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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

RECIPE: Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

Frozen Milk Punch
[1] What’s better than Bourbon Milk Punch on a hot day? Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch, with ice cream instead of half and half (photo courtesy Bourbon House | NOLA).

Bourbon Milk Punch
[2] Traditional Bourbon Milk Punch, made with half-and-half instead of ice cream (photo courtesy The Cocktail Project).

Bourbon Milk Punch

[3] Make Bourbon Milk Punch even more festive by using your coupe glasses (photo courtesy Bread Booze Bacon).

 

This recipe was a big hit this weekend chez nous (we add the French in homage to the heritage of New Orleans, which was founded in 1718 by the French as Nouvelle-Orléans).

This recipe is from one of the popular restaurants of the Brennan family, Bourbon House.

Bourbon milk punch is a local specialty in New Orleans. When the restaurant opened in 2002, Dickie Brennan and his team set wanted to create a noteworthy versopm pf Bourbon Milk Punch.

“Through much trial and the occasional error,” says the website, “the Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch was born.” [Editor’s lament: Why don’t we ever get in on these trial and error tastings?]

The Bourbon House inspiration: add vanilla ice cream to create Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch.

The final recipe combined house-made vanilla gelato and Old Forester Bourbon in a frozen daiquiri machine.

Where Magazine New Orleans included the drink on the list their “30 Favorite Things About New Orleans.” Tales of the Toddy has voted it the “Best Milk Punch.”

And now, the Bourbon House team invites you to create it drink at home, using your blender. The regular milk punch version from Brennan’s restaurants is below.

RECIPE #1: FROZEN BOURBON MILK PUNCH

Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup Old Forester bourbon (or substitute)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • Garnish: dash of nutmeg
  •  
    Preparation

    Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into rocks glasses and garnish with nutmeg.

    For a taller, colder drink, add ice cubes to a collins glass.

    RECIPE #2: BRENNAN’S BRANDY MILK PUNCH

    This, and other cognac-based milk punches, often use Napoleon brandy, a designation for a brandy or cognac aged at least five years. Feel free to use VSOP; with all the cream and sugar, the nuances of the Napoleon will be covered up.

    If you don’t like or don’t have brandy, you can substitute bourbon, rum, whiskey and even tequila.

    RECIPE #1:

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces/4 tablespoons brandy or cognac
  • 4 ounces/1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 ounce/2 tablespoons simple syrup* (recipe)
  • 1/4 ounce/1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg
  •  
    Plus

  • Cocktail shaker and ice
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    2. SHAKE vigorously and pour into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with nutmeg.

    ________________

    *We prefer less sweetness, so we reduce the simple syrup by half. We also had homemade cinnamon simple syrup on hand, a nice added twist.
     
    MILK PUNCH HISTORY

    Milk punch is in the category of drinks made with milk or cream: Brandy Alexander, Classic Ramos Gin Fizz, Grasshopper, Irish Coffee, Mudslide, Pink Squirrel, White Russian, and many others (hey—another idea for a themed cocktail party: cream-based cocktails).

    The recipe combines brandy or bourbon with milk, sugar and vanilla extract, and a typical garnished of grated nutmeg.

    Milk punch was popularized in the 17th century by Aphra Behn, one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing. At the time, all types of punch were served from a punch bowl.

    The milk punch of the era was made with cream curdled with lemon juice. Those recipes gave way to milk punches that use(d) fresh milk or cream, like egg nog—which is a milk punch enriched with eggs.

    Milk punches—egg nog or other—became holiday and celebratory traditions (for example, Mardi Gras).

    In modern-day New Orleans, milk punches vie as brunch drinks with the Bloody Mary, created in 1940 in New York City (Bloody Mary history).

    There are as many recipes for milk punch as for anything else, but for Mardi Gras we serve up the recipe from Brennan’s, a favorite New Orleans restaurant since 1946.

    For a 17th-century-type recipe, try Benjamin Franklin’s recipe. He used brandy and included lots of lemon juice (which curdled the milk).

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Glam Your Homemade Lemonade

    August 20th is National Lemonade Day (National Watermelon Day is August 3rd). If the only lemonade you drink comes from a bottle, you’ve never experienced real lemonade

    (We give a waiver to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, a line of carbonated, flavored malt liquor drinks in a dozen or so flavors. It’s not lemonade per se, but we’re fans.)

