Recipes: Cocktails for July 4th, 2017

Margarita Watermelon

Independence Day is upon us. We know you plan to celebrate, so we’ve got cocktails for you: Two of them make large batches, which makes them perfect for a fireworks viewing party. To finish up, we have recipes for boozy watermelon and then a favorite American dish — corn pudding. Both are easy and will go great with whatever you are cooking up on the grill.

We want you to have plenty of great beverages — but of course we encourage you to be safe when driving… or when handling those firecrackers.

Jacked SangriaJacked Sangria
courtesy of Alcomar restaurant, Austin, TX
8 oz. Jack Daniel’s
3 oz. Créme de Cassis
2 cups fresh mango puree
2 750 ml bottles of cabernet
6 oz. hand-squeezed lime juice
32 oz. Sprite

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher with ice. Serve and enjoy! This makes a gallon so you will have plenty to share around.

Dixie Daly
2 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
2 oz. sweet tea
2 oz. lemonade
4 mint leaves
sparkling soda
juice of 1/4 lemon
1 dash of Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients except the soda with ice; pour in ice-filled glass. Top with soda and serve. If desired, also garnish with mint leaves.

The Red Planet NegroniRed Planet Negroni
created by Leo Robitschek, The NoMad (NYC)
1 oz. Campari
1 1/2 oz. Cinzano 1757
2 oz. Bulldog Gin
clarified milk mixture (see below)

Follow instructions below to create clarified milk punch. Serve in a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with two star-shaped orange twists.

To make clarified milk mixture:
3 oz. milk
1 oz. lemon juice
1 1/2 oz. spice rooibos tea syrup
1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice

Heat up milk until just under a simmer. Take the pot off the heat and add the lemon juice. Stir slowly until the curds and the whey separate. Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Pour all of the ingredients slowly through a superbag or nut bag until the punch becomes clear, and the repeat the filtering process.

The Curious BlueCurious Blue
1 ¾ oz. Brockmans Gin
½ oz. blueberry liqueur
½ oz. lemon juice
2 oz. blueberry puree
ginger beer

Shake all ingredients but the ginger beer with ice. Strain into a tall Collins glass filled with ice.

Rose and Strawberry Vino
1 1/2 oz. Barefoot Summer red wine
1 oz. strawberry vodka
rose basil seed drink
2 ice cubes
rose petals to garnish

Mix wine and vodka in a glass, stir; then pour into a cocktail glass over 2 ice cubes. Top; off with rose basil seed drink. Garnish with rose petals and serve.

Belle of the (Summer) BallBelle of the Ballk
courtesy of NYC-based mixologist Jaime Rios
1 1/2 oz. Belle de Brillet Liqueur
1 oz. light rum
3/4 oz. lime juice
3 raspberries
club soda
sprig of rosemary

Add raspberries, ice, and alcohol ingredients into a shaker. Shake and strain into a highball with fresh ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

The Marked Man
courtesy of Kegworks
2½ oz. blueberry-infused bourbon
½ oz. dry vermouth
½ oz. Benedictine
2 dashes peach bitters
3 fresh blueberries, for garnish

Fill a mixing glass ¾ of the way with ice and add infused bourbon, vermouth, Benedictine, and bitters. Stir well, until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with 3 blueberries skewered onto a cocktail pick. Enjoy!

To infuse bourbon:
There are several variations of this…adding lemon, vanilla, ginger, or blueberry tea. We’re giving you the simplest method so you can tailor it to your own tastes.
1 liter bourbon
1 ½ pints fresh blueberries
¼ cup honey

Put all ingredients in a blender and pulse. Then pour everything into a sterile jar (wash well and then boil in water to sterilize the jar and lid). Let sit in a cool place for three days. Fine strain with cheese cloth or a nut bag. It should keep for a few weeks.

The Gimme
courtesy STICKS Bar & Grill at The Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach Resorts
2 oz. Absolut vodka
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. blueberry agave syrup
3 oz. ginger beer
1 oz. club soda
4 blueberries for garnish
1 mint sprig for garnish

Add vodka, blueberry agave nectar, fresh lime, and ice to a 16-oz. glass. Stir to incorporate and chill. Add ginger beer and club soda, then stir again–this time, make sure to bring the bottom of the glass contents up through the carbonated mixers. Garnish with blueberries. Remove the lower mint leaves from stem. Bruise mint sprig to allow the mint oils and aromatics to be expressed. Add as garnish.

