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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Liqueur For Mom Or Dad

clementine-vodka-kaminsky-230

Home-infused clementine vodka. Photo ©
Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

 

Our colleague Hannah Kaminsky of Bittersweet Blog has already made her Mother’s Day gift: which she calls climoncello (a rift on the lemon liqueur, limoncello).

You’ve got more than enough time to make your own liqueur for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, in any flavor you choose. It simply requires a base spirit—vodka—plus fruit and sugar.

You don’t even have to buy fruit: You can use citrus peels leftover from other recipes, which is what started Hannah on this journey. You can save them up in a freezer bag, and make a mixed citrus if you don’t have enough of any one variety. You’ll also need a large infusing jar and a funnel.

Then, just cook it up and let the fruit or peel infuse for a month or longer. Hannah went on vacation, forgot about the steeping peels and ended up with a three-month infusion.

Here’s her easy recipe:

RECIPE: CLIMONCELLO, CLEMENTINE LIQUEUR

Ingredients

  • 14-15 clementine peels
  • 3-1/2 cups water
  • 2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle vodka*
  •  

    *Don’t buy the cheapest firewater like Everclear, but don’t buy premium brands, either. Hannah used Popov; we used Russian Standard and Absolut (and couldn’t tell the difference in the finished product).

     

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the peels, water and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar has fully dissolved. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and let cool to room temperature.

    2. TAKE a pestle or other blunt instrument and muddle/mash the rinds, bruising them to release more of the essential oils.

    3. ADD the vodka, give it a good stir and transfer the whole mixture, peels and all, into a large glass jar (be sure to save the vodka bottle for packaging the finished product, if you don’t want to buy a decorative bottle). Seal the lid tightly and stash it in a cool, dark place for 1-3 months. You’re likely to get even greater depth of flavor if you let it steep for an extra month or so. When the liqueur is ready, the liquid should be a golden orange color and smell of sweet oranges.

    4. STRAIN out and discard the peels, and transfer the liquor to an attractive glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place for however long you can make it last. It should keep indefinitely, but you’ll no doubt want to enjoy it before too long.

     

    mint-liqueur-goodcocktails.com-230

    Homemade mint liqueur. Photo courtesy Good Cocktails.

     

    MINT LIQUEUR

    If you’d rather have mint or other herb liqueur than a fruit flavor, here’s a recipe from GoodCocktails.com. You can make basil, rosemary or anything you’d like.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Celebrate With A Spring Cocktail

    berry-fizz-tuaca-230

    Celebrate spring with a springlike cocktail. Photo courtesy Tuaca.

     

    We’re less than 24 hours into spring and contemplating a spring cocktail this evening—to celebrate both the arrival of spring and the end of the work week.

    The spring equinox occurred yesterday at 12:57 p.m. It begs for a little astronomy lesson about equinoxes and solstices, the days that mark the change of seasons.

    What’s An Equinox?

    During an equinox, the sun is closest to the Equator, the imaginary line around the Earth that is equidistant from the North and South Poles. On those days, night and day are approximately equally long. The name “equinox” is derived from the Latin aequus, equal and nox, night.

    An equinox marks the beginning of spring and fall. To acknowledge the Southern Hemisphere, where the seasons are opposite, the vernal and autumnal equinoxes are now being called the March and September equinoxes.

     
    What’s A Solstice?

    Solstices, on the other hand, occur when which the sun is furthest from the Equator and the difference in length between night and day is greatest. This creates the shortest day of the year, in December, and the longest day, in June. Solstices mark the beginning of winter and summer.

    Solstice means “sun-standing” from the Latin solstitium, literally, the apparent standing still of the sun (sol is sun, sistere is to stand still).

    O.K., you’ve studied hard. You deserve a spring cocktail. This one is courtesy of Courvoisier, one of our favorite Cognacs.

     
    RECIPE: COURVOISIBERRY COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 1 part Courvoisier VSOP or other Cognac
  • 1 part rum
  • 2 parts rosé wine
  • Exotic berries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve in a wine glass over ice.

    2. Garnish with berries.

    3. Toast to spring!

      

    Comments

    ENTERTAINING: A Cocktail Party For Vincent Van Gogh

    If you’re inclined to entertain between St. Patrick’s Day and Easter, here’s an idea from Van Gogh Vodka:

    A “Starry Night” cocktail part, to celebrate the March 30th birthday of Vincent van Gogh.

