20150422

PIMM'S BERRY CUP #1


A Pimm's Cup is basically a British version of fruity, alcoholic lemonade and is particularly great as a hot weather drink. For some reason, this is the cocktail I associate with England, probably because I had more Pimm's Cups while drinking in England then any other cocktail. It seems, after tea, Pimm's Cups are the second most popular English national beverage and everybody has their own version*.

Pimm's Cup #1 is a gin based liquor containing a secret mixture of herbs, fruits and spices and was originally created by James Pimm as an aid to digestion. The Pimm's Cup #1 cocktail is comprised of Pimm's Cup #1, lemons or lemonade, mint, seltzer or soda water and fruits. Cucumber (yes, cucumbers are classified as fruit!) is the most common, though apples, berries and other assorted fruits can also be employed.


When I went to buy a bottle I discovered there was a Pimm's Blackberry and Elderflower Liqueur version and curiosity got the better of me so I bought that instead of the Pimm's Cup #1. I'm very glad I did, I loved it and it gave me an opportunity to create my own version of a Pimm's Cup!

As the weather heats up here in the Americas why not have a go with this summery and delicious cup of Martini Diva style English cheer.

PIMM'S BERRY CUP #1

INGREDIENTS:
1-1/2 Oz. Pimm's Blackberry & Elderflower Liqueur
3 Oz. Lemon Juice 
1 Oz. Mint Simple Syrup
Seltzer or Soda Water
1/2 C. Fresh Blackberries
3 - 4 Fresh Strawberries
1/3 Cup Diced Cucumber
Lemon Wedge
Cucumber Strip(s)
2 or 3 Blackberries
Large Strawberry
Mint Sprig

TOOLS: Tall Collins style glass, Paring knife, Muddler, Measuring cups, Jigger.

DIRECTIONS:
In your tall glass muddle the half cup of fresh blackberries, the 3 or 4 strawberries, the diced cucumber, a few mint leaves and the mint simple syrup.
Add your ice, pour in the Pimm's and lemon juice, stir then top off with your soda.
Slide a cucumber slice down the inside of the glass, garnish with a few blackberries, a strawberry, a lemon wedge and the mint sprig then enjoy!

CAN THIS BE A MOCKTAIL?
Sure! Just leave out the booze, but it's not a Pimm's Cup if you do so let's just call it a BERRY SPRITZER!

SO, What to do with that fruit after you've finished the cocktail?

The fruit from your Pimm's Berry Cup cocktail is basically macerated fruit** which is a popular dessert ingredient. Don't toss it away! You can give your guests a long spoon and let them enjoy the macerated fruit at the end of their cocktail or let them spoon it over ice cream, Mascarpone cheese or cake. I saved mine and the next day I made a trifle with some day old donuts I had!


DRUNKEN DONUT TRIFLE

Pick out a cute wide mouth glass or bowl then simply layer in this order:
1 Day Old Donut
Leftover Macerated Fruit**
Yogurt, Whipped Cream or Ice Cream
Garnish with berries, mint sprig

Let it sit for a while to allow that dry, day old donut to soak up all the booze and juices before adding your creamy topping.

* The Pimm's Cup is also a traditional drink of Wimbledon, popular at polo matches and is also very popular in New Orleans where they tend to really pile on the fruits!

** With reference to food, "Macerate" means to soften or become softened by soaking in a liquid. Generally fruits are macerated in a liquor, syrup, vinegar or sugar (the sugar draws the moisture out of the fruit which creates the liquid for maceration). As the fruits soak in the liquid they will draw in the flavors. It's like marinating meat, but for fruit!





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20150420

SPICED RUM POMEGRANATE FIZZ COCKTAIL


Sticking with my latest fascination  for vintage and colonial cotcktails, this drink is a tweak of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Haitian Libation as described in an article from Vanity Fair. Leo Robitschek, who recreated that libation, used 1-1/2 ounces orange juice, 3 ounces dark rum, 1 egg white and a dash brown sugar in Roosevelt's original version. Being the rebel I am (just following in our forefather's footsteps), I had to tinker with that and make it my own.

