20130731

JELLY BEAN MARTINIS for (Jump for) Jelly Beans Day!


Yes, April 21st is National Jelly Bean (singular) Day, but July 31st is (Jump for) Jelly BeanS Day. So today I have not one, but TWO Jelly Bean Cocktails for you and even a link to my Jelly Bean Vodka recipe.


Did you know?
  • It takes 7 to 21 days to make a jelly bean.
  • Traditional jelly bean assortments include eight flavors.
  • Jelly Beans were the first candy to be sold by weight rather than by piece.
  • Jelly Beans were originally sold by individual colors (I'll take red and black, please!)
  • Because jelly beans were Ronald Reagan's favorite candy, the Jelly Belly Company created a special Blueberry Jelly Belly for his inauguration.
  • When they traveled aboard the Challenger Space Shuttle in 1983, Jelly Bellys became the first jelly bean in space. 

“Jelly beans! Millions and billions of purples and yellows and greens and licorice and grape and raspberry and mint and round and smooth and crunchy outside and soft-mealy inside and sugary and bouncing jouncing tumbling clittering clattering skittering fell on the heads and shoulders and hardhats and carapaces of the Timkin works, tinkling on the slidewalk and bouncing away and rolling about underfoot and filling the sky on their way down with all the colors of joy and childhood and holidays, coming down in a steady rain, a solid wash, a torrent of color and sweetness out of the sky from above, and entering a universe of sanity and metronomic order with quite-mad coocoo newness. Jelly beans!”~ Harlan Ellison

Cool Beans!

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20130730

CHEESECAKE COCKTAILS



Love cheesecake, love cheesecake cocktails more.

You can't tell from all the different cheesecake cocktail recipes below, right?

CHEESECAKE
COCKTAILS
CHOCOLATE DIPPED CHEESECAKE POPS
BANANA CHEESECAKE PARFAITS

National Cheesecake Day is July 30th.

Here's a little cocktail cheesecake art for you:



Updated July 2018
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20130727

Scotch Whisky and SCOTCH COCKTAILS


Scotch whisky, originally made from malted barley, evolved from a Scottish drink called uisge beatha, Gaelic for "lively water" or "water of life". Though nobody knows when or how whisky first came to Scotland, according to the Exchequer Rolls (records of royal income and expenditure) of Scotland, Scotch whisky was first legally distilled in 1494. There is an excellent history of Scotch whisky here.

Scotch whisky is made from malt or grains, is distilled as either single malt, single grain or blended whiskies, must be made in Scotland and must be aged in oak barrels a minimum of three years. 

There are three categories of Scotch whisky. Single malt (only water and malted barley made at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills), Single grain (made at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals), and Blended. Blended Scotch whiskys are defined by whether they are Blended malt Scotch whisky (a blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries), Blended grain Scotch whisky (a blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries), or Blended Scotch whisky (a blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.) 

What's the deal with whisky versus whiskey? It's all a matter of geographics, the Scots prefer whisky while we Americans and the Irish use whiskey. As for bourbon versus whiskey that's another mash-up.

For those of you who don't drink their scotch neat, on the rocks or with a bit of water or soda here are my riffs on some Scotch cocktail classics:

National Scotch Day is July 27th, International Scotch Day is held in February.

"Set up another case bartender! The best thing for a case of nerves is a case of Scotch.”
- W. C. Fields  
Updated 5-2018 
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20130726

White Wine Cherry Sangria Recipe


A Merry Marriage of Cherries and White Wine

WHITE WINE CHERRY SANGRIA RECIPE

1 Bottle of White Wine
(I used a nice Italian Pinot Grigio)
1 C. of Fresh Cherries, Pitted and Sliced
1 Orange, Cut into Segments
1/2 C. Sugar

Combine all the ingredients together and let them get acquainted for a minimum of a day.  I let mine congregate together for 2 days and the longer I left it, the deeper the color became indicating more of the cherries and oranges had dispersed within the wine.

I went back and forth about adding in some fresh herbs, but in the end decided this time just to keep it in the fruit family.  I do think tarragon would be nice and cardamom would be interesting too. Plus a splash of Prosecco would be a nice way to add some effervescence....

Feel free to add more or less sugar depending on your preferences.

Cheers, M'Dears and Enjoy!




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20130725

Happy National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! How's about a Hot Fudge Sundae Martini?

  
Who doesn't like a hot fudge sundae? Especially one with vodka in it? Yes, I turned this favorite ice cream dessert into a cocktail. You won't need a spoon for this sundae.

HOT FUDGE SUNDAE MARTINI

INGREDIENTS

1 Oz. Marshmallow Vodka
1 Oz. Chocolate Vodka
1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream
3 Tbsp. Hot Fudge Sauce, Melted

Garnish: Chopped Peanut Rim, Cocktail Cherry

Tools: Blender 

Glass: Cocktail  (Martini)

DIRECTIONS
Add the chopped peanuts to a small plate. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted hot fudge to another small plate. Dip your glass rim in the melted hot fudge and then into the peanuts.
Drizzle some of the hot fudge into the glass bowl. Chill the glass in the freezer.
Add the rest of the hot fudge to a blender with the vodkas and the ice cream and blend until smooth.
Pour into your chilled glass, garnish and serve.

Make extra - trust me!

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day is July 25th.

Get the Hot Fudge Sundae Martini Recipe on a Recipe Post Card.


Updated 7-2016

 

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20130724

IT'S NATIONAL TEQUILA DAY! MARGARITA UP, QUERIDOS!


Let's break out the tequila and hit it with some blueberries, shall we?

BLUEBERRY MARGARITA

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Blue Agave Tequila
2 Tsp. Blueberry Simple Syrup*
1/2 C. Fresh Blueberries
1/2 Oz. Lime Juice
1/2 Oz. Blue Curacao
3 Mint Leaves
Ice

GARNISH: Fresh mint leaves, orange slice, blueberry filled ice cubes

DIRECTIONS
Rim glass with a 50/50 sugar and salt combination.
Muddle the lime juice, blueberry simple syrup, mint leaves and fresh blueberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
Add plain ice cubes, pour in the tequila and blue curacao and shake until chilled.
Pour into the chilled glass, garnish and serve.

*BLUEBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP

INGREDIENTS
1 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Cup of Water

TOOLS
Saucepan
Storage Jar
Small Metal Strainer

DIRECTIONS
Bring the blueberries, sugar and water to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half or to a syrup consistency.

Strain into your clean glass jar and refrigerate for up to several months.


Not only is this Blueberry Simple Syrup great in cocktails, it's perfect for pancakes or poured over ice cream or pound cake.


Not into blueberries?
No hay problema, mi amigos, here's a ton of other
TEQUILA COCKTAILS

Saludos, queridos!



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20130720

THE RAINBOW LOLLIPOP MARTINI for National Lollipop Day


You know me, I will always try to create a cocktail for any food holiday where possible. National Lollipop Day was just another fun excuse to indulge myself.

I used to make this with Pinnacle Rainbow Sherbet Vodka but, since it's no longer being produced, I simply replaced its pineapple and raspberry fruit punch flavor with some more easily procured alternatives.

Yes, it's sweet, but then so are lollipops, and at least this has the redeeming quality of having booze.

The
LOLLIPOP
MARTINI

INGREDIENTS
1 Oz. Raspberry Vodka
1/2 Oz. Pineapple Vodka
2 Tsp. Blue Curacao
1 Oz. Cranberry Juice
Splash of Ginger Ale

Garnish: Mini Rainbow Lollipop
(I found mine on Amazon)

DIRECTIONS
Shake all the ingredients, except the ginger ale, with ice.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top off with the ginger ale, garnish and serve.

National Lollipop Day is July 20th.

Updated 7-2018
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20130719

Peach Daiquiri


http://themartinidiva.com


I love daiquiris. I particularly love fruit daiquiris and one of my favorites is peach because you can use fresh, frozen or canned peaches and all of them are delicious. One of the few canned fruits that I will use are peaches, otherwise I stick with fresh or frozen fruit.

This means that no matter what time of year it is, I can have a Peach Daiquiri!


The Frozen
PEACH DAIQUIRI

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Light Rum
1 Oz. Peach Schnapps
1/2 Cup Peach Slices
3/4 Oz. Lime Juice
1 Tsp. Agave Nectar
1/2 Cup Ice

Garnish: Peach Slice

Tools: Blender

Glass: Coupe or Cocktail

DIRECTIONS
Blend ingredients until smooth, pour into a chilled glass, Garnish and serve.

OTHER
DAIQUIRI RECIPES

Updated 7-2017
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20130718

Blueberry Mint Infused Bourbon and Julep Recipes



BLUEBERRIES, MINT & BOURBON
This is how you do cool in the summer!

I was given a huge bag of frozen blueberries and since I had already made Blueberry Vodka and Liqueur I decided it was time to infuse some bourbon!

I took my blueberries, some honey, some fresh mint and a little pinch of nutmeg and made myself some Bring-It-Down-Home Blueberry Bourbon that will knock your socks off!
 

