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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

    Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

PRODUCT: El Jimador Flavored Tequila

el_jimador_mango_mango_mexican_lime_partial-230

Two delicious flavored tequilas. Photo
courtesy Brown Forman.

 

We are fans of flavored spirits, sipping them straight up or on the rocks. We’re happy that the category is growing.

The newest samples to land at our desk are flavored tequilas from El Jimador Tequila: Mango Mango and Mexican Lime flavors, the first flavor extensions in the El Jimador brand.

The ripe mango flavors of Mango Mango tequila will convince you that a mango has been blended into your drink. Mexican Lime does similarly, evoking fresh lime.

Both flavors are available in 750 ml bottles at a suggested retail price of $19.99. Get some for yourself, get some as gifts. To learn more about el Jimador, visit ElJimador.com.

Check out the two shooter recipes below.

 

RECIPE: PALOMINI SHOOTER WITH MEXICAN LIME TEQUILA

Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce El Jimador Mexican Lime tequila
  • Grapefruit soda (e.g. Fresca)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: salt rim
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CREATE salt rim. Add ice, tequila and salt.

    2. TOP with grapefruit soda. Stir gently and serve.

     

    RECIPE: TRES AMIGOS SHOOTER WITH MANGO TEQUILA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce El Jimador Mango Mango tequila
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce grenadine (make your own with this recipe)
  • Dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  •  
    Preparation

    1. LAYER the grenadine, tequila and, lime juice. Add the Tabasco and shoot.

     
    TRIVIA: A jimador is a farmer who harvests agave plants that are used to make tequila and mezcal.

     

    tres-amigos-shooter-230

    The Los Amigos shooter in the colors of the Mexican flag. Photo courtesy Brown Forman.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Non-Cocktail Ways To Use Tequila

    We found ourselves with a wealth of tequila on hand—lots of opened bottles that we tasted for one review or another, but never got back to. So we decided to use the tequila in cooking. Here’s what else to do with tequila.

  • Cake: Replace up to 1/4 cup liquid in a cake recipe with tequila, or add some to the frosting.
  • Compound butter: For corn or other vegetables, mix chili powder, lime juice and tequila into softened butter and return the butter to the fridge.
  • Fondue: Replace the Kirsch with tequila in cheese or chocolate fondue.
  • Fruit salad: Make a simple syrup by bringing to a boil 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup tequila to a boil (optionally add 1/4 cup triple sec). Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Let cool. Toss with fresh fruit salad and refrigerate for an hour or longer (the syrup can be made in advance).
  • Fruit topping: Add to sautéed fruit to create a delicious topping for ice cream or pound cake; or serve as a compote.
  • Granita or sorbet: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of tequila to the recipe. Don’t add too much: Alcohol doesn’t freeze, so you could end up with a slushie.
  • Glaze: Add 1/2 cup tequila to 2 cups jelly for a ham glaze or other meat glave.
  •    

    partida-chocolate-cake-230jpg

    Add some tequila to your favorite cake recipe. Photo courtesy Partida Tequila.

  • Gravlax: Sprinkle the salmon with tequila after salting but before wrapping and weighting down.
  • Jell-O: For a more tame version of Jell-O shots, add tequila to the cold water when setting flavored gelatin.
  • Marinade: Make a mix of half lime juice, half tequila to marinate chicken, shrimp or other seafood (or choose another proportion).
  • Pasta sauce: As with vodka sauce, add a tablespoon or more to red or white sauce.
  • Salsa: Add a tablespoon of tequila.
  • Sauce for meat or seafood: Deglaze the pan with tequila instead of wine (here’s how).
  • Seafood marinade: 1 clove garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup tequila, 1/8 cup soy sauce, 1/8 cup fresh lime juice.
  • Soups, stews, chili: Add two shots to the pot, or drizzle a teaspoon over individual bowls.
  •  

    tequila-cheesecake-olgacooks-230

    There’s tequila in both the cheesecake and
    the topping. Photo courtesy Olga Valentina |
    Olga Cooks.

     

    RECIPE: TEQUILA CHEESECAKE

    Olga Valentina of Olga Cooks created a wonderful Partida Tequila Cheesecake. Here’s a step-by-step photo display of the recipe.

