RED, WHITE & BOOZESICLES, Raspberry, Coconut, Blueberry Cocktail Popsicles

I've done frozen cocktails - what I call Boozesicles - a few times before, like my Pomegranate Boozesicles and my Grape Boozesicles. I've even done a few varieties of Martini Granitas, aka fancy, boozy shave ice! They're impressive, fun and a great summer refreshment or dessert that also counts towards happy hour!

When I was invited to a Fourth of July party and asked to bring dessert I decided that I needed to up the ante on frozen cocktails and bring some serious red, white and booze to play.

What I came up with was a refreshingly cool venture through three different alcoholic drinks on a stick. A RaspCherry Martini, a Coconut Colada and a Blueberry Margarita. It's like a cocktail flight (a reduced-measure tasting selection) but frozen on a stick, a tasty and neat way to end a holiday cookout! Especially if you can find the sippy straw popsicle molds I did, no dripping down the hand!

If you can't find the sippy straw molds then flip your boozesicles stick end up and let them melt into a pretty glass, combined together they taste like Tutti Fruity:

Got kids coming? No problem, just leave out the booze, reverse the colors and use a different shaped mold so there's no confusion!

These ought to set off a few fireworks of their own:
This recipe will make six standard popsicles.

1 Cup Frozen Raspberries
1/4 Cup Cherry Vodka
2 Tsp. Sugar
4 Drops Orange Bitters
Fill a full cup measure with raspberries then add water to the top and add to your blender with the cherry vodka, sugar and the orange bitters.
Blend it all up and pour into the popsicle mold 1/3 of the way.

1/3 Cup of Cream of Coconut
2/3 Cup of Milk
1/4 Cup of Dark Rum
Blend it all up in and pour to the 2/3 mark of your popsicle mold.

1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
Juice of One Lime
1/4 Cup Blue Agave Tequila
2 Tsp. Sugar
4 Drops Grapefruit Bitters
Fill a full cup measure with blueberries then add water to the top and add to your blender with the rest of the ingredients. 
Blend it all up and fill the balance of your molds to the top.

Happy Fourth of July!

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The BEACH BUM TIKI DRINK Tropical Cocktail

This tropical inspired cocktail is actually the love child of some left over fruit salad, a battle with my cable company, an unusually hot and humid day and a desperate need for a cooling smoothie. Now, when I'm talking hot, in Arizona that means HOT, like temperatures in the triple digits with ranges of 105° to 118°. That kind of heat gets a person thinking about beaches, and beaches get me thinking about Tiki cocktails.

As I grazed my refrigerator for more ingredients for my boozy smoothie, I spied some fresh pineapple and the cream of coconut. Along with some falernum syrup, and a nice assortment of rums, I was amply prepared to transport myself from the hot Arizona desert to a Tiki Bar paradise right out on my own front deck. Heck, I was already surrounded by sand (okay, sandy clay), so all I had to do to get away to Tiki Land was stick a cocktail umbrella in my drink, don some flip flops, turn on a fan and find some Don Ho on Pandora. Aloha.

A Little Bit of Tiki Paradise in a Glass

1 Oz. Light Rum
1 Oz. Dark Rum
1/2 Oz 151 Rum
1 Cup Crushed Pineapple
3 Oz. Cream of Coconut
1/3 Cup Blackberries
1/3 Cup Raspberries
1/2 Oz. Falernum Syrup
1-1/2 Oz. Fresh Lime Juice
Dash of Salt
1 Cup Ice

Toasted Coconut Flakes
Pineapple Slice

TOOLS:  Jigger, Blender, Hurricane Glass, Cocktail umbrella, Vivid imagination.

Add all your ingredients into the blender and pulse until the ice has been thoroughly blended and you have a smoothie consistency.
Pour into your hurricane glass, garnish and enjoy.

If it helps ... feel free to add a cabana boy and a grass skirt to the mix.

