Old-Fashioned Cocktail and Brandied Cherries

Recently, several people have asked me to post another cocktail recipe. So, friends, if anyone is planning to host a cocktail party, here is a classic …

OldFashioned2

Old-Fashioned Cocktail

• 1 cube of sugar

• 3 – 4 drops Angostura bitters (traditional in this cocktail) or Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters (also very good)

• 1 – 2 brandied cherries

• 1 orange slice or lemon slice

• ice

• 2 oz. good bourbon (such as Woodford Reserve)

• 1 oz. cold water, optional

Place sugar cube in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and then splash with bitters. Add 1 cherry and orange or lemon slice. Muddle ingredients together in bottom of glass.  Fill glass halfway with ice.  Add bourbon and, if a  lighter drink is desired, water.  Stir before serving to mix and chill drink and to make sure that sugar is dissolved. If desired, plop another cherry in the cocktail. Cheers!

Brandied Cherries

• 1 1/4 c. fresh cherries that have been washed and pitted (or frozen dark sweet cherries if fresh aren’t available)

• 1/4 c. granulated white sugar

• 1/4 c. water

• 1/2 t. fresh lemon or lime zest

• dash of ground cinnamon

• pinch of ground nutmeg

• pinch of ground cardamom

1/4 c. good brandy

Place all of the ingredients, except the brandy,  in a medium-sized saucepan. Gently stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes or until liquid is thick and syrupy. Remove from heat. Stir in brandy. Transfer to a clean glass jar. Refrigerate uncovered until cool, then tightly seal jar. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics

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After working in the garden much of the day yesterday, I made Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics to celebrate the first day of summer.  Here’s to summer!

Wild Daylily Gin & Tonics

The blooms in these summery cocktails are edible and are meant to be eaten. They taste like cucumbers and are easiest to eat starting from the stem end.

Gin

Tonic Water

Lemon Slices

Hemerocallis fulva Blooms (See note below.)

(1) Pick fresh Hemerocallis fulva blooms. Remove and discard the pollen covered tips from the stamens. Gently wash blooms in cold water. 

(2) For each G&T, fill a tall tumbler about 3/4 full of ice. Add lemon slices. Fill about 1/3 of the way with gin then top off with tonic. Gently stir. Place a daylily in the top. Enjoy! 

Note: Do not eat true lilies or use them as garnishes. True lilies – plants in the lillium family (e.g. Easter Lilies, Asiatic Lilies, Oriental Lilies, etc.) – are poisonous. Daylilies are not true lilies. Ones of the wild variety are edible, though occasionally someone is allergic to them. Hemerocallis fulva – wild daylilies – are the only daylilies recommended for eating because, given the many different hybridized cultivars out there, it is possible that some one or another could make a person sick. Wild daylilies, the tall orange ones that are often seen growing wild along the side of country roads, are edible. I grow them in my garden and use the blooms to garnish beverages and salads. I haven’t tried eating the tubers, but I have read in several places that sauteed wild daylily tubers are quite tasty.

There are a number of articles available on cooking with daylilies. Here are a few links:

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook

Eat the Weeds

Organic Valley

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Toasting Mothers with a Bellini

A toast to all of the wonderful mothers out there … especially mine! Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 12th!

Bellini

Fill a Champagne glass about 1/3 of the way with chilled peach nectar*, then top off with chilled Champagne. Enjoy!

* If you can’t find peach nectar, try fresh or frozen peaches pureed with a little peach juice, or use peach sorbet for a sweeter cocktail. Another variation is to add a splash of Peach Schnapps and a little lemon juice before the Champagne. 

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Raspberry Mint Julep

Mint Julep is the official cocktail of the Kentucky Derby, and yet, despite its renown, is not widely popular apart from Derby celebrations.  Though it is refreshingly cold and steeped with tradition, the flavors of this classic cocktail (Bourbon, mint, and sugar) are just – to some palates – not very well rounded. Having read that some bars are experimenting with variations on the Mint Julep, I decided to try my own creation – a Raspberry Mint Julep. The addition of raspberry mutes the mint slightly and blends well with the rich flavor of Bourbon. I think this pleasant cocktail could be served for almost any warm weather occasion. Let me know what you think!

