Kumquat Gin & Tonic/Kumquat Tonic

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Something I enjoy is creating cocktails and recently I made what I thought was a perfect Gin & Tonic … with kumquats! I won’t say that it is “the” perfect Gin & Tonic, because that all depends on what one is in the mood for and on one’s personal taste. (I, also happen to be a fan of Day Lily Gin Tonics for after working in the garden on a sticky hot early summer afternoon.)

Kumquats are very tart, as are limes, so they are a substitute for a squeeze of lime. But they are also sweet enough to eat, so one can consume them after finishing the drink.

Anyhow, here is what you need:

  • a good gin, one that you really like – I used Caorunn
  • chilled tonic water, one that actually has both fizz and flavor, e.g. Canada Dry in small glass bottles (a tart “soda”, e.g. San Pellegrino Limonata, can be substituted for those who like a slightly stronger sweet-tart cocktail)
  • several kumquats, sliced not too thin and not too thick
  • ice

Place the ice and the kumquat slice in a glass. Stir. Pour in gin to your desired strength (approximately a 1:3 gin to tonic ratio is my preference). Top with tonic. Enjoy! Share with friends over the upcoming holiday weekend! Cheers!

A quick note on tonics: if your tonic is flat or flavorless, it will ruin the drink, as will it if your tonic isn’t chilled because the ice cubes will melt too quickly.

When entertaining and serving cocktails, it is important to have fun alcohol-free beverages as well. For a pleasant mocktail, let’s call it a Kumquat Tonic, skip the gin, use the San Pellegrino Limonata (or something similar); don’t skimp on the kumquats … and use a lime slice for garnish. Very colorful and pleasant for hot weather! Again, cheers!

Either way … a delightful way to kick off summer! Best to you …

 

Happy New Year’s Eve (with a Mocktail & a Cocktail)

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Wishing all of my followers a healthy, happy, and inspiring 2015!

Here is a mocktail recipe and a cocktail recipe as we get ready to celebrate, with thanks, all of the good things in the year that has passed – and to toast, with joy and hopefulness, the year to come.

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Berry Happy New Year (Mocktail)

Place a scoop of raspberry sorbet in the bottom of a Champagne glass. Add 3 fresh black berries. Top with flavored sparkling water.

Enjoy!

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Sgroppino

Place a scoop of lemon sorbet and of limoncello sorbet in the bottom of a Champagne Glass.* Add a splash of vodka and top off with Prosecco. Enjoy!

• Sgroppini are traditionally made with lemon sorbet, vodka and Processco, but since I always make limoncello sorbet around the holidays – when I make homemade limoncello – I like to add a little limoncello sorbet to my Sgroppini. Sgroppini can also be blended for a slushy drink.

Happy New Year’s Eve! Happy New Year to Everyone!

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If you entertain for New Year’s Eve, please make sure that no one who drinks will be driving.

Old Fashioned Christmas (Cocktail)

Inspired by classic bourbon cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, this cocktail has been spruced up for Christmas but still retains a pleasing balance between bitter, sweet, fruity and bourbon flavors. Cheers!

Old Fashioned Christmas

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Ingredients

2 oz. Woodford Reserve or other good bourbon whiskey

1 oz. Pallini Raspicello Liqueur

1 oz. Travis Hasse’s Apple Pie Liqueur

4 dashes Angostura Bitters

ice, for shaking

lemon peel, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add bourbon, liqueurs and bitters. Cover and shake well –  to mix ingredients, to chill the drink and to allow a little of the ice to melt. Strain into a decorative martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel and serve.

Happy Holidays!

Raspberry Peach Grand Margaritas

Raspberry Peach Grand Margaritas

4 parts reposado tequila

2 parts Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry Peach

1 part fresh-squeezed juice from ripe Meyer Lemons*

agave syrup to taste, optional

Meyer Lemon slices

fresh raspberries

fresh (or semi-thawed) peach slices

Combine tequila, Grand Marnier, and lemon juice. Stir and then taste. If desired, add agave syrup until desired sweetness is reached. Stir together with ice and chill until serving or shake in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and serve right away. Garnish with fruit. Serve in margarita glasses or in colorful Mexican glassware. Enjoy! Have a great weekend!

* Note: ripe Meyer Lemons, which are a cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, sometimes look like small oranges when they are ripe.

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Homemade Grenadine

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Grenadine is a thick, fruity syrup used in cocktails and punches for its sweet flavor and bright red color. There are a number of recipes for Grenadine floating around; but usually the base is pomegranate juice since the name Grenadine come from the French word for pomegranate – grenade. I have seen ones, though, that use cherry juice for a base. One can start with fresh pomegranate juice or bottled. (I use POM.) Some recipes use less sugar. Some use orange flower water instead of citrus juices or zest. Some just have orange, some just lemon. Most – no cinnamon. You get the idea: you can play around with the recipe a bit. Enjoy!

Grenadine

3 1/2 c. pomegranate juice

juice of 2 – 3 lg. lemons

zest of 2 lg. lemons*

juice of 1 orange or blood orange

zest of 1 orange or blood orange*

3 1/2 c. granulated sugar

cinnamon stick, optional

3/4 oz. 151-proof rum**

Add all of the ingredients, except the rum, to a 3- or 4-quart pot. Stir. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook for about 25 minutes or until thick and syrupy and the liquid is reduced by about one third.

Allow to cool. Strain the syrup and discard the peels and cinnamon stick. If desired, stir in the rum – but then remember that you can’t use this in children’s drinks or in mocktails. (I usually divide syrup into two equal portions, add half the rum to one batch but not to the other, and then make sure that I label which is which when I bottle them.) Pour into clean glass bottles and store Grenadine in the refrigerator.

• Using a sharp paring knife, cut strips of zest from the citrus fruits being sure to leave behind the white pith.

** Grenadine can be made up to 2 weeks ahead if one doesn’t add the rum, or up to about 2 months ahead if one does add the rum.

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Beautiful Blood Orange Margarita

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Happy National Margarita Day (February 22nd)! To commemorate the occasion, here is the recipe for a beautiful and delicious Blood Orange Margarita.  Salud!

Blood Orange Margarita

2 oz. anejo tequila

1 oz. orange liqueur

juice from 1 blood orange

juice from 1 lime

lime slice for garnish

edible flower for garnish

1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add tequila, orange liqueur, blood orange juice and lime juice. Shake well to chill and to mix ingredients.

2. Strain into a margarita glass. Garnish with lime and flower.

Enjoy, but please don’t drink and drive!

Valentines’ Mocha

A special after-dinner coffee made with dark chocolate and chocolate vodka. Don’t forget to dip your strawberry in the whipped cream before drinking! Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Valentines’ Mocha (serves 2)

1 c. fresh-brewed, good decaf coffee

1 oz. dark chocolate

1 oz. chocolate vodka

1 T. dark brown sugar

1/4 c. heavy cream

2 large, ripe strawberries (cleaned and stemmed)

cinnamon sugar

1. Place coffee, chocolate, vodka and dark brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate and brown sugar are melted and blended into the coffee.

2. Meanwhile, whip cream until it holds soft peaks.

3. Pour coffee into two glass coffee mugs. Garnish mugs with strawberries. Top with whipped cream and cinnamon sugar. Serve immediately. Enjoy!