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Posts tagged ‘cocktails’

Screwdriver

I know I’ve been doing a lot of citrus posts recently but that’s because they’re so abundant right now. Between the Satsuma tangerines, the Meyer lemons and those awesome blood oranges, it’s easy to have a different citrus every night and still not have tried them all. Which brings me to this week’s cocktail. The screwdriver – a true classic.

Much like the mimosa, the screwdriver is an ideal choice for brunch because one of its two ingredients is orange juice. But unlike the mimosa, this cocktail has a little more punch as it’s made with vodka instead of champagne.

Now I know you’re used to seeing an orange screwdriver as the classic is made with Valencia oranges, but I wanted to give my screwdriver a makeover. My cocktail is pink because I chose to use those wonderfully sweet blood oranges currently available instead of the standard Valencia. So while my screwdriver may be a cocktail of a different color, it’s still just as tasty as the classic you remember.

Although the blood orange version hasn’t been around for very long, the original screwdriver has been around since the early 50′s. It supposedly got its name because American engineers were seen surreptitiously adding vodka to their cans of orange juice and stirring them with, yup you guessed it, screwdrivers. But what I found especially interesting were all the variations that could come from so simple a cocktail.

If you want to use orange soda instead of orange juice, the drink becomes a Hi-Fi. Tang and you get a Fuzzy Cosmonaut. If you’d like an extra shot of something, simply add some sloe gin for a Sloe Screw. Adding Southern Comfort turns it into a Sloe Comfortable Screw. And if you choose to add an energy drink like Red Bull you get an Electric Screwdriver. But no matter which concoction you choose, from the classic to these interesting twists, this cocktail is absolutely worthy of a nice Sunday brunch with friends or family.

Screwdriver

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz vodka
  • 5-1/2 oz orange juice

Directions:

  1. Pour the vodka into a highball glass.
  2. Add the orange juice and stir until combined.
  3. Garnish with a slice of orange and serve.

For the past couple months every time I go to the farmer’s market, there are at least half a dozen vendors selling every kind of citrus known to man. I’ve seen pomelos, grapefruits, tangerines, navel oranges, blood oranges, lemons, limes, Meyer lemons, you name it. I’ve always loved the citrus fruits, but I tend to only use them for zest or their juices in desserts. That is until I got pregnant.

This is my second go around and if there’s one thing I haven’t been able to get enough of it’s citrus. I’m not kidding.  I’m going through Texas Ruby Red grapefruits, Cuties and Navels like you wouldn’t believe. I have at least two or three a day, sometimes at the end of the day even after I’ve had a couple scoops of ice cream. I’ve never been addicted to the citrus fruit like this. I don’t know what it is, I just can’t get enough of that tart, sweet flavor.

So, while I’ve been eating the fruit plain on a daily basis, I thought why not make one of my favorite cocktails out of it?
(Don’t worry, my husband’s doing all the drinking these days.)  See, I’d never really tried making a margarita from scratch before.  I do it the way most do with some Sweet & Sour Mix, a little triple sec and of course tequila. But I thought with all this citrus in my house, a margarita made from scratch would be out of this world.  Of course I made the original, but I also mixed things up a bit and made one with blood oranges since they’re still in season.  It was just as tasty and a beautiful pink color as you can see from the picture above.

Now Fridays are always devoted to classic cocktails.  So why is a margarita on that list? Well, as it turns out the margarita was created before 1950. I know I usually have a date, but there seems to be some disagreement as to who created the cocktail and when. There are two popular theories.  The first says that there was an actress by the name of Marjorie King who was allergic to every kind of alcohol except tequila. While visiting a bar in Rosarita Beach, Mexico she asked the bartender, Carlos “Danny” Herrera, to mix her up something using tequila. He took all the elements of a classic tequila shot, tequila, lime and salt, turned it into a refreshing cocktail and passed it to her. She enjoyed it so much he named it after her. And the Spanish version of Marjorie is Margarita.

The other popular story is that Margarita Sames, a Dallas socialite who loved to host parties, had a Christmas party in 1948.  Her game of choice was to get behind the bar and see what cool alcoholic concoctions she could come up with and then let her guests sample the drinks and rate them. That night she mixed together tequila, cointreau and lime juice. The result was a success not only among her guests, but all through Dallas and beyond.  The only problem with this story is that according to the Complete Book of Spirits, the first advertisements for Jose Cuervo in the U.S. used the tag line “Margarita, it’s more than a girl’s name”. And those ads were from 1945.

Whatever the real story behind this refreshing drink, the fact is it’s been around for over 60 years and that makes it a classic in my book. One which I’m more than happy to imbibe no matter if it’s the dead of winter when all different types of citrus are available or Cinco de Mayo when the classic lemon/lime is more popular.

Classic Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1-1/2 ounces triple sec
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Rub the rim of a tumbler with the wedge of a lime and dip into a saucer of salt. Fill the tumbler with ice cubes and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into prepared tumbler, garnish with a wedge of lime and serve.

Blood Orange Margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • juice of 2 blood oranges
  • juice of 1 lime

Directions:

  1. Rub the rim of a tumbler with the wedge of a blood orange and dip into a saucer of fine sugar. Fill the tumbler with ice cubes and set aside.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 1 minute. Strain into prepared tumbler, garnish with a wedge of blood orange and serve.