    Ingredients

    For The Cheesecake

  • 2 tablespoons of blanco (silver) tequila
  • 2.5 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1.5 cups cream cheese
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of sage honey (or other herbal or floral honey, but sage imparts a particular flavor)
  •  
    For The Crust

  • 8 ounces oatmeal cookies
  • 2/3 stick of butter
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 5-6 cups fresh strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • ½ cup of blanco (silver) tequila
  •  

    Preparation

    1. MAKE the topping: Hull, core and slice the strawberries, add to a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Pour the tequila and lime juice over the berries, mixing well so that the berries are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or overnight.

    2. MAKE the crust: Preheat the oven to 340°F. Blend the butter and oatmeal cookies by pulsing together in a food processor. Press the mixture into a 10″ springform pan, ensuring that the bottom is evenly covered. Bake for 10 minutes.

    3. MAKE cheesecake batter: Using an electric mixer, blend together the ricotta, cream cheese, honey, sugar and tequila. Zest the lime into the bowl, then squeeze in the lime juice. Mix well.

    4. ADD the eggs to the batter one at a time, using an electric mixer.

    5. POUR the batter into the crust. Surround the pan with aluminum foil and place it onto a ridged baking sheet*. Fill the baking sheet with an inch of water to make a bain marie. The water provides moisture that keeps the top of the cheesecake from cracking; the foil keeps the water out of the springform pan.

    6. BAKE for an hour at 340°F, or until the top of the cheesecake is golden brown. Cool on a rack, then chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 3 hours or ideally, overnight.

    7. TOP with the tequila-infused strawberries and serve.

     
    *Some professionals prefer ridged baking sheets for more even cooking, but you can certainly use a standard baking sheet.
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Flavored Shots

    blue-chair-bay-banana-rum-230

    Delicious by the shot: No mixers needed!
    Photo courtesy Blue Chair Bay Rum.

     

    While spiced rum has been around since the 1940s*, the more modern trend of flavored spirits began with vodka in the 1980s.

    The first flavored vodka, that inspired scores of other flavors, was Absolut Peppar, in 1986. Absolut Citron followed in 1988, and then the floodgates opened as Stolichnaya and other brands created their own versions. Absolut has launched 17 different flavors†; and newer brands like Pinnacle, Three Olives and Van Gogh focus only on flavored vodkas.

    Flavored tequilas arrived more quietly—first chile and coffee flavors and now, vodka-style, they’re branching out to fruit (we’re fond of El Jimador’s new Mango Mango and Mexican Lime).

    While the distillers of these flavored spirits provide plenty of cocktail recipes and expect bloggers and mixologists to develop many more, the plain truth is that they are delicious as shots.

    So today’s tip is: Enjoy flavored shots as you relax over the weekend (in moderation, of course).

    This weekend, we’ll be serving two tropical flavors from Blue Chair Bay, a brand created by singer Kenny Chesney. The line has four expressions: Banana Rum, Coconut Rum, Coconut Spiced Rum and White Rum (plain).

     
    At 53 proof (as opposed to 80 proof or higher with conventional rum and other spirits), Blue Chair Bay Rum is made for sipping straight. All three flavors are delicious, but as an avid fan of the Piña Colada, the Banana Rum captured our fantasy. It’s rum with caramelized banana flavor, but you’ll also find hints of coconut and plenty of sweetness.

     
    *The Levy brothers, pharmacists in Kingston, Jamaica, created the original recipe for aged spiced rum in the 1940s. The brand was purchased by Seagram’s (now Diageo) and marketed as Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. The spices include cinnamon, clove and nutmeg. The original Levy recipe also included medicinal herbs.

    †Absolut flavors, in order of launch: Peppar, Citron, Kurant, Mandrin, Vanilia, Raspberri, Apeach, Ruby Red, Pears, Mango, Berry Açaí, Wild Tea, Orient Apple, Grapevine, Cherrykran, Hibiskus and Cilantro. Note that flavored vodkas have been home-infused in Russia and elsewhere for centuries; but Absolut was the first flavored vodka sold commercially in the U.S.

     

    IF YOU REALLY WANT A COCKTAIL…

    Blue Chair Bay enlisted the help of selected bloggers to create recipes, which they sent to us along with a sample of the rum.

    This ice cream cocktail, from The Blond Cook, can substitute for dessert:

    RECIPE: SPICED BANANA CREAM COCKTAIL, A DESSERT
    COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 4 Drinks

  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into about 1″ chunks
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut (e.g. Coco Lopez)
  • 1 cup Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum
  • Optional garnish: banana chips or flaked/shaved coconut
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

    2. GARNISH and serve with a straw.

     

    spiced-banana-cream-theblondcoook-230

    Enjoy this one for dessert. Photo courtesy TheBlondCook.com.

