Tuesday, October 20, 2015

So good it's scary! Witches Brew Martinis

Temperatures are dropping. Darkness comes early. Spooky wind rustles the dry leaves. It must be Halloween!

Get your costume on. Then get your cocktail on.

I suggest warding off evil spirits with this festive twist on the cosmo - Witches Brew martinis. I mean, heck, you wear a costume for Halloween. Why shouldn't your drink? And truly, that's all this is.

Start here:

The Perfect Cosmopolitan
2 oz. vodka
1 oz. Triple Sec (or Cointreau when I'm feeling rich)
1 oz. cranberry juice
a dash of Rose's lime juice
juice from one fresh lime slice

Add a dash of blue food color - the trick to this treat! It turns the cosmo from pink to spooky purple.

"Haunt" your glass: I used orange sugar and plastic spiders. Pour the sugar onto a small plate and dip the lime-wiped top of the glass into it. Swirl the glass in the rimmer until you get a nice even coating. For the spiders, I used a school glue stick to attach them to the glass. It worked perfectly and cleaned up easily. Someone suggested I put dry ice in the bottom - I didn't do that, but I think it's a cool idea.

Measure: For a single martini, I use a shot glass and pour the ingredients right into the shaker. Usually, however, I am making them for a group. I measure everything into a 4-cup glass measuring cup so I can use the markings on the side for my proportions. Measure the vodka, triple sec, and cranberry first. Then add the Rose's and fresh lime. PARTY TIP: Make a pitcher before the guests arrive to save time during the party.

Shake: The shaking is key. I find it makes a big difference when I really shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. It's about more than just mixing the ingredients; it's getting them so cold and agitated that they're almost frothy and slushy.

Pour into rimmed and decorated glass.

Drink up, witches!

sip.  savor.  celebrate!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Better than cake! Happy Birthday martinis

Have your cake and drink it, too! Especially when it's your birthday...

As you've probably figured out, celebrations with my friends (almost) always call for a signature drink. Of course birthdays are no different. We've enjoyed birthday-tinis in the past - try vanilla vodka, pineapple juice, and amaretto for a surprisingly cakey flavor! - but for last night's soiree, we went for full-on decadence!

These drinks are creamy delicious, but the presentation really makes it special.

Birthday cake martinis
2 oz. vodka (cake, vanilla or whipped flavor)
1.5 oz. amaretto
1 oz. white chocolate liquor
1 oz. half & half
   Party nonpareils
   Birthday candles

Measure: I made them in batches of 1 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/2 cup respectively until I had a pitcher full. Prep was key because I didn't want to keep the birthday girl waiting once she was ready to make her wish!

Prep part 1: Rim the martini glasses with the nonpareils using honey to make them stick. Usually I use lemon or lime juice as the "sticking agent" but with nonpareils the liquid melts the colors into a brown mess. Honey is the better choice! Arrange the rimmed glasses on a tray or table.

Slice lemons into discs until you have enough for one per glass. Tuck a birthday candle into each slice so they stand up.

Then it's time to "make the cake!"

Shake: Shaking is key. Add batches of the martini "batter" to a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Get it good and frothy.

Pour into rimmed glasses. Repeat until the whole arrangement of glasses is full.

Prep part 2: Carefully float a lemon slice with candle on the top of each filled glass. 
Light the candles and start singing!

Happy birthday, dear Kelli! Happy birthday to you!

sip. savor. celebrate.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Improv Bar Part 2 - Lemon Blueberry Smash

Girls weekend, Day 2.

The cosmos were a huge hit, but a couple of us wanted a change of pace. Plus, I still had one hold out of the group who wasn't dazzled by The Martini Lady's mad skills. Cosmos were too sweet for her.

So back to the drawing board I went, or should I say the desk in our hotel room. Rooting around to see what we had, I came up with this refreshing drink. Perfect for the Miami sunshine. And best of all, my hold out loved it!

Lemon Blueberry Smash
2 oz. vodka
2 oz. lemonade
a dollop of Rose's Lime (probably about 1/2 t. but I didn't have my measuring spoons!)
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (from one lemon slice)

Muddle 8-10 blueberries in the bottom of the glass. Of course I didn't bring a muddler, so I used the bottom of a smaller cup from the room to smash the berries into service.

Add ice, the squeeze of lemon, and Rose's lime.

Pour vodka over ice until the glass is about half full.

Fill the rest of the glass with lemonade.


I'd elaborate, but there's a beautiful beach and some wonderful friends waiting for me.

This one's for you, Shelayne!

sip. savor. celebrate!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Improv Bar Part 1 - Buckets of Cosmos for Girls Weekend

Checklist for Girls Weekend in Miami:
 - Bathing suit: check!
 - Portable plastic shaker: check!
 - Sunshine: check!
 - Fun friends ready for a good time: check!
 - Publix and a liquor store across the street: check!
 - Measuring cups and a pitcher: well...

Time for an Improv Bar! 

