Thanks to a hostess gift I have a bottle of Viniq Liqueur, a lavender colored liqueur with a vodka base, Moscato and an infusion of exotic fruits. It also shimmers. Yes, shimmers, thanks to an edible cake decoration ingredient.
It's really cool looking when you shake it, a little like a cross between a lava lamp and a snow globe. If you drink it straight this shimmer transfers to the glass, if mixed the shimmer dims a bit, but you can see below that the effervescence from the Champagne in my cocktail does still bubble up a nice shimmer.
It's also not bad tasting, with a decidedly tropical fruitiness, though a bit sweet for my taste. It reminded me a lot of Hypnotiq's Harmonie Liqueur, which also has a vodka base and fruit infusions but uses Cognac in place of the Moscato.
As for the overly sweet taste, well, there are ways to deal with that and thanks to it being New Year's one of those ways had to be Champagne! A few dashes of Angostura bitters, a little fresh mint and a splash of orange juice and you have a pretty, interesting cocktail that shimmers back at you. It's like a little sorcery in a cocktail glass.
If you want to serve up a little cocktail magic for New Year's here's the recipe:
TWILGHT PEARL MARTINI
1-1/2 Oz. Viniq Liqueur
1/4 Oz. Fresh Orange Juice
3 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1-1/2 Oz. Chilled Champagne
12 Fresh Mint Leaves
Orange Rind Spiral
Twig of Fresh Mint
Special Tools: Channel Knife Coupe Cocktail Glass, Muddler
Create a long spiral orange twist by pulling the channel knife around the orange rind until you get about 10". Twist this around a pencil and place in the freezer along with your coupe.
Add the mint leaves and orange juice to a cocktail shaker and muddle to release the mint oils.
Add a cup of ice then pour in the Viniq Liqueur, add the Angostura bitters and shake until chilled.
Drape the orange spiral half in and half outside the glass, thread the mint sprig through the spiral then strain your cocktail into the glass.
Top off with the Champagne, twirl the twist so your guest will see the shimmers and serve.
Be sure to put the bottle nearby so your guests can play with it. Check out this short video for a look see.
If you're going out to party please have a designated driver or hire a car tonight! Have a fun, safe and joyous New Year's Eve and I'll see you next year!
Whether you're having a celebration, toasting the holiday season or just love bubbly it's always fun to have a few choices of effervescent cocktail recipes to take advantage of your favorite sparkling wine.
Types of Sparkling Wines
Champagne may be what most people think of when it comes to bubbly, but it is not the only type of sparkling wine. Many American vineyards simply have bubbly wine classified as sparkling. Around the world there are many country specific sparkling wines including:
Below are some delicious ways to enjoy your bubbly in a cocktail.
This cocktail was inspired by some fun holiday hibiscus Santa hat treats from Wild Hibiscus.
I didn't get around to playing with them until after Christmas so I decided to turn them into a New Year's Eve cocktail garnish instead. Then I had to come up with a cocktail to go with them for New Year's Eve that included Champagne because I don't do New Year celebrations without Champagne!
Sparkling Hibiscus Martini
1 Oz. Vodka
1 Oz. White Cranberry Juice
1 Oz. Champagne, Chilled
3/4 Oz. Hibiscus Syrup
Juice of 1 Lime
1 Hibiscus Flower
1 Tbsp. Sweetened Cream Cheese
Add a teaspoon of powdered sugar and half a teaspoon of hibiscus syrup to a tablespoon of cream cheese. Dry the hibiscus flower with a paper towel then pipe in the cream cheese and dip in the silver sprinkles. Lay your loaded hibiscus flowers on parchment paper or wax paper and place in the freezer until solid. (If you don't freeze them they slip down the cocktail pick and dissolve into your martini!)
Chill your martini glass in the freezer.
Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the vodka, lime juice and the white cranberry juice and shake until chilled. Pour into your chilled martini glass, slowly add the hibiscus syrup (which will sink to the bottom) then top off with the Champagne.
