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HAPPY NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY!
I freaking LOVE cheesecake. I love the classic style, cake textured, baked in the oven, rich, decadent cheesecake and my favorite came from a deli/bakery in New York called Lindy's.
Of course I had to translate this dessert into a martini or I would have been shirking my cheesecake loving duties. In fact, I've created several delicious cheesecake inspired cocktails and you can find them all here: CHEESECAKE COCKTAILS
There's also some great cheesecake dessert recipes as well.
is a truly impressive martini to serve to your friends - the martini
itself delivers the wonderful Crème Brûlée flavors but it's the
beautiful caramel garnish that turns this from good to great so click on
over and get the full recipe and instructions!
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant which is found primarily in the red volcanic soil that surrounds the city of Tequila in Jalisco, Mexico. Blue Agave can be grown in other regions but the plant will produce slightly different flavors depending on the regional soil it grows in thus producing various types of tequila.
First produced in the 16th Century, Tequila is based on a fermented Aztec beverage made from the agave plant called Octli or Pulque. When the Spanish invaded Mexico in the early 1500s they started to distill the native liquor when their brandy supplies ran out. Around 1600 the Marquis of Altamira, Don Pedro Sanchez de Tagle began mass production of tequila, the very first distilled spirit native to North America, in what is now Jalisco.
Most well-known Tequila brands are now owned by large conglomerates though a few family owned brands are still part of the 100 plus distilleries making tequila. These 100 plus distilleries produce over 2000 brands of tequila and these are now regulated by the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico which issues NOMs (Norma Oficial Mexicana) to control the quality and preserve the essence of true Mexican Tequila. Authentic Blue Agave Mexican Tequilas now have a serial number (NOM) on each bottle.
Mexico has claimed an exclusive international right to the word "tequila" and Mexican law allows production only in the state of Jalisco and limited regions of Guanajuato, Michoaan, Nayarit and Tamaulipas. Though the Tequila Trade Agreement of 2006 allows liquor companies in the U.S. to bottle bulk tequila produced in Mexico, the product must be approved through a registry in order to be called "tequila".
SOME COOL TEQUILA FACTS:
The Blue Agave fields and ancient distilleries near Tequila are now recognized as part of the World Heritage List.
The most expensive bottle of spirit ever sold was a platinum and gold packaged, limited edition, premium Tequila that was sold for $225,000 in July 2006 by Tequila Ley .925.
Mexican scientists discovered a way to produce nano sized synthetic diamonds from 80 proof tequila. Much too small for use as jewels, these minute diamonds are used for computer chips and cutting tools.
Nothing is better to drink in the heat than lemonade and the Blue Lemon Drop Martini is the adult version with a little color thrown in for happy hour fun. Easy to shake and easy to drink so take it easy because they taste just like regular lemonade but they are the leaded version. I had my first Lemon Drop ever at Henry Africa's in San Francisco in the seventies. I didn't know I was drinking what would become an iconic cocktail many decades later, all I knew was I loved that Lemon Drop cocktail more than any of the other seventies cocktails I was being served in those days. Somewhere between my disco days and my Geritol days someone swapped out the triple sec with Blue Curacao and the Blue Lemon Drop burst upon the cocktail scene. Just as tasty, maybe even better, but now it was also one of my favorite colors. I have experimented a lot with Lemon Drops in the years between disco and Geritol with many other versions including a Rosemary Lemon Drop, a Cherry Lemon Drop and a Pomegranate Lemon Drop. I've even done a down and dirty version I call my White Trash Lemon Drop, but the Blue Lemon Drop is a favorite because of that beautiful turquoise blue color.
THE BLUE LEMON DROP MARTINI
1 Oz. Vodka 1 Oz. Blue Curacao 4 Oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
DIRECTIONS Shake ingredients with ice until chilled then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel slipped onto a fun rock candy swizzle stick and serve.
