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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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

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

Archive for Cocktails & Spirits

RECIPE: Cranberry Orange Margarita For Thanksgiving & Christmas

If you crowd prefers Margaritas to other cocktails, that’s no surprise—the Margarita has been America’s favorite cocktail for some time (source: The Beverage Information Group).

For the holiday season, Sauza Tequila tweaked the recipe to create a holiday version: Cranberry Orange Margarita. Since Margaritas already include orange liqueur, they substituted cranberry juice for the lime juice and voilà!

Sauza made the recipe with Sauza Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila. You can use any silver (also called blanco [white] or plata [which means silver]) tequila. For reference, here are the different types of tequila).

RECIPE: CRANBERRY ORANGE MARGARITA

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1½ parts silver tequila
  • ½ part Cointreau, triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 large oranges
  • ½ cup cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  •  

    Cranberry Orange Margarita-sauza-230

    A Margarita for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Photo courtesy Sauza Tequila.

     

    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the garnishes: Freeze the cranberries. Using a channel knife (you can buy a combination channel knife and zester), cut a long spiral from one orange (try to do it in a single strip, all around the orange). Cut the peel strips into strips that are 6 inches long. Twist the peels around a bar spoon (or other slender spoon) and reserve for later.

    2. ZEST the other orange with a zester or spice grater to remove just the peel (none of the pith) and combine with sugar.

    3. CUT the zested orange into wedges. Rub a wedge of orange around the rim of the glass. Roll the glass through the sugared orange zest.

    4. COMBINE the rest of the sugar and orange zest mixture in a shaker with the cranberry juice, orange juice, tequila and orange liqueur. Twist the orange peel over the drink and place in the prepared glass. Top with the frozen cranberries and serve.
     
    MORE ON MARGARITAS

    Check out the history of the Margarita and more Margarita recipes.

    Find more tequila cocktail recipes at SauzaTequila.com.

      

    Comments

    GIFT: Patrón XO Cafe Incendio, Spicy Chocolate Liqueur

    patron-xo-cafe-incendio-230

    Deep chocolate, glowing heat. Photo courtesy Patrón Tequila.

     

    Like chocolate? Like chile heat? Have we got a drink for you!

    Following up on the success of their coffee liqueur, Patrón XO Cafe, Patrón Tequila has launched a chocolate version: Patrón XO Cafe Incendio.

    The name is a bit confusing. While there may be coffee (cafe) in the recipe, the drink presents as chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.

    With a base of Patrón’s silver tequila, the deeply chocolatey liqueur uses premium quality criollo chocolate, blended with “Aztec spices”—so called because the Aztecs (and the Mayas before them) flavored their chocolate drink* with the heat of arbol chiles, plus vanilla, cinnamon, musk and cornmeal—no sweetener.

    Incendio, fiery, is the right word: This velvety liqueur with a luscious aroma is at once deeply chocolate and sizzling hot.

    After you buy a bottle for yourself, get some as gifts. You will be amado, beloved.

    In addition to sipping, enjoy it:

  • In cocktails
  • In dessert recipes
  • Over ice cream
  • In hot chocolate
  • In coffee
  • In chocolate milkshakes
  •  

    The suggested retail price for Patrón XO Cafe Incendio is $24.99.
     
    *For thousands of years before the chocolate bar was invented, chocolate was consumed as a beverage. Here’s the scoop.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Cider Cocktails

    Cider cocktails: We don’t get enough of them. It’s our own fault, since we habitually order one of our three favorite cocktails instead of going for the seasonal specialty.

    Eating seasonally means drinking seasonally, too. So from now through the end of holiday season, we’re going to enjoy cocktails with fall and winter ingredients, returning on January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day, to our usual drink of choice.

    Thanks to ONEHOPE Wine for these two sparkling cocktails, made with regular cider and their sparkling wine (you can use any sparkler).
     
    RECIPE: PEAR & SPARKLING CIDER COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 8 Cocktails

  • Rim: 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cinnamon, combinedd
  • 2 cups chilled pear nectar
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 2 cups sparkling wine
  • 4 ounces Bourbon
  • Garnish: 1 pear, unpeeled and cored cut into thin slices
    lengthwise
  •    

    Pear and Sparkling Cider-svedka-230

    Pear nectar, apple cider and sparkling wine unite in a seasonal sparkler. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    Preparation

    1. RIM flutes with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

    2. COMBINE pear nectar, apple cider, sparkling wine and Bourbon in a pitcher. Serve immediately, garnished with sliced pear.

     

    Apple Cider Mimosa-svedka-230

    We’re not sure why it’s called a Mimosa (Champagne and orange juice). Think of it as
    a Mimosa for Scotch lovers. Photo courtesy Svedka Vodka.

     

    RECIPE: APPLE CIDER MIMOSA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 ounce Scotch
  • 2 ounces fresh apple cider
  • 4 ounces sparkling wine
  • Garnish: apple slices
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE brown sugar, Scotch and apple cider in a flute.

