Watermelon Cocktails

watermelonrumcocktailEven though summer isn’t here yet, warm summer weather is. If you’re ready for backyard barbecues, here are some watermelon cocktails perfect for a day in the sun.

Watermelon Fizz ~ Watermelon and gin … a match made in heaven.

Artemisia ~ Tarragon and watermelon are another fun pairing, with the slightly savory herb giving depth to the cocktail.

Watermelon Limoncello Prosecco Slushie ~ The name says it all. I’m ready for this one right now!

Watermelon Tequila Cocktail ~ Blueberries and lime add a little tartness to this fun summer drink.

Watermelon and Thai Chili Cocktail ~ This rum cocktail is refreshing with a bit of a kick.

Photo Courtesy of Brugal

G’Vine Gin Review

lemonginandtonicThere’s a lot of variety between different styles of gin. From juniper-intense London Dry gin to softer International Gins with a variety of botanical flavors … there’s a gin for every palate. If you like floral gins (which I really do!), I recently tried one from France that I’d highly recommend: G’Vine.

G’Vine is made from Ugni Blanc grapes that are pressed and converted into wine and then distilled into a neutral grape spirit. This base is mixed with grape vine flowers and other botanicals including juniper (of course) ginger, lime and green cardamom. The result is a delicate and lightly sweet gin that pairs really well with fruit and herbal flavors. The ginger balances nicely with the sweeter aspects, giving it a bit of a kick.

If you’re the type who likes to make up new cocktail recipes with fresh ingredients (Ahem, like the recipes the book DIY Cocktails talks about), then this is a good gin to experiment with. If you like Hendrick’s Gin, G’Vine may be right up your alley. (At about $35, G’Vine is at a similar price to Hendrick’s.)

If you only like super intense juniper London Dry gin, this probably isn’t going to do it for you. But it does make a mean Gin & Tonic. I like to use Meyer Lemon instead of lime as an accent for a G&T made with G’Vine. This would also be a good candidate for my favorite variety of G&T: gin, tonic, generous squeeze of grapefruit juice and a few dashes of DIY Rhubarb Bitters.

Pineapple Cocktails

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita from Boulder Locavore

Spring has sprung and the sun is shining. (At least it is here. If it’s not sunny where you are, pretend it is.) The presence of pineapple in a cocktail is proven to increase warm-weather enjoyment. Science! So here are a few pineapple drinks to try this gorgeous spring. Tiny umbrella optional.

Fever Pitch ~ Pineapple mixed with cachaca, basil, Green Chartreues and celery bitters = sophisticated, complex and potentially mind-blowing.

Queen Califa ~ Adding rum agricole, falernum and allspice dram to pineapple puts this drink squarely in the tiki category. So you know it’s a good time.

Low-Cal Piña Colada ~ This “skinny” version has all the coconut and pineapple flavor, without most of the calories. But it tastes great regardless of the calorie count (or lack thereof).

Pineapple Cilantro Margarita ~ This is a good one for a backyard barbecue or lazy afternoon lounging outside.

Hotel Nacional Special ~ Another fun tiki drink … and another one that would be great for sipping outside.

Kumquat Cocktails

Kumquat Margarita from Serious Eats

Kumquat Margarita from Serious Eats

Kumquats are fun! They’re still in season for a little while longer … so put some of these little guys in your cocktails now. Here are some more kumquat cocktails to try.

Kumquat Rose Cocktail ~ Kumquat-infused gin is paired with the lovely Lillet Rose for an elegant and balanced drink.

Kumquat-Ginger Whiskey Cocktail ~ The spicy kick of ginger is a great match for the sweet-tart flavor of kumquats.

Kumquat-Pomegranate Punch ~ This fun vodka punch includes pomegranate seeds and juice for a party-worthy. Now you’re ready to party.

Kumquat Margarita ~ Kumquat is a citrus fruit, after all, so naturally a Margarita is a must.

Kumquat Sour ~ Bourbon, sour oranges and candied kumquats make a festive drink for any occasion.