     
    If you’d like some chocolate in your cocktail, try this one from ThePinkFlour.com:

    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE BANANA COCONUT COLADA

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1/2 cup chocolate milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum
  • 1/2 cup of ice
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup
  • Optional: chocolate cookies on the side
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour and serve. For dessert, serve with chocolate cookies.
     
     
    Here’s something very creamy from ANightOwlBlog.com. Note that while it’s called a Martini, there’s nothing Martini about it (serving something in a Martini glass does not a Martini make).

    RECIPE: COCONUT CREAM MARTINI

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 ounce coconut rum
  • 2 ounce half and half
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional rim garnish: honey and coconut flakes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the rum, half and half and vanilla over ice in a shaker; shake to blend.

    2. DIP the rim of the Martini glass in honey and then in coconut flakes for garnish. Add rum blend and serve.
     
    You can find more delicious recipes at BlueChairBayRum.com.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Russian Iced Coffee

    russian-iced-coffee-delonghi-230

    In a tall glass or a short one, iced coffee
    lovers will get a kick from this drink. Photo
    courtesy DeLonghi.

     

    For years, we’ve enjoyed Black Russians and White Russians, two venerable vodka-based cocktails. The Black Russian, invented in 1949, combines vodka and coffee liqueur; the subsequent addition of cream created a White Russian.

    Neither cocktail recipe is Russian in origin; the name is an homage to the vodka. Both recipes are below.

    Only recently did we come across this iced coffee version, courtesy of DeLonghi, producer of fine espresso machines.

    To beat the heat, have an iced coffee. To make the day happier, make Russian iced coffee, with a shot of vodka. If you’re not keen on espresso, use regular coffee.

    RECIPE: RUSSIAN ICED COFFEE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce/30 ml espresso coffee
  • Sugar to taste
  • 1 shot vodka
  • Crushed ice
  • Light cream or half and half to taste
  • Optional garnish: sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, or go over the top with whipped cream
  •  

    You can also use:

  • Coffee-flavored vodka, such as Van Gogh’s Espresso and Double Espresso Vodkas
  • Coffee-flavored tequila, such as Avion Espresso or Patron XO Café
  • Coffee liqueur, like Kahlùa or Tia Maria
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the espresso coffee. Add the sugar and the vodka.

    2. POUR into a glass of crushed ice. Add the cream and stir.

    3. GARNISH and serve.

     

    RECIPE: BLACK RUSSIAN COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 once coffee liqueur
  • Ice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.

    2. For a sweeter drink, add more coffee liqueur.
     

    RECIPE: WHITE RUSSIAN COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1 once coffee liqueur
  • Heavy cream
  • Ice
  •  

    white-russian-kahlua.com

    A White Russian cocktail. Photo courtesy Kahlùa.

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir and strain into an old fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.

    2. TOP with a large splash of heavy cream and stir.

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Whiskey Sour Day

    Old Fashioned

    Whiskey Sour. Photo by Lognetic | Fotolia.

     

    August 25th is National Whiskey Sour Day. We’ll drink to that!

    The Whiskey Sour is one of the most famous of the classic cocktails, one that survived Prohibition, which saw the fall into obscurity of many other classics of the time (Satan’s Whiskers, anyone). Those that survived include the Manhattan, Planter’s Punch, Old Fashioned, Sazerac, Tom Collins, etc).

    The “sour” refers to lemon juice, which is added with sugar to create the drink. Whiskey is a generic term, referring to any spirit, or alcoholic distillate, made from a fermented mash of grain or malt and aged in barrels (the brown color comes from barrel aging).

    Thus, requesting a “Whiskey Sour” enables the bartender to use any whiskey. If you want something specific, say so: a Bourbon Sour, Scotch Sour, etc.

    There are numerous types of whiskey—American (Bourbon, corn, Tennessee, rye), Canadian, Irish, Scotch and others. Each is distinguished by the type of grain (barley, corn, rye) used in the fermentation process, as well as the distinct distillation and aging process. Each nation has its own rules and regulations about what constitutes a true whiskey. Regardless of the variety or country of origin, a general rule of thumb is that all straight whiskeys must be aged at least two years in wood, generally oak.

     

    The whiskey sour recipe was first published in 1862 in the seminal mixologists’ guide, Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks (still in print!). However, most cocktail recipes, including the sour, existed long before this time—some dating as far back as the 1700s.