I replaced the regular rum with spiced rum, added powdered sugar, used pomegranate syrup instead of dark brown sugar* then added a dry shake to the mixing steps to get the high volume egg froth. I also adjusted the ratios to suit my personal preferences. This, like my Meringue Island Punch as well as a number of colonial cocktails, also includes egg white - another recent craze of mine.

SPICED POMEGRANATE RUM FIZZ

3 Oz. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
2 Oz. Fresh Orange Juice
1 Pasteurized Egg White
2 Tsp. Pomegranate Simple Syrup
(Syrup Recipe Link below)
1 Tsp. Powdered Sugar
Orange Wheel
Cinnamon Stick

Add the spiced rum, orange juice, egg white and the powdered sugar to a blender to emulsify the mixture and build the egg foam.
Pour this into an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake until chilled.
Pour into your chilled glass, add the pomegranate syrup over the top of the foam and shake off the last drops to float on the foam.
Garnish with a fun orange wheel and cinnamon stick and serve.

Here's the techniques for making Pomegranate, and other, Simple Syrups.

If this doesn't get your spirits all ready for a happy hour revolution I'm siccing the Red Coats on you. Unless you're English, in which case, mea culpa and apologies for the Red Coats comment!

* Robitschek's recipe calls for dark brown sugar, which is basically molasses mixed with regular white cane sugar, and this pomegranate syrup has a definite molasses hint to it plus it brings in the flavor of pomegranate.







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MERINGUE ISLAND PUNCH a Colonial Tiki Cocktail


There's a big trend these days for revamping antique cocktails, particularly recipes from Colonial America where the beginnings of the modern cocktail got its start. Being a huge fan of the history of cocktails I ventured into modernizing retro recipes a while back, starting with the Rattled Skull, my Sleepy Hollow inspired rendition of the colonial Rattleskull cocktail, then venturing into Shrubs aka Drinking Vinegars and Flavored Simple Syrups.

For our Forefathers the mixing of libations was born from necessity, whether it be medicinal or palatable, for us it is a matter of the enjoyment of new combinations of tastes and textures, born out of a love of new experiences. The art of cocktails, like the art of cooking, is having a renaissance and exposing happy hour to the past as well as the future of mixology.

From infusions, bitters, syrups and shrubs, evolved from ancient herbal remedies and preservation techniques, the cocktail has passed through the ages to a rebirth of exciting new and reimagined liquid enjoyment. It's probably the best time for cocktail enthusiasts in drinking history as even the most pedestrian establishments feature signature cocktails made with fresh, quality ingredients and bartenders embrace craft cocktails by venturing into new flavor combination horizons. For someone like me it's a chance to bring my cooking skills and food knowledge to my bar as well as my  kitchen, aided by my love of history.

Inspired by Ulysses S. Grant's Meringue and Roman Punch, recreated by Leo Robitschek for Vanity Fair, this cocktail is my modern Tiki Bar take on those vintage Presidential libations. Robitschek's original ingredients were the juice of 2 oranges, 8 ounces of champagne, 8 cups rum, 2 ounces orange liqueur, 1 quart lemon sherbet, 2 egg whites, 5 drops lemon juice, 3 cups powdered sugar and featured a baked meringue topping. His recipe makes a full punch bowl, I adjusted the measurements to make one cocktail. I also played with the flavor elements to take advantage of ingredients I had on hand. Then I made lemon flavored meringue cookies instead of creating a baked meringue topping. The Blue Curacao I use as the orange liqueur gave my cocktail a distinct Bimini blue color and the meringue cookies were like a little floating islands so ...

MERINGUE ISLAND PUNCH

1 Oz. Dark Rum
1 Oz. Champagne
1 Oz. Blue Curacao
1/2 Oz. Orange Juice
1/2 Oz. Lemon Juice
1/2 C. Pineapple Sorbet
1 Pasteurized Egg White
1 Tsp. Powdered Sugar
Lemon Meringue Cookie
Orange Twist
Ice

Bake (or buy) the meringue cookies. If you're baking plan ahead. They take a few hours to bake. 
Add the rum, Blue Curacao, orange juice, lemon juice, pasteurized eggs white and the pineapple sorbet to a blender and blend - without ice* -  until foamy. Pour this mixture into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until chilled.
Pour the cocktail mixture into your glass, top off with champagne, stir. 
Place your meringue cookie on top and garnish with the orange twist and serve.