    Van Gogh Vodka has created a cocktail named for, and inspired by perhaps, one of his best-loved works, The Starry Night (De Sterrennacht).

    It emulates the dark blue sky of “Starry Night” with its purple-colored Açaí-Blueberry Vodka. The “starry” comes from a slice of starfruit.

    Painted in 1889, the view is from Van Gogh’s sanitorium* room at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, looking north toward the village. In an example of “artistic license,” Van Gogh rearranged the scenery, incorporating the mountains on the southern side of the asylum and adding a large cypress tree that did not exist. He painted the dark night sky during the day, from memory.

     

    Drink a “Starry Night.” Photo courtesy Van Gogh Vodka.

     

    Van Gogh’s masterpiece, “Starry Night.”
    Photo courtesy Wikipedia | The Google Art
    Project.

     

    RECIPE: STARRY NIGHT COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 4 ounces sparkling rosé*
  • 1 ounce Van Gogh Açaí-Blueberry Vodka*, chilled
  • Garnish: starfruit slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR chilled vodka into a flute.

    2. TOP with sparkling rosé wine and garnish with a starfruit slace.

     

    Van Gogh Vodkas are crafted in small batches at the Royal Dirkzwager Distilleries in Schiedam, Holland. They received “Royal Appointment” designation by Netherlands’s Queen Beatrix.

    The Van Gogh Vodka portfolio includes over 20 flavored vodkas, each, according to the distiller, offering a spirited way to pay tribute to a creative genius.

     
    *We used Yellow Tail Sparkling Rosé, one of our favorites; and couldn’t find the Van Gogh Açaí-Blueberry Vodka so substituted Stoli Blueberi and colored it. We used McCormick food colors to approximate the navy in the painting, rather than the purple Van Gogh color: 150 drops Neon Blue and 8 drops Black.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Irish Coffee

    Even if you don’t celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with parade-watching and partying, take the occasion to enjoy an Irish Coffee—a simply wonderful cup of coffee enhanced with Irish whiskey and whipped cream.

    It will be especially welcome in our neck of the woods: Mother Nature is giving us a wind chill factor in the teens, and possible snow.

    You might think that Irish Coffee is a centuries-old drink, enjoyed by generations of Irish folk around a hot fire at home or at the pub.

    But truth be told, it originated in the era around World War II during the dawn of transatlantic plane travel, when air travelers from America to Ireland took an 18-hour seaplane to Port of Foynes in County Limerick.

    In cold, damp weather, a hot cup of coffee or tea was offered upon arrival. When “something stronger” was requested, Irish Coffee was born.

    The name purportedly was bestowed when an American asked if the beverage was made with Brazilian coffee. He was told in return, “This is Irish coffee.”

     

    irish-coffee-rogers-cowan-230

    Irish Coffee. Any glass will do. Photo courtesy Rogers & Cowan.

     
    One passenger enjoying a cup was the owner of the Buena Vista Café in San Francisco. He brought the recipe home in 1952 and began serving the first Irish Coffee in the U.S.

    Here’s the full story.

    So get out the bottle of Bushmills, Jameson or Tullamore Dew. You don’t need a special glass handled pedestal mug that evolved to serve Irish coffee; any glass will do.

    Here’s the original Irish Coffee recipe plus variations. And if you don’t like coffee, there’s a recipe for Irish Hot Chocolate.

    Sláinte!*
     
    *Pronounced SLAWN-cha, SLON-che or SLON-tih depending on the area of Ireland, it means “health!” in Gaelic.
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Peppermint Paddy Martini

    For those who like things minty, here’s a fun drink for St. Patrick’s Day: a Peppermint Paddy Martini.

    The recipe is from McCormick, which uses its McCormick Pure Peppermint Extract to create the mintiness.

    Note that Peppermint Paddy, not Peppermint Patty or Peppermint Pattie, is the right name for this drink.

  • Peppermint Patty, the Peanuts character, was inspired by a bowl of peppermint candy on Charles Schulz’s desk.
  • Peppermint Patty first appeared in the Peanuts comic strip on August 22, 1966.
  • The York Peppermint Pattie, no relation to Peppermint Patty, was introduced in 1940.
  •  
    And while we’re on the subject, it’s St. Paddy’s Day, not St. Patty’s Day. Here’s why.

     

    peppermint-paddy-martini-mccormick-230

    It may look like mousse, but it’s a Peppermint Paddy Martini. Photo courtesy McCormick.

