Mocktails — Green Tea Mojitos

cocktailsmocktails

My 12 year old daughter is having a sleepover tonight and instead of the usual soda, I think I will make this Green Tea Mojito recipe for them to try (obviously as a mocktail).  I want to test it out for an upcoming dinner party we are attending. The dinner party is on St. Patrick’s Day and I have a 5k the next morning that I’ve been actually training for these last couple of months. And I want to do well. Generally if you want to do your best in a 5k you do all the right things the night before, which includes getting enough sleep, eating nutritiously  and abstaining from alcohol. Totally boring, I know. But I’m committed this time!  My usual M.O. is to sign up for a 5k with plans to “really train this time”.  And then a week before the race I realize that I methodically have trained 3x week using a calendar that I’ve printed out and taped up on the wall failed to do any training whatsoever. So I suck it up and do the 5k and want to die by 1/4 mile in because I’m not at all prepared. But something clicked for me this past fall and I’ve been as committed to my exercise as I have been to my other healthy habits. Hence the “dry” St. Patrick’s Day.

I thought this recipe with green mint looked fun for St. Patty’s day . I love mint and I love green tea. Did you know green tea has lots of antioxidants and cancer-fighting polyphenols? Studies have also shown that people who drink green tea regularly have less belly fat, lower cholesterol, and better blood sugar control.  The original calls for white rum, and I figure I can bring a carafe of the mix without the alcohol and people can add it if they want.

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

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Super Bowl Cocktails — The Grapefruit Margarita

grapefruit-margarita

Seems like just a year ago I was posting a recipe for Super Bowl Cocktails. Oh, right! How time flies. The Spicy Michelada was last year’s pick. This year I’m going in a different direction by not including beer in the mix.  And we are going sweet instead of savory.

So for this Super Bowl I’m featuring a Grapefruit Margarita. Margaritas are universally loved, but it’s always fun to do something a little different with them for special occasions. And I love the idea of giving a nod to the Mexican culture so prevalent in Texas.

This cocktail features the bright and fresh flavors of grapefruit and lime. And after the past couple of weeks here in the U.S., I think we could all use a little bright and fresh, don’t you agree?

What I love about this recipe is that it’s super easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time, which frees up your hands for eating too many finger foods (guilty as charged) and making crude totally appropriate gestures at the referees.

NOTE: If you feel like adding some heat to the recipe, place a sliced round of fresh jalapeño pepper at the bottom of the cocktail shaker and muddle it with the ingredients. You can also add a few shakes of chili powder to the salt for a spicy rim (just keep it 3 parts salt to 1 part chili powder)

INGREDIENTS:
2 ounces tequila
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce pink grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (keep the wedges for a garnish)
Ice cubes
1 slice of fresh jalapeño (optional)
Course salt for the rim of the glass (optional)
Chili powder for the salt rim (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all the ingredients up to the salt in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a margarita (served up) or a rocks glass (served over ice) with a salt rim (use the lime wedge to wet the rim). Garnish with lime wedge.

GO TEAM!

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Weekend Cocktails: SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION– The Cranberry Gin Fizz

 

“But it’s not the weekend!” you say. Yes, yes, I know. But this special recipe needs several days to come together in your fridge, and I want you to be able to enjoy it on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day or Hanukkah.

I can’t wait to serve the Cranberry Gin Fizz to my guests. If you hurry, you can still make this in time for Christmas Eve/the first day of Hanukkah (if you cut a day off of the “marinating” time), and it’s perfect timing for Christmas Day. It takes less than 10 minutes to pull together. It’s full of plump cranberries, lime zest, and a bit of sugar. Topped off with tonic water, I’m thinking it’s going to be delicious.

I am also making a non alcoholic version using the leftover pomegranate juice blend I bought to make the Mimi Zinger (known to the rest of the world as the Pomegranate Moscow Mule). Just top off with some club soda and it’s sure to be delicious and festive for the non-drinker or underage person in your life.

Serve with a sprig of bright green mint or rosemary.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah!

Click Cranberry Gin Fizz to take you to the recipe link.

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Friday Cocktails! The Pomegranate Moscow Mule

Can we talk? It’s Friday, but it feels like three days ago should have been Friday. You know? There is 11″ of snow in the forecast and Saturday morning’s wind chill is supposed to be -35. MINUS THIRTY FIVE DEGREES. Let that sink in. I’ll wait.

Tonight, though, is family movie night. Kevin McCallister will be brilliantly foiling the Wet Bandits at every turn as they repeatedly try to break into his house. Meanwhile, his family tries (and except for his mom, they are not trying that hard, if we are being honest) to reunite with him back in the suburbs of Chicago.

There will likely be Thai takeout and decorating of gingerbread cookies and my grandma’s Chex Mix.

And then there will be a cocktail. It’s Friday night after all. A simple glass of red isn’t going to cut it.

Fun background note: Recently my friend Mimi and I were playing paddle (It’s like a shorter game of tennis/raquetball played outside in the winter) and I commented that she had a crazy good return shot that I dubbed “The Mimi Zinger”. Then we decided that sounded like the perfect name for a cocktail. I told her I would come up with a cocktail named after her and she requested it have pomegranate juice in it. I think this is a good fit.

