20131231

HAPPY NEW YEAR'S EVE 2014!

A new year comes ringing,
New promise it's bringing,
So lift up your glasses
As the old year passes,
And greet the New Year,
It's finally here!

May your New Year be filled with hope, joy, promise, prosperity and, most if all, love!

Happy 2014 from The Martini Diva!

20131220

HAPPY NATIONAL SANGRIA DAY!

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We need Sangria recipes for National Sangria Day, right? Because there's nothing quite like a good wine punch loaded up with lots of fruit.

Sangria is named after "Sangre", the Spanish word for "blood" because of it's typically dark-red color.  Traditional sangria is made with red wines but there's no hard and fast rule today in making your sangria and you can use wines of all types and colors. A white wine sangria is called a "sangria blanca".

The most popular fruits used in Spain and Portugal are mainly citrus though sangria recipes vary as much as dialects and can be made from all types of fruits and wine combinations.  In addition to the fruits, sangria recipes typically include a sweetener, such as honey, sugar or simple syrups, and another alcohol including brandies, sparkling wines or even liqueurs. If you want to keep the proof down you can fizz up your sangria with a soda of some type instead of another alcohol.

Spices can also be added, though it's not as common, and your summer sangria recipe can be easily converted to a heated, spiced mulled wine recipe for the holidays!

I am quite partial to berries in my red sangria and the citrus fruits in my white, but it all depends on what fruits are in season and what wine I'm using.  Below are some of my favorites:


Updated 12-2016

20131215

CUPCAKE MARTINIS & COCKTAILS


Like everyone else, I love cupcakes. I just prefer to drink mine.

CUPCAKE
Inspired
COCKTAILS

If that's not quite enough cupcake madness for you, try some of my CAKE COCKTAILS and just say they're Cupcake Cocktails of the same flavor, I won't tell on you.

And, if you insist on baking, in addition to shaking, try my
or my savory

National Cupcake Day is December 15th and National Cupcake Lovers Day is June 13th.

Updated 6-2018
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20131212

SAUCY CHRISTMAS CRANTINI COCKTAIL RECIPE

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SAUCY CHRISTMAS CRANTINI

 Hey, Look! I found a good use for canned cranberry sauce!!

P.S. Please don't ask me what I was doing with a can of that jellied cranberry sauce.

COCKTAIL INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
2-1/2 Oz. Rosemary Infused Cranberry Syrup*
2 Tablespoons Orange Juice
5 - 6 Gin Soaked Dried Cranberries
1 Sprig Rosemary
Orange Slice
Optional: 1 Tablespoon of Simple Syrup
(if you prefer a sweeter, less tart cocktail)


ROSEMARY INFUSED CRANBERRY SYRUP INGREDIENTS:
1 Cup Cranberry Sauce
(I used the canned, jellied kind)
1/2 Cup Water
Leaves from 2 Large Sprigs of Rosemary
1/2 Teaspoon of Orange Zest


ROSEMARY INFUSED CRANBERRY SYRUP DIRECTIONS:
Make your Rosemary Infused Cranberry Syrup* by dissolving a cup of cranberry sauce in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water.
  Pinch the rosemary leaves between your fingers to release the oils and drop in.

Add the orange zest.
Reduce on medium until the syrup is the consistency of maple syrup.
Strain into a container and chill.


COCKTAIL DIRECTIONS:
Chill your martini glass in the freezer.
Fill your cocktail pitcher with ice cubes, add the gin, the Rosemary Infused Cranberry Syrup, orange juice and the optional simple syrup. (I went without as I like a tart cocktail.)

 Stir until well mixed and chilled then pour into your chilled glass.
Garnish with the gin soaked cranberries, rosemary sprig and orange slice.
Enjoy!





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20131207

SANGRIA BERRIES - Berry Madness Part IV


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The last three days I have shared with you a bounty of boozified berry recipes inspired by a little Berry Madness some months ago. Inundated with berries I went a little over the edge and took berries with me as Fresh Berry Sangria, Berry Sangria Cocktail Gels and Berry Sangria Shortcake. And I still had a few berries left so.....

SANGRIA BERRIES

INGREDIENTS
12 Fresh Strawberries, Halved
24 Fresh Blackberries
1-1/2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tsp. Brown Sugar
1/4 C. Blackberry Puree
1/4 C. Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 C. Merlot (or other red wine)*
(leave out the wine for non-alcoholic berries)
Honey
Pinch of Kosher Salt

TOOLS
Medium Saucepan
Metal Strainer
Wooden Spoon

DIRECTIONS
Take a cup of blackberries and puree them in a blender.
Strain out the seeds and put the puree aside.
Melt the butter, brown sugar and honey in the saucepan, then bring to a boil for a minute or two.
Add the blackberry puree, balsamic vinegar, wine and salt and bring back to a boil.
Lower heat to medium and continue to reduce the sauce until it coats the back of a spoon (Nape)
Cool in the refrigerator until time to serve.
When ready to plate pour a little of the sauce into your serving dish.
Position one to three strawberry halves on the plate.
Top strawberries with a blackberry.
Drizzle with some honey.