    Bottled lemonade drinks are not only pasteurized, which kills the fresh flavor; but typically use reconstituted lemon juice, which, of course, totally kills off the bright lemon flavor of fresh-squeezed juice.

    Lemonade “made from concentrate” and sold in cartons like orange juice is the far better choice, as are cans of frozen lemonade concentrate.

    But the best choice of all is to squeeze fresh lemons. It takes just five minutes to make a single glass, and you can adjust the sweetening to your own taste.

    While plain fresh-squeezed lemonade is wonderful in of itself, it’s even more wonderful when you add a bit of glamour.
     
     
    FOR A LEMONADE PARTY BAR

    We leave our pitchers of lemonade unsweetened to accommodate every preference.

    For a party, set up a bar where guests can add their own sweeteners—agave, honey, noncaloric sweetener, superfine sugar or simple syrup.

    You can buy or easily make the latter two, which, unlike table sugar, dissolve easily in cold drinks.

  • Make superfine sugar by pulsing table sugar in a food processor or blender.
  • Make simple syrup by heating sugar in water until it dissolves (recipe).
  • For adults, bottles of gin, tequila or vodka expand the options.
  • Provide some of the flavors and garnishes that follow.
  •  
     
    LEMONADE RECIPE TIPS & TRICKS

    1. Make Fancy Ice

  • Freeze lemonade into ice cubes: Melting lemonade “ice” won’t dilute the drink.
  • Add a garnish to each ice cube compartment: a piece of citrus peel, a mint leaf, a cherry (dried, fresh or maraschino).
  • Crack the ice cubes into smaller pieces with an ice crusher. Some people own ice crushers or blenders that crush ice; we use a manual tool like this.
     
    Hold the ice cube in your hand and hit it with the crusher end. (NOTE: Smaller pieces of ice melt faster than whole cubes, so if your lemonade is at room temperature, you’ll want to keep the ice cubes whole.)
  •  
    2. Other “Formats”

  • Float: Add scoops of sorbet to a tall glass of watermelon lemonade. We couldn’t find watermelon sorbet, so we tried lemon, orange and raspberry. They all work.
  • Slushie: The same ingredients as a float plus ice cubes/cracked ice, lightly pulsed in a blender.
  • Fruit Soup: For a refreshing dessert or snack, dice or slice any fresh fruits and place them in a mound in the center of a soup bowl. Pour the lemonade (plain or flavored)around the fruit. Garnish with optional chopped mint or basil.
  •  
    3. Flavored Lemonade

    You can flavor the lemonade or set out a “flavor bar” so guests can add their own:

  • Fruit Juice: blueberry juice, cherry juice, lime juice, pomegranate juice.
  • Fruit Purée: berry purée, mango purée, peach purée.
  • Flavored sweeteners: Infuse simple syrup with fruit juice (blueberry, raspberry, strawberry), sliced chiles. ginger, organic lavender, etc.
  • Flavored spirits: Spirits: flavored rum, Limoncello or other fruit liqueur, saké, tequila, vodka.
  •  
    4. Sweeteners

  • For a zero-calorie drink, use non-caloric sweetener.
  • For a low-glycemic drink, use agave nectar.
  • Varying the garnishes makes the recipe “new” each time.
  •  
    5. Garnishes

  • Berry picks
  • Fresh herbs: basil, mint, rosemary, e.g.
  • Wheels or wedges: cucumber, lemon, lime, orange
  •  
    6. One Glass Or One Pitcher

  • If you don’t want to squeeze lemons every time you feel like lemonade, you can do a “bulk squeeze” and freeze the lemon juice in ice cube trays.
  • Or, do what our busy mom did and stir a heaping spoon of frozen lemonade concentrate into ice water.
  • Here’s what you need for a 64-ounce pitcher.
  •  
     
    RECIPES: FLAVORED & SPECIALTY LEMONADE

  • Frozen Lemonade Recipe
  • Lavender Lemonade Recipe
  • Peach Lemonade Recipe
  • Raspberry Lemonade Smoothie Recipe
  • Red, White & Blueberry Lemonade Recipe
  • Sparkling Melon Lemonade
  • Spicy Lemonade Recipe
  • Strawberry Basil Lemonade Recipe
  • Watermelon Mint Lemonade Recipe
  •  
    ADULT LEMONADE RECIPES

  • Blueberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe
  • Fizzy Sambuca Lemonade Recipe
  • Lemonade 485 Cocktail Recipe
  • Limoncello Lemonade Recipe
  • London Lemonade (Gin Cocktail)
  • Saké Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  •  

    Cucumber Lemonade
    [1] Add your favorite flavor counterpoints, from berries to cucumber. Muddle as desired (photo courtesy True Food Kitchen | Facebook).

    Jalapeno Lemonade
    [2] Some like it hot: They can add some jalapeño slices or other hot and spicy ingredients (photo courtesy Melissa’s).

    Lemonade With Zest Rim
    [3] Add a tart-and-sweet rim: lemon or lime zest, plain or mixed with sugar (photo courtesy Saint Marc Pub-Café).

    Rosemary Lemonade
    [4] Garnish with your favorite herbs. We like the counterpoint of basil, mint or rosemary (photo courtesy Fig & Olive).

    Strawberry Lemonade
    [5] Toss berries and herbs into the pitcher (photo courtesy Cocina De Color Lila).

    Blackberry Lemonade

    [6] Summer’s fresh blackberries or huckleberries are another great lemonade pairing (photo courtesy Izakaya Den | Denver).

     

    Watermelon Lemon Cockatil

    [7] Citron vodka substitutes for most of the lemon juice—but we’re not complaining (photo courtesy Haru Sushi).

     

    RECIPE: WATERMELON LEMONADE COCKTAIL

    This recipe from Haru uses more citron vodka than lemon juice, but the combination of ingredients is a winner.

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 5 fresh watermelon cubes
  • 1½ oz. citron-infused vodka
  • ½ ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (also great in sparkling wines)
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce thyme-infused simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: thyme and lemon peel
  •  
    For The Thyme Simple Syrup

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MAKE the thyme simple syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the thyme sprigs. Let steep for 10 minutes; then cool to room temperature before using.

    2. MUDDLE the watermelon cubes in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients ice and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.

    e. POUR into an ice-filled glass. Garnish and serve.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Home Cocktail Tips From Professional Bartenders

    Drink Like A Bartender

    [1] Make better cocktails at home, and order better at bars. Get the book at Amazon.com.

    Bourbon Flip
    [2] A Bourbon Flip, made with the contents of Nana’s Fridge. Here’s a recipe from Epicurious.

    Hawthorne Strainer
    [3] Hawthorne strainer: You’ve seen it, now you know its name (available at Golden Age Bartending).

    Channel Knife

    [4] A channel knife makes peel and twist garnishes (available from Barconic).

     

    Our Tip Of The Day is from Thea Engst and Lauren Vigdor, authors of Drink Like A Bartender: Secrets From The Other Side Of The Bar. While there is much great information on how to order in a bar, here are their tips for home mixologists:

    Let’s just get this right out in the open: we love booze. We love creating new drinks and trying new flavors. Mixing a cocktail is an art form these days, so much so that it’s hard to imagine that cocktails were first invented as a way to mask the taste of low-quality liquor.

    Today we have the luxury of mixing bitters, fresh juices, and well-crafted liqueurs and spirits to make balanced beauties we can be proud of. We’ve come a long way from shutting our eyes and chugging moonshine for a buzz—our forefathers would be proud.

    STOCKING YOUR HOME BAR: EXPERIMENT!

    A few years ago, Thea visited her Nana’s house for Christmas. Like a lady, she arrived with nothing but a bottle of bourbon. Her Nana was downsizing and trying to clean out her fridge, so she told Thea to make whatever she wanted with whatever she could find. Thea accepted Nana’s challenge.

    She found, among other things, a bottle of crème de menthe, heavy cream, and a few eggs. Along with the bourbon brought from home, Thea mixed the heavy cream, an entire egg, and a touch of the crème de menthe (warning: it’s a potent taste!) to make minty bourbon flips for her family (photo #2).

    To be fair, they were all hesitant as they watched her throw an entire egg in the shaker, but they were happy with the result.

    What’s the moral of this story? Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you’ve got! Nana’s liquor cabinet was limited, but she had a few essentials: eggs and cream. You don’t need a citrus or fancy mixers to make a delicious drink.

