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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,
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Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

VALENTINE GIFT: X.O. Cognac

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It’s a beauty—and it has a just-as-lovely gift
box. Photo courtesy Hennessy.

 

We sign our letters to friends with “X.O.,” short for a hug and a kisse.

The abbreviation for “hugs and kisses,” XOXO, has been used for centuries to express love or good friendship at the end of a written letter or card (and these days at the end of an email or text message). The X stands for kiss and the O for hug.

What is the history of this custom? Why not HKHK instead of XOXO? There’s more about that below.

First, we’d like to suggest a luxurious Valentine’s Day gift: X.O. Cognac, a divine aperitíf or nightcap.

This style of Cognac was created in 1870 by Maurice Hennessy, to be enjoyed with his circle of friends. The bold, intense and complex flavors are based on much longer aging. Some of the 100 eaux-de-vie* assembled to create X.O were aged for 30 years. M. Hennessy gave it the name X.O to signify “extra old.”

It’s a Cognac for connoisseurs, served neat, on ice or with a splash of still or sparkling water. Don’t even think of mixing it in a cocktail!

 
By the way, it was Maurice Hennessy, great-grandson of company founder Richard Hennessy, who created the Cognac classification system. He used varying numbers of stars to designate different quality, first producing Hennessy’s Three Star Cognac, today known as V.S (Very Special). His classification system was adopted by the entire industry.

When he was the Prince of Wales, King George IV of Great Britain asked Hennessy to create a “very superior old pale Cognac.” It was designated V.S.O.P—Very Superior Old Pale—and since then, a letter system evolved to replace the stars (see below).
 

LUXURIOUS VALENTINE GIFT IDEA

Deliver your hugs and kisses with a bottle of X.O. Cognac. In addition to Hennessy, it is made by a number of Cognac houses including Camus, Courvoisier, Martell, Rémy Martin and others. They bottles cost $150 and up.

While a bottle of Hennessy X.O., at the top of the price scale, can cost upwards of $200, we found it “on sale” at WineAnthology.com for $165.

If you’re not looking for a bargain, you can get a custom-engraved bottle directly from Hennessy. Your message is engraved on the back of the bottle, making it a lovely keepsake (see the photo below).

We also like to give an engraved bottle of X.O. Cognac as a wedding gift or anniversary gift.

 

COGNAC CLASSIFICATIONS

  • V.O.: Very Old, aged a minimum of four years.
  • V.S.: Very Special. The youngest brandy in the blend has been aged for at least two years in cask. Also called Three Star.
  • V.S.O.P.: Very Superior Old Pale; the youngest spirit in the blend is aged four years in cask but the average can be 10 to 15 years.
  • X.O.: Extra Old. The youngest brandy is aged for at least six years but the average is 20 years or more. In 2016, the minimum storage age of the youngest brandy used in an XO blend will be 10 years.
  • Extra/Napoleon/Vielle Reserve: While regulations designate a minimum of 6 years of age for the youngest brandy, this average is usually older than X.O.
  •  
    There are other age designations, but they are smaller productions and are not typically imported to the U.S.
     
    Other terms to know:

     

    valentine-engraved-bottle-230

    Engrave a personal message on your X.O. Gift Photo courtesy Hennessy.

  • Hors d’Age: Meaning “beyond age,” this is a rare Cognac that is off the designated age scale.
  • Varietal: Made using only one type of varietal grape
  • Vintage: Aged and was put into the bottle in the year of the vintage
     
    ABOUT X’s AND O’s

    The custom of placing X’s on envelopes and at the bottom of letters notes, signifying kisses, dates back to the Middle Ages. At that time, a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to indicate faith, honesty and sincerity. A kiss, indicated with an X, was then placed upon the cross by the signer as a display of his or her sworn oath.

    A similar practice dates back to early Christian history. Since most people could neither read nor write, an X was used as their signature on documents, and an actual kiss was placed upon it as a show of sincerity. [Source]

    What about the “O?” Current speculation is that it is of Jewish derivation, since Jews would not use the sign of the cross.

    In terms of how the two symbols came together in the very non-legal “hugs and kisses”: Alas, dear reader, the answer is lost to history.
     
