Category: Cocktails

White Russian

White Russian

Back in the day, when Disco was hot, miniskirts and midis were popular at the same time, I could stay up all night, drinking and dancing and could easily get up and go work the next day – that was the 70s my friends! One of my girlfriends, Engelina, had a favorite cocktail, a White Russian. One was her usual limit but, on those occasions when she had two, we knew we were in for an exciting evening!

A White Russian combines coffee liqueurs, such as Tia Maria or Kaùha, vodka, and heavy cream. I like to use an espresso liqueur, such as Illy Espresso liqueur, for more depth of flavor.

White Russian bar set up

No special mixing equipment needed. This drink is made in the glass. Simply fill an on-the-rocks glass with 5 or 6 ice cubes. Pour the vodka and liqueur over the ice.

White Russian w/vodka

Hold a soupspoon upside down over the ice and drizzle the heavy cream over the back. This creates a striated look and leaves a layered look to the drink and a pretty presentation.

White Russian

Pop in a swizzle stick or small straw and serve. Let the drinker swirl to mix.

Use the amount of cream as you would for your coffee, dark, medium, or light. Not sure? Start dark, stir, taste, and add more until you reach a balance that pleases your palette.

White Russian

Cheers!

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White Russian

This cocktail is a boozy-like coffee milkshake. Sip slowly, it’s potent!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Cocktails

Ingredients

2 ounces vodka
1 ounces espresso liqueur, such as Illy Espresso, or a coffee liqueur, such as Kalùha
Heavy cream

 

Instructions

Place 5-6 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass and add the vodka and liqueur.

Top off by drizzling heavy cream over the back of a soup spoon, to taste. Use the cream as you would with your coffee, light, medium, or dark. Not sure? Start with a healthy splash, taste and add more if desired.

Keywords: coffee liqueur, espresso liqueur, coffee cocktail, vodka cocktail, espresso liqueur, vodka, coffee liqueur, heavy cream, gluten-free

Dad’s Manhattan

Dad's Manhattan pouring

When my dad retired, almost 30 years ago, he had a Manhattan at 4:00 pm every day, “for medicinal purposes only”, of course. It must have some longevity properties, because Dad is 91! This recipe, Dad’s Manhattan, is his version of a very classic drink.

The Manhattan is a drink with a long history. The details seem vague as to who originated the drink, but the one thing that remains the same is it was developed in NYC’s Manhattan borough in the mid 19th century. It’s made with whiskey, originally rye, but bourbon, blended and Tennessee whiskeys are also used.

Dad's Manhattan in shaker

Regular Manhattan vs. Perfect Manhattan vs. Dad’s Manhattan

A regular Manhattan is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and garnished with a Maraschino cherry. A Perfect Manhattan is made with whiskey, even amounts of both sweet and dry vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and is garnished with a twist of lemon.

Dad’s Manhattan is made with bourbon, preferably Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and dry vermouth. That’s it, no bitters, definitely no sweet vermouth, and certainly no cherry or lemon to distract the taste buds from the bourbon and vermouth. My preference is Michter’s Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which I keep in this lovely decanter.

Dad's Manhattan decanter

Whenever he would order a Manhattan in a restaurant, he would say “a dry Manhattan, straight up, no fruit.” There were many times when the wrong cocktail arrived. By saying “dry” Dad was indicating dry vermouth in lieu of sweet. However, we knew immediately when the bartender had used sweet vermouth, the cocktail was too dark, and he sent it back. Same thing if they added fruit, it was returned, and if they just took the fruit out and re-served it, he knew that, too!

Dad's Manhattan

Because of the vermouth, this cocktail is placed in the Martini category, and is usually served in a Martini glass. Over the years, however, my father has tried many different glasses. This one is his favorite and mine, too.

Dad's Manhattan

I have had many Manhattans over years to accompany my Dad in his ritual. It’s a powerful drink and one is my limit. If you’d like a little nosh to accompany your cocktail, try our Curried Deviled Eggs.

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Dad’s Manhattan

Dad's Manhattan

Dad’s Manhattan is made with bourbon, preferably Jim Beam Kentucky Straight Bourbon, and dry vermouth. That’s it, no bitters, definitely no sweet vermouth, and certainly no cherry or lemon to distract the taste buds from the bourbon and vermouth. My whiskey preference is Michter’s Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, which I keep in this lovely decanter.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail
  • Category: Cocktail

Ingredients

3 ounces whiskey, rye, bourbon, blended, or Tennessee
1 ounce dry vermouth

Instructions

Place 4 ice cubes in a cocktail mixer, add the bourbon and vermouth, and stir until the shaker frosts up, about 25 swirls.

Place the cover over the shaker and pour.

Notes

A regular Manhattan is made with whiskey, sweet vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and garnished with a Maraschino cherry. A Perfect Manhattan is made with whiskey, even amounts of both sweet and dry vermouth, a dash or two of bitters and is garnished with a twist of lemon.

