cocktails

Some Spring Cocktails and Entertaining Goodies

Apparently it is finally supposed to turn warm in DC this weekend (and by finally I mean again, since it was 80 degrees in February).  Nothing like seeing patios opening and flowers blooming to make me want to set down the heavier drinks of fall and winter and start sipping spring flavors.  I thought for the weekend I would pull together some of my favorite spring cocktails to inspire some deck parties.

IMG_1798

Thyme Vodka Lemonade

Mule with a Kick

Blackberry Mojito

The Cherry Blossom

This time of the year also makes me want to run out and buy everything in fun springy colors so I am sharing some of the spring entertaining items I have been drooling over lately (hint hint Mr. Easter Bunny!).

How cute are these Mark and Graham gingham plates?  Perfect for a picnic.

ceramic-dessert-plate-set-of-4-gingham-1-c

They would look super cute on this Kate Spade lemon tablecloth that I already have (I found it at Home Goods for $12!!).

157623OB8_974

How about these adorable cheese boards from Anthropologie?  It’s hard to pick just one.

I love these peacock blue glasses from CB2 – great for water glasses or any of my spring cocktails.

marta-peacock-double-old-fashioned-glass

And last but not least how cool is this ice mold from Crate and Barrel?  You can put flowers, fruit, leaves etc in the mold and it perfectly fits a bottle of wine.  It chills your wine and makes a functional and beautiful centerpiece!

ice-mold-wine-bottle-chiller

I hope wherever you are it’s warming up there to and you have a weekend full of friends, flowers and festivities!

 

Happy Holidays from A Capitol Contessa!

I am going to take next week off to relax and hang with family and friends but I wanted to wish all of you a great holiday season.  If you are looking for some festive recipes to celebrate with here are a couple of ideas.  See you in 2017!!!  XOXO, ACC

Lamb Ragu

DSC01256

Individual Apple Crisps

DSC01488

Happy Hour

DSC02629

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSC02165

Turkey Pot Pie Turnover

DSC01975

Mulled Cider

DSC01907

Coffee Infused Bourbon

As you all know I am a sucker for favors at parties – last year I did a candy cane vodka for our holiday party and it was a big hit.  This year I was inspired by a coffee manhattan I had at the movie theater of all places.  At the Atlantic Plumbing Cinema in the Shaw neighborhood of DC you can not only book your seat in advance (love that!) but they have a full bar with some really talented mixologists.  Patrick and I were there for a matinee and the bartender had been experimenting with coffee simple syrups and bourbon.  Since bourbon already has coffee notes in it, infusing it with fresh coffee beans just takes it to the next level.  I ran right out and bought some mega bottles of Bulliet Bourbon at Costco.  I needed to make 85 mini bottles (we have a lot of friends!) so got two 750 ml bottles but you can do it with any size or any amount really, even just for one cocktail.  I am not going to give you a recipe here since its stupid simple, just throw some coffee beans into the Bourbon and wait until it reaches the “coffeeness” level you like.  For a 750ml bottle I would recommend adding about 20-25 beans and shaking the bottle everyday for about 5 days.  The beans like to sink to the bottom or float to the top so shaking it helps make sure all the bourbon gets infused.  If you start with less bourbon then you could do the same number of beans, it will just take less time, about 2 days.

dsc04998

I get my mini bottles from here  but you can also usually find nicer glass ones at World Market or Home Goods if you are only making a couple for friends this season.  This year I decided to print my own labels (mostly because I didn’t get my act together to order any).  If you want to order some I can recommend Tinyprints for this.  They are pretty reasonable and have a bunch of cute designs.  If not just go out and buy labels and then go to Avery.com where they have templates like this Christmas lights one I used.  I do not recommend throwing in a couple of beans into the bottles you give out as decoration as they will continue to infuse the bourbon and at some point all you will be able to taste is the coffee.

dsc04996

You could certainly recreate my manhattan with the bourbon, drink it straight up or toss a little in your coffee for an extra holiday kick!  Luckily we have a bunch leftover as these are going to make perfect stocking stuffers.  Enjoy!