Blueberry agave syrup:
6 oz. fresh blueberries
1 oz. granulated white sugar
juice of ½ lemon
2 oz. water
6 oz. agave nectar

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients, except agave, and heat on medium low until the blueberries start to soften. Remove from heat and place in blender. Add agave nectar and blend until mixture is thoroughly incorporated in agave nectar.

Samuel Adams Summer Ale SangriaSam Adams Sangria
4¼ bottles Samuel Adams Summer Ale
2 bottles of light white wine, like a sweet Riesling
2 oz. soda water
½ cup of cognac
½ cup of apple schnapps
½ cup of simple syrup
2 honeydew melons, peeled, sliced and diced (we used a melon baller tool)
4 oranges, cut in to wheels

Mix all ingredients except soda water together in a large bowl, and refrigerate overnight. Add 2 oz. of soda water, and serve. Serves approximately 40 three-ounce servings.

This next recipe isn’t a cocktail per se, but fitting nonetheless.

Margarita-Soaked Watermelon Slices
courtesy of Divas Can Cook
1 small seedless watermelon
1 cup sugar
¾ cup boiling water
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup Hornitos Reposado Tequila
¼ cup Cointreau/triple sec
lime slices from 6 limes
¼ cup margarita salt

Slice watermelon into small triangles and arrange them on a large cookie sheet in a single layer. In a medium size bowl add sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar has dissolved and let cool. Add in lime juice, tequila, and Cointreau. Spoon mixture over each watermelon slice and then pour on what’s left. Cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours—no longer than that or your watermelon will get rubbery. Serve slices cold on a platter with lime slices and a dish of margarita salt.

Many Americans consider corn one of our most important crops with its uses in spirits production, corn syrup, as a vegetable, and a grain. It’s only fitting that we share this corn pudding recipe with you. It is common in the Midwest, but we’re giving you a southwestern version. It’s great with any barbecue or to take to a pot luck. You can make the creamed corn from scratch; then roast, peel, and chop the green chiles by hand if you have the time and inclination. We’re going for a quick dish so are using the canned versions in this recipe. Trust us, it’s belly-pleasing either way.

Corn PuddingCorn Pudding
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 can of evaporated milk
¼ butter softened
½ cup chopped yellow onion
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can Ortega chopped green chiles
1 tsp each salt and pepper
2 Tbsp flour
2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs

Butter a casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix well all ingredients, including the remaining butter; then pour into the casserole dish. Bake uncovered approximately 30 minutes. You can top with more shredded cheese or bread crumbs if desired.

Bar Review: Teleféric Barcelona Restaurant, Walnut Creek, California

Teleféric Barcelona
Teleféric has three bars/restaurants in Spain. The one we visited in Walnut Creek, California is their first venture in the United States, having opened in January 2017. Their menu is filled with dishes from Barcelona, created by chefs from Spain. The pricing is a bit high, but worth it for a special luxury meal such as an anniversary or birthday dinner. What first drew our attention to this restaurant is a peek at their signature sangrias. They graciously gave us a recipe to share with you.

Everything done at Teleféric Barcelona is done with flair, from the friendly and talkative staff to elaborate garnishes on food and drink abound. First we were offered appetizers from a cart. In Spain they are called pinchos, meaning ‘little bites.’ The best of these was a chorizo bite. It was sweet and paired with a nice crema-like cheese and a pepper which we expected to be hot but was pleasant instead.

Pisco cart

To go with our pinchos, drinks were in order. First up was a cocktail called a Cortez, Teleféric’s version of a Manhattan. It was surprising to find mezcal in it because we typically think of that with more Mexican dishes. The signature smokiness was there but not overwhelming. Other ingredients included Carpano Antica, maraschino liqueur, and flaming sweet orange. Very nice.

We also had a cocktail served alongside dessert called In Spanish Fashion. Its ingredients include Bulleit Rye whiskey, brandy, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, bitters, lemon, and hand cut ice. This was a pleasant combination of ingredients and a great end to a wonderful evening.

