You could always tell when my Grandma Effie's "tea" had a kick, you could hear the ice cubes clinking around her china cup as she sipped. I kinda always wanted to try that tea, it sure made Grandma happy, but Mom said it was grown-up tea and always shoved something less potent towards me.
Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake and until chilled.
Strain into a teacup with a few ice cubes in it, garnish and serve.
Grandma's tea was usually just orange pekoe with a couple of fingers of bourbon, so why the rose and hibiscus? Because my grandma always smelled like rosewater, and the wallpaper in her house had giant hibiscus flowers all over it.
MAKES A GREAT HOT TODDY TOO
Yes, you can do this hot, it just happened to be an 80 degree day in December here in Tucson when I made this, I wasn't going with a hot toddy! Just don't cool the tea and leave out shaking and straining, which is primarily to strain out any ice shards anyway.
Cheers to you, Grandma Effie, I sure hope there's bourbon up there!
Long before I ever called myself The Martini Diva I was adding booze to my tea. One of my favorite combinations was Grand Marnier in Good Earth's spiced orange tea. I was also fond of flavored vodkas and rums with flavored teas, both iced and hot.
Homemade Tea Infused Vodka
I've even made tea infused vodkas by simply dropping 6 to 8 tea bags into one bottle of decent vodka. You allow this to steep for about 18 hours, strain through coffee filters (just to get the fine tea dust out) and you're ready to go. If you want Sweet Tea Vodka simply add simple syrup to taste.
You can also add spices, herbs and citrus zest as well as berries and fruits though you'll need to infuse those longer depending on what you've added.
Tea is a great way to add a little creativity to your craft cocktails. You can make a tea infused simple syrup to use in your tea or use it as a cocktail mixer, either hot as a toddy or mixed cold. There's a world of possibilities considering all the flavored teas out there.
You can also add a bit of booze to a classic Arnold Palmer:
International Tea Day is December 15th, Iced Tea Day is June 10th, British National Tea Day and National Tea Day are both April 21st, National Hot Tea Day is January 12th and January is National Hot Tea Month.
Lately it seems like gingerbread is surpassing pumpkin for the latest trending holiday flavor profile. I don't have a problem with that because I love gingerbread, and have created many Gingerbread Cocktails for past Christmas seasons.
I also love Coffee Cocktails and often pour a little of my Homemade Gingerbread Liqueur* into my evening cup of coffee for a quick coffee gingerbread tipple. Why I neglected to make an "official" coffee and gingerbread cocktail until now eludes me, but this drink recipe should solve that issue once and for all.
In ancient Greece ambrosia was considered the food of the Gods, and nectar was the drink of the Gods. Today Ambrosia is a fruit salad made up of mixed fruits, particularly orange slices, cocktail cherries (ugh!) and pineapple with whipped cream and/or cream cheese, coconut, marshmallows and sometimes nuts.
It's a Southern culinary favorite that originated around the mid 1800's, around the time fruits like coconut and pineapple, previously considered exotic, became more readily available in the U.S. The earliest print reference to Ambrosia is from an 1867 cookbook by Maria Massey Barringer called Dixie Cookery: or How I Managed My Table for Twelve Years.
There is an Ambrosia cocktail floating around that employs cognac, Calvados and lemon juice, but I'm going for the classic taste of that fluffy, sweet fruit salad so well loved by America. Primarily because that is what most of us associate with ambrosia.
Garnish: Mini Marshmallows, Coconut Flakes, Luxardo Cherry
Tools: Cocktail Shaker, Hawthorn Strainer, Bar Spoon
Rub some of the coconut cream on the rim and dip in coconut flakes then chill the glass in the freezer.
Add all the ingredients except the Grenadine to your cocktail shaker and shake until well chilled. Fill the glass with ice then pour the Grenadine in and gently strain the cocktail over the back of a bar spoon on top, garnish and serve.
Yes, Kosher Cocktails. What, you think there's no drinking in the Hebrew culture? Well, think again. My Jewish friends love a good cocktail and, for those who follow the laws of kashrut (keep kosher) I always try to include a kosher drink in my party bar menu.
I may be a shiksa but I am also a good hostess who prefers every guest of mine be accommodated. Because I'm a shiksa though, my kitchen is not kosher so, technically speaking, the actual cocktails I serve in my home might not be for strict Orthodox practitioners. My Hebrew friends are not Orthodox so I'm able to mix up some cheer for them during their High Holidays and on Shabbat.
Every 5th of December the entire cocktail world celebrates the end of Prohibition and the 21st Amendment to the Constitution which repealed the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act.