    *Eau de vie (eaux is the plural), pronounced oh-duh-VEE, is French for “water of life.” It’s a clear, colorless fruit brandy. After the brandy is aged in wood, it takes on its amber color. Cognac is a region in northern France; only brandies produced there can be called “Cognac.” The artisanship and strict production regulations in Cognac creates a superior spirit. Generic “brandy” can be produced anywhere.

      

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    VALENTINE GIFT: Crème Yvette

    creme-yvette-2-230

    Crème Yvette violet liqueur, worth getting to know. Photo courtesy Cooper Spirits International.

     

    This old-fashioned-looking bottle with an unfamiliar name hasn’t been around in more than 40 years. Purple-hued and violet-scented, it was enjoyed since the 19th century in cocktails and as an after-dinner digestif.

    Alas, it was one of many old-fashioned liqueurs that went out of style and ceased to be produced; in this case, it went defunct in 1969. But it recently caught the fancy of the creator of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur (another favorite for Valentine’s Day or any day), who has resurrected it.

    Crème Yvette, also called Crème d’Yvette and Crème de Yvette, is made from parma violet petals*, blackberries, blackcurrants, red raspberries and wild strawberries, along with honey, orange peel and vanilla.

    Currently, it seems to be available in New York and California, but you can see if your local liquor store can order a bottle for you.

    There are cocktail recipes on the brand’s website, CremeYvette.com. We enjoyed mixing it with sparkling wine (we also layered St. Germain into one variation).

    And it’s delicious atop raspberry sorbet—an easy Valentine’s Day dessert.

    (By the way, exactly who Yvette was has been lost to history.)
     
    *The same exotic flower used to make those violet pastilles.

     

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate Burns Night Tonight

    When you sang “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, did you recall that it was first a poem from Robert Burns, the national poet of Scotland (1759-1796)?

    His birthday, January 25th, is celebrated in Scotland as Burns Night. Family and friends gather for an evening of good food and company—a warm and happy event much like our Thanksgiving. A traditional Burns’ Supper is served. Here’s the supper format, if you want to plan ahead for next year.

    But you can have a much smaller event tonight, as brief as enjoying a tumbler of Scotch and reading a poem. Burns’ complete works are available free online. Some suggestions: A Red, Red Rose (“My luve is like a red, red rose…”); To a Louse; To a Mouse; Tam O’Shanter.

    If you’d like to do something a bit more elaborate, call around and invite a group for a Scotch tasting (here’s how). Everyone can bring whatever brand they have at hand…along with any bagpipe music.

    Then, there’s a Scotch and chocolate tasting. While solid chocolate wasn’t invented in Burns’ lifetime, he was a bon vivant and we’re sure he’d approve.

    Here are more food ideas for Burns Night.

     

    scotch-cheese-wisconsincheesetalk-230

    Celebrate Burns Night with Scotch and a poem. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

     
    Heid doon arse up! (That’s Scottish for Get on with it!)

      

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    PRODUCT: Master Of Mixes Bloody Mary Mix

    bottles-trio-230

    Really good, and ready to party. Photo
    courtesy American Beverage Marketers.

     

    Master of Mixes, a brand from American Beverage Marketers, and award-winning Food Network chef Anthony Lamas, have launched “Chef Inspired” Bloody Mary Mixes. We received samples last year, but saved them for January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day.

    We’re sorry we didn’t enjoy them earlier. They’re excellent!

    Quality fresh ingredients, and “unique” (per the company) spices, deliver an abundance of flavor in three varieties:

  • Classic Bloody Mary Mix: Classic is a refreshing twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with strong, bold flavors that stand up to the vodka while allowing the tomato and sharp savory notes to shine through. The flavors of Roma tomato juice are accented with black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Loaded Bloody Mary Mix: This is how we like our Bloody Mary mix, with the boldness of horseradish and chile peppers. Chef Lamas adds the bright garden flavors of cucumber, celery and citrus. The mix is beautifully textured with chopped spices and diced vegetables, along with fresh horseradish, cracked black pepper, jalapenos, lemon and lime juices.
  • 5-Pepper Bloody Mary Mix: This seriously spicy blend will delight those who like it hot (but nicely so). The blend features ancho, chipotle, habanero, jalapeño and other chiles.
  •  

    Chef Lamas, proprietor of the Louisville-based Latino/Southern restaurant Seviche, had a “farm fresh” concept in mind: a more palatable, flavorful, bright Bloody Mary mix. He has succeeded!

