February is a month of cruel contradictions. Here in the frozen tundra of the North East, we've been blasted with countless days of snow and some of the coldest weather I can remember. But, when we finally make it into the grocery store, not a warm place, but still a huge relief, we're confronted by displays of fresh, summery citrus. Cruel.
All these lemons and grapefruit and tangerines and blood oranges aren't grown here, of course. But this is their season and they're shipped to us daily. I'm all for eating local but I think all bets are off when there's this much snow and the non-local citrus is so lovely.
I sampled a fresh tangerine and was in fruit heaven with sweet juice running down my chin. There was going to be summer in my cocktail glass no matter what the temperature outside. Cheers!
2 oz. Whiskey
1/4 Cup tangerine juice
1 oz. Lemon juice
1 oz. Simple syrup
10 Sprigs mint
Add the whiskey, tangerine juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and mint to a blender. Add about 6 large ice cubes and pulse, using the ice breaker, setting until all the large chunks are broken up. Serve in a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a sprig of mint and wedge of tangerine, if desired.
Even though Valentine's Day is over, I still seem to have chocolate and cherries on my mind. OK, I pretty much always have chocolate on my mind so that's nothing new. But somehow the combination of the two makes me think of Valentine's candy.
Let's talk about cocktails with salted rims. We think about margaritas, right? Those huge, double sized frozen margaritas, served at my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant, that were responsible for a few sessions of dancing on the bar back in the day. Oops, I digressed. OK, let's talk about chocolate instead. As in, it makes the perfect romantic cocktail.
If you follow my recipes and ramblings on Hungry Couple then you already know that I have a basket full of fresh Florida grapefruit adding some sunshine to my dreary winter kitchen. I made jars of this Greek Yogurt and Grapefruit Panna Cotta, which I'm still enjoying, but had some fruit left. Sounds like cocktail time to me!
I frequently get my cocktail inspirations in the produce aisle of the grocery store. When I'm shopping for fresh, seasonal ingredients for my cooking, I find that drink ideas always appear in my head. Actually that kind of sounds like I have a problem, doesn't it? But it's actually just delicious.
Valentine's Day is coming up soon and, for some reason, I always associate it with cherries. Maybe because I've gotten too many chocolate covered cherries as V-Day gifts? That's humor, of course, because there's no such thing as too many chocolate covered cherries. Nevertheless, it's not cherry season yet so I wondered if cherry preserves would make a good substitute in a cocktail.
Sometimes there's a lot to be said for simple. A refreshing and light cocktail seemed perfect for this time of year, when we're all trying to work off the holiday excess. Not too many ingredients, no high calorie liqueurs and with a crisp taste of ginger to make it special.
I was doing a new year's cleaning around here and that included the dreaded refrigerator clear out. Fortunately there was no year-old Chinese food container hiding anywhere but I did get a chance to take stock of all my various cocktail potions. Some older ones had to go but it wasn't that long ago that I made a beautiful ginger syrup and it was just begging to be used again.
Happy New Year's Eve! How do you like to ring in the new year? Party? Bar hop? Curled up with a good book and asleep before the ball drops? Since I grew up in New York, I've always associated this night with Times Square. But I've actually never gone there for the annual ball drop.
Not gonna lie. The first time I heard about hot buttered rum I thought the idea sounded nauseating. But over the years, whenever I heard the term, I started wondering why I thought so because I certainly like butter well enough. And I definitely like rum. And the idea starting sounding more appealing.
If it's December, there must be a bag of cranberries in my refrigerator at all times. So many delicious possibilities. Cranberry sauce, cranberry bread or my personal favorite, orange cranberry scones. So, which have I made? Um...OK, time got a little away from me this month.
I like my sweets salty and my salty snacks sweet. In other words, I'm obsessed with chocolate covered pretzels. Anytime I find myself in a gourmet treat store, I know at least one giant coated pretzel will be coming home with me. And it's all I can do to not buy more.
So Thanksgiving is over. You've feasted and indulged and slept it off. And chances are you have some leftovers in the fridge to last throughout the long weekend. Back to reality, sort of, but not yet. Perhaps just a bit more indulgence before heading back to real life on Monday.
Thanksgiving is one week away and I'm sure you've got your dinner menus planned. But what about your cocktail menu? Oh, were you just planning on putting out bottles of wine and some soft drinks? No thought of creating a house special cocktail? That's about to change!
If you're not a bourbon drinker or don't have much experience with it, I can tell you that this is the cocktail that made me a fan. It was on the specialty drinks menu at a great local restaurant a few years ago and it was just odd enough to be compelling.
There are drinks that are downed in a hurry, maybe to relax or take the edge off, and others that are more of an event. Personally, I'm all for cocktails that are special and deserve to be sipped and savored. Creative rims, fun garnishes, little touches that make them something to look forward to.
There's a chill in the air, the leaves are changing colors and the pumpkin cocktails are flowing freely around here. Mixed with the warmth of bourbon, cinnamon and maple, this drink just typifies autumn.
The other day I was poaching pears in a ginger syrup for a cheese course dish and the aroma was intoxicating. Even the next morning, my kitchen still a light ginger fragrance and the leftover pears on my counter were ripe and aromatic. I just had to do something more with all that!
