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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with cocktail

27Sep 12

Mojito Jelly Shots

Mojito Jelly ShotsWarning: Mojito Jelly Shots can turn you seriously silly! Note to self and guests: Remember they contain alcohol!

I remember first making Mojito Jelly Shots one evening for a dinner party with close friends. Two of our friends were Cuban, and we often had competitions to see who could prepare the best Mojitos. So the jelly shots were my way of stepping up the game. The after-dinner treat turned, what started as a fairly reserved dinner, into one very funny evening. The combination of the refreshing Mojito cocktail with a chilled jelly is just divine.

As the idea just came to me during the morning, I didn’t prepare with shot glasses or individual serving bowls. I just made the jelly in one large bowl, and we all ate from the bowl with tablespoons! However, I recommend that you serve the jelly in shot glasses or create unique forms with jelly or ice moulds for a more professional look.

If you are preparing the Mojito Jelly Shots for an evening party, then you need to prepare them first thing in the morning. If they are for lunch or afternoon parties, then you should prepare them the night before. There is nothing worse than a runny jelly!

If you enjoy mint-flavoured drinks, then you could also have a go at a delicious Mint Julep.

Mojito Jelly Shots
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
Cuban Jelly Shots. Combine the delicious minty, cool refereshing Mojito with jelly.
Ingredients
  • 10 leaves of gelatine
  • 80cl sparkling water or soda water
  • 10cl white rum – Havana Club Añejo is my preferred choice
  • 9 tbsp brown sugar
  • Bunch of fresh mint – chopped finely
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 2 limes finely sliced
Instructions
  1. Crush the mint in a cocktail shaker (or with a pestle and mortar).
  2. Add the rum, brown sugar and lime juice and shake thoroughly.
  3. Now add the sparking water and mix thoroughly.
  4. Strain the mixture, grinding the mint into the strainer to ensure that you get as much of the mint flavour as possible.
  5. Dissolve your gelatine leaves as per the instructions.
  6. Add and stir your Mojito mix into the gelatine.
  7. Pour into 5cl shot glasses, small paper cups or jelly or ice moulds. If you are using shot glasses or cups, fill them up ¾ of the way.
  8. Refrigerate for four to five hours until they are set.
  9. Garnish with chopped mint leaves and serve with a smile.

 

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20Sep 12

Lemon Cranberry Splash

Lemon Cranberry Splash

Pucker up for this lemon cranberry splash cocktail! Unlike most of the cocktails I write about, this tipple I concoted myself. Well, that’s not to say that others don’t do the exact same thing, but in my travels, I have never seen one exactly like it.

The lemon and cranberry flavours seem to blend together, but there is a bit of a sour aftertaste. That’s why I usually like to rim my glass with sugar to offset the tart flavour of the fruit.

For the lemony flavour, I like to make my home-made lemonade. It takes a bit longer to prepare, but I prefer natural ingredients as opposed to the shop-bought version. However, I have been thinking about having a go at combining limoncello with a bit of cranberry juice to substitute for the lemonade. Using both limoncello and vodka will make the cocktail as a whole a bit stronger, though. So if you are considered a lightweight drinker, you could probably just take out the vodka all together.

As I said before, this is really just playing around with flavours. And in all honesty, I believe this is still a work in progress. I don’t believe I have quite perfected the recipe yet, so if you have any ideas, leave a comment and let me know!

A food complement to this cocktail might be these lemon and sesame chicken breasts.

Lemon Cranberry Splash
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
A work-in-progress tart cocktail
Ingredients
  • 8cl freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6cl water
  • 5g sugar
  • 1 lemon peel swirl
  • 5cl vodka
  • 2cl cranberry juice
  • 2 cranberries
  • ice
Instructions
  1. Squeeze the lemon juice into a large pitcher.
  2. Stir in the sugar until it completely dissolves.
  3. Add the water and the splash of cranberry juice, stirring all the while.
  4. When mixed together, pour the cranberry lemonade into a cocktail shaker with the vodka and ice.
  5. Meanwhile, use a slice of lemon to moisten the rim of your martini glass.
  6. Dip it in sugar so that it is completely covered.
  7. Shake the ingredients in the cocktail shaker until condensation forms on the outside of the glass.
  8. Pour into the martini glass and garnish with a lemon swirl and the cranberries.