The Ballot Puncher

If any election day calls for a stiff cocktail it is this one!  No matter your party affiliation or level of involvement I am sure we can all say we are glad this campaign season is almost over.  This drink is the perfect anecdote to election night stress – espresso to keep you up for late night results, gin to keep you smiling and some bitter Campari to well…I think you get the bitter part!

dsc04452

You are going to have to take a leap of faith with this drink – I realize it sounds disgusting.  It all came about when my friend Erikka was travelling and texted a drink menu pic with a negroni that had espresso in it.  Her boyfriend and I immediately decided to try it out and were totally impressed – I honestly have no idea why it works but the floral, bitter and sweet notes all come together for an awesome drink.  Just remember to GO VOTE before you start downing these!

The Ballot Puncher (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  GO VOTE!
Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

  • 2 ounces fresh espresso, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces Campari

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold.  Strain and serve up.

The Ballot Puncher

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 30 seconds
  • Print

Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

  • 2 ounces fresh espresso, at room temperature
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 2 ounces Campari

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold.  Strain and serve up.

Thyme for Vodka Lemonade

I am taking next week off for a little R&R but wanted to leave you all with some great ideas for the 4th of July.  We usually go see the Nationals play in the morning and then have people over to grill and relax until the fireworks start.  An informal BBQ like that will be just fine with a cooler of beer and some chilled wine but I always like to have a signature drink as well.  Pitcher drinks are a girl’s best friend in the summer.  Even better if the recipe makes two pitchers!  This spiked lemonade is perfect for the 4th when you have lots of people coming and going.  Also feel free to omit the vodka so it’s good for all ages (or do an adult friendly and a kid friendly pitcher.)

DSC03880

I love lemonade – really anything made with lemons – but sometimes it can be a little cloying.  The addition of thyme adds a nice herbaceous note that compliments the fresh (yes fresh!) lemon juice perfectly.  I make a thyme simple syrup to infuse the whole drink with the thyme flavor but also have some extra fresh thyme on hand to garnish the drinks.  Simple syrup rather than straight sugar ensures that the lemonade mixes together perfectly – just make sure to use really cold water and a decent vodka.  After juicing all those lemons it would be a shame to use crappy vodka.  I used a new favorite from a local DC distiller, District Made Vodka from One Eight Distilling.  Right in our neighborhood, this distillery takes its vodka making seriously by using a special Russian technique to get a nice smooth finish.  Check back in on Thursday for a whole menu ideal for a 4th of July BBQ to pair with this drink.

DSC03882

Thyme Vodka Lemonade (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  Summer BBQ’s
Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

DSC03883

While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

DSC03891

Thyme Vodka Lemonade

  • Servings: 2 pitchers
  • Time: 15 minutes (plus lots of juicing time
  • Print

Special Equipment:  juicer (optional)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch thyme (extra for garnish)
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 3 cups ice cold water
  • 3 cups vodka

In a saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/2 cups water over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved, usually a couple of minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the thyme.  Let the syrup steep for 10 minutes, then remove the thyme and place in the fridge to cool.

While the simple syrup is cooling you can juice the lemons – make sure to use fresh juice.  In two pitchers or 1 large drink dispenser combine the chilled syrup, the lemon juice, 3 cups of cold water and 3 cups of vodka.  Stir to combine.  The lemonade can be made earlier in the day and stored in the fridge – serve over ice.

 

 

Blackberry Mojito

What better way to kick off a long weekend then with a fresh and fruity drink?  My friend Jim just got back from Vegas where he told me about a blackberry mojito he sipped by the pool.  Regular mojitos are a great summer drink already but the addition of blackberries got me super excited to make one.  A little extra tartness and the beautiful color!  Back in my bartending days mojitos were my mortal enemy but making them at home is way easier than making say 12 of them at happy hour in 2 minutes!  Really all you need is a muddler (this one is the newer version of mine and actually even better with a larger face to smash with) but even if you don’t have one you can just use the handle of a wooden spoon.

DSC03778

I muddled right into my highball glass as these are pretty solid but if you are using a more fragile glass do yourself a favor and do it in a cocktail shaker and then pour it into your glass. Many a pretty tumbler has been lost to overzealous muddling.  Mix up one of these, sit back and relax and enjoy the official start of summer!

