Cocktails and Liqueurs

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come to tepoztlan

All summer I was getting emails from my dear friend Janet. She lives in a small town in Mexico called Tepoztlan. It’s beautiful, mountainous, and very ancient. The indigenous Tepoztecans don’t consider anyone native unless their family has been there for several hundred years. For many years, Tepoztlan has been the weekend retreat for Mexico City’s well-heeled residents. I met Janet when she and her husband Doug were in DC for a couple of years. They became landscape clients, then dear friends. They had a lifetime of moves from Miami to London, Toronto to Mexico City, and when they decided to retire, it was Tepoztlan that called to them. And I understand why. It’s lovely and there are so many ex-pats living there from all […]

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getting pickled. cocktail onions.

If you’ve been reading along here, you know I’m a big fan of pickles. While it’s all cold and dreary, I try to amuse myself with little kitchen projects – the kind of food I might appreciate later in the year. One of those projects, and a real pain in the <ahem> – is pickling cocktail onions. But oh so worth it – a few minutes with scissors or a paring knife and slippery, teeny onions, and you’ll have a jar full of perfect pickled orbs. Enough for quite awhile. While I love a great martini, and a dry, crisp, cold martini served in a classic glass with the perfect olive is a thing of beauty… the Gibson is my favorite liquid companion for a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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.    

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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, […]