Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Friday! Spring Cocktails!

I know, some parts of the country are still knee deep in 2 feet of snow, but I could not resist this post. This week in Atlanta the high temps will hit highs of 90 degrees, though a tad cloudy that is positively balmy. While walking through retail stores like Macy's or Pottery Barn - Galvanized Tray, love it!, the decanters and serving tray displays for  spring and summer are front and forward for everyone to see.  It is hard not to feel motivated, it is time for me to start the Spring cocktails season. If you are still dealing with zero degree temps, these cocktails will add a touch of spring to an otherwise dreary weekend!


Bing Cherry Mojito

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice (about 9 limes)
3 pounds Bing cherries
18 ounces best-quality black cherry or plain vodka
1 bottle sparkling water (750 mL)

1.Bring sugar and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool completely. (Makes about 2 cups syrup.) Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.
2.Put lime juice into a medium nonreactive bowl. Halve and pit cherries; add to lime juice. Stir in syrup. Refrigerate at least 1 hour (up to overnight).
3.Stir cherry mixture and vodka in a large serving bowl. Fill 12 glasses with ice. Spoon 1/2 cup cherry-vodka mixture into each glass. Top off with sparkling water. Serve immediately.

Cherry Julep
3 maraschino cherries, preferably French cherries in Kirsch brandy

1 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice, preferably from French cherries in Kirsch brandy
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce sloe gin, preferably Plymouth
1 ounce cherry brandy, preferably cherry Heering
Ice cubes
Cracked ice
1/2 lemon slice, for garnish

1.In a mixing glass, muddle together cherries, cherry juice, sugar, and lemon juice. Add gin, sloe gin, and cherry brandy. Add ice cubes and stir, at least 30 seconds, to combine. Fill a rocks glass with cracked ice; strain cocktail over cracked ice. Top with seltzer and garnish with lemon slice. Serve immediately.

Lemon Verbena Lemonade

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
5 cups fresh lemon juice, strained (from about 24 lemons)
Lemon Verbena Ice Cubes, for garnish (optional)

1.Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, and add lemon verbena. Cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve, and let cool completely.
2.Combine lemon juice and lemon verbena syrup in a pitcher. Fill glasses with lemon verbena ice, and divide lemonade among glasses.

Play around with different herbs, substituting whatever is available for the lemon verbena leaves. Basil, tarragon, and bay make for inspired sips.

Peach and Blackberry Muddle

4 thin slices peach

6 blackberries
2 large sprigs mint
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces bourbon

1.In a double old-fashioned glass, combine 2 peach slices, 3 blackberries, mint, honey, and lemon juice. Mash gently with the back of a spoon until fruit releases juices. Add bourbon, remaining peach slices, and remaining blackberries. Fill glass with ice and top with seltzer.

Cherry Beer

2 bottles pale ale

1 1/2 cups sour cherry nectar, such as Tamek
1.Fill a large pitcher with ice cubes. Stir in pale ale and sour cherry nectar. Garnish with lemon wedges.


Honeydew Granita Spritzer

6 cups cubed honeydew melon (about half of a medium melon)

1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups seltzer
Lime peels, for garnishing

1.Working in batches, puree 6 cups cubed honeydew melon in a blender. Pour puree through a fine sieve into an 8-inch square nonreactive dish.
2.Put 1/2 cup water and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Stir into puree. Add fresh lime juice; stir to combine. Freeze, covered, at least 6 hours (up to 3 days).
3.Scrape granita with a fork; spoon about 1 cup granita into each of 6 glasses. Pour 1/2 cup seltzer into each glass; garnish with lime peels.

Pimm's Cup with Ginger Ale

Ice cubes

2 cups lemonade
1 cup ginger ale
1/2 cup Pimm's No. 1
1/2 cup gin
Lemon slices, for garnish

1.Fill a large pitcher with ice cubes. Stir in lemonade, ginger ale, Pimm's No. 1, and gin. Garnish with lemon slices.

Sorell, Hibiscus

Hibiscus Honey Iced  Tea

An option for tea bags, you may also you can also use Sorrel or Karkadae Punch ( traditional Nubian recipe), Roselle Leaves ( Red Sorrel)  or Flowers of Jamaica ( all are available frpm  Middle Eastern or Caribbean markets) .  

Caribbean Sorel Drink Recipe

6 hibiscus tea bags

1/2 cup honey
1 cup fresh lime juice (from 8 to 10 limes)
1 cup light rum (optional)

1.In a large heatproof pitcher, combine tea bags, honey, and 5 cups boiling water; let steep 10 minutes. Discard tea bags. Add lime juice, rum (if using), and 3 cups cold water. Refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour (and up to 1 week). Serve over ice.

Have a wonderful weekend!!

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