Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

Rhubarb Liqueur

Friday, August 5th, 2011

I made my first batch of rhubarb liqueur last year, and it was a roaring success…. I ran out long before I was ready for it to be gone. This year I made a larger batch, and I’m already beginning to wonder if I made enough. It goes over very well as a homemade gift.

I started the liqueur back in May and have been allowing it to age.  I got into it for the first time this week, and have to say it’s darn tasty! It can be mixed with lemon juice and sparkling water, but I’ve been enjoying on the front porch after dinner, undiluted and chilled.

I’m not going to give exact measurements, because it really depends on growing conditions of the rhubarb and personal taste. Since this is a sipping cordial, I would recommend investing in some good vodka.

Rhubarb Liqueur
80 proof vodka

Chop rhubarb and place in a large jar (I filled a gallon jug about 2/3 full).

Pour vodka over rhubarb to cover by about an inch.  Allow rhubarb to steep 3 or 4 weeks.

Strain vodka from the rhubarb pulp, and place back into clean jar.

Make a thick simple syrup using 1 part water to 1.5 parts sugar. Place sugar and water into a pan and bring to a boil for a couple of minutes.  Cool syrup to room temperature.

Add simple syrup to rhubarb vodka to taste.  I really don’t know how much to recommend.  It’s going to depend on your rhubarb and the level of tartness or sweetness you prefer.  I had such a wet spring that my rhubarb was especially juicy, and the flavor wasn’t quite as intense as some years, so I used less sugar than the previous year’s batch.

Put a lid on the jar, place it in a cool dark location, and let it age at least 3 months.  Initially, it’s going to taste pretty rough.  I promise  it will become nice and smooth as it ages.

Watermelon Margarita Granita

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

The heat of this past week prompted me to try a frozen treat a little more grown up than popsicles, although I’m not knocking popcicles.  I wanted something simple, and I wanted to use up the watermelon taking precious space in my refrigerator.  I was thinking this could also become a more family friendly Watermelon Limeade Granita by omitting the alcohol, and increasing the amount of lime juice and sugar. Don’t be surprised if I give you more granita possibilities before the summer is out. I’m on a granita roll, playing around with different flavors.  I also made an amazing espresso granita that’s my favorite so far.

Puree your watermelon flesh by throwing it into a food processor, or whiz it with an immersion blender.

Watermelon Margarita Granita
2 1/2 cups  watermelon puree
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup simple syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)
1/2 cup tequila

Combine ingredients in a shallow baking dish and place in the freezer. When slushy  ice begins to form around the edges (20 to 30 minutes), use a fork to rake the ice back into the mixture. Repeat this every 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture is completely frozen and granular.

Serve in dishes that have been pre-chilled in the freezer, and garnish with a small watermelon wedge.

Ramp It Up!! Part 3 – Dirty Ramp Martini

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

I promise this will be my last entry for ramps, then I’ll move along to something else.  When ramps season rolls around again next year, I’ll only pester you with one mention of the subject.

Martinis can be a contentious subject. There are those who prefer vodka martinis, and purists who insist that real martinis are made with gin.  Vodka or gin? Shaken or stirred? Olive, onion, or lemon? Vermouth or no vermouth? Every dedicated martini drinker has their preference, and this recipe is based on how I like my martini.  Ramps provide a seasonal departure from my typical dirty martini with 3 or 4 olives. I like my ratio of gin to vermouth at 4:1.

Dirty Ramp Martini
2 ounces Bombay Sapphire Gin
1/2 ounce Noilly Prat Vermouth (I DO NOT like the Martini & Rossi… blech!)
Splash of ramp brine
Pickled Ramp for garnishing

Place gin, vermouth, and ramp brine in a shaker with ice.  Shake until chilled, strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with a pickled ramp.

Cheers! And please remember to drink responsibly.

