Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail

bbqplumcocktailThe grill is already out for summer anyway, so why not grill your cocktail? (Or rather, grill the fruit that goes in the cocktail. No glasses or shakers on the grill!)

I got together with Savvy Housekeeping, and that’s exactly what we did. And it’s delicious … just not in the way that we expected. We thought it would just add a smoky flavor to our drink. But grilling did so much more.

Putting the plum on the grill for a bit deepened the plum’s flavor and brought out the sweetness and brightness of the fruit. We were using nice plums that were a little on the tart side, and the grilling brought out the natural sugars and helped the plum blend better with the other flavors in the cocktail.

So grilling is a nice way to improve slightly tart fruit (and let’s face it, supermarket stone fruits are usually too tart). Have some fruit that is a little disappointing? Get that grill out! It’ll make a great cocktail.

Honey Barbecue Plum Cocktail

1 plum
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce honey liqueur (you can make your own)
1/2 ounce agave nectar (sub simple syrup if needed)
1/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Cut the plum in half and remove the pit.Grill the plum on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to caramelize and you see grill marks. Turn over and let it cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes, until the plum is soft. Remove from the grill.

In a cocktail shaker, combine all the ingredients except the bitters. Muddle the plum thoroughly. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Put on the lid and shake for at least a solid minute, or until ice starts to form on the outside of the container. This is especially important if the plum is still hot. You don’t want a warm cocktail.

Strain the drink into a glass. Add a drop or two of Peychaud’s bitters.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Spiked Popsicles

Bellini Popsicles from Honestly Yum

Bellini Popsicles from Honestly Yum

Has choosing between a cocktail or a popsicle been tearing you apart? If so, the answer to this totally-real summertime dilemma is a frozen cocktail pop! They’re easy to make and will satisfy your desire for something boozy and super cold. I’m nothing if not a problem-solver.

Pimm’s Cup Popsicles ~ My love for the Pimm’s Cup as a summer treat is well-documented. The garnishing possibilities of the drink translate into great add-ins for the pop.

Costa Rican Watermelon Mojito Popsicles ~ Watermelon Mojito in frozen form? Case closed!

Campari Cantaloupe Popsicles ~ The bitter aperitif Campari pairs well with sweet cantaloupe for a very grown up frozen treat.

Bellini Popsicles With Edible Flowers ~ A fruity champagne cocktail in a popsicle looks gets even more delightful with the addition of flowers.

Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles ~ It’s as if all summer desires were frozen into one delicious popsicle.

Check out even more boozy popsicle recipes

Pimm’s Cup

pimmscupThe Pimm’s Cup is one of my favorite warm-weather drinks. It’s quick and easy, but tastes special. It also involves elaborate garnishing, and I do love when my cocktail comes with a snack.

While the recipe is very flexible and the only right way to make one is the way that tastes good to you … there is a wrong way. A lot of recipes say “lemonade” or “sparkling lemonade” because they are English recipes that assume a less-sweet, effervescent lemonade that’s different than what we have here in the States.

American lemonade is not carbonated, and American sparkling lemonade is actually much sweeter and less bubbly than the kind they have overseas. A lot of people therefore make it with 7Up or ginger ale. Go for it, if that’s your thing. But I’ve found 50/50 combo of lemonade (that is, the kind made with just sugar, water and lemons) and club soda makes a refreshing Pimm’s Cup.

This is how I like my Pimm’s Cup. You can adjust by adding more/less club soda/lemonade and garnish with whatever sounds good to you. Traditional choices include: cucumber, strawberries, orange slices, lemon slices, mint leaves and borage flowers. The strawberry/cucumber/mint combination is my absolute favorite garnish for this drink both for the flavor it adds to the cocktail and for the refreshing snacking possibilities.

Pimm’s Cup

2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 Cup (If you can’t find it, make your own Pimm’s!)
3 ounces lemonade
3 ounces club soda
Strawberry and cucumber slices, sprig of mint

Add strawberry slices to a Collins glass filled with ice, then pour the Pimm’s, lemonade and club soda in to taste. Add cucumber and mint for additional garnish.

Pisco Sour

pisco2I love a good Pisco Sour! It’s rich and flavorful while being light and airy at the same time. A wonderful summer drink for people who want something with more to it than a Mojito.

Savvy Housekeeping was kind enough to invite me over for a Pisco Sour party (that involved the two of us drinking Pisco Sours). Could this be your new summer drink? I think so!

(Note: If you are worried about consuming raw egg whites, you can use pasteurized eggs … or make a different drink.)

Pisco Sour
1 1/2 ounces Pisco
3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
2 egg whites
2 ounces club soda
2 dash bitters

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg whites. Shake for a long time, at least a solid minute. You want to agitate the eggs enough to form a foam. Pour the cocktail into a glass. Add the club soda and top with bitters. To make a design with the bitters, swirl it with a toothpick.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Cocktails Made With Cider

The Sideshow Cocktail from Pickled Capers

The Sideshow Cocktail from Pickled Capers

Cider isn’t just something you drink in the fall! It can also be a lovely cocktail ingredient that gives a little zip to your sip (I am totally joking with that phrasing although the sentiment is accurate). Here are some crisp and bright cider cocktails perfect for any time of year.

The Sideshow Cocktail ~ Mixing cider with gin gives a summery twist to the cider cocktail. Add in a little herbacious Benedictine and bitters and you have a winner.