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This is what Hemingway wrote about the noble Daiquiri in his postumously published novel Islands in the Stream:

"... as he lifted it, heavy and the glass frost-rimmed, he looked at the clear part below the frappéd top and it reminded him of the sea. The frappéd part of the drink was like the wake of a ship and the clear part was the way the water looked when the bow cut it when you were in shallow water over marl bottom. That was almost the exact color."

"This frozen daiquiri, so well beaten as it is, looks like the sea where the wave falls away from the bow of a ship when she is doing thirty knots."

"But on this night Thomas Hudson had been ashore about four days when he got really drunk.  It had started at noon at the Floridita and he had drunk first with Cuban politicians that had dropped in ...  He had drunk double frozen daiquiris, the great ones that Constante made, that had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running through powder snow and, after the sixth and eighth, felt like downhill glacier skiing feels when you are running unroped."

No, Hemingway was not referring to that drink of cheap call rum and bottled sweet and sour mix that passes for a Daiquiri in some places, he wrote of the prose worthy drink he enjoyed at the Floridita in Havana.

Jennings Cox, creator of the original Daiquiri recipe of Barcardi Carta Blana White rum (now known as Bacardi Superior), fresh "limón" juice (aka lime juice in Cuba) and "sugar syrup" (aka simple syrup) served the Daiquiri shaken with crushed ice, NOT strained then served up icy cold but not frozen. The original frozen versions were served up more like a shave ice, similar to a Mint Julep. Both of these are far superior libations to the boozified, sometimes mechanized, slurpees most of us are familiar with. A real Daiquiri is the kind of drink that made folks like Hemingway wax poetic.

Hemingway liked his with a little grapefruit and a dew drops of Maraschino liqueur in place of the simple syrup (aka the Hemingway Special), I like mine with fruits that are a little sweeter. This time I went with raspberries because they were in season, then I added a little herbal zing from tarragon for the same reason and, because raspberries can be quite tart, I  upped the sweetness with some extra simple syrup.


2 oz White Rum
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 Oz. Raspberry Syrup
Extra Simple Syrup*
10 Tarragon Leaves
(Shhhh ... little secret ... ) Small Pinch of Sea Salt!!
Lime Wheel
Fresh Raspberries
Sprig of Tarragon

TOOLS: Coupe glass, Cocktail shaker, Muddler

Chill your coupe.
In a cocktail shaker gently muddle the tarragon leaves with the lime juice.
Fill your cocktail shaker with ice then add the raspberry syrup, the dash of salt and the rum.
*Now is the time to adjust your sweetness by adding the extra simple syrup to balance the tart raspberry syrup! Taste your mixture before to make sure it needs sweetening, then add a tablespoon at a time. (My raspberries were quite tart so my syrup needed 2 more tablespoons of simple syrup.)
Adjusted to your taste? Good, now shake vigorously until chilled.
Strain into your chilled coupe glass, garnish with the fresh raspberries, a lime wheel, the sprig of tarragon and serve.

Why the salt? Because salt is a natural way to awaken the palate and it helps take the bite out of any bitterness while actually enhancing perception of other tastes. It's a trick chefs have used for decades and one I've secretly applied to many of my cocktail recipes for years. Just be careful not to overdo, you don't want to taste the salt you just want it to do its job.

I can't promise this Daiquiri will turn you into a great writer like Hemingway, but it can turn you into a drinker like Hemingway.

An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools.
~ Ernest Hemingway

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The Gibson is a classic, old school cocktail that is a variation on the Gin Martini where the olive or lemon twist is replaced with a cocktail onion. Interestingly, according to the oldest published recipe for the Gibson in the 1908 book, "The World's Drinks And How To Mix Them" by William Boothby, a Gibson is equal parts gin and French vermouth stirred with ice and strained into a cocktail glass and sometimes served with an olive. Except for the ratios, this sounds suspiciously close to a typical gin martini to me.

