Candy in cocktails? Sure, we’re all adults here…
Candy in cocktails? Sure, we’re all adults here…
This post is made in partnership with Amaro Lucano. Recipes and ideas are my own.
If you’re looking for a springy cocktail to serve for your Easter weekend that’s bursting with flavors, fruit and flowers: look no further! We’ve teamed up with Amaro Lucano, one of our fav amari for mixing up cocktails, to show you how you can create a low ABV cocktail that is a sheer delight to look at and to drink!
The flowers here in SoCal are everywhere (I’m sure you caught a poppy or two on Instagram)! But did you know some of those gorgeous blooms are edible? And today our cocktail is brimming with a whole bunch of colorful spring flowers that are safe for cocktail garnishes and also super pretty to look at. While you may not want to taste all of them, if you do, you’ll find tastes ranging from cucumber (borage) to raw green beans (bachelor’s buttons) to slightly bitter and spicy (chrysanthemum). All of these can add to the flavor and aroma of this amaro-based cocktail, a Strawberry-Rhubarb Amaro Cobbler Cocktail.
Isn’t cobbler a dessert?! Well, yes. Many people will be familiar with the cobbler as a baked good, but a cobbler cocktail is like a fancy dessert… in the cocktail world! I go into the cobbler a bit in this post, but for brevity, a cobbler is a very old style of cocktail that is made with crushed ice and garnished by decorating the drink in a fanciful manner with seasonal fruits (and here we’re adding flowers as well). Usually it is served with a tiny spoon to eat the fruits with as well. Sherry is often the spirit used most with this drink, but I thought an amaro would be a great base.
Amaro Lucano has been a staple in my home bar for awhile now (and that 93 point rating from Wine Spectator would tell me some of you enjoy it a lot too!). Amaro Lucano has a mild, bittersweet taste that is great on its own, but lovely in cocktails. There are some citrus and herbal notes here too (which isn’t surprising as it’s blended with over 30 herbs!) and I thought they’d pair really well with the strawberry-rhubarb syrup as well as the flowers in the garnish. Since I wanted an easy drinking, low ABV cocktail to pair with my Easter brunch, Amaro Lucano fits the bill with an ABV of 28%.
And what does it all taste like? Well, you get a bittersweet start to the drink with a nice sweetness from the strawberry-rhubarb syrup. I included a float of Lucano’s Anniversario Limoncello for a sharp note of citrus and to further enhance the citrus profile. The finish has some herbal notes to it but I like the surprise subtle licorice flavor that ends your sip.
I really love that people are so into flowers, and gardening, and just taking some time to enjoy nature; this is one current trend I can get behind! Maybe we could all do it with a lot less handheld devices though… but still, at least everyone’s getting outdoors.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram and my Stories this past month or so, you’ve heard me talk about how easy it is to grow a few essentials in a “Cocktail Garden” whether you’ve got a whole back yard to work with, or just a windowsill. Currently I’m growing in a windowsill (cilantro, basil), on a porch (chives, strawberries), and I have an entire front yard area overrun by rosemary (if you’re in SoCal and need some send me a DM). Plans are underway to start some landscaping and garden building in my backyard but that’s going to take awhile. Until then though I am fortunate enough to have my friend Kristin, who runs DineXDesign.com, and her wonderland of a garden who generously provided all of these edible blooms for me to garnish drinks with. All of these flowers you could easily grow in containers so you too can have a variety of blooms to garnish your cocktails with.
Ok, let’s mix some drinks!
1 tablespoon reserved strawberry-rhubarb compote from syrup
1-1/2 cups crushed ice, divided
2 ounces Amaro Lucano
1-1/4 ounce strawberry-rhubarb syrup (recipe below)
1/4 ounce Lucano Anniversario Limoncello
fresh fruit and edible flowers for garnish
In a double rocks glass or goblet glass, build your drink by spooning in fruit at bottom of glass. Add in about one cup of crushed ice. Pour in Amaro Lucano and strawberry-rhubarb syrup. Pack glass with additional ice, leaving about 1/2″ from top of glass. Drizzle Limoncello over the ice. Stir gently to combine. Garnish with fruit and edible flowers and enjoy with a straw (or eat fruit first, your choice!).
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup rhubarb chunks (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. When sugar has dissolved, add in rhubarb (if using frozen no need to defrost) and strawberries. Stir to combine and let the mixture come to a boil. Once a boil is reached, lower to a simmer, cover, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes. Strain solids and set aside. Let syrup cool to room temperature before using. Once cool, use immediately, or transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate up to two weeks.