Cider Rum Punch ~ Thyme simple syrup adds a fresh flavor to this punch that makes it a fun choice for summer.

Apple Cider Sangria ~ Few things are more summery than Sangria. Have fun with the choice of fruit and make it for a backyard barbecue.

Maple Cider Cherry Whiskey ~ Grab some cherries from one of the summer roadside stands and get to making this cider and whiskey cocktail!

Hard Cider Ginger Shandy ~ Ginger beer and hard cider are a refreshing take on a shandy that will go great with a sunny day.

Art of Auchentoshan

whisky2 Auchentoshan invited me to sample its new offering (American Oak single malt scotch) while working on a fun art project at WorkshopSF. Making things while drinking scotch (bonus: and eating delicious BBQ with fried mac and cheese)? I’m in. I didn’t know what the project would be, although I was pretty sure it wouldn’t involve blow torches or saws while sipping drams of whisky.
whisky1The project was screenprinting (fun, but also alcohol-appropriate). But before I made my first shirt, there was some whisky to try!

whisky5 Continue reading

Lillet Rosé Cocktails

Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria from Serious Eats

Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria from Serious Eats

The weather just keeps heating up, so this is the perfect time to turn our cocktail attentions toward the light and refreshing French aperitif Lillet Rosé. It’s nice on its own or perhaps with a grapefruit slice, but it’s also a good team player. Here are some fun recipes for using this herbaceous ingredient:

Cardamom Blush ~ Cardamom-infused Lillet Rosé turns a simple gin cocktail into so much more.

Lillet Rose Spring Cocktail ~ This one also pairs gin with the aperitif, along with the addition of grapefruit and edible flowers for delightful effect.

La Coquette ~ Fresh strawberries and Aperol bring out the complexities of Lillet Rosé for a bright Spring cocktail.

Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria ~ It’s sangria weather! Citrus and bubbles go well together.

Lillet Rose Cooler ~ Lemongrass, grapefruit and sparkling wine collaborate with Lillet Rose to make any heat wave bearable.

DIY Honey Liqueur

20120921-221387-diyhoneyliqueurThere are all sorts of exciting honeys hiding out at farmers markets and local shops. Go get some! And then? Use some of it to make honey liqueur. It’s so easy! Sugar is usually the go-to sweetener for cocktails, but honey liqueur will give a deep, rich flavor that sugar just doesn’t.

I used the basic Clover honey (the kind in the bear), which is the mildest and most common variety sold in most grocery stores. That’s why I jazzed it up with orange and cinnamon. But lavender honey, blackberry honey and other types have more flavor, so try your honey alone before deciding it you want to add other flavors to your liqueur. Continue reading

Twists on the Bloody Mary

Verde Mary from Grab a Plate

Verde Mary from Grab a Plate

With brunch season upon us, the always-popular Bloody Mary is now the even-more-popular Bloody Mary. It’s a classic, but a flexible one. (Of course, there’s always the Canadian drink with Clamato, the Bloody Caesar.) Here are some fun variations on the traditional Bloody Mary.

Maple Bacon Bloody Mary ~ The usual Bloody Mary gets a makeover with a little maple syrup and a bacon garnish. Breakfast’s delicious duo give a savory, smoky and slightly sweet lift.

East Indies Bloody Mary ~ Since I come from a Dutch-Indonesian family, I was excited to see this Indonesian tweak to the original Bloody Mary. It’s legit, guys! Along with Indonesian sambal (hot sauce) and spices, it uses Batavia arrack, a funky East Indies liquor.

Brewed Mary ~ Like beer and Bloody Marys? You don’t have to choose, thanks to this version made with beer.

Mediterranean Bloody Mary ~ Olive tapanade and dry sherry are just a couple of the Mediterranean touches that transform the Bloody Mary into something new and exciting.

Verde Mary ~ Green tomatoes and tomatillos give the Bloody Mary a tangy and refreshing flavor.

Brunch Cocktails

Peach and Aperol Mimosa from Serious Eats

Peach and Aperol Mimosa from Serious Eats

While Bloody Mary may be the (well-deserved) usual choice for brunch drinking, there are so many other cocktails that pair well with the sweet, savory, breakfasty-lunchy foods that make brunch the most fun meal of ‘em all.

The Buckley ~ This is a lovely, complex drink that makes me think of spring and brunch all at the same time. Sage, lime, Campari, and Cocchi Apertivo Americano build a bold yet fresh cocktail. (Sub Lillet Blanc, if you can’t find Cocchi)

Grapefruit Basil Mimosas ~ The classic Mimosa is fine, but take out the OJ and use basil and grapefruit instead for a more sophisticated and nuanced take on brunch drinking.

Rosemary Sloe Gin Fizz ~ Low alcohol but rich in herbaceous and fruity flavor, this sparkling drink is just right for brunch no matter what you’re serving … from eggs and waffles to salads and more.

Peach Aperol Bellini ~ Lightly bitter Aperol adds a delightful twist to the traditional Bellini. Frozen peaches mean good flavor and less effort, no matter what time of year.

Ramos Gin Fizz ~ This New Orleans brunch (or anytime) classic is a lovely mix of light and airy with rich and creamy. I like to use a gin with floral qualities, because I think it gives the drink a delicate touch.