A Wednesday-through-Sunday beach vacation with friends from high school and college was the perfect chance to put a multitude of cocktails to the test. It was a relaxing, laid-back affair, so exotic experimentation was not at the forefront of Miss Mojito’s train of thought. Rather, this was an opportunity to mix good ingredients in new and interesting ways with refreshing results.
DRINK: Frozen Margarita
TWIST: Grapefruit Juice
1 cup of tequila, ½ cup lime juice, 1/3 cup Triple Sec and a pitcher full of ice make up a standard batch of frozen margaritas. A ½ cup of pink grapefruit juice adds a splash of color and a touch of tang to this beachy concoction.
DRINK: Salty Dog
TWIST: Lime Juice
2 ounces of gin, a large splash of grapefruit and a salted rim go into a traditional serving of the Salty Dog. We found a ½ ounce or so of fresh lime juice to be a nice addition.
TWIST: A frozen version
A good friend shared her recipe for a frozen sangria that was the perfect easy beach drink – it was fun, fruity and light enough for some daytime-appropriate imbibing. The night before, mix a bottle of fruity white (we used a pinot grigio), a can of frozen lemonade concentrate and OJ in a bowl. Freeze overnight, then mix and serve the next morning. Repeat as needed to prevent beach-related dehydration throughout the course of your vacation.
Posted by Miss Mojito.
My mother and I whipped up a batch of Cranberry Margaritas as our Christmas Eve pre-dinner drink. We liked them so much that we repeated them again on Christmas day, and more recently for a Sunday evening get together. They’re tart and a tiny bit sweet, and they mix up quickly in a blender. Plus, they translate easily into a virgin-version for your pregnant sister-in-law (just add a bit more lime juice and a splash of OJ in place of the tequila and Cointreau)! Given their heart-toned hue, they make for a festive Valentine’s drink, too.
Recipe comes from cocktail.com
- 1 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup sugar (Miss M recommends substantially less sugar – start with 1 Tbl and taste frequently)
- 1 1/2 cup fresh frozen cranberries, rinsed (freeze on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper)
- 3/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 3/4 cup tequila
- 1/2 cup Cointreau (orginal recipe calls for Grand Marnier, but Miss M recommends this substitute)
Mix together the first six ingredients. Pour half of mixture in the blender and fill rest with ice. Blend. Repeat with second half of mixture. Makes about two blender batches – which is enough to meet 4-6 people’s margarita desires, depending upon individual thirst levels.
For a romantic, flirtatious and Valentine’s inspired footwear choice, this floral suede pair by Bandolino is calling my name. And the coral patent sandals from Banana Republic bring a smile to my face.
My heart-toned picks might be a bit clichéd and traditional, but isn’t that the point of Valentine’s Day, anyways?
posted by Miss Mojito
Two recent finds in the worlds of both shoes and cocktails have Miss M all a flutter inside, and I was immediately eager to share them with the S&C readers.
While returning a belt to Anthropologie just last week, I came upon a stroke of luck: an Anthropologie shoe sale! This is a rare event indeed. I’m a big fan of Anthro’s selection of footwear: it has a slightly vintage vibe, with unique picks that are difficult to find elsewhere. But the prices are far from palatable.
That’s why my heart sang when I spotted a small collection of shoes gathered under a beloved “Sale” sign. And it hit a high note when I met these peep-toe, blue and sliver suede t-strap pumps with a braid detail. Online, the originally $198 shoes are marked down to $99.95. But in-store, I snagged a pair in my size for $50! Oh joy, thy name is Lunar Puzzle Mary-Janes! So get yourself to the nearest Anthropolgie to take advantage of these crazy sales. My guess is that they’re most popular during the season-to-season transitions.
While Anthropologie is expanding my shoe arsenal, a new-to-me discovery is expanding my cocktail repertoire. I was excited to spy Q Tonic at my favorite local wine and cheese shop, River City Cellars. Q Tonic is, according to their PR people anyway, “dedicated to making the world’s best tonic water.” Organic agave replaces sugar as their sweetener of choice.
I hope to conduct a tonic tasting this weekend and report back with a tonic-by-tonic comparison. In the meantime, I can’t wait to experiment with and adapt a few of the recipes found over at qtoniq.com. The Q-Cumber Fizz is at the top of my drinks-to-try list.
Developed for Q Tonic by bartender Jim Meehan. Serves one.