    RECIPE: CLASSIC WHISKEY SOUR

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces Bourbon
  • .75 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • .75 ounce simple syrup
  • Ice
  • Garnish: Maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously.

    2. STRAIN into an ice-filled rocks glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

     

    As easy as this is, most bartenders use a commercial sour mix, which often means either reconstituted lemon juice. You can taste the difference, and it isn’t good. Since you’re not turning out hundreds of drinks a day, don’t try to save time: Use fresh squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup.
     
    Variations

  • Egg white. An egg white gives cocktails a creamier consistency. You can use a whole egg white per drink, or a portion of one. The technique: Shake the cocktail before adding the ice.
  • Less sweet. Cut back on the simple syrup for a less sweet cocktail. As a side benefit, the flavor of the whiskey becomes more prominent. (Sugar was originally added to cocktails to counter the medicinal flavor of the whiskey.)
  • More sweet. While it isn’t classic, add some of the maraschino cherry juice to the cocktail. Note though, that cheaper maraschino cherries are often sitting in high fructose corn syrup. Use a quality brand like Tillen Farms, in pure sugar syrup. They make great stocking stuffers for your favorite mixologists.
  •  

    tillen-farm-cherries-230

    Maraschino and bing cherries are made with pure cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. Photo courtesy Tillen Farms.

     

  • Bitters. While a traditional whiskey sour is made without bitters, an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter for a bitter or bittersweet effect. You can add a dash or two of bitters to add complexity. There are so many types of bitters available these days; the recipe below uses chocolate bitters.
  • Switch the liquor. Consider a Pisco Sour, Sidecar (Cognac and orange liqueur) or Margarita (tequila and orange liqueur), for example. Anything with sugar and lemon or lime juice can be considered a sour.
  •  
    There are simple recipes—whiskey and sour mix—plus complex versions, like the Maple Sour below, created for Basil Hayden’s Bourbon by Jason Stevens, bar manager at Congress Austin.

    RECIPE: MAPLE BOURBON SOUR

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1½ parts bourbon
  • ¾ parts tawny port
  • ¼ part Grade B maple syrup
  • ½ part lemon juice
  • 1 heavy dash Bittermen’s Molé Bitters (or other chocolate bitters)
  • Garnish: lemon wheel and maraschino cherry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for 15 seconds and double strain into a double Old Fashioned glass with ice.

    2. GARNISH with a lemon wheel and a maraschino cherry.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: White Cosmopolitan

    Hey there, Carrie Bradshaw: How about a White Cosmopolitan?

    This recipe, from Grey Goose Vodka, uses white cranberry juice instead of red cranberry juice, plus Grey Goose L’Orange vodka.

    (A bonus: spill it and it doesn’t stain like a Red Cosmo.)

    RECIPE: WHITE COSMOPOLITAN

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 3 parts orange-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 part premium orange liqueur
  • Splash of white cranberry juice
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • Garnish: orange peel
  •  

    Preparation

     

    white-cosmo-grey-goose-230

    A White Cosmo. Photo courtesy Grey Goose.

     
    1. SHAKE all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a Martini glass.

    2. GARNISH with an orange peel.
     

    A White Cosmopolitan is appropriate any time of the year. It looks like it belongs at the beach, for sure.

    But imagine a holiday tray of both Red Cosmos and White Cosmos, perhaps with a tiny mint leaf or a sprig evergreen-like rosemary floating atop for garnish.

    Or, go red, white and blue by adding a bit of blue food color to part of the White Cosmo recipe.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Gazpacho & Beer

    This gazpacho has a surprise ingredient:
    beer! Photo courtesy Frontera Foods.

     

    Here’s a fun idea that can be a soup course, a main course or pass-around party fare, served in small glasses.

    This idea was developed at Frontera Foods, a Chicago-based Mexican foods company headed by Chef Rick Bayless, in partnership with Bohemia Beer. You can serve “beer gazpacho” or turn it into a Martini.

    The tip isn’t just to add beer to gazpacho, but that you can season gazpacho with the addition of prepared salsa.

    The soup can be made ahead and even tastes better when allowed to sit overnight. The recipe makes about 3 quarts.

