Drink up all the colors of love…
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
It’s May, and we are full swing into all the bridal showers, baby showers, outdoor brunches, weddings, and any other excuse you can think of to drink bubbly cocktails outdoors. I consider this to be the height of outdoor drinking season because the breezes are cool here in SoCal and it’s comfortable in the shade. Come August, FORGET IT. I’m inside with the AC on.
It’s no wonder that May also contains National Mimosa Day; in fact, it’s today! If all you know about Mimosas are the cheap, sparkling wine drinks offered “bottomless” at your local brunch spot, let me change that notion with this vibrant, delicious spin on the classic brunch cocktail. We’ve teamed up with Truvia® to add a little zero-calorie, natural sweetness to this fruity, sparkling cocktail.
Orange juice and sparkling wine can be fine, but mostly, just a flat, one note drink. Here I’ve puréed sweet tart strawberries that have been lightly spiced with cardamom and vanilla, and combined that with orange and lime juice—so you have a sour balance to the sweet. The strawberry purée is sweetened with just three Truvia Natural Sweetener packets; no measuring spoons needed!
Now, do me a favor and use a good prosecco or champagne. A Mimosa is not a reason to use that weird bottle someone regifted you sitting in the back of your pantry. If you want a tasty Mimosa, use a good sparkling wine (if you’d drink it on its own, it’s good to use here). You’ll want something dryer to balance out the fruit; this drink is all about balance. Also, if you think that vanilla and cardamom are bold flavors, you’re right! However, mixed in with all the other ingredients here the vanilla is subtle and the cardamom has the perfect amount of kick. It all results in a lovely, springy drink, with fewer calories than the full sugar version thanks to Truvia.
With just a little pre-planning, you can have some gorgeous, tasty drinks for your next outdoor soiree. Happy brunching!
- This recipe is easily scalable and can be batched ahead of time minus the sparkling wine.
- If you do not own an immersion blender to make the purée, you can throw the cooked down strawberries into a blender, or just leave a little chunky as-is.
- Make it non-alcoholic! Use a good quality non-alcoholic sparkling wine. They exist now and are really good when you can’t have, or don’t want, the alcohol.
Fresh Strawberry Purée and Mixed Citrus Mimosas
For the strawberry purée:
1 cup chopped strawberries
3 Truvia Natural Sweetener packets
1/2 vanilla bean pod
pinch of ground cardamom (or seeds from 4 green cardamom pods, crushed)
1/4 cup water
Combine chopped strawberries and Truvia packets in a small bowl. Lightly mash together and let sit 10 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the mashed strawberries with any juice in the bowl, vanilla pod, ground cardamom, and water. Bring to just under a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard vanilla pod. Let the strawberries cool to room temperature. Using an immersion blender, blend strawberries until smooth (see note above if immersion blender is not available). Use immediately or store in an air-tight container, refrigerated for up to 3 days.
For the cocktails (yields two cocktails):
2 tablespoons strawberry purée (recipe above), divided
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
6 ounces good quality orange juice
6 ounces prosecco or champagne
strawberry slices and orange wheels for garnish
In two champagne glasses add one tablespoon of strawberry purée each. Mix together the lime juice and orange juice in a large mixing glass and divide between two glasses. Top with 3 ounces each of the sparkling wine. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with strawberry slices and orange wheels. Cheers!
Let’s ring in the New Year with giant flowing bowls and sparkling cocktails. And shove 2017 out the door!
And if you’re looking for a few last minute ideas to decorate your bar cart for your New Year’s Eve party, check out our latest Bar Cart Styling post HERE!
I’m not one to tell you guys what to do, but if you’re looking for something to make this week for your holiday table, here are a few suggestions! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
This post is brought to you by the US Highbush Blueberry Council.
Recipes and ideas are my own.
The time you spend making cocktails during holiday time should be greatly less than the time spent on enjoying them with friends and loved ones. During this season (roughly September through early January now), I am a huge fan of big batched cocktails. So this week, with just a few days left before Thanksgiving descends upon us, I’ve brought out a little help from my favorite berry to mix up something tasty for you all. No, not the cranberry, the blueberry.
We are a family that consumes blueberries in very large quantities. If you ask my kid what is her favorite food, or pretty much what her favorite anything is (she’s two and is still working out the intricacies of the English language), she will say blueberries. We are lucky here in Southern California that we can get them at the market for a selfishly long time, and then when those are gone, we hit up the frozen section. Going without them is just not an option. Blueberries have a lovely balance of sweetness and sour that is always key in a good cocktail. Pair them with your cheeseboard, drink this with the main meal, or just enjoy it after all your guests finally leave. It’s up to you, but, really, this works anytime.
