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cinnarum cider

Posted by on Oct 1, 2014 in infused | 0 comments

Autumn is when we start to crave apple and cinnamon more than other times of the year. Infusing apple cider with mulling spices (e.g., cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg) gives it that fall feel that we relish when the weather gets cooler. To make mulled cider, you can either purchase a mulling spice mix (available in most supermarkets and at Penzey’s Spices – my personal preference) or make your own using one of the many recipes available online. You also can use mulling spices in wine to create a cocktail similar to that Christmas classic called wassail. This cinnarum cider is a particularly perfect party cocktail, so ratios are provided to make...

rosemary – st. germain slinger

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in muddled | 0 comments

When I visited Copenhagen, Denmark, I fell in love with the flavor of elderflower (my first taste was in Ricola cough drops, and I was hooked). When I realized there was an elderflower liqueur, I knew I had to buy some and start experimenting. I quickly found that it’s great with gin and lemon (together or separately), but I knew it could be even better with a little touch of brightness from a fresh muddled herb. The savory evergreen aroma of rosemary makes it a great winter cocktail ingredient, and a great companion for the beautifully sweet and floral flavor of St. Germain. Because St. Germain is very sweet, the acidic...

winter sangria

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

Sangria is a classic cocktail that sometimes gets a bad rap. If you order it in a restaurant, you never know what you’ll get – and it’s often disappointing. Some end up being too fruity and sweet, while others just taste like wine with a few pieces of fruit in it. A really good sangria has depth and complexity that belies its seemingly simple recipe. My sangria starts with a medium-bodied pinot noir. Its berry-like aromatic properties make it a great foundation for a fruit-studded cocktail. Next, it gets a tangy citrus infusion from fresh oranges and triple sec. Apples provide a nice crunch and add to the flavor (as long as they...

calimocho con canela

Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

  The classic calimocho – cheap, red wine and Coke – originated in the Basque region of Spain, where it is popular among young drinkers because of its simplicity and low cost. My semester in Pamplona (which sits just outside of the Basque region) while I was in college afforded me plenty of opportunities to familiarize myself with cheap Spanish red wine, and this concoction definitely makes it more appealing. But could it be elevated to a party-worth cocktail you’d serve your friends? Almost no calimocho recipe will specify the type of red wine, except in a few instances, where it may say “the cheaper the better.” It makes sense...

hibiscus gin cooler

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

  Beautiful crimson-colored dried hibiscus petals are used in many countries around the world to create a refreshing beverage that’s full of vitamin C. I first encountered agua de Jamaica, the Spanish name for hibiscus-infused water, in Nicaragua, where it was served cold and slightly sweetened. The tart, almost cranberry-like flavor of this infusion, coupled with its attractive deep color, make it a great foundation for a cocktail. The flavor of hibiscus-infused water is delicate, so I’ve paired it with ingredients that help highlight rather than mask its aromatic qualities. This light, refreshing beverage is a beautiful and unique cocktail that’s perfect for entertaining during the holidays or any time of year. The quantities provided...

ruby red rover

Posted by on Dec 2, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

  Winter is when you want citrus – for staying healthy, and for a glimpse of bright, sunny flavors in the stark cold. The sweet and beautiful ruby red grapefruit is nearly as fragrant on the outside as it is on the inside, and it’s simply a shame to let all of those aromatic essential oils go to waste after you’ve finished consuming the fruit. If you don’t like grapefruit, that’s fine – but don’t confuse the tangy, acidic fruit inside with the sweet, almost floral notes of the zest on the outside. I happen to love grapefruit, but the Greyhound cocktail (vodka and grapefruit juice) is often too tart and harsh...