All posts tagged easy cocktails

A Salute to USNA ’89 Women

July 2, 1985, I stood in the humid Annapolis afternoon and raised my hand with 1374 others, of which 135 of us were women, and took the oath as a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. It’s not a fact many know, or that I share often outside of those uncomfortable and awkward getting to know you bingo games featuring personal trivia. (Which I always win because no one EVER associates US Naval Academy with me.)

I’m not embarrassed of my time at the Academy. I am proud. But when I left after a year and a half, and watched so many friends tough out their college years there and then serve honorably in the Navy or Marine Corp, my eighteen month stint seemed trivial. Plus, I had moved physically beyond the corridors of Bancroft Hall, the Academy’s massive dormitory which houses all 5,000 or so Midshipmen. And with the physical move, I also needed to embrace psychologically my life choices, thus forever identifying myself a Virginia Wahoo.

But, recently I have thought often about those eighteen months, which were without a doubt the most difficult of my life. This weekend, the women of the class of 1989 are gathering to celebrate our forthcoming significant birthdays — you do the math. Although I’m not attending the reunion, I have been included in all of the communications and feel welcomed to this event.

At the Naval Academy, once a Middie, always a part of the family. That is only one life-long lesson I learned at the Academy. I correctly decided that the Navy was not the best career path for me, but I experienced friendships and teamwork there which I’ve never seen replicated in the civilian world.  The sense of mission. The unwavering commitment to pull together as a unit. The ability to multi-task to the 89th degree. How to be crazy and zany and laugh because it is the only way you’ll get through the day. How to keep going when you don’t think you can. Finding out the answer when you don’t have a clue. Allowing yourself to be pulled along by a shipmate (for me that meant on any run), and then doing the same for him or her when you were the stronger. And the pervasive, unbelievable trust.

To all the women of the USNA class of 1989, I salute you!  GO NAVY!!

In your honor, here is a recipe for an ’89er Blue and Gold, a  concoction reminiscent of Navy grog (usually rum with some lime and maybe pineapple juice), but good enough for an 89’er Woman:

2 ounces Sailor Jerry rum

1 ounce pineapple juice

2 dashes grapefruit bitter

1/4 lime

1/2 ounce blue curacao

Mix rum, pineapple juice, bitters and juice of lime in shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into cocktail glass. Using a funnel set into bottom of glass, add blue curacao. Enjoy the blue and gold, but stir gently to get the color of the sea before enjoying.

The Buck Starts Here: A DIY Easy Summer Cocktail Party

Having a signature drink at a party doesn’t require you to spend the entire night behind a bar or to hire the local college-aged student to play bartender for the evening. Creating a DIY cocktail bar not only frees up your time as host, but also engages guests and gives them the takeaway of  knowing how to make a simple, and delicious, drink. One of the best ways to set up a DIY bar is to pick a drink which can be made with only a few simple ingredients and for which various spirits can be interchanged. The “Buck” will kick off your summer and keep it going through Labor Day.

Guest in Action at the Buck Bar

Guest in Action at the Buck Bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A classy classic, the Buck was first made with gin, but other spirits horned in, with the vodka version, also known as a Moscow Mule, perhaps being the most famous. Another famous Buck is the Dark And Stormy and Jamaican Buck. The distinguishing characteristics of a Buck are simple to remember and to mix. Easy on the brain and the wallet, two of my most cherished traits in a cocktail. Here’s all you need to know:

1. Get a tall glass

2. Add a lot of ice

3. Squeeze in 1/4 of a lime or lemon and then drop the rind in the glass

4. Pour in 2 ounces of your favorite spirit

5. Top off with ginger beer or ginger ale

Got it?

Yes, it is that easy. At a recent gathering at my home bar/lair, we sampled gin, dark rum, light rum, tequila, and bourbon. But, don’t forget Scotch and brandy bucks, too. I made a simple instruction sheet (placed in a plastic page protector, lest a sloppy mixer ruin my careful explanation), and then laid out the ingredients in the order listed above. Then, I let my guests go at it. Always timid at first, after the first round, everyone was experimenting, mixing and matching spirits and citrus and ginger beer vs. ginger ale and debating over who’s Buck packed the most punch.

Create your own favorite and make it your summer sip. What’s not to like about citrus, booze and ginger? Speaking of ginger beer and ginger ale…

I got creative for this party and brewed my own ginger beer based upon the instruction in the May/June 2014 edition of Imbibe Magazine, a wonderful magazine and online resource for anyone, from beginner to expert, who is interested in “liquid culture.” Here’s what I did:

Ready to make ginger beer

Ready to make ginger beer

 

4 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and chopped roughly

2 quarts water

1 cup demarara sugar (I didn’t have this handy, so substituted the Turbinado sugar lurking in my pantry from some obscure recipe used last year)

1 tbls. molasses

3/4 cup fresh lime juice (yes, that cost a pretty penny given the lime shortage)

1/4 tsp. champagne yeast (found at a local home-brew supply shop)

1. Puree ginger and 1 quart of water in a blender

2. Combine ginger-water, sugar and molasses in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring until sugar dissolves (around 5 minutes), then remove from heat and let cool. You want it a little warmer than room temperature, but not boiling so you can activate the yeast, but not kill it.

