cocktails

Time To Tailgate With Bloody Marys ~ Yellow and Red!

It’s Time To Tailgate!

…and that means it’s time for Bloody Marys! 

River and Rail bloody mary

A Virginia Favorite! 

Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar

$7.99 a bottle

For Real Bloody Mary Drinkers!

I love this Bloody Mary mix, tastes like a fresh tomato with just the right amount of spice.

https://www.texasbeachbloodymary.com/

Texas Bloody Mary Mix was created by three friends from Richmond, Virginia. While Working in the industry as bartenders, they realized there was an immediate need for a mix with all the good stuff already in the bottle. So we set out on the long journey to create the tasty, authentic and responsibly produced Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix.

The name Texas Beach comes from our favorite part of the James River located in lovely Richmond, Virginia at the end of Texas Avenue. Cheers!

bloody mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary

I found this recipe for Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary in Bon Appétit Magazine. Fresh and delicious.  It’s always fun to garnish Bloody Mary cocktails ~ I chose celery stalks, golden cherry tomatoes, pimiento stuffed olives, crispy bacon and pickled green and purple beans.

Recipe from the August, 2018 issue of Bon Appétit. Recipe by Molly Baz.

Bruised tomatoes dripping with juice are tailor-made for a fresh Bloody Mary. They might not be on display at the farmers’ market—beauty queens, they’re not—but they’re often there if you ask.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lb. very ripe yellow tomatoes, cored, coarsely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped, plus celery heart stalks with leaves for serving
  • 6 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup Castelvetrano olive brine, plus olives for serving
  • ¼ cup finely grated peeled horseradish
  • 3 Tbsp. hot sauce (preferably Cholula)
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 4 tsp. kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 6 oz. gin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. mild red pepper flakes
  • Sun Gold tomatoes (for serving)

RECIPE PREPARATION

  • Blend yellow tomatoes and chopped celery in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve into a large pitcher, pressing on solids to extract as much juice as possible. Whisk in lemon juice, olive brine, horseradish, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, and 3 tsp. salt. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

  • Combine black pepper, red pepper flakes, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a shallow bowl.

  • To make each cocktail, rub the rim of a 12-oz. glass with a lemon wedge, then dip into spicy salt. Fill glass with ice and pour in 1½ oz. gin. Top with 5 oz. Bloody Mary mix; garnish with cherry tomatoes, celery heart stalks, and olives.

    If you are not a gin fan, try making this cocktail with Plymouth Gin. Plymouth does not have a strong juniper flavor. It is smooth with just the right amount of floral notes.

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Why I love Pink Peppercorns and Pink Champagne On National Margarita Day!

Today is National Margarita Day ~ February 22, 2018. Please keep reading to get my favorite margarita recipe ~ Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas!

But first…let’s talk about another one of my favorites…pink peppercorns and other funky color seasonings…

Love Salt and Pepper!

Fun facts about Pink Peppercorns:

  1. Always good to have pink peppercorns on hand because they add a pop of spicy peppery flavor to any savory dish.  They are available on -line if you can’t find them locally. Frontier Co-Op grinder bottle is one of my favorites.
  2. They may seem expensive ($8 to $12 for a .80 ounce bottle)  but they last forever, a little grind goes a long way.
  3. Pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all.  They are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree. They do look like peppercorns and they have a peppery flavor.
  4. A word of warning...pink peppercorns are members of the cashew family, they may cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis for persons with a tree nut allergy. I had no idea until I read about this yesterday.   Over the years I’ve developed a tree nut allergy (not severe thankfully) so there goes my  love of pink peppercorns. For those of you who do not suffer this allergy please enjoy pink peppercorns for me!

Fun facts about Himalayan Pink Salt:

Himalayan pink salt is used to flavor food.  It is also used to make salt lamps which are illuminated with an electric light or candle inside. Both the salt used on food and the salt lamps are said to have health benefits, but I’ll let y’all decide on your own about that.

Blocks of Himalayan salt are also used as serving dishes. These blocks of salt can be heated (heat on the grill to serve grilled meats) or chilled to serve sushi, fruits and cheese. The salt blocks give the food a delicate salt flavor.