Skewer the cream cheese hibiscus flower onto a cocktail pick, add to your cocktail and serve.
Be careful, these slide down really easy, designated drivers are a good accompaniment!
There's Gin Martinis, Vodka Martinis, Dirty Martinis and now there's a Smoky Dirty Martini! And you don't need any fancy smoking gun to make one either.
I had a few friends over for cocktails this last week and one of them brought a nice bottle of vodka and a jar of Mezzetta Applewood Smoked Olives along to share (thanks, Miguel!) I popped one of the olives in my mouth and immediately knew what cocktail I was going to make for us.
I made ours with vodka because he had brought vodka with him, but you can easily do the same recipe with gin. I've done both since and I prefer the gin because I love the botanicals, but the smoky flavor is more pronounced in the less flavorful vodka. It's your choice, nobody here will judge you or go into a boring diatribe about how real martinis are only made with gin . . . .
SMOKY DIRTY MARTINI
2-1/2 Oz. Quality Gin (or Vodka!)
1/2 Oz. Brine from the Smoked Olives
1/8 Oz. Dry Vermouth
3 Smoked Olives for Garnish
Chill your martini glass. Fill a cocktail pitcher or shaker with ice then pour in the gin (or vodka), the dry vermouth and that lovely smoky olive brine. Stir or shake as desired, strain into your chilled glass and add a cocktail pick loaded with 3 of the smoked olives.
I served mine up with extra Smoked Olives and some lovely, salty Fricos!
Why 3 olives? Because 2 is considered bad luck! As for stirring versus shaking; shaking can "bruise" the gin and can create ice shards in the cocktail, but shaking chills the drink more (and some drinkers love those little ice shards!) Shaking also creates some cloudiness in a cocktail (from the air bubbles that are created in the shaking process) while stirring creates a clearer drink. Again, the choice is yours, martinis are a very personal experience, both in the ratio and method. If you don't know what you like, experiment!
Blend the cranberry liqueur and cranberry sauce together in a blender.
Add 4 of the mint leaves and the orange juice to your cocktail shaker and muddle until you can smell the orange mint.
Add a cup of ice cubes to the cocktail shaker then pour in the cranberry liqueur and cranberry sauce mixture, the cranberry bitters and the Grand Marnier and shake until your cocktail shaker frosts over.
Strain into your chilled martini glass, leaving enough room for the Champagne.
Pour in the bubbly, garnish with the remaining mint leaf, the orange twist and the Santa gummy candy.
When I was growing up Frosty the Snowman was a traditional holiday song in my house. Originally recorded by Gene Autry in 1950 it was one of the several holiday records my mom would play while decorating for the holidays. (Yes, we had Bing singing White Christmas and Autry's Rudolf too!) Frosty was written as a follow up to Autry's recording of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", a huge success the previous year.
There was also a Little Golden Books edition of Frosty and I had a dearly loved, dog-eared copy that was my favorite bedtime book at Christmas. Though the little book and the 78 record disappeared many decades ago, I recently came upon this copy of the book in a back alley second hand store and joyously took it home as a reminder of those past Christmas memories from many years ago.
In the years following Autry's version and the book there was a series of Frosty The Snowman recordings, television shows and specials, however the Autry version and the Little Golden Book publication hold a special place in my heart and to celebrate my treasured find I have created a new Christmas cocktail:
1/2 Oz. Vanilla Vodka
1/2 Oz. Cranberry Vodka
1 oz. Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
1 Oz. Half & Half
Assorted White Cake Sprinkles
Dip the rim of your martini glass into some of the Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur and then into the white cake sprinkles. Chill your glass in the freezer. Pour the vanilla vodka, the cranberry vodka, the Godiva liqueur and the half & half into your cocktail shaker with ice and shake until nice and Frosty (wink). Garnish with your snowman gummy candy, go to YouTube and listen to Gene Autry sing Frosty The Snowman and enjoy!
