We’ve got flowers, pastel colors and a few eggs. Here’s what you should be drinking on Easter this year!
Ok, so here’s some chocolate for you too…
We’ve got flowers, pastel colors and a few eggs. Here’s what you should be drinking on Easter this year!
Ok, so here’s some chocolate for you too…
Winter is officially citrus season, which always seemed so bizarre to me. Why would this bright, summery feeling fruit be aÂ winter crop? Maybe to cheer us all up during those dark winter days? Well, drink (or make!) a few of these citrus concoctions and you’ll be smiling soon.
Hey guys! We’ve been enjoying a summer break around these parts (read: preparing for termite tenting and urging my husband to dispose of years of saved New Yorker magazines). But now we’re back with you today with a cocktail AND some awesome news!
First up, the awesome news.
Stir and Strain is a finalist AGAIN this year for Saveur’s Best Blog awards in the Drinks Coverage category. We are now up against some beer and wine folks and not just cocktails. Third time’s a charm? Or always a bridesmaid never a bride? We’ll see in September. For now, if you want to vote for Stir and Strain to win, you can do that today (and actually, they are allowing you to do thatÂ every day until August 31st. But I won’t pressure you guys either way.).
And now here’s a cocktail.
I’ve been digging Montenegro Amaro for a few months now, but mainly just as a digestif. It’s not newâ€“it’s been around since 1885, but it was new to my line up this year and I couldn’t be happier. Looking for a new way to enjoy this but still keeping it at a low ABV, I thought about that kooky combination of cold brew coffee and tonic water I heard about last year. I don’t keep up with coffee trends, but I do enjoy putting coffeeÂ Â Â into myÂ Â Â cocktails.
So I decided to pair Montenegro, with its super flavorful and wonderfully bittersweet taste, with a robust coffee and slightly bitter tonic. I finished the cocktailÂ with a touch of grapefruit oil in the garnishâ€“don’t skip that folks, it makes the drink with a light floral aroma. It’s hard to nail down exactly all the flavors you get with Montenegro, but there’s citrus and dried cherry and gentian root and just a lot of herbal notes. It provides enough sweetness along with the tonic water so there is no need to add any further sweetener.
You could have this as your digestif, or maybe a Sunday early afternoon drink. Up to your preference. I’ve been enjoying them in the late afternoon when I need a pick-me-up, but also, you know, want a little cocktail too.
5 ounces tonic water (Fever-Tree Indian Tonic used here)
1 ounce Montenegro Amaro*
3-1/2 ounces cold brew or chilled espresso (we have a Nespresso machine at home and for this I used one Lungo capsule of their Fortissio)
grapefruit zest for garnish
Well guys, it’s been two years since I’ve done one of these, so here’s your 2016 cocktail roundup for all your Moms. Drink up!
ThisÂ post is brought to you by Blue Nectar Tequila. Recipes and ideas are my own.
Admittedly, I let a lot of the drink holidays pass me by. Especially when theyâ€™re not really something I feel like celebrating (vodka + red bull day Iâ€™m looking at you). But today is a very special day. Today is Margarita Day.
I drink Margaritas every day of the year. I donâ€™t wait for Taco Tuesday and happy hour at my local cantina. I breakÂ them out over brunch or on any given Sunday. But usually just a single serving or two. Today, because weâ€™re celebrating, weâ€™re going big and making a Margarita PUNCH.
Since weâ€™re still deep in citrus season, my family just got back from picking our own grapefruits, lemons and whatever else was hanging on those fruit-laden trees. The grapefruits were so juicy and tart and delicious, that I perhaps got a little overzealous with the picking. To make sure they go to a good home, theyâ€™ll be the base of the punch today. Not only will we use some of the juice, but the zest will go into the oleo saccharum, and the whole punch will get garnished with sugared brÃ»lÃ©ed wheels of the fruit. An honorable way for these grapefruits to go.
Even though I love those grapefruit, to balance out the citrus flavors and make the base more complex, Iâ€™m creating a oleo saccharum with lemon and lime zest in addition to a few grapefruit zests thrown in. Creating the base this way gives the punch a strong citrus backbone that wonâ€™t get watered down and lost once the grapefruit juice, tequila and ice are added in.