So marks the end of my Berry Madness.  I'm better now but I still have berry stains in odd places.....




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20131206

BAD HAIR DAY COCKTAIL RECIPE





We've all had them. Those bad hair days are enough to dampen your spirits to flood proportions. If there is no bad hair day ark sailing nearby, may I suggest my

BAD HAIR DAY MARTINI

INGREDIENTS
1-1/2 Oz. Vanilla Vodka
1 Oz. White Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 Oz. White Creme de Cacao
1 Oz. Half & Half
1/8 Tsp. Sea Salt
Chocolate Syrup
Chocolate Shavings
1 Chocolate Bar of Your Choice

DIRECTIONS
Dip your martini glass rim in the chocolate syrup, then into some chocolate shavings.
Chill your martini glass in the freezer.
Add a cup of ice to your cocktail shaker then pour in the vanilla vodka, the white chocolate liqueur, the white creme de cacao, the sea salt and the half and half.
Shake until well chilled then pour into your chilled martini glass.
Drop in your favorite chocolate bar and enjoy.

Yes, your hair may still look like a tornado hit your head, but after two of these you probably won't care that much anymore!

I've had so many bad hair days that I included this recipe in my COLOR YOUR COCKTAILS COLORING BOOK:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/269330647/adult-coloring-page-of-a-bad-hair-day?ref=shop_home_feat_1


UPDATED December 2018
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CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE VODKA & MARTINI RECIPES

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HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE 
VODKA
with a recipe for a
Chocolate Candy Cane Martini

Love Chocolate and Peppermint?
Want to enjoy this martini tonight?
Well, guess what? You can!
In just a few steps and within a few hours 
you can be enjoying my yummy
CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE MARTINI
made with your own homemade
Chocolate Candy Cane Vodka!

FIRST, you need to get some of these
Chocolate Mint Candy Canes:


Then you take those and plop them into this:
 HOW MANY? DEPENDS!
I used 2 candy canes per 2 ounces of vodka and was sipping in 4 hours!
More Candy Canes = More Flavor Faster.
If you crush them up you speed up the process even more!

THEN you stick all this boozy chocolate mint goodness in the fridge to chill.  Shake it up every 1/2 hour or whenever you open the fridge.  After a few hours start tasting a small sip for flavor depth!


THE, a few hours later, when you've hit Choco-Minty yum level, you can make your own:

CHOCOLATE CANDY CANE MARTINI
like this:

INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Chocolate Candy Cane Vodka
1 Oz. White Creme de Cacao
1 Oz. Half & Half
1 Oz. Chocolate Milk
2 Chocolate Mint Candy Canes, Crushed Rough
1 Chocolate Mint Candy Cane, Whole

DIRECTIONS:
  • Crush your 2 candy canes so you have some chunky bits & pour those into a flat plate.
  • Pour some of your new Chocolate Candy Cane Vodka into another flat plate then dip the rim of your martini glass into the vodka, then into the crushed candy cane.
  • Place your pretty rimmed glass in the freezer to chill.
  • Pour 1 cup of ice into your cocktail shaker then add the Chocolate Candy Cane Vodka, the white creme de cacao, the half & half and the chocolate milk.
  • Shake like a bowl full of jelly (ya know, 'til it's good and frosty!)
  • Pour into your chilled, rimmed martini glass.
  • Hang the whole Chocolate Mint Candy Cane off the rim or across the top.
  • Serve and Enjoy!
 (P.S. leave out the chocolate milk and the half & half and this makes a really great ice cream topping!)

BTW, National Candy Cane Day is December 26th! Save some of your vodka!





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BERRY SANGRIA SHORTCAKE - Berry Madness Part III


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The last two days I have regaled you with bunches of fresh berries boozified into bliss as Fresh Berry Sangria and Berry Sangria Cocktail Gels - all resulting from my foray into Berry Madness a few months ago.  Not only did I made all flavors of berry booze, including Blueberry Liqueur and Vodka and Blackberry Liqueur and Vodka, I had so many berries and so much Berry Sangria that I decided they had to become a dessert as well!

I'm berry, berry happy with this recipe.