Keywords: Manhattan, perfect Manhattan, cocktail, bourbon, rye, vermouth, entertains

Cheers!

Zarzamora Ardiente Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente means “fiery blackberry.” This cocktail contains blackberries and jalapeño, a little fresh lime juice, agave, and 2 ounces mezcal. It’s sweet/tart with some heat and a delightful smokiness from the mezcal.

I’ve never been a fan of mixed drinks, they tend to be very sweet. But it seems that in this new age of creativity on the part of bartenders, natural flavors and juices and less sugar are in style and the result is delicious and interesting cocktails.

I’ve had two mezcal cocktails that I’ve really loved. A local Mexican restaurant in Wilton CT, Cactus Rose has a Smoky Cosmo, made with Espadin mexcal (sic), orange liquor, blood orange puree, and fresh lime juice that is delightful. My very first mezcal cocktail was in LA at Broken Spanish, made of EL ZOCALO mezcal, passion fruit, Campari, yellow chartreuse habanero tincture, and Sal De Gusano (which is agave worm salt – see blow for more information). I was blown away and definitely hooked on this very special distilled beverage made from the agave plant.

What is Mezcal?

Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave, a succulent that thrives in hot, arid environments and requires very little water to survive. Tequila is made from only one type of agave, blue or weber, and must be grown in the state of Jalisco or in small parts of four other states. Mezcal (tradition spelling is mescal) is made from 28 or more varieties of agave from all over Mexico. Mezcal has a smokiness that, in my opinion is its real appeal, missing in tequila.

There are two types of mezcal: one made from 100% agave and a second made from a minimum 80% agave and a maximum of 20% other sugars.

Mezcal has three different aging categories: abacado, joven, or blanco  is clear, un-aged, and bottled immediately; it may have flavoring or coloring added. Resposado or madurado is aged in wood barrels for 2-11 months, and añejo is aged in wood barrels for a minimum of 12 months.

Zarzamora Ardiente the pour

The smoke flavor is the result of the processing. Once the plant is harvested, the leaves are removed with a machete revealing the heart of the agave, called the piña, which is taken to a palenque, a rustic distillery. The agave is then processed further, layered over the hot oven and covered with the outer leaves of the plant and roasted for several days. The caramelized agave is then crushed or pulverized, fermented, distilled and sometimes aged.

If you want to learn more about this excellent liquor, I suggest Finding Mezcal: A journey into the liquid soul of Mexico with 4o cocktails, by Ron Cooper. My daughter and her boyfriend gave me a copy for Christmas and it’s a fun read!

The Myth of the Worm

I remember hearing that tequila had a worm in the bottle when I was younger (YUK)! This is apparently a marketing gimmick. What is in the bottle is either the larvae of a caterpillar of a night butterfly or the agave snout weevil that naturally infest agave plants and the worm salt (Sal De Gusano) mentioned in the above cocktail from Broken Spanish.

The Cocktail

Zarzamora Ardiente ingredients

I’m trying a new mezcal today, Sombra mezcal artesanal made from 100% Maguey Espadin using the joven aging method. The resulting cocktail has a deep purple color and depending on how much you muddle the jalapeño, it can have quite a kick. I like it over ice garnished with a thin slice of jalapeno.

Zarzamora Ardiente juice and jalapeno

Cheers!

METHOD FOR MAKING ZARZAMORA ARDIENTE Cocktail

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled jalapeno

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Zarzamora Ardiente muddled blackberry

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail

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Zarzamora Ardiente

Zarzamora Ardiente cocktail
  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld

Ingredients

5 blackberries
3 thin slices jalapeño, divided
2 ounces mezcal
1 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave
4 ice cubes

Instructions

Place 2 slices jalapeño in a cocktail shaker and crush with a muddler or the handle of a thick wooden spoon. The more you crush the jalapeño more heat is released from the essential oils of the chili.

Add 6 blueberries and crush with the muddler.

Add mezcal, lime juice, agave, and a handful of ice cubes. Cover and shake well.

Replace the cover with the strainer and pour into a rocks glass filled with 4 or 5 ice cubes. Top with a slice of jalapeño.

The Celery Martini

Celery Martini

I started out drinking rye because that’s what my Dad taught me. On my 18th birthday (yes, this goes way back to when 18 was the legal drinking age) he poured me a Philadelphia on the rocks. Over the
years I graduated to VO, VVO and then Crown Royal. If Crown Royal wasn’t available I’d settle for Jack Daniels. I never acquired a taste for scotch, though Jack Daniels is pretty close to that flavor profile, in my opinion. Several years ago I was introduced to Maker’s Mark by a friend and that was added to my thin repertoire of whiskeys.

My daughter introduced me to the Dirty Vodka Martini. Unlike drinking whiskey neat or on the rocks, having a mixed cocktail can vary from bartender to bartender. I’ve learned to make my own: two ounces vodka, one and one-half ounces olive juice, shaken with ice and then poured neat into a glass with three olives. I always request three olives.

