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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: Make Gazpacho Shooters

Gazpacho Shooters

Gazpacho Shooters

[1] A gazpacho shot at Fabrick | NYC. [2] A blender gazpacho from OuiChefNetwork.com. Here’s their recipe for their beautiful, orange-hued gazpacho.

 

As the party is getting started, serve guests a gazpacho shot. Gazpacho, a chilled vegetable soup, is so refreshing on a warm day. Why National Gazpacho Day is December 6th, we have no idea.

You can add a tablespoon of gin, tequila or vodka to each shot; or serve mocktails. A bonus: Even a small amount of gazpacho can add another portion of veggies to your daily intake.

You can serve the shooter in a shot glass (you can buy decent ones in hard plastic) or four-ounce juice glasses. Or, ditch the concept of shooters and serve as a full-blown drink, in whatever type of glass you like.

And, you can make them just for the family, with brunch or before dinner.

Just make your favorite gazpacho recipe (we have some recipes below). You can simply toss the ingredients into a blender. If you don’t like to cook, your food market may sell gazpacho along with the other fresh soups.
Or, you can make the Gazpachito recipe below, a cross between a Bloody Mary and a Tequila & Lime shot.
 
RECIPE #1: BLENDER TOMATO GAZPACHO

This is our lower calorie version, omitting the bread and the olive oil of a conventional recipe. It also works better for a cocktail.

Simply layer the ingredients in a blender:. You can vary the vegetable proportions to bring out the flavors you like best.
 
Ingredients

  • 2 pounds tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 1-2 large cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 red onion or green onions (scallions) to taste
  • 1 large clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Choice of white spirit
  • Preparation

    1. COMBINE the vegetables and seasonings in a blender and blend to your desired consistency.

    2. TASTE and adjust the proportions and seasoning to taste.

    3. PLACE the blender in the fridge to chill and allow the flavors to meld. Re-taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    4. SPLIT the batch. Add the alcohol to one portion, leaving a portion alcohol-free. If you know that all the guests will want alcohol, add spirit to the entire batch.

     

    RECIPE #2: GAZPACHITO SHOT

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce blanco (silver) tequila
  • 1-1/2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1/2 ounce sherry
  • Garnish: 2 slices of green or red jalapeño
  • Garnish: cucumber spear for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SHAKE the ingredients with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled shot glass. Garnish with one or two cucumber spears.

    2. SLAM the shot and then eat the garnish.
     
    GARNISH OPTIONS

  • Avocado slice.
  • Baby beets or diced whole beets.
  • Celery or fennel stick of celery, broccoli or cauliflower floret.
  • Cheese cube.
  • Cucumber slice.
  • Cooked shrimp or a raw sea scallop, notched onto the rim of the glass.
  • Greek yogurt, plain or herbed (mix in finely chopped fresh herbs); crème fraîche or sour cream.
  • Small boiled parsley potato.
  •  
    You can serve the shooters with a tray of crostini as crunchy counterpoint.
     
    MORE GAZPACHO OPTIONS

  • Don’t like tomatoes? Make gazpacho verde, green gazpacho. There’s also the history of gazpacho.
  • Don’t like tomatoes, onion and bell peppers? Make white gazpacho, which is the original gazpacho recipe. Tomatoes came later.
  • Something Snazzy: Try yellow gazpacho, made from yellow bell peppers.
  • Beer Gazpacho: This recipe, with added beer and salsa, is from Chef Rick Bayless.
  • BLT Gazpacho: Make this recipe, or simply add a slice of crisp bacon and some baby arugula to garnish your favorite tomato gazpacho recipe.
  • Fruit Gazpacho: Try Mango Gazpacho or Pineapple Gazpacho. Both are savory recipes with sweet fruit accents.
  • Chocolate Gazpacho: The recipe is also savory, like mole sauce.
  •  

    Gapachito Shot

    Classic Tomato Gazpacho

    [1] A Gazpachito (photo courtesy Skyy Spirits). [2] A bowl of tomato-based gazpacho (photo courtesy AddSomeLife.com).

      

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    TOP PICK OF THE WEEK: SunGold Kiwi From Zespri

    You may think of kiwifruit as green, but in the wild they are found in red and yellow as well.

    In the late 1970s, New Zealand kiwifruit growers began experimenting with the breeding of a golden kiwifruit (in the U.S., we call it “kiwi” for short).

