Road Runner Mezcal Cocktail

by Laura

This cocktail is a knock-off of a drink I had at the Tasting Kitchen in Venice. The original has some ridiculous ingredients like fennel pollen and smoked lavender leaves (or something) but this version is almost as good. I also used it as an excuse to bust out the really fun silver pieces that belonged to my mom's parents. If you're familiar with the size of a St. Germaine bottle, you can appreciate the size of this cocktail shaker! It makes about a half gallon's worth of cocktails. 

Ingredients:

Makes one cocktail (so multiple accordingly!)

2 shots Mezcal (I used VIda)

1 shot St. Germain

Juice of 1 lime

Splash of tangerine-lavender honey (thank you Magnani! Anything a little sweet would do here)

Directions

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and pour over large ice cube and serve!

 

Tipsy Palmer Cocktail

By Katherine

Last weekend I was trying to come up with a drink to take along to a picnic. It was going to be a warm day, so I wanted something refreshing and cool. My thoughts turned to an Arnold Palmer, which is a classic combination of iced tea and lemonade, but I wanted to give it a little kick. I started googling and learned that many people add vodka to an Arnold Palmer (and some call that concoction a John Daly). You can also cut out a couple of steps by serving sweet tea vodka (Jeremiah Weed and Seagram's both make versions, along with several other brands) with lemonade. However, I'm not a big fan of vodka, and the sweet tea version is a little too sweet for me.  When I think of iced tea and lemonade, I think of sitting on a porch somewhere in the south, and the spirit that best matches that setting is bourbon. After a little more searching, I found this article, which calls the combination of iced tea, lemonade, and bourbon a Tipsy Palmer.  My new favorite drink of the summer was born. 

The ingredients (from left): lemonade, lemons, bourbon, iced tea, simple syrup

The ingredients (from left): lemonade, lemons, bourbon, iced tea, simple syrup

The Tipsy Palmer

2 parts iced tea

2 parts lemonade

1 part bourbon

Ice

Lemon slices for serving (if you're feeling fancy)

Stir all ingredients together and serve over ice. This is a very basic formula and you can make it as do-it-yourself (or not) as you like. I initially intended to make my own iced tea and lemonade, so I could control the sweetness, but I reconsidered when I saw the price of lemons at the store (I was making a big pitcher for a group, so it would have taken a lot of lemons). I decided instead to use bottled lemonade but then tweak it with some fresh-squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup as needed. I found the Trader Joe's lemonade I used was plenty sweet for me, so I didn't end up adding any additional sweetener, but I know there are those who like their iced tea super sweet (looking at my brother-in-law Josh right now).  I did make my own iced tea by brewing black tea according to the directions on the box and then chilling it for several hours. You could definitely experiment with different types of tea, or start with bottled iced tea if you're pressed for time.  For a party-sized amount (about 12 servings), I used 6 cups iced tea, 6 cups lemonade, 3 cups bourbon, and the juice of 4 lemons.  Find a porch somewhere and enjoy!

Summer Cocktail: Aperol Spritz

By Katherine

My friend Amanda recently spent two weeks in Italy on her honeymoon, and she came back with a new favorite drink:  the Aperol Spritz.  Lucky for me, Amanda is a delightful and generous hostess, and after enjoying a Spritz at her house, I am fully on the bandwagon.  Aperol is an Italian aperitif, bitterwseet with citrus and herbal flavors.  It is similar to Campari (and comes from the same parent company), but at 11% ABV, it has less than half the alcohol content of Campari. That's one of the reasons it makes such a refreshing summer cocktail - it's light enough that you can drink it all day long (not that I would suggest such a thing).  The Aperol Spritz is a simple cocktail - you just need Aperol, Prosecco, and club soda. 

I didn't have any Prosecco in the house, so I substituted Trader Joe's finest dry German sparkling wine. 

I didn't have any Prosecco in the house, so I substituted Trader Joe's finest dry German sparkling wine. 

