Tag Archives: cocktails

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.

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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).

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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.

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Blackberry Mojito

  • Servings: 1
  • 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.

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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
  • 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.

 

The Cherry Blossom

Ah the cherry blossoms – beautiful, delicate flowering trees that bring apocalyptic traffic and hordes of tourists to DC every year.  I have to admit, they are really gorgeous, especially if you head to the Tidal Basin near the National Mall and catch them all pink and lovely reflected in the water.  However, doing so means contending with thousands of other petal lovers all using ipads or selfie sticks trying to capture the perfect picture while one of their kids rips handfuls of the precious blossoms from the trees.  No thanks.  Honestly if I could telework throughout the entire cherry blossom season I would but since that is frowned upon I just mentally double my commute time and try to enjoy the trees as I gaze out of my nonmoving car window.  Once I arrive home I am blessed to have a terrific cherry blossom tree right by our porch which I can gaze at, no tourists allowed.

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In an attempt to be less cranky about the cherry blossom festival I decided to come up with a cocktail to smooth things over.  Cherries needed to be involved obviously but I didn’t want anything too sweet.  Gin is perfect for pairing with any fruit element as the herbs can really cut through – I used Green Hat gin made right here in DC to make it extra authentic as well as a rose vermouth called Capitoline (also made in DC).  The rose vermouth lent that nice pinky color but if you only have regular vermouth I would toss in some of the liquid from the cherries to get a good blush.  Warning – this drink goes down VERY easily!  One down and all was right with the world again.

Thanks to my neighbor I get my own private cherry blossom viewing

The Cherry Blossom (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  all these dang trees
Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

In a cocktail shaker, shake the gin, vermouth and St. Germain together with ice (if you don’t have rose vermouth add a little syrup from the cherries for color).  Pour into a martini glass and add cherries.

The Cherry Blossom

  • Servings: 1
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Special Equipment:  cocktail shaker

In a cocktail shaker, shake the gin, vermouth and St. Germain together with ice (if you don’t have rose vermouth add a little syrup from the cherries for color).  Pour into a martini glass and add cherries.

The Humoso Cocktail

Why do short weeks sometimes seem so long??  One of the many mysteries of the world.  Regardless, this Fiesta Friday I am definitely going to need a cocktail, and one that’s not too complicated.  As much as I love my margaritas, juicing dozens of limes just isn’t in the cards.  Now is when I turn to my version of the famous Mexican cocktail the Paloma, usually made with grapefruit juice and tequila.  I like to use a smoky mezcal instead of tequila, which is why I am calling this the Humoso which means smoky.  Patrick and I recently discovered El Buho Mezcal and cannot get enough of it – it has the perfect amount of smokiness that doesn’t overpower the sharp agave flavor of the liquor.  If you live in DC, the folks at Batch 13 on 14th Street NW turned us on to it.  I matched the mezcal with grapefruit soda instead of juice because bubbles are always more fun.  In keeping with the short and sweet theme here – no recipe required.  Just add a shot of mezcal to ice and top with grapefruit soda.  I also added a smoky salt rim with my favorite chipotle chili salt by the Chili Lab – the extra 10 seconds are worth it.  Bottoms up!

The Maple Manhattan

One of my new year’s resolutions is to drink more.  HAHA!  No, it’s actually to use up more of my pantry items.  As you all know from the Peep My Pantry post, I have a pretty impressive collection of food ingredients and sometimes I just get overwhelmed and use the same things over and over.  My dad gifted Patrick and I some amazing bourbon barrel aged maple syrup called Noble 1 for Christmas.  As I tried to figure out a time to host a brunch party it occurred to me that I didn’t have to wait.  Use it for something else and well a bourbon drink seemed like a natural fit.  I usually skip Manhattans for something a little smoother but the addition of the maple syrup does the trick.  This drink is also a good excuse to highlight a new DC product, Capitoline Vermouth.

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You can find it at Cordial in Union Market and it’s just delicious in this drink (the label is beyond gorgeous).  Added benefit – I got to start working through this massive jar of maraschino cherries we have.  Usually we get the Luxardo brand which are great, but Salt and Sundry started carrying these and I just couldn’t pass up this chic jar for the bar cart.  Last but not least it uses one of my favorite ingredients, bitters, that you can read all about here.  Cheers!

 

The Maple Manhattan (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   Noble 1 syrup
Special Equipment:   cocktail shaker

  • 3 ounces bourbon (we usually use Maker’s Mark)
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • maraschino cherries

Combine all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.  Serve in a martini glass with 1, 2 or how every many cherries you wish!