What’s black and gold and goes bump in the night? You tripping over your fabulously decorated bar cart. We’re going spooky elegant this year…
This month let your bar cart transition back and forth from elegant to macabre with a few black and gold touches. And a giant pumpkin punch bowl because DUH! A rich, dark amaro is good for spooky drinks, or sipping neat. And if you’re looking to conjure some fiery spirits, fill your bitters bottle with a tincture that will have your guests spitting fire. And a block of dry ice wouldn’t hurt either.
1. Black and gold jigger 2. Bitters bottle 3. Skull rocks glass 4. Pick your poison coasters 5. Pumpkin punch bowl 6. Black metal straws 7. Amaro D’Abruzzo 8. Gold bar cart 9. Scrappy’s Firewater Tincture
Catch up on all the gift guides here!
This post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream. Recipe and ideas are my own.
What happens when you combine chocolate-y Kerrygold Irish Cream, amaro, beer, a slight mist of smokey Islay Scotch and a blow torch?! One amazing dessert beer cocktail! You don’t need to an actual campfire to enjoy these S’Mores Campfire cocktails.
2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream
.5 oz amaro
2-3 oz Smoked Porter beer
Mist of a Smoky Islay Scotch
In a mixing glass, combine Kerry Gold Irish Cream and amaro over ice. Stir to chill 20 seconds. Pour in beer and stir gently to combine. Strain over fresh ice into a double rocks glass or large stem glass. Mist scotch over the top of the cocktail. To garnish, spear a marshmallow on a cocktail pick, set over the glass, ignite with a kitchen torch or long match, and sprinkle cinnamon on top (watch for sparks!). Blow the flame out and enjoy!
Mom wants a lot of Rosé, some frozen drinks by the pool, and a whole lot less whining from you.
This post is brought to you by House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.
May is teeming with twofer drinking holidays and this weekend is another. Is Mother’s Day a drinking holiday? (This lady says YES!)
It’s also World Cocktail Day on Sunday, so I thought we would offer up this cocktail that could work for both holidays. It’s called Siegert’s Sparkling Cocktail, a tea cocktail made with Angostura’s Amaro.
You might be asking yourself, “Mmm. I love amaro, but who is a Siegert and what does he have to do with this cocktail?” Well! In 1824, Dr. Johann Siegert produced his first aromatic bitters as a medicinal tincture designed to alleviate stomach ailments of soldiers while serving as the Surgeon General in Angostura, Venezuela. By 1850, Siegert was exporting This magical potion to England, the Caribbean, and United States. From there the manufacturing became a family business with his sons in Trinadad, and Angostura Bitters went on to win awards and become an integral part of cocktail culture to this day.
A fitting little tidbit as we celebrate World Cocktail Day with an ingredient that is as big a star in the cocktail world as the cocktails themselves. Now on to the drink!
Tea! Tea service! Mother’s Day! It’s also Mother’s Day on Sunday so we’re serving up a sparkling cocktail made with aromatic Earl Gray tea syrup. Combined with a little acidity from the lemon juice and the richly complex Amaro di Angostura, it’s layered with spices, subtle citrus and just a pop of effervescence from the tonic water. This cocktail would go great with brunch or listening to Mom tell you about how much better your other sibling is doing with their life. (OK, so maybe in that case you should have this drink.) Either way, it’s delicious. Enjoy!
Earl Gray tea syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 bags earl gray tea
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Stir until sugar dissolves and bring sugar to a boil and then remove from heat. Immediately add tea bags to the simple syrup and let stand 15 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Let syrup cool and store in an airtight container for up to one month.
In a shaker ⅔ filled with ice, add in Angostura Amaro, Earl Gray Tea Syrup, and lemon juice. Shake 20 seconds and strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Pour in tonic water and stir gently to combine. Garnish with lemon peel.
If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com
This post was made in partnership with The House of Angostura. Recipe and ideas are my own.
This past holiday season I discovered the insanely delicious and ridiculously easy recipe that is the chocolate tart. Folks, if you can melt some chocolate in a bowl, stay with me here because it’s about to get even better.
Add amaro to that chocolate and BOOM: adult dessert nirvana.
Why am I using so many superlatives here? Because I feel like I stumbled upon a recipe that really is that easy and that tasty. And the best part is that this recipe is easily adaptable too.