 Here's the recipe for my
Blueberry Mint and Honey Bourbon

  INGREDIENTS
12 Oz. Good Kentucky Bourbon
1 C. Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
5 Fresh Mint Leaves
3 Tablespoons Honey

TOOLS
Infusion Jar
Potato Masher or Cocktail Muddler
Strainer**

DIRECTIONS
Crush the mint a bit to release the oils and add to your infusion jar..
Add the frozen or fresh blueberries and mash them up to release the juices.
Warm the honey for about 20-30 seconds in the microwave then add to your infusion.
Optional: I added a couple of strokes of grated nutmeg.

Allow this to infuse for several hours up to a week. Mine was perfect in three days.
Remove the mint leaves but keep the blueberries in the bourbon, they look nice in the cocktail and people love it in the drink.
**If you want, you can strain the bourbon by pouring through a metal strainer into your final storage bottle. I kind of like having the berries in there so I don't usually strain.  If I want a clear liquor for a cocktail I'll strain this through a metal strainer when I make that cocktail.

As you can see from the photos I did a small test batch here. It was so good I went ahead and made two full batches 

Then I had to use this glorious moonshine in a cocktail so I made myself a little Blueberry Mint Julep that also incorporated some fresh blueberry juice and some Blueberry Simple Syrup (recipe below).  Sheer heaven on a hot Arizona evening, I had two and only stopped myself from having a third by sheer will power!

I didn't have blueberry juice on hand BUT what happens when you defrost fruit? You get a lot of juice from the crystallization of the berries! I simply put my frozen blueberries in a large strainer over a measuring cup and had myself a good cup of blueberry juice by the time the blueberries had defrosted. The berries went into the booze, the juice went into the Julep.

Here's the recipe for my
BLUEBERRY MINT JULEP

INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Blueberry Mint Bourbon (recipe above)
1-1/2 Oz. Fresh Blueberry Juice
3 Tsps. Blueberry Simple Syrup (recipe below)
Fresh Mint for Garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Chill your glass in the freezer. Add 1 cup of ice to a cocktail pitcher, add the bourbon WITH the blueberries included but the mint removed.
Add in the fresh blueberry juice, the simple syrup and stir until chilled.
Add a few ice cubes to a cocktail glass, pour the cocktail over the ice, garnish with fresh mint and a few fresh blueberries and serve.
Blueberry Simple Syrup 

1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
1 C. Blueberries
2 Tsp. Vanilla
Juice of 1 Lemon

Bring this to a simmer until the mixture is reduced by half.  Strain out the blueberries and save those to spoon over cake or ice cream.  Pour the Blueberry Simple Syrup into a glass container, refrigerate and enjoy!

Updated March 2016



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20130712

STRAWBERRY BASIL LEMONTINI

The
STRAWBERRY BASIL LEMONTINI


I've mentioned before that I have a basil colored thumb, I can grow basil like old bread grows mold.  If I didn't find ways to use up all the basil I'd be living in a basil jungle.  Cocktails are one of my favorite ways to use this herb (as well as on a Margherita Pizza and in Caprese Bruschetta and Salads).

Strawberries and lemon both go great with basil so I've combined Strawberry Vodka, Lemoncello and some of the fresh fruit together with my fresh basil for a really nice, refreshing martini.

GET THE RECIPE FOR MY
STRAWBERRY BASIL LEMONTINI



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20130711

HOMEMADE MARASCHINO and BOURBON CHERRIES RECIPE



DRUNKEN CHERRIES ABOUND!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
MARASCHINO CHERRIES
or BOURBON CHERRIES

1 C.Maraschino Liqueur (or Bourbon*)
1 Pint Fresh Marasca** Cherries, Stems on Un-pitted
(Yes, I left the stems on and pits in, I'll tell you why below***)
One sterilized glass jar with a metal lid.

DIRECTIONS:
  • Pick out as many cherries as you can without blemishes. Clean the cherries well and allow to dry.
  • Gently place your cherries in your clean jar. I cleaned and sterilized a pickle jar but you can get Mason jars or whatever you like.
  • Pour the Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (or Bourbon*) over the cherries until they are covered.
  • Seal the jar and refrigerate for a minimum of two weeks.
You'll notice that your cherries lose some color the longer you allow them to infuse.  If you insist on the bright red color you can add in some food coloring BUT if you prefer natural coloring, you can steep super strong hibiscus tea (I used 4 bags in 6 ounces of hot water) or reduce some beet juice and add until you get the color you like. Blanching the cherries before getting them drunk can also help preserve the bright red color.

If you're in a time crunch, the cherries do soak up quite a bit of alcohol in just a few short hours, though allowing them the full two week drunk gives them a much more mellow flavor and brings more flavors to play.

A LITTLE 411 on MARASCHINO CHERRIES:

Maraschino: Italian, from Marasca bitter wild cherry, alteration of amarasca, from amaro bitter.

