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Garrick Club Punch

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I know I’m a little late for this week’s cocktail, but I wanted to share something that would serve a large crowd since Monday is the unofficial start to summer. That’s right, it’s Memorial Day, and if there’s one thing that’s popular on Memorial Day it’s the backyard barbecue.  I know that beer and wine are the more popular choices when it comes to a barbecue, but there’s nothing that says you couldn’t serve a cocktail or two. If you’re anything like me though, the last thing you want to do is play bartender at your own party. Well, this punch is not only delicious, it serves a group of people without you ever having to shake a shaker.

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This cocktail comes to us all the way from 1835 and a man named Stephen Price. According to the ultimate cocktail historian, David Wondrich, Price created the cocktail when English humorist Theodore Hook walked into The Garrick Club on a hot London afternoon. Hook needed something to quench his thirst and Price wanted to please his patron. So, with the help of the Garrick’s barman on duty, Price mixed together this and that and after a few moments put a jug of gin punch in front of Hook. Unlike the classic gin punch which was usually made with gin, sugar, lemon and water, Price’s version used Maraschino liqueur and soda water.  Needless to say Hook thoroughly enjoyed the cocktail, and the Garrick Club Punch was born.

2 cups

What I love most about this drink is that ts can be prepared a day ahead. How do you prepare a cocktail in advance? Easy, just leave out the ice and club soda. Everything else can be mixed together and stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Then just before your guests arrive, add the ice and club soda and you have yourself a wonderful cocktail that’s perfect for ushering in the start of summer.

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Garrick Club Punch

Ingredients:

  • 4 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of gin
  • 4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 24 oz. club soda

Directions:

  1. Peel the lemons. Muddle the peels with sugar in a pitcher or punch bowl and let stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the gin and maraschino liqueur and stir to combine the flavors. Fill the pitcher or punch bowl half way with ice. Add the club soda, give a quick stir and serve in punch glasses.

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In this day and age with so many food allergies about, it’s hard to make something that everyone can enjoy. In my own family we have 2 pretty big ones. Hubs is allergic to any and all nuts (which is why you’ll rarely see a recipe with nuts on this blog), and I’m allergic to pineapple. While the pineapple allergy isn’t really a big deal unless we take a trip to Hawaii, Mexico or some other tropical locale, the nut allergy is always looming in the background.  Pineapple and nuts are relatively easy to avoid, but there’s another, much more popular ingredient, that’s significantly harder to suss out – wheat.

While no one in my immediate family has a wheat (more commonly referred to these days as gluten) issue, I have a few friends who do. They always tell me not to change up my menu just because they can’t eat wheat, but as someone who likes to entertain, I’m happiest when everyone can enjoy what I’ve made.

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Today there are a lot of alternatives to wheat and wheat flours: there’s rice, almond, corn and even coconut just to name a few. While my preferred flour of choice has always been wheat-based, I have cooked with corn and coconut before. The corn has worked, the coconut, not so much. Every time I cooked with coconut flour, everything came out super dense and very crumbly. After several attempts at using coconut flour, I was ready to throw in the towel. But then Melissa’s Produce sent me several packages of their sliced coconuts and coconut hearts.

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I love fresh coconut. It’s sweet, super healthy and always makes me think of warmer destinations where I’m surrounded by calm waters and tons of sand. I figured all this coconut was a sign and decided to give the coconut flour one more try. This time I did some research and discovered the reason my coconut flour cakes were turning out so dry and dense was because I was using too much of it.  I thought I could just substitute the coconut flour no problem, but it turns out if a normal gluten-ful recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups of flour, you only need 3/4 of a cup of the coconut flour. That wasn’t the only change that had to happen though. I also had to double the eggs. So, if a recipe calls for 2 eggs, now I need to use four. I know this sounds insane, but trust me, once the flour is added and the cake is baked, you get a moist well-balanced cake that also just happens to be delicious. Yes, this time my cake came out the way I believed a cake should – it was fluffy, moist and perfect. Plus the coconut flour and coconut sugar gave the whole cake a subtle coconut flavor that reminded me of piña coladas on white sandy beaches.

Now that I’ve mastered coconut flour, I can’t wait to use it again, and since I still have a ton of fresh coconut from Melissa’s, this cake is definitely going to make an appearance at my next party. Speaking of hosting, Memorial Day is this weekend. Hmmm… sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

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Triple Coconut Lemon Pound Cake (adapted from My Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut, finely chopped and divided
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F, grease a loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Place three or four pieces of the sliced coconut in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
  3. Sift together the coconut flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  4. Beat butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugars one at time and continue beating until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture alternating with the sour cream so that you begin and end with the flour mixture. Fold in the lemon zest and 1/2 a cup of the chopped coconut. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 65 – 70 minutes or until a toothpick, when inserted, comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 15 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Remove the pan and let cool completely.
  7. While the cake cools, make the lemon glaze by whisking together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Once the cake is cool, drizzle the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.  Slice and serve.

Blue Moon Cocktail

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Did you know there’s a blue moon tonight?  But unlike it’s moniker the moon won’t actually be blue. Nope, sorry to disappoint you. Like the saying “once in a blue moon”, a blue moon only occurs once every couple years and is the second full moon in a calendar month. But the blue moon that’s happening tonight isn’t that kind of blue moon either. This one’s even more rare. See, usually there are three full moons every season. But once in a great while there are four. That’s what’s happening tonight.

