Cocktails

Today’s the day you didn’t know you needed, everyone! Today’s the day we learn about one of my absolute FAVORITE spirits:

TEQUILA!

It’s like a law or something that says whenever you say it in all caps you have to embed the video. I don’t make the rules, I just follow ‘em.

But let’s be real, here. We’re talking about this gorgeous, flowing bottle of clear deliciousness:

sauza 100% blue agave tequila

 

Everyone who has ever made a margarita knows the name Sauza, and the go-to should always be your Sauza 100% Blue agave Tequla Silver Tequila. This is a blanco tequila or new, un-aged tequila made from 100% blue agave grown in the Mexican state of Jalisco. There are other classifications of Tequila as well– the youngest is blanco, which is aged for less than two months in stainless steel barrels. Then there’s reposado tequila (rested tequila) which is aged between 2 and 12 months in oak barrels. The next level is añejo tequila, or “old” tequila, aged from one to three years in oak barrels. The last is extra añejo tequila, which is aged at a minimum of three years. This “type” of tequila wasn’t in existence until 2006, when the craft spirit industry really took off, and people were looking for less-harsh and more mellowed out flavors in their tequila.

If the label of your tequila does not say “100% blue agave” it is likely that sugar has been added to the tequila. This is 100% not a bad thing, especially if you’re using your tequila in sweetened mixed drinks. But if you want a “pure” tequila, buy one that says 100% Blue Agave!

If you think that tequila is the beverage for bad college memories, think again. Our mistakes while under the influence of beverages consumed out of red Solo cups are our fault alone. Tequila is one of the most highly-regulated spirits in the world, and Mexico takes its production very, very seriously. While, certainly, there are some tequilas that are higher quality than others, there’s nothing in it, inherently, that causes co-eds to go streaking or make out with other people’s significant others. (That’s just the fault of being 21.)

Mexican Victor-ita

Now, another misconception is that there’s nothing to do with tequila beyond the realm of shots and margaritas. And I’m ready to show you that that is simply not true. 

This cocktail to the left is called the Mexican Victor-ita– more of a twist on a Cosmopolitan than a marg, but still as refreshing.

  • 1 ½ parts Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave Tequila
  • ½ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec
  • 4 parts cranberry juice
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ cup cranberries, frozen (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

Preparation: First make your garnishes. Freeze ½ cup of cranberries. Using a channel knife cut a long spiral from on orange (see if you can make it all the way in one try!) and cut into 6 inch pieces. Twist the peels around your bar spoon and reserve for garnish.

 Zest the other orange with a spice grater to remove just the peel and none of the pith and combine with sugar.

Cut the zested orange into wedges. Rub a wedge of orange around half the rim of your glasses. Roll the glasses through the sugared orange zest.

In a shaker, combine the rest of the sugar and orange zest mixture with the cranberry juice, orange juice, Sauza® Blue Silver, orange liqueur, and the juice from the orange. Twist the orange peel over the drink and place on the prepared glass. Top with frozen cranberries and serve your cocktail.

But I was personally WAY more excited about the Spicy Señorita– a tequila-and-beer cocktail that sounds perfect for Cinco De Mayo:

  • 1 part Sauza® Blue Silver 100% Agave TequilaSauza Spicy Senorita Ingredients
  • 2 parts beer
  • 1 part frozen limeade concentrate
  • 1 part water
  • A dash of hot sauce (I left this out– too hot for me!)
  • Sugar (for garnish)
  • Salt (for garnish)
  • Red pepper (for garnish)
  • Chili pepper (for garnish)

In a glass, combine all ingredients. Chill and serve in glasses rimmed with sugar, salt and red pepper.

Or, if that’s a bit too spicy for you, I recommend rimming your glass in a mixture of salt and Tajin. It’s a really awesome mix of peppers and spices sold in many grocery stores. It’s fantastic as a cocktail garnish, or even on top of fruit.

IMG_7389

I love beer cocktails and this one is bright, citrusy, sweet and refreshing. This will be a great addition to your Cinco de Mayo party!

FullSizeRender

 

Salud!

For more information about Sauza tequila, those 21+ can like them on Facebook or follow the brand on Twitter.

I was not monetarily compensated for working with Sauza tequila. I was sent a free bottle of Sauza 100% Blue Agave Tequila Silver.

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I was recently contacted by the lovely people at Partida Tequila and asked if I wanted to try their wares– blanco, reposado and añejo tequila, made from carefully cultivated blue agave. Of course I said *yes!* but for not the reason you think*

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*(if you think the reason is because I just wanted free hooch)

The fact of the matter is, I LOVE LOVE LOVE tequila but NEVER EVER EVER order it at bars, and NEVER buy it for myself. I honestly have no idea why. Tequila is delicious. Good tequila is even better. I won’t knock the Cuervo because it has its place and time, but if you ever splurge on fine tequila.. you’re doing yourself a mitzvah.