    2. TOP with sparkling wine and garnish with fresh apple slices.
     

    ABOUT ONEHOPE

    ONEHOPE is a social enterprise that integrates causes into products and services to make a social impact. ONEHOPE Wine, produced in California in partnership with Rob Mondavi, Jr., donates half of its profits to partner causes. Learn more at OneHopeWine.com.

     

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Peanut Butter Banana Dessert Cocktail

    peanut-butter-banana-bluechairbayrum-230

    Peanut butter and banana dessert cocktail. Photo courtesy Blue Chair Bay Rum.

     

    Elvis Presley’s favorite food was a pan-fried sandwich of peanut butter and sliced banana (recipe). To be seriously indulgent, he might have enjoyed washing them down with this peanut butter and banana cocktail, a kind of adult milkshake.

    We hadn’t seen a peanut butter cocktail of any type until the folks at Blue Chair Bay Rum sent us this delicious dessert cocktail recipe, for National Peanut Month (November). It’s made with their made with their banana rum and coconut rum.

    If you can find peanut butter ice cream, feel free to use it instead of the vanilla ice cream for a peanuttier drink.

    RECIPE: PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA COCKTAIL

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

  • 1-1/2 oz. Blue Chair Bay Banana Rum
  • 1 ounce Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream
  • 1 teaspoon peanut butter
  • Garnishes: whipped cream and cherry or chopped honey roasted peanuts
  • Optional: peanut butter cookies
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a blender and process. Pour into a tall glass.

    2. GARNISH and serve—perhaps with a side of peanut butter cookies.

     
      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Trick Or Treat Scotch Sour

    trick-or-treat-scotch-sour-laphroaig-230

    A treat for the candy-hander-outers. Photo
    courtesy Laphroaig.

     

    If you need something spirited to get through an evening of handing out candy, how about a special Scotch Sour? This recipe, from Laphroaig (our personal favorite Scotch—we love that peat!)

    “Sour” refers to lemon juice, which is added to the whisky with sugar to create the drink.

    RECIPE: LAPHROAIG TRICK OR TREAT COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

    • Ice cubes
    • 1-1/2 parts Laphroaig 10-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky, or other Scotch of choice
    • 3 parts apple cider (hard or non-alcoholic—see below)
    • 1 part fresh lemon sour (see below)
    • Garnish: lemon wedge
     

    Preparation

    1. BUILD the drink over ice in a collins glass, in order of the list above. Stir.

    2. GARNISH with a lemon wedge and enjoy.

     

    WHAT IS LEMON SOUR?

    Also called bar mix or sweet and sour mix, lemon sour is lemon-infused simple syrup. Instead of buying a commercial mix made with lemon juice concentrate, you can make it from scratch with fresh lemon juice; it keeps in the fridge for two weeks.

    Recipe: Lemon Sour Mix

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (or half lemon, half lime juice)
    • 2 tablespoons lime or lemon zest

     
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the water, sugar and zest in a saucepan; heat on low, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved.

     

    sweet-and-sour-bar-mix-sheknows-230

    Homemade sour mix. Photo courtesy SheKnows.com.

     
    2. REMOVE from the heat and add the fresh lemon/lime juice. Strain the mixture into a 32-ounce bottle (a clean wine bottle, 750 ml [25 ounces], will do).

    3. CHILL for at least an hour before using.
     
    APPLE CIDER VERSUS APPLE JUICE: THE DIFFERENCE

    Since Prohibition, which began in the U.S. in 1920, “cider” has referred to the unfermented, unpasteurized apple juice, with “hard cider” used to indicate the alcoholic beverage. In the U.K. it is the opposite, with “cider” indicating the alcoholic drink for which special cider apples are used.

    • Hard cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from the unfiltered juice of apples. The alcohol content varies from a low 1.2% ABV* to 8.5% or higher—some imported ciders can be up to 12% ABV, an average level for table wines.
    • Fresh apple cider is raw apple juice, typically unfiltered. Thus, it is cloudy from the remnants of apple pulp. It is also typically more flavorful than apple juice—although of course, the particular blend of apples used in either has a big impact on the taste.
    • Apple juice has been filtered to remove pulp solids, then pasteurized for longer shelf life.

     

    WHISKEY VS. WHISKY

    The use of the e, or not, is an Irish vs. Scots spelling choice. Some scholars claim that the Irish were the true innovators of whiskey and that they introduced it to the Scots; others claim the reverse.

    Scholars can’t determine why the “e” was dropped by the Scots. One theory is that the Irish made whiskey first and pronounced it with a broad “e.” When the Scots began to make it, they dropped the “e” to differentiate their product.

    In Ireland and the U.S., the word whiskey is spelled with an “e,” while the British, Scots and Canadians usually opt to drop it.

    At THE NIBBLE, we prefer adding the “e” for visual elegance. Here’s more on the history of whiskey.

     
    *ABV is alcohol by volume. It is doubled to get the proof. For example, a 40% ABV spirit is 80 proof.

      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Pumpkin Cider

    pumpkin-cider-hkaminsky-230

    Pumpkin cider, with or without rum. Photo ©
    Hannah Kaminsky | Bittersweet Blog.