This cocktail combines blueberries, maple syrup, lemons, and sparkling wine for a super easy to make and party pleasing cocktail. I love this recipe for two reasons. One, it’s easy to batch and the base will keep for some time. And two, that leftover syrup makes for some darn tasty pancake topping. Score!
For my cocktail recipe and lots more blueberry holiday inspiration, please visit the US Highbush Blueberry Council here.
Well guys, it’s been two years since I’ve done one of these, so here’s your 2016 cocktail roundup for all your Moms. Drink up!
Robin Watts is back this month and he’s gone and picked an impressive line up of wines for your weekend. Pop open a few of these for a loved one, or do what I did: get thirsty reading these descriptions and finish them yourself. It’s going to be hard to pick just one…
When I set out to pick a few wines for the impending Valentine’s Day weekend I thought I would end up going a possibly cliche route and selecting only French or Italian wines. So “romantic” and European! Truth be told, I was seduced by some domestic stuff as well and I think you, and maybe someone else in your life, might be too.
2014 Broc Cellars Love White
Retails apx. $20
This is a California white that I would recommend to any white drinker who doesn’t usually, or won’t, drink California white wine. This blend of Marsanne (85%), Roussanne (12%), and Viogner (3%) has some very distinctly European sensibilities about it. Aromatic and floral with overtones of pear and bit of honey I think that this wine works well as a starter or even accompanying an entree of lighter fair. And lets be honest, this holiday places a lot on aesthetics and this is nice looking bottle with a couple hearts on it. It’s called Love White!!! This wine will help you fit in with the cliche and trite parts of the holiday while its corked but surprise you and spoil you once it’s uncorked.
2014 Gragnano from Poggio delle Bacanti
Retails apx. $15
There is not a lot of information to be found on this wine but for around $15, and sometimes less, you’ll be drinking this so fast you probably won’t care. Mildly effervescent, it pours and froths like a lambrusco but drinks relatively still (and dry!). I prefer it with a decent chill on it and think its versatility lend it to any day part but, if pairing it with food, go heartier. Being from Napoli, and for some reason very mysterious, I have to assume this is Aglianico and Piedirosso which explains the earthy, leathery quality. There is something satisfyingly vegetal about this, almost as if an olive and a cranberry had a baby but it was raised by a beet and an eggplant. I recommend finishing this savory dry surprise the day you open it but I doubt that should be a difficult task.
L’Unique Gaz de Schiste
Retails apx. $24
Just go buy this. I should just say that and tell you to trust me. Pink? Check. Bubbly? Check. Delicious? Check. Seems perfect for Valentine’s Day. I think its perfect for any time, any place, and probably any person. 50% Grenache/50% Mourvedre and six month of bottle maturation make for one elegant bottle of bubbly. A little bit sweet, this sparkler is a tart, minerally, grapefruit-y, creamy treat. At first, it smells like you’ve opened the most exquisite bag of gummy worms (I mean that in the best, most respectful way) and the first sip conjures up images of the most impressive fruit trifle and leaves you with a macadamia kiss. Yeah. I’m not even a little bit embarrassed to say any of that. This stuff is that good and functions perfectly as an aperitif or dessert. Get a bottle for someone you love, especially if that person is yourself.
2014 Bow & Arrow Gamay
Retails apx. $24
Bow & Arrow knows what they’re doing. This Willamette Valley Gamay is soft, luscious, velvety, and just the slightest bit dirty, but in a good way. A very good way. Valentine’s Day appropriate for multiple reasons, the label, covered in tiny arrows, will help you play up holiday Cupid motifs while impressing your sweetheart with a wine that is reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar filled with cherries and almonds. Perfect for someone who thinks they’re afraid of tannins, though be warned, they are there, this wine just gets better as it opens up. Halfway through your first bottle I’d suggest opening a second if for no other reason than to smell that luscious mulberry aroma one more time. Great acidity makes this a lovely food wine but its just as satisfying by itself. This is a wine you can proudly pour with confidence in hopes to impress a special someone new or remind a longtime partner that you can still enjoy the good stuff without breaking the bank.
Follow Stir and Strain on Delectable too!
Well, a few weeks back for Serious Eats I decided to make a festive riff on the Caipirinha. It’s a cocktail I love to drink, but only recently. Why the wait? Well, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I was shy about mispronouncing the name. I just sorta froze up about being schooled on the correct way to say the drink. Until I finally got comfortable with one bartender and had them say the name to me over and over and then it stuck.
I’m sure you all have had that moment in a bar. Intrigued by a drink but one look at the name and you end up passing on it. Too bad! You probably would have liked it. But you want to know what? Your bartender is NOT going to judge you (OK, let’s be real. Maybe one or two a-holes will.). They are there to tell you how to say things right so you can impress your friends next time when you order that intriguing sounding drink. They want to pass on that knowledge and inform you, their customer.