    In 1992, Zespri—the world leader in premium quality kiwifruit—selected one offspring plant from the breeding stock to create the the golden-fleshed berry* now known as Zespri© SunGold© Kiwifruit. It is available at supermarkets nationwide from May through October.

    SunGold is sweeter than a green kiwi, and tastes like a cross between a mango and a strawberry with just a hint of tanginess. We adore it.

    NOTE that SunGold is a proprietary strain from Zespri. You may find other golden kiwifruit; we can’t vouch for it. Look for the Zespri label.
     
    ENJOY KIWI ANYTIME

    Like regular kiwi, SunGold offers healthy ammounts of vitamins C and E, potassium. Its sunny yellow sweetness boosts the nutrition and color on the plate.

    You can simply scoop it and eat it with a spoon, or peel it for just about any fruit recipe. A few examples:

  • Breakfast: with cereal, cottage cheese, yogurt, smoothies
  • Lunch: green salad, garnish for egg, chicken or tuna salad, salsa, sliced on sandwiches (especially ham or turkey)
  • Dinner: cocktails and mocktails, fruit soup, garnishes, sides
  • Dessert: compote, fruit salad, garnishes, ice cream and sorbet, pies and tarts, pudding
  •  
    HOW TO RIPEN KIWIFRUIT

    Golden kiwi is usually ready to eat when you buy it. It should feel slightly soft to the touch, like a ripe peach. Once ripe, it should be stored in the refrigerator (the same for green kiwi).

    Green kiwi may be a bit firm when you buy it, and will usually ripen at in three to five days at room temperature. The firmer the fruit, the more tart it will taste.

       

    Sungold Kiwi

    SunGold Kiiwi

    [1] SunGold kiwifruit have a smooth skin, not fuzzy like green kiwi. [2] All you need is a spoon (photos courtesy Zespri).

     
    To speed up the ripening process, place kiwis (or any fruit) in a closed paper bag on the counter along with an apple or banana. Fruits like apples and bananas produce natural ethylene gas, which accelerates ripening.

    By the same token, any ripe fruit should be stored away from ethylene-producing fruits—never in the same produce drawer. If you want to store the fruit for longer than a few days, keep it in a plastic bag in the fridge.
     
    _____________________
    *Yes, kiwi is a very large berry. It grows on a vine.

     

    Kiwi Cocktail

    Baked Brie With Kiwi

    [1] Kiwi-banana cocktail. [2] Baked Brie with kiwi compote (photos courtesy Zespri).

     

    COCKTAIL RECIPE: KIWI-BANANA—TINI

    Ingredients For 2 Cups

  • 1 Zespri SunGold kiwi, peeled† and chopped
  • 1 ounce banana rum
  • 1 ounce Bärenjäger or other honey liqueur‡
  • 1-1/2 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/2 ounce Licor 43 or other vanilla liqueur**
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: a kiwi wheel, lime wheel or other garnish of choice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the kiwi and rum in a shaker. Add the Bärenjäger and shake with ice. Strain into a Martini glass.

    2. PLACE the cream and Liquor 43 in a shaker. Shake for 30 seconds until frothy.

    3. PLACE a teaspoon (flatware) against the inside edge of a Martini glass, with the well facing the glass. Slowly pour the cream mixture over back of spoon onto the kiwi mixture, creating a layered effect. Garnish as desired and serve immediately.
     
    _____________________
    †A serrated peeler works best for peeling kiwifruit.

    ‡You can substitute another honey liqueur and can also easily make your own honey liqueur.

    **Licor 43 is made from citrus and other fruit juices, flavored with vanilla, herbs and spices. You can substitute another vanilla liqueur or a citrus liqueur.

     
    RECIPE #2: BAKED BRIE WITH SPICY KIWI COMPOTE

    Ingredients For 16 Servings

    Prep time is 10 minutes, total time is 25 minutes.

  • 1 Brie cheese round, about 13 ounces
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper jelly (or other pepper jelly)
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Zespri green kiwi, peeled† and diced
  • 1 Zespri SunGold kiwi, peeled† and diced
  • Assorted crackers or baguette slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT the oven to 350F. Unwrap the Brie; trim and discard the top rind. Place the Brie in a baking dish or pie plate. Bake for 15 minutes or until the Brie is softened and beginning to melt. Meanwhile…

    2. STIR together in a microwavable bowl the jelly, mustard and pepper. Fold in the kiwi and microwave on high power for 1-1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through heating, until hot.