As you can see, no cocktail onion was on the team. When the cocktail onion came into play is as heavily debated as who created the Gibson in the first place, and frankly, m'dears, I don't give a hoot. The Gibson, as we know it today, is garnished with a cocktail onion (though usually one of those ubiquitous, soggy little orbs of a sad excuse for a vegetable) and that's it's iconic signature garnish!

At this point I'm sure you all know how I feel about bottled, canned and mass manufactured ingredients in my cocktails. I avoid them like the plague and upgrade them with a fresh, homemade, nutrient and flavor packed alternative wherever possible. In the case of the cocktail onion, it's very possible and extremely easy with a quick pickled fresh green onion, and, yes, I've provided you with my personal recipe for Quick Pickled Green Onions below.

So, instead of a mushy and tough excuse of a pearl onion you get a crunchy and savory bite of zing at the end of your Gibson!  

The New and Improved

2 Oz. Ford's Gin
1 Oz. Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth
Quick Pickled Green Onions
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

TOOLS: Cocktail pitcher, Cocktail spoon, Conical (Martini) glass

At least an hour or two ahead of time pickle your green onions. (Recipe below.)
Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer or fill with ice to chill.
Fill your cocktail pitcher with ice, add the vermouth and stir a few times.
Add the gin and stir for about 12 seconds then stain into your chilled glass.
Garnish with a Quick Pickled Green Onion, a few of the juniper, coriander and cardamom seeds from the pickling liquid, add a dash of salt and pepper then serve.

Yes, you will see a few drops of the olive oil floating in your cocktail as a result of the pickling liquid from the onions and the spice seeds. Believe it or not, the olive oil acted like a secondary garnish bringing tiny bursts of the vinaigrette on the palate, a nice little surprise!

Quick Pickled Green Onions Recipe

1/2 C. Water
1/2 C. White Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 C. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 Tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Sugar
1/4 Tsp. Juniper Berries, Crushed 
1/2 Tsp. Coriander Seeds, Crushed
3 - 4 Cardamom Seeds, Crushed
1 Tsp. Dried Orange Peel
1 - 2 Bunches of Green Onions, Trimmed

Crush your seeds lightly, just to open them up.
Heat everything but the green onions in the microwave for one minute.
Pour the warm pickling liquid over the onions and allow to cool.
Refrigerate for a few hours until it's cocktail time!

The pickling spices I used, inspired by the botanicals used in the Ford's Gin, give the onion a nice tiny kick of juniper, coriander and lemon when eaten, like a last goodnight kiss.

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I love chocolate covered strawberries and, because I do, one of the first cocktail recipes I ever created was a chocolate and strawberry martini. In fact, I did two, the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Martini and the Chocolate  Strawberry Valentini. I got to enjoy my favorite dessert as a cocktail and it even started me on my mission of creating culinary cocktails for as many food holidays as possible.

I think I've pretty much covered nearly every food holiday, official and unofficial, in the last ten years, at least the ones that could make a palatable potable. In those 10 years my experience and knowledge of cocktails has grown and my tastes have become more sophisticated as I've learned a bit about the history of spirits and the art and techniques of mixing drinks. Along the way my tastes changed and expanded and I discovered that the creation of a cocktail is as complex as any other culinary endeavor and I began to apply my culinary training to my mixology. I started a garden, I filled my house with booze and things got crazy from that point.

I have even managed to finally learn to love a real martini, yes, the true gin and vermouth cocktail. It was just a matter of the right gin, the right vermouth and the right ratios - and the right olives. Who would have guessed?

But I still have a sweet tooth and I still enjoy indulging it at cocktail time. As I stared at the half flat of fresh strawberries I'd dragged into my kitchen, I realized I hadn't made a strawberry chocolate cocktail in a very long time. Too long, in fact, and I realized it was time to revisit one of my old favorites and apply some of that knowledge I'd been soaking up to those original recipes.

For National Martini Day it seemed fitting to go back to my original "martini roots" and temper my sweet tooth so I've taken the original sweet spirits, added a perky herbal touch of very dry vermouth and a nice depth with some chocolate bitters. It's still sweet, but it's got character!

