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miami mimosa

Posted by on 11:00 am in muddled | 0 comments

miami mimosa

  Orange juice is underutilized as a cocktail ingredient, in my opinion. The screwdriver and mimosa are appealing in their simplicity, but there are many other uses for this breakfast beverage. In my miami mimosa, I have replaced with champagne with citrus-infused rum, and fresh muddled cilantro adds a bright floral note that makes it a great cocktail any time of the day. The name gives a nod to the Florida state fruit, as well as the Latin flavors that make this classy cocktail much more than a mere mimosa. I understand some people don’t like cilantro, and there is evidence to suggest there is a genetic defect – uh, I mean genetic predisposition – to finding the taste of cilantro “soapy” and therefore unpleasant (there is even an online community called ihatecilantro.com). For the vast majority of the rest of us, however, this cocktail should be wonderfully delicious and refreshing, especially with brunch. A good morning, indeed! miami mimosa about 15 cilantro leaves 1 shot citrus-infused light rum 4-5 ounces orange juice Place the cilantro in a cocktail shaker and muddle the leaves well. Add the rum and an ice cube, and shake to blend. Strain into a glass with ice and add the orange juice. Brunch is...

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tomodka sipping shot

Posted by on 11:00 am in muddled | 0 comments

tomodka sipping shot

  The cocktail potential of tomatoes goes far beyond the Bloody Mary. This is good news for those of us who love tomatoes but don’t care for that particular beverage. It’s August, and a wide variety of cherry tomatoes are in season (maybe even in your own backyard!). Looking across our seven giant tomato monster plants, I decided it was time to experiment a little with this sweet summer staple that I just can’t get enough of. I hope you tried my mexican mexican coke recipe. And I hope that you trusted me when I said that if you purchased the Absolut Cilantro it called for, I would make it worth your investment. Here is another use for it. This is a refreshing late summer cocktail that gives off a wonderful aroma before you’ve even taken your first sip. It’s called a sipping shot, but of course I won’t judge you if you decide to imbibe it entirely in one swig. It’s healthy, after all! tomodka sipping shot 4-5 cherry tomatoes (preferably homegrown) 1 ounce Absolut Cilantro vodka 2 ounces lemon-lime soda Place the tomatoes in a cocktail shaker and muddle them. (Start slowly, or the tomato goo will squirt everywhere!) Add the vodka and shake with ice. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a tall shot glass and add the soda; stir gently. Makes one sipping...

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herbed spiked lemonade

Posted by on 11:00 am in infused | 0 comments

herbed spiked lemonade

  Summer requires lemonade. Preferably, one that’s really refreshing. By this point in the summer, though, you’re probably bored with it – probably because you’ve had one too many glasses of boring lemonade. Fresh herbs provide a bright, invigorating flavor that is just plain perfect for beating the summer heat. This recipe will renew your faith – and interest – in lemonade. This recipe can be made with or without alcohol. If you are making the adult version, you have a lot of options, as infused vodkas are proliferating at a deliciously fast rate. I love mango, so I often use Three Olives Mango in this recipe (if you like mango vodka, try it in my sassy summer sangria, too!). You also could use a cilantro-, berry-, or other fruit-infused vodka. Here in Columbus, our beloved Middle West Spirits makes a fantastic stone fruit vodka that is good with pretty much everything I’ve ever paired it with. I encourage you to explore the infused vodkas that grab your eye – and if you want recipes that will help you use the rest of the bottle, just ask me! I also encourage you to seek out a local distillery, and check out their offerings as well. Your spirit of adventure will be rewarded. herbed spiked lemonade 20-25 fresh mint leaves 10-15 fresh basil leaves 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary 64 ounces lemonade 16 ounces vodka Crush the mint, basil and rosemary with your fingers. Place all ingredients into a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. While you’re at it, you might as well freeze a tray of plain lemonade ice cubes to help prevent watering down this cocktail when you serve it. If you want to get really fancy, place a tiny mint leaf in each of the ice cubes (the Crushed Cocktails logo features an ice-trapped mint leaf swimming in my herbed spiked lemonade). If you make – or would like to start making – pitchers of infused beverages with some frequency, I recommend this infusion pitcher for its ease of use; it also works well for plain ice...

