It’s wild out there!

Only as wild as the vines in our back yard. Every year the wild black raspberry vines creep a little closer. It’s almost overwhelming to keep up with, but this time of year it’s all good. Because there is pie (made by our friend Dan) and wild black raspberry mojitos! The pie was gone from the 4th of July party before I got a picture, but the mojitos made their debut this evening.

2eat2drink-blackberry mojito-p

See the recipe here. Just add a handful of black raspberries after the limes…and muddle them in as well. Cheers!

2eat2drink-wild blackberries-p

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

The day is winding down, but with a margarita and guacamole for motivation I had to finish this very important Cinco De Mayo post.

We just hosted a Cinco De Mayo party and tequila tasting (see picture below). At some point you can expect to see a few tequila reviews sharing our favorites. But for now…I’ll just offer up a margarita….with a variation of the recipe from the link above. This recipe is slightly stronger to highlight the tequila; Espolón reposado tequila….currently our go to, and an excellent value. In a shaker with crushed ice add 2 ounces tequila, 1 1/4 ounces triple sec, 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, and 1 ounce simple syrup. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Garnish and serve. Be careful, these will go down easily (and as smooth as he is, Ramón (the Espólon mascot rooster) may bite).

Cheers!

2eat2drink-margaritacinco de mayo party_wtype

Happy Haunting from the Vieux Carré

All Hallows Eve will be filled with hauntings, especially in the Vieux Carré, or French Quarter. But…we will be protected with our voodoo doll for protection from evil spirits and phantoms. While we drink sazeracs (and eat candy.)

2eat2drink-sazerac-p

I thought a Halloween post would be the perfect way to introduce the Sazerac, a drink that is as much a part of New Orleans as Halloween celebrations are. Its roots can be traced back to a French Quarter apothecary, Antoine Peychaud, in the early 1800s. But the drink was modified to its current recipe in the early 1900s to feature Rye instead of Cognac. It’s extremely flavorful and highly recommended.

Our voodoo doll came from Marie Laveau’s House Of Voodoo on Bourbon Street. It’s a  great little shop with many voodoo dolls, talismans, and charms.

There are many variations on the Sazerac recipe, but I chose to base mine on Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure, an excellent absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling. Start by chilling an old fashioned glass by filling it with ice, then gather your ingredients.

  • 2 oz. rye whiskey. I used Russel’s Reserve small batch.
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
  • Vieux Carré Absinthe Supérieure
  • lemon

In a separate glass, over ice, mix the rye, simple syrup and bitters. Stir until chilled. Dump the ice from the old fashioned glass and give it an absinth rinse. Pour in enough to coat the entire inside of the glass, dumping if there is a lot of excess. Strain other ingredients into glass. Garnish with some lemon peel twisted over the glass. Sip to appease the spirits (and yourself). Á votre santé!

2eat2drink-vieux carre-peychaud-p

2eat2drink-french quarter halloween

Typical French Quarter halloween decorations adorning 2 balconies. The top photo is complete with a bubble machine. The bottom photo is complete with an undead Boston Red Sox fan, which is very fitting for today. Congratulations to the World Champions!

The Aviation. Purple drinks are cool!

Purple is a cool color….so I think a purple drink is cool too! We were introduced to this cocktail in New Orleans at the Green Goddess. As we sat and watched one being made, we couldn’t help but ask about it. Which led us to try one and realize how good it is! It is perfectly refreshing on a warm evening!

2eat2drink-aviation-still-p

I did a fair amount of research to find the right recipe for this. There are many variations and theories on when it was invented. But most lead back to the start of the twentieth century and Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin’s recipe called for 1½ oz. El Bart gin, ¾ oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette. I settled on the NY Times recipe and added a touch of simple syrup to balance out the citrus. I like it both ways, but since I’m generally creating cocktails for Heather this is the official 2eat2drink recipe!

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur, preferably Luxardo
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/4 ounce Crème de Violette

FIll a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice, Luxardo and simple syrup. Shake to chill, then strain into a martini glass. Slowly pour Crème de Violette into the glass to create a purple swirl that settles near the bottom. Garnish with a twist of lemon or a flamed lemon peel.

2eat2drink-luxardo-violette-p

It’s experiment time! I created an animated gif of the pour. It may only work if you click on it, based on my preview. Let’s see what happens…

Click to animate!

Click to animate!

Cheers!

Have yourself a merry little pomegranate martini!

The pomegranate: that beautiful red fruit that you walk by in the store and think, “I have to buy one.” And then you get it home and think, “what am I supposed to do with this!?” I’ve never had much luck getting a lot of juice out of one, so I’ll heavily suggest you purchase a bottle of POM Wonderful to go along with it. Cutting the pomegranate apart and grabbing some of the seeds to garnish your merry little pomegranate martini is a lot easier, albeit messy!