Aperol Spritz

3 parts Prosecco or other sparkling wine

2 parts Aperol

Splash of club soda

Orange slices for garnish

Ice

Fill your glass with ice, then pour over the Prosecco and aperol. Stir gently, then finish with a splash of soda and garnish with orange.   (Amanda reports that in Italy, it is often served with a green olive, but I like the orange and that's what's recommended on the Aperol bottle.)

IMG_0408.jpg

In poking around the internet to learn more around Aperol, I stumbled across a Spritz variation that recommends adding about an ounce of gin ("You know.  For the older drinker.")  In the name of science, I tried this version as well, and I'm pleased to report that it is also delicious, though it does somewhat undermine my earlier remarks about this being such a light, lower-alcohol summer cocktail.  Finally, if you've invested in a bottle of Aperol and want to branch out beyond the Spritz, Serious Eats has a bunch of ideas for you.  Cheers!

Gold Rush Cocktails

By Katherine

I am known among my friends and family for mixing a mean cocktail, and this one has become my signature in the last year or two. I call it the Gold Rush, and it is very simple. To start, you will need bourbon, honey, and lemons. 

IMG_0136.JPG

Let's talk bourbon for a minute. Pictured here is Bulleit, which I find quite tasty and smooth.  It also has the added advantage of being available at Trader Joe's in my area for just over $20 a bottle.  My other favorite inexpensive bourbon is Buffalo Trace , but it is a little harder for me to find - it usually requires a trip to BevMo.  If you want to go high end, I'm a fan of Woodford Reserve

Now that your liquor cabinet is stocked, the first step in making a Gold Rush is creating a honey syrup.  This is very simple:  equal parts honey and water, heated until the honey dissolves.  Take it off the heat, pour it into a bowl or pitcher (you just want to get it out of the hot pan), and set it in the refrigerator to cool.  Meanwhile, it's time to juice some lemons. 

IMG_0137.JPG

The citrus squeezer you see here is one of my favorite kitchen tools.  I got mine at Williams-Sonoma several years ago (with a gift card courtesy of Elissa - thanks, E!), but it looks like they don't carry this exact one anymore.  Crate & Barrel has one that is very similar, however.  These squeezers make quick work of a pile of lemons or limes and are great to have around if you like to make citrus-based cocktails. 

Now it is time to start mixing. The ratio for Gold Rushes is three parts bourbon to two parts honey syrup to one part lemon juice.  So, if you were making just one, that would be 1.5 ounces bourbon, 1 ounce honey syrup, and half an ounce of lemon juice. I tend to make these for parties, so I scale up to 3 cups bourbon, about 2 cups honey syrup (made from 1 cup each of honey and water - you lose a little volume in the cooking process, but that's fine), and one cup of fresh lemon juice (usually about six medium lemons' worth of juice).  This makes about 12 generous cocktails.  I like to serve them over ice in rocks glasses, but you could also shake them with ice and strain them into cocktail glasses, if you want to be fancy. A lemon wedge or a twist is a nice garnish. 

Cheers!

Cheers!

Although I have quite a few friends who claim to hate all kinds of whiskey, this is a crowd-pleasing drink.  The honey really smoothes out any bite from the bourbon, and the lemon keeps it from being too cloyingly sweet.   Give it a shot and let me know what you think!

Old George Cocktails

One of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan Beach is MB Post, in part because of their delicious cocktails. They are not cheap though, so this weekend my friend Tasha and I decided to try our hand at recreating one of the best on the menu called the Old George. Ours were not bad, but I did miss the crushed ice they use at the restaurant!

Ingredients*:

old george.JPG

1/2 cup ice (crushed if you have it!)

1.5 oz. Vodka (we used Kettle One)

3/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

Splash of soda

1 tbsp. muddled raspberries (I don't have a muddler but the back of a spoon in a bowl worked fine)

Basil leaves for garnish

Sea salt

Place the salt on a plate or in a shallow bowl and water in a plate or shallow bowl nearby. Place the rim of the glass you are serving the drinks in into the water and then onto the plate with salt. Combine the rest of the ingredients into the glass and stir, floating the basil leaf on top.

*Measurements given are approximate. I just eyeballed it, which turned out to be a mistake since I am well-known for my heavy hand when it comes to making cocktails.