     

    RECIPE: PEPPERMINT PADDY MARTINI

    Ingredients For 4 Cocktails

  • 8 ounces Irish cream liqueur
  • 2 ounces crème de cacao liqueur
  • 2 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 2 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • Optional garnish: peppermint whipped cream (recipe below)
  • Optional rim garnish: coarse sugar*
  •  
    *Use sanding sugar or a raw brown sugar such as demerara or turbinado (Sugar In The Raw). You can find green sanding sugar, shown in the photo below, in baking supplies stores or online.

     online

    green-sugar-crystals-dressmycupcakeAMZ-230

    Green sanding sugar. Photo courtesy
    Dress My Cupcake | Amazon.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE Martini glasses with optional sugar rim. Wet the outside rim of martini glass with peppermint extract. Dip glass in coarse sugar to lightly coat.

    2. FILL cocktail shaker 1/3 full with ice. Add first 5 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into glass.

    3. TOP each with a dollop of Peppermint Whipped Cream, if desired.

     
    PEPPERMINT WHIPPED CREAM

    Ingredients For About 2 Cups

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract plus more for rim
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BEAT cream, confectioners’ sugar and peppermint extract in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form.

    2. POUR in Martini, top with whipped cream and serve.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Irish Cereal Milk

    Irish Cereal Milk Cocktail-Lexington BrassNYC-230

    Cereal milk with a shot of Irish whiskey.
    Photo courtesy Lexington Brass | NYC.

     

    You might not drink this Irish Cereal Milk cocktail for breakfast; or then, you might. But it sure is a fun snack for after work, or even dessert on St. Patrick’s Day.

    The recipe comes from Lexington Brass restaurant in midtown Manhattan.

    RECIPE: IRISH CEREAL MILK COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Jameson Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk (instructions below)
  • Garnish: Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal
  • Optional garnish: cinnamon stick, or a sprinkle of
    ground cinnamon
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE Cinnamon Toast Crunch milk: Soak the cereal in 3 ounces of milk for 30 minutes, then strain out the cereal (and eat it, if you like). (The cereal will absorb some of the milk, which is why we recommend starting with 3 ounces to end up with the 2 ounces for the drink.)

    2. FILL a rocks glass with ice; pour in whiskey and simple syrup. Top off with Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milk and stir.

    3. GARNISH with fresh Cinnamon Toast Crunch pieces and an optional cinnamon stick. Serve with a straw and a spoon.

      

    Comments

    ST. PATRICK’S DAY: Pot O’ Goldtini

    If you can’t find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you can drink a shot of gold from a bottle of Goldschläger.

    Goldschläger, created in Switzerland, is cinnamon schnapps with gold flakes of gold flakes floating throughout the bottle.

    While there are many Goldschläger cocktails, we think the nicest way to enjoy it is after St. Patrick’s dinner, with or without a cup of coffee.

    FLECKING YOUR DRINK WITH GOLD

    You can use Goldschläger to make a gold-flecked Martini, or you can buy gold flakes and make your own

  • Gold flakes, made from 24 karat edible gold, are available online. They’re pricey, $34 for a small container, so we have a “Plan B”: two different options that are far more affordable, and also edible (although not made of real gold)
  •  

    goldschlager-shot-230

    How about cinnamon shots: cinnamon-flavored Goldschlager liqueur with real gold flakes? Photo courtesy Goldschlager.

  • Wilton’s edible gold stars are far more affordable. A .04-ounce container is an affordable $5.39.
  • The most affordable gold flakes we’ve found—but haven’t seen in person, are these from CK Products. A full ounce is just $5.29.
  •  

    gold-flakes-martini-trendhunter-230

    A Pot O’Goldtini: a Martini with Goldschläger. Photo courtesy Trendhunter.com.

     

    The gold flakes can be used for any culinary purpose, from garnishing candy, chocolate and baked goods to pasta and risotto. How about gold-flecked sushi with gold-flecked saké?

    For drinks, think Champagne with gold flakes for a special toast; or a gold-flecked lemon-lime soda mocktail for the kids. If you’re in the chips, make gold flake drink rimmers.
     
    RECIPE: GOLDSCHLÄGER POT O’ GOLDTINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2.5 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Goldschläger
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice cubes.

    2. SHAKE and strain into a Martini glass.

     

    CLASSIC MARTINI POT O’ GOLDTINI

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2.5 ounces vodka or gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Optional: dash of lemon, orange or other bitters (optional)
  • Optional: lemon twist for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice cubes.

