Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

A quick but delicious cocktail entry this week, folks. A couple of weeks ago I made a gigantic batch of rosemary-infused simple syrup to make Ophelias for a dinner party. The next night S and I enjoyed another round of Ophelias, but then I began wondering what else I could do with rosemary syrup. I decided to keep it simple and try a vodka martini version of the Ophelia.

You guys know where I stand on the vodka-vs-gin debate (hint: it’s with gin) but this is pretty damn yummy. Also, it’s easy. Delicious lazy-person recipes like this are why I don’t make my own bitters, people.

You can tell we just had a dinner party because our tablecloth came out of storage.

You can tell we just had a dinner party because our tablecloth came out of storage.

Rosemary-Lemon Martini (Makes 2)

3 oz vodka
1.5 oz rosemary syrup (recipe here)
1.5 oz lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake until cold and strain into martini glasses.


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Emboldened by my success with the Pina Colada, I decided to try my hand at a strawberry daiquiri — inspired, in no small part, by the unbelievably gorgeous strawberries beckoning me from the farmer’s market. But after some unsuccessful tries I had to admit that maybe the strawberry daiquiri just wasn’t my thing. Rum and strawberries isn’t a combination that has enough wow factor to get me excited about making one.

A strawberry margarita, on the other hand? That’s a winner on a hot summer day. Strawberries and tequila, as it turns out, are a match made in a very boozy heaven.


Strawberry Margarita
6 oz. strawberries, pureed in a blender (about 3/4 cup pureed strawberries)
10 T. white tequila
4 T. lime juice
3 T. Cointreau
2T. simple syrup

Get out your blender. Blend your strawberries first–try to get them pretty well pureed. Then add the tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, and simple syrup to the blender.  Blend some more.  Serve in an ice-filled glass with a salted rim (not shown here, but definitely recommended). Garnish with a small strawberry if desired.

Alternate serving suggestion: if you like frozen margaritas, add around 1 cup of ice to the blender, and skip the ice in the glasses.

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On those blissful occasions when I find myself at a beachfront or poolside bar, my go-to cocktail is the mojito.  Others may swear by frozen drinks at the beach, but I contend that there’s nothing more refreshing than a fizzy, citrus-y, minty mojito.


Adapted from A Cup of Mai
~8 mint leaves
1.5 Tablespoons lime juice
1.5 Tablespoons simple syrup
2 ounces light rum
2-3 ounces club soda

Place mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a sturdy glass.  Use a muddler (or a wooden spoon if you don’t have a muddler) to gently crush the mint into the liquid.  Add ice.  Pour white rum over the ice and top with club soda.  Stir gently before serving. Garnish with lime wedge if desired.

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Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here!  Well, it’s summer now and I think it’s time to start mixing some summer cocktails, don’t you?

My summer cocktail mixing got off to a slightly rocky start.  This weekend we happened to possess an excess of fresh pineapple.  So I did what any normal person would do: look up recipes for a non-mix pina colada!

I started with the recipe at Annie’s Eats and … it fell a bit flat.  All right, a lot flat.  The coconut was there, a nice hint of pineapple was there, but mostly my drink just tasted like icy rum.


My first, unsuccessful pina colada

Puzzled, I read through the comments on the recipe.  I quickly realized where I’d gone wrong.  The original recipe called for “coconut cream,” which I found at Trader Joe’s.  Coconut cream is unsweetened. But the comments revealed that what the blogger actually uses in her pina colada is “cream of coconut,” which has been sweetened.  Yep.  Missing sugar would definitely account for the flatness of our original colada. (Hey coconut industry, why did you pick such confusingly similar names for these two products?!)

So what do you do if you want a pina colada and you’ve got coconut cream, but not cream of coconut?  Try my recipe!  False modesty aside, I think it’s pretty delicious.  I added simple syrup to compensate for my unsweetened coconut cream.  I also swapped dark rum for some of the light rum and added lime juice to give it even more oomph.

Pina Colada with Unsweetened Coconut Cream (makes 2)

1/4 C. coconut cream
5 Tablespoons simple syrup
1 T. milk
2 tsp. lime juice
1/2 C. fresh chopped pineapple
3/4 C. frozen chopped pineapple
2 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark rum
1 C. ice, crushed if cubes are large

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Enjoy!