But sangria is really the main event here: Our host explained how every region of Spain has their own signature style of sangria. We decided to try Teleféric’s three sangrias with our meal. They were kind enough to bring us small tastes so we could try them all.

First was the white sangria called Sangria Ibiza. Its light bubbly and mild dry taste came from Verdejo Wine and Pisco from Peru. The slight sweetness is from the addition of elderflower liqueur, Licor 43, peaches, and pineapples.

Next up: A pink sangria called Barceloneta. Among its ingredients are prickly pear juice, lemonade, and a jumble of fresh fruits such as orange, blueberry, and raspberry. It came garnished with a small sprig of rosemary. Its taste was reminiscent of a Grenache wine.

The third, and our favorite, sangria was the Sangria Teleféric. Right off the mint from the garnish tickles the nose. This sangria was also garnished with a cinnamon stick, blueberries, and raspberries. The cinnamon gave the drink a nice spiciness to it.

We wanted to make it ourselves — here’s the recipe:Signature Sangrias

Sangria Teleféric
Spanish red wine
orange juice
apple juice
4 oranges (chunks)
4 ripe pears (chunks)
4 big cinnamon sticks
Brandy de Jerez “Solera”
Nolet’s gin

There aren’t measurements because you can make these in large or small batches and mix everything to taste. Mix all these ingredients , except the red wine. Then cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. The purpose is to obtain a balanced and unique flavor so neither the gin nor brandy will be overpowering. Throughout these 24 hours the pears and oranges release their flavors enhancing the fruity, but not too sweet flavors. Once the mix is ready, combine it with red wine. Let it rest for another 24 hours so the wine can absorb the sweetness and flavor of the fruits. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, berries, and fresh mint sprig.

telefericbarcelona.com

Memorial Day Cocktails, 2017

Spiked Cherry Lemonade Slushies
If you’re like us, this long Memorial Day holiday weekend is much anticipated. We want to kick off this holiday of remembrance and thankfulness with a set of cocktails to serve your veterans and those who honor them. What are cocktails without food to serve alongside? We’re sharing a chicken and chorizo dish you can cook indoors or out. Now, on with the drinks!

Playa Fortuna
created by Ryan Wainwright
1 1/2 parts Bacardi Superior
3/4 part lime juice
3/4 part coconut cordial (equal parts of coconut water and sugar)
1/4 part Falernum
4 drops tartaric acid (1 part cream of tartar and 5 parts water)
edible flower for garnish

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with an edible flower and serve.

Rose Basil MartiniRose Basil Seed Martini
The original Strawberry Basil Martini recipe came from foodandwine.com. However, we discovered a rose basil seed drink at a convenience store which also sells Indian food items and decided to give it a shot. The drink is sweetened so the simple syrup is intentionally omitted.
3 strawberries plus one slice to use as a garnish
3 fresh basil leaves
1 oz. gin (We used Brockman’s)
1 oz. vodka
2 oz. Rose Basil Seed beverage (you can add more if you want a stronger rose taste)
½ oz. fresh lemon juice

Put the strawberries and basil leaves in a cocktail shaker and muddle them. Add ice, gin, vodka, and lemon juice; then shake well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with the Rose Basil beverage, garnish with the strawberry slice, and serve.

Spiked Cherry Lemonade Slushies
2 oz. Blue Ice Vodka
1 tsp. Crystal Light Lemonade mix
1/2 tsp cherry syrup
3/4 cups water
1 cup ice
maraschino cherries

Add all ingredients , except the cherries, into a blender and blend until the drink has a smooth and slushy texture. Pour into 2 glasses. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Auchentoshan Berry White
1 1/2 parts Auchentoshan American Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1/4 part fresh lemon juice
2 1/2 parts Shrub & Co. Strawberry w/ Meyer Lemon Shrub
3 1.2 parts Belgian witbier (wheat beer)
4 dashes rhubarb bitters

Build the drink in tall glass with ice. Then fill the remaining space with Belgian wheat beer. Garnish with a lemon peel before serving.