    2. SHAKE and strain into a Martini glass.
     

    If you meet any leprechauns, invite them to join you.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Mardi Gras Colored Cocktails

    Mardi Gras is Tuesday, March 4th. You may not want to celebrate Mardi Gras in the traditional way, with Cajun and Creole cuisine, a King Cake and long strands of party beads.

    But you can serve classic New Orleans cocktails like the Hurricane, which has its own special hurricane lamp-shaped glass; or the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans; a combination of cognac or rye whiskey, absinthe and bitters.

    Or, you can whip up a menu of cocktails in Mardi Gras’ theme colors of purple, gold and green.

    The colors were suggested by the Russian Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich Romanov in 1872, during his visit to New Orleans:

  • Purple represents justice
  • Gold represents power
  • Green represents faith
  •  
    But when applied to colored cocktails, they represent a good time.

    Thanks to Hendrick’s Gin for providing this idea, along with a Purple Basil Gimlet recipe below.

     

    Purple-Haze-pomwonderful-230

    A Purple Haze from Pom Wonderful. In the background, a Midori “Cosmopolitan”. Photo courtesy Pom Wonderful.

     

    We’ve made suggestions for purple, gold and green cocktails; you can easily find many recipes online. We’ve made simple cocktail suggestions below, e.g. vodka with a green liqueur. But you can add more ingredients, as long as they don’t decrease the intensity of the color.
     
    PURPLE COCKTAILS

  • Juice. Mix a clear spirit with currant juice or grape juice. Drinks with pomegranate juice (e.g., a Pomtini) can work, but they made need a touch of blackberry liqueur or blue Curaçao to make them more purple than red.
  • Liqueur. Add a touch of blackberry brandy, Black Sambuca, crème de cassis, grape schnapps, liqueur de violette or Parfait Amour, a purple liqueur based on Curaçao.
  • Soda. Add your favorite clear spirit to grape soda (one of our college favorites was Purple Passion, vodka and grape soda).
  • Vodka: Check out UV Purple Vodka, colored purple.
  • Food color: Color anything clear or white with these formulas from McCormick(25 drops equal 1/4 teaspoon food color: purple = 150 drops neon purple + 30 drops neon blue, gold = 100 drops yellow + 5 drops red; green = 150 drops green, 6 drops black. Make mocktails with lemon-lime or club soda.
  •  

    vip-cocktail-delfrisco-230s

    The VIP is the signature cocktail at Del
    Frisco’s Steak House. Photo courtesy Del
    Frisco’s.

     

    GOLD (YELLOW) COCKTAILS

  • Bellini & Mimosa. Almost everyone will be happy with these two famous yellow cocktails: Bellini (peach purée and sparkling wine) and Mimosa (orange juice & vodka), both bright and opaque.
  • Juice. Blend any clear spirit with mango juice, orange juice, peach nectar or pineapple juice.
  • Liqueur. Blend any clear spirit with Limoncello or Galliano; the most famous Galliano drink is the Harvey Wallbanger. Other yellow liqueurs include Chartreuse and Strega.
  • Martini. Try a Lemon Drop Martini (1-1/2 ounces vodka, ideally citrus-flavored; 1/2 ounce orange liqueur, 1 teaspoon superfine sugar, 3/4 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice).
  • Vodka. UV Vanilla Vodka has a light yellow hue.
  •  

    GREEN COCKTAILS

  • Grasshopper. This minty chocolate cocktail classic consists of 3/4 ounce cream, 3/4 ounce white creme de cacao and 3/4 ounce green creme de menthe. Shake with ice and pour into a Martini glass.
  • Liqueur. Anything with Midori melon liqueur or apple schnapps, both of which have a bright green color. Other green liqueurs include absinthe, green chartreuse, green creme de menthe and TY KU liqueur.
  • Martini. An appletini with sour apple schnapps. The more schnapps, the greener.
  • Vodka. UV Apple Vodka, which is made with a bright green color.
  •  
    GARNISHES

    Add a garnish in a different Mardi Gras color from the cocktail.