2 oz. Woodford Reserve or other good Bourbon

1 oz. Raspicello or other good raspberry liqueur

5 mint leaves, plus leaves for garnish

5 raspberries, plus one for garnish

1 t. sugar

shaved ice

In a chilled Mint Julep cup or highball glass, muddle together mint leaves, raspberries and sugar. Add Bourbon and raspberry liqueur. Fill cup/glass with shaved ice, top with a Boston shaker, and shake well. Garnish with raspberry and mint leaves. Enjoy!

Note: Mint Juleps are traditionally served in a chilled, beaded silver cup and held with a napkin around the base.

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Cupid’s Arrow (A Valentine’s Martini)

 

For the February issue of The Morning Star’s newsletter, I wanted to create a Valentine’s recipe that would be both easy and fun. With the recent popularity of Chocolate Martini’s, I decide to create my own version of this dessert cocktail – an enjoyable little project if I do say so! This is what I came up with …

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Cupid’s Arrow

– makes 2 strong cocktails –

3 oz.  Chocolate Vodka (I use Cupcake Devil’s Food Vodka)

2 oz. Raspberry Liqueur (I use Pallini Raspicello)

2 oz. Chocolate Liqueur (I use Meletti Cioccolato)

Half-and-half

Dark chocolate

Fresh raspberries

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka and liqueurs. Shake well. Strain into two chilled martini glasses. Drizzle a little half-and-half over the top of each. (It will sink to the bottom then raise to the top, creating a marbleized effect.) Shave a little chocolate over the top of each cocktail then garnish with fresh raspberries. Enjoy!

Tips: Chill glasses in freezer for ten minutes before serving. Use chilled ingredients. The drink should be served very cold, but you do not want it diluted by melting ice.

 

Happy Reindeer Daiquiri

In my previous post, as part of the Two Little Chefettes’ Cooking Challenge, I published a recipe for Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup. One way to use this syrup is in cocktails and mocktails in place of plain simple syrup. Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup imparts rich cinnamon and caramel flavors to drinks.  The Happy Reindeer Daiquiri is an excellent example. Cheers! Happy Holidays!

Happy Reindeer Daiquiri

2 oz. rum (or apple juice, for an alcohol-free drink)

1 oz fresh lime juice

1/2 – 1 oz. brown sugar cinnamon syrup, or to taste (recipe)

Maraschino cherry

Cinnamon stick

Pour rum, lime juice, and brown sugar cinnamon syrup into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into a coupe or martini style cocktail glass. Garnish with Maraschino cherry and cinnamon stick. Serve immediately.

HappyReindeerDaiquiriCheers!

2LC: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup

The ingredient for this month’s Two Little Chefettes‘ Cooking Challenge is cinnamon. For the challenge, I made Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup because it can be used to add rich cinnamon and caramel flavor to so many dishes. Pour over French toast, pancakes or waffles. Use to glaze coffee cakes, muffins, scones or brownies. Add to coffee, cocoa or tea. Drizzle over apple pie with ice cream. Use in place of simple syrup in cocktails and mocktails.  There are so many ways to enjoy Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup!

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Syrup

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 c. granulated white sugar

2 c. water

12 inches of cinnamon bark (e.g. 3  four-inch long cinnamon sticks)

Place ingredients in a 2 qt. non-stick saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the syrup comes to a simmer and sugars are completely dissolved. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 more minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to cool. Transfer to a glass jar, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  Remove the cinnamon sticks. (If there is any chance that there are splinters of the cinnamon bark in your syrup, strain the syrup  into a clean glass container.) Cover and store in the refrigerator.

FrenchToastWithSyrupNote on color: the syrup looks quite dark – like dark maple syrup – when it is in a container, but looks considerably bit lighter when it is poured.

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Related Articles:

whisksandchopsticks: Apple Crisp

feedtheburn: Cinnamon Buns

Blood and Sand

In addition to this blog, I write a monthly e-newsletter for the bed & breakfast called The Morning Star Update. For the November issue, on which I am currently working, I am planning on featuring a cocktail that people could serve before Thanksgiving dinner – that is, if they eat their holiday supper late in the day. At this time, I am leaning toward using Blood and Sand, a cocktail named after the Rudolph Valentino silent film from 1922. ( In the film, Valentino played a Spanish matador undone by fame, a woman – Rita Hayworth – and booze.) A classic cocktail from the 1930’s and 40’s, Blood and Sand is nevertheless one of the rare cocktails made with Scotch. It is heavy and fruity, but not overly sweet, and is typically a medium caramel brown color, though it can lean toward orange or red. If you have a favorite cocktail that you would like to recommend for celebrating the holidays, I’d love to hear about it. In the meantime, if you try a Blood and Sand, enjoy, let me know what you think of it  … and of course, unlike Valentino’s matador, drink responsibly.