The Cosmopolitan is one of my favorite cocktails. The bright pink color, the combination of triple sec, vodka and cranberry juice, it really is the perfect cocktail. And that’s not just because Carrie and all her friends were drinking them on Sex and the City.  I was a fan waaaaaaay before that show made the cocktail popular. But this is not about the Cosmo. This is about the Bronx – the Cosmo before there was a Cosmo.

The Bronx, named after the zoo and not the New York borough, is really just a martini with orange juice and has been around since before the Prohibition. It was already a popular cocktail, but became the drink of choice when President William Howard Taft ordered it with his breakfast. Although there seems to be some discrepancy about who created the classic cocktail, it was in such high demand after Taft’s order, that the Waldorf Astoria was supposedly going through a case of oranges a day just to keep up.

If you’re looking for something with a little more kick than the sweet mimosa, the Bronx is the perfect alternative. It’s sweet, tart and will definitely wake you up. Unlike the Cosmo which uses vodka as its base, this cocktail uses gin and vermouth. So if you’re craving a martini with your brunch, but don’t want the stares because it’s only 10 am, order the Bronx. After all it does have fresh squeezed orange juice in it and that’s a breakfast drink, right.

Bronx Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed orange juice
  • orange slice

Directions:

  1. Pour the first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for 1 minute and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice and serve.

The Angel’s Kiss. I’ve been wanting to make this cocktail for awhile. But since “kiss” is in the name I thought the drink deserved to be saved for the holiday that’s all about kissing. The fact that it’s made of chocolate, cream and cherries, makes it the perfect dessert cocktail for Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?

Now you may wonder why I have two of them here. Well because depending on how you’re feeling you may want the “nice” version or the “naughty” version. Yes, it’s true. Just like all of us there are two sides to this drink. Sometimes we want to be a little bit nicer and sometimes, especially the later the evening gets, we want to be a little bit more naughty. So for early in the evening why not start with the White Angel which is made with light cremé de cacao and toward the end of the evening when things start to get hot and heavy, end with the angel’s evil twin by drinking the Dark Angel, which, you guessed it, is made with dark cremé de cacao.

Although it’s been difficult for me to find a lot of history on this cocktail, I can tell you it dates back to at least the Prohibition and was one of the more popular after dinner drinks. Since it’s so sweet and made with chocolate liqueur, it would also sometimes act as the dessert itself. And with a float of heavy cream, and a cherry on top are you surprised? Nope, me neither.

White Angel’s Kiss

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 ounces white cremé de cacao
  • 3/4 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Directions:

  1. Pour the cremé de cacao in a cocktail glass.
  2. Carefully float the heavy cream on top, garnish with a maraschino cherry and sip to your heart’s content.

Dark Angel’s Kiss

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 ounces dark cremé de cacao
  • 3/4 ounce heavy cream
  • 1 Maraschino cherry

Directions:

  1. Pour the cremé de cacao in a cocktail glass.
  2. Carefully float the heavy cream on top, garnish with a maraschino cherry and sip to your heart’s content.

I’m a big fan of bourbon. But having tried numerous different kinds over the past year due to all the different cocktails I’ve concocted, I’ve come to discover that so far Woodford Reserve is my favorite. Now I know there are plenty more out there that I have yet to try, but this is what I’ve discerned thus far. Why am I talking about different kinds of bourbon? Because the type of bourbon you use makes all the difference in the drink you’re mixing up. If you don’t like the bourbon, chances are you’re not gonna like the drink. So no matter what drink you’re making, be sure you like the alcohol you’re using.

I made this discovery this week when I created my very first Whiskey Sour. It was just too strong for me and I really don’t believe it had anything to do with the cocktail itself. Others that tasted the drink (my husband and mother-in-law) both loved it. But I felt the drink was just too strong for my palate. In case you haven’t guessed, I did not use Woodford. I was out of Woodford (which I need to remedy ASAP). So I used Blanton’s because that’s what we had. This is the third or fourth time I’ve used the Blanton’s and I gotta tell you, not one of my favorite bourbons. I couldn’t tell you why exactly, just that it’s not for me.

Now, that’s not to say the Whiskey Sour is not a great drink. As with all my cocktails, this one is a classic. And anything that’s been around for over 100 years can’t be all bad. But as with your favorite brownie or chocolate chip cookie, everyone has their preferred chocolate to use. And everyone (including myself) believe that their specific chocolate makes their brownie or cookie better than all the others. So if you’re a fan or Bulleit or Blanton’s or another bourbon I haven’t heard of (and I’m sure there are many) then use that to make this fantastic drink.

The Whiskey Sour is a smooth cocktail that’s definitely not for the weak. It may have a serious kick, but the tart flavor from the lemon juice make it the perfect choice this time of year when citrus can be found at every corner grocery store. You could use grapefruit, limes or even oranges in this cocktail. But if you want the original, then lemons are absolutely the way to go.  While it’s true the Whiskey Sour wasn’t found in print until the late 1800′s, many believe the cocktail was created decades before when sailors added citrus fruit to their alcohol to help prevent scurvy. Of course it’s been updated over the years by adding sour mix or a variety of citrus fruits and even herbs. But at this blog nothing compares to the original and the original is just four ingredients: bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice and a maraschino cherry.

Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1 maraschino cherry
  • 1 lemon slice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine syrup, lemon juice and bourbon over ice in a cocktail shaker. Vigorously shake for about 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with the cherry and lemon slice.