    3. TRANSFER the Brie to a serving plate. Top with the kiwi compote and serve with crackers or breads.
     
     
    VISIT ZESPRIKIWI.COM FOR MANY MORE RECIPES

      

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    PRODUCT: Rogue Ale’s American Amber Ale For Independence Day

    Oregon craft brewer Rogue Ales toasts America with the annual release of its American Amber Ale.

    It’s the brew’s 28th year, and has been our beer of choice for July 4th celebrations since we first came across it.

  • Another Independence Day favorite is Liberty Ale (center photo), an IPA from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Company.
  • Hell Or High Watermelon, which we haven’t been able to get hold of, shows the Statue of Liberty dipping her toes in the Golden Gate Strait (bottom photo). The brewer: 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. We can’t wait to drink a can of this wheat beer, brewed with fresh watermelon…with a slice of fresh watermelon!
  •  
    AMERICAN AMBER ALES

    American Amber Ales are a beer category known for being balanced and refreshing, with toasted malt characteristics and a light fruitiness. (See the differences between beer and ale below.)

    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is tawny amber in color and medium- to full-bodied. It has a toffee/caramel aroma, a nice malt accent and a pleasantly bitter, smooth finish.

    Celebrating the “ideals of the Revolution,” Rogue brews the beer with “Rebel hops” (they’re actually Kent Golding and Cascade hops) and “Dare and Risk barley,” not to mention what the company calls “free range coastal water.” (Get it?)
     
    Rogue’s American Amber Ale is now available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles (the image is screened onto the bottle, a nice gift for party hosts or for a party favor) and 12-ounce bottles with the same label design on paper, and can be found draft at establishments that feature Rogue Ale.

    Rogue makes world-class ale, kolsch, lager, mead, porter and stout, along with excellent spirits:

  • Gins: Spruce Gin and Pink Spruce Gin
  • Rums: Dark Rum, Hazelnut Spice Rum
  • Vodkas: Oregon Single Malt Vodka, Voodoo Bacon Maple Vodka
  • Whiskeys: Chipotle Whiskey, Dead Guy Whiskey, Oregon Single Malt Whiskey, Rogue Farms Oregon Rye Whiskey
  •  
    We haven’t had them all, but what we’ve tried, we really liked.

    For more information about Rogue products, visit Rogue.com.
     
    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF BEER, visit THE NIBBLE’s BEER GLOSSARY.
     
    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEER & ALE

     

    Rogue American Amber Ale

    Liberty Ale Anchor Brewing

    Hell Or High Water Watermelon Beer

    Top: Toast to the U.S.A. with American Amber Ale (photo courtesy Rogue). Center: Liberty Ale from Anchor Brewing Company (photo courtesy HiConsumption.com). Bottom: The Statue Of Liberty graces the cans of Hell Or High Water (photo courtesy 21st Amendment Brewery).

     
    Although most of us use “beer” to refer to all suds, three parts of the brewing process actually define what is a beer—illustrated by the lager style of beer—and what is an ale.

    Ales tend to be fruity-estery in aroma and flavor, while lagers are clean-tasting and crisp. These differences are created by:

  • The Yeast. Ales are brewed with top-fermenting yeast strains, which means exactly that: The yeast ferments at the top of the fermentation tank (they typically rise to the top of the tank near the end of fermentation). Ale yeasts tend to produce esters, chemicals that can affect the flavor of the beer. Lagers use bottom-fermenting yeasts, strains which do not typically add much flavor (the flavor comes from the other ingredients, especially hops and malt).
  • The Temperature and Time. Ale yeasts ferment best at warmer temperatures—room temperature up to about 75°F. They ferment faster than lager yeasts. Lagers ferment at colder temperatures, 46°F to 59°F, and typically ferment over longer periods of time. The combination of colder temperatures and bottom-fermenting yeast is responsible for the mild and crisp taste delivered by most lagers.
  • The Ingredients. Ale recipes often contain a higher amount of hops, malt and roasted malts; hence they typically have a more prominent malty taste and bitterness. Styles like India Pale Ale (IPA) are very hoppy. Ales have more room for recipe experimentation than lagers; thus additional ingredients (called adjuncts) can be added during brewing. Examples: fruits (cherry, pumpkin, raspberry, etc.), sugars (honey, maple syrup, molasses) and spices (allspice, coriander, clove, etc.).
  •   

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    FOOD FUN: Birthday Shots

    What a nifty idea for birthdays! It’s from Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat, the sisters who authored Bite Me. This recipe is from their second book, Bite Me Too. Their latest book, Lick Your Plate, has recently hit the shelves.