* Blending or shaking without ice is referred to as "dry shaking".





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20150415

BOYSENBERRY RUM FLIP COCKTAIL RECIPE

http://themartinidiva.com
Boysenberries* happen to be a favorite of fruit of mine but finding them fresh at any market is nearly impossible, most likely because the boysenberry is not as widely cultivated as other vine berries. My mom and I fell in love with boysenberries when we first experienced them in Boysenberry Pie at Knott's Berry Farm's Chicken Restaurant back in the early 1960s. They had preserves and jams too so we took home jars of those as well. When I moved my folks up to the Northern California wine country, Mom and I discovered a local farm that grew boysenberries and we continued our boysenberry love affair. Sadly, it's nearly impossible to find boysenberries here in Tucson, but to this day a jar of Knott's Boysenberry jam is always in my refrigerator, it's a tradition that keeps my mother's memory close.
 
When I stumbled on a few bags of frozen boysenberries at a specialty grocery stores a few weeks ago I nearly cried with joy! Then I immediately grabbed up every single bag on the shelf! Yes, I was going to make pies and cobblers and crisps, but first I was making a cocktail!
This one's for you, Mom. I truly wish you were here to share it with me.
 
http://themartinidiva.com

BOYSENBERRY RUM FLIP
(Definition of a Flip)

INGREDIENTS:
3 Oz. Spiced Rum
1 Oz. Kirschwasser (Kirsch)
3 Oz. Fresh Boysenberry Juice
4 Tablespoons Pasteurized Egg White 
2 Tablespoons Mandarin Simple Syrup
1- 1/2 Oz. Cream
Dash of Cinnamon
Mandarin Spiral Twist
Sugar Dipped Frozen Boysenberries
(Makes 2 full cocktails)
 
TOOLS: Juicer, blender, medium metal strainer, cocktail shaker, channel knife, jigger, measuring spoons, coupe cocktail glasses.
 
DIRECTIONS:
Chill your glasses in the freezer. Cut your spiral out of the Mandarin heal with your channel knife, set aside.
Juice or blend your boysenberries then strain out the tiny seeds.
Add the spiced rum, Kirsch, boysenberry juice, egg white, cream and Mandarin simple syrup to the blender and blend until the liquid  volume doubles or about 30 seconds on puree setting.
Pour half the mixture into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake until chilled then pour into your chilled coupe. Repeat with the remainder into a second coupe.
Dust top of meringue foam with cinnamon, add a few sugared, frozen (or fresh if you can get them!) boysenberries to a cocktail pick and set this across the glass then drape the Mandarin twist  across the pick and serve.
 
Sharing my Boysenberry Boon with a visiting friend:
 
* WHAT IS A BOYSENBERRY?
A Boysenberry is a cross between a European Raspberry, a Common Blackberry and a Loganberry. They were originally cultivated by Rudolf Boysen who had gotten a "Lubbenberry", a cross between a dewberry and loganberry from John Lubben and began experimenting with several cross varieties on his Northern California farm.
 
In the late 1920s the rumor of these unusual berries was brought to the attention of Walter Knott, of Knott's Berry Farm fame, by George M. Darrow of the USDA and both men traveled to Lubben's abandoned farm, found a few neglected vines and transported then back to Knott's farm in Buena Park, California where Knott nursed them back into production. Knott renamed the hybrid Boysenberry in honor of Boysen and became the first to commercially cultivate the berry.
His wife eventually began to preserve the fruit in jams and jellies and sell Boysenberry pies at her tea shop at their farm's roadside stand, the same farm that would become the world famous Knott's Berry Farm and Amusement Park.

Today Knott's Berry Farm is still synonymous with Boysenberries, they even hold a Boysenberry Festival each year, and still serving up their famous Boysenberry Pie along with the best fried chicken I've ever eaten at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant right there at the park. Boysenberries are also featured for sale at the park in many of Mrs. Knott's original recipes for jams, jellies and other products, though, sadly, no longer under the Knott's trademark which is now owned by Smuckers.
 