P.S. Those two Christmas tree ornaments in the photo are also cherished holiday memories of mine, both having been on every tree my mother decorated until she passed away in 1991. Though I have never been able to bring myself to decorate a live tree since, those two Christmas ornaments always have the spot of honor in my holiday decor.
Dip your martini glass rim and some of the Irish Cream Liqueur and then into the red sugar crystals, then chill your glass in the freezer.
Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the Chocolate Candy Cane Vodka, the Irish Cream Liqueur, the half and half and the chilled coffee then shake until well chilled. Garnish with a chocolate candy cane.
2 Oz. Good Whiskey
3/4 Oz. Real Maple Syrup
3/4 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
Dash of Angostura Bitters
Homemade Maraschino Cherry
Fill your glass with ice, add a drop or two of Angostura bitters, then pour in the whiskey. Add the maple syrup and the lemon juice and stir. Garnish with a Homemade Maraschino Cherry and an orange twist.
Whiskey or Whisky?
The word itself comes from the Gaelic "usquebaugh", (uisge beatha in Scottish, uisce beatha in Irish), with "uisce" being from the Old Irish for "water" and "beatha or bethad" for "of life". Ergo, whiskey is "the water of life"!
When whiskey was being exported from Ireland and Scotland to America in the late 1800's the Irish wanted to distinguish their whiskey from what they considered inferior Scottish whisky so they added and "e". Today most Americans and Irish spell it "whiskey" while the Scots still spell it "whisky".
History and Provenance
From the historical cocktail class of sours, a recipe for a Whiskey Sour was first published in Jerry Thomas’ How to Mix Drinks (1862), but the first printed mention was purportedly in January 4th 1870 in a Wisconsin newspaper called the Waukesha Plaindealer. A Peruvian newspaper called El Comercio de Iquique states that Elliott Stubb created the "Whisky Sour" in 1872.
Add egg white and it's a Boston Sour, add a float of red wine (Claret, Bordeaux, Cabernet) and you have s New York Sour!
Today is the annual Army-Navy Game so I thought it appropriate to share this recipe for the traditional Army Navy Cocktail. Though not a big football fan, this is the one game I watch every year in honor of my father, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army.
Though Dad passed in 1996, I will mix up a batch of these Army Navy Cocktails and watch the game to commemorate those Saturdays of the past where I shared the couch and a few hours of gridiron with my dad.
A Little Army-Navy Game History:
The Army-Navy Game is a football game between the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and the United States Naval Academy (USNA). The first game was played in 1890, was first aired on radio in 1920 and was first televised in 1945.
Now played on the second Saturday in December (though prior to 2009 it was played on the first Saturday after Thanksgiving) it is a traditional college game between the Army Black Knights and the Navy Midshipmen.
THE ARMY NAVY COCKTAIL
2 Oz. Gin
3/4 Oz. Lemon Juice
1/4 Oz. Orgeat Syrup
Chill your martini glass in the freezer. Fill your cocktail pitcher with ice, add the gin, lemon juice and Orgeat syrup and stir until chilled. Strain into your chilled glass, twist the lemon over your cocktail to express the oils, then drop in and serve.
A classic Peppermint Patty cocktail is made from hot cocoa and a splash Peppermint liqueur, typically a peppermint schnapps. That's a time honored recipe, but you know me, I can't leave well enough alone.
I have my own special recipe for hot cocoa using the addition of a luxurious dark cocoa powder and a little spicy kick and during holidays I often use this cocoa recipe to make my version of a Peppermint Patty:
Prepare the cocoa as directed in my recipe, except leave out the chili powder and cinnamon. Add the quarter teaspoon of espresso powder and stir. Allow this to cool slightly, you want it still warm enough to drink but not so hot it could damage your glass. Pour into your cocktail glass and add your chocolate peppermint candy cane stir stick.