Take Happy Hour back to your childhood today with my Lollipop Martini. This candy inspired cocktail features the flavor profiles of the most popular lollipops - cherry, raspberry & orange. It's also a really fun color thanks to the Chambord and Blue Curacao.
You can add your own favorite lollipop flavor with the garnish of a small lollipop dropped in!
There is a great debate going on about martinis these days. On one hand you have the classicists who claim a "martini" is only gin and vermouth, on the other hand you have the uppity renegades who will call any cocktail served in a martini glass a "martini".
I'm an uppity renegade. I specialize in what I call "designer martinis" which is pretty much any cocktail I like or create that fits in a martini glass! I have a thing for martini glasses which is what started my whole obsession with "designer martinis" and martini art in the first place.
A cocktail these days is considered anything with booze in it but the true definition is any wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients. A martini these days is not so easily defined.
According to the I.B.A., a classic "Martini" is GIN (not vodka): vermouth (generally dry) in a 5:1 ratio with either an olive or a lemon twist. It is stirred with ice not shaken as shaking bruises the gin, and it should be served in the classic conical bowl martini glass, "up" which means no ice in the glass.
A "martini" made with vodka is called a "vodka martini" or alternately, a Kangaroo. A "martini" garnished with a cocktail onion is a Gibson, a "martini" that includes olive juice is a "Dirty Martini", and a "martini" made with Rose's Lime Juice instead of vermouth is a Gimlet. James Bond drank a Vesper and the girls on Sex and the City drank Cosmos and Flirtinis. If you want to get really classic and drink the original "martini" then maybe you should be tipping up a Martinez!
As for me, I'm sticking with my renegade ways and enjoying my cocktails in a martini glass and calling them a "martini". Argue all you want, debate until the sun goes nova, it's a free country (sorta, still) and when the sun starts to set (as long as it's still there) and the clock nears five I will be happily sipping my martini...one way or another.
Grand Marnier is a liqueur made from a blend of cognacs and distilled essence of bitter orange. It was created in 1880 and named Curaçao Marnier by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostoll, however Cesar Ritz stated it needed "a grand name for a grand liqueur" and renamed it Grand Marnier. For that privilege Marnier-Lapostoll reportedly helped him fund the purchase for the famed Hôtel Ritz Paris. To this day, six generations later, Grand Marnier is still owned and produced by the Marnier-Lapostoll family.
Aside from being a lovely digestive and an element in countless classic cocktails, Grand Marnier is also a main ingredient in two classic desserts created by Auguste Escoffier, Crêpe Suzette and the Grand Marnier® Souffle.
To celebrate National Grand Marnier Day, please enjoy some of my favorite cocktails that employ this lovely orange infused liqueur.
I made a huge blender of my Cherries Jubilee Martinis last week and actually had some left over. I don't ever waste a cocktail so I simply poured it into a baggie and popped it in the freezer. When I had broken my blender once a few years ago this is exactly what I did to make some frozen daiquiris! I simply mixed my cocktail as usual but then froze it in a baggie. When it was nearly frozen I simply smashed the bag around in my hands until it was slushy enough to pour!
Pure alcohol doesn't freeze in a home fridge but, if you have enough mixer in it, you can get it to solidify, the more mixer to alcohol ratio the harder your cocktail will freeze. (Check out how I did my Martini Popsicles). When I took the frozen martini mixture out it was actually solid enough I had to scrape it out and this is exactly what you do when you make any granita! So I scraped it right into a cool martini glass, stuck a spoon in it and - Ta Da! - a delicious frozen cocktail that was a perfect happy hour refreshment in the triple digit heat!
What's a Granita?
It's a grainy ice with intense flavoring that is served as a palate cleanser between courses or as a dessert. It contains no cream or egg whites so it's not an ice cream or a sorbet. Think of it as a snow cone or shave ice but with much more intense flavor as the "ice" is created from the flavor elements instead of a syrup being poured over ice.