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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

TIP OF THE DAY: Add Grilled Fruit To Your Cocktails

Cocktails With Grilled Fruit Garnish

Cocktails With Grilled Fruit Garnish

If a cocktail uses a fruit garnish, grill the fruit first (photos courtesy Kenyon International).

 

When your business is making grills, as it is at Kenyon grills, you’re always thinking of what to grill next.

From the company’s test kitchen, here’s a way to add a subtle smoky flavor to summer cocktails. Grill the fruit!

Here are two favorite cocktails, given the grilled fruit treatment.
For both recipes, prep time is 5 minutes; total time is 15 minutes.

RECIPE #1: PINA COLADA WITH GRILLED FRUIT GARNISH

A long-time favorite tastes even better with fresh, grilled pineapple and a squeeze of grilled lime.

July 10th is National Piña Colada Day. Here’s the history of the Piña Colada.

Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1 cup fresh, sliced pineapple rings, plus two whole rings for garnish
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 3 ounces white rum
  • 1 lime, sliced in halves or quarters
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • Optional garnish: maraschino cherries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high heat. Place the sliced pineapple and lime on the grill for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until golden.

    2. REMOVE the limes off the grill first. Set the grilled fruit aside on a plate. Allow the pineapple and lime to completely cool.

    3. ADD the grilled pineapple, cream of coconut, rum and ice to the blender. Squeeze in the juice from the grilled lime. Blend on high until smooth.

    4. POUR into tall glasses and garnish with a slice of grilled pineapple and an optional cherry.

     
    RECIPE #2: GRILLED STRAWBERRY MARGARITA

    Enhance a classic Margarita with the flavors of grilled strawberries and a squeeze of grilled lime. Here’s the history of the Margarita.

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and hulled
  • Granulated sugar
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 cup all-natural Margarita mix
  • 3 ounces tequila
  • Ice
  •  
    Plus

  • 2 skewers, pre-soaked
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the grill to medium-high heat.

    2. PLACE the strawberries on the skewers. Lightly coat with sugar and set aside.

    3. CUT the lime into 1/4-inch thick slices. Once the grill has preheated, place the strawberry skewers and limes on the grate and close the lid. Grill for approximately 3-4 minutes per side, removing the limes first. Set the fruit aside and let it cool; then remove the strawberries from the skewers.

    4. RIM the glasses with a piece of lime; then dip in either Tajin seasoning, salt, sugar or a mix of salt or sugar and cayenne or other chile powder.

    5. ADD the Margarita mix, tequila, ice and grilled strawberries. Blend until frothy. Pour into glasses and add a squeeze of grilled lime. Garnish with a grilled lime wheel.

    Now that you have the hang of it, consider “grilling up” your other favorite summer cocktails.
     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Chocolate Ice Cubes In Vanilla Milk Or Cocktails

    Today’s tip might be a natural for Valentine’s Day, but we like it even more for the cold drinks of summer.

    These chocolate ice cubes are the brainchild of the Parisian chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin.

    His Summer Chocolate Ice Cubes are simply a chocolate ice cream recipe that gets poured into ice cube trays instead of an ice cream churn. Why didn’t we think of this years ago?

    While M. Hévin’s recipe is for a family-friendly, gourmet chocolate milk drink, you can also use the chocolate ice cubes in cocktails or with liqueurs.

    They keep your drinks cold, as they add chocolate flavor by slowly melting. Use them:

  • In regular drinks: Iced coffee, an egg cream, an ice cream soda, or a simple glass of…regular or chocolate milk.
  • In cocktails: Black Russian/White Russian, Chocolate Martini, Coffee Martini, Grasshopper, etc.
  • With liqueurs: Add to a rocks glass of chocolate, coffee or Irish cream liqueur.
  •  
    RECIPE: CHOCOLATE ICE CUBES & VANILLA MILK

    The recipe makes enough for one ice cube tray: cubes for 6 rocks glasses or 4 highball glasses. While it goes without saying, we’ll say it: Make the ice cubes 6 hours before you plan to use them, or the night before.

    The vanilla milk also needs to chill for several hours. You can make the entire recipe the night before.

    You can also enhance the flavor with chocolate-friendly seasonings: cayenne pepper, cinnamon, instant coffee, nutmeg, etc.

  • Add a teaspoon of spice to the ice cream mix.
  • Mix the spice with coarse/decorating/sanding/sparkling sugar for a sugar rim.
  •  
    Hévin’s recipe starts with his homemade ice cream, which is poured into ice cube trays instead of churned into ice cream.

    We used Lactaid milk so that all of our crowd, including the lactose sensitive, could have them. Lactose-free milk is virtually like regular milk, but the lactose (milk sugar) that is hard for some people to digest has been de-activated. All the Lactaid products (cottage cheese, ice cream, holiday egg nog) are delish!
     
