Mint Lemonade

When life (or, more accurately, the grocery store) puts lemons on sale, it behoves you to make lemonade. Add to that Michelle needing to thin out her mint plants and we ended up making mint lemonade.

Mint Lemonade

2 cups sugar
6 cups water
1/2 cup mint leaves
2 cups fresh lemon juice

Make a simple syrup by placing 2 cups sugar and 2 cups of the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then add in the mint leaves. Let steep, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place lemon juice in a large pitcher, pour in 1 cup mint simple syrup through a strainer. Add remaining 4 cups water. Taste and add additional simple syrup until the lemonade is at your preferred level of sweetness. Serve over ice.

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Rum Chata Cocktails and Cheesecake

We have a bottle of a yummy cream liquor called RumChata and had a hankering to use it as more than just an after dinner drink. RumChata is made with Caribbean rum and cream with the addition of Horchata spices (including cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, etc).

Here are a couple of cocktails plus an alteration of Michelle’s cheesecake from my publisher, Bella Books , Thanksgiving blog (scroll down once you click through to find her recipe) to include bittersweet chocolate and RumChata.

au-lait

RumChata Egg Nog Au Lait

2 parts RumChata
2 parts egg nog
2 parts coffee
Nutmeg

Serve hot, cold or colder.

For hot, heat all the ingredients except the nutmeg in a small saucepan. Pour into a mug and sprinkle on nutmeg to taste.

For cold, whisk into a mug all the ingredients, except the nutmeg. Stir in a couple of ice cubes. Sprinkle on nutmeg to taste.

For frozen, place a mug of the cold RumChata Egg Nog Au Lait in the freezer for an hour. Stir with a fork and eat with a spoon.

creme-de-menthe

Mint Choco Chata Cocktail

2 oz RumChata
½ oz green creme de menthe
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Stir RumChata and creme de menthe together. If you don’t mind your drink to be a weird dark green, mix chocolate into the liquid. Otherwise, drizzle the chocolate into the glass in a creative pattern. Place in a couple of ice cubes and then pour over the cocktail.

cheesecake

Choco-Chata Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup sugar
4 package cream cheese, room temperature
4 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Rum Chata

Mix the butter with the graham cracker crumbs and press into a well buttered springform pan. Set aside.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in the sugar and beat until fully incorporated. Add in the eggs one at a time. Add in flour. Alternate in the melted bittersweet chocolate and sour cream. Add in RumChata. Pour into prepared pan.

Spread the filling over the crust in the pan. Gently lift the pan and tap it down on the counter two or three times to settle the filling and help disperse air bubbles.

Place the cheesecake in a 200 degree F oven. (The lower-temp baking process makes for an exceptionally creamy cheesecake. The usual pan of water used when baking cheesecake is NOT used during this method.) Bake cheesecake for 3 hours. Remove from the oven. Crank the oven temperature to 500 degrees F. Return the cake to the oven and bake 5 to 10 minutes for a golden brown the top.

Take cheesecake from oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, without releasing the side of the pan, run a knife along the inside edge of the cheesecake to loosen it. Cover and refrigerate the cheesecake until chilled for 3 hours or overnight. 

This recipe is for a 10″ springform pan. If using a smaller size, drop out 1 package of cream cheese and reduce the graham cracker crumbs to just a cup with 3 tablespoons of melted butter.

Chocolate Rum Cream

I had 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk left over after doing another recipe of Dark Chocolate Gelato and had a bottle of Brugal Titanium Rum sitting on the island. My mind began to work on how best to combine them.

As much as I like Bailey’s Irish Cream, it pales in comparison to the memory of a delicious rum cream I had many, many years ago. A web search turned up a lot of recipes, none of which appealed, as I didn’t want to add eggs, coffee or another liquor. So I took parts of several recipes and created my version of Rum Cream to which I added Hershey’s chocolate syrup because, why not?

rum cream

Chocolate Rum Cream


1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup cream
1/3 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix. Scrape down the sides of the container and mix again. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Rum Sidecar

drinkMy friends, Charlotte and Thomas, brought me back some rum from the Dominican Republic and I had some lovely lemons just begging to be used, so I made a version of the Sidecar.