If I can get to the store in the blizzard that I will buy the ingredients for this twist on a Moscow Mule (which is one of my all time favorite cocktails. I even have the copper mugs). Then we will settle in and hunker down until tomorrow morning.

Pomegranate Moscow Mule (i.e.: The Mimi Zinger)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. pomegranate juice UPDATE: a bottle of pure pomegranate juice cost $11 at Whole Foods so I bought cranberry pomegranate blend for $4 and it was delicious!
  • 1 tbsp. pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 c. ice
  • ginger beer

METHOD

  1. In a cocktail glass stir together vodka, pomegranate juice, pomegranate seeds, tbsp. lime juice, honey, and ice.
  2. Top off with ginger beer (I like Reed’s, which I buy at Whole Foods)

*Adapted from a recipe retrieved from Delish.com

Have a favorite cocktail recipe to share with me? Please leave it in the comments!

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Friday Cocktails: The Painkiller

painkiller-cocktail

We went to our friends’ Halloween party recently where they served something called The Painkiller. It’s one of those cocktails that is very very easy to drink a lot of because it tastes like a beach vacation. There’s coconut. There’s rum. There’s pineapple juice. If you close your eyes and sip on the Painkiller, you might just swear you are sitting under a palapa in the tropics. Some might say that it’s too sweet, but I love a sweet cocktail (I love savory cocktails too, it’s all about the mood).

Some might argue that a cocktail called The Painkiller is the perfect antidote to this contentious election season. I’m not advocating that we drink to suppress our feelings (that would be an unhealthy behavior!) but a delicious cocktail with a fun name might just add a little bit of whimsy, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

This cocktail is perfect for a big party because it’s so easy to make a large amount. Luckily we are entering party season, so make a batch of this next time you need a crowdpleaser and prepare for the compliments.

The Painkiller is high in vitamin C thanks to the OJ and the pineapple juice, so maybe it’ll help you ward off those winter germs!

INGREDIENTS FOR ONE COCKTAIL:

2 oz Rum
4 oz Pineapple juice
1 oz Orange juice
1 oz Cream of coconut
Grated nutmeg if desired
Mint
NOTE: If you can’t find cream of coconut, you can substitute with 1 cup heavy whipping cream (35%) plus 1/2 cup coconut cream powder
METHOD:

Add all of the ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake vigorously and strain into a hurricane glass or snifter filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with freshly a sprig of mint and grated nutmeg.

(If making a large batch, pour all ingredients into a pitcher and use a spoon to combine)

 

Bottom’s up!

Friday Cocktails: THE RYDER CUP!

It’s Ryder Cup week! It’s Ryder Cup week!  Any other year and I would be excitedly following the news and watching from home.  This year, it’s in my state and I have tickets! Yesterday I went to the practice round with my friend Molly and it was some of the most fun I’ve ever had. My favorite part was walking around and meeting groups from other countries dressed in their super fun matching outfits. Oh, I also got a high-five from Rory McIlroy, but you know, whatevs (I didn’t wash my hands after, ok? I was excited, ok?).

These USA fans from Canada
These blokes from England
These Jersey boys were born to run
Rory!

To commemorate Ryder Cup, I am linking to a cocktail recipe for two very special drinks. One is for the Americans and one for the Europeans. Why not try them both?
Click HERE to see the recipes originally published in the Telegraph. They both sound fantastic. Dare I say the European cocktail sounds just a little bit more up my alley? Either way, shake yourself up a nice Ryder Cup Cocktail, sit down, and enjoy some of the best golf you’ve ever seen!

GO USA!

Friday Cocktails: The Aviation

 

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It’s Friday, and I’ve missed a couple weeks of Friday Cocktails but I am making it up with a whammy of a cocktail that I’ve recently fallen in love with. The Aviator was presented to me last Sunday evening and upon the first sip I knew it would be a keeper.

To back up a bit, I was given a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur for my birthday by my neighbors because I love all things cherry.  Lest you think this is some neon-red concoction full of artificial everything, you should know that maraschino liqueur is a clear liqueur made from special maraschino cherries that has been produced by Luxardo (first in convents in Croatia, then in Italy) since the early 1800’s.  It’s got a fantastic flavor profile and while it is sweet, it’s not cloyingly so.

Since that fateful gift, I have sought out any cocktail I could find that features my new favorite liqueur. I looked at a cocktail menu last Sunday and there it was: The Aviator.  I love the bright flavor from the fresh squeezed lemons. I love the crispiness of the gin. And I love the sweetness from the maraschino liqueur. My  husband, who doesn’t love sweet drinks, thought it was really nice.

I am planning on making this for friends over the long holiday weekend and will look forward to hearing what they think.

One note: some versions of the Aviation include Crème de Violette to make it blue like the sky. I haven’t tried that version, and since I love the Aviation the way I tried it, I think i’ll keep it that way.

So, here it is. Buckle up, this is a strong cocktail that is best sipped! 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 3/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Maraschino cherry (optional)

METHOD:

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice.