Laphroaig Back Yard CollinsLaphroaig® Back Yard Collins
recipe by Ivy Mix, NYC
1 1/2 parts Laphroaig Select
3/4 part Cherry Heering Liqueur
3/4 part lemon juice
1/2 part orange juice
1/2 part vanilla syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 vanilla bean split open; boil together and cool before using)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
light lager beer
lemon wheel (for garnish)

Combine all ingredients except the lager in a cocktail shaker; shake and strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice. Next, top with the beer and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Banana Beach
created by mixologist, Jane Danger
3 oz. Baileys Almande
2 oz. coconut puree
1/2 oz. agave syrup
1 1/2 ripe bananas
banana slices and grated nutmeg for garnish

Combine Baileys Almande, coconut puree, agave syrup, bananas, and ice into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the contents into a tall glass. Garnish with banana slices and freshly grated nutmeg.

Svedka's Imperial BlueSvedka’s Imperial Blue
1 1/2 parts Svedka Blue Raspberry Vodka
1 1/2 parts black tea
3/4 part fresh lime juice
3/4 part simple syrup
1 part sparkling wine
3 raspberries

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the raspberries. Then combine with the remaining ingredients, except for the sparkling wine. Shake and strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with sparkling wine and stir. Garnish with raspberries and loose black tea.

Modelo Summer Crusher
cocktail by Betsy Maher and Austin Hartman, New York
12 oz. Modelo Especial
1 1/2 oz. strawberry chipotle syrup (recipe below)
1 oz. blanco tequila
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Modelo Summer Crushersalt
ground chipotle
1 strawberry for garnish

Rim a mason jar with salt and ground chipotle pepper mixture about half an inch down the jar. Fill the jar to the top with crushed ice. Combine tequila, strawberry chipotle syrup, and fresh lime juice into a shaker with ice. Shake 18-20 times. Strain over the crushed ice and top with Modelo Especial. Garnish with a strawberry.

To make Strawberry Chipotle Syrup
12-15 medium to large strawberries
3 cups of water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. ground chipotle

Boil the water and add ground chipotle. Blend strawberries in a blender. Lower the water temperature and add the strawberry mixture. Let simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off heat, add sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Let cool before using.

Cool Mule
1.5 parts Three Olives Cucumber Lime Vodka
.75 parts lime juice
.75 parts simple syrup
3 cucumber slices
10 mint sprigs
ginger beer

In a mule mug, muddle cucumber and mint. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and shake well. Pour into the mug and top with ginger beer. Use a cucumber slice or lime wheel to garnish. Serve!

Sweet and Smoky
We took a typical mezcal cocktail and changed it up.
3 oz. mezcal
1/2 oz. agave nectar
3 dashes Orleans bitters
2 maraschino cherries plus 1 Tbsp. syrup from the jar.
ginger ale

Place the two cherries inside a rocks glass. Then combine all remaining ingredients except the ginger ale in a shaker glass with ice. Shake well to thoroughly mix in the agave nectar. Strain into the glass and top with ginger ale. Note: if this is too sweet for your tastes, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.

Many of us fire up the grill for the first time of the year on Memorial Day weekend. Use an iron skillet with a lid or an iron Dutch Oven to roast this chicken dish on the grill. If your grill has three burners, light the outer two and place the skillet on the unlit center portion. Then you can sit back and enjoy your cocktails while it cooks.

Basque Roast ChickenBasque Roast Chicken
original recipe courtesy of Canadian Living.com; of course we put our own spin on it.
3 sweet red peppers, halved and cored
1 sweet onion, thickly sliced
1 28 oz. can of stewed tomatoes, drained (use whole tomatoes if you like your meal chunky)
5 oz. cured chorizo sausages, cut in chunks (We had problems finding chorizo in sausage form so used what was available. It worked but the chorizo blended in with the tomato sauce more than it should have; the taste certainly didn’t suffer.)
10 cloves garlic
¼ cup mezcal
8 small chicken breast pieces (half-breasts, thighs or drumsticks)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

On the grill, roast the red peppers, cut side down, until blackened. Let cool enough to handle. Peel off blackened skins and slice into strips. Then put the peppers, onion, tomatoes, chorizo, garlic, and mezcal into the skillet.

Toss chicken with oil to coat. Combine thyme, salt, sweet and smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper; rub all over chicken. Place on top of the vegetable mixture in the pan.