    You too can be like Thea and Lauren. Here are some tools to keep on hand for when it’s your moment to impress your friends and family:

  • Boston Shaker (photo #6) Those tins you see us mixing drinks in.
  • Bar Spoon: Those long spoons you see us stirring with.
  • Jigger: Measuring device for fluid ounces. Again, choose the style you want—they come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Muddler: A muddler is a wooden (but sometimes metal) tool you’ll see behind the bar nowadays. It is used to help you crush ingredients (like mint leaves) to release the flavors.
  • Channel Knife (photo #4): Similar to a vegetable peeler, but this has a smaller blade to make a twist versus a peel, which is a larger swath of fruit peel.
  • > Twist: When you use a channel knife to peel a narrow spiral of fruit skin. A twist is actually twisted citrus peel, or, a long narrow rope of the peel only that is twisted into a corkscrew shape.
    > Peel or swath: A much wider piece of citrus peel than a twist. A swath is just the zest (or colored part) of the citrus peel with ideally no pith or meat of the fruit at all.
    > Wedge: A slice of the fruit that is often shaped like a wedge or half-moon. This does involve the meat of the fruit. You can squeeze further citrus into your drink if you’d like, as with the lime wedge on a Gin and Tonic, for example.

  • Strainer: Once you shake or stir the cocktail, if you don’t want to use dirty ice, you need to strain without your fingers, so invest in one or all of these:
  • > Hawthorne Strainer (photo #3): The strainer with the coils. It essentially looks like it has a slinky on it. This is a pretty universal strainer, so you can’t really go wrong with it.
    > Julep Strainer (photo #5) The strainer that looks like a big spoon with a small handle and big holes in it. It’s more commonly used for stirred cocktails, as there won’t be huge ice chunks to strain out of a stirred cocktail.
    > Tea Strainer: A cone-shaped mesh strainer very often used to double-strain egg white drinks or shaken drinks as well.

    Some people want to get the ice chunks out of a shaken drink and will use the Hawthorne strainer as well as the tea strainer. That’s about preference. This is a good tool to get mint bits out of a drink, too!

    Pro Tips:

  • If your cocktail has juice in it, you shake it. That’s the rule. Don’t think twice about it.
  • If it’s straight spirit, stir. That’s the rule. Don’t think twice about it.
  •  
    THE GOOD STUFF

    Just like Ocean’s Eleven, when it comes to drink making, you have key characters doing things that are apparently important. We got the explosive expert, the tech person, the driver, and the dude who gets everyone together and somehow gets all the credit.

    Your home bar components are just like this. You need to have:

  • Simple syrup: Don’t you dare buy this! You can make it at home in a few easy steps. It’s equal parts hot water and sugar, stirred until the sugar dissolves. So, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup hot water, stir and stir (photo #7). You can even add more sugar for a richer syrup. Just like sugar, simple doesn’t expire.
  • Sweet and/or dry vermouth: Thea’s Nana raised her to always be able to make her guests a Martini or Manhattan. Sweet vermouth goes in a Manhattan, dry vermouth in a Martini.
  • Campari: An amaro (herbal liqueur) with strong orange notes. Campari is good to have in your bar because you can make anything from a low-alcohol, stomach-calming highball (Campari & soda), or classics like a Negroni for your gin-drinking guests and a Boulevardier for your whiskey-drinking guests.
  • Citrus: lime and/or lemon. There’s not much that can top a daiquiri (photo #8) with fresh lime juice, and ifyou have lemon juice, gin, and soda water, you have a Tom Collins. Voilà!
  •  

    MECHANICS

    Let’s talk about the birds and the bees of bartending: shaking and stirring. You are building a cocktail—let’s say it’s a Daiquiri.

    The rum, simple syrup, and lime go in the little guy shaker (the smaller half of your shaker). Then you take a scoop of ice with the big boy shaker (the bigger half of your shaker), throw the ice into the little shaker, and lock the big shaker into the little shaker.

    Remember that you don’t want them to be directly up and down. The two sides won’t seal effectively that way. Make them crooked: The rim of the big half should be touching the side of the little half in one spot.

    Then smack the top with the heel of your hand until it locks. You are going to be throwing this bad boy around a little, after all. A poorly sealed shaker will split during the shaking process and that’s a good way to get yourself sticky.

    Now to unlock the shaker: hold the locked shakers in one hand so that your palm lines up with where the two halves meet. Take the heel of your other hand and hit the opposite side of the sealed shakers. It should unlock with one to three steady hits. Done!