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nutty vodka gimlet

Posted by on 11:00 am in shaken | 0 comments

nutty vodka gimlet

  The vodka gimlet was my very first cocktail. When my parents had guests over, there was always a pitcher on hand, and I would sneak a sip when I could. I don’t know if it was the lime or the hazelnuts that I found more appealing. Yes, you read that correctly: Hazelnuts. After pouring a glass, one or two hazelnuts were dropped in, to be enjoyed at any point during the imbibing process. Once I became old enough to have my own, I would put three or four hazelnuts in my glass. While developing my own vodka gimlet recipe, I wanted to get even more of their flavor incorporated into this drink. Toasting them helps bring out the flavor-intensive oils, as does bashing them around with some ice and an acid in a cocktail shaker. If you’re a little doubtful, trust me on this one – you’ve just got to try it. (Unless, of course, you’re allergic to nuts – then please, don’t try it.) The hazelnut flavor is subtle but enhances both the aroma and flavor of this cocktail in wonderful ways. My parents made this drink with Rose’s sweetened lime juice, but I prefer to avoid artificial stuff when I can, so I use fresh lime and balance it with lemon-lime soda for an even tastier gimlet than I grew up with. This light, summery beverage is perfect by the fire, the pool, or just about anywhere else. nutty vodka gimlet 1 shot of your favorite vodka juice from half a lime 8 toasted hazelnuts lemon-lime soda Put lime juice, five hazelnuts and ice into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Add the vodka to the shaker, swish gently, and pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a glass with ice. Fill with 5-6 ounces of lemon-lime soda, and finish with three toasted hazelnuts. (Apologies to anyone who clicked on this recipe thinking it was for a Flaming Moe or some other ignited...

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fuzzy gin fizz

Posted by on 11:00 am in muddled | 0 comments

fuzzy gin fizz

  It’s a shame that any cocktail with fruit in it isn’t considered “manly” by a large portion of the male population. If a gorgeous orange color and some tasty peach goo are too frou-frou for you, then I won’t seek to convert you. But I do recommend trying it before dismissing this tasty and sophisticated cocktail as “too girly.” (And keep in mind that if you’ve ever drank gin before, you’ve already ingested the floral aroma and essence of juniper berries. Sounds kinda girly if you ask me…) This cocktail takes advantage of the peach’s summer sweetness and balances it with tartness, while the gin keeps it grounded and instantly reminds you this is an adult beverage. It does not taste like a sweet fruit juice. Don’t worry – this cocktail isn’t actually fuzzy! The peach gets peeled before it gets muddled. fuzzy gin fizz 1/2 fresh peach, peeled and sliced 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 1/8 tsp sugar (more if you like it sweeter) 1 shot gin lemon-lime soda Put the peach slices and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Sprinkle the sugar on top and muddle well, so the peach is completely broken up. Add one shot of gin to the shaker and swirl gently. Pour over ice and add lemon-lime soda to fill the glass; stir very gently. Personally, I like the peach goo, but if you don’t, you can either strain the liquid (you’ll need a coarse rather than fine strainer so the liquid can still pass through), or pour everything in the glass and serve it with a straw (the peach goo floats, with the help of the soda’s carbonation). If you want to get fancy, lay a half-slice of lemon and a thin wedge of fresh peach on...