Cover with the lid and roast for about 45 minutes. If you prefer to cook this in an oven, then bake for the same amount of time at 450°F. Serve with flour tortillas.

Tasting Report: RateBeer Best Festival 2017


2017’s RateBeer Best Festival, benefiting Ales for Autism, recently arrived in Santa Rosa, California for the second year. Brewers from across the globe brought their brews here to compete in both beer and food competitions. Attendees were able to sample them all.

Craft Beerd--vendorThis year’s festival was double the size from the previous year, with the general admission line wrapping around the block. Once everyone was inside, it was shoulder to shoulder. Food vendors — some with beer based offerings — beer app providers, beer tour guides, drawings for beer related cruises, and beer related paraphernalia could be found among the many booths. We came away with a poster of original art used on a label, playing cards featuring the breweries in San Jose, a number of pins, and a really handy guide for rating beer.

Because so many breweries represented were already familiar to us (not to mention it would be a long article to cover all 42 breweries and their 169 brews), we decided to focus on a few brewers outside of the U.S.: Brazil, the UK, Belgium, Canada, and Japan. Some of these beers are retired, though specialty importers may still have some stock.

Yellow Belly SundaeFirst up is Petroleum from Dum Cervejaria out of Brazil. True to its name, the oils from the coffee beans and cacao nibs give this a nice surface shine. This imperial stout has a very dark brown, nearly black body, with a head made up of large bubbles. At first the cocoa is prevalent in both aroma and palate, with a deep chocolate which enriches the beer throughout. Very strong, this is a sturdy beer to savor. 12% abv. B+

Seguin BA Biere Brut from Cloudwater Brew Co. is brewed in Manchester, England. These guys specialize in seasonal beers. Seguin BA Biere Brut is a 2016 light beer with a sunny yellow clarity and a light fizzy head. The champagne notes on the initial nosing are bright; the palate has a slight tang which intensifies for a moment. The brewer told us that’s from the champagne and saison yeasts, and that the beer is aged in white wine barrels. 6% abv. B

Yellow Belly Sundae from Buxton comes out of England as well. They also have a nice porter. From the immediate and recurring long lines, this was a favorite of attendees. It does indeed taste like an ice cream sundae in a glass. The chocolate body is topped with a caramel head and a sweet ice cream scent. Notes of peanut, vanilla, and chocolate come through nicely. Technically, Yellow Belly Sundae is a barrel aged stout, however, the stout steps back to allow the creamy sweet treat to shine through. 12% abv. A+

Ypris (2011) is from De Struise Brouwers in Belgium. This is a sour with a nice, inviting scent and a medium brown body. The sour immediately lightens to a nice tartness on the second sip. 30% of this beer is barrel aged with 70% new beer added. 8% abv. B+

Also from De Struise is Obetis Saison. This saison had a bright taste. The body was golden yellow; the head white and fizzy. It was our favorite of the two beers from this brewer. 8% abv. A

Another saison we tried came from Canada. Assemblage No. 7 is from Brassere Dunham in Quebec. This is also a barrel aged blend of saisons treated with brettanomyces, with a slightly cloudy light yellow body. The white head is bubbly. The hops are bright at first and linger through to the end. 6.6% abv. B

3 DaysPerhaps the most interesting beer in both flavor and history is 3 Days from Japan’s Kuichi Brewery, which has been in business for over 190 years. This beer is called 3 Days because the initial brewing process was started just before the tsunami hit in March of 2011. They were unable to get back to it for three days, in which time a natural souring process had begun. 3 Days is a witbier made from all Japanese ingredients, including the hops. It is an amber ale with a nice, clear ruby body and a caramel frothy head. The hops are light and the maltiness not overdone. We found it very refreshing. 6% abv. A

If you’re interested in knowing the top 100 beers named the Best in the World at the 2017 RateBeer Best Festival, check out RateBeer here.

Recipes: A Taste of New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2017

Can’t make it to New Orleans for Mardi Gras this week? Break up the end of winter blues with a good ol’ celebration featuring these seven cocktails. Don’t forget the bead strings, jazz music, and a big pot of jambalaya (Emeril’s recipe is after the drinks).

