Tag Archives: infused simple syrup

Cocktails by numbers

Ms. S&C hasn’t blogged a lot recently, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some notable experiences to share — especially on the cocktail front. Here’s a little glimpse of what she’s been up to.

13 — Points scored in a blind beer-tasting game

Friends, who host an excellent Halloween bash each year, led guests in a blind tasting of eight beers at their most recent party. Points were awarded for correctly guessing the beer style, brand and country of origin. Ms. S&C had a respectable third place finish.

2 — Punches made in a one-week period

Ms. S&C made a punch for her friends’ Halloween party. Ingredients included: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, lemon juice, apple cider, apple brandy, sparkling wine.

Ms. S&C made a second mocktail punch for a co-worker’s baby shower, using many of the same ingredients: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, apple cider, cran-apple juice, ginger ale. Please note the lovely garnishes of fresh apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

2 — Parties hosted in a three-day stretch

The two cocktails Ms. S&C created for her bookclub and a post-dinner party deserve their own dedicated posts. The Clover Club Cocktail was tres apropos for discussing “The Group.” And the pear margarita (secret ingredient: pear-infused simple syrup) was an inspired choice for post Mexican dinner imbibing.

7 — Football games left in the regular season

One recent game day beverage was a Red Eye (or Michelda). A simple combo of lager and tomato juice (but feel free to add lime and spices), is a great treat for those days when you want something more than just beer.

posted by Ms. S&C

Tell me

Herbal spirits like Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Pimm’s, and Lillet are all the rage these days. Why are these liqueurs appearing on just about every cocktail menu put in front of you? They aren’t new spirits. In fact, most are quite old (Pimm’s was created in 1859, Bénédictine in the late 1860’s). Maybe that’s why? What’s old is new?

Ms. S&C isn’t complaining. She likes herbal aromatic additions in a cocktail. They add a layer of complexity, and without any danger of making the drink too sweet. Ms. S&C has come across a few other, lesser know, botanical spirits that she’s fallen for:  Dimmi and Aperol. Both of which happen to be Italian herbal liqueurs, and that’s particularly apropo since Ms. S&C is traveling to Italy (for the first time ever!) today!!!

Dimmi translates to “tell me,” a phrase used frequently between friends in Italy, especially on the telephone. Dimmi includes a secret blend of herbs and fruit essences such as liquorice, vanilla, rhubarb, ginseng and bitter orange. It is great with citrus and strawberries. Ms. S&C first experimented with Dimmi by pureeing *very* ripe strawberries, adding the liquor, ice, and topping it with seltzer. She also garnished with rosemary from her garden, for extra aroma. It was an intensely refreshing cocktail — one that she needs a name for.

Ms. S&C tries out a few herbal Italian liqueurs, like Dimmi, in preparation for her first visit to Italy.

Ms. S&C also tried the “Herbal Sour” cocktail recipe from the Dimmi website. This drink includes one of Ms. S&C favorite cocktail techniques: infused simple syrup (using  thyme and rosemary from her garden). Infusing simple syrup takes a little bit of work (so does fresh-squeezing grapefruits, lemons, and limes), but it is all worth it for this cocktail.

Ms. S&C’s colorful concoction of Aperol and Prosecco match the colorful concoction of her Nanette Lapore pants.

Aperol has been mentioned on the S&C blog before. Miss Mojito came across it last fall at a restaurant in Richmond. Ms. S&C found herself at the same restaurant not too long ago and tried Aperol for the first time. It was like love at first site. The spirit is bitter, colorful, and a lot like Campari. Ms S&C’s drink at Acacia was called the Mid-town Spritz and ingredients included:  Aperol, gin, orange juice, housemade fennel syrup, Prosecco. However, when at home, she can also recommend a simple mix of Prosecco with a few splashes of Aperol.

Ms. S&C wants to know: Ms. S&C wants you to tell her you would like to see more of (or less of). She’s going to be on vacay for a little more than a week, but during this time, she’d love for readers to tell her what they want on this blog. More pictures? More style tips? More menswear (any menswear?) More food and drink pairings? More bar recommendations? More shoes? More outfits? More party planning? Tell me!

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon in the summertime

Ms. S&C’s recent love affair with bourbon has been well-documented: bourbon mojitos, bourbon with clementines and apricots, bourbon with grapefruit. (And with Miss Mojito’s help, the list goes on and on.)