Cucumber Cocktails

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

Thanks to sweltering heat and humidity, I think I’m about to melt. Yes, I am griping about the weather again. A vacation to Siberia sounds absolutely divine at the moment.  The cucumbers in my garden, on the other hand, are thriving!  They’re not quite as prolific as the zucchini, but they might be coming in a close second.  Thank heavens something that thrives in the heat that’s making me miserable, can also provide some cooling relief!

Chilled cucumber juice is very refreshing, and a great way to use up an over abundance of cukes.  Personally, I love my cucumber juice in cocktails with lots of ice.

To make cucumber juice, you will first need to peel, seed, and chop your cukes.  Place the chopped cukes in a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer, pressing to extract as much juice as possible.  I don’t throw the leftover pulp away, but use it to put together a quick veggie dip or Tzatziki. The juice will store in the refrigerator for a few days.  A fine green sediment may settle on the bottom of the container… no problem, just shake it up.

The following are my two favorite cucumber cocktails.

Cucumber Cooler
4 ounces cucumber juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 to 1 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces vodka
12 or more mint leaves

Fill shaker with ice.  Add all ingredients to shaker and shake until your hand feels like it’s going to freeze off. Then switch to the other hand and shake it again. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.

Cool As A Cucumber Cocktail
2 or 3 lime wedges
12 or more mint leaves
2 ounces cucumber juice
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 to 1 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 to 2 ounces light rum
Soda water

Place lime wedges and mint leaves in a tall glass (I have zombie glasses, the traditional glassware in which mojitos are served). Muddle lime and mint in the glass to release their oils. Fill glass 3/4 full with ice. Add cucumber juice, lime juice, simple syrup, and rum.  Top off with soda water and stir.

Updated 8/11/10 – This post is my entry for a Cucumber Blog Party I’m participating in.  For more cucumber recipes visit the following blogs.

Creamy Cucumber Salad at the Torchsong Studio blog

Cucumber Lime Salsa at the Essential Herbal blog

Cucumber Spread (Tzatziiki) at the Sagescript Institute blog

Tomato Cucumber Salad at Swisher Hill Soapworks

Chilled Cucumber Soup at Rosemary’s Sampler

Cucumber Dill Sauce at the Garden Chick blog

Cucumber Watermelon Salad at the Soap & Garden blog

Bloody Rogelio

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

The other day on Facebook, I mentioned that I was making a cilantro infused vodka, and my brother in law piped up that I was to use it to make him a Bloody Mary when he comes home for Christmas. My dear BIL is an officer in the Army, currently stationed in Germany, and his wish is my command! Upon experimenting with the concoction I have deemed him a genius!

First you’re going to need some cilantro vodka, which you’ll need to make yourself because you won’t find it at your local liquor store. It’s very simple. Fill a jar 3/4 of the way full of fresh chopped cilantro, top off with vodka, and let it sit for 3 or 4 days, then strain. I’ve tried making infused vodkas with cheap vodka, and strongly urge against doing so or your finished product won’t taste as nice. You don’t need to use top of the line like Grey Goose or Ketel One …. a middle of the road will do … I use Smirnoff.

This could easily become a cordial with the addition of simple syrup. A simple syrup is made by combining equal parts of sugar and water, bringing up to a boil, and then removing from the heat. Once the syrup has cooled, add it to the cilantro infusion to taste. Liqueurs should be allowed to age for a minimum of 2 months. Initially they are rather harsh tasting, but mellow and improve with age.

Bloody Rogelio

6 ounces tomato juice
1 1/2 ounce cilantro vodka
Couple of good squeezes of lime juice (1-2 tablespoons)
Worcestershire sauce to taste
Hot Sauce to taste

Add ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into glass filled with ice cubes. I like mine without the ice cubes. Garnish with green onion or celery (I think celery is an evil veggie, and my hubby is allergic to it).

By the way, the drink is named in honor of my brother in law.  It comes from an old nickname, Rogelio Anti-Suave. Don’t ask.