Blood and Sand

3/4 oz. Scotch

3/4 oz. Heering Cherry Liqueur or Grand Marnier Cherry Liqueur

3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth, preferably Vya

3/4 oz. Fresh-squeezed  orange juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Add ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Notes: Cheap cherry brandies and vermouth can make this drink taste like cough syrup. Use good quality alcohol. Fresh-squeezed orange juice tends to have more of a tart taste than does bottled orange juice and so helps cut the sweetness of the vermouth and cherry liqueur. Fresh-squeezed blood orange juice can be substituted.

96 and Going to Havana

Officially, the high in Manhattan (Kansas) yesterday was 96 degrees F; but the official temperature is taken at the airport outside of town, and is always lower than what you’ll find recorded on any thermometer in town. According to ours, it was 101. Downtown, we experience heat reflected off streets and buildings and generated by equipment. In fact, different neighborhoods, even different properties can seem to have their own miniature climate zones. The back yard of the house on the corner near us, for example, is always a few degrees warmer than ours because it receives more reflected heat from the brick of Seven Dolors Church.

With the hot summer temperatures – though not as hot as they are likely to get later in the summer – one of our return guests surprised us yesterday with a bottle of Cuban Havana Club rum. When someone shows up at your door with such a gift, and it is so very hot, what can you do but make Havanas, sit on the front porch, and relax?

Havana

recipe from The Art of The Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics, by Jeff Hollinger & Rob Schwartz

1 1/2 oz. Gosling’s rum

3/4 oz. Cointreau

1/2 oz. fresh lime juice

Splash fresh orange juice

Dash of Orange bitters

Edible Flower for garnish

Line the rim of a cocktail glass with sugar. Combine ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker, shake, and then strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with flower.

(As you can tell from my photos, I was too tired yesterday to strain the cocktails, but I enjoy the pulp from the fresh fruit anyway … and it was so hot, we really wanted ice. And obviously, we substituted rums.)

I’ve Been Inspired By … Blueberry Gin

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered it, Boozed + Infused is a wonderful and creative blog by two sisters – Alicia and Eileen. Its theme is preserving seasonal flavors by infusing them in alcohol and, of course, tasty ways to then enjoy those infusions. Alicia’s Blueberry Gin inspired me to give it a try  and to try it out in some original cocktails.  Thank you, Alicia, for letting me share! (Alicia, by the way, says that she got some of her inspiration from Post Prohibition. Isn’t it great how inspiration works?) I tried several recipes made with the Blueberry Gin. I loved Alicia’s Blueberry Pieball cocktail. Of the cocktails that I created, my favorite was Blueberry Gin & Tonic which, by the way, would make an excellent cocktail for the 4th of July. Have you any 4th of July favorites?

Blueberry Gin: Two Methods. 

Boozed + Infused’s Method

2 c. frozen blueberries

2 c. gin

granulated white sugar

zest of 1 lemon

1/2-inch cinnamon stick

2 whole cloves

Cook blueberries in a saucepan for 5 minutes, lightly crushing them as they cook. Pour into a 1-qt. jar, add the other ingredients, screw on the lid to the jar, and shake well. Let sit for 1 month, shaking occasionally. (I got impatient and tried the gin in cocktails after a week and a half. It was already very tasty.) Strain and filter. (Alicia says to use a colander, cheesecloth, jellybag and coffee filter. I just used a fine mesh tea filter, but maybe after the gin sits for a whole month more aggressive filtering is needed.)

A Shortcut Which  Will Do in a Pinch to Make Cocktails.

1 c. 100% Blueberry Juice Concentrate (I used Dynamic Health Laboratories brand, which I had bought to make the ice cubes called for by Alicia’s Blueberry Pieball recipe – because I couldn’t find plain blueberry juice.)

5 c. gin

2 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a glass jar. Shake well. Chill until serving.

Blueberry Gin & Tonic

4 oz. blueberry gin

3 oz. tonic water

1/2 oz. lime juice

slice of lime

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add gin, tonic water, and lime juice. Stir. Garnish with slice of lime. Enjoy!