BERRY SANGRIA SHORTCAKE 
BERRY SANGRIA COMPOTE
TOOLS
Sauce Pan
Mixing Bowls
Medium Metal Strainer
Mixing Spoons
Slotted Spoon
Baking Sheet
Parchment Paper

INGREDIENTS
All the leftover fruit from your Berry Sangria
1 C. of the Berry Sangria
2 Apple Mint Leaves, chopped.
1 Tbsp. Clementine Zest
1/2 C. of Sugar

DIRECTIONS
Bring fruit, half the zest and the sugar to a boil in a sauce pan.
Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half and the juice is thickened.
Remove from heat.
Scoop out all the berries with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to chill.
Pour the juice through a strainer into a small bowl, this will remove the seeds and most of the pulp.
Chill the juice with the fruit until time to serve.

BISQUICK SHORTCAKE
INGREDIENTS
2-1/3 C. Bisquick®  Mix
2/3 C. Milk
3 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Butter

DIRECTIONS
Still all the ingredients together until a soft dough forms.
Drop by a spoon onto a parchment lined baking dish.
Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 12 minutes or until GBD (golden brown and delicious!)
Remove and allow to cool.

SERVING/PLATING
1 Bisquick Shortcake (or Scone)
Whipped Cream
Some Fresh Berries
Clementine Zest
Optional: Apple Mint Leaf

Pour the seedless berry sauce into a serving bowl or plate.
Split your shortcakes in two lengthwise, place the bottom half on the berry sauce
Spoon some of the macerated sangria berries over the bottom half.
Place the top of the scone on the berries.
Spoon a bit more of the macerated sangria berries on the top.
Spoon on some whipped cream.
Garnish with a pinch of Clementine zest and/or a mint leaf and scatter a few fresh berries around the plate.
 
Tomorrow:
BERRY SANGRIA MADNESS PART IV





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20131205

BERRY SANGRIA COCKTAIL GELS - Berry Madness Part II


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Yesterday I told you a tale of Berry Madness wherein I went a little crazy and turned bushels and pecks of berries into Blueberry Booze, Blackberry Booze, (oh heck, I filled the fridge with berry booze flavors!), Berry Sangria, Berry Sangria Cocktail Gels, Berry Sangria Shortcake and Sangria Berries.  Today you get the recipe for Part II of my sojourn into the wild and crazy world of boozified berries, a delicious and delectable cocktail gel (aka jello shot) made from some of that Berry Sangria.

BERRY SANGRIA COCKTAIL GELS

TOOLS
Sauce Pan
Wooden Spoon
9"x13" Baking Dish
Silicon Candy Molds
Sharp Knife, for cutting shapes
Cooking Spray

PREPARATION

(Mise en Place)
Spray your molds and baking pan.
Measure out all ingredients.
Clear space in your fridge for the molds & pans.

BOTTOM BERRY SANGRIA LAYER


INGREDIENTS
1 C. Boiling Water
1 Pkg. Knox Gelatin
1 Sm. Box of Blackberry Fusion Jell-O
1 C. Berry Sangria with the fruit strained out

INSTRUCTIONS
Mix the water and the gelatin in your pan and stir until dissolved.
Bring to a boil then remove from burner.
Stir in the Blackberry Jell-O until dissolved.
Allow the mixture to cool down for 10 minutes.
Pour in the Berry Sangria and stir well.
Pour into your baking dish (reserving enough to pour into the candy molds for the molded berry gel tops) and place in the refrigerator to set up for several hours.

TOP CREAM LAYER


INGREDIENTS
1/2 C. Milk
1/2 C. Half & Half
1 C. Whipped Cream Vodka
2 Pkgs. Knox Gelatin

INSTRUCTIONS
Pour your milk/half & half into your saucepan, add the gelatin and stir well. Let this sit for a few minutes.
Place the saucepan on a burner, turn the heat to low and warm the mixture, stirring constantly, until the gelatin is completely dissolved. This takes about 2 to 4 minutes. Do not boil, it's not necessary.
Remove the pan from the burner.
Quickly stir in the whipped cream vodka.
Allow to cool to a point where you can put your finger in it - warm, but not hot! (Too hot and it will melt your berry layer, too cold and it will not stick to the berry layer.)
Pour this onto your berry layer in the 9x13 pan.
Carefully set your dish back in the refrigerator until the top can be touched but it's not completely solid, about 3 - 5 minutes.
Now you place the molded berry pieces on top, push them down a bit very gently, spaced widely apart enough to allow the cutting of your final gel shapes.

PLATING SUGGESTION


INGREDIENTS
Fresh Mixed Berries
Mint Leaf Cluster
Optional: Whipped Cream

Place two or three of the Berry Sangria Cocktail Gels on an attractive plate, add a few berries and garnish with the mint leaf cluster.  If you like you can add a few dollops of whipped cream to the plate!

Tomorrow:
BERRY SANGRIA MADNESS PART III




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20131204

FRESH BERRY SANGRIA Four Ways, Part 1


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How a Bushel and a Peck Turned into
BERRY MADNESS!