(Yes, I'm still gonna call it a martini, deal with it.)

2 Oz. Pinnacle Strawberry Vodka
2 Oz. Bols White Creme de Cacao
1/2 Oz. Martini & Rossi Extra Dry Vermouth
1 (+/-) Tbsp. Simple Syrup
3 Dashes Scrappy's Chocolate Bitters
4 - 5 Large Strawberries
1 Large Chocolate Covered Strawberry

TOOLS: Jigger, Blender, Cocktail shaker, Martini aka Cocktail glass

Add the strawberries to your blender and puree.
Fill your cocktail shaker with the pureed strawberries, strawberry vodka, white creme de cacao, vermouth and the bitters.
Taste this before you add the simple syrup! If your strawberries are very sweet you won't need simple syrup, if they're not very sweet you might need a little extra sweetness. Adjust your cocktail at this point.
NOW fill your shaker with ice and shake until chilled.
Strain* into your chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the chocolate covered strawberry.

* I single strain because I don't mind the pulp and the seeds from the strawberries. Feel free to double strain if you prefer a pulp and seed free drink.

COCKTAIL TIP: An easy way to taste a cocktail to insert a straw into the mixture and hold your finger over the top of the straw then lift the straw to your mouth and drop some of the cocktail on your tongue. By not touching the straw to your mouth you can reinsert it to taste again.

Happy National Martini Day!

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GIN COCKTAILS, Quotes, Trivia and History

Today I'm having a celebration of all things gin, after all June 13th is World Gin Day so what better to time to celebrate such a venerable spirit? Herein lies some great Gin Cocktails, a few gin quotes and a little trivia and information on this wonderfully herbal and drinkable potable.
What is gin? It's a clear alcoholic spirit distilled from grain or malt and flavored primarily with juniper berries though many other botanicals come into play. It started out, like many other spirits, as a medicinal cure, having originally been tinctures, infusions and decoctions of ethanol juniper and other herbal extracts.
If you think you don't like gin, rethink and try some of these cocktails. If you've been infusing your vodka with things like juniper berries, rosemary, cardamom, lemon peel or a few other botanicals you've started making gin! Basically (and I'm probably going to get lots of haters for this) gin is pretty much flavored vodka. Don't believe me? Check it out, that's what it is.

Gin is probably the biggest player of all in classic cocktails most likely from it's bastard child, bathtub* gin from Prohibition. Though most people think of gin as an English spirit it was originally from Holland. The English just stole it from them when they saw Dutch soldiers having a little genever aka "Dutch Courage" during the Thirty Years' War in the 1600s. But to give the English their due, they do well by their gins and even started a whole category called London Dry Gins.

There are more types of gin than any other spirit and we're not including "flavored" spirits here. Genevers (or Jenevers), Old Tom Gin, Plymouth Gin, London Dry Gin and New American or International Gin. Most are juniper forward except for the last group where other botanicals are more prominent than the juniper.

Gin is an acquired taste. You have to grow up and develop an adult palate to appreciate the lovely notes of all the different gins available on the market today. Once you do you'll discover a whole new world of drinks and cocktail enjoyment.  In my opinion, gin is not a sipping spirit, it's a mixing spirit and is best served by a great supporting cast of fresh juices, crisp sodas, rich spices, just plucked from the garden herbs and an attitude of adventure.

So, come on a gin adventure with me today.


Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
~ Rick Blaine, Casablanca

 When a man who is drinking neat gin starts talking about his mother he is past all argument.
~ C.S. Forester, The African Queen

I exercise strong self-control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.
~ W.C. Fields

A perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy.
~ Noel Coward
(I totally disagree with this. If you remove the vermouth you're drinking gin, not a martini!)

