Recipes: 2017 Grammy Awards Cocktails and Food Ideas

Raspberry Tea Tini

This year’s Grammy Awards show is sure to bring out some of our favorite musicians in style and give us plenty of tunes to please our ears. Whether you’re couch dancing or cutting a rug on the living room floor, these cocktails and snack suggestions will rock the party.

To go with the anticipated tribute to Prince at this year’s show, we offer this cocktail inspired by him.

Cream
Courtesy of Coolhunting.com
2 parts Sailor Jerry rum
1 tsp. fig paste
1 tsp. condensed milk
4 parts cold brewed coffee

In a shaker tin, combine all ingredients. Hard shake and double strain over fresh ice. Serve immediately.

Maravillas
1.5 oz. Casa Noble Anejo tequilaMaravillas
.5 oz. Branca Mentha (We used crème de menthe for our version in the photo, which gave the cocktail a taste similar to a chocolate cherry mint candy.)
.5 oz. cherry liqueur (Luxardo works well)
.5 oz. Orgeat (Almond Syrup)
.5 oz. milk or cream chocolate bitters (Fee Brothers Is Good) Luxardo Preserved Maraschino Cherries

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Pour into a tall glass and place a cherry or two on top.

Pair a Cream or a Maravillas with blue cheese or brie on toast.

Ruffino’s Bubbles Over Bass
3 parts chilled Ruffino Prosecco
1 ½ part apple cider
1 part ginger liqueur

Combine ingredients into a flute. Lightly stir and garnish with a lemon peel.

Ruffino's Bubbles Over BassPair this cocktail with Mexican Wedding cookies or Russian Teacake cookies.

Betty Crocker Russian Teacakes
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup finely chopped nuts
¼ teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts, and salt until dough holds together. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Svedka’s Sweet SongSvedka's Sweet Song
1½ parts Svedka Vodka
1 part coffee liqueur
¼ cup vanilla ice cream
½ cup crushed ice
dollop whipped cream
melted chocolate

Combine ingredients except whipped cream and melted chocolate in a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Treat a sundae glass with melted chocolate drizzle, and dump blend in glass. Garnish and dust with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Striped straw optional.

It would be a fun touch to serve Svedka’s Sweet Touch with pieces of waffle cones dipped in chocolate.

Raspberry Tea Tini
1 ¾ oz. Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
1 oz. sweet iced tea
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice

Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge.Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites

Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites
Created by Dawn Belisle, Delights by Dawn
1 12 oz. package of vanilla wafers
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1/2 cup Van Gogh Dutch Caramel vodka
7 oz. melting chocolate (dark or milk)

Put wafers in a food processor and process until fine. If you don’t have a food processor put wafers in a sealable gallon food bag and use a rolling pin to crush until fine. Place wafer crumbs in a bowl and add confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup and Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka. Mix until well until combined. Using a small cookie scoop or a heaping tablespoon, scoop the dough and roll into a 1 inch bite-sized ball.

Melt the chocolate and then dip the bites into the chocolate until covered entirely. Place dipped bites on a wax sheet of paper to harden. To decorate, add sprinkles or colored sugar before the chocolate coating hardens. Store the Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites in an airtight container. Bites are best when made ahead of time and stored for 1 to 3 days to allow all the flavors to meld before serving.

Kim Crawford’s Perfect PitchKim Crawford's Perfect Pitch
1.5 oz. Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
1 oz. Svedka Vanilla
1 oz. matcha tea syrup (1 part brewed matcha tea combine with 1 part white sugar until dissolved. Cool before using and store refrigerated.)
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 oz. egg white
1 oz. cream Soda

Combine all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake dry. Then add ice and shake again. Strain into a highball glass and pour soda in a careful stream toward the center of the glass. The head of the drink will rise above the glass lip just slightly when it is ready.

Something savory fits best with the Perfect Pitch so toast up a pan of breaded mozzarella sticks and jalapeño poppers. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce like ranch dressing or marinara sauce.