Avocado Cocktails

Avocado Grapefruit Margarita from Little Gems Kitchen

Avocado Grapefruit Margarita from Little Gems Kitchen

Avocados are in season! As a California girl, I grew up on avocados and can’t imagine life without them. Creamy and rich without being heavy, there’s nothing like avocado. I’ve never tried making a cocktail with avocado, but I think I’d love it.  Here are a few I’d like to try.

Avocado Daiquiri ~ This is a classic daiquiri with avocado and half-and-half added, then blended together. Sounds like a boozy, savory dessert. I’m in.

Avocado Grapefruit Margarita ~ I’m a big fan of grapefruit margaritas, so I’m curious how the addition of avocado would change up a favorite.

Matroiska Eggnog ~ OK, so it’s isn’t exactly eggnog season. So what? Avocado and coconut milk vamp up a basic eggnog recipe. Although, it sounds like the avocado is for texture rather than flavor.

Aguacate + Mescal ~ Mezcal has a great smoky flavor that I can imagine pairing perfectly with avocado. This recipe includes a few intriguing sweet touches to balance the savory and smoky flavors.

Avocado Bourbon Shake ~ I can’t even guess what this one would taste like, but I’d believe it could blow my mind. Avocado is funny like that.

Sage Cocktails

Hibernating Honey Bear from In Sock Monkey Slippers

Hibernating Honey Bear from In Sock Monkey Slippers

I have a giant sage bush in my backyard that I completely ignore. It just gets bigger and happier every year, so I’m looking for new ways to use sage. The savory herb isn’t common in cocktails, but it adds a lovely and unique flavor. If you want to give sage a chance, here are some drinks to try.

Wilderness Prophet ~ Sage, gin, Green Chartreuse, Meyer lemon and chamomile combine for maximum effect in this seasonal cocktail.

The Hibernating Honey Bear ~ Bourbon, honey and sage make for an earthy drink with a hint of sweetness.

Euphoria ~ Elderflower and sage are a delightful match. Add in some gin, and you have a party.

Sage Sucker ~ Sage and honey team up again, with lemon vodka adding the kick this time.

Sage, Elderflower & Cucumber White Sangria ~ Elderflower makes another appearance, with cucumber and white wine adding to the Spring fun.

Grasshopper Panna Cotta (Chocolate & Branca Menta)

grashopperpannacotta
One of my favorite desserts to make is panna cotta, because you can use the basic recipe as a springboard for a wide variety of flavor combinations. The “plain” version (which doesn’t taste plain!) includes just cream, milk, sugar, vanilla and gelatin. When I was given a bottle of Branca Menta, I had the idea to use it to make a chocolate and mint panna cotta that was a play on the classic Grasshopper cocktail.

Branca Menta is the minty version of Fernet Branca, an amaro (bitter liqueur) made with herbs, roots and spices. If you’ve tried Fernet before, Branca Menta is sweeter and more approachable but with the same flavor profile in the background. The bitterness in the liqueur gave a nice complexity to the dessert, make it taste more like a cocktail.

I topped it with dark chocolate shavings and chocolate mint, but you could top with whipped cream or chocolate sauce (or nothing at all).

Grasshopper Panna Cotta

One packet of gelatin
1/2 cup whole milk
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (the unsweetened kind for baking)
1/4 cup Branca Menta Continue reading

St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails

Honey Irish Mojito from One Martini

Honey Irish Mojito from One Martini

St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us. If you’re skipping the green beer bar scene for some fun at home, here are some cocktails that will make the evening a good one. One of them is even green (without dye)!

The Emerald ~ This variation on the traditional Manhattan swaps in Irish whiskey for a solid drink you may find yourself mixing when it’s not St. Paddy’s Day.

The Last Word ~ If you’re not an Irish whiskey fan, this gin drink will still get you into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit thanks to its green color. But the green in this classic cocktail comes from Green Chartruese.

Honey Irish Mojito ~ Irish whiskey and honey liqueur give the Mojito an Irish twist. It’s sunny where I am, so this may be my St. Patrick’s Day choice.

Guinness Beer Floats ~ Dessert and drink combined into one Irish package. This sounds like a no-brainer to me.

DIY Irish Cream ~ Making your own Irish cream is easy and delicious. You may never go back to Bailey’s.

More St. Patrick’s Day cocktails

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