Smoke Stack SazeracSmoke Stack Sazerac
1 ½ parts Monkey Shoulder whiskey
1/5 part sugar syrup
dash Peychaud’s Bitters
dash absinthe
top with Peach Smoke

Add all ingredients to mixing glass. Add cold dry ice and stir. Once dilution is reached, strain into a glass. Top with Smoke and garnish with peach smoke.

Hudson Storm King
2 parts Hudson Baby Bourbon
1/2 part St. Agrestis amaro
5-6 parts Succession sparkling hard apple cider
2 dashes Fee Bros. barrel-aged aromatic bitters
nutmeg

Build over ample ice in rocks glass: first bitters, amaro, and Baby Bourbon, then top with apple cider. Finally, grate fresh nutmeg on top.

Lavender 75Reyka’s Lavender 75
1 ½ parts Reyka Vodka
1 part fresh lemon juice
¾ part lavender syrup (1/2 cup water; ½ cup sugar, 2 Tbsp. lavender; if you don’t have fresh then use the dried lavender from the spice aisle of the grocery store. Put in a small pan and boil for at least five minutes or until mixture becomes syrupy in texture. Strain out the lavender before using the syrup.)
dry champagne

Combine all ingredients in a shaker except the champagne. Shake and strain into a glass; then top with champagne. Note: you can add a dash of lavender bitters if you like for an additional lavender flavor.

Hop ‘til it Hurts
by Billy Armijo at Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar
1 bottle IPA beer
1 1/4 oz. Alto del Carmen Pisco
¾ oz. grapefruit juice
1 dash rhubarb bitters
1 dash simple syrup

Put all ingredients except for the beer into a shaker. Shake all ingredients on ice for 7 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Top with the IPA. Garnish with expressed grapefruit twist.

Epiphany Milk PunchEpiphany Milk Punch
by Laura Belluci at SoBou
1 1/2 oz. King Cake Infused brandy
½ oz. Frangelico
½ oz. cardamom syrup
3 oz. milk
2 dash angostura bitters
candy sprinkles or colored sugar for garnish

Shake without ice and strain into a coup glass. Add sprinkles on top before serving.

Sailor Jerry’s Ginger Daiquiri
1 ½ parts Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
¾ part homemade ginger syrup (1/2 cup water; ½ cup sugar, fresh ginger slices. Put in a small pan and boil for at least five minutes or until mixture becomes syrupy in texture. Remove ginger slices before using.)
½ part fresh lime juice

Add all ingredients to empty mixing glass then fill with ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with candied ginger.

Spicy PalomaCitrus Aisle Party
by Apartment Bartender
2 oz. tequila
3/4 oz. lime juice
3/4 oz. cinnamon syrup
pinch of salt
Q Grapefruit soda

Shake all ingredients and strain into a glass filled with ice. Top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a lime and grapefruit wheel.

What to pair with any of the above? Why, this of course:

Cajun Jambalaya
by Emeril Lagasse
24 medium peeled, deveined and chopped shrimp, about 1/2 pound
1/2 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced
1 Tbsp. Emeril’s Original Essence
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
3 bay leaves
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. hot sauce
1 1/2 cups long grain rice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound Andouille sausage, sliced
chopped green onion for garnish

Combine the shrimp, chicken and Essence in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Set aside. Heat the oil over in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers and celery, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire and hot sauces. Stir in the rice and slowly add the broth. Bring the rice to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and chicken mixture, and the sausage. Cover and cook for 10 minutes longer. Turn off the heat and allow the jambalaya to continue to steam 10 minutes longer before serving. Stir in the green onion.

Note: if you want to add to the party, we recommend adding a ½ cup of bourbon with the Worcestershire.

Emeril’s Original Essence
2 1/2 Tbsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. coarse salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried thyme

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place.

A Visit to “Traditionally Irreverent” Laughing Monk Brewery

Laughing Monk Flight

Laughing Monk Brewery, in San Francisco, California, celebrates its first anniversary this year on St. Patrick’s Day. Brewers Jeff Moakler and Andrew Casteel are both avid beer aficionados, having traveled in Belgium and starting out through home brewing. Jeff has several medals under his belt and worked as a Head Brewer for BJ’s Brewhouse. Their idea for Laughing Monk is to brew Californian and Belgian beers using local, in season, ingredients. For those versed in Trappist beers, a few of these will be recognizable styles.

Their building is in the Bayview area of San Francisco — an artistic place to visit. Every building is painted in vivid, bold murals. As expected of a new craft brewery, the room is small but offers a friendly atmosphere. They have a collaborative relationship with their next door neighbor, Seven Stills Distillery. A visit to one will get you $5 off at the other, so why not check out both?

During our visit to the tap room, we tasted all of the below. Thoughts follow.

Midnight Coffee Stout – This is supposed to be a medium body stout, but the body is a dark brown, brewed with Artis cold brew coffee. The ivory head darkens closer to surface. With a strong espresso scent, its heavy coffee taste carries through to the finish, with mild barley and chocolate flavors underneath and a slight acidity. 7.1% abv. A

Laughing Monk BreweryBook of Palms – When coconut and pineapple are first mentioned, many people automatically think “sweet.” However this Berliner Weisse is a sour beer. The pineapple in the scent is fresh, but tart upon taste. The coconut becomes pronounced on 2nd sip. This dry beer has a cloudy, bright yellow body and a light head—typical of a Berliner Weisse. 5.3% abv. B+

Evening Vespers – This is a Belgian Duppel with a reddish-brown body crowned by a white frothy head. The nice dried fruit flavors of plum/prune, raisins, and dates are not overpowering. The sweetness is light as well. 7.1% abv. A

Date With the Devil – The deep red body and thin, white head of this Belgian Quad are appealing. Its date flavor brings a natural sweetness that’s more pronounced than that in Evening Vespers but it’s not syrupy or overpowering. It is certainly not as bold as expected. 9.5 abv. B+

3rd Circle Tripel – Belgian Tripels are traditionally brewed with three times the malt as other beers. 3rd Circle has a nice golden yellow body, and a thick, white head, and slight dryness to it. You can taste a bit of tart hoppiness with acidity following. 8.7% abv. B

Mango Gose – Originally brewed in collaboration with the Pink Boots Society, this Gose won a Bronze medal at the California State Fair Beer competition for session beers. Its body has a bright yellow color and an effervescent head. Mango sweet-tartness fills the nose immediately and then follows through on the tongue. Its mild saltiness comes from sea salt. 4.8% abv. B

Karl the Fog – This is a Vermont (American) IPA. Right off, the grapefruit-like scent of the hops tickles the nose. If you like IPAs, then this golden yellow beer with a white frothy head will please you. It is heavy with Mosaic and El Dorado hops. 6.2% abv. A

laughingmonkbrewing.com

Recipes: Valentine’s Day 2017 Desserts and Cocktail Pairings

Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes

What a lovely tradition we have of giving sweets to the one we are sweet on! We want to make that easy for you with a trio of sweet recipes and paired cocktails to offer your loved one on Valentine’s Day. Single? Simply make them and treat yourself!

Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka Blast Cupcakes
Created by Dawn Belisle, Delights by Dawn
1 box white cake mix (like Duncan Hines)
1 box instant French vanilla pudding
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
1 tsp sugar
2 cups Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs

For the White Chocolate Raspberry Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks) at room temperature
4 oz. white chocolate melted and slightly cooled, but still pouring consistency
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup International Delight White Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Creamer
1/4 tsp salt

Coat 1/2 cup of raspberries with sugar and 1 tablespoon of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka, set aside for about 10 minutes. Combine white cake mix, French vanilla pudding, eggs, vegetable oil, and 1 cup of Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka and the raspberry-sugar-vodka mixture from above. Mix on medium speed for about 1 minute. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes at 350 degrees or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the cupcakes are cooling, make the frosting.

Once cupcakes have cooled and before adding the frosting, put the remaining Van Gogh Raspberry Vodka in a small, shallow bowl and dip the top of the cupcake in the vodka until the top is covered, but not overly saturated. Allow the raspberry vodka to soak in for about five minutes before frosting.

For the frosting, melt the white chocolate and let it slightly cool, it should be pouring consistency. Using a hand mixer, or if using a mixer use the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 1 minute.  Scrape the sides down. Put the mixer on low speed and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar. Next, quickly pour in the melted white chocolate and then beat again for 2 minutes on medium speed until creamy. Add coffee creamer and salt. Beat for an additional 1 minute until combined. Frost the cupcakes and decorate as desired.