When two of Ms. S&C’s favorite friends announce they are moving to Colorado — and throw one last goodbye bash — how does Ms. S&C celebrate? With bourbon cocktails!

Inspired by an abundance of mint growing in her friends’ backyard — and an earlier conversation about bourbon (specifically in regards to organizing a team for Bourbon Chase 2010) — Ms. S&C was on the hunt for a refreshing new cocktail containing these choice ingredients. She ran across the Bourbon & Peach Smash over at Imbibe Magazine. Reminiscent of a fancy bourbon and ginger, it incorporated fresh, seasonal ingredients (there’s really no excuse for anything else this time of the year). And it was perfect. She’s convinced bourbon can be enjoyed year-round: bourbon in the morning, bourbon in the evening, bourbon in the summertime.

Ms. S&C’s love affair with bourbon continues. A clementine old-fashioned during the winter, mojitos during the spring — and now, a peach ginger smash for the summer.

Bourbon & Peach Smash
adapted from Imbibe Magazine, serves one

Ingredients:

  • Ice
  • 2 slices fresh peach
  • 4 or 5 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 slice fresh ginger (pickled ginger is also okay)
  • 1 oz. infused simple syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 oz. fine bourbon (such as Buffalo Trace)
  • Ginger ale (preferably a higher-quality brand that doesn’t contain sodium and added preservatives; think Whole Foods and the like)

Directions:

For the simple syrup: bring to a boil, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, handful of mint leaves and peels from two peaches. Stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Cool completely and strain mint leaves and peach peels. You’ll be left with a syrup with a lovely pinkish hue.

Add slice peaches, mint, ginger and simple syrup in a cocktail glass and muddle vigorously. Add bourbon and fill glass with ice. Top with ginger ale.

posted by Ms. S&C

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

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

Too much of a good thing

Isn’t too much of a good thing what New Year’s Eve is all about?  When Ms. S&C likes something, she kinda gets all consumed by it.  Take Duffy’s Rockferry album for instance.  Once she got it for her b-day, it was in heavy rotation on her Ipod for weeks.  Everyday on the metro, she would listen to the whole album beginning to end (she’s usually a shuffle kind-of a girl).  Now that the Duffy newness has worn off, she’s moved on to T.I’s Whatever You Like.  Damn, that song is catchy.  And, let me tell you — it made the metro ride to work today at least bearable.  The first day back after the holidays is the pits.  Absolute. Pits.

Ms. S&C’s obsession fascination with punch has lasted a lot longer (yes, it made the 2008 Year in Review list).  When given the opportunity to make a holiday cocktail for LKO’s New Year’s Eve party, she could not resist.  Taking cues from the autumn spiced punch and LC’s champagne punch, we came up with this delicious Shoes & Cocktails exclusive — a sparkling cherry punch! This drink’s bright, festive color make it a perfect holiday cocktail.  It was a splendid way to start off the night!

angelas-nye-punch-003

After recently trying a Ritz Cocktail with maraschino liqueur, I knew I wanted to use cherry liquor in something, so I replaced the apricot brandy from the champagne punch.  And, I feel like if you are going to go through the trouble of making simple syrup yourself, you might as well infuse it with something.  I made this simple syrup with cranberries mainly because I had a leftover bag of them in the freezer, but also because I wanted something with the deep red color (I thought more cherries in the syrup may be an overload on cherry flavor).  The frozen cherries were a delicious little surprise at the bottom of the cup, and they helped keep the punch cold.

Sparkling Cherry Punch

Ingredients:

  • 4 bottles of champagne
  • 2 bottles of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 8 oz. cranberry infused simple syrup (see ingredients and directions below)
  • 8 oz. cherry brandy
  • 1 bag of frozen pitted cherries

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl.  Stir.  Easy schmeasy!

Simple Syrup Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 bag frozen cranberries

Simple Syrup Directions:
It is recommended that you make the simple syrup a day in advance to maximize the cranberry flavor.  Combine water, sugar, and cranberries in a saucepan.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain bits of cranberry from the syrup.

S&C wants to know: What fun, festive drinks did you have to ring in the new year?  Share your NYE drinks below!

Birthday recovery

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 Drinks:
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.

The Menu:
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 Conclusion:
The next day clean up looked a little something like this.  Love you guys.

birthday_cleanup