1919 to 1933 was a dark era in the history of drinking in America, but it was also a time that gave meteoric rise to the modern day cocktail. Why? Because, despite the efforts of the temperance movement to eradicate booze from America's landscape, Prohibition instead fueled in Americans a love for cocktails and gave drinking alcohol glamour and sexiness by making it taboo.
Speakeasies sprang up all over the major cities in the United States serving "bathtub gin", bootleg whiskey and smuggled rums, most of which were pretty low quality and bad tasting, if not outright dangerous to drink. To make the low quality spirits palatable to their scofflaw patrons, bartenders would mix them with all nature of fruit juice, mixers and bitters to hide the bad taste of the booze. Their success is evident in the number for bespoke drinks that survived the dark ages of alcohol to live on in bars and cocktail parties right up to today's revival of vintage libations.
If you've never tried these cocktails, today is the day to give them some happy hour honor. Below you will find the classic recipes, as well as some some of my signature adaptations, for some of the survivors of those 13 years of a hoped for, but not accomplished, dry America.
Happy Repeal Day and may you Party Like It's 1933 Again!
Created by bartender George Williamson, per popular customer Joe Rickey's instructions, at Shoemaker's, in Washington D.C. during a particularly brutal heat wave in 1883. The Rickey was originally made with rye whiskey.
2 Oz. Gin
Fresh Lime Juice
Optional: Splash of Simple Syrup
Mix ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice.
Created by Ada Coleman at the American Bar in The Savoy in 1925.
1-1/2 Oz. Gin
1-1/2 Oz. Sweet Vermouth
2 Dashes Fernet Branca
Stir ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a chilled glass, express an orange twist over the top.
The LAST WORD
The first mention of this popular Prohibition cocktail comes from a 1916 Detroit Athletic Club menu.
3/4 Oz. Gin
3/4 Oz. Chartreuse
3/4 Oz. Maraschino Liqueur
3/4 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Shake with ice, strain into a child cocktail glass.
The MARY PICKFORD
Created for actress Mary Pickford at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba in the 1920s.
2 Oz. White Rum
2 Oz. Pineapple Juice
1 Tsp. Maraschino Liqueur
1 Tsp. Grenadine
Shake ingredients with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnished with a cocktail cherry.
There's something about late fall that makes me want caramel apples. Maybe it's because my mother used to make caramel apples for the Trick or Treaters every year. I also happen to love caramel apples so when fall creeps around the corner my cocktail fancy often turns to this childhood favorite.
Ages ago I created a Caramel Apple Martini, long before there were caramel, apple or salted caramel vodkas on the market. When I discovered I had tucked a bottle of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka on my bar shelf and forgotten about it, I decided maybe I'd try a new recipe.
The new recipe turned out great. It's absolutely perfect for a dessert drink!
2 Oz. Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka
1 Oz. Irish Cream Liqueur
3 Oz. Apple Juice or Cider
1/4 Tsp. of Sea Salt
Garnish: Rim glass: 2 Tbsp. Demerara sugar mixed with 1/2 Tsp. Sea Salt, Dried Apple Slice
Tools: Cocktail Shaker
Glass: Rocks or Cocktail
Rim then chill glass in the freezer.
Add ingredients to the cocktail shaker and shake until chilled.
Strain into the chilled glass, garnish and serve.
If you love this cocktail you might also enjoy making my
A perfect drink for sipping in front of the Christmas Yule log in your fireplace, this Mulled Cider is a heated holiday version of my classic Apple Martini with the addition of the traditional fruits and spices of mulled cider.
It's a modern version of very old, traditional Wassail*, a beverage of hot mulled cider which evolved from a drink called 'lambswool' where roasted crab apples were dropped into warmed mead. Wassail, a spiced cider or wine, was traditionally drunk as an integral part of wassailing, a Medieval English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good cider apple harvest for the following year.
All over the town,
Our toast it is white and our ale it is brown;
Our bowl it is made of the white maple tree;
With the wassailing bowl, we'll drink unto thee.
This spiced apple cider classic is one of my most popular holiday cocktails, very nostalgic and comforting on cold nights and ideal for holiday entertaining.
4 Oz. Dark Rum
2 Oz. Apple Pucker
8 Oz. Apple Cider
1 Tea Bag of Martinelli's Mulling Spices
1/2 Tsp. McCormick Orange Peel
1/2 Tsp. McCormick Lemon Peel
GARNISH PER DRINK: 1 Dried Apple Slice, 1 Dried Orange Slice, 1Cinnamon Stick
TOOLS: Saucepan, Ladle
GLASS: Tea Cups or Mugs
Add the apple cider, mulling spice tea bag, lemon peel and orange peel to your saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while the flavors infuse through the cider.