We decorated ours with a raspberry in the center of each cupcake. If you use frozen raspberries or strawberries, be sure to drain them and pat them dry before using them to garnish the cupcake so they don’t bleed juice. That may be fine for a Halloween theme but not here.

Lapping TongueThe perfect cocktail to serve with these cupcakes is the Lapping Tongue.

Lapping Tongue
1 1/2 parts Jose Cuervo Especial Silver tequila
1/2 part lemon juice
1/4 part rich simple syrup (2:1, sugar:water)
1/2 part Creme de Cassis
1/2 part Campari
orange slice

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel after expressing the natural oils over the drink and rubbing the peel around the rim of the glass.

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake
By Carla Hall of The ChewChocolate Stout Bundt Cake
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened, divided)
2 cups sugar
1 cup stout beer (warmed)
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder (plus more for dusting pan)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 6-cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of butter and dust with cocoa powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, add the butter and sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the stout beer and beat until the butter is melted. Add the eggs one at a time along with the vanilla extract and beat until the mixture is smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. In a large bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, black pepper and salt and whisk to combine. Turn the speed down to medium-low and add the flour mixture until just combined. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the sour cream to incorporate. Pour the batter into the bundt pan and place in the oven to bake for about 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before flipping the cake onto a baking rack and turning it right side up. Cut into slices and serve with the sour cream whipped topping.

Sour Cream Whipped Topping:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
1/4 cup sour cream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream and whip until medium peaks form. Add sour cream and gently fold to incorporate. Tip: Store cake wrapped in plastic wrap after serving. Cake will be good for 4-5 days.

We did not have a bunt cake pan so made this in a normal 9 x 12 inch baking pan and cut it into squares. This cake is heavy so a normal frosting would be too much. You, like us, may never have used sour cream in a whipped topping before but this one came out wonderful. It is not overly sweet, which tastes wonderful along with the peppery chocolate of the cake.

A Rose Story cocktail pairs nicely with the cake for pleasant dessert.

A Rose Story
Created by Hendrick’s Gin Ambassador Erik Andersson
2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 part rose petal jam
1/2 part lemon juice
1/2 part sugar syrup
1 part cranberry juice
1 part egg white

Double shake and pour into a champagne glass. Garnish with rose petals, a spray of orange bitters, and rose waters before serving.

Are you staying in to watch movies from the couch? This Valentine Popcorn Mix is just the thing.

Valentine Popcorn MixValentine Popcorn Mix
Courtesy of ReadySetEat
4 cups crispy corn cereal squares (If you use a mix of plain and chocolate, then just coat the plain ones as noted below and leave the chocolate as they are from the box.)
1 cup premier white morsels
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
8 drops red food coloring
1 bag (76.3 g) microwave popcorn
2 cups tiny pretzel twists, broken into pieces
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Line shallow baking pan with parchment paper. Place cereal in large bowl and set aside. Place morsels and oil in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high 30 seconds; stir. Microwave on high 30 seconds more or until softened; stir until completely melted. You can also melt the morsels in a pan on the stove by putting them in a small pan, then set it into a larger pan which is half filled with water. Heat on medium until morsels are melted.

Add food coloring to the melted morsels and stir until blended. Spoon mixture over cereal; then stir until well coated. Spread cereal mixture on pan, separating pieces. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until firm. Meanwhile, prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all unpopped kernels. Combine popped corn and pretzel pieces in an extra-large bowl. Place peanut butter in small microwave-safe bowl; microwave on high 30 seconds or until melted. Drizzle peanut butter over popcorn mixture; then toss to coat. Place confectioner’s sugar in large resealable food storage bag. Add popcorn mixture and shake to coat. Place popcorn mixture and coated cereal in large serving bowl. Add cranberries; toss gently to combine. Store leftovers in tightly sealed container.Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos

The perfect cocktail companion for the popcorn is the Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos (Spanish for ‘friends with benefits’).

Montelobos’ Amigos Con Derechos
1 ½ parts Montelobos mezcal
¾ part Cynar
¼ part St. Germain
2 dashes grapefruit bitters

Stir in a mixing glass with ice. Strain and serve up in a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with grapefruit zest.

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