Friday, December 31, 2010

Mulled Wine

What would winter be without mulled wine? It is the perfect antidote to frozen toes and a stuffy nose and that peculiar sadness from a before-dinner sundown.

A nice bottle of your favourite vino, simmered with warming spices, is the perfect thing to thaw your heart and, as a bonus, make your home smell wonderful. Lana simmers hers on the stove, you can also make this in your crock pot.




    * 750ml red fruity wine, like Zinfandel or Argentine Malbec
    * 3-4 Tbsp sugar
    * 1 orange, peeled, cut in slices
    * 3-4 whole cloves
    * 1 star anise (optional)


Combine all of the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and heat to boil on high. Turn the temperature to low and simmer, covered, 20-30 minutes. Serve in glasses with a piece of cinnamon and a piece of orange peel.

From: Lana of Bibberche

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Side Car Martini

Ready to shrug off the craziness of the last couple of days? Maybe you need to nurse the bone chilling cold of staying up all night outside of an electronics shop for the boxing day sales. Maybe, just maybe, you were one of the unlucky few who had to actually work the sales.

Well then, clearly you need a cocktail. Or four. With about 4.5 ounces of alcohol. Each.

Do not operate any heavy machinery after consuming one of these very tasty side car martinis. Nothing, not even the phone. Okay, maybe the remote. But that's it!

Side Car Martini
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
for I Heart Cooking Clubs December Pot Luck


    * 1/2 cup sugar
    * 1 lime, zested
    * 1 lime wedge
    * 10 ounces cognac (recommended: Hennessy)
    * 4 ounces Triple Sec liqueur (recommended: Cointreau)
    * 4 ounces sweet and sour mix
    * 4 ounces Limoncello
    * 2 ounces lime juice
    * Ice


Chill 4 martini glasses. In a small shallow dish combine the sugar and the lime zest. Run the lime wedge around the rim of each glass. Dip in the sugar and zest mixture.

In a cocktail shaker mix the cognac, Triple Sec, sweet and sour mix, Limoncello, and lime juice over ice. Shake to chill.

Pour the Side Car Martinis into the glasses and serve immediately.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter-Spiced Vodka

This amber, glowing, golden-hued vodka is infused with the warmth of chile, cinnamon and other spices to shake off the chill on a cold winters day.  Or night.  You choose.  Throw back a shot, mix it into a Bloody Mary for an extra kick, or make a festive Martini.  It's also a fun idea for holiday gifts because stored in a cool, dark place, it will keep well for at least a year!
Winter-Spiced Vodka
makes 2 c.

1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods, bruised
½ tsp. whole cumin seed
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole dried chile
2 c. vodka

Begin by sterilizing your bottle(s) and let them cool.  Then simply slide all of your spices into the prepared bottle and pour the vodka in...either using a funnel or your fantastic free-flow skills like I did.  Because of course my funnel is lost.  Seal it.  Set it aside to steep in a cool, dark place.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scotch Holiday Sour

I don't want to give you the wrong idea, we are not always making fruity girlie drinks - although quite often we are - they just go down so darned easy!

But it is the holidays and that Scotch drinker in your life needs a little festive cocktail, man-style. Heck, Santa would probably appreciate one or two of these himself - all that milk can't be good for an old man and a little Scotch will keep him warm. Don't worry, Rudolph can drive.

Scotch Holiday Sour
from Snooth

1 ½ oz Scotch Whiskey
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Cherry Brandy
½ oz Sweet Vermouth
1 slice of Lemon
Shake all ingredients (except lemon slice) with ice and strain into an old-fashioned glass over ice cubes. Add the slice of lemon and serve. 
It's the holiday! Wrap that lemon slice around a cherry. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pam's Cranberry Liqueur!

After such great response from Pam's Orange Liqueur, we decided to run her Cranberry Liqueur. Perfect for this time of year!

From Sidewalk Shoes:

Cranberry Liqueur
Please place this recipe in the better-late-than-never category.  Why?  Because I first came across this recipe in the Cooking Light Recipes Annual from 2004.  It was the very last recipe of the book. I remember showing it to my husband and insisting that he run out and buy some vodka.  Then, I’m not quite sure what happened.  Fast forward five years, I’m glancing through the book again, and there it is.  I insist my husband run out and buy some vodka and this time, I stand in the kitchen waiting for him, cranberries in hand. 

Cranberry Liqueur
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries (or one of the 8 or so you have in your freezer)
  • 3 cups vodka
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and over medium heat cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat and cool completely.

Place cranberries in food processor and process for about 2 minutes or until finely chopped. Combine the sugar mixture, cranberries, and vodka in a large bowl.  Pour into clean jars with lids and let sit in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, shaking every other day (or whenever you remember).

Strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve into a bowl and discard solids.  Pour into clean jars or bottles, and sit back and admire!

Note: Liqueur can be stored refrigerated or at room temperature for a year.

SERVING SUGGESTION – Cranberry Cosmopolitan – Place crushed ice in a cocktail shaker.  Add 1/2 cup cranberry liqueur, 1/4 cup Cointreau, and 2 tablespoons lime juice; strain into martini glasses.  Yields 2 cocktails.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

After Eight Martini

And yes, thank goodness, it is always after eight somewhere. I assume they mean p.m., but I don't judge. Especially after a couple of After Eight martinis. They go down easy, pack a punch, and gosh darnit - they look fabulous. Christmassy even. Especially when you plop a red cherry in there. I'm all about the holidays. Holiday cocktails I mean. They make everything seem soft and glowy. Think I'll have another...

After Eight Martini
from The Martini Collection

1 part Vodka
2 parts Bailey's
1 part green Crème de Menthe

Pour ingredients into a shaker with cracked ice and shake well. Strain into chilled martini glasses. (Or cosmo glasses!) Garnish with a cherry.

Many thanks to the Guide to Culinary Schools for naming us the best cocktail blog!
I'll raise a glass to that. Maybe two.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pam's Orange Liqueur

Orange Liqueur
From Sidewalk Shoes:

Well, last Friday was Cranberry Liqueur and this Friday is Orange Liqueur!  You know what they say…one can never have too much liqueur.  Wait.  They don’t say that?  Well they should.
Like the squirrels, I have been putting away for winter.  Unlike the squirrels, I have lots more options than just nuts and seeds.  As I contemplate winter, I envision myself sitting in front of the fire, a steamy mug of something laced with a little something.  What better to lace a steaming mug of something than some homemade fruity liqueur?

So, I turned to one of my favorite, putting things up book, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projectsby Karen Solomon.  This orange liqueur caught my eye.  Unlike my cranberry, it is a two step process, but since time does all the work, I’m there! 

Orange-Flavored Vodka
  • 1 quart inexpensive vodka
  • 4 sweet oranges, like navel (organic preferably)
Pour the vodka into a clean jar with a tight fitting lid.   Wash the oranges and slice them into 4 to 6 pieces and submerge them in the vodka.  Store in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking it once a day.
Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve or a cheesecloth.  Return the vodka to a jar, and put it back in it’s cool, dark place to age for 3 weeks to mature the flavor.
Orange Liqueur
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cups orange-flavored vodka
Make the simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Cool completely.
Pour the vodka into a jar, start by adding 3/4 cup of the simple syrup and taste.  Add more if you want it sweeter, but it will get sweeter as it ages.  Label it, cover tightly and stor in a cook dark place for 6 weeks.