The cherries are pronounced "marr-a-she-no" and the liqueur is generally pronounced "marr-a-skee-no"  The name "maraschino" refers to the Marasca cherry from the Dalmatian coast of Croatia which was preserved in a liquor made with the same cherry.

Dalmatian aka Maraschino Cherries were popular in Europe as a sweet delicacy enjoyed by royalty and the wealthy. The Dalmatian Cherries were discovered by Americans traveling in Europe during the late 19th century and brought back home to great acclaim. During Prohibition Dalmatian Cherries were outlawed with all other things of an alcoholic nature and the chemical soaked, artificially colored cherry most of us are familiar with started popping up in cocktails as a substitute.

These preserved cherries were not created as a substitute for Dalmatian/Maraschino Cherries but as a method of preserving cherries for the marketplace prior to Prohibition. Ernest H. Wiegand, a professor at Oregon State University and mistakenly referred to as the "inventor" of Maraschino Cherries, simply developed a better brining method around 1919 that resulted in a firmer end product and his methods are still the standard used today.

**Even though the FDA held in 1940 that "maraschino cherries" are "cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in a sugar syrup flavored with oil or bitter almonds or a similar flavor", technically these are not really "maraschino" cherries as they do not employ the Marasca cherry from the Dalmatian coast of Croatia nor the Marasca cherry liqueur.  Since it's pretty hard to get ahold of real Marasca cherries,  I've used several non-Marasca varieties in mine, including Rainier and Dark-Sweet cherries (both of which I received as a Tweeter chat prize from StemLit.)

***I left the stems and the pits IN my cherries for several reasons. I wanted my stems on because when you use a Maraschino Cherry as a garnish in a cocktail it is accepted practice to leave the stem on so the drinker can easily grab it and pop it in their mouth. As for the pits, these actually impart a flavor of their own, a somewhat almond essence. In fact, the pits are often used to create a liqueur on their own. I also don't have a problem telling my free-loading cocktail guests to be careful of the cherry pits!!!

MY FAVORITE COCKTAIL USE OF
MARASCHINO CHERRIES:

OLD FASHIONED
1 Sugar Cube
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Orange Slice
1 Maraschino Cherry
2 Oz. Whiskey

Add the sugar cube to a chilled glass, tap the bitters onto the sugar cube and crush with a muddler. Add ice, pour in the whiskey, garnish with the orange slice and cocktail cherry and serve.

*Yes, you can do this with other liquors, like rum.

The very first night I made a few extra Bourbon Cherries and enjoyed them in this Not So FANCY FREE Cocktail.  After a few hours the cherries had absorbed enough of the bourbon to be feeling pretty good, if not drunken, and the color was still a beautiful red!



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Updated 8-2016

20130706

MANDARIN ORANGE GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL

Refresh Yourself with this
MANDARIN ORANGE GRAPEFRUIT MARTINI

That little can of mandarin oranges in your cupboard is good for more than just a salad! I've muddled a few in this orange and grapefruit cocktail and used them as the garnish as well.  In a pinch they'll substitute for oranges and orange juice in other cocktails!


MANDARIN ORANGE GRAPEFRUIT COCKTAIL
1-1/2 Oz. Grapefruit Vodka
1 Sm. Can Mandarin Oranges, Drained
1/2 Oz. Juice from Mandarin Oranges
Splash of Triple Sec
Splash of Orange Juice

Chill your martini glass in the freezer. Pour the grapefruit vodka, 3 or 4 slices of the Mandarin oranges, the Mandarin orange juice, Triple Sec and Orange Juice into a blender and pulse blend until smooth. Pour this into your chilled glass, skewer a few of the remaining Mandarin Orange slices onto a cocktail pick, place this on the rim and enjoy!

Get the Free, downloadable recipe card at my website HERE
or

Cheers, M'Dears!


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20130705

PEAR CHAMPAGNE MARTINI


I made a wonderful Pear Sorbet and even after serving it as dessert at a dinner party I still had some left over.  I was wondering just what to do with it when I spied a little bitty bottle of bubbly looking lonely all by itself in my fridge, so....

PEAR CHAMPAGNE MARTINI

Brut Champagne
(or another favorite bubbly of yours, I happened to have a Brut)
1 Scoop of Pear Sorbet
Slice of Fresh Pear

Spoon the sorbet into a martini glass or a coupe, pour the bubbly over the sorbet, slide your pear onto the rim and enjoy!

Since I had the Brut that is what I used and, frankly, I liked the dryness with the sweet sorbet but feel free to bubble this up with your choice of sparkling wine - you could even use soda for a mocktail version!

I served this up with some Pear & Blue Cheese Bruschetta and you'll find that recipe over at my Diva of Tiny Foods Blog today!

Cheers, M'Dears!



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