even gets his hands dirty and tries to concoct one on his own. Sometimes they’re even good. This cocktail stems from a creation at least 60% his, with some of my own adjustments. Its creation from a new found love of Allspice Dram; a love so strong I found him drinking the stuff neat once. The syrupy flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove are a bit too powerful for my palate on their own but he couldn’t stop throwing it into drinks once he got his hands on it. I can’t knock him though, I’m doing the same thing with that Apricot Liqueur.

I was going to even have him name this cocktail until all this talk about spices led to absurd quotes from Dune. I know of Dune, but my only vivid memory of the film is in the form of View-Master slides I received for my preschool graduation that erupted a timid 4 year old into screams of horror and probably a fitful sleep that night. Popples and a Dune View-Master… Mom and Dad… what were you guys thinking? No, for this drink I wanted it to be ALL Tiki. Allspice Dram, also referred to as Pimento Liqueur or Pimento Dram, is dotted here and there within Tiki cocktail books. With the combination of the rum and citrus in this cocktail, clearly this drink was headed tropical, and not deserts inhabited with giant worms.tikispice-3

We were also having a string of 80° days in Los Angeles and this was a good thirst quencher.

2 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
1-1/2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (light rum)
1 oz. Kraken Black Spiced Rum
1 oz. Oronoco Rum (white rum)
1/2 oz. Fee Brother’s Maraschino Syrup
1/2 oz. Orgeat Syrup
1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice*
1/8 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 dashes of Miracle Mile Orange Bitters*
*see notes below on varying degrees of sweetness in your orange juice

orange peel
brandied cherry

Combine all ingredients except orange peel and cherry with 6 oz. of crushed ice. Shake well and pour un-strained into a Tiki mug. Add more crushed ice to fill if necessary. Garnish with the orange peel looped over the cherry on a bamboo pick. Straw optional but recommended. tikispice-2

At first one might be shocked that with all the talk about the Allspice Dram there is only an 1/8 of an ounce here. Believe me… that is all you will need. It’s quite powerful stuff and a little goes a long way. If your orange juice is not very sweet, ours was, you can turn down the lime juice and orange bitters. Those two ingredients were added for more bite and tartness to counteract the overly sweet OJ. The Allspice Dram unites the drink in a satisfying way. Without it (and I know this because I forgot to add it on one try) the fruit flavors are segregated from the spice of the rum in a jarring way. Adding it is like a sweet bridge between those two worlds of flavor.