Fun facts about Green Peppercorns:

  1.  These peppercorns are packed in a vinegar brine.
  2.  They are meant to be eaten whole.
  3. My Mom popped a few green peppercorns (whole) in her Bolognese Sauce. Gave her sauce a little peppery punch which was delicious!
  4. Green Peppercorns are perfect in Steak au Poivre.  Here’s a link to a Food Network recipe for Steak au Poivre with a mushroom, green peppercorn and Dijon sauce:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/steak-au-poivre-with-a-mushroom-green-peppercorn-and-dijon-sauce-and-pommes-frites-recipe-2124423

green peppercorn bowl

green peppercorn ingredients

Green Peppercorn Boursin Green Bean Salad

One of my favorite salads ~ so much flavor with so little effort!

Yield: 3 servings

1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed, cut in half

1 teaspoon green peppercorns (packed in brine) mashed with a mortar and pestle

5. 2 ounces Shallot and Chive Boursin Cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1 heaping teaspoon grated frozen lemon ( Place a washed lemon in the freezer section of  your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get  your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need  to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your  foods.  The lemon seeds catch on the grater so there is no need to worry about seeds getting into your grated lemon.

1/8 teaspoon salt

Fill medium size stockpot half way full of water. Bring water to a boil.  Add green beans and cook until crisp tender (do not undercook or overcook the green beans) 8 – 10 minutes.  Immediately drain the water off the green beans and “shock” them by dropping them in  ice water so that they will stop cooking. Quickly remove them from the ice water and pat dry. Place the beans in a salad bowl and mix in the Boursin cheese.  Add the mashed green peppercorns, tarragon, grated frozen lemon and salt.  Stir with large spoon to combine all of the ingredients.  The Boursin will become creamy and will coat the green beans.  Cover the green bean salad and place in refrigerator until service.

 

The book What to Drink with What You Eat recommends rosé champagne to pair with black pepper.  Here’s my suggestion for a rosé sparkling wine that will be good to splash on top of the Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas (recipe below):

Chandon Rosé California Sparkling Wine ~ strawberry and ripe cherry flavors.  $22 range.

Now on to the Margaritas!

I often take food/drink photographs on my kitchen floor because the sun beams onto the floor perfectly for photos.  I have 4 very curious kitties and they often wander into the photo. Today “Ziggy Elman” (named after the Jazz trumpeter) wandered into the photo of my Pink Lemonade Champagne Margaritas. It looks like he took a lick of my margarita. He did not. He was just licking his lips anticipating getting a lick of it  (which I would never allow).

margarita kitty

Pink Champagne Lemonade Margarita

One of the fun things about this cocktail is that when you finish the cocktail you get to eat the blackberries that have been soaking in the margarita…yum!

Rim margarita glasses by dipping them in lime juice and then rolling the edges in fine sugar (“Extra Fine” otherwise known as “Fine” sugar is best for rimming cocktail glasses because it has the smallest crystal of all white sugars.  It has a delicate appearance and dissolves easily into cold drinks). Locally I purchase fine sugar at Fresh Market or it is available on-line.  Place margarita glasses in the freezer to chill  while preparing your cocktails.

12 ounces frozen pink lemonade, thawed

(use empty lemonade can to measure water, tequila and orange liqueur)

1 can water

1 can tequila

1/4 can orange liqueur

Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine ~ a splish splash for each drink (optional)

Blackberries and limes for garnish

Lime slices and fine sugar to rim the margarita glasses

Place the pink lemonade, water, tequila and orange liqueur in a large pitcher. Stir with a big spoon until all ingredients are combined.  In batches, place margarita mixture and ice in a blender container. Blend until ice is finely crushed.  Serve in chilled margarita glasses.  Top each cocktail with a splash of Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine. Drop a few blackberries into the margaritas and then cut slits in some blackberries to set on the sides of the glasses.  Place one thin lime slice in each glass. Place any unused portion of this cocktail in a freezer container and place in freezer to keep cold for refills.

pink lemonade magaritas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Champagne Cocktails To Celebrate National Freshly Squeezed Juice Day!

January 15, 2018 is National Freshly Squeezed Juice Day.  My favorite juice this time of year is Blood Orange Juice.

Blood Oranges are in season (December through March). Blood orange juice brightens up even the most dreary winter day with it’s POP! of red-orange color.

Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail

For each cocktail:

2 ounces fresh blood orange juice

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce blood orange liqueur (I like Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur)

Champagne

Frozen fresh clementine segments to use as ice cubes (Separate clementine segments, remove all white pith and any seeds and place in flat freezer container. Poke a couple of holes in each segment with a fork.  Pour blood orange juice liqueur over the segments, just to cover. Place in freezer for 24 hours.  Turn the container over after 12 hours.  The frozen clementine segments can be kept in the freezer for two weeks.)

Pour blood orange juice, triple sec and blood orange juice into a champagne flute. Stir gently.  Top with champagne.  Add two frozen blood orange soaked clementine segments.
chili oil on red carpet cocktailchili oil on red carpet cocktailchili oil on red carpet cocktail

Link to The London Bar, NYC: http://www.thelondonnyc.com/photos-en.html

Jean Carlos Parra, Bartender, The London Bar, NYC creates this fanciful cocktail: The Red CarpetI was intrigued by the Thai Chili Pepper-Infused Oil drizzled on the top of this fabulous raspberry blood orange cocktail. Here’s the original recipe and a couple of my twists – very easy to make and very sippable!

The Red Carpet

10 fresh raspberries (I did not have fresh raspberries so I used 4 tablespoons frozen raspberry puree that I had in the freezer – I made the raspberry puree by placing fresh raspberries in a saute pan, heating and smashing them with a fork until they are mushy and juicy. Strain the puree through a fine sieve. Discard seeds from sieve. Place juice in a freezer container and freeze until ready to use. )

2 ounces blood orange puree (I did not have blood oranges so I substituted 2 ounces of blood orange European soda – the soda has a little carbonation in it – this soda is sold locally at Fresh Market.)

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1 ounce agave nectar

3 ounces vodka (I used 1 ounce of Sunset Hills Virginia Gin…I did not want a strong drink so I used less than the 3 ounces the original recipe called for and I wanted to make a gin drink so I used the Sunset Hills. I like this particular gin because it does not have a strong juniper berry flavor or aroma.  https://sipologyblog.com/2012/04/24/sunset-hills-virginia-gin/ (Other types of gin may be too strong in juniper berry flavor for this drink.)

5 – 10 drops of Thai chili-infused oil (optional) (I found this oil at our local Asian market.)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle approximately 10 raspberries (if using raspberry puree place puree in cocktail shaker). Add blood orange puree (or blood orange soda), lime juice, agave nectar, and vodka (or gin) and shake vigorously. (I added a few ice cubes to the cocktail shaker to make sure the cocktail was icy cold.) Strain into a chilled martini glass. For an added kick, top with Thai chili-infused oil.

Here’s lots of fun blood orange cocktails to enjoy this winter:

http://chilledmagazine.com/drinks-detail/solerno-blood-orange-liqueur-cocktails

champagne sign

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Oh The Weather Outside Is Frightful But These Sparkling Winter Cocktails Are Delightful!

Fun times this week with WSLS Daytime Blue Ridge (Roanoke, Virginia) preparing Sparkling Winter Cocktails.  These cocktails will warm your heart during the cold winter months!  Here’s the video link…cheers!

https://www.wsls.com/daytime-blue-ridge/celebrate-2018-with-sparkling-winter-cocktails

Here’s the recipes…enjoy!

champagne shooters

Champagne Jello Shots

1 1/2 cup champagne or sparkling wine

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar

3 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) plain gelatin

1/4 cup citrus flavored vodka

Yellow or champagne color decorative sugar

“Sugarfina” Brut and Rosé Champagne Gummy Bears

Place champagne (or sparkling wine) in a saucepan, add lemon juice and sugar. Stir to combine. Sprinkle gelatin over the champagne mixture and allow to “bloom” for 3 minutes. Heat the champagne gelatin mixture over medium low heat and whisk until the gelatin is dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in vodka.

Pour champagne gelatin mixture into individual plastic champagne flutes.  Chill for several hours until firm.  Just before serving sprinkle the champagne Jello shots with decorative sugar and top each shot with a champagne gummy bear. Serve with chilled cocktail spoons.

Pear and Prosecco Cocktail

My bubbly friend Cindy treated me to lunch to celebrate the holidays. She served this lovely cocktail which was absolutely fabulous!  Instead of using the traditional Barlett pears, she substituted Asian pears. The fun thing about Asian pears is that they are always ripe. They are picked at the perfect stage of ripeness so they are ready to enjoy as soon as you pluck them from the market.