    Combine vodka, chocolate liqueur, cream and white cake mix, and top it with whipped cream and sprinkles. That’s a celebration!

    And you don’t have to wait for the birthdays of friends and relatives. You can find hundreds of famous people any any given month. In June alone, there are:

  • Adam Smith, economist
  • Alan Turing, mathmetician
  • Alanis Morisette, musician
  • Allen Iverson, NBA star
  • Angelina Jolie, actor
  • Anne Frank
  • Anthony Bourdain, chef and television host
  •  
    Here’s the full list.

     

    Birthday Shots

    Celebrate birthdays with these yummy Birthday Shots (photo courtesy McArthur & Co).

     
    And that’s just a small portion with a first name beginning with A.
     
    RECIPE: BIRTHDAY SHOTS

    Ingredients Per Shot

  • 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce chocolate liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce cream
  • 2 tsp dry white cake mix
  • Garnishes: whipped cream and sprinkles
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MIX the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice; strain into a shot glass. Garnish with whipped cream and top with sprinkles.
     
    Variation

    If there are children in attendance, give them chocolate milk or a shake, garnished with the whipped cream and sprinkles.
     

    DISCOVER MORE AT BITEMEMORE.COM.

      

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    RECIPE: All-In-One Bloody Mary & Shrimp Cocktail

    If Dad’s drink is a Bloody Mary and he loves a shrimp cocktail, combine both concepts into this two-in-one “cocktail.”

    The recipe was inspired by Farm To Market Bloody Mary Pickles. But you can use your favorite Bloody Mary recipe and add the pickles and shrimp. Here’s THE NIBBLE’s favorite Bloody Mary mix recipe.

    While the top photo shows only 1 shrimp (the original Farm To Market idea was a cocktail garnish), we recommend 3-4 large shrimp (or jumbo, as the budget allows).

    BLOODY MARY SHRIMP COCKTAIL RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • Peeled, deveined, cooked medium shrimp, 3-4 per drink
  • Pickle chips, stuffed olives, peppadews and/or other garnishes
  • Bloody Mary mix and vodka, chilled
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHILL the Bloody Mary mix and the vodka in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. (We normally keep our vodka in the fridge. Eighty-proof spirits will not freeze.)

    2. TOSS the shrimp with 1 tablespoon lemon juice in large bowl. Thread 1 shrimp and 1 pickle chip on a long toothpick or cocktail pick. Repeat with the remaining shrimp and pickles. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    3. PREPARE the Bloody Mary mix (or open the store-bought bottle) and combine with vodka.

    4. POUR into glasses and garnish each with a shrimp skewer.
     
    MORE BLOODY MARY EXCITEMENT

  • Bloody Marys Without Vodka
  • Eleven Bloody Mary Garnishes
  • New Bloody Mary Garnishes
  • History Of The Bloody Mary
  • Set Up A Bloody Mary Bar Or Cart
  • Surf & Turf Bloody Mary
  •  

    Shrimp Cocktail Bloody Mary

    Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail

    Garnish a Bloody Mary with shrimp—as many as you like (photo courtesy Farm To Market). Center: Use your julep glasses, stemware, or whatever you have that works (photo MackenzieLtd.com). Bottom: More jumbo shrimp, less Mary (photo MackenzieLtd.com).

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Negroni Week

    Negroni Cocktail Recipe

    Negroni Cocktail

    Top: A Negroni, elegantly presented in a stemmed glass at The Heathman Restaurant & Bar in Portland, Oregon. Bottom: A fun presentation at Irvington in New York City.

     

    It’s Negroni Week, an opportunity to try a classic cocktail, created in 1919.

    Negroni Week is a worldwide holiday, launched in 2013 by Imbibe Magazine and Campari, an Italian apéritif wine. It was begun not only to celebrate one of the world’s great cocktails, but as an effort to raise money for charitable causes around the world. Visit NegroniWeek.com to see how you can participate.
     
    NEGRONI HISTORY

    As the story goes, the cocktail was invented at the Bar Cassoni (now the Caffè Cavalli) in Florence, Italy by bartender Fosco Scarselli. He created it for a regular patron, Count Camillo Negroni, who had asked for an Americano* cocktail strengthened with a dash of gin instead of the usual soda water.