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The Maple Manhattan

  • Servings: 1
  • Print

Special Equipment:   cocktail shaker

  • 3 ounces bourbon (we usually use Maker’s Mark)
  • 1 ounce vermouth
  • 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • maraschino cherries

Combine all the ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.  Serve in a martini glass with 1, 2 or how every many cherries you wish!

 

Candy Cane Vodka

Every year our holiday party gets bigger and bigger.  I would like to think it’s because Patrick and I are so super popular but I think the reality is word has gotten out about our favors – little airplane size bottles of home infused liquor.  I had seen a bunch of cute ideas on Pinterest about giving out mini bottles of booze as favors but they were all the kind you find

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2014’s Homemade Fireball

behind the checkout at your local package store.  Not only prohibitively expensive but also not as fun as making your own!  Last year it was fireball, this year, candy cane vodka.  Other infused liquors can take up to months to get right but this is super easy, as the candy canes do all the work for you.  Crushed up they melt into the vodka within an hour and ta da!   It’s a pretty subtle flavor – something that tasted like liquid candy cane sounded too much to me like cough syrup, but if you want to amp up the flavor just add more candy canes.  It wasn’t that easy to find fillable “nip” bottles but after much research I found the best quality and price here.  You may remember these mini bottles from my very first post ever when I gave out habanero infused tequila at my blog launch party.  They are super easy to fill – made a bit easier if you have a small funnel.  I use the one that came with Patrick’s flask and it works like a charm but I think with a steady hand you could do it unaided.  I ordered really cute labels this year from Tiny Prints but if you want to save money just print out your own labels like I did last year or tie with a festive bow.  My friends hoard these things – I caught my friend Amy packing some bottles for a long international flight months after the party!  This recipe is for a huge amount (here is where Costco vodka can be your friend) assuming that you are going to make your own bottles but really it’s just a method – crush up a mini candy cane and throw it into your drink and you will get the same flavor.  Cheers!

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Candy Cane Vodka (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:   stocking stuffers or favors
Special Equipment:  mini bottles like these and a mini funnel (optional)

  • 1.75 liter bottle of vodka
  • 30 mini candy canes or approximately 15 regular size candy canes

Crush the candy canes in a plastic bag with the bottom of a pot or another heavy object.  They don’t need to be pulverized, just broken into small pieces.  I poured half of the vodka into a pitcher and kept half in the bottle so there was room for the candy canes but if you have a large enough pitcher for both, combine them together in one.  If not divide up the crushed candy canes between the two vessels and allow to sit for an hour, stirring once or twice.  Once all the candy canes have dissolved you can store at room temperature indefinitely.  Decant into small bottles – a 1.75 liter bottle will fill approximately 40 nip bottles.

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Candy Cane Vodka

  • Servings: 40
  • Print

Special Equipment:  mini bottles like these and a mini funnel (optional)

  • 1.75 liter bottle of vodka
  • 30 mini candy canes or approximately 15 regular size candy canes

Crush the candy canes in a plastic bag with the bottom of a pot or another heavy object.  They don’t need to be pulverized, just broken into small pieces.  I poured half of the vodka into a pitcher and kept half in the bottle so there was room for the candy canes but if you have a large enough pitcher for both combine them together in one.  If not divide up the crushed candy canes between the two vessels and allow to sit for an hour, stirring once or twice.  Once all the candy canes have dissolved you can store at room temperature indefinitely.  Decant into small bottles – a 1.75 liter bottle will fill approximately 40 nip bottles.

Mulled Cider

What could be better the day before Thanksgiving than a nice hot steaming mug of mulled cider with a healthy dose of bourbon??  This is a great drink to savor when you get home from work (hopefully early) and before you start all the prep for the big day – or maybe to settle yourself right before all the guests arrive.  Even better make several batches and keep it warm in a slow cooker so people can help themselves throughout Thanksgiving.  Either way it’s a great drink to have in your arsenal.  I am super thankful this year for the support of my friends and family, especially Patrick,  as I have undertaken this adventure.  I hope everyone has a delicious Thanksgiving!

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Mulled Cider (printable version at the end of the post)

Inspiration:  sitting and sipping around the fire pit
Special Equipment:  none

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star of anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 6 ounces bourbon (optional)

In a saucepan combine everything but the bourbon over medium heat.  Let the flavors combine for at least 15 minutes before serving. (or leave in a slow cooker set on warm)  Divide the bourbon if using among the mugs and top with the hot cider.

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Mulled Cider

  • Servings: 4 to 6 drinks
  • Print

Special Equipment:  none

  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star of anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 6 ounces bourbon (optional)

In a saucepan combine everything but the bourbon over medium heat.  Let the flavors combine for at least 15 minutes before serving (or leave in a slow cooker set on warm).  Divide the bourbon if using among the mugs and top with the hot cider.

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