For pre-dinner cocktails ahead of the tikka masala chicken and rice, I went for a cardamon-honey cocktail. I wanted to keep with the flavors of dinner and figured that making a simple syrup would be a good replacement for agave nectar I usually use with my paloma recipe.
To make the cardamon honey simple syrup, I brought to a boil an equal amount of honey and water. I then poured it over cardamon pods that I had lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle. I let the simple syrup steep until it cooled to room temperature. After I strained it, I placed it in the fridge until happy hour.
The tartness of the grapefruit is tempered by the honey simple syrup. The cardamon and star anise supply a lovely fragrance to make a light and refreshing cocktail.
Cardamon Honey Cocktail
2 ounces Tequila
2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
1 ounce cardamom-honey simple syrup
Star anise for garnish
Combine the tequila, juice and simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and then pour into a cocktail glass. Float a star anise pod on top.
Pineapples were on sale so I bought one, brought it home and sliced it up. I collected a little more than a cup of the slices and placed them in a bag in the freezer overnight.
Once frozen, they would be perfect for Piña Coladas!
I made one batch with spiced rum and the other with light rum. Both very good and refreshing. I ended up adding a tablespoon of simple syrup to the spiced rum to mellow it out but taste yours and see if it needs any sweetening.
You don’t need to be tired of your lady to enjoy these – they are a great way to end a week and an even better way to end July.
Piña Colada Cocktail
½ cup spiced or light rum
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup frozen pineapple chunks, plus fresh for garnish
1 cup ice
Add rum, coconut milk, pineapple chunks to a blender with ice. Blend until smooth.
Pour into 2 glasses.
Garnish each glass with a swizzle stick filled with pineapple chunks.
The Peach Tree On The Southern Wall
The peach tree on the southern wall
Has basked so long beneath the sun,
Her score of peaches great and small
Bloom rosy, every one.
A peach for brothers, one for each,
A peach for you and a peach for me;
But the biggest, rosiest, downiest peach
For Grandmamma with her tea.
Christina Georgina Rossetti
I bought a bunch of peaches from Chilton County, Alabama (home of the best peaches on the planet) and decided that I wouldn’t save the best for Grandma’s tea but rather to make a cocktail.
Sweet and juicy, like the fruit itself. Be careful of the sneaky kick from the alcohol!
Fresh Peachy Tequila Cocktail
1 ripe peach, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce peach schnapps
1 tablespoon agave nectar
Toss the peach slices in the lime juice both for flavor and for them to keep their color. Place the peaches and the liquid and all other ingredients with about a cup of ice in a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve over ice.
We opened a rather large bottle of Riunite Lambrusco to have with grilled steaks and didn’t manage to finish it that night.
So I decided to turn it into sangria. It makes a lightly effervescent and very refreshing drink. I basically used the fruit in the fridge – I would have added about a cup of grapes (peeled) had I had any or a banana. You want a mix of citrus and other mild fruit flavors that will commingle with liquids but still retain their shapes.
The basic rule of thumb is for every 2 cups of Lambrusco, add about 1 cup of other flavoring liquid – I like a mix of orange juice and triple sec. A full bottle of wine is about 3 cups.
The perfect accompaniment to the cicadas, katydids and laughter that were the music to our socially distant cocktail hour on a lovely June evening.
1 orange or 3 tangerines/clementines/satsumas, peeled and cut into rounds
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 peach, peeled and cut into slices
½ cup cantaloupe chunks
3/4 cup orange juice
¼ cup triple sec
2 tablespoons agave nectar (more as necessary)
2 cups Lambrusco
In a pitcher, stir together the fruit pieces. Add in orange juice and orange liqueur and agave nectar. Let sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry.
Stir in Lambrusco and ice cubes. Stir vigorously and taste for sweetness. Add more agave nectar, if needed. If it isn’t effervescent enough, add a splash of club soda or sparkling water. Serve over ice, placing some of the fruit in each glass.
It was Tuesday yesterday and I was out of taco shells. We had to settle for nachos instead. Que lastima!
To make the nachos, I took a pie plate and made a multi layer recipe by layering tortilla chips, then ground beef that had been browned with cumin, chili powder and chipotle powder, some canned black beans I warmed in a saucepan and lots of Monterey jack pepper cheese. I then made another layers and slid it in the oven until the cheese melted. It went on the table with some salsa and we dug in.
I basically do a layer for each person eating on it – with two us, I did two layers and it only takes 5 minutes in a 400 degree F oven but, when doing more layers, add in more time but watch it to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Served with a lemon margarita because sometimes life gives you lemons.
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ cup tequila
3-4 tablespoons agave nectar
Zest a lemon before squeezing into a shaker. Squeeze more lemons to get ¼ cup juice. Add in the tequila and 3 tablespoons agave nectar. Shake well with ice. Taste and add more agave nectar, if necessary.