To sweeten everything up and to highlight some of the more floral characteristics of the citrus, Iâ€™ve combined Tahitian vanilla (which is the most floral of the vanilla varieties) and piloncillo. Not sure what piloncillo is? Thatâ€™s ok, Iâ€™ve only just started using it over the last few years myself. Piloncillo is evaporated sugar cane juice from Mexico. Itâ€™s not as sweet as regular cane sugar, but it has a wonderfully rich taste, similar to brown sugar. Again, to make this a more concentrated flavor bomb for the punch, the vanilla and piloncillo get made into a syrup and then reduced into a rich, syrupy sweetener.
This wouldnâ€™t be a Margarita without the tequila, right? For that Iâ€™m turning to Blue Nectar Silver Tequila for the perfect pairing to my grapefruit obsession. The clean vegetal flavor has just a touch of spiciness that balances out the sweetness of the citrus.
This is a versatile punch: serve it up with breakfast tacos or late in the afternoon all by itself; anytime really. But especially today, for the best drink holiday, Margarita Day.
For more information on Blue Nectar Tequila, please check out their website here!
Makes approximately 12 servings
4.5 ounces sugar
zests from 2 limes
zests from 2 lemons
zests from 1 grapefruit
750 ml Blue Nectar Silver Tequila
12 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit, preferably oro blanco grapefruits
4 ounces vanilla and piloncillo reduction
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces orange curacao, preferably Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curacao
1 large ruby red grapefruit, sliced 1/4″ thick
1 tablespoon piloncillo
Well, you’re outside on the grill anyways during the summer, might as well put it to some good use in the drink department. And if you’ve been on here before, every summer now I sort through the seasonal (and maybe not so seasonal) fruits and see what happens when you char them up. Like mangoes. And nectarines, limes and cherries. But especially cherries (so much so I made some for Kristin at DineXDesign too). Sometimes though, you run out of fruit to grill, and you unearth something from the depths of your pantry. And then the science experiments start and that’s where you can really have some fun.
So, admittedly, I bought this canÂ before I left my day job which was over a year and a half ago. How long I bought it before I left that job is a total mystery. But every so often I would open my pantry, stick my head in, notice this can of rambutans, squint at it like it’s going to tell me what to do with it, and then leave it there for another day. That is, until a few days ago.
I had promised to make a pitcher of cocktails for some friends coming over but in my usual fashion of late, left it to the night before. And because the fruit from the farmer’s market has beenÂ so good lately, I had eaten all of it. With a sad, empty fruit bowl staring at me, wagging its imaginary banana finger, I suddenly realizedÂ nowÂ might be a good time to crack open those rambutans (which, for the record, I can’t help but sing as “bam-a-lam” from that Black Betty song).
I tasted one, a little crunchy with a sweet-tart taste similar to a grape; it could only get better with some grill time. And it did. The richer flavors that developed turned out to be a just the ingredient to pair with some tequila, grapefruit and lime juice. And smoked salt. Always with the smoked salt.
Makes 4 cocktails
12 rambutans, peeled and seed removed if fresh (canned rambutans come ready to eat and are available online here)
6 ounces blanco tequila
2 ounces fresh juice from 1 white grapefruit
2 ounces fresh juice from 2 limes
1 ounce simple syrup
Smoked sea salt and lime juice for rimming
The slightly nutty flavors pair wonderfully with tequila, while fresh lime and grapefruit juice highlight the floral and tart elements of the rambutan. A touch of simple syrup is not enough to make the whole concoction sweet; instead, it helps round out the flavor and brighten the mix.
It’s not very often that I do a theme week around here, but I think we can all agree that brunch is definitely worth the effort. I hope you all enjoy some pineapple
**Also, today is the last day to get your nominations in for the Saveur Best Blog awards. If you’d enjoyed the content on here, please consider Stir and Strain for best cocktail site!
Back in January I attended the second annual Golden State of Cocktails here in Los Angeles. Three days filled with seminars, demonstrations, booze, tacos, science, more booze, some bar crawls, educational booths, and so much more booze. While there were some fantastic seminars attended, the talk on the history of pisco stood out the most for me. It made me… really excited about pisco. I can’t say for certain what it was exactly that made this particular talk so great:Â the enthusiastic speakers? The bottled punch? The sample after sample of pisco? Whatever it was, I knew I was hooked on the spirit and had to start using it more. Hey, the title of the seminar was “The World’s Most Mixable Spirit”. (And if you’d like a little more history on it, I touched on a couple points in my Serious Eats post you can read.)