Don't leave out the espresso powder, you really won't taste the coffee all that much but it adds a nice accent and balance to the sweetness of the cocoa and the chocolate mint liqueur. I wanted a slight bitterness to balance the sugars, but did not want to bring the herbal qualities of chocolate bitters into play and the espresso powder worked perfectly.
A Shandy cocktail is beer, ale or lager typically mixed with lemonade, ginger beer, or ginger ale mixed in half to half ratios. It's a great way to enjoy a refreshing cocktail when you're hot and thirsty because it's fairly low in alcohol.
I always think of them as a guy's version of an Arnold Palmer, which is half lemonade and half iced tea. Both are very refreshing, but one includes a form of beer!
A Turbo Shandy is a Shandy turbocharged by using an alcohol based lemon ingredient like a hard lemonade. I think this defeats the purpose of what is Shandy is, namely a light alcoholic refreshment which is perfect for a hot day. In fact, Shandies are so light in alcohol that in some locations around the world they are exempt from the laws governing alcoholic beverages!
Below is my favorite recipe for a Shandy:
4 Oz. Anchor California Lager
2 Oz. Hansen's Natural Ginger Ale
2 Oz. Minute Maid Lemonade
Mint Infused Ice Cubes*
*Make your mint infused ice cubes ahead of time by simply bruising some mint leaves and adding to your ice cube tray or mold before adding the water.
Tip: Chill your mugs in the freezer when you freeze the ice cubes so the mugs will be icy cold and frosty when you're ready to mix your Shandy.
Mixing directions for my Mint Shandy:
Pour the lager, ginger ale and lemonade over the mint ice cubes then garnish with a lemon slice, sprig of mint and a Maraschino cherry.
Brownies are one of those foods that can make everything better. They're chocolatey and rich and chewy and they can take the sting out of a bad day, especially if they're 40 proof.
I want you to feel better, I want you to feel great, I want to take the sting out of your bad days, so I made up this special chocolatey, rich, chewy and, of course, boozy:
Just for you, because you deserve it.
1-1/2 Oz. Chocolate Vodka
1/2 Oz. Irish Cream
1/2 Oz. Dark Cream de Cacao
1/2 Oz. Butterscotch Schnapps
1 Oz. Half & Half
Pinch of Sea Salt
Garnish: 2 - 1" Sq. Brownie Bites
Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then pour in the chocolate vodka, Irish cream, dark creme de cacao, butterscotch schnapps, sea salt and the half and half. Shake until well blended and chilled then pour into your chilled and rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a couple of brownie bites on a cocktail pick and sip your bad day away.
Nothing is more festive and playful than a big fluffy cloud of cotton candy, unless it's a big fluffy cloud of it in a martini glass just waiting to play with some booze. This is a particularly fun cocktail for birthday and bachelorette parties because it can be a great interactive party cocktail:
Set up a Cotton Candy Martini Bar
complete with individual cocktail shakers, martini glasses, a bucket of ice, different flavors/colors of cotton candy, assorted mixers, garnishes and a fun assortment of flavored spirits.
Print out the Ingredients and Directions below and set them in a visible location on the serving area.
(Pre-rim enough glasses with some multi colored sprinkles.)
Set out an assortment of flavored vodkas and rums and some fun shot glasses. (The shot glasses could be a party favor for each guest.)
So, you forgot someone on your shopping list or need a last minute hostess gift?
My Christmas Candy Liqueur Recipe will save you! You can have a fun, yummy and boozy bottle of Holiday Spirit ready to stick a bow on in just a few hours.
You can use all kinds of Christmas candy like candy corn, any hard candies, candy canes of all flavors, peppermint sticks and even caramels or red hots. Yes, you can also use flavored vodkas and - with the right candy - whiskey, gin or rum.
You are only limited by what you can get your hands on and your imagination!