    Scarselli mixed the drink, used an orange slice garnish instead of the lemon garnish of the Americano, and presented his client with the first “Negroni.”

    The cocktail took off, and the Negroni family quickly founded Negroni Antica Distilleria in Treviso, producing Antico Negroni, a ready-made version of the drink.

    But the Negroni was unknown in the U.S. until 1947 when Orson Welles, working in Rome, wrote about it. This sent Americans to bars demanding Negronis.

     
    RECIPE: NEGRONI COCKTAIL

    The Negroni is made in 1:1:1 proportions of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. There are many variations of the cocktail today. Check out these in L.A. Magazine.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1.25 ounces gin
  • 1.25 ounces Campari
  • 1.25 ounces Martini sweet vermouth
  • Garnish: orange twist or slice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a shaker with ice.

    2. STRAIN into chilled coupe or serve over ice in a chilled rocks glass.

    3. GARNISH and serve.

     
    FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE COCKTAIL RECIPES.

    Use the Gourmet Foods pull-down menu at the right, and also check out the Cocktails section on the main site of TheNibble.com.
     
    _____________________
    *An even older cocktail, dating to the 1860s, the Americano was created in Novara, Italy by Gaspare Campari at his Caffè Campari. The ingredients: Campari (an apéritif wine, invented by Gaspare in 1860), sweet vermouth and club soda, with a lemon garnish. The cocktail was originally known as the Milano-Torino because of its ingredients: Campari, the bitter liqueur, was made outside of Milano (Milan) and Punt e Mes, the vermouth, was made in Torino (Turin). Campari was originally colored red with carmine dye, derived from crushed cochineal, a plant-sucking insect. In 2006, Gruppo Campari ceased using carmine in favor of artificial red coloring. [Source]

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Try A New Cocktail Each Weekend

    Gin Fizz

    Blackberry Brandy

    Top: Blackberry Gin Fizz (photo courtesy NathanandChristinaMakeFood.com). Here’s the recipe, made with muddled fresh blackberries instead of blackberry brandy. Bottom: Blackberry brandy. Check the back label to be sure it’s made with natural flavors (photo courtesy Leroux).

     

    We tend to try new cocktail recipes on weekends. Life’s too short to keep to our three or four standards, much as we love them.

    We keep a running list of cocktails we’d like to try. Friends and neighbors know that it’s “open house” on late Sunday afternoons: They can stop by and try the weekend’s special.

    We discovered a bottle of blackberry brandy in the liquor cabinet, so this weekend we’re mixing up a pitcher of Blackberry Gin Fizz: gin, blackberry brandy and Prosecco.

    WHAT’S A FIZZ?

    A fizz is a type of mixed drink—a variation on the older sour recipe. Sours are a family of mixed drinks that combine alcohol with lemon or lime juice—the sour component—plus a sweetener (fruit juice, grenadine, honey, liqueur, maple syrup, simple syrup, sugar, etc.). Sours are one of the original cocktails described by Jerry Thomas in his 1862 book, How to Mix Drinks.

    Famous sours include the Daiquiri (rum, lime juice and sugar), Margarita (tequila, cointreau and lime juice), Sidecar (cognac, triple sec and lemon juice) and Whiskey Sour (whiskey, lemon juice and sugar).

    A sour becomes a fizz with the addition of carbonated water. The first printed reference to a fizz (spelled “fiz”) is in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide, which contains six “fiz” recipes.

    Adding carbonated water to a Gin Sour—gin, lemon juice and sugar—creates a Gin Fizz, a.k.a. a Tom Collins). Substituting blackberry brandy or liqueur for the sugar creates a Blackberry Gin Fizz.

    The Fizz became widely popular in America between 1900 and the 1940s, and spread internationally. Known as a hometown specialty of New Orleans, the Gin Fizz was so popular that bars would need to employ extra bartenders to shake them.
     
    RECIPE #1: BLACKBERRY GIN FIZZ

    This recipe comes from the Salt Creek Grille in Princeton, New Jersey, which used Tanqueray gin.

    You can make your own blackberry brandy from fresh blackberries and regular brandy (recipe below). If you have extra bottles of brandy, go for it—but note that it takes two months for the fruit to fully infuse.