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sassy summer sangria

Posted by on 11:00 am in infused | 0 comments

sassy summer sangria

  Sangria is a perfect cocktail for improvising and innovating. In fact, I never make the exact same sangria twice. However, if you’re going to use a bottle of your favorite wine and a few of your best liquors, it helps to have a fool-proof foundation on which to build. This is my reliable base, to which you can add any number of other ingredients to make it suit your taste. I call it “sassy” because the rosemary gives it just a bit of an edge, and it’s not very sweet (but it can easily be made sweeter if you wish). Because it’s infused with fresh rosemary and fruit, it needs to be made a day ahead. I also recommend pouring some lemonade or lemon soda into an ice cube tray; when you serve the sangria, these cubes will keep it cool without watering it down. Before serving, taste it. And taste it again, to make sure you tasted it accurately the first time. Then play around with it – I’d suggest adding any new ingredients to your testing glass rather than the whole pitcher so you can try it before you’re committed. And be sure to taste it again. And again. Just to be certain it’s perfect. sassy summer sangria 1 bottle white wine (I prefer an aromatic verdejo; if you can’t find one, chardonnay works fine) 1/3 cup sherry 1/3 cup mango vodka or triple sec assorted fruits, peeled and cubed (pictured here are mango nectarine and Asian pear) 3 sprigs rosemary, thoroughly crumpled to release the oils 5-6 dashes Angostura bitters (it’s not actually bitter, but rather a tasty infusion of herbs and spices) 12 ounces chilled lemon Italian soda Put all ingredients except the soda into a sealed container and let sit overnight. If you want it sweeter, add 1/3 cup mango or other juice. Before serving, add the soda. Serve with lemonade ice cubes and a small sprig of rosemary, if you don’t mind giving away your secret ingredient. Makes approximately six cups. P.S. If you like mango vodka, try it in my herbed spiked lemonade,...

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mexican mexican coke

Posted by on 1:06 am in shaken | 0 comments

mexican mexican coke

  This recipe features some of the tastiest ingredients from Mexican cuisine – cilantro, lime and jalapeño – resulting in a very refreshing and unique cola cocktail. All three of these ingredients are beautiful aromatics, and they complement and balance each other perfectly. You will notice (and appreciate) the delicate sweet, spicy, and green notes in both the aroma you get before taking a drink, and in the flavor of the drink itself. Mexican Coke (I’m talking about Coca-Cola here!) contains real sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup. Actually, most of the rest of the world gets real sugar in their Coke, and to me, it tastes better. You can find it at most Latin food markets and many superstores, and it comes in glass bottles, which some would argue makes it taste even better. If you can’t procure any, the American stuff will work just fine; you will just have to call it “Mexican American Coke” instead. And if you can’t find or don’t feel like buying Absolut Cilantro, you can muddle some fresh cilantro with the lime juice; however, if you do purchase a bottle of Absolut Cilantro, I’ll help make sure you put that stuff to very good use! (For example, my tomodka sipping shot…) I’d keep some tortilla chips handy, as you’ll almost certainly get a craving while enjoying this brightly-flavored cola cocktail. ¡Salud! mexican mexican coke 1 shot Absolut Cilantro vodka lime wedge (about 1/8 of a lime) 1/4″ slice fresh jalapeño (seeds and core removed, cut in half) Mexican Coke Put vodka into a cocktail shaker. Squeeze the lime wedge (completely) into the shaker. Add the jalapeño pieces and ice, and shake well; bruising the jalapeño releases its flavor. Pour contents from the shaker into a glass with ice, and add 3-4 ounces Mexican Coke. Stir very gently. If you want to get fancy, place the jalapeño pieces on top of a fresh lime wedge and float them on the...

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my mai tai

Posted by on 10:45 pm in shaken | 0 comments

my mai tai

  I love rum. A lot. A great local tiki restaurant here in Columbus, Ohio has a drink called Rum and Happiness, and for me that pretty much describes any drink that has rum in it. This drink has three rums, so according to my math, that’s three times the happiness. Coconut is one of the aromatics in this recipe: one of the rums is infused with it, and the coconut water (which is one of the unique modifications I’ve made to make it my mai tai) adds another dimension of tropical nuttiness. If you can find raw coconut water, such as Harmless Harvest, all the better. my mai tai 1 cup dark and/or spiced rum ¾ cup coconut rum ½ cup citrus rum ¾ cup triple sec or mango vodka 1½ cups mango lemonade (or ¾ cup mango nectar plus ¾ cup lemonade) 1 cup orange juice 1 cup pineapple juice 2 cups raw coconut water (also may use flavored, such as mango, peach, or pineapple) one can lemon-lime soda or sparkling lemonade Add all ingredients except soda to a bottle with a cap. Shake well. Transfer to a pitcher, add soda and stir very gently. Serve with a fresh pineapple wedge on each glass. (Umbrella is optional!) Makes about eight servings. All quantities should be adjusted to suit your taste, and feel free to experiment as well. I sometimes add lychee juice, for example, because I love the taste. The only real requirements for a mai tai is lots of rum and tropical fruit...

