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!)
Dip your martini glass rim in some Kahlua or Bailey's and then into the instant espresso and sugar mixture. Chill your glass in the freezer. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice and add the Espresso Vodka, Kahlua, Bailey's, chocolate ice cream, salt and the shot of espresso, shake until well chilled then pour into your chilled glass. Garnish with a dusting of the dark cocoa powder or a couple of espresso beans and sip your way into a torrid love affair!
This is a cocktail equally comfortable at brunch, happy hour, dinner, dessert or a midnight tryst.
I created this cocktail last year for National Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day (also works quite nicely for National 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. White Creme de Cacao
2 Dashes Coffee Bitters
1/2 C. Crushed Almonds
Rim glass with crushed almonds, 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 martini glass, tap on the coffee bitters and enjoy.
National Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Day is November 7th.
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!
Once upon a time, in Merry Olde England, this group of English Catholics hatched a plan called The Gunpowder Plot. Headed by the infamous Guy Fawkes aka Guido Fawkes, the idea was to blow up King James and the House of Parliament. The coup failed, heads rolled, a holiday was born.
For his crime, Fawkes was hung, drawn and quartered and his decapitated head was displayed for all of London to see on Traitors Gate. The lesson? If you're looking for evening activities you're better off having a pint or a toddy than planning a plot.
In modern times, the V for Vendetta comic book series and film adaptations have adopted the Guy Fawkes mask as their anarchist symbol, Harry Potter's headmaster wizard, Dumbledore, named his Phoenix Fawkes, two Doctor Whos have Tardis-ed back to the failed plot and the Internet anarchist group, Anonymous, has used the mask when making physical appearances.
For his efforts, ineffectual as they were, the original Fawkes did get a drink created in his honor, by none other than cocktail master Anthony Caporale.
"This drink brings together Guy Fawkes’ English roots in DRAMBUIE® along with his Spanish exploits connoted by the sherry, overlaid on the smokiness of Islay Scotch to evoke the infamous Gunpowder Plot to which he is inextricably linked."
Rizzi over at Arctic Chill sent me a pack of four of their BPS free Silicon Ice Ball Makers to try out and review a few weeks ago and I've been having fun experimenting with them.
They come in a pack of four and each mold makes about a 2" diameter ice ball. The instructions are easy enough, after thoroughly cleaning you put the top and bottom together tightly, fill with filtered water and freeze:
The instructions say to leave about a third of an inch open at the top to accommodate expansion as the water freezes, though this is not easy to judge because the balls are not transparent. I tried this but usually ended up with a sphere with a flat top. So I played around a bit and discovered my technique of tapping out a bit of water after filling up the mold worked pretty well.
I also tried filling them nearly to the top and this caused a little bit of ice to pop out the hole in the top. This was to be expected and I handled this by simply holding the whole mold under some running water and rinsing off the excess ice that popped out. A few times this "full up" technique caused the mold to separate slightly from over expansion resulting in a less than perfect sphere. No biggie, I just evened them out under running water.
I didn't attempt to adjust my home freezer to accommodate the suggested lower freezing temperatures so I did get air trapped in my ice as it froze, resulting in some opacity. I did use filtered water and I found that letting the filled molds sit at room temperature before freezing allowed some of the trapped air to escape and gave me a more translucent ice ball.
Most of the time I got pretty nice round balls of solid ice using my techniques. The only difficulty at the beginning was in removing the ball from the mold, but I discovered a quick twist of the top and bottom in opposite directions often popped the ice right out. If not, I simply ran the mold under cold water.
If a smaller ball was required for a smaller glass, I simply held the full size ball under cold running water, rotating it until I got the size I wanted, then stuck it back in the freezer, directly on a rack bare naked, to chill out until needed!
I have to say I'm pretty pleased with my Arctic Chill Ice Ball Makers. And, being the experimenter that I am, I was soon filling the molds with coffee, orange juice, herbs and even some fun candy eyeballs to complement my cocktail recipes.
All in all I have to give a 4 out of 5 martini rating to this product. The main issue I have is not getting truly clear ice balls, (which has more to do with home versus professional freezing equipment.) These are a great way to chill a cocktail without lots of dilution and wonderful for iced tea and other soft drinks, especially here in Arizona where summer temps can melt standard ice cubes to oblivion in minutes!
They also make a drink pretty cool looking.
For just under twenty bucks ($19.95), the Arctic Chill Ice Ball Makers are a great addition to my bar toys and I might just have to get a couple more for parties.
If you have a sweet tooth and like it to come out to play at happy hour, you've landed in the right spot! If it has sugar or chocolate I have found a way to toss it in a cocktail shaker and add booze.
All your childhood candy favorites from Snickers, Almond Joy, Tootsie Rolls, Skittles and Rocky Road to Easter Peeps, Gummy Worm Creeps and Christmas Sweets, to Gumdrops, Lollipops and Peanut Butter Cups, all liquored up and grown up and poured into a cocktail cup!
I have left no candy wrapper unturned nor calorie counted in my obsession for sweet libations. If you can get it in a vending machine or grab it from a candy counter, I have thrown some high proof hooch at it!
Enjoy, but don't blame me later if your spanks don't work!
I heard tell that it was a really pomegranate that Eve used to tempt Adam in the Garden of Eden, not an apple. This makes sense because the Garden of Eden was supposedly somewhere in the Middle East and pomegranates originated there whereas apples come from Asia. It makes sense from a taste point as well, there is something so temptation worthy about pomegranates!
Evidently I am tempted by pomegranates as well. I had no idea I had so many pomegranate cocktails until I put this list together. I used pomegranate juice, pomegranate vodka and Pama Pomegranate Liqueur in a lot of cocktails! But then I really do like pomegranates, and they are so good for you health wise. I always have pomegranate juice and fresh pomegranates around so it's easy to grab when I want to add some tart fruity element to a recipe.
Below you will find a classic pomegranate martini, Christmas pomegranate cocktails, Halloween, Valentine's Day, chocolate, cherry, orange, lemon, cranberry and several combinations where pomegranate is featured. I'm sure in the future I'll come up with more and I will add them to this list!