cocktails

Lovin’ Sippin’ Cider!

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Both of these ciders are luscious sippin’ ciders.

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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.

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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.

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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!

olives

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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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Millennials Drink Wine In The Form Of SLUSHY ~ Guest Blog ~ The Millennial Spectacle

springtini

I am very pleased to introduce you to my new blogger friend, Erica, creator of The Millennial Spectacle.  We met through the Virginia Bloggers Network Association.  Here’s the link to her blog ~ please visit, enjoy and follow:   www.TheMillennialSpectacle.com.  One of my favorite things on Erica’s blog are her notes on her travel adventures…from Thailand, to the rooftops of New York, and then back to  our own backyard in Virginia.

Her home is in Washington, D.C.  Don’t miss her life hacks link on her about page! We both love wine and Erica has a new millennial twist on enjoying wine…Slushy!  I appreciate her point of view especially because it is 96 degrees Fahrenheit in Roanoke, Virginia today and I could use a slushy!

Here’s Erica…

Millennials Drink Wine In The Form Of SLUSHY

Everyone loves sipping on a fine glass of wine, but what if we could make sipping on wine trendy? The food world is blowing up with different trends from cat cafes to colorful rainbow bagels.  What you don’t know is, the booze world is changing to.  Classic drinks will always be “in”, but why not try something new?

When I was at Myrtle Beach, I went to a place called Wet Willie’s…and it was amazing. There was a beautiful wall of alcoholic slushies, anything you had in mind they had. The next day, I saw wine based ones when passing a restaurant. That’s when I knew it was big, and that’s also when I thought: How can I make one?  How did I miss such an awesome trend?! Therefore, I’m going to tell you how to create a few of my favorite wine slushies that are perfect for any happy hour or hot day in the summer! Each recipe only calls for 3 easy ingredients!  But what fruit goes best with which wine? Take a look below, and enjoy the cooling, refreshing drinks!

Peach Mimosa Slushy

Ice + Peaches + Champagne

The Pink Slushy

Ice + Pomegranate + Sparkling wine

Pinot Slush Crush

Ice + Pineapple + Pinot Grigio (a dash of orange juice makes it extra tasty)

White Watermelon Slushy

Ice + Watermelon + Moscato Wine

Sour Red Slushy

Ice + Citrus mix (lemon, lime and orange) + Red Shiraz

Berry Palooza Slushy

Ice + Mixed Berries + White Zinfadel

To make them a little fancier, add some garnish.  This could be a sprig of mint, a couple of blackberries or a slice of lemon.  You could also make a rainbow slushy by blending the wine with different fruits and layering the different flavors (such as blackberry on the bottom, watermelon in between and lemon on the top). Let your imagination go wild!  If you have kids, virgin ones can be made easily as well.

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Becky shares a few thoughts on wine slushies:

If you want to add more sweetness to your wine slushy try Agave Simple Syrup:

Combine equal parts agave nectar and hot water and stir to dissolve. Chill in the refrigerator. Add a little of the agave simple syrup to the ice and other ingredients in the blender when making the slushy

Erica’s slushy recipes reminded me of my bubbly friend Susie’s recipe for Pink Lemonade Slushies…enjoy!

Susie’s Pink Lemonade Slushies

4 decaffeinated tea bags

6 cups water

12 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate

12 ounces frozen pink lemonade concentrate

2 cups vodka

1 cup sugar

Ginger ale

Lemon slices and raspberries dipped in sugar for garnish

 

  1. Boil teabags in 2 cups water and let steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Add 4 cups more water.
  3. Mix in all other ingredients (except ginger ale) until sugar is dissolved and freeze in 5 quart plastic freezer container with lid.
  4. To serve, using ice cream scoop, scoop 2-3 scoops in a glass and top off with ginger ale. Mix with a fork to blend. Garnish with sugared lemon slices and raspberries.

 Toast

CHEERS!

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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

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Cocktail School At River and Rail Restaurant!

cocktail shake

Sunday evening my bubbly friend and I attended Cocktail School at River and Rail Restaurant in Roanoke, Virginia.  Our talented “Cocktail Professors” were Devon Steiner, Manager and Sous Chef John Diaz (pictured above) of River and Rail.

Veuve champagne

We started the evening with Veuve Ambal Blanc de Blancs Brut sparkling wine.  A lovely apéritif, crisp, dry, with notes of fresh apple and a touch of honey. A lively little sparkler!

A bit of history about this bubbly from http://devinewine.com.au

Maison Veuve Ambal was founded in the heart of Burgundy in 1898, by Veuve Marie Ambal, widow of a Parisian banker. Marie returned to Rully to join her brother, a wine lover and wine broker, to make wine at the time “method traditionelle” was being introduced for sparkling wines. The wines immediately gained recognition, and her grandson Charles Roux Ambal, followed by his grandson and current President Eric Piffaut, have continued to build on Marie’s philosophy of quality, and the combination of tradition and modernity which is the signature of Veuve Ambal. With over 200 hectares of vineyards across Burgundy, mainly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Veuve Ambal remain leaders in the production of  sparkling wines today. 

Pale yellow gold in colour, the Veuve Ambal Cremant de Bourgogne shows an exceptionally fine, persistent mousse. The fruity bouquet shows enticing citrusy notes, with a hint of red fruits and some biscuity complexity. The palate is elegant and harmonious, the finish long, crisp and dry. 

strawberry shrub

One of the reasons that River and Rail’s Strawberry Daiquiri tastes so good…they make the daiquiri with strawberry shrub (pictured above).  A shrub is a vinegar-based syrup and referred to as “Drinking Vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.  Devon and Chef John recommend adding ingredients to match the season such as clove and cinnamon during the holidays.  Our shrub had a little orange zest in it. My bubbly friend and I determined that the shrub made the daquiri taste not as syrupy sweet as commercial mixes which was refreshing. They recommended serving the daiquiri in a chilled coupe glass. Double straining with a cocktail strainer is a good idea for this drink to remove any ice crystals. Always use fresh juices in your cocktails, it’s worth the little bit of extra effort.

