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Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

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California Debutante Cocktail

Gin cocktails are classics, and this variation of a debutante recipe is no different. I think a gin cocktail is the perfect before dinner drink. The floral and botanical notes work well with fruit flavors, especially citrus. The classic debutante recipe usually includes only lime and grenadine, but for this variation orange is also included. Also, it helps to choose the right gin, one that has the notes and flavors you enjoy. The gin used in this recipe has a stronger juniper flavor and hints of honey.

Ingredients (one serving)

  • 2oz of gin
  • Fresh juice from one lime
  • 1 teaspoon of grenadine syrup
  • 1 drops of aromatic bitters
  • Orange peels for garnish
  • Ice cubes

Juicing Lime

First fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and pour in the gin measured with a cocktail jigger. Next squeeze the fresh lime juice using a small juicer or a wooden reamer. Don’t worry about the seeds and pulp falling in since the cocktail shaker top will strain the mixture. Also try to use larger limes in this cocktail to balance the sweetness of the grenadine and strong taste of gin.

Grenadine Syrup

Measure the grenadine syrup into a small ramekin or dish then pour in to the cocktail shaker. I usually add about half the recipe amount first, give the cocktail a little taste and then determine if it needs more of the syrup. The grenadine makes the cocktail a vibrant pink color so be sure to keep it away from any light colored fabrics. If you are serving this cocktail at a party just move precious rugs, pillows or throws out-of-the-way first!

Mixing Cocktail

Once mixed in the cocktail shaker, pour in to the cocktail glass and add the bitters. Aromatic bitters are potent in small amounts so try not to add more than three drops. Give the cocktail a little stir and add the orange peel garnish to the rim of the glass.

California Debutante

This bright pink cocktail is on the sweeter side and perfect for anyone who doesn’t love the taste of gin or even alcohol. It looks lovely served in a vintage glass paired along with small pastries and desserts. French macarons and dainty cocktails are one of my favorite things to enjoy and I think any fellow debutante would agree!


Summer Sangria

When the summer heat completely tires you down, a light refreshing sangria is the only way to go. I find that I always have partially enjoyed bottles of wine in my fridge. A sangria is a great way to finish off a bottle and make it taste amazing. Usually you find sangrias made with white or red wine, but rosé is truly my favorite for wine cocktails. There’s just so much you can do with a rosé, like these “Drink Pink” recipes! This version of sangria takes a little marinating to get the fruit flavors just right.

Summer Sangria Ingredients

Ingredients (makes about four servings)

  • Bottle of rosé wine
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh basil

First make sure the wine is completely chilled, no one likes a hot sangria! Measure the frozen peaches, mango and pineapple and add them to a mixing bowl. Lightly drizzle the honey over the fruit. The fruit will already sweeten as it thaws and the honey is just to help with releasing the natural sugars.

Sangria Fruit

Rose flavor is my favorite ingredient to use in fruit cocktails. Rose water is especially potent compared to rose syrup. Very little is required to bring out a lovely floral scent and flavor, a few drops will do the trick. Let the fruit blend with the honey and rose water for at least 30 minutes. The fruit pieces will still be cold enough to chill the cocktail.

Making Summer Sangria

Strawberry and Basil

Add the marinated fruit to the glass and top with cut pieces of fresh strawberry and basil. Pour the rosé over the fruits and herbs. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and enjoy!

The honey and rosewater really bring out the sweetness and floral notes in a rosé. If making a larger batch for a celebration, just chill overnight and let the flavors blend together. Just fill up almost half of the pitcher fruit and the rest with wine. Scoop out the fruit into each glass as it’s served so that everyone can enjoy the honey rose medley.


Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

This cocktail is another experiment that my husband created and we love the flavor! It starts off very tropical but the amaretto flavor adds this wonderful warm smell and taste to the cocktail. It’s very easy to make as a single serving or as a full party punch. It has a large serving of vodka, so be careful — it’s easy to sip too much.

Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

Ingredients (one serving)

  • 3oz amaretto vodka (that’s about two shots!)
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple cut into cubes
  • 1/2 fresh lemon
  • Favorite fruit punch

Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

Start by adding the pineapple to a glass and gently smash the fruit cubes. I like to use very ripe pineapples that are soft and easier to smash. Canned pineapples work as well and you can purchase pre-crushed pieces. Get as much of the pineapple juice smashed out as you can.

Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

Next add the amaretto flavored vodka to a cocktail shaker with ice. I was such a skeptic of this flavored vodka at first because actual amaretto liqueur is so good. This is actually a great base for a lot of tiki cocktails, which are my fave! It adds that vanilla-like flavor that is a nice balance for citrus and fruit flavors. Pour the chilled vodka over the pineapple.

Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

Squeeze juice from half of a lemon and give the drink a stir. I like to taste the cocktail at this point and add a little more pineapple if I think it needs more. It depends on the freshness and sweetness of the pineapple. Next pour in the fruit punch, I used Simply Juice brand, but definitely pick your favorite. I only fill up the glass just past half way so that the fruit punch doesn’t overpower all the other flavors. Definitely taste as you add the punch and adjust to your desired sweetness.