    Ingredients For The Chocolate Ice Cream

  • 6.8 ounces/200ml milk
  • 3.5 tablespoons/50ml water
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Optional: 1 cup of instant coffee (prepared, not granules)
  • 70g of 66% cacao dark chocolate
  •  
    For The Vanilla Milk

  • 2.5 cups/600ml whole milk
  • 1/4 cup/60g sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  •  
    Optional

  • Liqueur of choice
  • Straws for tall glasses
  • Sugar, spiced sugar or cocoa mix rim (use sparkling sugar/decorating sugar
  • Whipped cream
  •  
    Preparation

    1. CHOP the chocolate finely and place it in a heat-resistant bowl.

    2. COMBINE the milk and water in a saucepan. Add the sugar, cocoa and coffee and mix thoroughly to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Then…

     

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Chocolate Ice Cubes

    Milk With Cocoa Rim

    A tall glass with chocolate ice cubes, and [2] wioth the vanilla milk added (photo courtesy Nordljus). [3] How about a Black or White Russian in this rocks glass (photo courtesy Ellen Fork). [4] Who won’t drink milk with chocolate ice cubes and a cocoa powder rim (photo courtesy Oxmoor House)?

     
    3. REMOVE from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let it melt for 5 minutes; then gently mix with a wooden spoon until it is smooth and creamy. Allow to cool, pour into an ice cube tray and freeze.

    4. MAKE the vanilla milk. Pour the milk into a large saucepan, add the sugar and mix to dissolve.

    5. SCRAPE the vanilla bean and add the beans and pod to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and remove from heat. Allow to cool; then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

    6. TO SERVE: Place the chocolate ice cubes in the glasses (depending on the size of the glasses 3 to 4 ice cubes) then pour over the milk to the cold vanilla.
     
     
    This recipe by Jean-Paul Hévin appeared in the Elle à Table and appeared on Nordljus.com. We can across it on Sandra Kavital | Blogspot. Thanks also to Keiko of Nordljus.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Frosé, Frozen Rosé Wine For Cocktails Or Dessert

    Frose Granita

    Frose Dessert With Ice Cream

    [1] Frosé granita. [2] Frosé with ice cream (both photos courtesy Kim Crawford).

      Call it a cocktail or call it dessert: We have long enjoyed a frozen rosé cocktail by scooping some sherbet in a glass and topping it off with sparkling wine or still or sparkling rosé.

    A couple of years ago, some rosé marketer came up with a new term: frosé! Some winemakers even named bottles of sweet-style rose, frosé.

    Here are two frosé recipes courtesy of Kim Crawford Wines from New Zealand. He sent these for National Rosé Day, June 10th.

    (Mr. Crawford must have a sweet tooth: A few years ago, he proposed rosé ice pops. Just add the wine to ice pop molds, with optional berries.)

    For a cocktail, use a drier-style rosé. For dessert, top sorbet or ice cream with a sweeter rosé: a zinfandel rosé from California, or anything labeled frosé (a relatively new term taking advantage of the trend). Or ask the clerk for guidance.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: FROSÉ GRANITA

    This recipe is a rosé granita, a word that means granular in Italian (granité/granitée is the French word, meaning granite-like).

    Granita is a rustic version of sorbet, made without an ice cream machine. The ingredients are frozen in a pan. As the crystals on the top freeze, they are scraped into a grainy, coarse cousin of sorbet.

    Granita, made from sugar, water and flavorings, originated in Sicily. The preferred texture and flavor varies from town to town, where residents variously preferred (and still do) almond, black mulberry, chocolate, coffee, jasmine, lemon, mandarin orange, mint, pistachio and strawberry flavors.

    But the concept of water ices goes back to China in the fourth century B.C.E. The recipe, as it were, arrived in Persia via traders.

    Persians enjoyed what we might now call snow cones: snow flavored with syrups. Called sharbat (the origin of sherbet and sorbetto), it was made at least from the middle of the third century B.C.E.

    Alexander The Great brought the concept back to Greece after he conquered Persia in 330 B.C.E. Gelato, the first type of ice cream, took a while. It is believed to date to Florence, Italy in the late 16th century.

    Here’s the history of ice cream. And now, back to the frosé, in photo #1.

     
    Ingredients For 5 Servings

  • 1 bottle Kim Crawford Frosé or substitute
  • Garnish: lemon twists or berries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the wine into ice cube trays, a baking pan, or what-have-you and pop it into the freezer. As ice crystals begin to form, scrape them to the front of the pan until frozen solid. You can do this in advance. To serve…

    2. USE a hand blender or food processor to process the frozen wine until smooth. Serve directly or freeze again for up to 1 week, covered. Garnish and serve with a spoon and/or straw.