    To serve gazpacho as a light main course, consider adding:

  • A large salad
  • Crostini, perhaps with olive tapenade
  • Tapas
  • Platters of Spanish sausages, Serrano ham, tortilla Española (Spanish omelet, served at room temperature), Spanish cheeses (look for Cabrales, Idiazabal, Mahon, Manchego and Murcia al Vino), and rustic bread
  • Instead of wine, chilled dry sherry
  •  

    RECIPE: FRONTERA’S SALSA GAZPACHO

    Ingredients For 6-8 Main Course Servings

  • 5 pounds ripe red tomatoes (16 to 20 medium-sized plum or 12 medium-small round)
  • 2 seedless cucumbers, peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 bottle (16 ounces) Frontera Habanero Salsa or substitute
  • 1/2 cup Bohemia beer (or substitute)
  • 2 cups torn (½-inch inch pieces) white bread
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Salt to taste, about 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1½ cups home-style croutons
  •  

    Preparation

    1. CHOP enough of the tomatoes into a ¼-inch dice to a generous 1½ cups. Chop enough of the cucumber into ¼-inch dice to yield a generous 1 cup. Stir in the cilantro. Cover and refrigerate for garnish.

    2. ROUGHLY CHOP the remaining tomatoes and cucumber. Mix with the salsa, beer, bread, olive oil and vinegar. In a blender, purée the mixture in 2 batches until smooth.

    3. TRANSFER to a large bowl. Stir in just enough water to give the soup the consistency of a light cream soup, about ½ to 1 cup. Taste and season with salt. Chill thoroughly.

    4. SERVE: Set out the tomato-cucumber garnish mixture and croutons. Ladle the soup into chilled soup bowls. Pass the garnishes.

     

    spanish-cheeses-artisanal-230

    Serve a green salad and plate of Spanish cheeses after the gazpacho. Photo courtesy Artisanal Cheese.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: Creamsicle Cocktail For National Creamsicle Day

    orange-cream-pop-dream-svedka-230

    A Creamsicle cocktail! Photo courtesy
    Svedka Vodka.

     

    August 14th is National Creamsicle Day, a classic ice cream novelty on a stick that combines orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream.

    You can buy a Creamsicle, have a scoop of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream in a dish, or enjoy this cocktail version from Svedka Vodka. It uses Svedka’s Orange cream Pop vodka, a “nostalgia flavor” and one of the company’s 11 flavored vodkas.

    RECIPE: CREAMSICLE COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 part Svedka Orange Cream Pop vodka
  • 1 part orange juice
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a blender, adding 1/2 cup of crushed ice last. Blend until smooth and pour into a hurricane glass.

    2. GARNISH with an orange wedge and a scoop of ice cream.

     
    CREAMSICLE HISTORY

    In 1923, Frank Epperson, a 29-year-old husband and father working in the real estate industry, made what he called Epsicles for a fireman’s ball.

    They were a sensation, and Frank obtained a patent for “a handled, frozen confection or ice lollipop.” His kids called the treat a Popsicle, after their Pop. So Frank created Popsicle Corporation and collaborated with the Loew Movie Company for the nationwide marketing and sales of the product in movie theaters.

    By 1928, Epperson had earned royalties on more than 60 million Popsicles. But his happy days ended with the Great Depression. In 1929, flat broke, Frank had to liquidate his assets and sold the patent to, and his rights in, Popsicle Corporation.

    Over the years, the Popsicle Corporation created other frozen treats on a stick: the Fudgsicle (a chocolate-flavored pop with a texture somewhat similar to ice cream), the Creamsicle (vanilla ice cream and orange sherbet) and the Dreamsicle (a Creamsicle filled with ice milk instead of ice cream).

    Today, Creamsicle is the trademarked property of the Good Humor Company, owned by Unilever.

    Here’s more on the history of the Creamsicle, and a recipe for Creamsicle Cake.

     
      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka

    GREY GOOSE GREY GOOSE LE MELON

    The new infused vodka from Grey Goose: Le
    Melon. Photo courtesy Grey Goose.

     

    News for melon lovers or the many fans of Grey Goose Le Poire vodka: It now has a fruity little sister, Le Melon.

    Grey Goose Le Melon showcases the Cavaillon melon from the South of France, a variety of cantaloupe with pale, greenish skin and distinctive green vertical markings.

    Cavaillon is a commune in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. For centuries, the rich soil and concentrated sunshine have produced melons with high sugar content, that are celebrated for their signature flavor of wildflower honey.

    The melons are picked in July and August (see more about the variety below). The flavor is concentrated and extracted through maceration of the flesh in Grey Goose vodka. Learn more at GreyGoose.com.

    For the purest expression of the vodka flavor, just add ice!