  • Purple Garnish: blackberries or blueberries on a cocktail pick; a cube of purple Jell-O (make gelatin in a pan, cut in garnish-size squares, place on picks and freeze).
  • Gold/Yellow Garnish: cape gooseberry, lemon curl, orange peel, pineapple, yellow Jell-O cube.
  • Green Garnish: basil leaf, mint leaf, rosemary sprig.
  •  
    RECIPE: PURPLE BASIL GIMLET

    Ingredients For 1 Cocktail

  • 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • 4-6 leaves purple basil
  •  
    Preparation

    Press purple basil leaves with simple syrup and fresh lime juice, add Hendrick’s Gin and shake well, strain up into a stemmed glass, garnish with a sprig of purple basil.
     
    It’s party time!

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Margarita Day

    What’s your idea of the perfect Margarita? In anticipation of National Margarita Day, February 22nd, Milagro Tequila asked 100 Margarita drinkers, 51 men and 49 women, to share their preferences.

  • Ninety-one percent of them prefer Margaritas made with fresh ingredients over those made with a pre-packaged mix.
  • One third of respondents prefer drinking their Margarita in a rocks glass rather than a big Margarita glass (which actually was invented for frozen Margaritas—see more below).
  • Nearly 2/3 of the survey participants prefer salt on the rim.
  • Seventy percent of respondents prefer drinking from the salted rim rather than through a straw.
  • More than half of respondents take their Margaritas blended, which is the industry term for a frozen Margarita.
  • The majority of people prefer a classic Margarita to a fruit-flavored one (guava, passionfruit, peach, strawberry, etc.).
  • Forty percent like having an extra tequila shot mixed into their Margaritas.
  • Two-thirds of respondents prefer a Margarita made with blanco/silver tequila rather than the lightly aged reposado.
  •  
    Here’s more 411 on Margaritas:

     

    chili-rim-richardsandovalrestaurants

    Something different: a chili powder rim instead of salt. Or, mix the two. Photo courtesy Richard Sandoval Restaurants.

     

    WHAT’S A MARGARITA GLASS?

    A Margarita glass (see photo below) is style of cocktail glass used to serve Margaritas and other mixed drinks. It is also repurposed as tableware, to serve dishes from ceviche, guacamole and shrimp cocktail to sundaes and other desserts.

    The Margarita glass is a variation of the classic Champagne coupe, and was developed specifically for for blended fruit and frozen Margaritas. The capacity is larger than the rocks glass used for classic Margaritas, and the wide rim accommodates plenty of salt.

    There is no need to own Margarita glasses: rocks glasses are just fine for classic Margaritas, and the larger Collins glasses—or whatever you have—do well for frozen Margaritas.

    Why was a different glass created?

    From the Victorian Age until the Second World War, people of means dined very fashionably. Elaborately prepared foods were served on fine tableware with many different utensils—different fork and knife shapes for meat, fish, seafood, and so on.

  • Even in middle class homes, the “good silver” could include a dinner fork, salad fork, fish fork, oyster fork; dinner knife, fish knife, salad knife, butter knife; soup spoon, tea spoon, iced tea spoon, espresso spoon, grapefruit spoon; and so on.
  • Some were truly useful—a serrated grapefruit spoon spared the time of cutting each half with a grapefruit knife prior to serving; a lobster pick is an important aid to removing the leg meat.
  • Others were merely rationalizations, as those of us who eat meat, fish and salad with the same fork can testify.
  •  
    Along similar lines, cocktail, glassware was created for specific drinks.

  • In the tumbler category alone (not stemware) there are Collins glasses for a tall mixed drink; highball glass, taller but not as tall as the Collins; Old Fashioned glass for an “on the rocks” drink; the dizzy cocktail glass, a wide, shallow bowl like a champagne coupe but without the stem; the shot glass and the whiskey tumbler.
  • Then there are the stemmed cocktail glasses: absinthe, cordial/liqueur, Hurricane, Martini (a.k.a. cocktail glass), sherry, snifter and single malt scotch whiskey glasses.
  • Not to mention a dozen different wine glasses, three different shapes for Champagne and other sparkling wines; and ten or so different beer glass shapes.
  • How about non-alcohol glassware: water glass, iced tea glass, juice glass and fountain glass—oversized for ice cream sodas, malts, shakes and now, smoothies.
  • Whew!

     

    dual-margarita_1321375-230

    The Margarita glass, actually developed for
    blended fruit and frozen Margaritas. Photo by
    Eugene Bochkarev | BSP.

     

    WHO INVENTED THE FROZEN MARGARITA?

    The original Margarita began appearing in bars and restaurants along the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 1930s. The first elecric blender had appeared in 1922, and improved upon in 1935 with the invention of the Waring Blender. That device, which could efficiently chop ice, enabled the creation of “frozen” drinks”—a conventional cocktail made in a blender with chopped ice.