Cindy purchases Asian Pears from Virginia Gold Orchard which is a fun day trip from Roanoke, Virginia:  http://www.virginiagoldorchard.com

The original recipe for the Pear and Prosecco Cocktail is a Southern Living Christmas Cookbook recipe.

Serves 6

Pear simple syrup:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup finely chopped peeled pear (or Asian Pear)

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup (2 ounces) pear liqueur

Ingredients to finish the cocktail:

6 thin pear slices (or Asian pear slices) Cindy put the pear slices in the pear simple syrup to keep them from turning brown while she prepared our cocktails.

1 (750-milliliter) bottle prosecco, chilled

Combine water, chopped pear, and sugar in a small saucepan; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes.  Pour through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a measuring cup; discard solids.  Stir in liqueur. Divide evenly among 6 champagne flutes. Place 1 pear slice in each glass, and top with prosecco.

Prosecco Raspberry Christmas Punch

Serves 4

The citrus spice sugar mixture requires it to sit overnight to infuse the citrus spice flavors into the sugar.

6 tablespoons fine sugar

Peel of one Meyer lemon

Peel of two Mandarin oranges

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

6 ounces fresh raspberries + (reserve a few of the raspberries to use for garnish)

1/2 cup gin

1.5  ounces blood orange liqueur

1.5  ounces Cointreau

1/4 cup Meyer lemon juice

1 bottle Prosecco

Citrus peel twists for garnish

Ice

In a small container with a tight-fitting lid combine the sugar, lemon and Mandarin orange peels, cinnamon stick and star anise.  Seal the container and refrigerate overnight. Turn the container over several times while it is in the refrigerator to mix the sugar, spice and citrus.

Place raspberries in cocktail shaker. Muddle raspberries with the back of a wooden spoon.  Add gin and stir gently.  Add citrus sugar mixture, lemon juice, Cointreau and blood orange liqueur. Fill shaker with ice and shake to combine all ingredients.  Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer into a pitcher. Add prosecco and stir gently.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve in champagne flutes garnished with raspberries and citrus peel twists.

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Lovin’ Sippin’ Cider!

cider-week-1

Both of these ciders are luscious sippin’ ciders.

blood-orange-cider-3

I love tasting ciders that are new to me during Cider Week!  Bold Rock Blood Orange Cider is such a treat! Blood orange juice blended with the juice of Blue Ridge apples. Crisp tart apple flavor paired with tangy citrus. Bright reddish-orange color. This is a fall and winter seasonal cider.

cider-raspberry-1

Kelly’s ciders are imported from Ireland and the UK and bottled in the United States. Nice raspberry pop to it. Aroma of fresh raspberries. Tiny bit of effervescence and sweetness.

cider-drink-lucky-with-candle

Several local restaurants (River and Rail, Lucky, Fortunato and Local Roots) are having a friendly competition to see which bar creates the best cider cocktail during Virginia Cider Week (November 11 – 20, 2016).  Lucky Restaurant created the SCOTCHY Pippen- Foggy Ridge Pippen Gold, Rye, Drambuie, Lucky Artichoke Bitters #vaciderweek #foggyridgecider. Our Scotchy Pippen was prepared by Hunter Johnson, one of the owners of Lucky and local celebrity bartender.  He explained that this cocktail is “boozy” or “Spirit forward”.  I found it to be rich and deliciously sippable, perfect for Fall.

The ingredients for this cocktail:

1/2 ounce Drambuie
1 1/2 ounce Rye whiskey
3/4 ounce Foggy ridge pippin gold cider
Add a little squeeze of lemon if you’d like
1 drop Artichoke bitters
Orange twist

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and stir (stirring the ice gives the cocktail some “ice melt” which helps to diffuse the spirits since this is such a “spirit forward” cocktail). Strain and serve over large ice cubes in a cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.

pippin-cider-1

We enjoyed our cocktail with a Lucky cheese plate…freshly baked crusty bread with olive oil, olive tapenade, olive mix and camembert cheese.

cheese-plate-lucky

 

peach

Francisco and the Giant Peach cocktail River and Rail Restaurant. (not a cider drink…just a little cocktail I enjoyed recently…)

Peach infused Lunazul Tequila, St. Germain, Yellow Chartreuse, House Dry Vermouth, Floral Peach, Herbs & Bitter Notes. Stirred. Served on a Large Ice Cube. Lemon Twist Garnish.  Crisp peach flavors, refreshing!