Mix the zest with coarse salt. Rub one of the squeezed lemon rinds onto the rim of two cocktail glassed and coat the rims in the lemon salt. Pour in the margarita and enjoy!
The other night, I pulled out the mortar and pestle and most of Michelle’s bar supplies in order to play mad scientist with a batch of blackberries and limes. After a few experiments, I came up with a delicious blackberry mojito using more of the blackberries Michell had picked and a generous helping of Cajun Spice Old New Orleans Rum. The drink was so delicious and refreshing. It went really well with the pulled pork sandwiches that Michelle and I had with our friend, Lydia.
Mojitos usually include mint but none of our pots of mint had survived the most recent dry spell, and I didn’t really want to use the dried mint in a cocktail so we skipped that step. While our drinks were excellent without it, next time, I will add some to the muddling.
Optional – top with a splash of club soda. I didn’t have any, so we just enjoyed the drink in all its intensity.
Blackberry simple syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen
Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir regularly until the sugar is dissolved. Pour over the blackberries and let sit for 30 minutes, mashing the berries. Pour the simple syrup through a sieve to remove the seeds. Put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
1 lime, quartered
handful of blackberries
1/4 cup rum
2 tablespoons blackberry simple syrup
Muddle together the quartered lime and blackberries in a shaker. Add the rum and simple syrup and shake well with some crushed ice. Strain as you pour over ice.
Michelle has been picking blackberries around her house and we had more than enough to make a pitcher of blackberry lemonade and a batch of lemon blackberry sorbet plus plenty for freezing for later. These recipes made a very refreshing drink and sorbet – beautiful, tasty and loaded with antioxidants.
One day’s haul
To do these two recipes, make a simple syrup with 2 cups of water and two cups of sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves. Pour over 2 cups of blackberries that have been lightly mashed and let steep for 30 minutes. Press the simple syrup, juice and berries through a strainer. You should have about 3 cups blackberry simple syrup. If you’re only making one of the items, either double the recipe ingredients or drop the simple syrup ingredients (sugar, water and blackberries) to 1 cup.
Leftover syrup can be added to tea or used in cocktails.
1 1/2 cup blackberry simple syrup
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cups water
Add blackberry simple syrup and lemon juice to a large container. Add up to 3 cups water to taste.
For an added kick, add a 1/4 cup bourbon to the final mixture.
Lemon Blackberry Sorbet
1 1/2 cup blackberry simple syrup
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Combine chilled simple syrup with the lemon juice and zest and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After the sorbet is made, transfer to a container. Cover and freeze until ready to serve.
We made gelato (see recipe here) and had a bit of heavy whipping cream, a tad of evaporated milk and smidgen of sweetened condensed milk left over. After pondering and googling, we decided to puree it all with some strawberries. It works as a drink and, after some time in the freezer, as a sorbet like dessert.
Strawberry Cream Dream
1 cup hulled and diced strawberries
1 cup cream (we used half cream and half evaporated milk)
1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk
Place everything in a blender and puree until it is frothy and well mixed. Pour into glasses.
For a pleasant kick to your cocktail add in some banana rum.
Leonard on Big Bang Theory said about the Tequila Sunrise, “This drink is a wonderful example of how liquids with different specific gravities interact in a cylindrical container!” Science aside, it is quite tasty, too.
While home for Thanksgiving, I was able to pick a lot of satsumas off my Dad’s tree – there is a five gallon bucket on the floor beside him that is also full of fruit.
We decided to use some of the juice for cocktails. Of course, if you drink a lot of these, you won’t be seeing the sunrise but, who needs to get up early when you spent the evening with a glass this pretty!
Tall glass is the tequila version while short glass is the rum version
A regular Tequila Sunrise is made with tequila, naturally, or you can substitute rum for a Sailor’s Sunrise. We found the best results using regular rum, not spiced.
2 ounces tequila or rum
4 ounces satsuma juice (or orange juice)
1/2 ounce grenadine syrup
In a tall glass pour in the tequila or rum. Pour in the juice. Over the back of a spoon, pour in the grenadine. Do not stir.
This cocktail has a nice warmth from the bourbon which is a lovely contrast to the decadently rich combination of milk and cream. The hint of vanilla makes this really taste almost like dessert and definitely like more.
I’m really enjoying the vanilla paste Michelle got for me – it has vanilla seeds in it so it is a step up from regular vanilla extract but not as pricey as vanilla bean pods.
Bourbon Milk Punch
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream or half & half
1/4 cup cups powdered sugar
1 whole vanilla bean pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or 1 tablespoon quality vanilla extract)
Combine milk, cream and powdered sugar in a container with lid. If using a vanilla bean, slice in half and run the back of the knife over the interior to remove seeds. Add vanilla beans and pod to the jar and seal, shaking vigorously to combine. If using vanilla paste or extract, add it and shake well. Refrigerate up to 3 days.
To make the drinks, mix 3 parts vanilla milk with 2 parts bourbon. Place in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into glasses. Garnish with freshly ground nutmeg, if desired.