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20150407

DRAGON'S BREATH COCKTAIL with Dragon Fruit


I'm a Game of Thrones fanatic and my favorite character is Daenerys Targaryen because she is The Mother of Dragons. I've been obsessed with dragons since I started reading Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern series more than 4 decades ago. I even got a pair of mated cockatiels because they reminded me of the fire lizards in the series, that's pretty dragon obsessed!

I wasn't all that interested in Game of Thrones until I saw the dragons, then I had to binge watch the entire series, get HBO and read all the books. Now I'm hooked and I love it for more than just the dragons, but the dragons are what drew me in so my first Game of Thrones cocktail has to be all about the dragons.

I'm sure you can guess where I'm going from there? Yes, you guessed it, Dragon Fruit*! 

The
DRAGON'S BREATH
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:
2 Oz. Spiced Rum
2 Oz. Coconut  Rum
1 C. Dragon Fruit, Cubed
1/2 C. Coconut milk
Juice of One Lime
2 Tbsp. Pineapple Simple Syrup
1/4 Tsp. Fresh Ginger, Zested
Lime Disc
Ginger Sugar Crystal Swizzle Stick
Ice

TOOLS: Knife, Large Spoon, Measuring Cups and Spoons, Blender, Cocktail Shaker, Jigger, Zester.

DIRECTIONS:
To prepare your dragon fruit cut the top off with a knife, then slice off a quarter inch disc from the fruit itself. put both aside as a garnish. Then slice off a bit of the bottom to create a level base.
Take your spoon and gently scoop out the meat from the inside of the fruit leaving enough shell to create a cup.
Add the dragon fruit meat to a blender and pulse until pureed. Add the pureed dragon fruit to your cocktail shaker then fill shaker with ice.
Pour in the spiced rum, coconut rum, coconut milk, lime juice, pineapple simple syrup and the zested ginger and shake until chilled.
Pour into your hollowed out dragon fruit, garnish with a slice of lime and the ginger sugar crystal stick and serve.

VIDEO RECIPE:

I've used the Hylocereus Undatus variety which has a deep pink skin with white meat. There is also a variety called   Hylocereus Costaricensis which has a deeper red skin with a brilliant purplish red meat, as well as a white skinned, yellow meat variety called Hylocereus Megalanthus. All varieties are speckled with tiny, edible black seeds in the meat.

Just so you aren't shocked when you go to buy your dragon fruit, I paid $5.99 a pound and my fruit weighed a little over a pound and a half!


*DRAGON FRUIT, aka Pitaya or Pitahaya, is the fruit of a variety of cactus (Hylocereus) originally native to Mexico. One variety, the  Stenocereus, is native to my own locale here in Tucson and it's fruit, the sour pitaya or pitaya agria, which is found in the Sonoran Desert, was an important food source for Native Americans and is still harvested by locals in the Northwestern portion of Mexico.

The Pitaya Dragon Fruit was transplanted to Central America, then introduced throughout the Old World by travelers who brought it back after exploring the Americas. It is now primarily cultivated in East Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia though it's cultivation is extending beyond those borders as it's popularity increases. The Hylocereus cactus blooms at night, producing a fragrant, white flower called a moonflower which is also known as The Queen of the  Night.

"When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me and destroy those who wronged me! We will lay waste to armies and burn cities to the ground!" ~ Daenerys Targaryen




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20150404

KOSHER (KFP) COCKTAILS for PASSOVER


Taking the traditional and permitted ingredients of the Passover Seder I've attempted to create two cocktails that are KFP or Kosher for Passover. My intent with these recipes is to give those who observe Passover some delicious cocktail additions to the Four Cups of Wine. Though I did extensive research and have experienced many a Passover Seder with friends, I am not of the Jewish faith and, therefore, welcome any corrections or additions from my Jewish readers and fans on any errors or misinformation in this post. L'Chaim!

WHAT IS PASSOVER?
Pesach or Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery and lasts seven or eight days from the 15th day of Nisan.