    Shaken Or Stirred?

    When you shake a cocktail, you incorporate a lot of air and small chips of ice into the drink. The shaking motion whips the cocktail (think of stirring a cup of cream versus making whipped cream) and breaks the ice down by knocking it into the sides of the shaker.

    When you stir a cocktail, the ice spins around in the center of your mixing glass as one continuous piece. It slowly melts into the drink to dilute it slightly, which softens and expands the flavors, and very little air is added.

    Stirring cocktails is what gives your Martinis and Manhattans that silky smooth mouthfeel, whereas shaking is what makes your margarita so dang frothy. We’ll get more into when to shake and when to stir later.

    Dry Shake Or Wet Shake?

    A dry shake is when you put all your ingredients into the shaker and shake them without ice. A wet shake is the opposite— it’s when all your ingredients are shaken with ice.

    So when do you use a dry shake and when do you use a wet shake? We’re glad you asked!

    You should use a dry shake when you are making a drink that is served over crushed ice.

    Do you remember what we said about dilution earlier—how shaking with ice dilutes the drink ever so slightly? Using a dry shake here helps from diluting a drink further (pouring it over crushed ice dilutes it as well).

    When you’re still getting a feel for how long to dry shake, it’s super-helpful to add just one cube to the shaker. When you can’t hear the cube shaking around anymore, it’s time to add more ice.

    What about stirring?

    You don’t have to worry so much about over-stirring cocktails. Unlike shaking, the ice isn’t chipping and melting quickly in the process. Still, you don’t want to overstir. A good number of stirs to aim for is 40–50 turns.

    Pro Tip: Mixers

  • Don’t buy expensive bottled cocktail mixers that are full of chemicals and sugar. You know the ones we’re talking about. They come in plastic bottles and are sometimes created by chain restaurants.
  • Instead, take a stroll over to the frozen food aisle of your grocery store. It’s just as easy to throw some frozen fruit or a purée—maybe a can of coconut milk?—into a blender. Your cocktail will taste so much fresher than it would if you had used the bottled chemicals.
  •  
    Editor’s Note: There are more than a few artisan cocktail mixer lines that are 100% natural—no chemicals: Just read the ingredients label. There are even organic lines. All we’ve tried have been fresh-tasting and good enough to drink by themselves, as a mocktail.
     
     
    Thea and Lauren also sent us recipes for some must-try cocktails.

    Alas, we don’t have the room to print them today. You’ll just have to read the book!

     

    Julep Strainer
    [5] Julep strainer, available from Bar Products.

    Boston Shaker
    [6] Boston shaker available at Williams-Sonoma.

    Simple Syrup
    [7] Simple syrup is easy to make at home. Here’s the recipe from Liquor.com.

    Daiquiri Cocktail

    [8] A classic Daiquiri, invented by American engineers in Cuba. Here’s the scoop (photo courtesy Bacardi). Also: Yuzu Daiquiri recipe and Grapefruit Daiquiri, both delicious.

     

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Drink Your Peaches (Peach Sangria, Peacharita, Etc.)

    Peach Sangria Recipe
    [1] This weekend, how about a big pitcher of peach cooler? (Photo courtesy Sparkling Ice.)

    Peach Sangria Recipe
    [2] You can use any glass you like. Collins glasses are sturdier, but wine glasses are elegant (photo courtesy Carrabbas Italian Grill).

    Peacharita

    [3] A Peacharita, with a birds-eye chile garnish (photo courtesy Peninsula Hotel | New York).

     

    As you enjoy summer’s juicy fresh peaches—and peach cobbler, peach ice cream, peach pie, peach salsa and other peachy things to eat—don’t forget peachy things to drink.

    You can make a Peacharita—peach schnapps replacing the Cointreau in a Margarita (photo #3). Here’s the recipe.

    But don’t overlook peach sangria and peach coolers. Recipes follow.
     
    RECIPE #1: PEACH SANGRIA WITH SCHNAPPS (Photo #2)

    Ingredients For 6-8 Servings

  • 2 large fresh yellow peaches (about 1 pound), sliced
  • Other fruits of choice, e.g. orange slices, strawberries
  • 3/4 cup peach liqueur or peach schnapps (the difference)
  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 1 liter club soda, flavored club soda or ginger ale, chilled
  •  

    Preparation

    1. PLACE the peaches and other fruit in a pitcher, and add liqueur and wine. Stir. When ready to serve…

    2. POUR the sangria into glasses; make sure each glass has a nice amount of fruit. Top off with the carbonated beverage; stir gently as desired.
     