 

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27Aug 12

Gazpacho Cocktail

Gazpacho CocktailNext destination: Spain! Here is a great cocktail recipe that turns Spain’s famous chilled summer soup, gazpacho, into a sublime and extremely healthy cocktail!

I would recommend attempting the gazpacho recipe first. The measures have to be just right to ensure that all the flavours shine through – tomato, pepper, garlic and vinegar. Just think of this as a summer version of the Bloody Mary. And you can serve up the remaining gazpacho for lunch or as an aperitif before dinner.

This Andalusian recipe is packed full of vitamins. Tomatoes are a super food that keep your skin younger for longer.

This recipe should give you enough mix for 4-5 tall glasses of Gazpacho Cocktail, with approximately 1 part vodka to 3 parts gazpacho. Served ice chilled, it is perfect for hot summer days – if you can catch one, that is!

Gazpacho Cocktail
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Delicious and healthy cocktail combining the famous Spanish summer soup, gazpacho, with a vodka twist.
Ingredients
  • TO MAKE THE GAZPACHO:
  • 1 kilo of ripe tomatoes (very red, very ripe!)
  • 1 green pepper – Italian long (60g)
  • ½ cucumber (125g)
  • 100g of onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (Spanish is preferable)
  • 4-6 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • TO MAKE THE COCKTAIL:
  • 24cl vodka
Instructions
  1. Wash the tomatoes, cucumber and pepper. Drain.
  2. Take a food blender and add in the roughly chopped tomatoes. If you are feeling motivated, peel the tomatoes first.
  3. Deseed the pepper and cut off the stalk and ends. Roughly chop and add to the tomatoes.
  4. Peel the garlic and cut in half – add to the ingredients.
  5. Peel the onion and cut into pieces – add to the ingredients.
  6. Peel the cucumber, cut into pieces and add to the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Now close the blender – make sure the lid is on tight – and start to blend until you have a smooth mix without any lumps.
  8. Add the salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar. I recommend you start with 3 tablespoons of vinegar, and you can add according to taste. Blend again for 5 seconds.
  9. If the gazpacho has a smooth and light consistency, then you can leave it. If it is still quite heavy, then you can add a bit of cold water. But not too much, or you will lose the wonderful flavours.
  10. For one serving, add about 6cl vodka to a glass and top off with the gazpacho.
  11. Stir vigorously and start sipping.

 

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31Jul 12

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple

The Bronx CocktailThroughout history, the names of many drinks have been associated to places. This is due to the fact that some cocktails are named after the town they are first concocted in. On other occasions, the mix earns its name after the region where the main ingredient in it is grown or distilled. The drink I want to tell you about today has a powerful name, and is one of the 5 cocktails named after one of
New York City´s five boroughs: The Bronx Cocktail.

The Bronx cocktail is basically a perfect martini with orange juice added. In 1934, it was ranked third in “The World´s 10 most famous cocktails”, which made it a very popular rival to both the Martini and the Manhattan. And although it does not have the glamour of any of the latter, it is certainly a drink with a great story behind it.

According to the official historian of the Waldorf- Astoria Hotel, the inventor of the cocktail was Johnnie Solon, a pre-Prohibition bartender at the hotel in the late 1890s. One evening, the head waiter of the Empire Room, the main dining room in the original Waldorf, dared Solon to concoct a new drink. He claimed even the regulars thought he couldn´t come up with something new. So Solon got down to business.

He prepared the cocktail, and in his own words: “I didn´t taste it myself, but I poured it into a cocktail glass and handed it to the head waiter, because he was actually a pretty good judge.” The waiter tasted it, and then chugged it all. He loved it, and asked Solon to mix another to pass around. The cocktail became an instant classic.