CHRISTMAS CANDY LIQUEUR RECIPE:
(Makes One 750 ml Bottle)
1 - 750 ml. bottle of vodka
1 Cup of Christmas candy of your choice
1 sterilized quart sized, lidded jar
(Mason, Ball, old mayo jar)
Large metal strainer
Optional: Decorative bottle with cap or cork
Crunch up your larger candies (candy canes, sticks) to speed up the infusion.
Add the cup of candy to your sterilized jar.
Pour in the bottle of vodka.
Allow the vodka and candy to get all happy with each other in the fridge for as long as possible; a minimum of 8 hours is preferable, overnight is best.
Let it infuse for several days if you have the time.
Shake bottle vigorously every time you open the fridge or at least once an hour.
While your candy and vodka get to know each other, soak the label off the original bottle if you're using it.
Taste after 4 hours for flavor level.
When your infusion has reached the flavor level you like, strain through the cheesecloth lined strainer back into the original vodka bottle or a pretty decorative bottle.
Add a festive Christmas label and bow and you're set!
A partly frozen drink made with milk or fruit juice, or a strongly alcoholic drink served with ice.
I covered all the bases of the definition of a frappé with this cocktail simply to use up some stuff in my fridge! I had an opened can of pineapple juice from another cocktail experiment, some orange juice for the same reason and about half a dish of vanilla ice cream and surprise guests who showed up at my door unannounced. I figured I could clear out my refrigerator and turn it into an impromptu happy hour at the same time.
I wanted to doll up this tweaky Pina Colada with an interesting garnish but had none of the actual pieces of fruit. What I did have was my trusty jar of Maraschino cherries and some Wild Hibiscus Flowers packed in syrup. Good enough! The Hibiscus syrup added a nice pink glow and the flowers were an exotic little nest for the cherry garnish.
I tossed the ingredients into my blender with some ice and frappeed away. Not bad mixing on the fly!
HIBISCUS COLADA FRAPPÉ
(Makes 4 Cocktails)
4 Oz. Vodka
1Cup Pineapple Juice
1Cup Orange Juice
2 Lg. Scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
1/2 Tsp. Freshly Grated Ginger
Pinch of Salt
2 Cups of Ice
Half an Orange Slice
Serve in a martini glass or coupe.
Add your ice to a blender then scoop in the ice cream, grate in the fresh ginger and pour on the vodka, pineapple and orange juices and toss in a pinch of salt. Blend to a slushie, frothy consistency. Pour about a teaspoon of the hibiscus syrup into each glass, gently pour in the cocktail mixture, sprinkle on a dusting of ground ginger and garnish with the cherry tucked into a hibiscus flower and the orange slice.
My guests were fascinated by the edible flower garnish and loved the tropical, gingery drink. For folks who dropped in with no notice (oh, okay, they called me but my wonky phone* sent them to voicemail) it was kind of a leftover-cocktail triumph.
The first time I heard about the secret bartenders ritual of "boomerang cocktails" I was in New Orleans hanging at a friend's bar. I watched as he crafted up an interesting looking libation and then, instead of placing it in front of a customer, he put some of that clingy kitchen wrap over the rim, scribbled something on the plastic with a Sharpie, packed it in a gift bag, poured some bar mix around it and handed it to one of his bussers who promptly hurried out the back door with it.
He had this little smile playing around his lips that piqued my curiosity even more so I stuck my snoopy nose in and asked what was up with the bag of booze and bar snacks. He said, "Boomerang Time." So I bit and said, "Boomerang Time?" (WTH?)
Turns out there was a nifty little "thang" going on between local bartenders where they sent each other drinks as a friendly gesture, sort of a cocktail industry Amuse Booze. Perfectly legal in New Orleans where they have an open container law that allows alcohol to take to the streets. Not so legal in other places where I understand this practice also occurs, but much more sub rosa.