In case you were concerned that we're already more than a week into October and there haven't been any pumpkin cocktails, rest easy. We like our pumpkins in all forms and that definitely includes liquid!
We've been having a mini heatwave in New York the last couple of weeks. The last bits of summer intruding into our fall. So the bounty of autumn pears in the market are begging to be used, but not exactly in front of a warming fireplace.
The basic daiquiri is a wonderfully simple and tasty classic. Just three ingredients - rum, lime and sugar. But those few components blend together so harmoniously. Much more fun, though, is the fact that it's an easy drink to adapt.
I still remember the first time I heard about apple martinis. It sounded so unusual and intriguing and, when I was at a restaurant that offered it, I was excited to try. Until it arrived, all neon green and practically glowing in the glass. Hmm. Oh, it tasted nice, even if not exactly like apple, but somehow not quite what I expected.
The temperature has finally fallen a bit around here. Still warm but no longer hot. The summer fruits are disappearing, replaced by lovely apples and pears and figs! Yay for figs. They have such a short growing season from late summer into early fall and are almost gone already.
Now that Labor Day weekend has come and gone, we're in that place between mourning the
passing of summer and the anticipation of autumn
and a slight nip in the air. And while many of the summer fruits are becoming scarcer, they're being replaced with juicy apples and fragrant ripe pears. I'm actually a little obsessed with pears these days.
Even though we're quickly coming up on Labor Day weekend, I'm taking advantage of the last bits of summer I can grab. There's still plenty of beautiful ripe fruit to be had at the market and the August peaches are sweet and juicy.
For the last few years, late August has meant vacation heaven on the coast of Maine. We know where to stay, where to eat and definitely where to drink. There are always at least a few meals at One Dock and we can't wait to see what specialty cocktail they've added to their menu.
I've been waiting for the August peaches! In some ways, they're a frustrating fruit because they're available in my market all year long but they're not worth eating. Hard as rocks with no flavor or aroma. But there they are, on display, taunting me. August, though, is when the peaches become peachy!
Once again I found myself planning cocktails in the produce aisle. There's always a dazzling array of fruit these days but something usually jumps out. This week, some blood oranges rolled into my basket and demanded to come home with me. So ripe they practically juiced themselves and filled my kitchen with a lovely fragrance.
Yesterday was National Cheesecake Day and I celebrated with several dozen of my fellow food bloggers. We each made our own perfect version of cheesecake and my Blueberry Ricotta Cream Cheesecake was definitely my ideal. But whenever I have a killer dessert, I start to wonder if I can turn it into a killer cocktail.
Delivery people who come to my door usually have to contend with an eager tail wagger who assumes that they are there to play with her. But today, the man who delivered my Fresh Direct weekly grocery order also had to contend with me practically ripping the boxes out of his arms.
Summer and s'mores just go together. The smell of roasted, slightly burned marshmallows conjures up memories of summer camp and long lazy kid days. Of course, grown-ups can eat s'mores, too, but it's kinda fun to drink them as well. If you don't already have a bottle of marshmallow vodka, you need to get some. Right now. For one thing, you need it to make this drink and you do want to make this drink. You can also use it to make a Frozen Fluffernutter and you want to make that, too. Drinking it straight from the bottle is also an option. Cheers!
Last week I had the good, and tasty, fortune to sample a new line of Häagen-Dazs gelato flavors. Yes, I realize it's a tough job but I'm only doing it for all of you. Um, yeah, sure. Anyhow, I ended up using most of the flavors to make mini crunch cakes but I still had some pistachio flavor left over in my freezer.
So, remember a few weeks ago when I was in such a hurry for summer to arrive? Yeah...um...OK. We can check that off the list now because it's arrived and with a vengeance. No, I'm not wishing it away. Not at all. But I am wishing for something tall and icy cold to drink.
I love farmers markets and big displays of fresh produce and it's one of the many reasons to love summer. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of bags of frozen fruit in my freezer. Those are perfect for smoothies and frozen cocktails. But they don't have the ability, while I'm wandering through the fruit stalls, to grab me with their fresh aroma and demand to be purchased.
I love the smells of summer. Ocean water, suntan lotion, fresh fruit...those aromas all make me happy. The melons especially call out to me when I'm walking past a display of them. It's always tricky knowing which ones are ripe but I've found that with most fruit, the fragrance tells the story.
Do you remember when the world was supposed to end? It was around May of 2011 when the rapture was supposed to occur. Since we're all still here, the folks who were predicting it were clearly a little off...and maybe even more than a little off, if you know what I mean. And before you start thinking that I've gone a little off, I guess I should explain what all this has to do with lychee martinis.
Spring is quickly giving way to summer around here with temperatures moving into 80's. Still not oppressively hot, though. Perfect for beach days and picnics, street festivals and afternoons in the park. And, of course, tall cool drinks on the porch.
So, last week a made a nectarine cocktail because I couldn't resist the sweet aroma of them on display in my market. Well, this week, I walked in there with the intention of buying pineapples but those were right next to the nectarine display, still sitting there, wafting nectarine smells in my direction. Who could resist wafting nectarines?