Showing up a Valentine’s Day with a giant chocolate tart might be OK, but it’s not the norm. No one wants to stare down at an empty pie tin knowing how much damage they’ve done. They want vague numbers, they want… chocolate truffles.
How many truffles did you start with? Who cares! They’re all gone, but you swear you only ate a couple. Truffles are magic like that. And they’re even more magical with the addition of booze.
Today we’re showing you all another way to incorporate some boozy goodness into your food with this Angostura Amaro Chocolate Truffles recipe. They require a little more work than a tart, but handing over a box of handmade truffles to someone shows how much you care about them.
We teamed up with Angostura this month to highlight cool ways you can use their products in your food and as well as drinks. For the truffles, we paired the chocolate with their Amaro di Angostura. The amaro has a sweet and slightly spiced flavor profile that isn’t too heavy on the bitter. It adds a nice richness to the chocolate but doesn’t overpower it. We think you’ll like them a whole lot!
Ready to roll? Let’s make some truffles!
In a double boiler set to a simmer, add chopped chocolate and pour cream over the top. Stir constantly to combine until glossy and no chocolate chunks remain. Whisk in Amaro di Angostura and cayenne pepper if using. Refrigerate for at least two hours, and up to overnight. Once firm, scoop out desired truffle size and roll into a ball. Roll in cocoa powder. Truffles will last, refrigerated, up to 2 months.
If you’d like to learn more about Angostura and their products, please visit them at www.angostura.com
This post was made in partnership with Everclear. Recipe and ideas are my own.
The older I get, the more I want to create my own set of holiday traditions. While Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be where one’s mind goes to when we think “holiday traditions”, in our house, Halloween is a big deal.
For a brief period of time in my late 20’s, my husband and I threw some really fun Halloween parties (and Tiki parties, and Christmas parties, and OH BOY do we love a themed party). But now that we have our little family here we tend to go out for parties now, leaving the themes for others to make. Halloween night, though, we’ve started having a party for 2.
While yes, one can raid your kid’s treat bag and gorge yourself on low quality store candy (is it me, or do brands tend to crank out sub-par versions of their candy to stuff into those 10 lb mix bags this time of year?). But as an adult you should do yourself a favor and make yourself something special; at least for one night.
If you’ve been visiting this site for some time, you know I L-O-V-E making adult jellies (or jell-o shots or what-have-you). You can forget everything you knew about those terrible things you choked down in college, and instead congratulate yourself on making a sophisticated treat with this recipe. And just for balance, I’m going to cut mine out in bat shapes for Halloween—I don’t want to be that serious. (You could just as easily put them in a spherical mold or pour your mixture in a non-stick baking pan and cut squares out too.)
Another fun part of this recipe is that you get to go out and buy a bag of candy for the infusion. My Scandinavian side of the family dictates that I must enjoy black licorice but on the rare occasions that I do have a bag of it in the house, I am the only one who touches it and I almost always have too much left over. However, any extras that are leftover this time, go into today’s infusion!
Today we’ve teamed up with Everclear again to create this easy and sophisticated adult treat. I’m using the neutral tasting Everclear as the base of my licorice infusion, and then adding that to a simple mixture of amaro and gelatin (and some shimmering edible powder for extra oomph). You can make this recipe your own by using whatever amaro you enjoy, and you can take or leave the luster dust (I say take it though).
The end result are spicy and anise-y jellies with just a slight boozy kick. Look for an amaro on the mellower side so that you get that warming flavor from the black licorice.
Let’s make some treats!
10 ounces Everclear
1 cup black licorice, chopped
Option #1: Place licorice in an airtight container and pour Everclear over. Seal, shake to combine and let sit 5 days. Shake gently once a day. Test your infusion after 5 days and either strain through a coffee filter or let sit an additional day or two until desired flavor. Once desired flavor is reached, strain into a clean, airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 6 months.
Option #2–quick infusion method: Into a whipping canister, add Everclear and black licorice. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain Everclear into a clean vessel for storage. Use mixture immediately or keep sealed in a cool, dark place for up to six months for optimal flavor.
First up, the awesome news.
Stir and Strain is a finalist AGAIN this year for Saveur’s Best Blog awards in the Drinks Coverage category. We are now up against some beer and wine folks and not just cocktails. Third time’s a charm? Or always a bridesmaid never a bride? We’ll see in September. For now, if you want to vote for Stir and Strain to win, you can do that today (and actually, they are allowing you to do that every day until August 31st. But I won’t pressure you guys either way.).
