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 Hangar 1. Recipes and ideas are my own.
This past week I reached out to Instagram to ask about egg whites in cocktails. I feel like years ago, when the cocktail movement really started to pick up steam, people sure were hesitant to drink a cocktail made with raw egg whites!! But now it seems everyone has chilled out about it and the general consensus, if you consume animal products, is that we’re all cool with egg whites now. Which is great, because today’s cocktail has one (but it’s optional in case you’re still a hard pass on them. It’s cool. You do you.).
One of my favorite styles of cocktails to add an egg white to are sours. Sours can be quite tart depending on how they’re made, and even when adding in a sweetener, the egg white somehow magically transforms the whole drink into a silky, well-balanced drink.
Now, we’re in the best part of the fall season, says me. And it’s in full swing here in California, where everything is in flux during this crazy transitional season. We still have tomatoes growing in gardens, but there are apple orchards just a little over an hour away bursting with fruit. And pears are at their juiciest when I visit my local farmers markets. It all makes me want to wrap myself up in countless flannels… except.. it’s still in the 80’s in SoCal. But, that also means we can still throw an early evening cocktail get together outside where the mild evenings are still pretty inviting, and, if it’s not a red flag day, you can turn on a fire pit.
This cocktail, made in partnership with Hangar 1 Honeycomb Vodka, which has now just become available for the first time ever outside of the Hangar 1 Distillery, located in Alameda, CA, is California fall in a glass. Juicy, ripe pears contrast with the woodsy sweetness of maple syrup and mingle with all those wonderful fall-time baking spices found in allspice liqueur, while a tart kiss of lemon juice accentuates the base of the whole drink with the complex honeycomb vodka. And that egg white gives the whole drink some body and a slightly frothy head that you can garnish with either a lemon wheel, or these really interesting honey discs I’ve been experimenting with. The honey discs are similar in structure to a hard candy, and not only do they really impress sitting in a cloud of froth on top of your drink, they also slowly melt into the drink to add even more honey flavor to the cocktail as you sip. These however are totally optional to the drink and the touch of sweetness they impart is minimal because they are so solid and melt very slowly. I just always have to go and make my drinks extra. But you don’t have to for this to work!
Pears can be so sweet when ripe, that the richness of honey is a fantastic contrast. They balance really well here and that’s because Hangar 1 isn’t just infusing the vodka with honey, they actually use honeycomb for a more intense flavor. What I love about Hangar 1, a California company, is that their honey isn’t sourced from some faraway place or imported, their honey is from their local farming community, Golden Harvest Bees, located in Redwood City, CA. When companies step up to being more mindful about sourcing ingredients and sustainability I pay attention.
You might be thinking, honeycomb vodka, that means it’s… sweet? For sweet drinks? But no! This vodka is really versatile and lends itself to both sweet and savory flavors. So, I hope the thought of ripe pears and rich honeycomb has you rushing to your home bar to mix up a couple and share with friends. To help with that, our recipe today is for two cocktails. Cheers!
makes 2 cocktails
3 ounces Hangar 1 Honeycomb Vodka
1/2 juicy ripe pear, cubed
1-1/4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce allspice liqueur
3/4 ounce grade b maple syrup
1 egg white, optional
Optional Garnish: Lemon wheel or Honey Disc (recipe follows)
In a cocktail shaker, pour in Hangar 1 Honeycomb Vodka and pears. Muddle pears just enough to break up the chunks. Then add in the lemon juice, allspice liqueur, maple syrup, and egg white if using. Dry shake (with no ice) for 15 – 20 seconds. Add in ice and shake additional 20 seconds. Depending on the size of the holes in your shaker you may have to either strain through the shaker top, or open that up and strain through a small mesh strainer due to the pears, onto a fresh ice cube in a double rocks glass.
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Stir gently to dissolve the sugar and bring mixture to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, lower heat to medium-low and add in honey (I find a quick 15 second in the microwave makes it easier to pour). Cook without disturbing the mixture until it reaches the hard crack stage (295-310°F, and a candy thermometer comes in handy here). Then pour into disc molds, or free pour onto a silicone mat. Allow to harden at least 30 minutes, then remove from molds and store in an airtight container.
Learn more about Hangar 1 and their selection of craft vodka expressions here: https://hangarone.com/vodkas/
We are currently running through a pint of strawberries every few days at our house. Regardless of the weather outside, it doesn’t really feel like summer to me until the berries start rolling in. As per usual, I overbuy and then have to look for ways other than just straight eating them. So, for this month’s Make or Buy, we’re looking at strawberry liqueur!