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infused simple syrup

Posted by on 11:43 pm in infused | 0 comments

infused simple syrup

  Most of us at one time or another have probably put sugar crystals into a tall glass of iced tea or other cold beverage, only to spend the next ten minutes stirring until all the granules have dissolved. There has to be a better way! There is. A simple syrup is sugar-sweetened water, which blends immediately and effortlessly with most any drink. (The Japanese have already figured this out, and you can get cute little capsules of simple syrup at any coffee shop. Meanwhile, we chumps here in the U.S. continue to have to stir the contents of sugar packets into our cold beverages. But I digress…) Your basic simple syrup recipe usually specifies a sugar-to-water ratio of 2:1. That will yield 3 cups of a nice sweet liquid that you can store in your refrigerator for up to a month. Very handy. But the possibilities go well beyond such a simple, simple syrup. You can add just about any aromatic (herb, spice, floral, tea, etc.) to flavor it, which opens up a vast range of specific flavoring uses. simple syrup 2 cups sugar 1 cup water Place the sugar and water into a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add whatever aromatic you desire, making sure to bruise or crumple it (if possible) to release more of the flavor-intense oils. Allow to cool completely, then strain the liquid into an airtight storage container to remove the aromatic, and refrigerate for up to one month. Yield: 3 cups A few examples of suggested aromatics: Cinnamon stick Coconut Dried flowers (hibiscus, lavender, roses, etc. – just make sure they are food-grade) Fresh or dried citrus peel or slices (grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, yuzu, etc.) Fresh or dried fruits (strawberries, raspberries, etc. Fresh or dried herbs (basil, mint, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, etc.) Tea (black, Earl Grey, green, herbal, matcha, etc.) Toasted nuts (hazelnuts, for example) Vanilla bean I have not provided quantities for the aromatics because it really is a matter of taste. It also depends on the intended use; if it will pair with strong flavors, you’ll want to make a more intensely flavored syrup. After it has cooled, taste your simple syrup in its intended application, and then make any adjustment that may be needed for your preference and purpose. You can make your finished product more strongly flavored by adding more of the aromatic and letting it steep overnight in the refrigerator (strain it again to remove the aromatic) or less strongly flavored by making a small recipe of simple syrup and adding it to your infused...

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exxxtra-minty mojito

Posted by on 7:25 pm in muddled | 0 comments

exxxtra-minty mojito

  The mojito may be my favorite cocktail. When the weather warms up, there are few things more refreshing than a tall glass of minty, sweet and tart goodness. I take an atypical approach to my mojito, however. If you’ve ever ordered one at a bar or restaurant, you’ve probably received a clear liquid with a few whole mint leaves swimming around. Tasty, but not nearly as tasty as it could be. When it’s made correctly, I consider the amount of mint, and the degree to which it gets muddled, to be entirely insufficient for my tastes. You’ll notice that my mojitos are green. Really green. In fact, the xxx in the name is because it’s obscenely minty. Don’t worry – it’s not toothpaste minty. Just really fresh, green, delicious minty, which is offset beautifully with sweet and tart elements. I use a lot of mint, and I muddle it really well. Seriously – I don’t just “bruise” it – I pulverize it. Don’t worry about those lovely little pieces of mint leaves floating around – they only enhance the aromatic qualities of this beautiful beverage from Cuba. The holes in a typical cocktail shaker lid will allow only the smallest pieces through; or, you can pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer before serving if you prefer to have no pieces of mint. exxxtra-minty mojito about 25 fresh mint leaves half a fresh lime, juiced 1/8 tsp sugar (the coarser, the better) two shots of light rum (I like Bacardi Limón for this recipe) lemon-lime soda Put the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add the fresh lime juice and then sprinkle the sugar on top, and muddle well. Really well. Like, to the point where there are no leaves, only bits and pieces. Add the rum and some ice, cover, and shake well. Put ice into two 6-8 ounce glasses and strain equal amounts of the contents of the shaker into the two glasses. Fill glasses with lemon-lime soda and stir gently. Makes two...

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