1.5 oz white tequila
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
A dollop of Light Agave Nectar (Sweet Cactus Farms Organic)
3 cucumber wheels (2 muddled, 1 garnish)
1 oz Q tonic
Add the agave nectar, lime, grapefruit juice and 2 cucumber slices to a mixing glass and muddle.
Add the tequila and shake and strain into a fizz glass.
Top with 1 oz Q tonic and garnish with a cucumber wheel on the rim of the glass.
Do you have any new discoveries that you just can’t keep to yourself? Do share with the S&C crowd!
Posted by Miss Mojito
Ms. S&C’s birthday-cocktail-repeal-day party was a success. But, it was also a reminder that Ms. S&C is now 32, not 23, and therefore she needs to take it easy next year. Many thanks to all her friends who stopped by! Here are a few highlights.
The jalapeno margarita won the reader poll, so that’s what was served. The jalapeno infused simple syrup was used in both a traditional and a pomegranate margarita. While we fixed some fine margaritas, we need to perfect the recipes before we share. We didn’t want to overdo the jalapeno flavor, but we were much too conservative when making the simple syrup. Next time we’ll use more than two jalapenos and let the syrup sit overnight before straining. Other margarita ingredients included: lemon, lime, orange and pomegranate juices, tequila and cointreau.
Our Southwestern-style appetizers included:
- Zesty bean dip, recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook
- Guacamole, also influenced by Moosewood Cookbook’s recipe
- Bacon wrapped stuffed jalapenos
- Mini quesadillas
- Grilled chicken and shrimp skewers
- Tres Leches cake, from our neighborhood bakery, My Bakery & Café
The next day clean up looked a little something like this. Love you guys.
It’s been a long time since I went to four bars in one night. But, when I was in New York City, over the Columbus Day weekend, I felt compelled to try some of New York Magazine’s top-rated bars. I also asked my good friend, Sesolf, for recommendations, and we embarked on the classic bar hop.
(Here’s part one of a two-part post on the night.)
First up, was PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy-style lounge in the East Village. PDT has everything you’d expect – intimate ambience, superb cocktails, and the obligatory secret entrance (you enter through a vintage phone booth located within Crif Dog, a hot dog joint). It was my favorite place of the night. Not only is the place quite civilized (see etiquette rules), the cocktails were inventive and down-right good.
Referred to on the menu as a “Caipirinha Collins,” and it was. Light and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail to start the night.
Served over ice in a collins glass
This drink has a thicker consistency and interesting herbal flavors.
Strained and served in a martini glass
- Jose Cuervo Tequila
- Lemon Juice
- Strega (bittersweet herbal liqueur)
- Red Jacket Orchard Apple Jack Butter
The glass is filled with perfect crushed ice and garnished with mint. One trick we learned – flick the mint leaves to release the sweet aroma right before serving.
- Tanqueray Gin
- Krogstad Aquavit
- Pineapple Juice
- Lemon Juice
- Muddled Blackberries
(Next up: a basement bar akin to a rabbit hole, a faux speakeasy.)
S&C is becoming a fan of Jason Wilson’s Spirits column in the Washington Post’s Food Section. This week, he gives us the low-down on misunderstood Tequila – and, as a bonus, we get some excellent drink recipes.
I’m sharing it here, because it is better than any research I could do on the liquor. Jason Wilson went on an agave pilgrimage, to see first-hand the life cycle of tequila’s base ingredient. He visited distilleries, sampled agave pulp – all to understand tequila’s complex characteristics. But, he also wants to refine tastes, and change drinkers’ perceptions of the spirit (i.e. those that think tequila is only good for the 21st birthday shot, it’s a low-quality liquor, and it should only be mixed with pre-made, sickly sweet bottled mixers).
Tequila isn’t quite as complex as wine, but there are geographical areas (Jalisco highlands and lowlands) to note, and there are three basic types to understand: blanco (pure), reposado (rested), and añejo (aged).
I’m far from an aficionado, but I whole heartedly support the notion that if you have good ingredients available, (a) use them, if resources allow, and (b) if you use them, do not, under any circumstances, drown them with overpowering, artificial mixers. I’m actually a bit of a snob when it comes this point. I promise you – you can make a better cocktail without those bottled mixers. And by better, I still mean easy, simple, and affordable. Take a look at these recipes: Paloma is more popular in Mexico than a margarita (grapefruit tastes better with tequila than lime); Sangrita is a spicy drink that literally translates “little blood,” and, the Tamarind Margarita is a sweet and spicy frozen drink. Sounds delicioso!
posted by Ms. S&C