Strawberry liqueur is super versatile, and I think especially tasty during the summer, but also nice to have on hand as summer turns towards fall. You can splash it into some club soda, flavor a multitude of cocktails, but my most favorite way is to use it in a Margarita (because of course!). If you make it, please let me know how you use YOUR bottle!
To Make: Strawberry Liqueur
And how do they compare in a cocktail? Well, of course I had to try both liqueurs out in my Strawberry Margarita recipe. Usually I would also add fresh strawberries in, but since I was testing out to compare side by side with the liqueurs I left them out (but I do highly suggest adding a few slices and muddling them in!). The store bought liqueur had a strong strawberry taste and slightly spicy flavor added to the Margarita. The color was significantly darker as well. The homemade liqueur Margarita was lighter in flavor, color, and body. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different. Both were definitely strawberry in aroma but each one on opposite ends of flavor and color.
1 pint (16 ounces) strawberries, roughly chopped
1-3/4 cups vodka
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1-1/2 ounces tequila blanco
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1 ounce strawberry liqueur
salt for rim
strawberry slices for garnish, optional
First, squeeze your lime juice and set aside. Using the spent lime shell, rub around the outside rim of the glass and roll rim in salt. Set glass aside. In a mixing glass filled 2/3 with ice, combine, tequila, lime juice and strawberry liqueur. Shake 20 seconds and strain into prepared glass. Optionally add strawberry slices to glass to garnish.
Squeeeezing in here at the end of the month (and what a month…. so glad it’s over), this might just be our easiest DIY of the bunch so far. If you can boil some water, you can make… Coffee Liqueur.
For today’s post, we’ll be comparing coffee liqueur made with cold brew coffee. I have seen some infusions with coffee beans, and while we’ve done something similar for cocktails around here before, since the coffee liqueur that can be bought is made with cold brew, it made sense to match apples to apples. Also, since many of these posts have some content that is repeated in the pros and cons, I’ve decided to bullet point each to make it a bit easier to read and streamlined. Let me know what you think in the comments or through social; I’m here for you.
To Make: Homemade Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur (aged rum base)
And how do they compare in a cocktail? When I think coffee in cocktails I immediately think of a White Russian, so that’s what I compared both in today. Mr. Black stands out with a bold coffee taste and a rich flavor profile. My home brew coffee is lighter not only in color, but also in flavor. I wanted a coffee liqueur that had layers of other flavors in it like vanilla and spice, so the base is an aged rum. This also means that the coffee is more subdued.
Notes: If you want a stronger coffee taste I would suggest using a cold brew concentrate and playing around with the flavor until it suits your preference. Also, you could switch to a vodka base and cut the vodka back to 1-1/4 cups.
So there you are, two choices when it comes to a coffee liqueur. Will you make it or buy it? Let us know!
1-1/2 cups cold brew coffee (brew your own or buy your favorite unsweetened brand)
1 cup demerara sugar
1/2 cup water
1-1/2 cups aged rum
If brewing your own cold brew, do that at least 24 hours before starting to make the liqueur. Next, in a small saucepan, combine demerara sugar and water. Bring to a boil, whisking to combine. Turn the heat down to a simmer and continue to whisk until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. In a liter jar, combine cold brew coffee, syrup and rum. Seal and shake gently to combine. Let the liqueur sit for three days in a cool, dark place, agitating it every day. After three days, liqueur will be ready to consume.
This post was made in partnership with Master of Mixes. Recipes and ideas are my own.
The closer I get to Halloween, the more my brain starts chanting…candy candy candy candy candy. I mean, it’s actually Garfield chanting it, because I still think of that Halloween special from the ’80’s that I grew up on, and I still, to this day, identify with his love of sarcasm and, well, candy.
Yes, I love the spooks and the change of season, but free candy always topped the list of reasons why October 31st was THE BEST. Now, as an adult, I can hop in my car, or rather, have Instacart deliver, all the candy my heart desires. At any time of year. But I’ve learned restraint and I don’t usually buy any until the week before Halloween when stores start having candy sales. And then again the day before Halloween because I’ve eaten it all the past week.
This year I made the exception and bought some candy a little early so I could make some treats for all of you! My readers! Working with Master of Mixes, I’ve crafted THREE tasty candy inspired cocktails you can make for yourself, or batch for your Halloween party this weekend. If you’re not familiar with them, Master of Mixes has been crafting high quality, delicious mixers for 40 years! They have more than 45 flavors in their catalog, but I narrowed down today to just three of my favorites: their Mint Syrup, Blood Orange Margarita Mixer, and Piña Colada Mixer. And my inspiration? Junior Mints, Sour Patch Kids, and Almond Joy.