At serving time add the rum and the Apple Pucker, bring the spiced cider back to a simmer.
Ladle into your serving vessels, garnish and enjoy.
You can also multiply the recipe and use a crock pot for larger gatherings. Place the cider, spice bags, lemon and orange peel in the crock pot and heat on low for 4 hours. Add the spirits just before serving.
Yes, you can leave out the booze for a non-alcoholic version.
"Old Apple tree, old apple tree;
We've come to wassail thee;
To bear and to bow apples enow;
Hats full, caps full, three bushel bags full;
Barn floors full and a little heap under the stairs."
* Old Norse "ves heil", Old English "was hál", which translates to "be you healthy"
Served cold in bottles or hot in foaming tankards, Butterbeer is a Wizarding World tipple made famous in the Harry Potter books and movies. The whole idea of butter beer fascinated me whenever mentioned, I would think, "I wonder what that would taste like?"
Well, according to J. K. Rowling herself, "I made it up. I imagine it to taste a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch."
Okey-dokey, slightly sweet, probably should be carbonated, needs a buttery touch. I needed more to go on so I did a little research and discovered there actually was something called "Buttered Beer" back in Tudor times. There is a recipe in The Good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin' (1588) made from beer, sugar, eggs, nutmeg, cloves and butter. Heston Blumenthal used a recipe from The Accomplisht Cook by Robert May (1664), which has a buttered beer with licorice root and aniseeds when he had his Tudor Feast. However, these don't sound much like the Butterbeer of Harry Potter's World to me, these sound like hot beer flips.
Supposedly Butterbeer, which is low in alcohol content, makes house elves drunk but humans have to drink a lot to get inebriated. Well, boo to that. A glass or two of Butterbeer that doesn't get Harry, Ron or Hermione tipsy might be okay for underage students at Hogwarts, but we Muggle adults need a little ABV to get through our magic deprived world ... especially these days.
There are a few boozy concoctions out there for "Butterbeer" that make use of rum and butterscotch syrup or liqueurs. These are basically uninspired recreations of Hot Buttered Rum which is a made from rum, butter, hot water or cider, some sweetener, and spices. Seriously? That doesn't sound at all like J.K. Rowling's idea of Butterbeer. Where's the BEER?? May they be consigned to Slytherin House by the Sorting Hat for those abominations.
We must all face choice between what is right and what is easy.
~ Albus Dumbledore
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
I had to take matters into hand and give us all a viable Butterbeer option before Valdemort joined the fray and added even more nasty potions to the mix. So I grabbed my cocktail wand and cast a little chocolate spell and added some real spirits to the recipe.
Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress. Adventure.
Fill the cocktail shaker with ice the add the bourbon and Butterbeer Simple Syrup.
Shake until chilled then strain into your chilled mug or goblet.
Add the chocolate stout, top with the Chocolate Bourbon Whipped Cream, garnish and serve.
Prefer a less potent version for those fledgling wizards in your house? Here's a magical but non-alcoholic version:
Great Goblet of
(This one's for you "Little Pea"!)
10 Oz. Cream Soda, Icy Cold
2 Tbsp. Torani Chocolate Syrup
1 Tbsp. Torani Butterscotch Syrup
1/3 Cup Whole Milk
2 Dashes Sea Salt
Topping: Whipped Cream
Garnish the same as the adult Butterbeer but use a different magic wand stir stick.
Pour the milk into an ice filled goblet. Slowly add the syrup, then gently add the cream soda. Using a long spoon, stir well, garnish and serve.
I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.
Phrase to work Maurauders Map
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
BUTTERBEER SIMPLE SYRUP
In a small sauce pan, mix together 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar with 1 teaspoon of dark cocoa powder and 1/3 cup of chocolate stout. Mix in 2 tablespoons of Torani Butterscotch Syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Warm over medium heat until blended. Lower heat and reduce, stirring constantly, until the syrup coats the back of a spoon. (About 5 minutes.) Remove the pan from the heat and let cool. This will keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator and is great on ice cream and pancakes!
1 C. Heavy Cream
1/2 Tsp. Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Tbsp. White Creme de Cacao
1/2 Tbsp. Bourbon
Tools: Hand Mixer, Mixing Bowl
Chill all the ingredients, bowl and tools. Beat to soft peaks. Will keep for up to 2 days refrigerated.