And now here’s a cocktail.
I’ve been digging Montenegro Amaro for a few months now, but mainly just as a digestif. It’s not new–it’s been around since 1885, but it was new to my line up this year and I couldn’t be happier. Looking for a new way to enjoy this but still keeping it at a low ABV, I thought about that kooky combination of cold brew coffee and tonic water I heard about last year. I don’t keep up with coffee trends, but I do enjoy putting coffee into my cocktails.
So I decided to pair Montenegro, with its super flavorful and wonderfully bittersweet taste, with a robust coffee and slightly bitter tonic. I finished the cocktail with a touch of grapefruit oil in the garnish–don’t skip that folks, it makes the drink with a light floral aroma. It’s hard to nail down exactly all the flavors you get with Montenegro, but there’s citrus and dried cherry and gentian root and just a lot of herbal notes. It provides enough sweetness along with the tonic water so there is no need to add any further sweetener.
You could have this as your digestif, or maybe a Sunday early afternoon drink. Up to your preference. I’ve been enjoying them in the late afternoon when I need a pick-me-up, but also, you know, want a little cocktail too.
5 ounces tonic water (Fever-Tree Indian Tonic used here)
1 ounce Montenegro Amaro*
3-1/2 ounces cold brew or chilled espresso (we have a Nespresso machine at home and for this I used one Lungo capsule of their Fortissio)
grapefruit zest for garnish
But not a break from chocolate.
For all of you who find chocolate and booze maybe a bit too much, then wait for next week when I have an all new SUPER savory cocktail. But for this week, I’m making adult hot cocoa and I’m not apologizing. And I’m topping it with Angostura infused whipped cream because WHY NOT? It’s the holidays and I’m holed up at my in-laws and I’m not going to admit how many chocolate covered almonds (milk and dark chocolate) I’ve eaten for the past 4 days.
This hot cocoa is not spiked in your usual way. There’s no bourbon, or spiced rum, or vodka (not sure I’d even recommend that). What it is spiked with is bittersweet amaro. But Elana, there are SO MANY amari out there! You can’t possible imagine that every bottle will work here (is what I imagine ALL of you are saying out loud right now. In unison.)! And yes, not every bottle will work, but most will work with a particular kind of chocolate. You just need to do a little creative legwork to find your right combination.
My favorite combination is Averna and semisweet chocolate. Why Averna? Besides the fact that I’ve accumulated several bottle of the stuff, it’s a good balance between sweet and spicy with a touch of herbal in the finish. Also, it isn’t overly boozy tasting. But that’s just me. If you like the bracing, earthy edge of a dark chocolate, try it with a sweeter amaro like Gran Classico. For the milk chocolate lovers, that sweetness needs some spice or a blast of menthol; try it with Fernet. Semisweet chocolate is the sweet spot in the center, with a nice balance of rich and earthy that works well with most types of amaro. What I’m getting at is: take your favorite bottle of amaro and make this.
Note: you don’t need to spike your entire batch of hot chocolate. Make the base separately and spike at will. That rich, velvety chocolate base is delicious all on its own and perhaps you have some folks staying with you who don’t drink. Don’t deprive them of the magic that is homemade hot cocoa. But maybe insist they add the Angostura whipped cream. Angostura isn’t alcohol after all, it’s like.. medicine. Medicine from the 1800’s.
1 cup (237ml) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon (15ml) simple syrup (see note above)
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
6 dashes Angostura bitters
Using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat heavy whipping cream at high speed until soft peaks form, then add simple syrup, vanilla extract and Angostura bitters. Whip until medium peaks form, about 1 minute longer. (Alternatively, you can add all the ingredients to a Whipped Cream Dispenser and use that instead.)
1/4 cup (58g) unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
1 tablespoon (13g) granulated sugar
Pinch kosher salt
3 cups (710ml) milk
8 ounces (227g) semisweet chocolate chips (or other type of chocolate, such as milk chocolate, depending on your taste)
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
5 ounces (148ml) Italian amaro, such as Averna
In medium saucepan, stir cocoa with sugar and salt. Stir in milk and chocolate. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is hot. Gently whisk to completely blend mixture. Add vanilla and amaro and stir to combine. Pour into glasses and top with Angostura whipped cream.