    You can use the blackberry brandy to make Blackberry Juleps, Margaritas, Mojitos and other cocktails.

     
    You can also use the blackberry brandy for a variety of other drinks and foods (see below).
     
    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1.5 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce blackberry brandy (substitute blackberry liqueur*)
  • Splash fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Splash simple syrup
  • Splash prosecco (substitute cava or other affordable bubbly†)
  • Optional garnish: fresh blackberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into an ice-filled collins glass.

    2. TOP with prosecco. Garnish with a notched berry on the rim, or a cocktail pick with blackberries.

    Variations

  • Instead of blackberry brandy, use muddled fresh blackberries. For a frozen drink, freeze fresh blackberries and toss them into the blender with the other ingredients.
  • Make a mocktail with club soda, lime juice and blackberry juice (we used Welch’s Farmer’s Pick Blackberry Juice).
  • Make a slush—a Blackberry Sgroppino, adapting the Venetian cocktail made from lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco. Substitute blackberry sorbet for the lemon sorbet in the recipe above (we use Ciao Bella’s Blackberry Cabernet sorbet).
  •  
    _______________________
    *Liqueurs are sweeter than fruit brandy, and are grain-based (gluten) instead of grape-based (gluten-free).

    †We recommend Asti Spumante from Italy, Yellow Tail Bubbles from Australia, Cava from Spain (Freixenet is the most widely available):
    Crémant from France, Woodbridge Brut from California (Robert Mondavi, Domaine Ste Michelle Brut from Oregon.

     

    RECIPE #2: HOMEMADE BLACKBERRY BRANDY

    Don’t buy the cheapest brandy on the shelf. What you put in determines what you get out.

    Ingredients For 1 Liter

  • 1 pound blackberries, washed and patted dry
  • 8 ounces superfine sugar
  • 1 liter (35 ounces) brandy
  • 3 canning jars (500ml) or other sealed containers
  •  
    Preparation

    According to StarkBros, a purveyor of fruit trees, you should wait to add the sugar until the end of the infusing process.

    1. DIVIDE the blackberries and sugar among the jars; pour in the brandy. Seal the jars tightly and shake well.

    2. STORE the jars in a cool, dark place, shaking every other day for a week. Then shake, once a week for two months or longer. The longer it steeps, the better the brandy will be.

    3. WHEN you’re ready to drink it, strain the liquid into a 1 liter bottle (33.8 ounces).
     
    For your next batch, you can consider adding another layer of flavor: a whole clove, a strip or two of lemon peel (pith removed) and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
     
    THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CORDIAL, FRUIT BRANDY, LIQUEUR, EAU DE VIE, LIQUEUR, SCHNAPPS

    While many people use these terms interchangeably, and they are all flavored spirits, there are differences in terms of sweetness and color—and in the case of fruit brandy, the base alcohol.

  • Liqueur (lih-CUR, the French pronunciation) is made by steeping fruits in alcohol after the fruit has been fermented; the result is then distilled. Liqueurs are typically sweeter and more syrupy than schnapps.
  •  

    Blackberry Brandy Recipe

    Blackberry Sorbet

    Top: Homemade blackberry brandy (photo courtesy StarkBros.com). Bottom: Make a slush by adding blackberry sorbet (photo courtesy Ciao Bella).

  • Schnapps (SHNOPS) is made by fermenting the fruit, herb or spice along with a base spirit, usually brandy; the product is then distilled. This process creates a stronger, often clear, distilled spirit similar to a lightly flavored vodka. “Schnapps” is German for “snap,” and in this context denotes both a clear brandy distilled from fermented fruits, plus a shot of that spirit. Classic schnapps have no added sugar, and are thus less sweet than liqueur. But note that some manufacturers add sugar to please the palates of American customers.
  • Eau de vie (OH-duh-VEE), French for “water of life,” this is unsweetened fruit brandy—i.e.,schnapps.
  • Cordial has a different meaning in the U.S. than in the U.K., where it is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. In the U.S, a cordial is a sweet, syrupy, alcoholic beverage: liqueur.
  •  
    In sum: If you want a less sweet, clear spirit, choose schnapps/eau de vie over liqueur. For something sweet and syrupy, go for a liqueur or cordial.
     