Muddled fresh pineapples mixed with amaretto vodka, lemon juice and fruit punch

I definitely recommend this cocktail for the summer! It’s perfect for poolside lounging and tiki parties. You’ll forget you’re stuck on the mainland and dream of Hawaii beach vacation. Cheers!

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Cake flavored vodka mixed with St Germain, rose syrup and fresh lemon juice

Summer is unofficially here! For most of my summer cocktails I love to incorporate fresh lemons. I recently discovered “pink lemons”, which have an amazing scent and add a wonderful tart flavor to any cocktail. This recipe was actually an experiment from my husband, mixing a few leftover spirits in our home. The result is a delicious flavor that very closely resembles a lemon meringue pie. Seriously, its good!

Cake flavored vodka mixed with St Germain, rose syrup and fresh lemon juice

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • Crushed ice
  • 2 oz cake flavored vodka
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon rose syrup
  • Fresh squeezed juice from half of a lemon

Cake flavored vodka mixed with St Germain, rose syrup and fresh lemon juice

Start off with a blender and ice cubes or pre-crushed ice cubes as the base for this cocktail. Try not crush the ice too small as it will start to melt once the ingredients are added. First add the two ounces of vodka. The cake flavor creates that lovely meringue taste. I used Pinnacle cake, a French vodka, but any vanilla, whipped or cake flavored vodka can be used.

 

Cake flavored vodka mixed with St Germain, rose syrup and fresh lemon juice

Next add the St. Germain, an elder flower liqueur, followed by the rose syrup. If you can’t find rose syrup, melt sugar with a little rose water or rose oil. The St. Germain and rose syrup add a subtle floral flavor, scent and sweetness to the cocktail. Finish with the fresh squeezed lemon juice. I found pink lemons at my local Trader Joe’s. They have a slight pinkish color and an awesome lemon smell. Our entire home smelled like lemons after making this cocktail!

 

Cake flavored vodka mixed with St Germain, rose syrup and fresh lemon juice

Stir the ingredients and if the ice starts to clump, just pour back into a blender for a few pulses. Serve in the prettiest little glass you can find, it’s definitely a dainty cocktail! Perfect for summer teas, showers, and luncheons when it’s very hot outside. Cheers!

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Guava juice, lemonade infused with herbs, vodka and club soda

Summer is just around the corner and that means it’s time for tropical cocktails! My favorite summer flavors for cocktails are pineapple, passion fruit, mango, watermelon, cantelope and guava. You can create so many combinations with these flavors and your favorite spirits. I have preference for sparkling drinks in hot weather, so a fizz is a perfect refreshment.

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • 1.5 oz of vodka
  • .5 oz of St. Germain liqueur
  • About a half a can of guava nectar
  • Fresh lemon juice or a lightly sweetened lemonade
  • Club soda or sparkling water
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish

It really is a simple cocktail and you can play around with the amount for each ingredient. Vodka is the base but also tequila or a white rum are also great options. You can also add a little more than just one serving of alcohol too, especially for a party. The St. Germain is a elderflower liqueur and it just adds such a nice flavoring to any bubbly or fizzy cocktail. A half ounce will do the trick.

Guava juice, lemonade infused with herbs, vodka and club soda

Guava is a very interesting flavor and I really enjoy mixing it with lemon. Depending on the glass, use about half a can and leave a little room for the club soda or sparkling water. Add about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice or an ounce or two of lemonade. Fill the rest of the glass with the sparkling water/soda. It really is that simple, just stir and serve. You can add ice if the ingredients aren’t already cold as well.

Guava juice, lemonade infused with herbs, vodka and club soda

So cheers! Be sure to try out this cocktail at your next sunny bash. Also great as a large batch drink to save you time and effort. Use all your favorite tropical garnishes, straws and even fresh flowers.

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Rum cocktail made with milk, honey and spices

I love fruity cocktails but sometimes it is nice to switch things up a bit! This cocktail is a late night go-to for me especially when served with a little dessert. I first had a bourbon milk punch while visiting New Orleans last year and it was delicious. Since we usually have rum in our household instead of bourbon, I decided to recreate the recipe with a few tweaks. The result is a yummy rum milk punch! It does taste a little like a horchata cocktail, which is a great party-sized recipe.

Rum cocktail made with milk, honey and spices

Ingredients (for one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces of dark rum
  • 3 ounces of milk (you can substitute vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish

This cocktail is best mixed in a shaker over lots of ice. First, add the rum and feel free to add a little more if you want a stronger punch! Next pour in the milk and add the honey. One trick to make sure the honey dissolves is to heat it up in a saucepan with the milk for a few minutes and allow the mixture to cool.

Rum cocktail made with milk, honey and spices

Once the milk and honey are added, pour in the vanilla extract flavoring. You can experiment with other flavorings like almond, coconut or even strawberry. Next I added the cinnamon and nutmeg, a few dashes of each until I had the desired taste. I tend to add more cinnamon than nutmeg, but that’s just my personal preference. Once all the ingredients are add to the shaker, mix, pour and add a cinnamon stick for flavor and garnish.

Rum cocktail made with milk, honey and spices

This rum milk punch is so good with cookies, cake, tarts or brownies. Serve after dinner if you’re having guests over or enjoy during your favorite prime time show. I always like to make a cocktail during New Girl or Scandal. Cheers!

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