    While one would think that the market didn’t need another Bloody Mary mix, truth be told, many of them are substandard. We typically mix our own—it’s pretty easy—but would happily use Master Of Mixes.

    In fact, they’re so natural and flavorful, they make an excellent Virgin Mary, a.k.a. tomato juice cocktail, straight from the bottle.

    About that bottle: It’s a pretty downscale design, given the high quality of the product inside. Don’t judge the book by its cover.

    The mixes are available at major retailers in all 50 states, well-priced at $3.99/liter and $6.99/1.75 liter. To learn more, visit BoldFlavorAdventure.com. You can purchase Master of Mixes products online at MasterOfMixes.com.

    American Beverage Marketers Inc., is a leading worldwide producer and marketer of cocktail mixes.

     

    master-of-mixes-bloody-mary-and-bottle-230

    Yes, please! Photo courtesy American Beverage Marketers.

     

      

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    FOOD HOLIDAY: National Bloody Mary Day

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    Thank bartender Fernand Petiot for today’s Bloody Mary. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day; 2015 marks the 81st anniversary of the drink, originally known as the Red Snapper Cocktail.

    In 1934, a seminal cocktail event took place at the King Cole Bar, an elegant watering hole in the storied St. Regis hotel in New York City. Bartender Fernand Petiot introduced the Red Snapper, a cocktail that would later be renamed the Bloody Mary.

    A simple cocktail called the Bloody Mary—gin and tomato juice—originated in the 1920s at a Parisian bar called The New Yorker. Petiot had served the drink at Harry’s Bar in Paris.

    After moving to the St. Regis, Petiot spiced up a tomato juice and vodka libation with celery salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon and Worcestershire sauce.

    RECIPE: THE ORIGINAL RED SNAPPER COCKTAIL FROM THE KING COLE BAR

    Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 dash lemon juice
  • 2 dashes celery salt
  • 2 dashes black pepper
  • 2 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ounce vodka
  •  

    The vodka-based drink became known as the Bloody Mary, and the gin-based equivalent became know as the Red Snapper. Over time, hot sauce replaced the cayenne pepper and a celery stick garnish appeared.

    And the name switched: The Red Snapper became a cocktail like the vodka-based Bloody Mary, but with gin instead.

    If you’re a Bloody Mary fan, try a Red Snapper instead and see what the more flavorful gin does for the drink, as opposed to the neutral flavor of vodka.

     

    MORE BLOODY MARY HISTORY

    The St. Regis Hotel was opened 1904, built by one of the wealthiest men in America, John Jacob Astor IV, as a companion to the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

    Eight years later, John Jacob Astor IV perished in the sinking of the RMS Titanic. His son Vincent Astor inherited the hotel.

    In 1932, the “Old King Cole” mural by Maxfield Parrish, which had been created for Astor’s defunct Knickerbocker Hotel, was moved to the St. Regis and made the centerpiece of a new bar, the King Cole Bar. In 1934, Vincent Astor recruited French bartender Fernand “Pete” Petiot, who had moved to New York from Paris-based Harry’s New York Bar in the 1920s, as the head bartender.

    At Harry’s, Petiot was famed for a tomato juice and vodka drink that was named the Bloody Mary, as the story goes, after a customer named Mary.

    When he brought the drink to New York, Petiot had to swap out the vodka, which was hard to come by in the U.S. (until the 1960s), for gin. Then, the Astor family deemed the name Bloody Mary too déclassé for their society clientele. So the Red Snapper was born.

     

    The Red Snapper-straight-230

    The Bloody Mary was originally called the Red Snapper. Photo courtesy St. Regis Hotel | NYC.

     

    In 1934, Prince Serge Obolensky, a well known man about town whose penchant for vodka was in keeping with his aristocratic Russian background, asked Petiot to make the vodka cocktail he had in Paris.

    According to FoodRepublic.com, Petiot spiced up the Parisian Bloody Mary—originally just vodka and tomato juice—with salt, pepper, lemon and Worcestershire Sauce. Since “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s elegant King Cole Bar, the drink was rechristened the “Red Snapper.” While the name may not have endured, the spicy drink most certainly has; over the years it has become the signature cocktail of the King Cole Bar. Sometime in the mid-1930s the name reverted to Bloody Mary—a better, spicy Mary, to be sure.

