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

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.

Continue reading

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?