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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with apple juice

11Jul 12

Summer + frozen peachy amaretto cooler = a perfect mix

frozen peachy amaretto coolerThere is something about summer that has always attracted me. Maybe it’s because I come from an island where a good summer amounts to 10 gorgeous days and a lot of clouds and rain in between. But there is something else to the season, even in England. People change throughout the hot months and are always looking for a good time, even if stuck at work. Drinks also change, and the fruity, refreshing beverages take over from the stiff, rich mixes of the rest of the year. The frozen peachy amaretto cooler is a summer cocktail and the drink I want to share with you today.

The main ingredient to a frozen peachy amaretto cooler is amaretto disaronno, a sweet, almond-flavoured Italian liqueur. It is made from a base of either apricots or almond pits, and sometimes both. According to history or legend –or a bit of both- it was first concocted in 1525 in the town of Saronno in Italy. One of Leonardo Da Vinci´s pupils, a painter called Bernardo Luini, was commissioned to paint frescoes in a sanctuary in the city. Luini was ordered to depict the Madonna and was in need of a model. He found inspiration in a young widowed innkeeper who became his model, and, some also say, his lover. Out of gratitude and affection, the woman steeped apricot kernels in brandy and presented the resulting spirit to a deeply moved Luini.

The other two ingredients in the cocktail are frozen peach slices and apple juice. If you have the chance of getting hold of some fresh ripe peaches, then all you have to do is peel them and put them in the freezer the night before you intend to use them.

The frozen peachy amaretto cooler tastes like heaven on a warm summer evening. It is refreshing, fruity and you can hardly taste the liqueur in it although the drink has a kick, which is fine if you are on holiday but rather dangerous if you are stuck at work the next day! If you are thinking of throwing a summer bash, keep this drink in mind – none of your guests will be disappointed. Of course, you will also have to serve food like these grilled chicken wings with a honey and lime butter sauce. They are perfect for a barbecue on a hot summer night, washed down with my fruity cooler.



Summer and a frozen peachy amaretto cooler, a perfect mix
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
The perfect frozen drink for summer
  • 4cl amaretto disaronno
  • 250g frozen peach slices
  • 50cl apple juice
  1. In a blender, mix the frozen peaches and apple juice.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add the amaretto.
  4. Pour into a chilled glass and serve immediately.

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09Jun 12


CransomaBeijing is probably the most exciting city I’ve ever visited. After travelling halfway around the world –literally- I spent the first two days not knowing what was going on. It was probably the jet lag. Since I was doing consulting for a construction company, there was always entertainment mixed in with work. One evening, we were chauffeured to a night club called Suzie Wong in the Chaoyang district. This is where I got my first taste of a Beijing classic: the Cransoma cocktail.

According to history, this tipple was concocted for the first time back in the early 1950s, in the Emergency Room Bar in Beijing. By “first time”, I mean the modern version of the cocktail because lychee liqueur, the key ingredient to a Cransoma, is a beverage which has been used for over 2,000 years by the Asian culture for a variety of purposes.

The lychee nut is a rare, subtropical Asian fruit similar in shape to a strawberry, with a red, bumpy outer shell that is about 3 centimetres in diameter. The shell protects the sticky, white fruit which is used to make the liqueur. It has a sweet, juicy flavour and aroma which is distinct from any other fruit you might have smelt. According to the Chinese, it is a symbol of love and romance because of its red, heart-shaped shell. (Also used to make a perfect love cocktail.)

The other main ingredient to a Cransoma is cranberry vodka. Although frowned upon by vodka puritans, it gives cocktails a wonderful fruity aftertaste, yet maintains the sting of the original flavour.

The Cransoma is a sweet, though refreshing, cocktail which has become a classic throughout Asia. While in Beijing, I asked how popular it was, and the answer I got was pretty amusing: “If Carrie Bradshaw lived in Beijing, she and her friends would drink Cransomas instead of Cosmopolitans”.


  • 35cl Tonic water
  • 1cl Apple juice
  • 2cl Strawberry liqueur
  • 3cl Lychee liqueur
  • 2cl Cranberry Vodka
  • 1 lychee to garnish

How to make it:
1. Pour the strawberry liqueur, cranberry vodka, lychee liqueur and apple juice into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes.
2. Shake for 45 seconds.
3. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top it off with tonic water and add lychee nut for garnish.

Time: 3 minutes

Makes: 1 cocktail

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16Apr 12

Xanté hot apple

Xanté Hot AppleLast year, I spent a couple of weeks hiking in the mountains of Patagonia, in the south of Argentina. The plan was to reach a mountain hut called “Refugio Laguna Negra”, a 5 hour hike from the nearest town. Once there, I wanted to do some ice skating on the frozen lake. I managed to lose the main trail, and by the time I finally reached the hut, it was almost dark and at subzero temperatures. I was met by a Swiss chap by the name of Carl, who was in charge of Laguna Negra. He immediately gave me a blanket and then did something extremely odd: he poured apple juice in a pan and put it on the stove. When I inquired, he simply replied: “Xanté hot apple for the cold”. This is how I was introduced to a relatively new and very fashionable drink.

Xanté hot apple is a potent warmer that mixes fresh apple juice with Xanté, a Swedish pear-cognac liqueur. According to Carl, it has displaced spiced hot wine as the favourite after-ski drink on the exclusive ski slopes of Verbier in Switzerland. (For a summer apple drink, try this rhubarb ginger apple cocktail.)

Xanté liqueur is a balanced blend of sweet Belgium pears and cognac from French distilleries. It is made with cognac matured for four years in oak barrels, which draws out the rich amber colour and fragrant notes of spicy vanilla and pears. The original recipe dates back to 1875, although it was a relatively unknown brand until the Swedish Tilander family acquired the formula in the late 1990s and reinvigorated it. Today, it is the second best-selling Scandinavian liqueur.

Although Xanté is 76 per cent alcohol, it does not feel that strong when mixed with apple juice. Its flavour is juicy and light, despite being an amber spirit. The pears are distinct and blend perfectly with the vanilla spices.

The original recipe for the Xanté hot apple comes from the Hotel Farinet’s Lounge Bar in Verbier. According to Carl, who worked on the ski slopes for 10 years, it is the best after-ski drink in the world. After the first one, my body and spirit started feeling a whole lot better. Carl just recommended one thing: drink Xanté hot apple when you have finished doing any activity, for it is a lot stronger than its flavour suggests.


  • 17cl fresh apple juice
  • 6cl Xanté liqueur at room temperature
  • 2 or 3 cinnamon sticks

How to make it:

1. Heat fresh apple juice on the stovetop until steaming.
2. Pour hot apple juice into a large mug, and then add the Xanté liqueur.
3. Add cinnamon sticks to garnish.
4. Stir with the sticks and serve immediately.

Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 cocktail

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