Why don't we go and have a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, it's a bit cold, isn't it?
~ Hermione Granger
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
October 31,lst is the end of the First Wizarding War (October 31, 1981) and the first defeat of Voldemort and his Death Eaters by an infant Harry and the original Order of the Phoenix.
May 2nd is the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts (May 2, 1998) where Voldemort was finally defeated by Harry, ending the Second Wizarding War.
July 31st is the birthday of Harry Potter and his creator, J.K. Rowling.
There is actually something called the Coast Guard Cocktail, however this is not a drink but a nickname for sea sickness.
ABOUT VETERANS DAY
According to The U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs:
"World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”"
This is why we celebrate Veteran's Day every November 11th. Originally known as Armistice Day, November 11th was officially made a holiday on May 13, 1938, dedicated to world peace and to honor the soldiers of World War I. However, in 1954, after the sacrifice of troops during WWII and Korea, Congress changed "Armistice" to "Veterans" and November 11th became a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.
If there is some confusion as to what day Veteran's Day is celebrated make no mistake, according to the Department of Veteran's Affairs it is always November 11th:
"The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good."
*It is interesting to note that our allies, Canada and Australia, also observe November 11th as a Remembrance Day for their troops.
As to why the poppy is associated with Veteran's Day, this poem by John McCrae should tell the story:
At the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia there sits an exact replica of the original Tun Tavern, the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. In this present day Tun Tavern they have served the U.S. Marine Corps Martini for over 50 years. This cocktail is sometimes also referred to as a 5:4:3:2:1 Martini because of the ingredient ratios.
On this day, the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, it seems appropriate to serve this cocktail honor of those who served and those who continue to serve our country as proud Marines.
Semper Fi and Cheers!
U. S. MARINE CORPS
5 parts Vodka
4 parts Gin
3 Ice Cubes
2 parts Pale Dry Sherry
1 part Water
Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass and freeze several hours. The water and ice cubes allow for some dilution and should create a slight freezing of the ingredients.
Do not shake or stir.
Strain into chilled martini glass and serve. No garnish is served with this cocktail.
It's my favorite time of the year, first Halloween and Diá de los Muertos. I have a thing for both holidays as knell as the skeletons, skulls and cocktails that go with them. In fact, I've done quite a few skeleton and skull themed drinks in my tenure as The Martini Diva. I just love a cocktail with good bones.
Make no bones about it, these are the best cocktails for the Halloween, Day of the Dead Season.
I found two adorable Frankenstein tapas plates and just had to do one more Halloween themed cocktail to use them as props. Being the lover of bad puns that I am, I also had to do a drink that played on the "stein" in Frankenstein. That meant some kind of beer and I just recently reviewed Best Damn Cherry Cola Ale and had a bottle left. A little help from some black rum, a bit of chocolate and monstrous mixings were afoot. Think Dr. Victor stirring up a reanimated Rum and Coke instead of a man.
October 29th is National Cat Day, National Black Cat Day is October 27th and Black Cat Appreciation Day is August 17th so I had to do this cocktail. Not that I haven't given a cocktail homage to black cats before with my classic Black Cat Martini, but I found this pretty cool cat-face bucket that was perfect for a decent sized on-the-rocks drink and I just had to use it.
For this particular cat themed cocktail recipe I went "berry" over the top with deep, blackish, berry liqueurs and a black vodka base. I was inspired by the fact that my cat wingman, Bailey, won't let me eat a berry without sharing with him. (No, sorry he's not a black cat, he's a blond.)
REVIEW OF BLAVOD VODKA
I usually hoard my Blavod black vodka for Halloween (and those oddly multiplying requests for a creating signature Goth or Vampire wedding cocktails.) First of all, it wasn't easily available for a few scary years here in the United States. Secondly, it's the only black vodka I will use in my Halloween cocktails because it's black color is created with natural, organic ingredients. I live in fear of not having it available at Halloween so when I restock I don't buy a bottle of Blavod, I buy a case.
Blavod Vodka is black because of the infusion of Black Catechu, which, supposedly, adds little flavor to the vodka. However, along with some mild berry notes and slight hint of anise (licorice) there is a tiny bite of something akin to allspice or maybe clove at the end which I would attribute to the Catechu. However, when mixed with other ingredients these mild flavors will disappear. All in all, it's a very decent vodka with only a slight burn going down and very worthy of the higher end price, if only for the deep black and completely natural black color. It's a Halloween freak's best bar buddy.