It's also supposed to be some big bartender clique secret, but not so much anymore as I've found several references to it since. So I feel a bit less guilty about tattling on the covert practice and ratting out my friend. . .
All this brings me to today's cocktail, the Boomerang. No association to the boomerang cocktail practice of gifting fellow bartenders that I'm aware of, the recipe has been around considerably longer than the practice. But thinking of my friend, now a restaurateur in another part of the world, brought to mind that night and reminded me of the cocktail.
There are two versions of the Boomerang, don't ask me why; one gin and one bourbon. I was in a martini mood so went with the gin. The bourbon version is more like a very sweet lemony Manhattan, also good!
GIN BOOMERANG COCKTAIL
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
2 dashes Bitters
1/2 tsp Maraschino Liqueur
1 Maraschino Cherry
Chill a high ball (old fashioned)* glass in the freezer. Add the gin, dry vermouth, bitters and Maraschino liqueur to a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake until chilled then strain into a chilled glass filled with an ice ball. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a Maraschino cherry.
*Traditionally, the Gin Boomerang is served up in a martini glass, but I find it more pleasant slightly diluted by some ice and served in a high ball glass.
BOURBON BOOMERANG COCKTAIL
2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
2 dashes Bitters
1 tsp Maraschino Liqueur
1 Maraschino Cherry
Same directions as the gin version, glassware too. I pour this "over" as well, but I've also made it "up" in a martini glass
So, there you go. A little bartender Easter egg, an Amuse Booze with secret society panache and a couple of versions of a nice cocktail. Cheers and enjoy!
You like those Caramel Macchiatos? Well, hold on to your coffee cups, I've upped the ante and added booze!
Take that and brew it, Starbucks!
1 Shot Pinnacle Salted Caramel Vodka
2 Shots Chilled Espresso
1 Shot Heavy Cream
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Rim: Caramel Syrup, Course Sea Salt
Dip the rim of your martini glass in some caramel syrup. Sprinkle a bit of the coarse sea salt onto the caramel (not too much, this is not a margarita), then chill your glass in the freezer. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, pour in the Pinnacle Salted Caramel Vodka, chilled espresso, heavy cream, and vanilla extract then shake until well chilled.
Pour into your chilled and rimmed glass. Dust with a little ground espresso beans, garnish with a cube of salted caramel candy and enjoy.
Why slave over a hot stove any longer than necessary on Thanksgiving? Grab a cool cocktail shaker and DRINK your dessert(s) instead! That's right! Shake, Don't Bake!
Unless you're lucky enough to have a professional style kitchen in your home (or, at the very least, a double oven), you'll be spending another hour or more over said oven baking pie(s) or some traditional dessert, plus the prep time for each sweet treat. If your guests are anything like my guests, then you have to make more than one type of pie too! Pop has to have "Mom's" apple, Aunt Agnes won't eat anything but her "special" cherry, and dear Cousin Joe Bob insists on pumpkin! (You're just the cook, but wouldn't you really just love a slice of your favorite key lime?) Then there's always the cake lovers and non-traditionalists hoping for the latest au courant sweet.
Naturally, not a one of them volunteers to BRING their pie, opting instead to re-gift you with a bottle of Chateau Gas Station some other wanker left at their last party. You'd have to open a bakery to please everyone. The mind - and Kitchen Aid - reels!
So, why not make it easy on yourself and set up a Thanksgiving Cocktail Dessert Bar? After the cocktails you might even get a few of those guests to help you with the dishes.*
Pick out a few of the cocktail recipes below and batch up the ingredients ahead of time. Set out your martini glasses, a bucket of ice and a few cocktail shakers and send your freeloaders to the bar after dinner!
As for the kiddie table, just set up a few plates of (store bought) cookies or cupcakes, some frosting in a can, assorted toppings and let 'em have at it! The tryptophan in the turkey will balance out the sugar rush and they'll be entertained while the adults sip their dessert.
