Orange Creamsicle Cocktail

orange-creamsicleWe’ve been enjoying some February sunshine here in California. But even if you’re in a blizzard, this Orange Creamsicle cocktail will give you a little taste of summer (with seasonal fruit). Savvy Housekeeping and I whipped up this cocktail that tastes like a light and sophisticated alcoholic Creamsicle. If only the ice cream man carried these.

Orange Creamsicle Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces simple syrup
Sparkling water

Squeeze the orange juice. Combine juice, vodka, simple syrup, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Add cream. Close and shake thoroughly. Strain into a glass and top with sparkling water to taste.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Meyer Lemon Margarita

meyerlemonmargaritaHappy National Margarita Day! I’m not sure who started this holiday, but I’m positive I like the way it’s celebrated. This cocktail uses fresh Meyer lemons, mint and honey to bring a new twist to a beloved classic. This combo gives it a fresh taste that will certainly lift your spirits.

Meyer Lemon Margarita

1 1/2 ounces honey
3-4 generous sprigs of fresh mint
1 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 ounces tequila

Muddle the mint and honey at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add lemon and tequila, then shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass (serve over ice if desired).

I used Casa Noble Crystal tequila.¬† This tequila had a nice smooth quality that worked well with the lemon and honey, as a more peppery tequila would have distracted from the flavor combinations. You can use your favorite brand, but be sure it’s 100% agave tequila.

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Beer Cocktails

Mango Shrub Michelada from 10th Kitchen

Mango Shrub Michelada from 10th Kitchen

Beer can make an exciting and unexpected cocktail ingredient. Here are some creative ways to use that brew in the fridge (possibly leftover from a Super Bowl party?). Let’s do this!

Golden Ale Beer Cocktail ~ Honey, hot sauce and elderflower liqueur are a surprising addition to Belgian-style golden ale. A little citrus ties it all together into a balanced cocktail.

Sour Brew Margarita ~ Sour beer is pretty trendy right now, so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Use it as part of the sour portion of your margarita for a new twist on an old classic.

Beer Float ~ A good dark beer and some chocolate ice cream are definitely a match made in heaven. It’s simple and something you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing all along. Suck it, root beer! Beer float!

Mango Shrub Michelada ~ The classic Michelada (spiced up beer with lime) gets kicked up a bit with a mango shrub. The added complexity turns the simple mixture into an elaborate cocktail concoction.

Grapefruit Moon ~ Grapefruit, bourbon, maple syrup and stout? Oh, yeah! Why haven’t we been mixing these together all along?

Persimmon Margarita

persimmonmargaritaAround the corner from Savvy Housekeeping HQ, there were a bunch of free persimmons from a neighbor’s tree. When life gave us persimmons, we made persimmon margaritas! They’re tasty and a lot of fun (and in our case practically free).

We used Hachiya persimmons, which have to be totally soft and mushy to taste good at all. Fuyu persimmons are more common at the store and would also work great. Persimmon puree could also be used in cakes, breads and other cocktails. Get to it, persimmon style!

Persimmon Margarita Continue reading

Time for Thyme Cocktails

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail from Lynsey Loves Food

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail from Lynsey Loves Food

When it comes to cocktails, mint is the king of the herbs. (And basil seems to be the queen?) But most other herbs are also fantastic in drinks! Thyme is a go-to herb for cooking, but it adds a surprising savory freshness to cocktails, too. Here are a few cocktail recipes that show off what thyme can do.

Meyer Lemon Gin Cocktail ~ Thyme and Green Chartreuse give the tested combination of Meyer lemon and gin an exciting new dimension.

Pear Thyme Gin Fizz ~ Savory time with sweet, crisp pear pairs well with gin in this cocktail, but you could sub in vodka if that’s more your style.

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail ~ This line-up of ingredients just screams out “winter drinking” to me. If I had a fireplace, I’d be sipping this by the fire right now.

Precious Thyme ~ Add thyme to Campari, limoncello, sweet vermouth and a little club soda, and you get a lovely highball that doesn’t go too heavy on the booze. It’s a great way to use homemade limoncello!

Limoncello Gin Cocktail With Grilled Thyme ~ Another great drink to use DIY limoncello in … Grilling the thyme coaxes out more of the flavor. This recipe calls for grilling it outside, but I think you could easily accomplish this by some indoor cooking.

DIY Limoncello

112911-181461-diyvsbuy-diylimoncelloLemons! What to do with them? Make limoncello, silly. It’s as easy as zesting lemons and waiting. I used Meyer lemons, which I much prefer. But you can use any kind of lemon you please.

If you can’t get a hold of of an Everclear 151-type alcohol, use the highest proof vodka available to you (80 proof is standard vodka, but there’s often 100 proof vodka available, too.). Continue reading

Punch Recipe for the Holidays: Horse & Carriage

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Horse & Carriage from Saveur

What punch should you make for your holiday party? Here is my official endorsement: Horse & Carriage! I made this last week and it was a hit. Gin, elderflower and champagne are an obvious (to me) combination, but what really made this punch stand out was the chamomile tea. It added complexity and sophistication to what otherwise could have been a bit of a one-note concoction. I wish I had made a double batch! (It went fast.)

I modified the recipe a bit from Saveur’s to include more sparkling wine. I think this is a big improvement on the flavor, with the added benefit of making a larger amount of punch. It didn’t taste very balanced the original way, in my humble opinion.

Horse & Carriage (modified)
4 tablespoons citrus sugar (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
6 ounces gin
3 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3 ounces triple sec
10 ounces cold chamomile tea
8 oz. sparkling wine
Lemon and orange wheels, pomegranate seeds for garnish and ice block (instructions below) Continue reading

Cranberry Cocktails

Cranberry Gimlet from Food Fanatic

Cranberry Gimlet from Food Fanatic

Cranberries are festive and beautiful … but super-duper sour, so people usually shy away unless a lot of sugar is involved. (You’re not exactly going to be snacking on a handful of them while you watch TV.) However, this tart berry is perfect for cocktails. Whether you still have some cranberries left from Thanksgiving or not, here are some striking and tasty cranberry drink recipes worth celebrating with.

Cranberry Orange Manhattan ~ This holiday take on the Manhattan is made with rye infused with cranberry and orange. Yum!

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail ~ Cranberry syrup, amaro and yuzu juice complement bourbon in this holiday cocktail treat.

Holiday Mule ~ The Moscow Mule gets the holiday treatment in this cranberry twist on a classic.

Cranberry Gimlet ~ Another cranberry-inspired version of an old favorite, this Gimlet is just right for the holidays.

Cranberry Mint Julep ~ Well, I declare! Adding cranberry to a Mint Julep sounds like a great idea to me.

Gingerbread Toddy

gingerbreadtoddyIt’s raining and fall coziness is in full effect. So Savvy Housekeeping and I made the perfect seasonal twist on the Hot Toddy—the Gingerbread Toddy. Made with a delicious gingerbread syrup, this warming cocktail tastes like real gingerbread. The syrup would also be good in other drinks like a Gingerbread Latte.

Gingerbread Toddy
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce gingerbread syrup* (recipe below)
1/3-1/2 cup hot water
A squeeze of lemon

Combine bourbon and syrup in a mug. Fill to the top with hot water. Add a few drops of lemon juice and stir.

*Gingerbread Syrup:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Combine all the syrup ingredients in a pan. Heat to boiling on a stovetop while whisking until all the powdery substances dissolve. Boil for 2-3 minutes so that the syrup thickens slightly.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping