Tag Archives: Cocktail

recipe goodness :: spritzy sunday morning citrus cocktail

Spritzy Grapefruit Juice

Spritzy Grapefruit Juice

Let’s approach this a few different ways. 1) You want to jazz up your sparkling water or cut back on buying overpriced “grown-up” soda, 2) you wish you could enjoy a grapefruit without it taking longer to carve each segment than it does to actually eat the darn fruit or 3) you’re swearing off drinking on weekend mornings, but man you wish you could still savor the refreshing bubbly cocktail {this is for you preggo ladies}.

There’s really nothing to this — and quite honestly, it’s genius and refreshing. Looking for a non-alcoholic breakfast in bed treat to serve mom on mother’s day? You can thank my lazy morning for this citrus cocktail creation.

Spritzy Sunday Morning Citrus Cocktail

1 grapefruit {I prefer red or pink}
Sodastream water {or store-bought sparkling water}

  1.  Cut grapefruit in half and remove any seeds
  2. Squeeze directly into a wide-rimmed glass or into a bowl if that is easier. Allow the pieces of grapefruit to squeeze into the glass with the juice and help a few along with your finger or spoon if needed. Those little bits make this all the more enjoyable.
  3. Top with sparkling water and enjoy! Of course, those of you who just can’t manage a spritzy cocktail without the real bubbly can replace water with your favorite cava, prosecco or champagne.

More Breakfast in Bed Mother’s Day Options:
Blueberry, Lemon & Coconut Pancakes
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
How to Cook the Perfect Poached Egg {with Ramp Butter!}
Olive Oil and Maple Syrup Granola

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recipe goodness :: celebrate with stand-out spanish sangria

Sangria "Fruit Punch"

I made this recipe for an 8.ate@eight dinner party and the pitcher was emptied before I could get the ice cubes out of the tray.  Ok thirsty party people, I guess we don’t need ice. I take that to be a sign of an outstanding concoction.  And since Memorial Day is this weekend {one of my favorite holidays since it signifies the start of BBQ season} I wanted to share this stand-out sangria recipe — very easy to throw together and nice to have something done ahead of time for a party! This is one of the best sangria recipes I’ve made, if I do say so myself.

Spanish Sangria!

1/2 cup brandy
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
1/2 cup triple sec
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
8 maraschino cherries
2 cups carbonated water (optional)

In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For a fizzy sangria, add club soda just before serving. Ole!

And something to go with that glass of good grouse:
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa {also good as an entree side}
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa
Fresh Lime-Margarita Marinated Watermelon{double duty bites}

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Cinco de Mayo: A Day to Celebrate Mexican Pride {and Drink}

The Fixins' for Fresh Lime Margaritas

Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the celebration of Mexican independence, but rather a day to celebrate Mexican pride and heritage. What better way than with a mariachi band and margarita. If you’re going all out and planning to have a party on your rooftop, then this is a recipe you definitely want to impress your guests with. Good grapefruit is still available at the store and, in my opinion, is a necessary component to a ‘rita rockin’ the citrus blend. Please oh please don’t buy the pre-made mix. If you’re going to make our Mexican compadres proud, get out your juicer and put a little squeeze into your spirits. Don’t be afraid, this is not that spicy, but the chili adds a depth to the drink that cuts through all that citrus and makes it truly tasty. By the way, did you know margarita means daisy in spanish? Doesn’t that just sound like a delightful name for a killer cocktail?

Ancho Chili Margarita with Fresh Lime-Orange-Grapefruit Juice

Recipe:
2 0z tequila
2 oz mixed juice {lime, orange, grapefruit, agave}
ice
kosher salt and lime slice for rim

What you Need {See below for proportions}:
1 Bottle Tequila Blanco {I find the white tequila is smoother}
1 Dried Ancho Chili
Raw Agave
Limes
Oranges
Grapefruits

Fresh Squeezed Lime, Orange, Grapefruit

People experiment with the proportions of tequila to lime juice all the time, so it’s just a matter of personal taste.  Since my recipe uses fresh squeezed juice and a little raw agave for sweetness, you don’t need to add any triple sec or cointreau. And because of the fresh juice, I like to make this one with a 1:1 proportion of tequila to fruit juice. Here’s what you can expect to get from all that squeezing {approximately}.