    Note: We weren’t at home so couldn’t occasionally stir and scrape. So we simply froze the rosé as ice cubes. We then placed the frozen cubes into the blender. The result was a crunchy granita. If we had continued to blend, we might have ended up with something finer, but we liked the crunchiness!
     
     
    RECIPE #2: DRINKABLE FROSÉ SUNDAE

    Ingredients For 5 Servings

  • 1 bottle Kim Crawford Frosé or substitute, well chilled
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar*
  • Club soda
  • 1 carton vanilla ice cream
  • Garnish: edible flowers or more berries
  • ________________

    *Use less sugar or omit it entirely if the strawberries are very ripe.
     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the strawberries and sugar in a bowl, cover and let sit for 30 to 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    2. DIVIDE the strawberries and any juices among 5 rocks glasses. Add the wine and a splash of club soda. Top with a scoop of ice cream and garnish (photo #2).

     
     
    CHECK OUT THE OTHER TYPES OF FROZEN DESSERTS.

     
      

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    PRODUCTS: Favorite Gifts For Father’s Day

    Are you old enough to remember when a Father’s Day gift meant a new tie? Today, how many dads even wear a tie most days?

    Here are five items that most dads would much rather have.

    CASA NOBLE TEQUILA

    We discovered our favorite tequila last fall, when we had the privilege of tasting every expression. You can see our review, but the bottom line is: This tequila is so fine that even the blanco (silver) can be sipped straight.

    There are the five standard expressions: Blanco, Joven, Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo.

    There are also rare, older expressions like Casa Noble’s Alta Belleza: Only 563 bottles were made for the world market, at $1,200 per bottle.

    But you can treat a tequila-loving dad to a bottle of this great tequila starting at less than $40 for the blanco.

    Our review includes a cheese pairing for the different expressions.

    Here’s the Casa Noble website.
     
     
    MAGNUM HIGHLAND CREAM LIQUEUR

    We’ve been fans of Irish cream liqueur since Bailey’s was first imported to the U.S. Now, Scotch drinkers have t heir own cream liqueur: Magnum Highland Cream Liqueur. A blending fine Speyside Scotch malt whisky with rich cream from Holland (the ancestral home of Holstein black and white dairy cows), we highly recommend it for gifting as well as personal imbibing.

    It’s 34 proof (17% alcohol by volume), with an SRP of $27.99 per 750ml bottle. If you can’t find it locally, CraftSpiritsExchange.com will ship it nationally.

    Try it in an adult milkshake, or make an egg cream with Magnum, chocolate liqueur and soda water.
     
     
    THE MOZZARELLA COMPANY: PECAN MASCARPONE TORTA

    Mascarpone is a rich, creamy cheese made by heating heavy cream and then curdling it with an vinegar instead of rennet. It’s a first cousin to clotted cream. The Mozzarella Company makes four mascarpone torta, the newest of which is flavored with crushed pecan pralines.

    It is a wonderful dessert served with ginger snaps and strawberries; or stuffed into dates or dried apricots. The torta can dessert for two people; maybe four if you’ll settle for a small wedge.

    Other flavors, for appetizers or the salad course, are ancho chile, basil and tomato basil. The tortas are $12.95 each from the Mozzarella Company.

    Mascarpone is the fresh cheese used in tiramisu. Here’s more about mascarpone.

       

    Casa Noble Tequila Blanco

    Magnum Cream Liqueur

    Pecan Praline Torta, Mozzarella Company

    [1] Casa Noble Tequila. [2] Magnum Highland Cream Liqueur. [3] Mozzarella Company’s Pecan Praline Torta (photos courtesy of their respective brands).

     

    Sansaire Sous Vide Machine

    Scrappy's Artisan Bitters

    [4] The Sansaire sous vide machine cooks in your own pot. [5] Scrappy’s artisan bitters for cocktails and mocktails (photos courtesy their respective brands).

     

    SANSAIRE SOUS VIDE

    You don’t have to be a gourmet cook to love sous vide cooking, an easy way to prepare everyday recipes as well as fancy ones. The sous vide technique was developed in France to easily cook fine meals on trains, many portions at a time. Sous vide guarantees, for example, that a steak or piece of fish will turn out exactly as the client wishes. The quality of the food it produced attracted fine French chefs and caterers.

    Sous vide machines quickly appeared in some of the world’s best restaurants. And now, you can have one at home.

    The benefit of Sansaire is that it cooks food in the pots you already have; it’s not a bulky countertop machine. Its in the $168 range. Here’s more information.
     
     
    SCRAPPY’S: COCKTAIL BITTERS SET

    Bitters can add interest to simple drinks like a vodka tonic or balance the sour and sweet flavors of sours and fizzes.

    They’re essential ingredients in cocktails such as the Manhattan, Negroni, Rob Roy, Rum Sizzle, Sazerac and Singapore Sling. But modern mixologists have been using new varieties of artisan cocktails to create new flavors in their drinks.