If you’re worried Kitchy has suddenly gone all scientific, don’t be. I’m not going to go on and on about the effect the moon has on the tides or how old the satellite is. I’m giving you a little information so you’ll understand why I chose to make today’s cocktail. As I said tonight’s blue moon is a rare occurrence. As a matter of fact, there won’t be another one until January of 2018. So, in honor of tonight’s rare occurrence, I’m sharing this classic Blue Moon cocktail with which you can toast.

The Blue Moon can be found in several vintage cocktail books including David Embury’s 1948 Art of Mixing Drinks and Ted Haigh’s more recent Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. But according to David Wondrich the Blue Moon actually got it’s start in a little bar in New York called Joel’s which was considered by some to be “the most colorful, the most romantic, the most vibrating place in all New York.” Joel’s was owned and operated by Joel Rinaldo and it was in this little bar on 41st St. that the Blue Moon was originally conceived. Unfortunately Joel didn’t write down the recipe, so the version I’m presenting may be different from the version you get at your local bar. I’ve done my research though, and I think this version is pretty close to the original. Even if it isn’t, it’s still quite good.

It’s the Crème de Violette that really makes this drink. It adds a subtle, sweet, floral flavor that blends beautifully with the lemon juice. But it’s really the color that makes this cocktail something special. Since the liqueur is dark blue, it adds a gorgeous grey-blue hue that is reminiscent of the night sky; one you’ll probably witness tonight as you’re toasting that stunning, rare, full (blue) moon.

close upBlue Moon

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. creme de violette

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 20 – 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

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If there’s one thing I love about the farmer’s market, it’s the constant discoveries I make each and every time I go. We’re in the middle of cherry season and I love cherries. Every year I count the days from the moment the stone fruit season ends until it starts up again and it always starts with cherries.

If you’re a cherry fan you know the classics like Bing and Rainier, but did you know there are several other kinds that all have slightly different tastes? There are Lamberts, Minnie Royals, Royal Anns and Stellas just to name a few. I’ve enjoyed both the Bings and Minnie Royals as well as the Rainiers, but last year I experienced a new cherry that absolutely blew my mind. They’re called Tartarians and they’re AH-MAZING!

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I don’t even know how to describe these awesome little red spheres. They’re rich and sweet and have such a powerful burst of cherry flavor. You only need to taste one before you’re craving them all year long. I’m not kidding. After I sampled these delectable stone fruits last year, I couldn’t get enough. And then like Keyser Soze, they were gone. Seriously. One week later I couldn’t find them anywhere. So, I waited. And waited. And waited for the season to come back around.  As soon as cherries started popping up at the farmer’s market this year I searched and scoured for those Tartarians. No one had them. But then last week, the vendor I bought the Tartarians from last year appeared, and he had them. Of course I bought a few baskets, and just like last year I came right home and created something sweet.

Last year I made some Cherry Peach Yogurt Pops. This year I decided to go for something a little richer. Something that would last on a platter or could be taken to a picnic or potluck. Something that you could eat with your hands and enjoy with either an after-dinner drink or a simple glass of milk. These cookies do all that and more. They’re sinful, decadent and definitely worth a taste. I know I’ll be making another batch. But it’s gotta be soon because just like last year, I only have one more week before these cherries are gone. So, I’m grabbing a few more baskets because there’s just no way I can wait another 11 months for that spectacular cherry flavor… or these cookies.

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Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup cherries, stemmed, pitted and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
  4. Beat together the sugar, eggs and corn syrup in a medium bowl until thick, about 3 minutes.  Gradually beat in the melted chocolate, then the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and cherries.  Freeze cookie dough for 15 minutes.
  6. Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter onto each prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies apart (they’ll spread as they cook).  Bake until cookies are softly set, 15-20 minutes.
  7. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Chrysanthemum Cocktail

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Ever heard that age old saying “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, evidence all around me suggests it’s true. Everywhere I look these days from my garden to the farmers market there are rows and rows of flowers. So, I thought since I’m suddenly surrounded by tulips, roses, daffodils and poppies why not make a cocktail named after one of these beautiful blooms: the Chrysanthemum.

Unlike most cocktails you’ll find here, this one doesn’t have a typical base spirit like vodka, gin or bourbon. Instead its base comes from a liquor that’s usually used as an additive. You’ll be as surprised as I was to find that the main liquor in this cocktail is actually dry vermouth and the secondary is Benedictine.

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I know those seem like odd choices for a cocktail, but considering the drink was created by an unknown bartender pre-Prohibition, it makes sense. I mean, every bartender wants to make a name for himself and what better way to do that than create unusual cocktails that would bring in patron after patron? Of course it worked because that bartender was Hugo Ensslin who published his own cocktail book in 1916 titled, Recipes for Mixed Drinks. The book may not have been on the best seller list, but several of the drinks listed stood the test of time. Some of them, like the Deshler and the Aviation, have even appeared on this blog. Ensslin was adept at knowing just how much sugar to add to each drink and which liquor went with which syrup or bitter. So, while other bartenders out there were playing it safe with a martini or champagne cocktail, Ensslin was stirring up drinks like the Chrysanthemum and saving the vodka and rye for drinks where they could really shine.

As far as flavor goes, this is definitely a sweeter cocktail. Unlike some of those other classics which could be considered too strong for an afternoon soirée, this one is perfect for a warm summer afternoon. The herbal notes from the Benedictine pair quite well with the stronger vermouth and the splash of absinthe tie the whole drink together. So, if you’re dying for a cocktail this weekend but want to save the gin for a martini, stir up a Chrysanthemum. It’s sweet and sour flavor is perfect for spring and will definitely bring a smile to your face.

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The Chrysanthemum

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. benedictine
  • 1/4 oz. absinthe

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 15 – 20 seconds or until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a twist of orange and serve.