Shake, and strain into a cocktail glass. I like to pour it over an ice ball so that it stays nice and cold.

Garnish with a cherry if desired.

NOTE: I have not been compensated for mentioning Luxardo in my post. I simply really enjoy the product!

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Friday Cocktails: The Caipirinha!

Friday Cocktails

This week I’m putting my obsession with watching Stranger Things (can we talk about that show at a later date? I mean, DAMN) and Gilmore Girls on the back burner for the XXXI Olympiad in Rio. I’m trying not to think about the disgusting lake water and uninhabitable athlete villages and instead focus on all the amazing stories of trials and tribulations that suck me in and make me cry. Oh, and also the level of athleticism is ridiculous. Fun fact: did you know Usain Bolt has never run a mile? Like, never? It’s too “far”.  So essentially I am a better runner than Usain Bolt.

Tonight we are going to a get together with friends to watch the opening ceremonies. Just as I was about to text my friend and ask if we should make Caipirinhas, she texted me first and asked the same thing. So yeah, it’s happening. Hashtag great minds think alike. You should also know it’s pronounced Kai-Pee-Reen-Ya. I have been pronouncing it all wrong in my head all these years.

This traditional Brazilian cocktail is reminiscent of a daiquiri, but the limes are muddled at the bottom of the glass and kept in. It uses a traditional Brazilian rum made from the fermented juice of sugarcane (rather than molasses as in the most other rums).

If you want to make your own at home, here’s the recipe.

Caipirinha2

CAIPIRINHA

2 fl. oz. Cachaça (pronounced Ka-Shah-Suh, like a woman’s beautiful exotic first name)
Half a lime, quartered
2 tsp. Sugar (preferably raw or turbinado sugar) or .5 fl. oz. simple syrup (click to learn how to make your own.)

Add lime wedges and sugar to a rocks glass. With a muddler (or the end of a wooden spoon if you’re simple folk like me) press down and crush the limes to release the juice and the oils from the peel. Add ice, then cachaça and stir the drink. Add more ice if desired.

Viva! Saúde! 

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Friday Cocktails! The Hot-As-Heck Margarita

Friday Cocktails

If you live in the U.S. chances are you’ve endured one of the hottest weeks in a very long time.  Here in the north, we’ve had 115 degree heat indexes with dew points that make it nearly unbearable. I grew up in Phoenix, when 115 degrees was par for the course. But when you add oppressive humidity it becomes an entirely different ball of (melted) wax.

On days like today I feel like we all deserve a fun drink recipe to help usher in the weekend.  Today I’m featuring Hot-As-Heck Margarita recipe to accompany our equally hot weather. It is said that spicy foods actually cool you down internally by stimulating the heat receptors in your mouth, which enhance circulation and in turn causes you to sweat. So, you know, drink up.

*Disclaimer: you actually need to drink a lot of non-alcoholic and non-caffeinated drinks to stay hydrated when it’s hot.  Be smart!

Margarita

HOT-AS-HECK MARGARITA

Ingredients

Method:

  1. Pour enough salt onto a small, shallow plate to cover the surface. Use a wedge of lime to wet the rim of two margarita glasses.
  2. Fill glasses with ice.
  3. Pour the tequila, triple sec, lime juice, agave nectar or maple syrup, and jalapeno into a cocktail shaker over ice. Cover, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker has frosted. Strain into the prepared glasses, and garnish with lime wedges to serve.

Happy Weekend!

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Friday Cocktails: The French Pear

Friday Cocktails

 

It’s nearly the weekend!  Woohoo!  And if you live in the United States, it also most likely means a nice long holiday weekend for you.  You’ll need some cocktail recipes up your sleeve for the long weekend, don’t you think?  Sure, cold beer is nice, but nothing is better than an well crafted cocktail, in my opinion.

Last night we went out for drinks to celebrate birthdays with our neighbors.  We call each other “Framily” because we are family in many ways.  We have kids around the same age, we help each other out, and we love to spend time together.  Three of us have birthdays around this time, so typically we celebrate together.  I like to say I am halfway to 84.  Makes me laugh every time. I’m so funny melancholy.

Last night we walked to one of our favorite restaurants that features great cocktails.  My friend Catherine and I both ordered a French Pear. This one had a bit of a twist in that it also featured ginger. Catherine thought the drink tasted like “a Jolly Rancher in a glass”.  I love a sweet martini and had the urge to gulp it down, but now that I’m halfway to 84 I decided to behave like a grown up and sipped it instead.

I do agree with Catherine that it could have been a bit less sweet, and in doing that it would probably taste a bit brighter.  The ginger could have been more prominent, too.  A bit of a spicy bite from  more ginger would have offset the sweetness.

Overall I give it a 7/10.  We followed the French Pear with a good, solid dirty gin martini.

If you want to try the French Pear yourself, here’s how.

FRENCH PEAR MARTINI

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces pear flavored vodka
  • 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • Lemon twist, for garnish

METHOD:

  1. Place all ingredients except the twist into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously to mix.
  2. Strain into martini glass and add a lemon twist garnish.

 

Have a great weekend!  Keep it safe!

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