Review: Eden Mill Gins – Original, Love, Oak, and Hop

Eden Mill is a combo brewery-distillery in Scotland’s St. Andrews that makes beer, whisky, and gin, including this quartet, which all come in unique, swing-top bottles. Eden Mill makes quite an array of spirits in its copper pot stills; it’s a bit unusual for gin to be pot-distilled, so let’s take a dive into four of Eden Mill’s releases, which are just now becoming available in the U.S. thanks to importer ImpEx.

Eden Mill Original Gin – Beautifully balanced right from the start, featuring moderate but omnipresent juniper, a healthy slug of lemon and orange peel, and aromatic hints of cinnamon and cloves. The body picks up the spice a bit, playing up torched orange peel, cardamom, and hints of eastern spices, while finishing clean with some light florals notes. A perfect rendition of a modern gin that keeps one foot in the new world and one in the old. Use it for, well, anything. 84 proof. A

Eden Mill Love Gin – Flowers naturally come to mind when “Love” is on the menu, and roses are fragrant on the nose of Love Gin, right from the start. Evergreen character is surprisingly a bit stronger here, both on the nose and on the palate, which gives way to some orange peel and a hint of mushroomy forest floor. The finish is juniper-loaded, giving love a strangely feminine beginning, and a surprisingly masculine finale. Further proof that gender fluidity is hot right now. 84 proof. B

Eden Mill Oak Gin – Clearly barrel-aged (thanks to both the name and the color), though details on the treatment are scarce. Gentle citrus and vanilla notes on the nose give way to a cake frosting character on the palate, which eventually leads to the juniper at the gin’s core pushing its way through the sweetness. The finish is a pleasant combination of sweet and savory notes, with toasty baking spice elements layered on top. 84 proof. B+

Eden Mill Hop Gin – This hop-infused gin is a complete departure from the above trio, which can easily be seen as close members of the same family. The nose has strong elements of green olives, while the palate turns heavily hop-focused and very bitter, growing in strength as the finish, with echoes of lime peel and bitter amari, comes into focus. An acquired taste. 92 proof. B-

each $40 / edenmill.com

Review: Blanton’s Gold Edition and Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel Bourbon

If you’re a bourbon drinker like me, you’ve gotten used to Buffalo Trace never making enough of the whiskeys you love like their namesake brand or the absurdly rare Pappy Van Winkle and Antique Collection offerings that tease us each fall. Blanton’s Single Barrel, another quality Buffalo Trace product, is also increasingly harder to find these days.

You may not have even known that there are higher proof versions of this bourbon that are distributed only in international markets. That’s not entirely Buffalo Trace’s fault because Age International (former owner of Buffalo Trace Distillery) still owns the Blanton’s brand. Buffalo Trace just does all the work distilling the delicious juice, aging it exclusively in Warehouse H, and bottling it in the iconic dimpled bottle.

Here’s a look at two of those expressions.

Blanton’s Gold Edition – This bourbon is unexpectedly gentle on the nose with aromas of cinnamon and ripe peach. The palate is wonderfully rich and honeyed with layers of vanilla and toffee. The heat builds gradually; it’s almost nonexistent at first and then cascades into a long and slightly drying finish with hints of black tea. For only 5% higher alcohol, the results are surprising. This is far better than Blanton’s Original in almost every way. This bottling was dumped July 16, 2016 from Barrel #1265, Rick #6. 103 proof. A / $65

Blanton’s Straight From the Barrel – On the nose, you know right away this is a barrel strength bourbon. Out from under the alcohol emerge brown sugar and sweet orange marmalade notes. The palate is bold and chewy. It’s full of butterscotch and hints of oak, more of which are coaxed from the glass with a little water. The finish is drying but complemented by subtle flavors of black pepper and dried apricot. This one also edges Blanton’s Original and probably even competes with some of the higher proof Antique Collection offerings. Still, the heat never really lets up, suffocating a few flavors and spoiling some of the complexity. This bottling was dumped January 10, 2014 from Barrel #194, Rick #51. 130.9 proof. A- / $85

blantonsbourbon.com

Review: Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond, Pacific Wonderland, Red Chair NWPA (2016), and The Abyss Aged Stout 2016 Edition

Four new and classic brews from Deschutes, including some late 2016 stragglers like the highly anticipated The Abyss.

Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale – A burly and malty pale ale, lightly sweet with notes of apricot and peaches, with a body that’s heavy with roasted nuts and rolled oats. A classic wintertime pale ale, Mirror Pond finishes on a light caramel note, which pairs well with the nuttiness that comes before. 5% abv. B+ / $8 per six-pack

Deschutes Brewery Pacific Wonderland Lager – Maltier and burlier than Mirror Pond, this is a lager brew with a familiar, fresh bread character up front that eventually finds its way to a lingering, herbally-focused, and lightly vegetal bitterness. Not sure about the wonderland part, but it’s a fine enough choice as the weather gets warmer. 5.5% abv. B / $8 per six-pack

Deschutes Brewery Red Chair NWPA (2016) – Always out in December, this seasonal “Northwest” Pale Ale offers the usual overtones of mushroom and forest floor, atop a malty, nutty core. Overtones of dried berries and some bitter, savory spices add structure, but not a ton of depth. 6.2% abv. A- / $8 per six-pack

Deschutes Brewery The Abyss Aged Stout 2016 Edition – Deschutes’ big-ass stout, brewed with blackstrap molasses, licorice, cherry bark, and vanilla, sees its 2016 release aged as follows: 21% is aged in oak bourbon barrels, 8% aged in new Oregon oak barrels, and 21% aged in oak wine barrels. That’s roughly on par with 2015, although this year’s release is has almost a tenth less alcohol than usual. Maybe that’s why I’m less enchanted with this 11th annual release of the beer? It’s got coffee, dark chocolate, fig jam, and the usual thick, licorice-whip of a finish, but everything seems dialed down a tad, the body a bit less powerful than usual, the finish a bit shorter. Newcomers will probably marvel at all the dense prune and Port wine notes, but longtime fans might wonder if someone took their foot off the gas at an inopportune time. Maybe it’s just me. Shrug. 11.1% abv. B+ / $15 per 22 oz. bottle

deschutesbrewery.com

Review: A. Smith Bowman Rye Expectations Gin

A. Smith Bowman, owned by Sazerac/Buffalo Trace and based in Virginia, is known for some impressive whiskeys. Now it’s launching an experimental spirits line, and its first experiment is… gin. And that’s just the start.

Says Bowman:

The line will include a wide variety of distilled spirits, including the aforementioned gin, and will grow to include different expressions of rums, vodkas, and brandies. The Experimental Series will explore a wide variety of spirits delving into unique recipes, wood types, exotic fermentables, and the use of local ingredients such as grapes, apples, pears, grains, and much more.

The first offering, a gin titled Rye Expectations, is very limited and will only be available at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery Visitor Center.  It is a one-time only release, and is the first release ever from A. Smith Bowman’s new custom microstill, George, installed in early 2015. This gin is a custom recipe created by Master Distiller Brian Prewitt, distilled three times and crafted using a distinct rye grain base including Virginia rye and a botanical mix of juniper, coriander Spanish orange, and angelica.

If you’ve ever wondered what a juniper-flavored white whiskey tastes like, give Rye Expectations a shot. While technically it’s not a whiskey, it sure does come across like one, its racy rye notes worn right on its sleeve. The botanicals are there, but barely — a twist of orange, some indistinct evergreen, and rosemary notes, but these are understated, almost to a fault. The nutty grain notes are what endure well into the finish.

I thought it was strange that a distiller known only for whiskey was making a gin — but now that it’s here, I can report that it tastes exactly like you would expect a gin from a whiskey distiller to taste like.

90 proof.

B / $35 (375ml) / asmithbowman.com

Review: 2013 Craggy Range Pinot Noir Te Muna Road Vineyard

This Kiwi pinot offers an austerity that brings with it notes of roasted meats and leather, cut through with strong notes of tea leaf and cassis. While big and powerful on thee body, the finish takes a turn for the darker, with subtle hints of coffee and cloves. A sturdy wine; best at mealtime.

B / $29 / craggyrange.com

Recipes: Warming Winter Cocktails for 2017

It may be the winter of our discontent, but that doesn’t mean you can’t drink like a king. If you’re tired of the same cold weather cocktails to warm you, try these recipes for something to brighten your mood and thrill your taste buds.