    Fruit Brandy Vs. Liqueur

  • Liqueur is sweeter, and typically made from a grain-based alcohol.
  • Fruit-flavored brandy is made from a grape-based alcohol. Be sure to buy one that is all natural, i.e., made with real fruit instead of flavored syrup. With a quality brand, the fruit is macerated in the alcohol, then filtered out prior to bottling.
  • There are a few Cognacs-based liqueurs such as Chambord (raspberry), Domaine De Canton (ginger) and Grand Marnier (orange). Cognac is a higher-quality brandy made according to the stringent standards of the Cognac commune of southwestern France.
  •  
    MORE THINGS TO MAKE WITH BLACKBERRY BRANDY

  • Drink it straight as an apéritif.
  • Make a spritzer with sparkling water or sparkling wine.
  • Make blackberry granita, ice cream or sorbet.
  • Marinate fruit salad.
  • Use as a flavoring in desserts.
  • Use as a dessert sauce to top angel or pound cake, ice cream, sorbet, etc.
  • Use to make sauces for savory dishes, such as duck and salmon.
  •   

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Soufflé Omelet With Balsamic Strawberries

    For Sunday brunch, try your hand at a fluffy Soufflé Omelet. This recipe, adapted from one by the California Strawberry Commission, has a filling of balsamic strawberries.

    Serve it with a bubbly Mimosa (recipe below).

    RECIPE: SOUFFLE OMELET WITH BALSAMIC STRAWBERRIES

    Ingredients

  • 1½ cups (about 8 ounces) fresh strawberries, stemmed and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or mint
  • 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • Garnish: confectioners’ sugar and/or mascarpone or sour cream
  •  
    Preparation

       

    Soufflet Omelet

    A Souffle Omelet, stuffed with balsamic strawberries (photo courtesy California Strawberry Commission).

     
    1. COMBINE the strawberries, mint, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons of the granulated sugar in bowl; set aside.

    2. WHISK the egg yolks, vanilla and remaining ½ teaspoon of granulated sugar in a small bowl for 1 minute, or until slightly thickened.

    3. BEAT the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until they form soft peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold the yolk mixture into the whites until no streaks remain.

    4. MELT the butter in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the butter is sizzling add the egg mixture, spreading it into an even layer with the spatula. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the omelet is golden brown on the bottom and barely set on top.

    5. SPOON the strawberries down the center of omelet. Use the spatula to fold the omelet in half over filling.

    6. SLIDE the omelet onto a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Add a dollop of sour cream or mascarpone as desired.

     

    Mimosa With Strawberry Recipe

    Mimosa Cocktail

    Top: You don’t need Champagne flutes to serve a Mimosa (photo courtesy DrinkSkinny.com. Bottom: Even better, a Blood Orange Mimosa (photo courtesy BakeholicMama.com).

     

    OMELETTE VS. OMELET?

    It’s the French versus British spelling. Both are correct: Omelette is is more elegant while omelet is easier to spell.

     
    RECIPE: MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    Use juice from a carton if you like, but the best Mimosa Cocktail is made from fresh-squeezed juice (juice is half the recipe, after all). Even better is fresh-squeezed blood orange juice!

    Unless you have an excess of Champagne to use up, save the money and buy a Cava or Prosecco, in the $12 to $15 range; or a Sparkling Rosé. If you don’t have Champagne flutes, use white wine glasses or a tall, slender stemless glass.

    Variations: Try a Grapefruit Mimosa substituting grapefruit juice, or a Grand Mimosa with a splash of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur.

    Ingredients

  • Dry sparkling wine, chilled
  • Orange juice, chilled (if squeezing, plan 1 orange per drink)
  • Optional: orange liqueur
  • Optional garnish: notched strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the sparkling wine into the flute. It should comprise half of the contents.

    2. TOP the sparkling wine with orange juice, then the optional orange liqueur. The heavier weights of the juice and liqueur will travel to the bottom and self-mix.

    If you feel that mixing is necessary, give the drink half a gentle stir with a swizzle stick so you don’t break the bubbles.

    3. CUT a notch in the strawberry and set it on the rim of the glass. Serve immediately.

     
    THE HISTORY OF THE MIMOSA COCKTAIL

    The Mimosa, a cocktail composed of equal parts of orange juice and Champagne or other dry, white sparkling wine, was invented by bartender Frank Meier circa 1925 at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris.

    Served in a Champagne flute, it is believed to be named after the the mimosa evergreen shrub (Acacia dealbata), which bears flowers of a similar color to the drink.