After-dinner drinks can be taken with dessert as well. I recommend this dark chocolate and orange mousse dessert to pair with the Bronx. As they both have a sweet orange taste, I think the flavour would be fantastic!

The Bronx cocktail, a daring drink from the Big Apple
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
The Bronx cocktail is basically a Perfect martini with orange juice added
Ingredients
  • 3cl Gin
  • 1,5cl Sweet Red Vermouth
  • 1cl Dry Vermouth
  • 1,5cl Orange Juice
Instructions
  1. Pour all ingredients into the cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Pour it all into a chilled glass.

 

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28Jul 12

Horse´s Neck, the drink which came from a film

Horse´s NeckOne evening a few weeks ago, I sat on the couch at home and watched an independent film. The lead character was a Polish climber, Jerzy Kuckuzka, who told his story while seated in a pub in London. The whole idea was pretty bizarre, but what really struck me was the drink this guy was ordering: the Horse´s Neck. To be quite honest, I had never even heard of it but decided to investigate further. And this is the mix I want to share with you today.

A Horse´s Neck is an American cocktail that dates back to the 1890s. It started as a non-alcoholic mixture of ginger ale, ice and lemon peel. By the turn of the century, bartenders in Kentucky had a variation to the original, which included brandy –sometimes even bourbon- and which was ordered as a “Horse´s Neck with a kick, please”.

The main ingredient to a Horse´s Neck is brandy. It generally contains 35%-60% alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after dinner drink. It is one of the strongest drinks around and great for when one feels cold and tired after a long winter´s day, hence the idea of a Polish climber drinking one after another.

Ginger ale is the other major component. Try sipping this cocktail with sugar-free gingerbread, which brings out the ginger flavour even more!

Horse´s Neck became popular in the Royal Navy in the 1960s, displacing Pink Gin as the officer´s signature drink. A reference to this is made in the film Yangtse Incident, in which a naval officer is shown drinking a Horse´s Neck. Strangely enough, it is also ordered in the 1935 classic Top Hat.

A few days after watching the film, I invited some friends over and made Horse´s Necks for everyone. To be quite honest, we had a great evening and have all since become big fans of the cocktail.

Horse´s Neck, the drink which came from a film
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
A Horse´s Neck is an American cocktail that dates back to the 1890s
Ingredients
  • 4cl brandy
  • 11cl ginger ale
  • Dash of Angostura bitter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pour brandy and ginger ale directly into an old-fashioned glass with ice cubes.
  2. Garnish with lemon zest.
  3. If required, add dashes of Angostura bitter.

 

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22Jul 12

The Tornado, a Caribbean classic

TornadoLast Easter, a couple of friends decided to go to the Caribbean for a few days, so I tagged along. We went to the Dominican Republic. As soon as we arrived at the hotel in Santo Domingo, we were greeted by their wonderful staff with a drink I had never heard of before, but which has become a favourite both in flavour and memories: the tornado.

The Dominican Republic turned out to be a vibrant, hectic and incredibly invigorating experience. We spent quite a lot of our time wandering the streets of the capital and became fixated by its people. The stories we heard mostly involved two topics: merengue and tornado cocktails. Merengue is a type of music and dance from the Dominican Republic. It was created by Nico Lora in the 1920s. There is a saying in the country which goes: “It does not matter if you are rich or poor, it is all about the rhythm in your hips.” And believe me, the people there can dance!

The tornado is a classic in local bars and dances. It is both a straight drink and a cocktail. The cocktail version is a little milder than the original one, but still has a punch. The main ingredient in it is dark rum, which is not surprising as it is the most important beverage Central America produces. It has a sweet and pleasant taste, and you can sip tornados endlessly on a warm summer evening, especially in the Caribbean.

One piece of advice: Be sure to shake this drink well to ensure the egg white mixes with the other ingredients. It is called tornado for a reason! (Another drink that uses egg white is the pisco sour. I definitely recommend it!)