Using ice buckets in place of pitchers, an in-room cup to measure the proportions, and sugar packets poured onto a plastic bag to dip the glasses for the rimmer, we concocted Perfect Cosmos for 12. It was a bit of a sticky challenge, but we made it work without spilling a drop.

Here's the recipe: The Perfect Cosmo

They were delicious as always, and (bonus!) presented beautifully on the snack tray. Ta-da!

Of course, we couldn't keep the party confined to the room. I mean look at that VIEW!

Have shaker, will travel

Up to the roof top pool we went! The result?
Best. Happy hour. Ever.

Here's to us! And to girls weekends everywhere.

sip. savor. celebrate!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Fruited Old Fashioneds - the Martini Lady breaks new ground!

What was I to do? We were celebrating a guy friend's birthday, and he's a big bourbon fan. I couldn't do my normal birthday-tinis. I had to break out of my comfort zone, and move more into a "Southern Comfort" zone!

Here's what I came up with - to rave reviews... and refills.

Fruited Old Fashioneds
(sorry this one has already
Fruited Old Fashioned
4 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Herring Cherry Liqueur
3 Maraschino cherries
3 Orange slices (3/8" inch thick semi-circles)
2 sugar cubes
2-3 dashes of bitters

Start at the bottom and work your way up: 

  1. Saturate one of the sugar cubes with the bitters. Place it and the plain cube at the bottom of an old-fashioned highball glass (a new experience for me!) 
  2. Wipe the rim of the glass with an orange slice then add two of the orange slices to the bottom of the glass.
  3. Add two maraschino cherries and a bit of the juice from the jar.
Muddle: Lightly mash the fruit and sugar cubes to get the juice out of the fruit, crush and dissolve the sugar cubes, and get a nice base of syrupy sweetness!

Add the cherry liqueur and stir.

Fill the glass with ice.

Pour the bourbon over the ice. 

Stir to get the syrup "all up in that bourbon" and some of the fruit off the bottom. 

Garnish with another cherry and orange slice.

Happy Birthday, Brian!

sip. savor. celebrate!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Big Red Martini - perfect for watching the big Red Carpet?

What better way to enjoy the Big Red Ball dinner/dance than with a Big Red Martini?

The Big Red Ball - a wonderful evening of cocktails and conversation, dining and dancing... all shared with great friends and toasted with this magical martini! But given the timing, I'm thinking this might be the perfect way to watch the red carpet and the Golden Globes tonight! (Yeah, I know it's Sunday. Just have one.)

Here's the recipe:

Big Red Martini
4 oz. vodka
2 oz. Triple Sec or Cointreau
2 oz. pomegranate juice
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 t. Rose's lime juice

Measure: Making them for a group, measure into a 4-cup measuring glass. I started with 2 cups of vodka and kept the proportions from there.

Rim the glass: I used Williams-Sonoma Cosmopolitan Froster. Pour the sugar onto a small plate and dip the lime-wiped top of the glass into it. Swirl the glass in the rimmer until you get a nice even coating.

Shake: Pour a batch of the martini mixture into a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shaking is key - shake vigorously for a good 15-30 seconds.

Pour into rimmed glass.

sip. savor. celebrate!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

For your OSU pre-game: The Buckeye-tini!


Inspired by fervant OSU fans (my friends), excellent tailgating and a delectable little treat that just happens to share its name with our mascot, I present The Buckeye-tini!

This extra-yummy sip features a chocolate martini with a peanut butter rimmer...and a special surprise inside.

The Buckeye-tini
1.5 oz  Godiva® chocolate liqueur
1.5 oz Creme de Cacao
1 oz vanilla vodka
2 oz half & half
     2 parts peanut butter powder (Just Great Stuff®)
     1 part powdered sugar
One Buckeye (If you don't know about these little devils, I've included details below.)

Rimmer ingredients
Prep the glasses: A vital step for this one.  Mix the powdered peanut butter and powdered sugar and pour onto a small plate. Pour a small amount of the chocolate liqueur on a second small plate. Dip the top of the glass into the liqueur. Then, swirl the glass in the powder until you get a nice even coating. Place one Buckeye* into each rimmed glass. (A mini-Reese cup could be used as a substitute.)

Measure: Pour all of the cocktail ingredients into a glass measuring cup with a spout - assuming you're making a big batch for a crowd.

Shake: Shaking is key. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Get it good and frothy.

Pour into rimmed glass.

Buckeye candies
    sip.  savor.  celebrate!

* Buckeyes (the candy, not the team)
Buckeyes are peanut butter balls dipped not-quite-all-the-way in chocolate, so they look a lot like the buckeyes that grow on the Ohio state tree. You can find them in stores, especially in Ohio, but they are easy (although a bit time consuming) to make. Here is a link to the recipe I used: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/buckeyes-i/ Although I didn't need nearly 6 cups of powdered sugar - follow the advice of the comments and just add sugar a bit at a time until the dough is firm.

Martini ingredients