102-2eat2drink-pomegranate

In a cocktail shaker over ice add:

  • 2 oz. Tito’s vodka
  • 2 oz. POM Wonderful juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. meyer lemon juice
  • 8 dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters

Shake until chilled and pour into a martini glass. Toss a handful of pomegranate seeds in the glass and garnish with a meyer lemon twist.

Make enough for all and toast to your family and friends. And we’ll toast to you all having a safe and happy holiday season. Cheers!

The merry little pomegranate martini. Cheers!

The merry little pomegranate martini. Cheers!

Simple syrup solutions

Hi, it’s Heather! This post is actually an excerpt from Local Bubbly, an article I wrote for CITIZEN, a new Rochester area magazine. In the first part of the article (which can be seen in our post The Sparkling Finger Lakes),  I shared our tasting notes on three local sparkling wines – Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs, Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvée, and Hunt Country Chardonnay Champagne. While all of these sparkling wines were fantastic on their own, during our tasting session, we decided to mix a bit of flavored simple syrup in with each of the wines to create a trio of tasty cocktails.

Making simple syrup is as easy as the name implies. Combine equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan. (We typically use one cup of each, and sometimes use brown sugar rather than white.) Bring the mixture just to a boil, reduce the heat, and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. We pour ours into bottles and store it in the refrigerator. It has become a staple in our kitchen!

Our three simple syrups being infused with flavor!

To go with our three sparkling wines, we decided to make three different flavored simple syrups – rhubarb, cranberry cinnamon, and brown sugar orange. Flavoring the simple syrups was quite easy. Once the sugar had dissolved, we stirred in the necessary ingredients. Chopped rhubarb, cranberries that had been sprinkled with cinnamon and roasted for about an hour at 350º, and an orange peel with pith removed (add about half the juice of the orange to the simple syrup, as well) were our ingredients of choice. It was then time to take each of our three saucepans off the heat and let them sit for an hour. We strained the simple syrups into containers, let it all come to room temperature, and chilled it before use. Feel free to get creative with your flavoring, using nearly any spice, herb, or fruit you desire.

The finished syrups look as good as they taste.

To create the cocktails pictured, pour one to two ounces of flavored simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it) into a champagne flute then top it off with sparkling wine.

Ready to drink!

The Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs mixed nicely with the rhubarb-flavored simple syrup. The Swedish Hill Riesling Cuvée was superb with the cranberry cinnamon simple syrup. Our favorite combination was the Hunt Country Chardonnay Champagne with the brown sugar orange simple syrup. The deep caramelized flavors of this wine paired nicely with the brown sugar and citrus of the simple syrup, making for a deliciously decadent sparkling treat.

We hope you get a chance to enjoy some of the many delicious sparkling wines that our region has to offer, whether on their own or in your favorite drink recipe. And, if you haven’t done so already, pick up a free copy of CITIZEN. Cheers!

Bourbon + Spice makes everything nice. (Even the intense competition inherent in local award shows!)

I entered 2eat2drink in the Rochester Advertising Federation Addy competition, our local advertising awards. This gave me a chance to review my 2011 annual report. I did 67 posts, with 251 pictures (WOW, no wonder I had no free time!), and had over 12,000 page views (thank you!) in just over ten months! It’s been an extremly fun way to reach out to clients, friends, and friends-to-be around the world, while sharing a little about our lives and highlighting my photography. If this is your first visit I encourage a full review. Those of you looking to get a brief overview, here are some of my favorite and most viewed posts:

The drink of choice for Sam Axe: The Minty Mojito.
Gin + Juice
I like it chunky: Guacamole!
Campfires and the double marshmallow, Special Dark chocolate s’more!
Bourbon Tasting at the Lake
The first post! Honey Roasted Tomato Bruschetta
You know you want one…the creamy root beer float!
Gooey, earthy, creamy, pungent French camembert.
The NOLA Margarita
Blimey! That’s a good ale!
Yes, I really did drink prehistoric plant matter deposits.
I want Mahón!

Now that you’ve worked up a thirst, on to the bourbon + spice! This is the cocktail I prepared for Chef Mark’s Thanksgiving feast. It’s a marvelous combination of rich, spicy and sweet. Infusing the flavors of ginger, cinnamon and cloves into dark brown sugar simple syrup is step one. Combine one cup each of water and dark brown sugar in a saucepan.  Bring the mixture just shy of a boil while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add 3-4 slices of ginger, 5-6 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks, remove the pan from the heat and let steep for about an hour. Strain before use.

Over ice in a rocks glass add 2 oz. bourbon, 1 oz. cinnamon ginger clove simple syrup, 1 oz. Trader Vic’s Kona Coffee liqueur, and 3-4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged bitters. Stir, garnish and enjoy. (Bottle and store the remaining syrup in the refrigerator.)

Cheers to the Addy judges and all those who work hard to make the Addys a great event!

The Bourbon + Spice cocktail!

The rich, sweet and spicy ingredients!

Willett Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was my choice for Bourbon + Spice.