Blood Orange Blazer
8 parts brewed hibiscus tea
2 parts Banks 7 Golden Age rum
1 part Hamilton Pimento Dram (Note: Pimento Dram is another name for Allspice Dram)
1 part blood orange juice
blood orange peel

Build in a preheated blue blazer mug. Garnish with a clove-studded spiral blood orange peel and serve.

Feather in CapsicumFeather in Capsicum
Created by Hendrick’s Gin Brand Ambassador, Mattias Horseman
2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
¾ parts lemon juice
½ part maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine ingredients and shake hard over ice. Strain into chilled coupette and garnish with a Maple Leaf (if possible) and lemon zest.

Rock Beets Scissor
1.5 oz. Medley Bros Bourbon
1/2 oz. Angostura Amaro
1/4 oz. Gran Classico
½ oz. lemon juice
½ oz. beet simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
egg white

Pour all ingredients into a shaker. Wet shake (meaning with ice), then dry shake (meaning no ice). Fine strain into chilled coupe; garnish with bitters and a candied beer chip.

To make candied beer chips:
1 lb. potato slices
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. beer (A stout is recommended)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine brown sugar and stout in a small bowl, whisking well to form a thin syrup. Set aside. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat with a thin layer of cooking oil spray. Lay out the potato slices and coat the top side with another layer of cooking oil. Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush one side of the potato chips with the beer syrup. Flip, and coat the other side with the syrup as well. Return to oven and cook for 10 more minutes. Keep an eye on them so they do not burn. Remove from oven, and repeat process another time or two more, until chips are crispy and browned, and you’ve used all the glaze. Cool on wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving. This can also be made with bacon.

Q Winter Citrus SangriaQ Winter Citrus Sangria
12 oz. Q Club Soda
12 oz. Q Tonic
6 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
8 oz. Cocci Americano Italian White Vermouth
12 oz. dry white wine
2 cups sliced winter citrus fruit (pink grapefruit, mandarin oranges, Cara Cara, lemon)
½ cup pomegranate arils
mint for garnish

Combine Solerno, Cocci Americano, and wine in a bowl and stir. Add sliced citrus and pomegranate arils, cover and refrigerate overnight to allow fruit to macerate. When ready to serve, transfer the mixture to a pitcher, top with Q Club Soda, Q Tonic, and stir to combine. Pour into ice-filled glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Treasure Chest
1 oz. Cocchi Americano
1 oz. cinnamon and orange infused Wheatley vodka
¼ oz. Tempus Fugit Kina
¼ oz. Sandeman Fino sherry
1 dash orange bitters

Stir, then strain into chilled Nick & Nora glass. Express the lemon peel and discard, then garnish with a few drops of pistachio oil.

Broken Column
1 1/4 oz. pear infused Altos Blanco tequila
3/4 oz. Del Maguey Vida mezcal
3/4 oz. Alessio Chinato
1 bar spoon Fernet Branca
1 bar spoon agave
1 dash chocolate bitters

Stir, then strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish is needed.

The 8th Day
1 ½ parts Havana Club Añejo Clásico Puerto Rican Rum
3 parts chai tea
1 ¾ parts coconut milk
1 part simple syrup or 1 Tbsp. white sugar

Prepare Chai Tea. While the tea steeps, warm coconut milk over medium heat but do not boil. Combine ingredients in a high temperature resistant mixing glass; add rum last and stir. Serve in an Irish Coffee Cup or preferred glass coffee cup, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Mezcal Pumpkin Pie
From The Skylark, Mixologist Johnny Swet
2 spoons of pumpkin butter
2 oz. Ilegal Reposado Mezcal
3/4 oz. lime juice
½ oz. cinnamon syrup
½ oz. Feretti Biscotti Liquor

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into Rocks Glass. Dust with Nutmeg before serving.

The Spicy Buck
1 ½ oz. Dixie Black Pepper vodka
4 oz. ginger beer
1/4 tsp. pickled jalapeño juice
1 splash of soda
juice of 1/4 lime

Mix all ingredients into a shaker and stir. Pour into a glass with ice and Garnish with a pickled jalapeño slice and serve.

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