River and Rail Strawberry Shrub

Wash and slice 1# strawberries

Cover with 2 cups granulated sugar, stir to coat evenly

Let this sit with a breathable cover (cheesecloth) for 24-48 hours

Strain syrup through fine mesh strainer or use coffee filter

Add red wine vinegar to taste (Devon likes 2/3 cup for this recipe)

Pour into mason jar and refrigerate. Over time, the shrub will mellow out and flavors marry

  • Experiment with citrus, spices and vinegars
  • Great in nonalcoholic beverages as well

River and Rail Strawberry Daiquiri

2 ounces rum

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce strawberry shrub

1 dash rhubarb bitters

Add ice to shaker, shake hard, double strain into coupe glass. Optional garnish:  Thin lime wheel, strawberry or cherry

River and Rail Bourbon Sour

1.5 ounces bourbon

.75 ounces simple syrup

.75 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add ice to shaker, shake hard, strain into rocks glass

Sour mix:  DO NOT BUY STORE SOUR, make your own. Equal parts lemon juice to simple syrup. Simple syrup:  1 cup sugar + 1 cup boiling water = 1.5 cups simple syrup. Refrigerate up to 1 month.

negronivermouth

June 6 – June 12, 2016 was National Negroni Week. Here’s a link to some fun information about this Italian cocktail: https://www.thrillist.com/drink/nation/negroni-cocktail-facts-history-negroni-week

They recommend serving this cocktail over a “big rock” (large ice cube that fills the glass).  Do not shake this cocktail because shaking bruises the botanicals in the gin.

River and Rail Negroni

1 ounce gin

1 ounce sweet vermouth

1 oz. Campari

Combine over ice, stir until glass is frosty, about 30 stirs.  Serve over ice or up.  Garnish: Orange Peel

meatstrawberry bowl

The  lovely hors d’oeuvres included housemade Charcuterie and fresh strawberries.

champagne

Finished this lovely evening on the patio under the stars with this bottle of bubbly: Tendil & Lombardi  Blanc de Noirs Champagne.

100 % pinot noir champagne. Creamy mousse, crisp apple and raspberry notes with a hint of toast.  Wine Spectator rated this champagne “90 points”.

L Asiatic Trogon Lily

This Red Carpet Cocktail Deserves An Academy Award!

chili 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 subsituted 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.

 

Tequila Watermelon Sparkler and Szigeti!

watermelon

This fanciful cocktail was featured in the June, 2016 Food and Wine Magazine.  Tastes like a watermelon margarita on the rocks! Use good quality tequila in this recipe to make a fabulously refreshing cocktail. “Aguas Frescas” is “Fresh Waters” in Spanish.  Fruits, flowers, cereals and seeds are combined with sugar and water to make refreshing beverages often sold by street vendors in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Tequila-Watermelon Aguas Frescas with Prosecco

Makes 12 drinks

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1 chilled seedless watermelon (15 lbs.), rind discarded and watermelon cubed (20 cups)

3/4 cup tequila blanco

6 limes, thinly sliced

3 mint sprigs, plus mint leaves for garnish

Ice

1 bottle chilled Prosecco

  1.  In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Transfer the simple syrup to a heatproof bowl and let cool.
  2. In a food processor or blender, puree the watermelon in batches until smooth. Strain the puree into a large bowl or pitcher. Stir in the simple syrup, tequila, lime slices, 3 mint sprigs and 1/2 cup water.
  3. To serve, pour the watermelon agua fresca into ice-filled glasses, leaving 1 inch at the top.  Top off the drinks with Prosecco and garnish with mint leaves.

 Make ahead:  The strained watermelon juice can be refrigerated overnight.

Here’s a fun peachie drink to enjoy while we wait for fresh peach season to arrive:

Peachtree City

1 oz vodka

3 or 4 oz lime juice

1 oz berentzen peach schnapps

1 or 2 oz cranberry juice

1 or 2 oz simple syrup

Add all ingredients to shaker tin, fill with ice, and shake.  Double strain into cocktail glass and garnish with channel knife lime peel.

champagne seizler

The name Szigeti is intriguing…this lovely Austrian sparkling wine tickled my taste buds. I was pleasantly surprised at the first sip – creaminess on the palate with crisp apple notes.

Grape Varieties: Grüner Veltliner

Region: Lake Neusiedl – Burgenland

Tasting Notes from website:
Lovely golden colour with light green tinges. Delicate aromas of apple with a touch of white pepper. Dry with crunchy acidity, hint of honeysuckle and kiwi over elegant lime notes.

My notes: Creamy, fruity with apple notes.

Locally sourced at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar, Roanoke, Virginia ($21.00 range)

From Karen MacNeil’s WineSpeed Newsletter:

 Wine question of the week:  Which of the following is the driest style of Champagne or sparkling wine?

A. Brut   B. Extra Dry   C. Demi-sec    D. Extra Brut

Answer:  D. Extra Brut is a very dry Champagne or sparkling wine with less than .6 percent of sugar per liter.  Brut is a dry to very dry style containing less than 1.5 percent sugar per liter. Extra Dry is slightly sweeter than Brut. And Demi-sec, with 3.3 to 5.0  percent of sugar per liter, is sweeter than Extra Dry.

Rose kind of day

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