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Love, Love, Love This Sparkling Limoncello Cocktail! Snap!

Fabulously bubbly time celebrating Autumn wine and citrus with Natalie and Brittany on Daytime Blue Ridge this week. Enjoy this recipe for Sparkling Ginger Limoncello Cocktails and enjoy the show: http://wsls.com/category/daytime/

limencello champagne 2snap

Sparkling Ginger Limoncello Cocktail

A fun spritzy cocktail with lots of citrus flavor…perfect cocktail to welcome Autumn with a hint of ginger and a light aroma of woodsy rosemary.

For each cocktail:

Place champagne flute in freezer for about 15 minutes to get the flute icy cold. The key to this refreshing cocktail is to make sure it is served very cold.

Place a sugar cube in a champagne flute. Pour 1 tablespoon Snap liqueur over the sugar cube and stir gently.  Snap is a ginger liqueur: http://www.artintheage.com/our-spirits/snap

Pour 1/2 jigger limoncello liqueur over the sugar cube.

Fill champagne flute with sparkling wine. Stir very gently just to combine ingredients. Garnish with lemon wheel and fresh rosemary sprig.

proscuitto

Fun appetizers to pair with your Sparkling Limoncello Cocktail:

Pan-fried Prosciutto

Pre-heat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Cut thinly sliced prosciutto into 1/2-inch wide strips.

Brown the prosciutto in the skillet for three to four minutes, until it becomes crispy.

Serve fried prosciutto pieces as an appetizer or crumble fried prosciutto to use as a topping for your favorite pasta dish.

crabmeat-cocktail

Crabmeat Cocktail With Fried Udon Noodle Garnish ~ Thank you to my bubbly neighbor and one of the best culinarians I know…for sharing the Udon noodle garnish idea with me!

Udon noodles are thick wheat flour Japanese noodles available in Asian food markets or on-line.

Fry udon noodles in the same oil (with a little extra vegetable oil added to the pan just to cover the udon noodles) as you fried the prosciutto.  These noodles fry very quickly…remove them from the pan just as quickly as they begin to brown.  Bend the noodles a little as they are cooking to make a fanciful garnish. Place noodles on plate lined with paper towels to drain and sprinkle noodles lightly with sea salt immediately after frying.

Place jumbo lump crabmeat (picked over to remove any bits of shell) in appetizer size cocktail glasses. (Place glasses in freezer with cocktail spoons to chill before service.) Top with your favorite seafood sauce – I topped my cocktail with Thomas Fish Camp Crab Cake Sauce (available at Fresh Market or on-line) and a little spritz of fresh lime juice…enjoy!

 champagne-towel

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My Favorite Summer Sangria Recipes

On these lazy hazy crazy days of summer I am being a bit lazy but hopefully not crazy by posting some recipes that have been previously published…but they are so perfect for summer that they are worth repeating…relax and enjoy!

Peach on leaf

Sangria

This recipe was originally published in the South Roanoke Living Magazine, July 2016 issue.

Peachy Rosé Sangria

1 bottle Rosé

5 ounces Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach

6 ounces fresh raspberries

12 fresh strawberries, capped and sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

3 small fresh peaches, pitted and chopped

1 cup seltzer water

Ice for service

Place strawberries in a small bowl, sprinkle with sugar, stir to combine. Set aside.

Place Rosé in sangria pitcher.  Add Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, raspberries, sugared strawberries and peaches. Stir to combine. Place in refrigerator overnight.  When ready to serve, add seltzer water and stir lightly to combine with other ingredients.  Serve in glasses over ice.

 

Peach Mimosa ~ Fountain Drink!

This is a recipe that I shared with my readers last summer…

Sandy’s Peach Mango Sangria 

In a large pitcher mix together:

10 oz. frozen peach daiquiri mix

2 cups sparkling water (I like S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water for this recipe)

1/2 cup triple sec

1 ripe mango, pitted and chopped into small pieces

1 large ripe peach, pitted and chopped into small pieces

After all ingredients are mixed together, add:

1 bottle chilled (750 ml) rosé Korbel sparkling wine or cava

Garnish with fresh raspberries.

 Serve well chilled.

I enjoy Korbel Sweet Rosé “California Champagne” for this recipe.

Korbel

peaches 1

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