Today's Berry Madness Recipe:
BERRY SANGRIA
(recipe below)

I am always on the lookout for a good deal on fresh fruits.  I go to the farmer's market and go a little cray-cray over bushels of citrus, bags of apples, pecks of peaches and big baskets of berries.  I buy them all in a mad whirl of fruity insanity and then I get them home and think, "What am I going to do with all of this?"

My mother would have made jams or preserves with the extras or just "put up" the fruit for winter consumption, but, sadly, I am not of the canning persuasion. I'm more of the moonshining persuasion. I'd rather throw my bounty of produce into booze instead of canning jars that are destined to gather dust on some cellar shelf. It's a certainty that booze will never gather dust on a shelf in my house.

Given this propensity for personal bootlegging, when I fell off the bushel/peck wagon and came home with a half a bushel of fresh blackberries, a part of a peck of fresh blueberries and a whole freaking flat of strawberries, I immediately decided to turn them into booze.  I made blackberry vodka and blackberry liqueur, blueberry vodka and blueberry liqueur, strawberry vodka and strawberry liqueur and even a few combos! My refrigerator looked like Popcorn Sutton* had been hiding from the revenuers in there for half a year.

And I still had berries left over! So I threw them into more booze, this time red wine, and I made Berry Sangria.  I had done citrus sangrias before but never a berry based wine infusion and I loved it.  The berries gave the wine a mellow, fruity sweetness which went down very smoothly! I was also imbibing all those lovely anti-oxidants and nutrition from the berries while enjoying a cocktail.  This was a total win/win situation and the best part was I didn't have to use expensive wines.  A decent priced (under $10) red wine of nearly any kind works in sangria. I happened to have some Merlot so that's what I used, but sangria can be made with nearly any type of wine including Cabernet, Zinfandel, Sirah and even white wines.

Since I still had fresh fruit staring up at me from their pecks and bushels, I took the idea of boozy berries one step further and created an edible cocktail, BERRY SANGRIA COCKTAIL GELS (Berry Madness Recipe Part II). Yes, I said edible cocktail and, no, I'm not talking your frat-party-Jell-O-in-a-Dixie-cup hooch here (I tossed away my Dixie cups many years ago with my blushing innocence), those berries got gel-ified and mold-ified into little finger popping, high proof, melt in your mouth edible hooch!

You would think I put a pretty decent dent in those berries and could freeze the rest. You would be wrong. There was still a few pounds of berries glaring at me from their little bushel and peck beds, a bit more than I had room for in the freezer. By this time I had crossed over from madness into murder and I took those taunting, remaining devils and threw them into the fire. Yup, I reduced their little souls into a Berry Compote to put on top of BERRY SHORTCAKE (
Berry Madness Recipe Part III) for a dinner party!  I did pardon a few to make some SANGRIA BERRIES (Berry Madness Recipe Part IV) - though I might have been crazed, I was not without compassion.

After these berry stressful events I added a straitjacket to my wardrobe, but I am now the Diva of Berries!  Just ask my shrink.

*Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton (B. October 5, 1946 - D. March 16, 2009) Famous Appalachian moonshiner from Cocke County, Tennessee.

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BERRY SANGRIA

INGREDIENTS

1 Bottle (750 ml) Red Wine
1/2 C. Fresh Raspberries
1/2 C. Fresh Blackberries
1/2 C. Fresh Blueberries
1/2 C. Fresh Strawberries, Sliced
1 Clementine, Juice & Zest
4 Apple Mint Leaves
1/2 cup sugar
Optional:  Brut Champagne or Soda Water

TOOLS

Zester or Grater
48 Oz. Pitcher
Plastic Wrap

DIRECTIONS

Macerate (soak) the berries, Clementine juice, zest and the sugar together with the wine in your pitcher. I used a very moderately priced merlot, but feel free to use a Cabernet, Zinfandel or whatever suits your fancy.
Bruise the mint slightly by pinching between your fingers and add to the mixture.
Seal the pitcher up with some plastic wrap.
Allow to infuse overnight so the flavors of the fruits can fully permeate the wine.
When you're ready to serve, pour into a martini or wine glass (with or without ice.)
If you like a little effervescence, add your (or soda).
Garnish with some fresh berries and the mint leaf.

Tomorrow:
BERRY SANGRIA MADNESS PART II




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Cookie Inspired Cocktails




Everyone loves a cookie so what better way to enjoy them then in a cocktail? Just think of the dunking - booze, cookies, win, win!

COOKIE COCKTAILS
Vanilla Wafer Martini

You might also like to try these Girl Scout Cookie Inspired Cocktails

DUNK AWAY!
If you need some cookies to dunk, here's my three favorite cookie recipes:
Pop Art Diva Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
My Mom's Superlicious Gingersnaps
Coral Island Thumbprint Cookies



National Cookie Day is December 4th and National Cookie Month is October.

Updated 12-2018
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