    RECIPE #2: PEACH SANGRIA WITH PEACH VODKA

    Prep time is 10 minutes, chilling time is 2+ hours. Adapted from All Recipes.

    Ingredients

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup peach flavored vodka
  • 6 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 pound white peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 3/4 cup seedless red grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • Ice cubes
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the first four ingredients in a large pitcher. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add the fruit.

    2. REFRIGERATE at least 2 hours or overnight, to allow the flavors to blend.

    3. SERVE over ice, and use a slotted spoon to include peaches and grapes with each serving.
     
     
    SANGRIA TIPS

    You are the master of your sangria.

  • If you want more pronounced flavor, add more of that ingredient.
  • If you want a less sweet drink, use unsweetened plain or flavored club soda next time.
  • Use prosecco for the wine. Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, is known for its peach flavors. You can substitute it for the still wine; or for the club soda, for a stronger drink.
  • Adjust the sweetness. If you add an ingredient with sugar, adjust the other sugar items so it won’t be too sweet. You can always add more sweetness, but you can’t take it away (without doubling the proportions, that is).
  •  

  • Ginger ale vs. club soda: Both will lose their carbonation in the pitcher, but ginger ale will leave the ginger flavor.
  • Substitute rosé for the white wine; use peach nectar instead of other ingredients like lemonade and soda, etc.
  • For a more sparkling sangria, fill each glass half full with sangria and top off with ginger ale or club soda.
  • Keep it peachy. This recipe from Bobby Flay has 1 bottle of wine, 3 ounces brandy, 2 ounces triple sec, 1 cup orange juice, 1 cup pineapple juice, 2 ounces simple syrup —but only 3 ounces of peach purée. It’s a delicious sangria, but not a particularly peachy one.
  • Use an optional herb garnish for color and the tiniest bit of flavor: basil, tarragon, thyme or rosemary.
  • The history of sangria.
  •  
     
    RECIPE #3: PEACH WINE COOLER (Photo #1)

    Thanks to Sparkling Ice—makers of zero-calorie sparkling water in 13 flavors—for this recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 1 peach, sliced
  • ½ orange, sliced
  • ¾ cup peach brandy
  • 1 bottle white wine, chilled
  • 4 cups Sparkling Ice Essence of Peach (calorie-free; substitute peach club soda or plain club soda with peach extract)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PLACE the peaches, oranges and brandy in a pitcher, and lightly muddle. Add the wine and the Peach Sparkling Ice and stir.

    2. SERVE over ice and garnish with a peach slice.

     
      

    Comments

    HOLIDAY: Tequila Trivia For National Tequila Day

    Caballito & Margarita Glass
    [1] The two special tequila glasses: caballito and Margarita (photo courtesy El Jimador).

    Watermelon Cocktail
    [2] A tequila-watermelon cocktail. The recipe is below (photo courtesy Milagro Tequila).
    Blue Agave Pinas

    [3] After harvesting, piñas are roasted in a stone oven (photo courtesy Casa Noble Tequila).

    Pulque

    [4] Pulque: what the Aztecs drank before the conquistadors taught them how to distill (photo courtesy Mexico News Network).

     

    July 24th is National Tequila Day. How about some tequila trivia?

    THE AGAVE PLANT

  • The Blue Weber agave plants used to make tequila are pollinated by bats. They flower only once.
  • While the agave plant looks like a cactus, it is a succulent in the lily family.
  • The leaves of agave are so sharp that they are used as cutting instruments.
  • A blue agave plant matures in 6-12 years and weighs 90 to 150 pounds. The piña itself (photo #3) weighs from 25 to 50 pounds.
  • The piña is the part of the plant used to make tequila, and gets its name because it looks like a pineapple (piña in Spanish). It grows underground. It looks like a pineapple, so is called a pia.
  • The person who harvests the piña is called a jimador (HEE-ma-dor), which derives from the verb gemir, to groan with effort.
  •  
    THE TEQUILA

