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

winter sangria

winter sangria

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 are flavorful themselves). Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown in the south of Spain, and it adds depth to this sangria. My favorite red wine infusions always involve cinnamon, to give a little kick and additional complexity. This prevents it from tasting like overly-sweet fruit juice or, even worse, like not much of anything. winter sangria 1...

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

calimocho con canela

calimocho con canela

  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 that you would not want to use that $70 bottle of fine wine for an application like this. That is not how I would elevate a cocktail whose popularity is a direct result of its low cost and humble contents, and whose primary purpose is to get young Spaniards drunk. But could we give it a little more complexity and sophistication?...

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

hibiscus gin cooler

hibiscus gin cooler

  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 are easily multiplied for whatever sized pitcher you want to mix up! There’s another infusion in this recipe: bitters. Contrary to their name, bitters are typically not bitter. It’s simply a general term used for the many varieties of alcohol infused with various aromatic botanicals – herbs, spices, and/or other ingredients. The original bitters concoctions were marketed as cure-alls – and...

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

ruby red rover

ruby red rover

  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 for my taste. So, I turned it inside out (or maybe outside-in?) and infused the vodka with ruby red grapefruit zest. This makes for a much smoother and more delicious cocktail that’s incredibly refreshing. This dog has much less of a bite. ruby red rover 1 shot ruby red grapefruit-infused vodka 4-5 ounces lemon-lime soda grapefruit zest for garnish To infuse the vodka,...

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