Gin is a confusing drink. It’s the only liquid that’s both wet and dry.
~ Jarod Kintz, 99 Cents For Some Nonsense

Follow your fate, and be satisfied with it, and be glad not to be a second-hand motor salesman, or a yellow-press journalist, pickled in gin and nicotine, or a cripple - or dead.
~ Ian Fleming, From Russia with Love

  • As early as the 11th Century juniper berries were being used to flavor distilled spirits by Italian Monks.
  • Gin was used as a cure for the plague.
  • It's said that Old Tom gin got it's name from a tom cat.
  • Slow gin is not gin, it's a gin based liqueur flavored with sloe fruit.
  • Gin gets it's name from the juniper berry. The original drinking gin, genever or jenever, is from the Dutch "jeneverbes" for juniper berry. The French call juniper berries "baies de genièvre" and the Italians call them "bacche di ginepro".
  • Gin was added to mask the bitterness of quinine water which was used by the British as an anti-malaria drug. This was the birth of the Gin and Tonic!



It is now officially Gin O'Clock. Get out there and buy some gin and start your adventure!

Cheers, M'Dears!
 * Bathtub gin was not always made in bathtubs, in fact rarely.  It just got that name because of the nasty, even dangerous, home brewed versions that abounded during Prohibition, some of which did get made in a few bathtubs.

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Tiki drinks are making a big comeback, and this includes the blue ones which have been so despised in past years. Unlike the seventies through the nineties where bars threw together cheap rum, bottled mixers and tossed in a pineapple chunk and cherry, bartenders today are getting into the old style Tiki cocktails from the first days of Don the Beachcomber's and Trader Vic's.

Back in the late 1940's and 1950's the godfathers of Tiki cocktails like Harry Yee (of the Hawaiian Village Hotel, creator of the first Tiki cocktail and inventor of the Blue Hawaii), Ernest Gantt (aka Donn Beach of Don the Beachcombers) and Victor Bergeron (of Trader Vic fame) employed fresh juices, great syrups like Falernum and Orgeat and good quality rums to create rich, complex cocktails worthy of the Tiki culture. Between these three, despite the bickering of who created what, most of the original Tiki cocktail recipes sailed in from the islands to the shores of the haole.

I have always been fond of Tiki cocktails because I enjoy sweet, fruity cocktails on occasion, they make me feel like I'm on vacation. Another thing I like is a well garnished drink and Tiki cocktails are accessorized like a two dollar hooker, they have more bling than a Las Vegas showgirl. This new Tiki resurgence is a boon to someone like me. So I had to go there and I'm taking you with me!

This drink is a combination of two Tiki classics, the Pina Colada and the Blue Hawaii.  Thanks to a little trick with some ice sphere molds it starts out as a Banana Pina Colada and slowly morphs into a Blue Hawaii. The only changes I made were adding a banana to the Pina Colada (because I had a banana on hand) as well as a bit of Orgeat syrup and lowering the ratio of rum in the Blue Hawaii so it would freeze. The rest of the transformation is taken care of by nature!


1/2 Oz. Appleton Extra 12 Dark Rum
1 Oz. Bols Blue Curaçao
1/2 Oz Coco Lopez Creme de Coconut
1/4 Oz. Orgeat syrup
2 Oz. Fresh Pineapple Juice
1 Oz. Water
Freeze mixture in ice sphere(s) overnight.

3 Oz. Pineapple juice,
1-1/2 Oz. Cruzan Light Rum
1/2 Oz. Appleton Extra 12 Dark Rum
1 Oz. Coco Lopez Creme de Coconut
1/2 Fresh Banana
4 Ice Cubes
Blend everything until smooth and creamy.

To build the drink:
Add the Blue Hawaii ice sphere to a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Pour the Banana Pina Colada around then over until the sphere is covered. Garnish with a banana slice or pineapple slice or both, a couple of cherries for a pop of color then add a fun cocktail umbrella. If you have an edible orchid add it too! With Tiki drinks, less is not more!

The fun happens when the Blue Hawaii slowly melts into your Sneaky Tiki Colada and not only changes the color but becomes an entirely different cocktail as it slowly dissolves.

Aloha and Okole maluna!

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