There is nothing quite like a soused olive. I don’t care for gin, but if a friend has a martini made with gin and doesn’t eat the olives, I’ll take them. MMMM, soused olives!

The Celery Martini seemed like a great idea – celery and olives are delicious together. A juicer is the easiest way to get the celery juice. If you don’t have one, use a food processor and puree the celery to smithereens and then dump it into cheesecloth over a bowl, wrap it up tight and squeeze until dry. These four stalks made six ounces celery juice (in the juicer0; enough for three martinis.

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The vibrant green color is a bit startling, but the flavor is distinctly celery without any bitterness. Very clean and refreshing. I was tempted to add a little olive juice to the mix, but then realized that the speared olives would add a pleasing saltiness as needed. And isn’t that Nick and Nora martini glass just adorable!!

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Cheers!

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Celery Martini

martini

A refreshing and pretty cocktail. Add the olives, plain or stuffed, for a bit of saltiness.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Yield: 1 four-ounce drink 1x
  • Category: Beverage
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces celery juice
  • 3 pitted olives, stuffed or plain

Instructions

  1. Place four ice cubes in a martini shaker, add the vodka and celery juice. Shake and pour over the speared olives.

 

Gingersnap Bellini

There is no better way to celebrate the incoming New Year than with a bubbly glass of sparkling wine. Well, there’s no better way to celebrate anything than with a flute of bubbly!

This year we’ll be ringing in 2015 (WOW) with a little adaptation of mine on the traditional Bellini, a Gingersnap Bellini. I found this wonderful ginger liqueur Domaine de Canton, which also contains VSOP cognac. Mix the liqueur with a brut Prosecco and a paper-thin slice of fresh ginger.

Champagne flutes come in a range of sizes. I have two different flutes, a four ounce and an eight ounce. This recipe works best with the eight-ounce flute, just divide by two for the smaller glass, or make in a measuring cup and pour into two glasses and garnish each with the fresh ginger.

Celebrating with a large group? No problem. A 750 ml bottle of Prosecco contains 25 fluid ounces. Use four bottles and 18 ounces ginger liqueur. Pour into a punch bowl, toss in a bunch of sliced ginger. Keep extra ginger slices on the side for guests to put in their drink.

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Select a firm, heavy ginger root, give it a good, but gentle scrub under cold water, and dry.

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Slice off an end and any knobby portions on the sides.

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Use a food slicer on the thinnest setting or use a very sharp knife to cut paper-thin slices.

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Pour the liqueur into the bottom of a champagne flute, add the Prosecco and garnish with a fresh slice of ginger.

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Cheers!

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Gingersnap Bellini

Champagne flutes come in a range of sizes. I have two different flutes, a four ounce and an eight ounce. The recipe below is for the eight-ounce flute, just divide by two for the smaller glass, or make in a measuring cup and pour into two glasses and garnish each with the fresh ginger.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 1 eight-ounce flute 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 6 ounces Prosecco, brut
  • 1 paper-thin slice fresh ginger

Instructions

  1. Pour the liqueur into the bottom of a champagne flute, add the Prosecco and garnish with a fresh slice of ginger.

 

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Gingersnap Bellini Punch

Celebrating with a large group? No problem. A 750 ml bottle of Prosecco contains 25 fluid ounces. Use four bottles and 18 ounces ginger liqueur. Pour into a punch bowl, toss in a bunch of sliced ginger. Keep extra ginger slices on the side for guests to put in their drink.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 mins
  • Yield: 30 four-ounce servings 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 750 ml bottles Prosecco, brut
  • 18 ounces ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
  • 20 paper-thin slices fresh ginger
  • Garnish: extra fresh ginger slices

Instructions

  1. Slowly pour the Prosecco and ginger into a punch bowl, stir gently and top with the ginger slices.
  2. Cheers!

 

Strawberry-Limeade Vodka Martini

Strawberry Lime Vodka Martini Recipe

This delicious and refreshing Strawberry-Limeade Vodka Martini is quick and easy to make. It starts with a batch of strawberry limeade, which can be served as a non-alcoholic drink.

Great in the summer when strawberries are in season. Make up a large batch and set out to let people make there own – with vodka or not.

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Strawberry-Lime Vodka Martini or Mocktail

A couple of tips for using carbonated water: pour the carbonated water into the pitcher first to minimize the amount of foam created when adding the juice and only combine the juice and carbonated water just before serving to keep it sparkling.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 quarts 1x
  • Category: Beverage
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • freshly grated peel of one lime
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 cups ice water or sparkling water
  • Garnish: thin slices of lime or a small strawberry

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries in a blender with the water, sugar and lime juice. Let this sit for an hour to optimize flavor. Pour water or sparkling water into the pitcher and add the juice. Stir gently to combine.
  2. For the martini, use 2 ounces strawberry-lime juice, 1 1/2 ounces Vodka (I used Kettle One) and 3 ounces seltzer. Garnish the martini glass with a slice of lime and/or a small strawberry.