Sunday Cocktail

Sunday Cocktails: Aperol v. Campari

While out having dinner one night, Hubby and I got into a debate over which was better, Aperol or Campari. My personal preference was Campari with its spicy flavor and strong orange undertones. Hubby preferred Aperol because it's sweeter and lighter than Campari but still has that citrus taste.

Both Aperol and Campari are italian aperitifs. While we disagree as to which was better, hubby and I did agree that when not used properly the two can ruin a drink. 

An apéritif is an alcoholic beverage usually served before a meal to stimulate the appetite, and is therefore usually dry rather than sweet.
— Wikipedia

When used in a small quantity they add just the right amount of bitter that can complete a drink. In a large portion they become the star of the cocktail.

My quest this Sunday was to find two drinks, that feature either Aperol or Campari, that we both can enjoy.

 
Teresa from the Joy of Mixology

Teresa from the Joy of Mixology

Teresa

  • 2 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • .75 oz Creme de Casis

From Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology,  the Teresa showcases Campari's spice while balances it with the sweetness of Creme de Casis. I was surprised I enjoyed this cocktail since I'm not a big fan of Creme de Casis. The Campari is so intense it keeps the liqueur from taking over.

 
Aperol Collins

Aperol Collins

Aperol Collins

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  •    1 oz Aperol
  •  .5 oz Lemon Juice

Aperol and soda is a classic way to enjoy this aperitif. I decided to stick with the simplicity but up the alcohol content with vodka. I originally planned to add some simple syrup but felt that the Aperol added enough sweetness.

Surprisingly I liked the Aperol drink more and Hubby chose the Campari Cocktail. I guess this shows that you should never completely right a spirit off, there's always a cocktail out there that might change your mind.

Sunday Cocktails: Lavender Orange Cocktail

Relaxing on the couch watching Top Gear with hubby, recovering from our Saturday out with the moms. After steamed crabs with his mother and cocktails with mine, we're both exhausted. Not too exhausted, however, to make a cocktail.

Lavender Orange Cocktail

2 oz. Gin

1 oz. Lavender Lemon Syrup

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

Garnish with orange peel.

Of all the syrups I've made the Lavender Lemon is my favorite. Its light and elegant and takes any beverage up a notch. It pairs great with gin and flavors such as vanilla and citrus.

Lavender Lemon Syrup

2 cups water

1/2 cup Culinary Lavender

1 cup sugar

1/2 lemon

Bring water to a slow boil. Add lavender and boil for 20 minutes.

Strain lavender. Add sugar and lemon. Simmer until sugar has dissolved.

Allow to cool.

I haven't been blessed with children but my fur baby, Izzy, has been pampering me all morning with cat massages. All in all its been a purr-fect mother's day.

Imbibe happily,

Nikki




Sunday Cocktail: Strawberry 17

This weeks Sunday Cocktail was inspired by a garnish. I've been contemplating how to elevate my garnish and came across a series of tutorials on YouTube. My favorite was how to turn a strawberry into a rose. You can find the tutorial at the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB3OrZPjoXI

The strawberry rose was so gorgeous it took awhile to find a drink that lived up to it. I thought of making a Strawberry Bellini but wanted to something more creative. 

There's something about strawberries that makes me want basil. I'm sure there's a scientific reason why, but all I know is that I find the two flavors together quite refreshing, almost calming. Once I had the idea of combining the flavors of strawberry and basil, I felt a little like I was building a salad rather than a cocktail. Personally I love pepper on my salad. I like a little kick. So why not add pepper to my cocktail.

This was my first attempt at making Basil Pepper Syrup. I like the subtlety of the of the pepper. Its almost like you're not sure you're tasting what your tasting. And then you ask yourself 'why does this taste good?'. Finally you resign yourself to accepting that the sweetness, the basil, and the spice all work together. Now to add the strawberry.

Enter, the juicer.

My Breville Juice Fountain

I was into juicing for a while. I'm always looking for new ways to try to lose weight and thought juicing would be a great quick way to do it. And it worked but I missed my cocktails. Now I use my juicer to make juices for drinks. So, I guess it was worth the few hundred I dropped on it.

I have my fresh strawberry juice and syrup. Let's create a drink.

STRAWBERRY 17

2 oz. Strawberry Juice

1.5 oz Vodka

.75 oz Basil Pepper Syrup

.5 oz Lemon Juice

BASIL PEPPER SYRUP

2.5 cups Water

2 cups Sugar

1 bunch fresh Basil (about 2 handfuls) 

2 tbs. Black Cracked Pepper

Boil water with basil for 15 minutes. Water should be darker. Kind of like a basil tea. Strain. Bring the water back to a slow boil. Slowly add sugar while stirring. Add pepper. Cook for 10 minutes stirring frequently. Allow to completely cook before use or storing.

I'll be completely honest. It's a bit of a girlish drink. I can definitely see serving this at girls night. But I love how the basil and pepper complements the strawberry. The pepper gives it an unexpected element that makes you want to keep drinking.

I named the drink after one of my favorite country songs, Strawberry Wine. The singer is 17 in the song. Thus the name Strawberry 17. Plus I feel like that's how many strawberries I went through trying to make the perfect rose.

I think I created a delightful cocktail for a beautiful garnish.

Enjoy!

Strawberry_17

Sunday Cocktail: Plum Happy

I make cocktails at home, not just to fine tune my skills, but because it's economical. I love hanging out at the bar and probably spend a little too much time there. But drinking $9 or $10 cocktails start to add up.

Hubby and I have a deal. We won't go to the bar on Sunday if I play the role of bartender at home.

Plums aren't quite in season yet (June, July, August, September) but I had a hankering for some. Of course with every produce I get I think 'how can I turn this into a cocktail?'. So for this week's Sunday Cocktail I give you the Plum Happy.

PLUM HAPPY

2 oz Bombay Dry Gin

2 oz St. Germain (Elderflower Liqueur)

1/2 Lemon

1/2 Plum

Muddle plum with lemon juice. Add gin, St. Germain and a splash of grenadine for color. Shake with ice. Double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

Personally I like my drinks on the dry side. While hubby likes them sweet. We were both plum happy with this drink. (sorry, I couldn't resist.)