First up is the Junior Mint inspired cocktail. And it’s ALL about that super mint flavor. Here I’ve used Master of Mixes Mint Syrup to give me a strong punch of mint flavor. Their syrup is made with Pacific Northwest Spearmint and has a clean, fresh taste. I’ve paired this with vodka, cream, and coffee liqueur to mimic the creaminess of the candy, and instead of the richness you’d get with the chocolate, I’ve opted to use a strong coffee liqueur to make this more sophisticated.
My love of sour drinks probably started with my love of Sour Patch Kids growing up. For this next cocktail, I’m taking the sweet and sour citrus flavors of the candy and crafting a Blood Orange Margarita with Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita Mixer. To get more citrus in, and to add a bitter element to this, I’ve mixed the blanco tequila with a touch of Dry Orange Curaçao. I’ve also created a “sour” sugar rim with citric acid and sugar to fool the taste buds. The blood orange mix is housed in an ice sphere that will make the cocktail sweeter as you drink it!
Lastly, Almond Joy bars in my opinion are far superior to a Mounds bar. Because… almonds!! When I think coconut cocktails, I think Piña Coladas, and Master of Mixes has a perfectly balanced Piña Colada Mixer that will be the base of our final drink. A few drops of almond extract, vanilla vodka, and a chocolate float turns this drink into an over-the-top cocktail for Halloween. I’ve been calling it a Choco-joy-lada, but you can just call it delicious.
So grab some extra candy this year, a couple of Master of Mixes bottles, and let’s plan a sweet Halloween party!
1-1/2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce Master of Mixes Mint Syrup
3/4 ounce coffee liqueur
3/4 ounce cream
In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, pour in vodka, Master of Mixes Mint Syrup, coffee liqueur, and cream. Shake 20 seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Pop a couple Junior Mints.
4 ounces Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita Mixer
2 ounces blanco tequila
1/2 ounce Dry Orange Curaçao
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
First, to make the Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita ice sphere, you will need a spherical ice mold like this. Alternatively, you could also use a large ice cube mold as well. Pour the mix in the mold and freeze at least 6 hours or overnight (depending on your freezer). Next, combine citric acid and sugar in a shallow bowl large enough to fit the rim of your glass. Moisten the rim of your glass with a lime wedge and roll in the prepared mixture. Then, in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in the tequila and Dry Orange Curaçao. Shake and strain into the prepared rocks glass. Add the Master of Mixes Blood Orange Margarita ice sphere to the drink and stir about 20 seconds to start melting the mix into the drink. Take a few sips and try not to pucker your lips too much.
2 ounces vanilla vodka
bar spoon of almond extract
4 ounces Master of Mixes Piña Colada Mixer
1 – 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup (or if you’re feeling extra fancy, then try it with the chocolate liqueur of your choice!)
In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, pour in vanilla vodka, almond extract, and Master of Mixes Piña Colada Mixer. Shake 20 seconds and pour everything into a highball glass. Using the back of a spoon, float chocolate syrup on top of the drink. Grab a reusable straw and gently mix it together, or not. Cause sometimes you feel like mixing, sometimes you don’t.
For more information on Master of Mixes, loads of cocktail recipes, and more how-to’s, please visit them at MixologyPro.com
This post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream. Recipe and ideas are my own.
Sweet vanilla ice cream and crunchy chocolate cookies combine into one decadent frozen blended cocktail.
2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream
3 oz vanilla vodka
3/4 cup vanilla ice cream
1 cup crushed ice
1/2 cup crushed chocolate wafer cookies
In a blender, pour in Kerrygold Irish Cream, vanilla vodka and vanilla ice cream. Blend until smooth. Add in ice. Blend until ice is incorporated and smooth. Divide half the mixture into two double rocks glasses. Scoop a heaped tablespoon of cookie crumbs into the glass and spread in an even layer. Top each glass with the rest of the liquid mixture. Garnish with remaining cookie crumbs.
Warning: do not attempt to set off firecrackers after drinking these cocktails.
We’ve got flowers, pastel colors and a few eggs. Here’s what you should be drinking on Easter this year!
Ok, so here’s some chocolate for you too…
This 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!
I’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.
Since 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.
The 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.
As 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!
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.
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.
1-1/2 cups simple syrup
2 packets gelatine
1/2 cup creme de violet
For more information on Truvia and all their products, please visit their site at www.truvia.com.