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I found it!  I’ve finally found it!

See, after trying and loving Smitten Kitchen’s blood orange margarita, I was craving a vodka-martini version that would really show off the blood orange’s subtle flavor (and look amazing in a martini glass).  I tried a bunch of different recipes from the Internet but nothing quite scratched my itch.  (Also, once again, Internet, I need to remind you that “buy blood orange martini mix and combine with vodka” is not a cocktail recipe.)

The unsatisfactory recipes all had one problem in common: too much Cointreau. “Is too much Cointreau even possible?!” you cry.  I know, I know, I was surprised too.  But Cointreau is powerful stuff, guys.  Add too much and it completely overwhelms every other flavor in your cocktail — especially if you’re starting with a base that’s already orange-flavored.

So I tinkered on my own and finally discovered what I think is the right formula. Ignore all of those recipes that have equal amounts of vodka and Cointreau.  If what you want is a drink that tastes like a boozy blood orange — instead of a Cointreau-flavored drink that uses the blood orange for color and not much else — this is the recipe for you.

Petite Chablis Blood Orange Martini


2 oz blood orange juice, fresh-squeezed
1.5 oz vodka
0.25 oz (1/2 Tablespoon) fresh lime juice
1 tsp simple syrup
1 tsp Cointreau or triple sec

Shake all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and strain into a martini glass.  For a smoother texture, strain the blood orange juice through a mesh strainer before adding it to the cocktail shaker (the strainer on the lid of the cocktail shaker will filter out most of the pulp, but not all of it).

Note: these were particularly dark blood oranges, so don’t worry if your cocktail isn’t quite this color.  The flavor will still be amazing.

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If my home bar could only contain one item, I would choose bourbon without a second thought — which is probably why I’m so damned picky when it comes to my bourbon cocktails.  More often than not, I’ll try out a promising recipe for a bourbon cocktail and end up wishing I were just drinking Bulleit straight.

I know, my life is hard.

But this cocktail?  This heavenly mixture of fresh ginger, lemon, bourbon and sparkling water?  This is going into my regular rotation.  It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it’s delicious.

Sparkling Whiskey Gingerade


Recipe at the Bonjon Gourmet

I didn’t have any agave, so I substituted 1.5 ounces of simple syrup and was very happy with the result.  If you do make this with agave, let me know how it turns out!

And, as long as I’m shamelessly taking advantage of other peoples’ cocktail genius, I tried Smitten Kitchen’s Blood Orange Margarita last week. (No photos — what can I say, the drinks looked too yummy to wait!)  Deb’s recipe is really good, but I liked the drink even better when I used 3 tablespoons of lime juice and 2 tablespoons of Cointreau.  I thought the taste of the blood orange came through better with less sweetness and more acidity — but remember, I’m a sour-mouth, so if you like your cocktails sweet try Deb’s version first.

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There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance. — Ophelia, act IV scene V of “Hamlet”

Guys, I think the Sparkling Meyer Lemon Cocktail gave me a rosemary addiction.  I liked it so much that I had to seek out other ways to use the rest of my fresh rosemary in delicious drinks.  Google searching brought me to the amazing blog Creative Culinary and to the Ophelia cocktail.  Lemon, gin, rosemary syrup, and club soda combine to make a refreshing and delightful drink!

The Ophelia


Recipe here

Two quick notes.  First, you’ll want to use a juniper-y gin for this recipe (i.e. this isn’t the time to pull out the Hendrick’s).  The official Ophelia recipe calls for Tanqueray gin; I used Plymouth because that’s what I had on hand.

Second, Creative Culinary recommends using a small food processor or an herb mill to grind the rosemary before making the rosemary simple syrup.  I don’t have an herb mill and my food processor is too big for grinding herbs, so I decided to just throw in all of the rosemary stalks I had left and hope for the best.  My cocktail had a lovely rosemary flavor but I wouldn’t have minded even a bit more herbal intensity.  So if you do have an herb mill and want to give this recipe a go, let me know how it turns out!

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