THE PASSOVER MEAL (Seder) is traditionally served as a special plate containing symbolic foods which represent the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt. Below are the traditional Passover foods and their significance:

Zeroah - A lamb's shank bone symbolizing the ancient Passover sacrifice.
Beitzah - A roasted egg symbolizing the temple sacrifice made every holiday when the temple stood and the continuing cycle of life.
Haroset - A paste of fruit, nuts, wine or honey that symbolizes the mortar used to construct buildings for Pharaoh.
Maror - A bitter herb (often horseradish) used to represent the bitterness of slavery.
Karpas - A green vegetable (often parsley) that represents the initial flourishing of the Israelites during their first years in Egypt.
Salt water - Symbolizes slaves' tears and is normally used to dip the karpas (green vegetable) in.

The seventh food, Matzah (Matzo, Matzot) is the unleavened bread which represents the haste of the flight from Egypt for in the haste to flee Egypt there was no time for bread to rise.


Matzo, though made from wheat, is unleavened and closely supervised to ensure it is baked no longer than 18 minutes. The Three Matzo are served on a separate plate to represent Kohen, Levi, and Yisrael.

Though most liquor is not KFP (Kosher for Passover), primarily because of the use of grains in the distillation or fermentation process, there are some which are permitted if the Kosher requirements are met. Kosher wines and Kosher potato vodkas are acceptable, though many Passover observers only drink KFP wine.

As with the Passover meal, if you are serving these cocktails to someone who keeps kosher you must make sure you use ingredients that have the KFP certification.

PASSOVER BULLSHOT
Serve warm

1 Oz. KFP Potato** Vodka
1 Oz. Chicken Broth
Dash of Horseradish
Garnish with a Sprig of Parsley dipped in Saltwater.

Add the dash of horseradish to a 2 ounce shot glass.
Warm the broth then pour over the horseradish.
Add the vodka then garnish with the salt water dipped parsley.
Serve with a roasted egg.

SEDER WINE COCKTAIL

6 Oz. Kosher Wine
Tbsp. Apple Chunks
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
Honey 
Finely Ground Nuts for Rim
Ice

Rub the rim of an 8 ounce collins glass with honey and dip into the finely ground nuts. Muddle the cinnamon and apple chunks in the bottom of the glass, add ice then pour in your Kosher wine.
Serve with a cinnamon dusted matzo cracker.

Chag Kasher V'same'ach - Have A Kosher and Happy Passover!

** Vodka made from anything other than potato uses grain and anything with leavened grains is considered chametz and is prohibited during Passover. In particular, wheat, rye, oats and spelt are prohibited if they’ve had contact with water/moisture for longer than 18 minutes. During distillation it is possible and probable these grains would be exposed to water for longer than the prescribed time.




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20150403

BUNNY TRAP Carrot, Coconut, Mint & Ginger Easter Cocktail


How do you catch the Easter Bunny?
With Carrot, Mint, Ginger and Coconut Rum!!

The
BUNNY TRAP
Cocktail

INGREDIENTS:
1 Oz. Coconut Rum
2 Oz. Carrot Juice
1/4 Pz. Orange Juice
1 Oz. Apple Juice
2 Tbsp. Pasteurized Egg Whites
1/2 Tsp. Grated, Fresh Ginger 
3 Fresh Mint Leaves
Easter Cake Sprinkles
Honey
Carrot and Mint Sprigs Garnish
Ice

TOOLS: Juicer, Zester, Muddler, Mixing Glass, Strainer, Jigger, Measuring Spoons, Blender, Cocktail Shaker, Coupe Cocktail Glasses

DIRECTIONS:
Juice 4 large carrots and set aside.
Dip your finger in the honey and rub the entire rim of the cocktail glass, dip into your Easter sprinkles then chill glass in the freezer.
In a mixing glass add your fresh mint leaves, grated ginger and apple juice and muddle to release the mint oils and ginger into the apple juice.
Stain the apple juice into your blender.
To the blender add your coconut rum, carrot juice, orange juice, and egg white then blend on liquefy for 30 seconds or until the liquid volume has doubled.
Pour this into your cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake for additional 30 seconds.
Pour into your cocktail coupes and garnish with a mini carrot and mint sprigs.

If this doesn't catch the Easter Bunny nothing will!


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