      

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    RECIPE: Tiramisu Cocktail

    The popular Italian dessert tiramisu is typically composed of layers of sponge or ladyfingers, soaked in espresso liqueur; then layered with a mascarpone cheese and custard mixture; then dusted with cocoa or shaved chocolate.

    Those jonesing for a rich and creamy tiramisu dessert can now quickly mix up an easy Tiramisu Cocktail, with this recipe from Frangelico hazelnut liqueur. It seems especially festive for New Year’s Eve.

    RECIPE: TIRAMISU COCKTAIL

    Ingredients

  • Frangelico
  • Vodka
  • Irish cream liqueur
  • Cold espresso or espresso liqueur
  • Ice
  • Garnish: grated chocolate*
  •  


    Drink your tiramisu. Photo courtesy Frangelico.

     

    Preparation

    1. Mix equal parts Frangelico, vodka and Irish cream liqueur in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    2. TOP with espresso and garnish with chocolate. Alternatively, before pouring the drink, set the chocolate shavings in a saucer to make a glass rimmer. Wet the rim 1/4 deep by dipping in a shallow bowl of water; then twist the glass in the shavings.

    3. SERVE. Be prepared for refill requests.

     
    Find more of our favorite cocktail recipes.
     
    *We grate a chocolate bar with a Microplane grater. You can use whatever grater you have.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Rainbow Shots

    Here’s a fun way to welcome the New Year. These Rainbow Shots were the winner of this year’s DeKuyper Bartender Challenge.

    The winning recipe was submitted by mixologist Carolyn Connelly of Noblesville, Indiana.

    Carolyn took inspiration from the Pousse-Café (pronounced POOSE-caff-fay), an after-dinner drink composed of several layers of different colored liqueurs that sit on top of each other in a clear glass. The name means “pushes coffee,” or coffee chaser, in French. The term first appeared in 1880. (If you’d rather make a Pousse-Café, here’s a video showing how.)

    Because different liqueurs (and other liquids) have different densities, they can be made to sit atop each other in discrete layers, when poured in order of the densest to lightest. The result is a fun drink that delights the eye, rather than a strategic layering of flavors.

    But instead of layering the different liquids in a single drinking glass, Carolyn made the drink in a mixing glass, and then poured the different colors out layer by layer (almost like a magic show). The densities of the liquids allow the different colors to pour out one at a time. Try it!

    RECIPE: DeKUYPER RAINBOW SHOTS

    Ingredients Per Set Of Shots

  • 1 part Blue Curaçao liqueur
  • 1-1/4 parts fruit-flavored vodka (Carolyn used Pinnacle Tropical Punch)
  • 5 parts fresh orange juice
  • 1 part grenadine syrup
  • 6 shot glasses
  • Mixing glass and ice
  •    

    DeKuyper_RainbowShots-leah-230

    These separate shots were made in one mixing glass. The colors form separate layers. Photo courtesy DeKuyper.

     

    Preparation

    1. POUR the grenadine syrup into a mixing glass over ice.

    2. ADD additional ice and layer in the orange juice by pouring it gently over a bar spoon into the mixing glass.

    3. LAYER in the in the vodka and add more ice.

    4. TOP with Blue Curaçao and pour into six shot glasses arranged in a single row.

     

    DeKuyper_RainbowShots_bottles_230

    The ingredients used to make Rainbow Shots. Photo courtesy DeKuyper.

     

    ABOUT DE KUYPER

    DeKuyper is the top-selling line of domestic cordials, with nearly 60 mixable and versatile flavors of cordials, liqueurs, crèmes, brandies and schnapps.

    Some DeKuyper flavors have inspired the creation of what are now famous cocktails. For example, in the mid-1980s DeKuyper Peachtree Schnapps inspired the creation of the Fuzzy Navel. In the mid-1990s, DeKuyper Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps inspired the creation of the Appletini.

    DeKuyper was founded in Holland in 1695 by Johannes DeKuyper & Son. Today the company is a subsidiary of Beam Suntory Inc.

    For recipes and more information on the DeKuyper Cordials and Liqueurs, visit DeKuyperUSA.com.

