Vodka Cocktails

The Moscow Fizz, Two Classic Cocktails in One

The Moscow Fizz, Two Classic Cocktails in One

In it's heart this cocktail is a mule. A playful yet somehow sophisticated version of a mule. It's everything I hoped it would be!

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Pink Lemonade All Grown-up

There's something iconic and nostalgic about sipping lemonade on a hot summer day. Hanging out in the back yard with family and friends, you want a drink that both easy to drink and easy to make. In this grown-up version of the Pink Lemonade, we infuse unflavored vodka with fresh blueberries then combine with homemade lemonade. 

Pink Lemonade with blueberry infused vodka
Pink Lemonade with blueberry infused vodka

PINK LEMONADE



Blueberry infused vodka pink lemonade
Pink Lemonade with blueberry infused vodka

A Mother's Day Cocktail

A Mother's Day Cocktail

Mom's make the world a little less scary, providing shelter from the storms. My mom deserves more than a cocktail. But it's a start

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A Bloody Mary For the New Year

A Bloody Mary For the New Year

January 1st marks the start of a new year. It's also National Bloody Mary Day.

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Moscow Mule Recipe

Moscow Mule Recipe

  A while back I made a comment to a local bartender that I had tried pretty much every drink on his menu at the time. "Except the mule. I don't do mules." He smirked knowingly and walked away. He quickly reappeared with what looked like a bottle of pop. It was a house made ginger beer that was bottled there at the bar. He then proceeded to make his version of a Moscow Mule.

 "Try it," he instructed.

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Some Beach

Some Beach

Its mid-July and I have yet to stick my toes into some warm sand. My summer has been consumed with work. My only oasis is my comfy sectional, binge watching Top Chef and Dirty Jobs with hubby. (One entices my appetite, the other kills it.) Making a resort worthy cocktail is the closest I'm going to get to an actual vacation.

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Sunday Cocktails - Grenadine & Ginger Martini

The other night I found a recipe that I wanted to try that called for grenadine. Like many folks, I have an old sticky bottle of fluorescent red grenadine on my condiment shelf. As I pulled out this forgotten relic, I realized that using what is basically just red dye and high fructose corn syrup is not "crafty". 

Originally, grenadine was made from pomegranates. Its name is derived from the French word "grenade" meaning pomegranate. The grenadine most us are familiar with - not using any names, but you know who you are - has contains no pomegranate. Corn syrup is easier to make and never goes bad. There are some brands that still include fruit as an ingredient. So if you chose the commercial route, go with these.

Making grenadine at home, however, is so simple, you may wonder why you've never done it before. Here's the recipe:

House Made Grenadine

2 cups POM Pomegranate Juice

2 cups Sugar

In a large pot, bring pomegranate juice to a boil.

Reduce heat and slowly stir in sugar.

Simmer on low-med heat for approx. 10 minutes.

How simple is that? In less time than it takes a pizza to be delivered, you just made you're very own grenadine. Store in air tight containers for up to two weeks in the fridge.

I chose POM because its 100% pomegranate juice that contains no sugar. (promise I wasn't paid to say that)  Pomegranate juice has become so popular in recent years, you should have no problem finding it.

Occasionally you'll see grenadine added to give the drink color . Below is a Ginger Martini I made where I add a few splashes of grenadine to give the drink a gorgeous pink hue and a touch of sweetness. You can always try it without.

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 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