Tuesday, 3 January 2012

On the 10th Day of Christmas...

...this blog gave to thee...

...ten tasty tipples...
...nine pins and strings...
...eight resolution...
...seven shoes to choose from...
...six party dresses...
...five gold rings!..
...four paper worlds...
...three shiny gems...
...two texting whales...
...and a pendant that I made.

It's four days into 2012, has everyone started being good, or have resolutions already been dropped in exchange of a couple of "New Year" drinks with friends? If they haven't I apologise for putting temptation in your way and if they have here are a few suggestions of cocktails which have sparked my interest over the past few months...

1) Pink Grapefruit Margarita

(Serves 4)
1 cup of Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 cup triple sec orange liqueur
3 cups of crushed ice
1 cup silver tequila
1 lime cut in wedges

The first drink I remember having bought for me was a classic Margarita. I remember it fondly. We were at a restaurant and before this I had been stealing sips from my mum, but then I was allowed my own. And since it's been my go to cocktail, but this is a twist. Yum. Mix all the liquid ingredients together with the crushed ice, rub the rim of the glass with lime and dip in the salt and serve.

2) Summertime in Paris

1 1/2 oz Citrus Vodka
1/2 sprig of Rosemary
1/2 oz Meyer lemon juice
1/2 oz lemon grass syrup
Dash of soda

Meyer lemons are rounder and sweeter than the normal lemons we get in the supermarket, they're from China and difficult to find, so to cheat it, mix 3 parts lemon juice with 1 part orange juice to achieve the flavour, which is meant to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. Nom. To make the cocktail muddle together the lemon juice, rosemary and syrup then add ice and vodka and strain into a glass (if you're lucky enough to have a cocktail shaker) and top up with soda. Serve with a sprig of rosemary and try and avoid accidentally jabbing it up your nose.

3) Blueberry Infused Vodka Lemonade

1/2 cup of Fresh Blueberries
1/2 cup of Frozen Blueberries
1 teaspoon of sugar
lemon slices for garnish

When I was younger, well before I could legally drink, mum made summer fruit flavoured vodka and gin. I'm certain I was allowed to try this, but I can't say I remember how it tasted, however mum always says she must do it again. (Next year I intend to make St. Germaine from our elderflower). Anyway, the way you flavour vodka is easy, in this case you pour vodka over a handful of blueberries in a jar and mash, then leave for 24 hours minimum before straining. Muddle together the frozen berries and sugar in the bottom of your glass and fill with ice, then add your blueberry vodka and top up with lemonade. Simple and I've seen vodka flavoured with herbs, skittles, parma violets and bubblegum. Basically anything you can think of, you can even make your own gin!

4) Lychee Martini

50ml Vodka,
25ml Lychee Liqueur,
Dash of Lychee Juice,
1 Lychee

Lychee is one of those odd floral fruits which I love, but most of my family hate purely because of their eyeball like appearance. Perhaps this could make an excellent Halloween cocktail. Shake and serve in a martini glass, garnished with a stoned lychee.

5) Lemon-Thyme Soda

1 1/2 oz of thyme syrup,
1/2 oz of lemon juice,
soda water to taste,

It's a mocktail, yes, but lemon thyme is one of my favourite herbs, so a drink which uses it as inspiration is at least worth a try. Make a thyme syrup by combining 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to the boil, then throw in 1 oz of fresh thyme and leave to cool. The mix with the lemon juice and water to taste.

6) Pear Nectar with Reposade Tequila

1 1/2 oz reposado tequila,
3-4 oz pear nectar (recipe)
dash of cinnamon
one drop of vanilla extract
light drizzle of honey,
half a lemon, juiced,
cinnamon stick garnish, optional

Reposado tequila, is tequila which is aged for less than a year but more than two months in oak barrels. Which I didn't know, though I would substitute in whichever was in the cupboard. And pear nectar is a pear syrup, which is less impressive when called that. I love pears, particularly the blush ones with the ever so slightly pink skin, and so a pear flavoured cocktail appeals. This is made in a high ball glass, into which you pour all your ingredients and give it a stir, using the cinnamon stick as a garnish...which I would then throw away as quickly as possible because I can't stand them. But it does look pretty.

7) Italian Greyhound with Rosemary Sugar

Rosemary Sugar (see source recipe)
1-2 ounces Gin
4 ounces freshly squeezed pink or red grapefruit juice
Splash of Aperol

I've never heard of Aperol before, but according to the great wiki in the sky, it's essentially Campari with half the alcoholic content. Which post Christmas is probably very wise. Gin is a favourite of mine, I like the botanic taste, particularly of the gin found in pale blue bottles, but if you're not a fan, a greyhound is often made with vodka. If you also subtitue the sugar dipped rim for a salted one you've made a "Salty Dog". Dip the rim of the glass and pour the liquid ingredients over crushed ice.

8) Vodka Bramble

2 Parts Vodka,
2 Parts Lemon Juice,
1 Part Crème de Mure
1 Part Sugar Syrup
2 Whole Blackberries

This is my kind of drink, I love Crème de Mure (a blackberry liquor) and drinks which aren't too sweet. Serve over crushed ice and garnish with the blackberries. Nom.

9) Thai Basil Gimlet

60ml Rum
25ml fresh lime juice
30ml Thai Basil Syrup (see recipe via source)
4-5 Basil Leaves

Herbal cocktails seem to have become a theme, but they're the ones which have appealed to me this year. A Gimlet is traditionally made from gin, lime and sugar, this recipe is for rum, which I dislike, so I would revert to the traditional, but again vodka could also be substituted. For the syrup combine the sugar and water in a pan an boil for 3 minutes until the sugar's dissolved. Add he Thai Basil and allow to cool, strain and leave in the fridge overnight. The next day - if you have the patience - mix all the ingredients together over ice and drink. Will Basil work in a cocktail? Who knows, it may end up tasting vaguely of pesto, but I'm willing to give it a go.

10) Rosemary Gin Fizz

3 One inch sprigs of fresh Rosemary,
1 small lemon, juiced,
1/2 teaspoon of honey or sugar
1 1/2 ounces of gin
3 ounces of soda water

A Gin Fizz is probably the best known of the Fizz family, and essentially gin, lemon, sugar and fizzy water are all you need, but then there are always variations. One of which I fancy being a Gin Cassis Fizz, with creme de cassis. Om nom nom. In this variation we're back on the herbal theme. Muddle together the Rosemary, lemon and honey, the fill the glass with ice. Pour over the gin and soda and give it another swirl.

Mine's a Bramble.

Merry Christmas. Part eleven tomorrow...
Listening: Hurricane Drunk - Florence + The Machine

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