Cooking the ginger and sugar with water

Cooking the ginger and sugar with water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Strain the sugar-ginger-water mix through cheesecloth into a 2-litre plastic bottle.

Straining

Straining

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Add the lime juice and enough of the remaining water until the bottle has about 3 inches left at the top. Sprinkle the yeast on top.

5. Squeeze the bottle until the liquid comes to the neck and then cap. Let the bottle sit at room temperature until it is hard. The recipe said 12 hours, but my house was chilly and it took about 18 hours. Be careful because it will explode. DO NOT use glass because that will shatter under the pressure.

Contents Under Pressure! Ferment in a Safe Zone

Contents Under Pressure! Ferment in a Safe Zone

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Once the bottle is hard, put in the refrigerator to stop any more fermentation. Drink within a week.

 

That’s all! The Buck might have stopped with Harry S. Truman, but it starts with Thirsty Jane!  Enjoy your summer and let me know your favorite Buck.

It’s Cookie Cocktail Time — Simple Cocktails for Your Sweet Tooth

It’s cookie cocktail time. About this time of year, you might find yourself wondering how many boxes of cookies did you order from those cute little girls in vests and beanies? What are you going to do with all of those sweet delights? Or maybe you didn’t get any ordered and are craving something minty and chocolatey. Each of these recipes is simple to make, using a minimal number of ingredients which are also easy to find at most liquor stores. If you don’t have cookies to rim your glasses, never fear, just channel Thirsty Jane and make the drink anyway! The neighborhood lushes taste tested each of the drinks against the real deal cookie and gave their enthusiastic guzzle-worthy stamps of approval.

 

Chocolate Mint

The chocolate minty delight that cookie hoarders stock pile in their freezers every year grows up in this perfect cocktail version. And, it’s easy!
1 oz. white rum
1 oz. creme de menthe
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1/2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream

Rim glass, using simple syrup, with crushed chocolate-mint cookies.  Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Triple-C Threat

Coconut. Chocolate. Caramel. ‘Nuf said.
1 oz. coconut rum
1 oz. caramel vodka
1 oz. creme de cocoa
1 oz. Caramel Bailey’s

Rim glass, using chocolate syrup, with unsweetened coconut. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Nutter Lover

A friend challenged me to make a peanut butter cookie cocktail. After getting over the initial “eeeuuuuwww,” I went to work. The peanut butter simple syrup is easy and adds the perfect amount of nuttiness to the drink. You could add some half-and-half if you like creamier drinks, but I like this straight up simple cocktail.
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 oz. Frangelico (Hazelnut) liqueur
1/2 oz. peanut butter simple syrup

Rim glass, using peanut butter simple syrup, with crushed peanut butter cookies. Combine ingredients in shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

Peanut Butter Simple Syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tbls. smooth peanut butter

Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter.  Let cool.

Simple Cocktails for KC Royals’ Opening Day

Opening Day at the K is only a day away, so get your shakers out for simple cocktails to celebrate the Kansas City Royals. Each of the drinks is easy to make and will keep you chilled through the hot summer season when the games get heated. Who needs a beer when you can have a Golden Glove? I’ve been a life-long fan and am looking forward to seeing the team win this weekend while I’m at the ball park with my family. “Let’s go Royals, let’s go!”

Golden Glove

This classic drink is essentially a daiquiri with the addition of Cointreau. It is included in the Royals’ cocktail club in honor of the THREE 2013 Golden Glove winners from our team: Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer.

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

Shake with ice and pour into a cocktail glass. Drink after any spectacular double play!

KC Royal Ice Water

This drink is a variation of the Kansas City Ice Water, which is actually a drink and not just tap water from the Mighty Mo.

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce wild berry simple syrup

1/2 ounce lemon juice

3 ounces club soda

Mix together in a highball glass filled with ice. Creat one of these in about ten seconds if we’re heading into extra innings.  Sip with caution.

Royal Passion

2 ounces Crown Royal

1/2 ounce passion fruit syrup

1 ounce lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. A perfect toast for any die-hard fan like myself.

A Patridge in a Peartini

December 25th, Christmas Day, is in the rear view mirror. But if your situation resembles mine, family still lingers around the house, making cocktailing extremely high on the priority list. Just behind (or in front of?) cleaning out the fridge and pantry with my mom’s help.  Tomorrow, we hit the bar. Seriously. And yes, she is for hire.

Today we begin our salute to the Twelve Days of Christmas, Thirsty Jane style. Instead of a Partridge in a Pear Tree from your true love, you get a Peartini from Thirsty Jane.  Enjoy and check out tomorrow’s blog for Two Turtle Cups and a little history, and controversy, surrounding the Twelves Days of Christmas.

Peartini

1/4 ripe pear, peeled, cored and chopped

2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce pear brandy

1 dash lemon bitter

Muddle pear in a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients and ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. (I strained through a fine mesh sieve to get a clear drink). Garnish with a pear slice.