Very bright and perfect for the warm, humid evening! If you find the drink a little too tart, add a tablespoon of agave nectar to the shaker to sweetening things up.

Rum Sidecar

1 1/2 ounces rum (I used Brugal Titanium)
1/2 ounce triple sec or other orange liquor
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with lemon juice and dip it in sugar.

Shake the rum and other ingredients well with ice, then strain into the prepared cocktail glass. You may need to slightly adjust the amounts of triple sec and lemon juice, depending on the brand of rum you use.

 

Mardi Gras Glühwein

IMG_1634On Saturday, I went out to view the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus parade with my sister and her husband. This parade brings the magical revelry of Mardi Gras to the poor, disenfranchised, socially awkward and generally weird masses.

We took along one of my favorite winter wine drinks. You, too, can get your inner nerd warmed up right with this recipe for German style mulled wine, also known as Glühwein.

Glühwein

1 bottle of red wine
1/2 cup of rum or brandy (I used Bacardi O)
1 cup water
1 large orange, peeled then juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
peel of 1 lemon
1/2 cup agave syrup or sugar
5-6 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick

Peel large sections of skin from orange and lemon. Over medium heat in a medium sized pot, pour in agave syrup and water, then add the peels and juice of the orange and the lemon peel. Add the cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour. The liquid will reduce, so after around 30 minutes, add in about a half cup of wine. This allows the flavors to infuse and will create a syrup.

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and pour in the bottle of wine and rum or brandy. Bring back to a gentle simmer and heat for about 5 minutes. Simmer longer if you want to burn off some of the alcohol. Strain out the fruit and spices and ladle it into glasses. Serve warm.

Or put it into travel mugs or go-cups and hit the parade!

mary and kathy at chewbacchus 2016

Mary and Kathy at Chewbacchus 2016

 

 

Spooky Homemade Root Beer

We needed some dry ice for the cooler and broke off a few pieces to use for carbonating and spookifying some homemade root beer.

IMG_9198

1 Quart Spooky Homemade Root Beer

1 quart cold water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 ounce root beer extract
1/2 lb dry ice

Root beer extract is found in the baking/spice area of the grocery store.

Pour water into a large container (or plastic cauldron), followed by the sugar. Stir or shake the container to dissolve the sugar. Add the root beer extract and mix well. Add the dry ice that has been broken into small pieces. The bubbling mixture will become carbonated and will be ready to serve when all the dry ice has fully vaporized. Do not close or cover the container until the fog has completely dissipated.

Add ice cream for a special root beer float that kids of all ages will love.

IMG_9184

Frozen Fuzzy Navel with Slow Cooker Peach Puree

Finding a use for slightly under ripe or frozen peaches just got a little easier with my CrockPot. I put the peaches and some other goodies in over low for a couple of hours and then pureed the result. That puree is finding its way into all kinds of dishes, including this cocktail recipe.

peach cocktail

Frozen Fuzzy Navel

Ice
1/3 cup peach puree (see recipe below)
1/2 cup orange juice
2 ounce peach schnapps
1 ounces vodka

Fill a blender about half-full with ice. Chop the ice with a few pulses and then add the peach puree, orange juice, peach schnapps and vodka.

Blend on high until it’s the consistency of a smoothie.

Slow Cooker Peach Puree

8 peaches, sliced (this works best with slightly under ripe or hard peaches)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup peach schnapps (optional)

In a slow cooker, combine the peaches, sugar, cinnamon, butter and schnapps. Toss lightly to combine. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. When good and soft, dish out enough to put over a bowl of vanilla ice cream and put the rest in a blender and puree until smooth. Store in pint bags in the freezer until ready to use.