So obviously I needed to start mixing with it. Consider this your gateway cocktail into the world of pisco (that is if you are still on the fence about drinking a Pisco Sour due to the egg white. OH, hey. I made a vegan version of that you should try). Here I’ve paired the pisco with the very much in season grapefruits that I had accumulated over the last several weeks from the farmer’s market. Yes, sometimes my seasonal cocktails are just a reason to get rid of some fruit I’ve over-bought. Then I spiked it with a little thyme and a splash of lime.
Zest from one medium grapefruit
1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice from 2 to 3 grapefruits (see note above)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice from 3 limes
9 ounces pisco, such as Encanto
4 1/2 ounces Grapefruit Syrup
6 sprigs fresh thyme for garnish
It’s a bright, delicious cocktail that you can easily have along whatever brunch-y dishes you might be cooking up. But still palatable for a pre-dinner drink too if that’s more your thing.
What I mean is something straightforward. SomethingÂ you don’t need a timer to make, or cheesecloth, or 48 hours to wait until you can drink it. And for this month’s Mixology Monday theme of “The Unknown”, I have just the recipe. Chris from A Bar Above has dared us all to work with an ingredient (or technique) that we have never worked with before and I spent over a week thinking about just what I would do.Â
And then I had an answer: I chose balsamic vinegar. Yes! That liquid you pour on your salad! Actually, this has been on my ideas list for some time now, but the opportunity never really came up to make something with it. I’m distinguishing this from shrubs, which I have used, because in those cases I made the shrub and also because I haven’t used grape musts before, which is the base for the balsamic I am using. The one caveat here is that I am using a reduced balsamic, which is more of a syrupy consistency. I was initially going to reduce a balsamic vinegar for the recipe but I’m trying to be simple, and I love the flavor of the one I have on hand. So, there you go…one less step.
Balsamic vinegar by itself is a pretty powerful ingredient.Â Even in this condensed, sweeter form, Crema di Balsamico still sings back to its vinegary beginnings. So I had to find another powerful star for this drink, and for that I turned to mezcal. In fact, all of the components to this drink are stand outs, but together in the cocktail they somehow work to balance each other out. They all become team players here instead of divas.
So let’s crack into the Unknown and make a drink.
1-1/2 ounces mezcal, Montelobos used here
1 ounce freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce Aperol
1/2 ounce Crema di Balsamico
grapefruit peel for garnish
While the mezcal does provide a hefty backbone to this drink it doesn’t overpower the whole. Grapefruit gives a bit of sweetness and also a touch of bitterness while the crema di balsamico adds the essence of “tang” instead of “vinegar”. Aperol was a later addition to the drink and ended up connecting the dots of the cocktail, roundimg out the flavors and making them work well together.
So, it’s Sunday, and as much as I’d like to go sit outside and continue to enjoy the weekend, I wanted to get this drink post out to you all since it’s both seasonally, and Sunday, appropriate. I originally wrote this recipe for the Serious Eats site a few weeks ago when they were looking for some more patio drinks to feature (and I love a reason to sit outside with a cold pitcher of something good to drink). This time around, instead of wine in a Sangria, I decided on featuring Lillet, and in particular, Lillet RosÃ©.
We’re still getting grapefruits here, although not the best since the season is ending, however their delicious flavor can still go a long way in a Sangria. Since I was set on using them up, I chose Lillet RosÃ© as a base since it’sÂ very grapefruit forward and would only enhance that flavor. I followed that up with grapefruit’s best friend mint, and topped it off with Cava. Pretty simple, but super tasty. Now, as far as simple syrup is concerned, you’ll need to taste your grapefruit and see just how sweet it is, or if you just like your Sunday Sippers a tad on the sweet side, use the full amount suggested in the recipe. It’s up to you!
15 fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 cup fresh grapefruit juice, from about 2 Ruby Red grapefruits, plus 1/2 of one grapefruit, peel intact, cut into rough chunks
1 cup Lillet RosÃ©
1 bottle Cava, chilled
Grapefruit has a bitter, floral flavor that works really well with the sweet, cooling mint. Ruby Red is what is available right now, and these actually veer more towards tart than sweet (if you substitute white flesh grapefruits like an Oro Blanco you’ll need less sugar). The Lillet RosÃ© makes this a super grapefruit treat that is just a touch sweet and with the bubbly cava, totally summer in your glass.