Cocktails and Liqueurs


citrus liqueurs

The best citrus are now in season and citrus based liqueurs are always part of my January project list.  The first Cara Cara oranges translate to Triple Sec, an easy combination of sugar, fruit and clear alcohol (like vodka) that will make an amazing margarita in July, when it will be hot and we’ll be outside. Hard to believe in that sunshine when it’s all gray skies, but the smell of the citrus and the color of the liqueur are good reminders. Yes, triple sec, and I’ll make limoncello, arancello, and with those ruby red grapefruit that last week were part of a Salty Dog, this week become Vin de Pampelmousse, a heavenly digestif that requires hardly any work but plenty of patience. This is […]


the salty dog

It’s citrus season. That time of year when I grab a bag of something orange or yellow or ruby red or green whenever I’m at the store. They’re so appealing and bright and promising when the days are dark and gray. I’ve been on a grapefruit kick. Cut in half along the equator, scatter with turbinado sugar and broil for a great jolt of flavor in the morning. (But the coffee-grapefruit combo is just awful. I recommend tea.) I combine grapefruit with avocado and blueberries. Or mix up grapefruit with bananas, oranges, apples and toasted pecan. Sometimes I peel the fruit and eat the sections one at a time, letting the juice run down my arms. Grab a bag – about four to six big […]


Another Ideal Cocktail

Oh, is it Thursday evening again? So soon? Another opportunity to dream up a cocktail for @CreativCulinary’s Happy Hour Friday. This one was fun. A friend recently sent me a recipe for something called the Ideal Cocktail, adapted from an early 20th century tipple. In common cocktail ratios, gin, sweet vermouth and Luxardo, the maraschino liqueur, is stirred with ice, strained and served in a martini glass. The recipe was particularly adamant about the perfection of the grapefruit wedge that garnishes the glass. This recipe sounded so delicious, but I had no grapefruit and it was raining and ghastly outside. I would not be deterred. Remembering the ruby grapefruit triple sec I concocted back in January, another ideal cocktail came together deliciously.    


Rock’n Rye

One of the best reasons to participate in Creative Culinary’s Friday Happy Hour is the excuse to start on Thursday. After all, there’s testing, retesting, tasting, and reporting on results. This week’s cocktail makes the most of my favorite new liqueur. ROOT is an alchemy of ingredients – BIrch Bark, Smoked Black Tea, Cinnamon, WIntergreen, Spearmint, Clove, Anise, Orange, Lemon, Nutmeg, Allspice, and Cardamom. It’s an alcoholic version of root beer, and smells amazing. Mixing ROOT with Rye, in classic Manhattan proportions was the start. Adding the cherry juice was a little love note to cherry coke and balanced the herbal tones perfectly. And that cherry on the top? Those are my home-canned maraschino cherries. First canned in a light syrup, and after one month, […]


A Spicy Cocktail – Jalapeno Margarita

When Monica Bhide put out a challenge to make up a spicy cocktail, I grabbed the opportunity to play with some of my favorite ingredients. I love to make up cocktails, and always greet dinner party guests with a new concoction. It gets the party started. This concoction was inspired by one of my favorite new canning projects. Foodie with Family has a great blog, full of amazing recipes, and her Cowboy Candy has become an obsession. Rebecca warned me. She said I would join the forever club, and I’m ready to sign up. Once you’ve made the candied jalapenos, the leftover jalapeno syrup is awesome as a barbeque marinade. But something told me I could make something similar for a cocktail. Welcome the Jalapeno […]


plum perfect. four – or more – preserving projects.

The wonderful Washington State Fruit Producers sent me a present last week. As a Canbassador, they sent me 20 lbs. of perfect plums and 10 lbs. of gorgeous nectarines from the Yakima Valley and asked me to can away. What a glorious bounty with which to face a hurricane. This is the first post reporting on my #hurricanning adventures. (P.S. Thank you, Charlotte, for that brilliant hashtag. I’ve preordered the new cookbook you wrote with Anita Lo. So happy for you!) Let’s talk about these plums. This plum variety is often generically referred to as Italian Prune Plums, but in Alsace and the Rhine Valley, where we recently vacationed, they are called Quetsch (or Qwetsch.) When we visited Christine Ferber’s little shop in Niedermorschwihr, Alsace, […]