There is something so sexy about this Cappuccino Martini. It's subtle, elegant, divinely delicious and dangerously mysterious. The bold coffee flavor carries a hint of dark chocolate lurking just at the back of your senses; it's silky, smooth and the espresso/sugar rim teases your mouth and tickles your tongue as you sip.
I used my own Homemade Espresso Vodka but you can buy coffee vodka if you're too excited to wait while your vodka gets acquainted with the espresso beans. (Sheesh, some folks have no self control!)
I created this cocktail last year for National Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day (also works quite nicely for National Bittersweet Chocolate Day and Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day), but looking at it this year I realized I left out an important element, namely the bitter part of the bittersweet. I don't know what I was thinking, as I have the perfect bitter element to balance out the sweetness, that being some lovely bitters.
I have in my bar both chocolate and coffee bitters, either of which would be a nice addition to this recipe. But finally, I went with the coffee bitters because when I cook or bake with chocolate I often add some coffee element to the recipe. Coffee really brings the chocolate flavor forward and it also goes really well with almond flavors.
Try it out, I think the new addition really adds depth and interest.
BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE ALMOND MARTINI Ingredients:
1 Oz. Chocolate Vodka
1 Oz. Amaretto
1 Oz. Dark Creme de Cacao
2 Dashes Coffee Bitters
Garnish: Rim of Dark Cocoa Powder
Rim glass with the cocoa powder and sugar mixture then chill in the freezer. Place a cup of ice into your cocktail shaker, add the Chocolate Vodka, Amaretto and Creme de Cacao and shake until chilled then pour into chilled cocktail glass, tap on the coffee bitters and enjoy.
National Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day is November 7th.
National Bittersweet Chocolate Day is January 10th.
National Milk Chocolate with Almonds Day is July 8th.
I took one look at that bag of lovely walnuts and knew exactly what to do with them. I tossed them into some bourbon! After waiting patiently for many weeks while the walnuts, bourbon and maple got all happy with each other, I'm now able to share my recipe with you!
MAPLE BOURBON RECIPE
1 C. Toasted, Chopped Walnuts
2 C. Bourbon
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (or one split vanilla bean)
2 Tbsp. Real Maple Syrup
Toast your walnuts in a saucepan for about 3 to 5 minutes, keeping an eye on them as they can burn easily. You want a light toast.
Combine all the ingredients and allow to infuse for a minimum of 2 weeks and up to a month.
Strain through cheesecloth to remove the walnut pieces.
(DON'T THROW THE WALNUTS AWAY! More on this in a bit! )
Now you can bottle your Toasted Maple Walnut Bourbon and enjoy!
SOME COCKTAILS FOR YOUR TOASTED WALNUT MAPLE BOURBON:
1-1/2 Oz. Toasted Walnut Maple Bourbon
1/2 Oz. Bailey's
1/2 Oz. Heavy Cream
Pinch of Cardamom
Dip your glass rim in some of the Bailey's then into the crushed walnuts. Chill glass in the freezer. Combine the Toasted Walnut Maple Bourbon, Bailey's, Heavy Cream and Cardamom in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until blended and chilled. Pour into a coupe, dust with a little more cardamom and enjoy.
1 Oz. Toasted Walnut Maple Bourbon
1 Oz. Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
Pour both into a shooter and, well, shoot! Oh, okay, you can add a dollop of whipped cream.
HEY! Don't go away just yet! Remember I said don't toss the walnuts? You didn't? Good! There's another fabulous way to enjoy your sweet, nutty bourbon! Take a nice scoop of those bourbon maple soaked walnuts, mix in an ounce or so of your Toasted Walnut Maple Bourbon and pour this right the heck over a nice scoop of rich vanilla bean (or maybe fresh peach or dark cherry or chocolate) ICE CREAM! I'm your best friend now, aren't I?
Go ahead, make extra of everything. I did the minute I used up nearly all of my first batch on ice cream!