All posts tagged vodka

Mothers’ Day Cocktails Made Easy With Lemonade

My 30-somthing and 40-something mommy friends always appreciate a refreshing and easy cocktail at the end of a harried day full of work, volunteer activities, and carpooling (let’s not forget laundry on domestic goddess day, either). One of the easiest quaffs my friends often turn to is a vodka lemonade. Two ingredients, ice, tall glass. Done. I’m not one to judge. You like it; you drink it. So I thought I’d do some riffs on this mommy-approved drink for Mothers’ Day.

Spring Thyme Lemonade

3 strawberries

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces lemonade

2 ounces sparkling wine

Muddle 2 strawberries with one sprig of thyme in a cocktail shaker. Add in vodka and lemonade and mix. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with remaining thyme and sliced berries. Sip in your jammies reading the paper or doing the crossword.

Show Me The Sun Lemonade

2 ounces coconut rum

4 ounces lemonade

1/2 lime squeezed

Mix all ingredients and pour over crushed ice in a goblet. Garnish with a lime wheel. Sit by the baby pool.

Orange You Glad Lemonade

2 ounces bourbon

1/2 ounce Aperol

1 1/2 ounces lemonade

3-4 leaves of mint

Bruise mint by slapping it in your palm. Mix bourbon, Aperol and lemonade with the bruised mint. Strain into a glass with ice (I like the big cubes for this drink). Garnish with fresh mint and a lemon wheel. Enjoy on the patio by the firepit.

 

Kentucky Derby Daily Double Drinks for Non-Julep Drinkers

The mint julep is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. It’s a fine looking drink if made properly, the crushed ice frosting the silver cup. But, here’s the deal, I don’t like it. I’ll drink it, of course, especially on Derby Day. And I own a sweet set of julep cups. But it’s not one of those drinks I ever make just to quench my thirst.  Like I’ve said many times before, cocktails are too important to drink something you don’t like. I don’t care how famous the drink or the bartender, if you don’t like it, do not drink it. So, here are two drinks I have made for fun and do like to drink, and they have enough connection to the Derby to give you credibility.

p.s. For anyone who wonders what happens to the photo drinks….hello! I am THIRSTY Jane! Cheers.

The Oaks Lily

This is the official drink of the Kentucky Oaks, which is the race run the day before the Derby. If you are going to the Oaks, make sure you get yourself a fascinating fascinator! The Middleton sisters might have a few tips.

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce sweet and sour mix

splash triple sec

3 ounces cranberry juice

Mix and serve over ice in a stemless wine glass. Garnish with lemon and fresh berries.

 

The Brown Derby

Although nothing to do with the Derby race, the fact that it has the name “derby” is enough for this Thirsty Jane. And, it’s really good.

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce grapefruit juice (please, I beg you, squeeze it fresh)

1/2 ounce honey

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.

 

 

Simple Sips For Your Easter Buffet

I’m all about DIY, especially on busy days like holidays when you’re slaving in the kitchen getting the massive buffet ready. Make cocktailing easy on yourself and your guests by setting up a booze and juice bar this Easter. The combinations are endless, but I recommend picking two of the clear spirits, like vodka, gin, tequila, or rum, all of which mix nicely with juices. Then, spend a little extra time squeezing fresh juices, like grapefruit and orange.  Unfortunately pomegranante is out of season and I have no idea how to squeeze cranberries, so pick up nice versions of those.  Then cut up a few garnishes and let your guests channel their inner bartender. Some common combinations are:

Screwdriver: vodka + orange juice

Greyhound: vodka (or gin) + grapefruit juice

Salty Chihuahua: tequila + grapefruit juice

Cape Codder: vodka + cranberry juice

The bottom line is, have fun and empower your guests to experiment.

So, who’s making a lamb cake? I am!

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.