     

    People speak of comfort foods; this is a comfort drink. Thick, flavorful, fragrant pumpkin cider made with pumpkin purée is a seasonal treat that can be served to kids or turned into a cocktail with spiced rum.

    RECIPE: SPICED PUMPKIN CIDER

    Ingredients For 2 Drinks

  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix, which is seasoned)
  • 2-1/2 cups apple cider
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1/3 cup spiced rum (or substitute more apple cider)
  • Garnish: whipped cream, fresh-ground nutmeg
  •  

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the pumpkin, cider, spice and cinnamon stick in a medium-large pot. Bring the mixture to a boil; then simmer for 20 minutes. If you’d prefer a thinner drink, add more cider to achieve desired consistency.

    2. REMOVE the cinnamon stick; strain the mixture to remove any clumps. Add the rum stir. Garnish with optional whipped cream or nutmeg. Serve warm.

      

    Comments

    HALLOWEEN: Cinnamon Vodka Punch

    cinnamon-punch-belvedere-230sq

    Cinnamon evokes fall and Halloween. Photo
    courtesy Belvedere Vodka.

     

    If you’re looking to fill the punch bowl on Halloween, here’s a recipe from Belvedere Vodka. You can make the cinnamon simple syrup in advance.

    RECIPE: CINNAMON VODKA PUNCH

    Ingredients

  • 7 ounces vodka
  • 3 ounces cinnamon simple syrup
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 5.5 ounces pink grapefruit juice
  • 16 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1 ounces lemon juice
  • Garnish: slices of orange (ideally, blood orange) and
    pink grapefruit
  • Ice cubes or block of ice*
  •  
    *The larger the pieces of ice, the slower they will melt and dilute the punch. Instead of ice cubes, you can freeze a block of ice in a small cake pan or other container. We use a star-shaped gelatin mold.
     

    Preparation

    1. ADD punch ingredients except garnishes to a punch bowl. Stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    2. ADD ice and garnishes when ready to serve.
     
    RECIPE: CINNAMON SIMPLE SYRUP

    Ingredients

  • 16 ounces water
  • 16 ounces white sugar
  • 5 cinnamon sticks
  •  
    Preparation

    1. SIMMER the ingredients for approximately 30 minutes. Strain through a sieve and funnel into a glass bottle.

    2. REFRIGERATE until ready to use.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Halloween Cocktail Party

    Toast All Hallow’s Eve with a Vampire Elixir. Photo courtesy Belvedere Vodka.

    There’s still time to invite friends to a Halloween cocktail party—costumes optional. Create your cocktail menu from these cocktail recipes:

  • Bloody Eyeball Martini
  • Bloody Vampire Martini
  • Brandy-Based Cocktails
  • Drunken Pumpkin Pie
  • Candy Corn Cocktail
  • Gin-Based Cocktails
  • Harvest Moon Cocktail
  • Kahlúa-Based Cocktails
  • Pumpkin Divine Martini
  • Spider Bite With Frangelico
  • Vampire Cocktail With Fangs
  • Vodka-Based Cocktails
  •    

    blood-vampire-martini-bettycrocker-230

    Bloody Vampire Martini. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker. Here’s the recipe.

     

     

    bloody-eyeball-martini-230

    Bloody Eyeball Martini, Photo courtesy Kris
    Plazek | WhatToDrink.com. Here’s the recipe.

     

    Serve Halloween party food like these:

  • Black Cat Canapés
  • Black Widow Spider Bruschetta
  • Breadstick Bones
  • Cheesy Ghost Crescents
  • Devilicious Deviled Eggs
  • Halloween cheeses
  • Halloween Crudité Platter, a preponderance of orange, red and yellow vegetables and a pumpkin-, yogurt- or sour cream-based dip (tint a white dip orange with food color)
  • Harvest chips—tortilla and other chips in flavors like pumpkin and sweet potato (check out Food Should Taste Good)
  • Meatball Mummies
  • Mozzarella Eyeballs
  • Mummy Dogs or Halloweenies (hot dogs)
  • Spider Legs (breadsticks)
  • Spider Web Pizza
  • Tarantula Tacos
  • Witches’ Brooms (breadsticks)
  •  

      

    Comments

    PRODUCT: El Jimador Flavored Tequila

    el_jimador_mango_mango_mexican_lime_partial-230

    Two delicious flavored tequilas. Photo
    courtesy Brown Forman.

     

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

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

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

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

    Check out the two shooter recipes below.

     

    RECIPE: PALOMINI SHOOTER WITH MEXICAN LIME TEQUILA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

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

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

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

     

    RECIPE: TRES AMIGOS SHOOTER WITH MANGO TEQUILA

    Ingredients For 1 Drink

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

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

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

     

    tres-amigos-shooter-230

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

     

      

    Comments

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

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

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

    partida-chocolate-cake-230jpg

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

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

    tequila-cheesecake-olgacooks-230

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

     

    RECIPE: TEQUILA CHEESECAKE

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

    Ingredients

    For The Cheesecake

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

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

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

    Preparation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments

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