  • The nectar of the piña is called pulque (PULL-kay, photo #4). The Aztecs fermented the sap from the leaves of the maguey agave. It was drunk by people of rank during religious ceremonies.
  • Pulque remained popular until the late 19th century. Its sales declined in favor of beer, which was brewed by European immigrants.
  • The conquistadors, who arrived in 1519, taught the Aztecs how to distill agave into a spirit, now known as tequila.
  • There are four legally authorized expressions (categories) of tequila: blanco, reposado, añejo and extra añejo. Laws dictate the minimum and maximum aging period for each. Here are details.
  • For marketing purposes, some premium producers have created “hybrid” tequilas with new names, e.g., barrel select reserve blanco; or have created extra-extra aged tequila marketed which may be called, e.g. 5 years aged tequila, or El Magnifico. These are names bestowed by the distillery, not by law.
  • The longer it ages, the more flavors it develops and the darker it gets. Blancos, which are clear, can be aged for a few weeks for complexity, but so briefly that they don’t take on color.
  • The worm in the bottle (which is the larva of a moth) is not placed into tequila bottles, but into some mezcal bottles. These are cheaper, “tourist souvenir” mezcals, not quality brands.
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    DRINKING TEQUILA

  • The taste of tequila comes partially from its aging time in white oak barrels, but also from the volcanic soil of the Jalisco region, which imparts a spicy, earthy quality.
  • The traditional way to drink tequila is from a tall, narrow shot glass called a caballito (photo #1), which means little horse. Another name for the glass is tequilito, little tequilashots.
  • When drinking shots, the wedge of lemon or lime provided is to refresh the palate between drinks.
  • FLore has it that tequila shots cause fewer hangovers than cocktails with sugar, but this isn’t so. The alcohol hangover is caused by the dehydration effect from the alcohol itself.
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    TEQUILA SALES

  • Tequila was first imported to the U.S. in 1873. It remained a niche product until Mexican restaurants began to open up outside of California and the Southwest, in the 1960s.
  • The United States is the largest tequila consuming market (yes, even more than Mexico).
  • Almost half of the tequila is drunk by women (which may owe thanks to regular and frozen Margaritas).
  • The Margarita is the number one cocktail in the U.S., per The Spirits Business.
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    OK, you’ve earned your drink. Happy National Tequila Day!

     
    RECIPE: TEQUILA-WATERMELON COCKTAIL

    If you are multiplying this recipe, consider pulsing the watermelon in a blender instead of muddling.

     
    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 2 ounces blanco/silver tequila
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • 4 one-inch cubes fresh watermelon or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • Garnish: 3 watermelon balls on a pick or notched cucumber slice on the rim
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    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE the watermelon and agave in a mixing glass. Add the remaining ingredients and shake with ice.

    2. STRAIN into a martini glass and garnish as desired.
     
     
    MORE: TEQUILA COCKTAIL RECIPES, HISTORY &: MORE

  • Añejo Tequila With Dessert
  • Award-Winning Tamarind Margarita
  • Bandera Shots
  • Beyond Salt: Different Margarita Rimmers
  • Bloody Maria Cocktail Recipe
  • Caramel Apple Pie & Cherry Pie Cocktail Recipes
  • Cranberry Tequila Cocktail Recipe
  • Cucumber Tequila Recipe
  • Deconstructed Margarita
  • El Vocho Tequila Shooters
  • Flavored Tequila
  • Margarita History
  • Mercadito Coctail
  • More Tequila Cocktails
  • Non-Cocktail Ways To Use Tequila
  • Original, Frozen & Other Margarita Recipes
  • Passionfruit Tequila Cocktail Recipe
  • Pink Tequila Cocktai Recipes
  • September 16th: The Real Mexican Independence Day
  • Smokin’ Maria Recipe
  • Spicy Pineapple Cocktail
  • Spicy Tequila Cocktail Recipes
  • Spicy Watermelon Margarita
  • Sweet & Hot Tequila Cocktail
  • Tequila 101: The Five Expressions (Types) Of Tequila
  • Tequila & Cheese Tasting
  • Tequila Christmas Cocktail
  • Tequila Cupcakes
  • Tequila Hot Chocolate
  • Tequila Lemonade Recipe
  • Tequila Expressions
  • Tequila History
  • Tequila With Maple Bacon Rim Recipe
  • Watermelon Tequila Fizz
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