    Bitters are non-alcoholic essences extracted from aromatic barks, flowers, fruits, herbs and root. For most of their existence, they have been made for botanicals known for their medicinal properties (that long before alcohol was a leisure drink, it was used as medicine).

    With the boom in artisan bitters over the last 20 years, they are now being made in flavors that have no root in homeopathy, but give great flavor accents to cocktails:

    Aztec chocolate, black walnut, blood orange, cardamom, celery, cherry, chocolate, cranberry, cucumber, fig and cinnamon, grapefruit, habanero, lavender, lemon, mint, peach, rhubarb and others.

     
    Whether you’re making a dry Martini or a Cosmopolitan, a splash of bitters provides a note of sophistication.

    For mocktails, add them to club soda.

    And try the latest use for bitters: add them to coffee, hot and iced.

    The eight-flavor set shown, from Scrappy’s Bitters, is $38.99 for eight flavors.

    For a set of 12 flavors from Fee Brothers is $99.90.

    Individual bottles can be purchased in the $8-$13 range.

      

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    RECIPE: Pinot Grigio Spritzer

    What do you do to make a bottle of an already-popular Pinot Grigio leap on the shelf (figuratively speaking)?

    You hire a top fashion designer to create an alluring, limited-edition bottle design.

    One of our favorite designers, Christian Siriano, has created Ecco Domani’s third annual designer label for summer, inspired by the glamour of 1960s Palm Springs.

    Covered in fanciful palm leaves in chartreuse and fuchsia, it’s a summer celebration in a bottle.

    The Christian Siriano Ecco Domani bottle is now available nationwide, with a suggested retail price of $10.99.

    When we went to the debut of the bottle design, we were treated to a wine cocktail—a winetail—so delicious that we had two!

    We already had the cocktail ingredients at home; but don’t hesitate to buy the Cappelletti and orange bitters to make it.

    We almost guarantee that you’ll race through the ingredients in short order. It’s our signature summer cocktail for sure—even though the signature is Ecco Domani.

    RECIPE: ECCO DOMANI’S PALM SPRINGS SPRITZ

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 3 ounces Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio
  • 1 ounce Cappelletti Aperitivo (see below; substitute Campari or Luxardo)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • Sparkling water/club soda (the difference)
  • Optional garnish: dendrobium orchid or notched strawberry for the rim
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE both wines and the bitters in a standard red wine glass; stir to combine.

    2. TOP off with sparkling water. Garnish as desired and serve.

     

    Ecco Domani Christian Siriani Cocktail

    Aperitivo Cappelletti

    [1] The Palm Beach Spritz cocktail with the limited edition Christian Siriano bottle (photo courtesy Ecco Domani). [2] Cappelletti Aperitivo, a noteworthy aperitif wine. Here’s the cocktail recipe for the Ginger Specialino from Nugget Markets.

     
    WHAT’S CAPPELLETTI?

    It’s the name of a shape of pasta that resembles little sailor hats; but it’s also the name of an apéritif wine: Cappelletti Aperitivo Americano Rosso.

    Produced in the Alto-Adige region of Italy by the fourth generation of the Cappelletti family, Aperitivo Cappelletti is a deep red apéritif wine.

    It can be sipped on its own over ice, mixed with club soda for a spritzer, or mixed into cocktails. Use it for a less-sweet Negroni.

    Made from mostly trebbiano grapes, the nose is round and very full, captivating with just a hint of bitterness and herbs. The texture on the palate is generous, providing a slight bitterness from notes of citrus peel.

    It has a hint of bitterness (from citrus peel), gentle herbality and a slight sweetness—which is why we like it more than the better-known, sweeter Campari.

    Unlike Campari, Cappelletti is a wine-based apéritif, instead of grain-based (distilled alcohol). This gives makes it more complex, with a richer, fuller flavor profile.

  • Instead of a cocktail before dinner, try an apéritif. Combine 2 ounces of Cappelletti and 3 ounces of soda over ice, and garnish with an orange twist, wedge or wheel.
  • For a sparkling apéritif, combine 3 ounces of prosecco with a 1/2 ounce of Cappelletti over ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with the orange twist, wedge or wheel.
  •  
    WHAT’S AN APÉRITIF WINE?

    An apéritif is an alcoholic drink taken before a meal.

    Long before the cocktail was invented (in the mid-19th century), people of means enjoyed an apéritif before dinner.

    Spirits were not desired, because high alcohol dulls our taste buds. An apéritif wine, on the other hand, was designed to stimulate the appetite in anticipation of dinner.

    An aperitif should be very dry (low in sugar), since sugar also dulls the appetite for the dinner to come.

    Apéritif (French) or aperitivo (Italian) derives from the medieval Latin aperitivus, from the Latin verb aperire to open.

      

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