Blackberry Mojito (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  sipping cocktails by the pool in Vegas
Special Equipment:  muddler or wooden spoon handle

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 3 blackberries (plus 1 for garnish if you would like)
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (plus a lime wedge for garnish, also optional)
  • 2 1/2 ounces white rum
  • ice
  • club soda

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved (about 4 minutes).  Turn off the heat and add 4 or 5 sprigs of mint.  Let the mint steep for 10 minutes, then pull out the sprigs and put the simple syrup in the fridge to chill.  This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a week (you only need 2 ounces for the cocktail so you will have plenty of left over for more mojitos or to stir into iced tea).

DSC03773

In a highball glass, or in a cocktail shaker, add 8 mint leaves and the blackberries.  Using your muddler smash the leaves and berries together to release the oils of the mint and the juice of the berries.  Add the lime juice, 2 ounces of the mint simple syrup, and the rum.  Fill the rest of the glass with ice and top with the club soda.  Stir to combine and garnish with a blackberry and lime if desired.

DSC03771

Blackberry Mojito

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 30 minutes for syrup, 1 minute for cocktail
  • Print

Special Equipment:  muddler or wooden spoon handle

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bunch of mint
  • 3 blackberries (plus 1 for garnish if you would like)
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (plus a lime wedge for garnish, also optional)
  • 2 1/2 ounces white rum
  • ice
  • club soda

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved (about 4 minutes).  Turn off the heat and add 4 or 5 sprigs of mint.  Let the mint steep for 10 minutes, then pull out the sprigs and put the simple syrup in the fridge to chill.  This can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a week (you only need 2 ounces for the cocktail so you will have plenty of left over for more mojitos or to stir into iced tea).

In a highball glass or in a cocktail shaker add 8 mint leaves and the blackberries.  Using your muddler smash the leaves and berries together to release the oils of the mint and the juice of the berries.  Add the lime juice, 2 ounces of the mint simple syrup, and the rum.  Fill the rest of the glass with ice and top with the club soda.  Stir to combine and garnish with a blackberry and lime if desired.

Mule with a Kick

May has already been pretty nuts so I am taking the day off Thursday.  However, I couldn’t leave you all hanging without something great to make this week.  This cocktail is a twist on the Moscow Mule.  Vodka, ginger beer and lime combine with ice and copper glasses to make an amazing spring/summer cocktail.  When you have such simple ingredients you need to make sure they are the best.  Belvoir Ginger Beer is so incredible (how adorable is the label?).  Ginger beer is already more gingery than ginger ale but this stuff is our ginger with the perfect amount of fizz.  Pretty hard to find as its a UK soda but World Market has started carrying it and sometimes you can find it on Amazon.

DSC03353

I swear it is worth tracking down – I recently bought a whole case to have for summer drinks.  The ginger beer is already pretty spicy but add in some chipotle vodka and you get a Moscow Mule with a big kick.  I like this Hangar One version but there are lots on the market or you could infuse your own.  Make sure to go ahead and get the copper glasses.  They keep the drink incredibly cold and are classic for a Mule.  My mother-in-law got me there but there are tons online.  Prices can run the gamut so I recommend getting them on a flash sale site like One Kings Lane or checking out your local Home Goods.  You can usually find them for much less.  Enjoy this porch sipper and I will be back next week.

DSC03343Mule with a Kick (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  best ginger beer EVER
Special Equipment:  copper glasses

  • 1/4 cup chipolte vodka ( I used Hangar One)
  • lime wedge
  • ginger beer
  • ice

In a copper glass pour the vodka over ice.  Squeeze over the line wedge and drop in.  Pour over enough ginger beer to fill the glass and stir to combine.

Mule with a Kick

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 1 minute
  • Print

Special Equipment:  copper glasses

  • 1/4 cup chipolte vodka ( I used Hangar One)
  • lime wedge
  • ginger beer
  • ice

In a copper glass pour the vodka over ice.  Squeeze over the line wedge and drop in.  Pour over enough ginger beer to fill the glass.

 

%d bloggers like this: