Category Archives: fall/winter cocktails

T’is the season–for clementines

Ms. S&C thinks there’s a lot to love about clementines. Those perfectly small, round citrus, with a deep orange color, pack a lot of flavor. (Not to mention they are so easy to peel and seedless.) And, how irresistible are those boxes at the grocery store this time of the year? But, when you’re a family of two, how do you make use of them all? Ms. S&C is here with a few cocktail suggestions so those beauties don’t go to waste. Think of today as a two-for-one special!

That delicious box of clementines can be used for a number
of delicious cocktails

Cocktail Number One: Ms. S&C came across an inviting recipe for an Old Fashioned over at Metrocurean. She tested a few batches, made a few minor modifications, and couldn’t have been happier with the end result. The infused simple syrup is pretty fantastic, and all the flavors mesh perfectly with bourbon. To conclude, this is an awesome cocktail.

Clementina Old Fashioned
adapted from Jaleo, makes 1 drink

For cinnamon apricot syrup:
(make one day in advance, preferably)

  • dried apricots (approx. 6)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Peel from one clementine
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Combine sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to boil. Simmer until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon sticks, apricots (1 apricot for each drink you plan to make) and clementine peel. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Let cool and stand for several hours, or overnight (recommended). Use any leftover syrup to sweeten tea, or for other cocktails.

For the cocktail:

  • 1 clementine, segmented
  • 1 1/2 ounces Maker’s Mark bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon of apricot cinnamon simple syrup
  • zest of 1 clementine
  • A few dashes orange bitters

In a cocktail shaker, muddle apricot (from syrup) and clementine. Add bourbon, cinnamon apricot syrup, orange bitters and enough ice to fill a rocks glass. Shake well. Pour into a rocks glass and finish with a generous amount of clementine zest.

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Cocktail Number Two: Naturally, Ms. S&C has offered to make punch for New Year’s Eve festivities. Last year she whipped up a sparkling cherry sensation that was quite good. This year she plans to adapt a citrusy champagne punch from Epicurious. And, for Ms. S&C’s party purposes, this recipe will likely be tripled.

Sparkling Citrus Punch
makes eight servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white grape juice
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh grapefruit juice (preferably pink or ruby red)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup Cointreau, triple sec, or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or other brandy
  • 1/2 cup packed mint leaves
  • 2 clementines, segmented
  • 1 lime, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 bottle Champagne or other sparkling white wine, chilled

Stir together juices, wine, triple sec, Cognac, mint, fruit, and cooled syrup in a large pitcher. Chill, covered, until cold, about 1 hour. Stir in Champagne. Garnish with clementine, lime and lemon pieces.

Happy New Year from S&C!

posted by Ms. S&C

Quick Roundup of Christmas Picks

Some seasonal cocktails practically scream “Christmas.” Eggnog, for example, is essentially synonymous with the holiday season, and for good reason. Other cocktails meet the “festively seasonal” criteria in a manner a bit more subtle. Today, we’re exploring a few cocktails that fall under the latter category.

The folks over at the Atlantic Food Channel (a fantastic, must-read blog) have a great recipe for a drink for a crowd: their champagne cocktail mixes bitters and pomegranate seeds with bubbly.

For those sweet-of-tooth, Jonathan Miles of the New York Times recommends the posset, a creamy concoction which Mr. Miles describes as a precursor to eggnog.

Many people detect prominent notes of pine in gin. At Christmas, the pine flavor takes on a whole new meaning. Put gin to holiday use in a brightly colored and super-flavorful cherry gin-gria from Foodnetwork.com.

Also from the Foodnetwork.com is Emeril’s ruby-red rocket cocktail, which uses plenty of seasonal citrus, brown sugar and cassis or raspberry liqueur.

What shoes will Miss Mojito wear during this seasonal sipping celebration? I’m a big fan of traditional, romantic velvet used in untraditional ways during the holidays. And while these AMAZING Christian Louboutin pumps with an audacious velvet bow (left) might be a smidge out of my price range, these feisty purple velvet platforms by Poetic License (right) inch much closer to my budget.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list–part 3

Ms. S&C’s holiday wish list continues… Not all of Ms. S&C’s gift items have to be one-of-a-kind vintage-y cocktail ware, or shoes that would break any normal person’s budget. Sometimes, a simple mug of hot chocolate will do just fine.

When Ms. S&C visited Chicago a few months ago, she tried hot chocolate (at Rick Bayless’ XOCO) that changed her life. (You can read about it in one of her Top Chef blog posts).

Now, she is spotting specialty hot chocolate on menus everywhere, including in her own neighborhood. Artfully Chocolate, a funky little chocolate boutique in Del Ray, Alexandria, has quite the hot cocoa menu and mixes. And, they are a perfect accompaniment to their already incredible selection of gourmet truffles — in delectable flavors such as chipotle cinnamon and toasted coconut. The gift box of 4, 6, or 12 pieces is a perfect, perfect gift for your chocolate-lover!

Happy Holidays from S&C!

posted by Ms. S&C

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

It was a dark and stormy night….Ms. S&C was busy preparing sweet potato skins (with bacon, marshmallows and molasses) for a friend’s annual Halloween bash. She kept watching the clock. The dish was looking good, but there was still a lot to do. And, what about a cocktail? There was no time! No time for simple syrups. No time for punches. She couldn’t show up empty-handed. She’s Ms. S&C! She didn’t want to disappoint. She spotted an almost-full bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum in her cabinet (leftover from last year’s holiday party eggnog). She wondered if she could use it for something. What about the Dark ‘n’ Stormy? Yes, it is a Bermudan cocktail, but it has a spooky name…

goslingsrumSurprisingly, Ms. S&C has never tried a Dark ‘n’ Stormy before (rum is usually not her first choice of spirit). But, she’s heard good things. Read good things. And, she’s seen it on plenty a cocktail menu.

reedsgingerbeerThe zesty combination of the sweet rum and spicy ginger brew (only use the good stuff), and the easy breezy preparation — the Dark ‘n’ Stormy will undoubtedly have a regular spot in Ms. S&C’s cocktail rotation. Not to mention, it is great drink for any time of the year — a Bermuda bash or a Halloweeen fest — the ingredients are always available. And they’re always tasty.

Dark ‘n’ Stormy
serves two

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
  • Bottle of Ginger Beer (Ms. S&C prefers Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew)
  • Lime wedge

Directions:

Fill a collins glass with ice. Add 2 oz. rum. Top with half of a bottle of ginger beer. Garnish with lime wedge. Repeat.

posted by Ms. S&C

Getting Spoooooky

Ghosts, ghouls and goblins bring with them a host of exciting cocktail possibilities to usher in the spookiest of holidays. And with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, those opportunities for celebrating are all the more plentiful.

Here are Miss Mojito’s thoughts on some festive cocktails that might help get you in the Halloween spirit.

  • Go Orange and Black: Mix orange curacao liqueur, white rum and lime; garnish with a licorice stick
  • Go Creepy: Take a nod from Yumsugar.com and mix up a terrifying batch of Eyeball Highballs.
  • Go Spooky: Mix espresso, orange vodka and coffee liqueur for a brooding, macabre and delicious martini.

Shoe-wise, I think something equally black and broodIMG_0894ing is in order. Luckily, I came across these fantastic sandals at Nine West. The hardware toughens up the feminine shape. I’ve been eyeing this particular pair for a while now and am delighted to add them to my collection!

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Cake and punch

The fun thing about going to a one year old’s birthday party is the party turns out to be one that’s really more for adults. Ms. S&C recently had the pleasure honor of fixing a punch for an adorable lad’s first birthday party. Said adorable lad also happens to be Miss Mojito’s nephew! While the pomegranate champagne punch was a crowd pleaser, the real hit of the party was this incredible rainbow-colored cake baked by the lad’s superstar mom, LC. LC tells me the rainbow cake was inspired by a number of blogs and recipe sites (Google rainbow cake and you’ll get oodles of results). But her cake and icing recipe came from Restaurant Eve’s Birthday Cake. Clever mom that she is, LC implemented the rainbow layering and colored coconut for the topping, rather than using plain old sprinkles.

bday-cakeSpectacular rainbow colored birthday cake

For the punch: when asked to help make a cocktail for the party, I wanted something equally colorful and festive. Since we were serving a large crowd of 20-30 people, I knew that punch was the only practical option. I found a pomegranate rum punch recipe from Bon Appetit on Epicurious. I’ve always been a fan of pomegranate juice – the color and tartness make it a perfect mixer for cocktails. Not to mention all the health benefits. But, I’m not so much a fan of rum (which could be good in a fall/winter version), so I subbed champagne and white wine, and made a few other tweaks. The result was a bright, cheerful, and sparkling beverage that parents, and friends and family of parents, can enjoy.

pom-champagne-punchPomegranate champagne punch with lime and mint

Pomegranate Champagne Punch

Ingredients:

  • Simple syrup
  • 5 bottles chilled brut Champagne
  • 2 bottles chilled white wine (Ms. S&C uses sauvignon blanc)
  • 1 cup triple sec
  • 3 cups pomegranate juice,  (Ms. S&C prefers POM Wonderful)
  • 4 limes, thinly sliced
  • Simple syrup, to taste
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)
  • Fresh mint for garnish (optional)
  • 1 ice block

Directions:

For the simple syrup: bring 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to boil in small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely. Note: adding lime slices is always an option to infuse the syrup.

Combine Champagne, white wine, triple sec and pomegranate juice in punch bowl. Add syrup to sweeten to taste. Mix in lime slices, and pomegranate seeds. Add ice block to bowl. Garnish with mint.

posted by Ms. S&C

Citrus Juicing and Ice Chipping

I recently tried out two new tools that are sure to enhance the cocktail concoction experience.

I gave the Black & Decker Citrus Juicer to my dad for Christmas in 2008, after spending over half an hour one evening juicing lemons and limes for his family-sized batch of whiskey sours. I decided to invest in this small, affordable home juicer as a present for dad (and to give my poor hands a break). It’s small enough not to take up too much room in my parents’ limited cabinet space.

We finally whipped it out one Sunday to make a batch of the much-lauded whiskey sours. I must admit, even thdscn09052ough I was the one who bought the juicer in the first place, I was still skeptical that it would produce results good enough to convince me to forgo my hand juicer.

For a $15 purchase, the results were pretty stellar. The way it works is this: you fit the citrus over one of the two plastic reamers (a larger one for oranges & grapefruit, a smaller one for lemons & limes). When you press down, the reamer automatically spins, extracting the juice into the awaiting container. Seconds later, you have a bone-dry citrus rind in one hand and a cup full of juice in the other (up to 34 ounces worth). This particular model also has different settings for no pulp, medium pulp and pulp-a-plenty. Brilliant!

dscn0908The other tool I tried out that might deserve a place on your cocktail cart is the manual ice grinder. It’s basically a plastic container with a sharp metal mouth through which you feed your ice cubes. Depending upon the direction you turn the crank, the result is large ice chips or fine ice slush. Though you have to definitely exert some strong arm power to properly chip the ice, the results are worth the effort for those times when ice cubes are just too inelegant and bulky.

I think the best way to make use of these two finds is a mid-winter cocktail that celebrates them both. The Salty Dog is just the ticket: squeeze your own grapefruit juice, chip your own ice, them mix them both together with some gin and serve in a salted-rim glass.

The Salty Dog
serves one

  • 4-5 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz gin
  • Salt
  • Chipped ice

Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before preparing the drink. Pour salt (a couple spoonfuls should be plenty) on a square of parchment paper. Dip and roll the edge of the chilled glass in salt. (If the salt has trouble sticking to the glass, try rubbing the glass with a wedge of lime, first.). Pour gin and juice in glass; fill with ice and stir to mix.

Posted by Miss Mojito