8 limes=8 ounces
4 juice oranges=8 ounces
1 grapefruit=7 ounces

Figure out how many total drinks you plan on making. You need 2 oz of tequila and 2 oz of juice for every drink, so multiply that to know how much you need in total of both. Here’s an example to figure out how much of everything you need to make 3 drinks for 4 people. Adjust to fit your crew!

  1. 2 hours before you plan to serve the margaritas, add one dried ancho chili to the bottle of tequila. Note: the longer this soaks, the less spicy it will get as the pepper actually breaks down in the tequila. If you don’t plan on using an entire bottle, you may want to pour the tequila over the pepper in a separate container and watch it turn a cool red hue!
  2. Juice all of your limes, oranges and grapefruits into a separate container. Add 1 tsp of agave for every 8oz of total fresh fruit juice.  Mix thoroughly and chill. Keep a few lime halves to run across the top of your glasses later to make the salt stick.
  3. Ready to drink? Run a leftover lime half around the rim of a chilled glass. Pour some kosher salt on a plate and dip the rim in the salt if desired. Fill the glass with ice.
  4. You can either use a cocktail shaker or just mix equal parts tequila and fresh fruit juice in a pitcher and pour over ice in each glass.
  5. Stir, sip, enjoy, repeat.

What’s A Cinco de Mayo Party Without Salsa?!:
Avocado & Tropical Fruit Salsa
Creole Roasted Fresh Corn-Tomato Salsa

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Wintry Weekend Inspiration

Looking for something to warm the soul this weekend? Here are a few favorites that will make for a great way to start your day or a cup of warmth to end the evening.

BREAKFAST {of champions}

Secret DiLaura Family Frittata with Sweet Italian Sausage
Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits
How To Cook The Perfect Sunny Side-Up Egg
How to Cook the Perfect 8.5 Minute Egg

Italian Wedding Soup

SOUPS

Best Butternut Squash and Green Apple Soup
Grandma’s Italian Wedding Chicken Soup

Autumn Manhattan

DRINKS {cheers!}

Autumn Manhattan {Herby Garnished Classic a la Tippling Bros.}
Fireside Sparks {Champagne Cocktail a la Tippling Bros.}
Smokey Margarita {a la Tippling Bros.}

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The Art of Brunching Well @ L’Artusi

L'Artusi Bloody Mary

It was not long ago that I was raving about my dinner at L’Artusi, the attractive, open-kitchen Italian spot tucked down one of those non-perpendicular West Village streets.  So when they asked me to come preview their newly created Brunch menu before the public unveiling this Sunday {October 17}, I couldn’t help but spread the love again. I am an encourager of exemplary eating establishments. When I have a great meal, I want you to know about it. I want you to go. Tomorrow! So pick up the phone, make a reservation {212.255.5757} and then keep reading.

Every good brunch deserves a bloody mary. And every good bloody mary deserves some “hmpf”. What I mean by that is I want spice and all sorts of goodies in my Sunday cocktail — I want veggies, I want olives, I want lots of little bits floating around giving me that liquid-salad-with-a-kick kind of feeling. Because frankly, if I’m drinking on a Sunday morning {thank you Tippling Bros.}, I need to feel like I’m getting some sort of nutritional benefit. L’Artusi’s Mary does just that — and with a cherry, err, pancetta cube on top.

Graciously our very helpful server also suggested we start with the bread basket. This isn’t just any roll and butter basket. This is a collection of seasonal, bready goodness — a cranberry muffin, cherry scone and some dark, nutty bread that I couldn’t get enough of. All served with a side of whipped, soft, creamy butter and a lovely plum jam.

L'Artusi Bread Basket

My favorite of the two mains we ordered was the Eggs Florentine. We already know my obsession with eggs,and that I assert high expectations for any egg dish that I order at a restaurant. And this exceeded them ten-fold. Served on crispy polenta {clever Italian substitute to the ‘ole english muffin} with lovely, bright green spinach and a perfectly poached egg that oozed creamy, golden goodness, the florentine was then lovingly topped with a tomato-hollandaise, again adding a unique flavor profile and twist to the classic preparation.

L'Artusi Eggs Florentine

We were also treated to an unexpected dish that has my vote for best contender on the menu. The Polenta Amatriciana is probably best shared between two people because of its richness. A bowl of polenta {that I’m sure has no shortage of butter in it} is topped with the same amatriciana sauce that graces their bucatini on the dinner menu. This stuff is amazing — a combination of tomato, pancetta and red chilis, it is smoky and slightly spicy. What else would you want on top of a bowl of creamy polenta? An egg? Yes, I thought so — a perfect poach floats on top of this bed of delight, just waiting to be broken open so all the eggy yumminess can swim around with all the other flavors. And to really round this out, the entire dish is finished with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

L'Artusi Polenta Amatriciana

How about the sides? You can’t go wrong with the pancetta bacon or the super crispy rosemary potatoes. I agree with the person verbally singing the praises of that pancetta bacon and if you need a little crispy, salty potato to soak up your Saturday night, well then you’ve found them!

“This the the best bacon I’ve ever eaten in my life” — overheard @ L’Artusi

The Skim: And that, my friends, was a brunch worth sharing. I expect L’Artusi’s sunday brunch will be just as popular as their dinner is, but even if you can’t manage to get a reservation, you are always welcome to walk in and eat on the really comfy stools at the bar or start with one of their creative morning cocktails or fresh juices while you wait.

Map228 west 10th {btw Hudson & Bleecker}
Reservations: Taken!
Phone: 212-255-5757


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Seal of Approval

I ♥ Eggs Too:
The Art of Eating {and Drinking} Well @ L’Artusi
A Better Brooklyn Breakfast @ Dizzy’s Finer Diner
Community Food & Juice: Fresh & Fantastic Fare
Weekend Brunch: Eat Eggs @ Edward’s
Greenmarket: Put Smarter, Cheaper & More Scrumptious Food on Your Table

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Getting Tipsy with the Tippling Bros. @NYCWFF Mixology 101

The Tippling Bros. Introduce Mixology 101

What do you get when you mix a crowd full of foodies, a session focused on mixology and two non-related “brothers” stirring in some fascinating facts about the history of cocktails and tippling tips and techniques? A real good time. After attending two earlier New York City Wine & Food Festival events that day, all I expected was to sit back, take notes and learn a hint or two from Tippling Bros. Mixology 101, but what we got was an early start to a boozy Saturday night.

Tippler Paul Tanguay Settin' Up Bar

The event kicked off with a seasonal Champagne cocktail called Fireside Sparks, created by the two tippling partners Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci. As we sipped, these “perpetuators of libational awareness and enjoyment” jumped into a lesson, fully equipped with a powerpoint. Not exactly what you would expect from typical barmasters, but these experts are two of the most well known beverage consultants, whose common mission it is to help the world drink better! Here’s some useful info to successfully get you through your next trivia bar night…

Tippling Trivia:

  • The word “punch” originated from the Hindi word for five — panch {make a fist and it will all make sense}
  • There are 5 components to the original punch recipe: spirit, citrus juice, sugar, spice {often tea} and water
  • The word “cocktail” first appeared in print in 1806. Politicians, dignitaries and wealthy businessmen drank cocktails in the morning to get over the previous night
  • The original cocktail was made up of: spirit, sugar, water and bitters
  • Jerry Thomas wrote the first cocktail book in 1862

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When The Smokey Margarita Arrived

It was not soon after starting to sip down the first cocktail, that the second arrived — a Smokey Margarita. Mmmm, love ‘ritas. How generous of them to give us two cocktails while we enjoy the mixology lesson. On to bar tools…

Every Home Bar Should Have:

  • Shaker {Boston or Cobbler}
  • Mixing Glass
  • Strainer {Hawthorn or Julep}
  • Bar Spoon {You know, those spoons with a really loooong stem}
  • Muddler
  • Jigger {Don’t be afraid to measure, proper proportions are key to a quality cocktail}
  • Knives
  • Juicer

Check out Bar Products and Cocktail Kingdom to stock your bar properly.

Tippling Bros. Tips:

  • Pecking order — Always start from the cheapest ingredient when concocting your cocktail — that way if you lose count or mess up, you’re not out the good stuff!
  • Perfect “sour” proportions — 2:1:1 Strong:Sour:Sweet {e.g. Margarita}
  • Manhattan or Martini proportions — 2:1
  • Garnish — Add an aromatic garnish to change the flavor profile of your cocktail and make sure it’s sticking out of a glass such that your nose gets near it when you sip {try a rosemary sprig stuck in a cherry to anchor}
  • Batches — make 3/4 of the amount of drinks you want to serve when making batches {ice / water makes up 25% of every cocktail}. P.S. Making batches is a great way to enjoy your own party without having to play bartender. That’s one lesson I starred, highlighted and underlined.
  • Make crystal clear ice — Boil water and pour while hot into ice cube trays or muffin tins. The movement of the boiling water pushes out all the air, to create “clear” ice. Get fancy by adding citrus slices to your form after 30 minutes in the freezer.

Somewhere between learning about shaking and stirring, a Manhattan appeared in front of me and somewhere between learning about the garnish in my newly poured Autumn Manhattan and the wisdom of making batches, my pour from the Bottle of Baron also arrived. Ok, I get it. This is a drinking event. I checked my watch, it was only 6pm. The night was young, but I was well into an evening of strong cocktails thanks to my new friends. I guess this is what you get when you attend a session all about mixology, hosted by the masters of tippling themselves. Thankfully with camera in hand, I could put down the pen and still manage to snag some great cocktail recipes for you all. Cheers and Bottoms Up!

Tippling Bros. Hand Crafted Cocktails

Fireside Sparks

Hardly Done with Fireside Sparks, When Smokey Margarita Arrived

2 oz. Cranberry-Infused Whiskey
.75 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1 oz Spiced Syrup
1/4 Tangerine
1 oz Chilled Sparkling Wine

Muddle tangerine in a mixing tin. Add remaining ingredients and shake. Float champagne over the back of a spoon. Strain into a chilled flute or sour glass. Garnish with a tangerine peel and sugared cranberry skewer. Lightly dust with nutmeg.

Smokey Margarita

1.5 oz Tequila Blanco
0.5 oz Mezcal Joven
0.5 oz White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Agave Nectar
Grilled Lime Slices for Garnish

Spicing the Glass Rim:
2 parts Kosher Salt
1 part Cinnamon
1 Part Cumin
1 Part Chili Powder

Shake all ingredients together. Strain over ice in an old fashioned glass rimmed with Mexican-spiced salt. Garnish with grilled lime wheel.

Autumn Manhattan

Autumn Manhattan

2 oz Sazerac Rye Whiskey
1 oz Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
0.25 oz Oloroso Sherry
2 Dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Rosemary Sprig stuck in a cherry for garnish

Stir all ingredients together until well chilled. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and rosemary sprig.

Bottle of Baron {think sweet island cocktail}

8 oz Aged Rum
2 oz Grand Marnier
2 oz Simple Syrup
4 oz Orgeat Syrup
4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Hibiscus Concentrate {Jamaica Concentrate at your local bodega is the same thing}
6 oz Cold Water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl or plastic container. Funnel into a clean wine bottle. Cork and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serve over one cube of ice in a small punch glass. Garnish with an orange slice or vanda orchid.