     

    CORDIALS, LIQUEURS, SCHNAPPS: THE DIFFERENCE

  • Cordial, in the U.S., refers to a sweet, syrupy, fruit-flavored alcoholic beverage. It is often used as a synonym for “liqueur.” In the U.K., however, cordial is a non-alcoholic, sweet, syrupy drink. An example: Rose’s Lime Cordial, which originated in the U.K., is called Rose’s Lime Juice in the U.S. because American consumers think of “cordial” as alcoholic.
  • Eau de vie is a French term for an unsweetened fruit brandy, similar to Schnapps. It has come to be used to mean an unsweetened liqueur as well, probably because of the similarity of taste and texture.
  • Liqueur is fruit steeped in an alcohol that has already been fermented and distilled.
  • Schnapps is a generic German term for all white (clear) brandies distilled from fermented fruits. True Schnapps has no sugar added. However, the major American commercial brands are all heavily sweetened to cater to American palates. [Source]
  •  
    Plus:

  • Cream liqueur is a liqueur that includes dairy cream. The high amount of alcohol enables the cream to be shelf stable (i.e., no refrigeration is required). An example is Baileys Irish Cream liqueur.
  • Crème liqueur does not have any dairy product, but has a creamy texture. Examples include crème de cacao (chocolate liqueur), crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), crème de menthe (mint liqueur) and crème de mûre (blackberry liqueur).
  •   

    Comments

    FOOD HOLIDAY: The History Of Sangria

    December 20th is National Sangria Day. The word derives from the Spanish word for bloodletting, and refers to the red wine that was used as a base for the punch.

    THE HISTORY OF SANGRIA

    Around 200 B.C.E., the conquering Romans arrived in Spain and planted vineyards. They soon discovered that red grape varietals produced the best wine in the local soils. While some was enjoyed locally, the majority of the wines were shipped to Rome.

    The locals created fruit punches from the wines, and called these drinks sangria after the color.

    While sangria was drunk in Spain for more than 1,000 years, it didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1964—at the Spanish Pavilion at the World’s Fair in New York. It was quickly adopted by Americans.

     
    HOW TO MAKE SANGRIA

    In Spain, sangria is typically made with Rioja or another local red wine. There are white wine versions, called sangria blanco (white sangria) and sparkling versions using cava, sparkling white wine.

       

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    This version adds Port to the red wine. Photo courtesy Sandemans.

     

     

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    While traditionally made with red wine, white
    wine sangrias are also popular. You can make
    them with sparkling wine, too. Photo courtesy U.S. Apple Association.

     

    The wine is typically blended with chopped fruit, fruit juices or other sweetener (honey, sugar, syrup, lemon-lime soda instead of the club soda), soda water and sometimes brandy. While some people feel that the cheapest wine will suffice because the flavor gets blended with these other ingredients, we recommend using a good quality wine. (Let “quality” refer to anything you’d be happy to drink straight from the glass.)

    Ideally, the sangria—without the soda water—should be allowed to chill overnight for the flavors to meld. The chilled soda water should be added right before serving.

    To serve, pour the sangria into a pitcher filled with ice cubes and garnish with more fresh fruit.

  • Traditional sangria pitchers have a pinched lip so that the fruit and other solids do not splash into the glass.
  • But if you’re going to purchase a pitcher, we particularly like a pitcher with a central well to hold the ice. This keeps the drink cold without diluting it.
  •  

    SANGRIA TRIVIA

  • Since January 2014, the use of the word “sangria” on bottle labels is restricted by the European Union. Only sangria made in Spain and Portugal can be sold under that name.
  • Sangaree, a fruit and wine punch from the West Indies, is the same drink. The name is an archaic English term for sangria.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cranberry Martini Taste-Off

    You can make a Cranberry Martini with cranberry liqueur, or you can use cranberry sauce to make a novelty version of the drink.

    We adapted this recipe from Cooking Channel mixologists Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark.

    Why not have a Cranberry Cocktail Challenge at your holiday celebration? Mix up a batch of Cranberry Sauce Cocktails and another of Cranberry Martinis (made with cranberry juice—recipe below) and let the guests choose their favorite.

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY SAUCE COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (without whole berries)
  • 2 ounces vodka (you can use gin or tequila if you prefer)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • Ice cubes
  • Garnish: sprig of fresh rosemary
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the cranberry sauce, vodka, lime juice and bitters in a shaker.

       

    cranberry-sauce-cocktail-ward-hardstark-230

    Turn leftover cranberry sauce into a cocktail. Photo courtesy Alie Ward | Georgia Hardstark.