    RECIPE: MELON ON THE ROCKS

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts Le Melon
  • Ice
  • Garnish: cantaloupe slice or cubes on a pick
  • Preparation

    1. FILL a shaker with ice and add Le Melon. Shake well and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

    2. GARNISH with fresh melon.
     
    TIP: Use this preparation for all rocks drinks. To really chill the spirit, don’t just pour it into an ice-filled glass. First shake it with ice; then strain it into a rocks glass over more ice.

     

    Prefer something fizzy? Simply add 1/2 ounce (half a shot glass) of Le Melon to a glass and top with sparkling wine. Or, try this cocktail:

    RECIPE: MELON ROYALE

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts Le Melon
  • 3 parts lemon-lime soda (e.g. 7 Up)
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: cucumber slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. FILL a rocks glass with ice. Add Le Melon

    2. TOP with lemon-lime soda. Garnish and serve.
     
    RECIPE: MELON MULE

    This twist on the classic Moscow Mule replaces plain vodka with Le Melon.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts Le Melon
  • 3 parts ginger beer
  • 3 lime wedges plus 1 for garnish
  • Ice cubes, crushed ice
  •  

    melon-le-fizz-230

    Le Melon is delicious with sparkling wine. Photo courtesy Grey Goose.

     

    Preparation

    1. FILL a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and add Le Melon and the juice from three lime wedges.

    2. SHAKE will and strain into a copper mug filled with crushed ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
     

    MORE ABOUT THE CAVAILLON MELON

    The Cavaillon melon was first cultivated in France in the 14th century, from seeds brought from Cantalupo, Italy to Provence. The melon is now grown in North America and elsewhere.

    Ripe Cavaillon melons have a lime green skin with pale green vertical striping, a bright orange flesh and a floral-sweet aroma. It also has a lovely fragrance, even before it is cut.

    Serve it with prosciutto, or turn it into:

  • Cantaloupe and yogurt soup with ginger, lime and mint.
  • An appetizer or dessert skewers of Cavaillon melon, slices of prosciutto and bocconcini mozzarella balls on a skewer, then top with pesto or a basil oil.
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    FOOD FUN: Prosecco & Alcohol-Infused Ice Pops

    prosecco-ice-pops-conradhotel-230

    New, fun, delicious: Prosecco and boozy ice
    pops. Photo courtesy Conrad Hotel | NYC.

     

    Too bad “Sex And The City” is off the air. The girls could have spent an afternoon or evening at an elegant rooftop bar in Battery Park City at the foot of Manhattan, enjoying the stunning views of Lady Liberty and the Hudson River…

    …and enjoying glasses of Prosecco, the Italian sparkler, garnished with boozy ice pops.

    The Conrad Hotel in New York City, part of the Hilton empire, offers a tempting lineup of boozy pops at Loopy Doopy, its rooftop bar. (It looks neither loopy nor doopy, but Hamptons-inspired).

    The ice pops are made from fruit purée and spirits, and served in a goblet of Prosecco. Ice pop flavors include:

  • Appletini with gin, vermouth, lemon juice
  • Blueberry Plum with Irish Whiskey
  • Raspberry Apricot with Grand Marnier
  • Spiced Peach with añejo rum
  • Strawberry Margarita with lime juice & tequila
  •  

     

    Loopy Doopy partnered with People’s Pops, a local artisan ice pop maker, which makes the boozy ice pops exclusively for them.

    And there’s more fun: Throughout the 2014 summer season, those enjoying Prosecco & Ice Pop cocktails will discover various prizes revealed on their ice pop sticks. Prizes range from something as small as an appetizer, or to a complimentary weekend stay for two in the hotel’s 1,500-square-foot Conrad Suite.

    Waiter, we’ll have another, please!

    You can make your own alcohol-infused ice pops. Alcohol doesn’t freeze well, so add just a teaspoonful into each individual pop mold.

    ABOUT PROSECCO

    Hailing from northeast Italy’s Veneto region, Prosecco is the name of the village where the where the Prosecco grape—now known as the Glera grape—originated. Other local white grape varieties, such as Bianchetta Trevigiana, can be included in the blend.

    The wine can be frizzante—just slightly fizzy, sometimes bottled with a regular cork to be opened with a corkscrew—or spumante—very fizzy, bottled with the mushroom-style cork and cage or something similar.

    The wine is often labeled Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene, after its appellation.

     

    mionetto-bottle-2-230

    Prosecco in its traditional bottle shape. Photo courtesy Mionetto Prosecco.

     

    Prosecco is affordable, light-bodied for hot summer days, and something you should be sipping now.

      

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