It's Closing Time


Bartender, I’ll Have Another:
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo
recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Kickin’ Ancho Chili Fresh Citrus Margarita

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recipe goodness :: Alton Brown Does Bourbon in the Morning

Yes Alton, I'm Still Saving You A Seat at 8.ate@eight

Alton Brown considers himself a Southern cook and lives by the motto that everything that happens in the kitchen is about science. And what is the defining flavor of the South, you ask? Bourbon, of course. Bringing those two perspectives together during his New York City Wine & Food Festival demo, Alton concocted three classic Bourbon recipes shared in the post below:

Bourbon Mint Julep
Bourbon Ice Cream
Bourbon Banana’s Foster

It’s 11am and Time for a Mint Julep

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Mint Julep
Prep Time: 3-5 mins
Serves 1

10 mint leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 jigger Bourbon
Ice
Seltzer or Club Soda

Add the mint leaves and sugar to your glass and gently muddle to bruise the leaves, but careful not to tear {about 3-5 turns of a muddler}. Add a full jigger of Bourbon, fill the cup with ice and top off with seltzer water or club soda. Alton recommends not stirring for a stronger surprise near the bottom of your swig.

Gentle Muddling is Key

Getting into the science behind cooking with Bourbon, Alton pulled out the periodic table and his chemistry notes to explain that ethyl {found in alcohol} doesn’t freeze — in fact it acts as an antifreeze. So when making something scrumptious like Bourbon ice cream, it’s important to mimic the flavors you would find in Bourbon, with non-alcoholic ingredients. Pulling out a glass pickle jar for easy ingredient shaking and a large canister of liquid nitrogen {clearly not in most home kitchens}, Alton revealed a few on-stage tricks for instant ‘scream.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Ice Cream

1/4 cup Bourbon
2 cups Half & Half
1/2 cup Agave
1/4 cup Molasses
1/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, grated
Handful Chopped Pecans
1/3 cup Bacon, Cooked Extra Crispy

Add the Bourbon, Half & Half, Agave and Molasses to a microwave safe container and microwave until the Molasses dissolves. Allow to cool. Add cooled liquid and rest of ingredients to a tight sealing container {Alton recommends a bulk glass pickle jar} and shake vigorously.  Add to home ice cream maker, or if you’re like Alton, add to a Kitchenaid mixer and starting pouring in liquid nitrogen for great effect and a quick freeze {not sure I would actually recommend this}.

It's All About Science in the Kitchen

Adding a Touch of Bourbon for Authenticity

Shake Shake Shake

Everything Into the Mixer (Including the Liquid Nitrogen)

Wrapping up the 45-minute demo, Alton pulled out a few more tricks, this time involving flames, to make a Banana’s Foster dessert to pair with the Bourbon Ice Cream. An important ingredient to making this dessert successfully is heat from the caramelized sugar. Without it, the Bourbon would not burn on its own. And note to the parents out there, it’s impossible to boil out all the alcohol because steam from the cooking process puts the flame out first….so if you want little Johnny to fall asleep early, this might be the dessert for him.

Alton Brown’s Bourbon Banana’s Foster

Cook Time: 7 mins
Serves 2

2 TBS unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 under ripe bananas, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup bourbon
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest

Melt butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over low heat. Add brown sugar and nutmeg and stir until sugar dissolves. Add bananas and cook for 1 minute on each side, carefully spooning sauce over bananas as they are cooking. Bring sauce to a simmer and carefully add the bourbon. If the sauce is very hot, the alcohol will flame on its own. If not, using stick flame, carefully ignite and continue cooking until flame dies out, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If sauce is too thin, cook for 1 to 2 minutes until it is syrupy in consistency. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Immediately spoon the sauce over ice cream and serve.

Alton Melting the Sugar and Butter with the Bananas

Opa!

Great Bourbon Demo

Great demo and early morning learnings for us science geeks who like to know why something works or doesn’t work in the kitchen! If you liked Alton Brown’s Bourbon in the morning approach, then check out his new book that just came out called Good Eats 2: The Middle Years.

More NYC Wine & Food Festival Fun:
New York City Wine & Food Festival Kicked Off With Good Eats
Hands On with Giada De Laurentiis at Food Network’s NYCWFF Demo

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