     
    2. ADD the ice and shake very vigorously for 45 seconds. Strain into a chilled Martini or coupe glass.

    3. GARNISH with a sprig of rosemary.

     

    Cranberry-Martini-Penny Burt-IST-230

    A classic Cranberry Martini. Photo by Penny Burt | IST.

     

    RECIPE: CRANBERRY MARTINI

    At its simplest, the Cranberry Martini, a.k.a. Crantini, is a simple variation of a Cosmopolitan, which combines vodka, cranberry juice, triple sec and lime juice. The simplest Cranberry Martini recipe leaves out the last two ingredients. Whether you like a gin or vodka Martini, there are several ways to approach this cocktail.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 ounces vodka or gin
  • 1/2 to 1 ounce vermouth (optional)
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry liqueur or 2 ounces cranberry juice
  • Fresh, frozen or dried cranberries for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. POUR the first three ingredients into a cocktail shaker or mixing glass with 2 ice cubes. Shake for 10 seconds and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

    2. FLOAT 3 cranberries for garnish.

     
    RECIPE: CRANBERRY LIME MARTINI

    This citrusy variation showcases the flavor synergies between lime and gin.

    Ingredients Per Cocktail

  • 2 parts gin
  • 2 parts freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 parts cranberry juice
  • Lime wedge or wheel for garnish
  •  
    Preparation

    1. STIR the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.

    2. STRAIN into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
     
    Let us know which recipe wins at your house!

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Chanukah Cocktail

    Toast to Chanukah or winter. Photo courtesy
    SKYY Spirits.

     

    Spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah: The word for the Jewish Festival Of Lights was translitrated from the Hebrew alphabet. The name derives from the Hebrew verb for “to dedicate.”

    This year, Chanukah begins at sundown on December 16th and ends at sunset on Wednesday, December 24th.. The date is based on the Hebrew calendar months*, which are of different lengths than our Gregorian calendar months.

    Chanukah commemorates an event in the 2nd century B.C.E.: the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, that had been destroyed during Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of Syria.

    According to the Talmud, for the rededication, unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest was needed to light the menorah (candelabra) in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night.

    However, only one flask of oil was found, with enough to burn for just one day. Yet, the oil burned for eight days, and during that time a fresh supply of kosher oil was prepared to continue.

    Based on this miracle, an eight-day festival was declared by the Jewish sages.

     
    Traditional Chanukah foods are fried in honor of the miracle oil: doughnuts, loukoumades (deep-fried puffs dipped in honey or sugar) and latkes (potato pancakes).

    But there is no official Chanukah beverage. So this year, for fun and festivity, we’re publishing a Chanukah cocktail recipe—colored ice blue, a color of the flag of Israel (which is blue and white). The recipe is from SKYY Spirits.

    You don’t have to officially celebrate Chanukah in order to whip up a batch. Several years ago, we received the very same recipe called the Winter Chill.
     
    RECIPE: CHANUKAH COCKTAIL or WINTER CHILL COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1 ounce citrus vodka
  • 1 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • Ice
  • Optional rim garnish: blue or white sanding sugar (or a blend)
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the ingredients with ice in a shaker.

    2. SHAKE vigorously and strain into a Martini glass.

     

    WHAT IS CURAÇAO?

    Curaçao (pronounced KOO-ruh-sow) is an orange-flavored liqueur made from the dried peel of a citrus fruit called the laraha, which is grown on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. The laraha was bred from the sweet Valencia orange that was planted by Spanish explorers.

    The orange did not grow well in the nutrient-poor soil and arid climate of Curaçao. It yielded small fruits with bitter, inedible flesh. However, the peels maintained much of the sweet, aromatic essence of the Valencia.

    Orange peel has utility and economic value, so the Valencia trees were eventually bred into the laraha species.

    To make the liqueur, the dried peels are soaked in a still with alcohol and water, and spices are added. The liqueur is naturally colorless like triple sec, another orange liqueur.

    But Curaçao is often colored, typically blue, which creates vibrant-colored, exotic-looking cocktails. The coloring in Blue Curaçao does not alter the taste.

     

    blue-curacao-dekuyperUSA-230

    Blue Curaçao and the oranges from which it is made. Photo courtesy DeKuyper USA.

     
    *Chanukah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. More about the calendar.

      

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