The trip turned out to be a success, and I have since become a fan of both meringue music and tornado cocktails. The Dominican Republic is a place where I certainly want to return in the near future.

The tornado, a Caribbean classic
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
The tornado is a classic in local bars and dances. It is both a straight drink and a cocktail
Ingredients
  • 2.5cl dark rum
  • 1.5cl light rum
  • 1 egg white
  • Dash of lemon juice
  • Dash of passion fruit juice
Instructions
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Shake for no less than 1 minute.
  3. Strain into a chilled glass.

 

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20Jul 12

B-52, an unlikely gunner classic

B-52A couple of years ago, I got to watch a lot of Arsenal home games at Emirates Stadium in north London. A cousin of mine had season tickets but spent most of the year traveling on business and kindly offered me his seat. One Saturday, Nicklas Bendtner, a Danish forward who played for the gunners, changed his shirt number from 26 to 52. That same season, he scored an amazing goal against Liverpool in the Carling Cup. From then on, he was known as “the bomber”, and the B-52 cocktail became an Islington favourite.

The B-52 is a layered shot made with a coffee liqueur, Irish cream and orange liqueur. Although there are special machines that can prepare a B-52, most bartenders rely on their traditional, hand-made preparation. This method is called “building”, as opposed to blending or shaking.

The coffee liqueur is served first, because it is the thickest of the layers and will sit on the bottom of the shot glass. Next, the Irish cream is poured very slowly on top. Some people use the back of a cold bar spoon to help them. Finally, the orange liqueur is served atop the Irish cream, also using a spoon.

What I really love about the B-52 is that when you start drinking it, the ingredients mix together, and yet you get a beautiful and very distinct taste of each one of them in your mouth. The aftertaste is definitely sweet, due to the orange liqueur. Ideally, it is a drink to have in a bar in the Alps on a cold winter evening while playing cards with friends. It would also go really well with this orange and plum cake.

In Islington, the B-52 cocktail fever has almost disappeared. A few weeks ago, a bartender in a pub on Northampton Park admitted that the first time someone ordered the drink in 2009, he hadn´t a clue what it was. He also said it is visually one of the hardest drinks to get right. And even though it is no longer the rage, I do occasionally order one just to remind me what a season both Arsenal and I had in 2009.

B-52, an unlikely gunner classic
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
The B-52 is a layered shot made with a coffee liqueur, Irish cream and orange liqueur
Ingredients
  • 2cl coffee liqueur (Kahlúa)
  • 2cl Irish cream (Bailey´s)
  • 2cl orange liqueur (Grand Marnier)
Instructions
  1. Layer ingredients into a shot glass.
  2. Serve with a stirrer.

 

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17Jul 12

Chilcano, a Peruvian classic with a story

Chilcano, cocktailDuring the last decade, I have visited Peru various times. Lima, the capital, is a fascinating place. There are colourful street markets everywhere you go, and people are always friendly and ready for a drink and/or a chat.

On one of my latest trips, I met a chap by the name of Jaime Pesaque, who happens to own a restaurant in town. After dinner at his place one evening, he offered to mix me a drink he reckoned I had never tried before. The name of the drink was, as I recall, chilcano. At the time it seemed an odd name because it is also the name of a famous dish in Peru. Today, I want to tell you about this drink.

The chilcano is a traditional Peruvian beverage. Its main ingredient is Pisco, which is the country´s national drink. Pisco is a colourless or yellowish-to-amber coloured grape brandy produced in wine-making regions of Peru and Chile. It was developed by Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to orujo, a pomace brandy that was being imported from Spain.

The story of the drink dates back to the 1930´s, when Italian immigrants introduced a drink called “Buon Giorno” into the country. The cocktail was made by mixing grappa with ginger ale and a slice of lemon. Once the drink became popular, the locals started adding Pisco into the mix instead of the grappa. Word spread rapidly, and Peruvians finally had an alternative to the traditional pisco sour.

