Hibiscus Cocktails

hibiscusflashSpring is the perfect time for floral cocktails! Aside from adding a gorgeous fuchsia color to cocktails, hibiscus gives a floral, sweet and tart flavor. Also, hibiscus makes me think of Hawaii—always a good thing. You can use hibiscus tea, flowers soaked in rose syrup, dried flowers … there are many ways to incorporate hibiscus. You can often find it in Latin foods shops under the name jamaica.

Hibiscus Paloma ~ Add a floral touch to the classic grapefruit and tequila cocktail using the syrup from a jar of hibiscus flowers.

Hibiscus Rum Cooler ~ This pitcher cocktail combines hibiscus tea and fresh lemon juice for a tropical (and boozed up) take an Arnold Palmer.

Hibiscus Flash ~ Funky rhum agricole, which is like rum only made with cane sugar instead of molasses, is a good match for the floral sweetness of hibiscus syrup in this drink.

Especiado ~ Dried hibiscus flower and spices mixed with tequila or mezcal make for a deeply flavored punch.

Hibiscus Honey Mint Julep ~ Put a little magic in your julep by adding honey syrup and dried hibiscus flowers.

Campari Cocktails

negronez campari cocktail

Negronez from 10th Kitchen

Are you a bitter person? As in … do you like bitter cocktails? If so, then you’re probably a fan of Campari. The Negroni is the classic Campari cocktail, but there are plenty of other ways to use Campari in cocktails. Here are some ways to have fun with Campari!

The Upgraded Paloma ~ This well-known tequila and grapefruit concoction gets an “upgrade” with the addition of Campari.

Mediterranean Pink Lady ~ Here Campari meets another Italian liqueur, limoncello for a balanced cocktail with a beautiful bright pink hue.

Negronez ~ This is a Transformers cocktail. Campari ice cubes melt into a Martinez … and then the drink morphs into a Negroni.

Campari Mojito ~ A little Campari adds complexity to our delicious friend the Mojito.

Tropical Storm ~ Warm weather fun time is now! This pineapple punch gets a boost from Campari. Make a pitcher!

Kentucky Derby Cocktails: Mint Juleps and More

pineapple mint julep

Pineapple-Ginger Mint Julep from the Kitchn

It’s almost Derby Day, and no Derby Party is complete without Mint Juleps. However, there are lots of fun ways to play with this classic recipe. So drink up and watch the horsies, y’all!

Traditional Mint Julep ~ The basic version is anything but boring. Put on your fancy hat and have one.

Peach Mint Julep ~ Refreshing and fun, this twist on the Mint Julep brings some Georgia into your Kentucky drink.

Strawberry Moonshine Julep ~ Moonshine is a bit of a misnomer. Let’s call it unaged whiskey. Either way, throw in some strawberries and you have one heck of a cocktail.

Pineapple-Ginger Mint Julep ~ Behold! The powerful combination of mint and pineapple. In Julep form. Yum.

Jalepeño-Spiked Julep ~ Infusing simple syrup with spicy jalapeño peppers and putting it with cooling mint mixes makes for an “icy-hot take on the Derby classic.”

Using Egg Whites in Cocktails

Cotogna’s Aperol Fizz from Serious Eats

Egg whites add a lovely foam and velvety texture to cocktails. It’s like your cocktail is wearing a jaunty white cap! Eggs are a little tricky to use, but totally worth it. I love how a cocktail made with egg white is both light and creamy at the same time.

Here are few tips on how to do it, and then some delicious recipes to try!

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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.