    Because of the juice component, the Mimosa is often served at brunch. The optional addition of a small amount of orange liqueur like Grand Marnier complements the juice and gives the drink more complexity.

      

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    RECIPE: Blood Orange Margarita

    Depending on which survey you read, the Margarita may be the most popular cocktail in the U.S. There are scores of variations, from Ginger Margarita and Melon Margarita to Frozen Grape Margarita to a Frozen Kiwi Cilantro Margarita.

    For Cinco de Mayo, we’re adding a new Margarita recipe to our repertoire: the Blood Orange Margarita.

    The original Margarita was made with tequila, Cointreau and lime juice. Here’s the story and more Margarita trivia.

    The recipe was developed by Chef Billy at Prepara.com. If you can’t find fresh blood oranges for the purée, look for frozen purée or substitute refrigerated blood orange juice.

    RECIPE #1: BLOOD ORANGE MARGARITA

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • .75 ounce Cointreau
  • .5 ounce tequila
  • 1 ounce blood orange purée (recipe below)
  • .5 ounce lime juice
  • Optional: splash simple syrup
  • Ice cubes
  • Optional: coarse salt or salt-orange zest combination for rim*
  • Garnish: Blood orange wheel or lime wheel
  •  

    Blood Orange Margarita Recipe

    Toast Cinco de Mayo with a Blood Orange Margarita. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

     
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the optional salt rim. We like to mix 1/3 orange zest with 2/3 salt (zest the orange before squeezing the juice). Dip the rim of the glass into 1/4 inch of water, then twist in a dish of the salt or salt mix to create the rim.

    2. COMBINE all of the ingredients in a shaker. Shake well and strain into a glass with more ice. Garnish as desired and serve.
     
    RECIPE #2: BLOOD ORANGE PURÉE

    Ingredients

  • 4 blood oranges, peeled, segmented and seeded
  • 2 tablespoon simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  •  
    Preparation

    1. ADD all ingredients to a blender or food processor and purée. Taste and add more simple syrup and.or lemon juice as desired.
     
    MORE MARGARITA RECIPES

      

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    RECIPE: Chervil Sour

    Here’s something different: A cocktail based on muddled herbs. The Chervil Sour was created by Jeff Bareilles, Wine and Beverage Director at Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos, California.

     
    RECIPE: CHERVIL SOUR

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 15–20 chervil leaves
  • 2 ounces pisco
  • 3/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • Ice
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the chervil and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker or pint glass. Add all other ingredients and ice. Shake vigorously until egg white is frothy.

    2. STRAIN into a coupe glass and top with 3 dashes of Angostura bitters and garnish with a small chervil leaf.
     
     
    WHAT IS CHERVIL?

    Chervil, sometimes called garden chervil or French parsley, is an annual herb related to parsley, but more delicate in both appearance and flavor. It has a faint taste of licorice or anise seed.

    Chervil is a popular French seasoning for poultry, seafood and vegetable dishes (the word in French is cerfeuil, sir-FOEY).

  • It is one of the four ingredients of the French herb mixture fines herbes (feen-erb): chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon, used to season poultry, seafood, young spring vegetables, soups and sauces.
  • These herbs are called fine (delicate) as opposed to the stronger flavors of the bouquet garni (garnished bouquet). These “hardy” herbs—more pungent and/or resinous—are used to flavor soups, stocks and stews.
  • Bouquets garni can also include some fines herbes. Popular ingredients are basil, bay leaf; burnet, chervil, parsley, rosemary, savory and tarragon and thyme. They are tied in a bunch with a string, or in a piece of cheesecloth, so they can be easily removed from the pot.
  •  

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    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01_data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/chervil bunch www.herbtable.com 230

    Top: The Chervil Sour served at Manresa restaurant. Bottom: A bunch of fresh chervil. Photo courtesy HerbTable.com.

     
    How To Handle Chervil

    Hardy herbs—bay leaf, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, thyme—will stay green for a week or two in the fridge (keep them dry in the produce drawer).

    Delicate herbs—basil, chervil, chives, cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, tarragon—wilt and turn yellow faster, and need special attention. 

  • Remove any ties or rubber bands and trim off the root ends and the leafless part of the stem (you can save the roots to flavor soups and stocks).
  • Place the herbs in a glass with a couple inches of water, cover with a plastic bag (we use a bag from the produce apartment) and secure the bag, as needed, with an elastic band.
  •   

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