I had a similar experience with wine years ago when I was up in Napa at a tasting. The Sommelier, some laid back guy in jeans, and quite possibly a jean shirt too, told me that you either like a wine or you don’t. You can hate an expensive bottle and like something you picked up for $7. You don’t need to know if you’re smelling aromas of cherry or rotting wood, you should just want to drink it. I also learned that “legs” on a wine glass are bullshit and when you’re at a tasting, don’t throw back the whole glass (oops! I was young!!).
But back to the drink. Now that we’re in the dull days of January, you already have this sunny Suze cocktail on hand, but here’s a zingy drink with a beautiful jewel tone, all thanks to some pomegranates. A Caipirinha is similar in structure to a Daiquiri, only swapping in cachaça for the rum, and whole lime pieces instead of just the juice, this cocktail has a bolder, huskier quality to it over the more refined and quieter Daiquiri.
That sour bite of the lime gets punched up by the sweet-tart pomegranate, with a little added crunch there from the seeds (sometimes I like a little something extra in my cocktails). Cachaca has an earthy flavor and here, the Leblon adds some floral aroma alongside a slightly peppery taste. By adding the sparkling wine, I find that it mixes the flavors together without dulling down their strong characteristics. You just need a touch of sugar here for balance, so don’t be afraid of adding that bar spoon full.
On a side note here, some of you might read the recipe and see sparkling wine then pass over this because the thought of opening a whole bottle just to make one cocktail seems so wasteful. But wait! No need to pass on this, just buy a split! Yes, it’s enough for two of these but really, once you make one you’ll want another. And now, let’s say it together kye-peer-EEN-yah. And by the way, it’s e-LAY-nuh.
1 barspoon superfine sugar (1 teaspoon; 4g)
10 fresh pomegranate seeds
1/2 lime, quartered
1/2 ounce pomegranate juice (1 tablespoon; 15mL)
2 ounces cachaça, such as Leblon (4 tablespoons; 60mL)
3 ounces sparkling wine (6 tablespoons; 90mL)
In the bottom of a mixing glass, add the superfine sugar and pomegranate seeds. Crush the seeds with a muddler to break open. Add lime wedges and muddle 6 times to release their juice. Add pomegranate juice and cachaça and fill glass 2/3 full with ice. Shake until well chilled, about 20 seconds. Add sparkling wine to glass, then pour contents, without straining, into a double rocks glass. Add more fresh ice cubes if desired and serve immediately.
Pitchers of cocktails.
Not only pitchers, but bright and warm, sunny yellow Suze with a good dose of winter citrus and an even bigger dose of sparkling wine. No hard booze here so you can tell yourself you’re still keeping to your resolutions.
Our New Year’s Eve tradition, at least for the last few years, has been for Christopher to make a batch of Scotch eggs. He almost bowed out of it this year but I balked at the idea of not continuing making them; I may have developed a slight superstition and now we cannot ring in the new year without them. One of the ingredients that goes into the sausage mixture is sage. And seeing as I have yet to keep a sage plant alive around here, we buy it. Alas, you cannot get sage in any small amount at our Whole Foods, so we always end up with much more than we need. I already had dried the last batch we bought, so I thought that this cocktail could use a touch of the herb.
I dunno guys, sage might become the new rosemary around here.
The sage leaves get steeped into a lemon simple syrup to add a little depth. To further enhance sage’s flavor, we’re mixing it with Suze, a saffron-colored French aperitif whose bitter yellow gentian root flavor makes it a cousin to the Italian amaro family. It has hints of citrus and wildflower, and balances a mild sweetness with vegetal bitterness.
You might want to invite some guests over for a few casual drinks before dinner, or even serve this at a brunch. While the base can sit overnight, and then be topped off with Cava in a pitcher so that guests can help themselves, you’ll want make sure it doesn’t sit out for long after the bubbly has been added. No one wants a “sparkling drink” that’s flat and warm.
Happy 2016 everyone!
For the Lemon-Sage Syrup:
6 ounces water
8 ounces (about 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon) sugar
2 ounces fresh juice from 2 lemons
Finely grated zest from 2 lemons
10 medium sage leaves
Combine water, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and sage in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, remove from heat, and let stand 1 hour. Strain and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 1 week.
For the cocktails (Yields 6 drinks):
6 ounces Lemon-Sage Syrup
1 1/2 ounces Suze
1 bottle chilled Cava or other dry sparkling wine
6 strips lemon zest
6 fresh sage leaves
The night before serving, combine the lemon-sage syrup and Suze in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. When ready to serve, add Cava, pouring slowly, and gently stir to combine. Split between six Champagne flutes, twisting a lemon zest strip over each and garnishing with a sage leaf.