    By the 1960s, slushy soft drinks became the craze among kids and adults alike. The machine to make them was invented by Omar Knedlik in the late 1950s. The World War II veteran from Kansas bought his first ice cream shop after the war. In the late 1950s he bought a Dairy Queen that did not have a soda fountain, so he served semi-frozen bottled soft drinks, which became slushy and were immensely popular.

    This gave him the idea to create a machine that made slushy sodas, resulting in the ICEE Company. Yet no one made the leap to using the machine for frozen cocktails.

    At that time, frozen Daiquiris and Margaritas were made by bartenders in a blender with ice cubes. But it wasn’t a great solution.

     

    A young Dallas restaurant manager, Mariano Martinez, couldn’t master the consistency of frozen Margaritas to the satisfaction of his customers—who no doubt were comparing them to the Slushies from 7-Eleven. His bartenders complained that the blender drinks were too time-consuming to make.

    One day in 1971, Martinez stopped for a cup of coffee at a 7-Eleven and saw the Slurpee machine. The light bulb flashed on, and Martinez bought and retrofitted an old soft-serve machine, porting the technology to make frozen Margaritas. The rest is history.

    The frozen Margarita was responsible for the growth of tequila in America, as well as the growth of Tex-Mex cuisine to go with all those frozen Margaritas.

    According to Brown-Forman, in 2006 the Margarita surpassed the Martini as the most ordered alcoholic beverage, representing 17% of all mixed-drink sales. Martinez’ historically significant, original machine was acquired by The National Museum of American History in 2005.
     
    MORE ABOUT MARGARITAS

  • The History Of The Margarita
  • Margarita recipes: original, classic, frozen, non-alcoholic and more
  •  
    Finally, there’s no need to buy “Margarita salt”: It’s just coarse sea salt or kosher salt.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Simple Syrup Recipe

    simple-syrup-stirrings-230

    Why buy it when it’s so easy to make? Photo courtesy Stirrings.

     

    Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold beverages. Simple syrup (also called bar syrup, sugar syrup or gomme, the French word for gum) makes it easy to add sweetness to drinks—cocktails, iced tea or iced coffee.

    Some people use superfine sugar (check out this nifty flip-top package). Others buy a bottle of premade simple syrup. (There’s also a sugar-free version.)

    Or, you can easily make simple syrup—the option bartenders prefer—and keep it on hand. You can also flavor it with anything from chile and cinnamon to lavender and mint.

    We make simple syrup on the stove top, stirring sugar and hot water until they combine into a syrup. But you can try this “shaking” technique (but not for most flavored syrup, which requires simmering in hot water).

    Both techniques follow.

     

    RECIPE: SIMPLE SYRUP, SHAKEN TECHNIQUE

    1. FILL. Using the proportion of 2 parts sugar to three parts water, fill a bottle almost halfway with sugar; add hot water.

    2. SHAKE. Cover the top and shake well. Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.

     

    RECIPE: SIMPLE SYRUP, CLASSIC TECHNIQUE

    Ingredients

  • 2 parts sugar
  • 1 part water
  • Optional flavor
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING the water to a boil. Dissolve the sugar into the boiling water, stirring constantly until dissolved completely. (Do not allow the syrup to boil for too long or it will be too thick.)

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat. Allow to cool completely and thicken.

    3. ADD optional flavor. For vanilla simple syrup, add 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract to cooled sugar syrup. If you want to infuse fresh herbs (basil, mint, rosemary), simmer them in the hot water for 20 minutes and remove before mixing the water with the sugar.

     

    iced-tea-230

    Tired of stirring and stirring until the sugar dissolves? Use simple syrup. Photo by Kelly Cline | IST.

     
    4. STORE in an airtight container in the fridge or the pantry.
     
    The following recipe employs the old-school, cook-it-on-the-stove approach to making simple syrup. Enjoy it in a cocktail or in hot or iced tea.

    RECIPE: GINGER SIMPLE SYRUP

    Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

    2. REMOVE the pan from the heat and set aside to cool. Strain the syrup and refrigerate in an airtight container.

    Variation: For “adult iced tea,” add 1.5 ounces bourbon or whiskey.

    WHY DO THE PROPORTIONS VARY?

    Some bartenders use a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water for a thicker syrup. Others prefer a thinner syrup. Play around with the proportions until you hit on what’s right for you.

      

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