The chilcano is a strangely invigorating drink, and is in this way similar to the hot fish soup with the same name. It has an agile and refreshing taste, a bit like a margarita lemonade. It is a very simple drink to mix, and a great option for a summer evening.

Needed:

  • 6cl Pisco
  • 12cl ginger ale
  • Half a lime

How it’s made:
1. Fill an 8 ounce tumbler with ice cubes.
2. Pour the pisco over the ice.
3. Squeeze the lime juice into the glass.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

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16Jul 12

Brandy Alexander

Brandy AlexanderTraveling by train is, without a doubt, my favourite way of getting around, especially in foreign countries. One very cold January I went from New York to Los Angeles using Amtrak, the sole intercity passenger railroad in the continental United States. After leaving Denver in the evening, I headed for the bar in the second coach, looking for a drink that would warm me up. That was when the bartender offered me a variation of the gin-based Alexander cocktail: a Brandy Alexander.

The Brandy Alexander has a long history. According to various cocktail books, it was first concocted for the wedding celebration of Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles in 1922 by a bartender at the Savoy Hotel Bar in London. By the middle of the century, it had become a widely known cocktail, and it is said that Mary Richards asked for one during her audition in the pilot episode of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”.

The most important ingredient in a Brandy Alexander is creme de cacao, which is a chocolate flavoured liqueur with hints of vanilla, and what gives the cocktail the sweet edge on a rather strong punch. For this particular cocktail, the dark version of the liqueur is recomended. According to the bartender on the train, it is also a luscious after dinner drink that goes hand in hand with a chocolate lava cake.

The Brandy Alexander has a creamy, warm taste and is perfect for winter evenings, especially if you are looking out the window of a train racing across the rural United States. Although I am not a brandy drinker, this cocktail is the exception to that rule and made that evening a memory I will always cherish.

Needed:

  • 3cl cognac
  • 3cl dark creme de cacao
  • 3cl brandy
  • Ground nutmeg for garnish

How to make it:
1.Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
2.Shake well.
3.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
4.Garnish with a dusting of nutmeg.

Time: 4 minutes
Makes:1 cocktail

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14Jul 12

Watermelon Sangria

Watermelon SangriaI told you about my first trip to Spain when I was 19. Well, last summer I returned to visit a friend’s son who is studying history at Granada University. On arrival, I was met by 10 jolly looking fellows who all had glasses in their hands. It was Friday evening, and they had decided to make a huge sangria in my honour. But not the classic sangria – rather, watermelon sangria! Today, I want to tell you about this drink, which is an ideal choice for an evening on the porch with friends.

As I´ve mentioned, sangria normally consists of a bottle of cheap red wine, chopped fruit, and a sweetener. This particular version I discovered on my last trip is a bit different and made specifically to bring out the flavour of the watermelon, which was excellent!

As the guest of honour, I was enlightened with the recipe of the sangria the merry young men had concocted, which I want to share with you. They also brought Spanish potato omelette for me to try – it is a typical “tapa”. If you visit Spain, don’t leave without trying some!

Just one piece of advice on the sangria: the amount of spirits added into the mix is up to the person making it. I share the measurements we used, but those amounts are open to interpretation. And that is exactly what makes it dangerous, especially in the company of 10 students on a Friday evening.

Watermelon Sangria
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
A fruity twist on the classic sangria
Ingredients
  • 1 bottle of dry white wine
  • 1 kilo of watermelon, cubed and deseeded
  • 3 limes, chopped
  • 10cl rum (Brugal is a good choice.)
  • 8cl citrusy syrup
  • 10cl triple sec
  • Abundant Ice
Instructions
  1. Mix the white wine with the fruit in a 1 litre pitcher, and let it sit for a full day in a refrigerator to allow time for the fruit flavours to blend with the wine.
  2. Add ice, rum, syrup and triple sec, stirring it together well.
  3. Serve in tall glasses with good company.


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