Boring people would put this in a regular margarita– fancy it up a bit if they wanted by using a splash of Cointreau. But I’m not boring people.

I’m a lady with a bushel of organic thyme in her fridge and some mason jars.

First step: make thyme tequila.

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  • Thyme– somewhere between 15-25 stalks (fronds? branches?)
  • Tequila (about 4 ounces total, to make two drinks)
  1. Wash thyme. Shove into bottom of mason jar.
  2. Add tequila.
  3. Shake. Put in back of fridge. Shake every day for 5-10 days. Depending on how herbaceous you like your drinks.

Now, you have thyme tequila.

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Let me be clear with you: I tried the tequila by itself and it was glorious. Smooth and a bit sweet, clear and none of that, “It tastes like college” sort of backlash. This could be– and even more so in its aged forms– sipping tequila. It’s damn good.

But the thyme flavor with it? Life-changing. Forget infusing vodka for a while. Tequila is where it’s at, kids.

tequila thyme margarita.jpg

 

Oh, but if you want to make a Tequila Thyme Margarita…

  • 2 ounces thyme tequila
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec or Grand Marnier (optional)
  • Salt
  • Ice
  1. First, rim your glass (this is a Champagne coupe, which is smaller in capacity than your classic restaurant Margarita glass, which looks like an upside down sombrero) with kosher salt. 
  2. Then, in a shaker over ice, shake together the tequila and lime juice. I did *not* use Cointreau in my drink, because I wanted it herby and tart. David wanted his sweeter, so that’s where the Cointreau comes in.
  3. Strain into your prepared glass and garnish with a lime wheel.

Cheers to a Cocktail Friday, everyone!!

To keep in the loop with Partida Tequila, follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

I received no monetary compensation for talking about their product. Just free samples.

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In previous years, my Valentine’s day drinks have been pretty tame– a strawberry drink here, some wacky sparkling wine there. But this year, I wanted to make something pink and fruity and sweet that just screams, “LOVE ME!!”

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Enter the sparkling wares of Cascade Ice Sparkling Water. The people at Cascade Ice asked me if I wanted to try their sugar-free, caffeine-free, and gluten-free sparkling beverages, and I was very excited. While they didn’t explicitly say so, I think the understood subtext was, “… and mix them with spirits to make a fizzy, fruity cocktail.”

I was jazzed about the Wild Berry flavor they sent (along with other flavors like Orange Mango, Mackintosh Apple, and Coconut!) because it would be PERFECT for V-day.

The Cascade Ice Sparkling Water is refreshing and fruity, with no hint of that horrible “cough syrup flavor” you sometimes find in sugar-free waters. I loved sipping on the crisp flavor, and am jazzed to try the other flavors and variations on the product!

Here’s what you’ll need for a Sweet Sparkly Kiss:

  • 2 ounces dark rum (NOT spiced rum!)
  • 1 ounce amaretto
  • 1 ounce Maraschino cherry syrup
  • Cascade Ice Wild Berry to fill
  • Ice
  • Cherries to garnish
  1. In a shaker over ice, mix together the rum, amaretto and cherry syrup. Make sure it’s frosty!
  2. Strain into a collins glass OR a Champagne flute. Top with Cascade Ice Wild Berry.
  3. Garnish with three Maraschino cherries on a pick, and toast to love and pink, fruity cocktails

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If you want to make this a Virgin sparkling drink, chill your Cascade Ice generously, then pour into a flute. Top with a float of Maraschino cherry juice or grenadine, and — if you have it– a few teaspoons of almond syrup like the kind from Torani.

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To find out where you can pick up Cascade Ice Sparkling Waters, check out the Where to Buy page on their website. Los Angelenos, the answer is “Albertsons.”

 

Cheers, lovebirds!

And to keep in touch with Cascade Ice Sparkling Water, follow them on Twitter or Like them on Facebook!

Note: I was not monetarily compensated for reviewing and using the Cascade Ice Sparkling Water. 

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Now, you all know how much I love making up my own cocktails, but sometimes, the fun is in shaking up something that’s classic, but you had no idea existed. Enter: The Claremont.

2014-01-26 16.06.36-2

Old Fashioneds are all the rage still here in LA, but I’m not a 70 year old man, so sometimes they’re too harsh and boozy for me to consume. The Claremont is essentially an Old Fashioned with triple sec and a splash of sparkling water, to add a little fruitiness and sweetness to the whole thing. I’m a fan.

