Cynar Cocktails

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Storm Warning from Serious Eats

Cynar is a bittersweet Italian liqueur that doesn’t seem to get much play here in the United States. I got to know it on a trip to Argentina. I like that it gives a little herbal intensity to a cocktail without taking over. Here are a few Cynar cocktails to try.

Little Italy ~ This variation on the classic Manhattan uses Cynar instead of bitters, for a bit of an herbal kick.

Sparkling Mint Cocktail ~ Mint, lime and a little sparkling wine complement the intense flavor of Cynar for a fun summertime party drink.

Storm Warning ~ A fun twist on the Dark and Stormy, this cocktail created by Beloved in Brooklyn is more complex and creamy than the original.

Red Letter Day ~ This one is a refreshing and sophisticated summer sipper made with applejack is not as sweet as the usual warm weather drinks, thanks to Cynar.

Les Paul ~ This is another variation on a Manhattan, with bourbon and maple syrup giving it a sweetness balanced with Cynar and Carpano Antica for depth.

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

Limoncello Margarita

limoncellomargaritaHappy Cinco de Mayo! I got together with Savvy Housekeeping for a delightful and springy margarita made with homemade limoncello. Celebrate with one today!

Limoncello Margarita

1 1/2 ounce tequila
1 ounce limoncello
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a glass.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

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 PiƱa 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.