  • 2 Maraschino Cherries
  • 2 wedges of citrus (I used tangerines)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 2-5 dashes bitters (I used orange bitters)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • ice
  • club soda

claremont cocktail ingredients

 

  1. In a sturdy glass, muddle one maraschino cherry and a wedge of citrus with the tripe sec and bitters. Remove the citrus rind once properly pulverized.
  2. Add in the bourbon and fill the glass most of the way with ice.
  3. Top with club soda, and garnish with your second cherry and citrus wedge.

claremont cocktail

I’ve been trying to get much more into garnishing lately, and having a big jar of maraschino cherries (with stems!) is helping significantly. Also helpful: the awesome amount of winter citrus currently available in the grocery store!

Which classic cocktails do you want to see made a little less “harsh”?

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Not that kind. Get yo’ head out of the gutter.

No, I’m taking a minute to sit and write and think. These past few weeks have been exhausting– I’m working, but from home– and David was concerned about the fact that the only time I was leaving the house was to walk the dogs. That’s not good for anyone, but especially for me, who has some shut-in tendencies.

Couple that with the fact that working full-time again has cut into my Doin’ Stuff time. I’m not much of a savor cook to begin with, but we’ve been relying on take-out and frozen pizza for most of our meals the last two weeks. That’s especially not good for lupies like myself, and I woke up this morning feeling like a creaky bag of rocks.

Chronic illness is the strangest thing. I have to keep reminding myself that just because I don’t look sick it doesn’t mean that I’m well. Case in point: we went on a big Trader Joe’s run this morning and some daffy old broad ran over my foot while on the great hunt for free range ginger or whatever. You know how people get in Trader Joe’s– it’s like that store brings out the yuppie animal in everyone

High school, Trader Joe’s in Silverlake, same thing.

Well, lady, I know I look young and fit and should get out of your way because you’re old, but guess what? My foot still smarts. *I* feel like I’m 60 and have the joint damage to rival your arthritic old bones, so maybe you should be more considerate?

Grr.

Instead of yelling out in pain, I just got out of her way. Because I’m not going to start a scene or get snippy with a Senior. It’s not my style. Instead I came home, put on slippers, and have been making and shooting a whole bunch of cocktails for an upcoming e-book.

When the going gets tough, the tough get artsy fartsy.

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blue curacao pama liqueur gin tonic cocktail

I never thought I’d say this, but I think Blue Curaçao is one of my favorite new cocktail ingredients! It really does have a light, orangey taste that adds a hint of fruity sweetness to everything you mix it in to.

I’ve been playing a lot with herbal flavors, too, so for this cocktail, I made a riff on the classic gin & tonic.

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce blue curaçao
  • 1/2 ounce Pama liqueur
  • tonic water
  • rose flavored cocktail rimmers
  • ice
  1. In a shaker over ice, mix together your gin, blue curaçao and Pama liqueur.
  2. Place a bit of Pama liqueur in a dish, and dip the rim of your glass into it. Then, pour some cocktail rimming sugar into a different dish, and swirl the now-damp rim of the glass in the sugar. Voila. Rimmed glass.

    fresh origins rimmed cocktail glass

  3. Carefully strain the liqueur mixture into your rimmed glass.
  4. Top with tonic water. 
blue bomb tonic cocktail
If you’ve ever wished your gin and tonics could be a bit fruitier, this is a great drink for you! I sipped it on Saturday while the sun was blazing here in Los Angeles. It felt like I made a G&T a Caribbean drink!
Cheers and happy Cocktail Friday!
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So, recently I received a free sample of Fresh Origins Cocktail Rimmers.

These all-natural (both in flavor and color) cocktail crystals are a bartender’s dream. They’re not too sugary or too salty, instead, they’re little crunchy bursts of pungent herbal and floral flavors that add a nice sophisticated note to drinks. Basically, they’re perfect when you want a little professional-quality oomph in your drinks but don’t necessarily want to be That Guy who makes her own grenadine or distillers her own spirits.

You know the type.

Fresh Origins does all the work for you. They smush down fresh herbs and edible flowers and combine the essences with sugar to make this bright burts of flavor to rim a glass– or, heck, even sprinkle on top of things like cupcakes or any other treat you can think of.

The photo above is from their website, and I’ll bet you think that those colors are photoshopped. Nuh-uh.

fresh origins rose crystals on glass

Here are the rose crystals on one of my new champagne flutes from West Elm. They smell absolutely amazing, and look even better! (Psst: you’ll see what I filled that glass with tomorrow, ahem.) I had to soak the rim of the glass in a liqueur to make sure it was sticky enough to hold onto the large crystals, but it was worth it to have the extra punch of color.

Here are a few flavors to compare the color:

fresh origins crystals

 

I can’t wait to try the fennel flavor on something with ginger!

To learn more about the Fresh Origins cocktail rimmers, head over to their website. To buy, check out the sampler available at MarxFoods.com

Have you ever tried using cocktail rimmers? 

I was not monetarily compensated by Fresh Origins to tell you about their new cocktail rimmers. All opinions are my own.

 

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