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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with lemon juice

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
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
A work-in-progress tart cocktail
  • 8cl freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 6cl water
  • 5g sugar
  • 1 lemon peel swirl
  • 5cl vodka
  • 2cl cranberry juice
  • 2 cranberries
  • ice
  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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18Jun 12

The white lady, a gin classic with style

White Lady CocktailAlthough I can’t honestly say I am a big gin drinker, there is one gin that I do enjoy once in a while: the white lady. Today, I want to tell you about this drink and also about gin in general because there are some very interesing facts about it. (For another surprisingly good gin cocktail, try this French ’75.)

One thing which has always struck me about gin is that, contrary to most spirits, it is said to have been invented by a person instead of a brand or country. Professor Franciscus de la Boe (1614-1672), lecturer of medicine at Leiden University, presented gin for the first time for medical purposes. He started off distilling alcohols and then mixed them with a type of berry called “juniperus communis”. The fruit was also known by its French name, genivere, that was called genever in The Netherlands and finally gin in English. It became popular in the United Kingdom amongst the soldiers that came home after battles on the European continent. Furthermore, in 1708, Queen Anne taxed imported spirits heavily and lowered them for local producers, thus creating a flourishing local production of the spirit and a rise in its popularity.

Today, there are two basic types of gin in the market: the British version, called just gin or London gin, and the Dutch version, called Geneva schnapps or Holland’s gin. The fruit used to give gin its aroma is still the berry, produced in Germany or Italy.

The white lady is a very sophisticated beverage, and usually an after-dinner drink. The name itself is reminiscent of a posh evening party. It has a clean, fresh taste and is always best served extra cold. Although many people have had bad experiences with gin, this is a cocktail which is not very alcoholic; hence, the chance of a hangover is slim. As I said at the beginning, I am not a big gin drinker, but I definitely recomend a white lady once in a while.


  • 3cl gin
  • 1cl Cointreau
  •  1cl lemon juice
  • Ice

How it’s made:

1.Pour all beverages into a cocktail shaker.
2.Shake for no less than 30 seconds. (This cocktail must be served extra cold. If you are hosting a party, make sure to chill your cocktail glasses before serving.)
3.Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Time: 3 minutes

Makes: 1 cocktail

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30May 12


MojitoWhen I think of my days in Cuba, I think of gorgeous sandy beaches, exotic women with big white smiles, the face of Che Guevara on sign posts everywhere, and of Ernest Hemingway. During my stay in La Habana, I could sense his presence in many of the little streets of the old part of the city. Following in his footsteps I ended up in La Bodeguita, a local bar where Hemingway, according to the legend, used to sit and write. Ernesto, the oldest barman in the place, said he did sit there, but didn´t write as much as taste Mojitos, the drink the Bodeguita prides itself on. The Mojito, in honor of Hemingway and the beautiful island of Cuba, is going to be our cocktail of the day.

The Mojito is a drink made with rum, which is fire water made by distilling sugar cane and is the first national drink of the New World. It is a drink which affects the nose more than the eyes. It may look a little uninteresting at first sight, but as soon as one experiences its scent and taste, it becomes a must for outdoor experiences and hot afternoons. I prefer the traditional drink, but a gooseberry mojito is nice as well.

The Mojito’s secret is the mint and the role it plays in the final aroma and taste of the cocktail. It is a perfect drink for a day in the countryside, for if there is a stream running nearby, there is almost certainly mint growing somewhere in the river bed. On a sunny July afternoon, Mojitos go perfectly with cucumber sandwiches and good company. The aroma of fresh mint and rum, mixed up with lemon juice and syrup will drive your senses crazy and give you a Hemingway experience wherever you may be.

What you need
• 4.5 cl of white rum
• Two stalks of fresh mint
• 1.5 cl of lemon juice
• 2 spoonfuls Syrup (or sugar)
• Ice (preferably crushed)
• Splash of mineral water

How Ernesto made it for Ernest

1. Put mint in a tall glass, with lemon juice and syrup. Let it sit for a few minutes, and then crush the mint against the sides of the glass without breaking the stalks, as you need to free that special mint aroma.
2. Once you have accomplished this, fill your tall glass with ice and add rum. Top it off with mineral water.
3. Now you are ready for a real sensation of a drink.

Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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17May 12

Tom Collins

Tom CollinsDuring my years on the road, I have learnt a great deal about local drinks and mixes in the different regions I have visited. And although every country is proud of a particular beverage, there are drinks which are famous anywhere you go. The Tom Collins is one of them. Whether in South America or Asia, in a big city or a beach bar, this cocktail is a must on every bartender’s list.

The main ingredient to a Tom Collins is gin. It’s a tremendously refreshing drink and great to sip on hot, damp afternoons while watching the West Indies play England at cricket in Barbados. This is actually where I started drinking it.

According to history, the Tom Collins was first mixed by an American bartender named James Collins, somewhere in the state of New York in the late 1870s. As the story goes, he used Old Tom gin, a sweeter type than the London dry brand, to prepare the cocktail. He then named the drink using a mix of both his name and the gin’s.

The Tom Collins became so famous worldwide that there is even a cocktail glass named after it. It became so popular, that it has inspired a load of spin-off drinks such as:

  • John Collins (replace the gin with whiskey)
  • Joe Collins (replace the gin with scotch)
  • Ivan Collins (replace the gin with vodka)
  • Sloe gin Tom Collins

To me, it tastes like delicious lemonade, with no noticeable alcohol trace. This can be very dangerous, especially on a warm afternoon in a tropical country. In other words, be careful how many you drink if you intend to walk back to your hotel after 7 hours of cricket.


  • 45ml Old Tom gin
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of super fine sugar
  • 60ml club soda
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 slice of orange

How to prepare it:
1. In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine the gin, lemon juice and sugar. Shake well.
2. Strain into a Collins glass almost filled with ice cubes.
3. Add the club soda.
4. Stir and garnish with the cherry and the orange slice.

Time: between 2 and 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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10Apr 12


SangriaMost people know that the wonderful climate in Spain is an essential element in the creation of some stunning Spanish wines, as well as other beverages.

When I was about 19 years old, I travelled to Spain with a couple of friends, and at that age, we just wanted to enjoy the Spanish “fiesta” during its best season: summer. We travelled through various cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia and Granada, and all of them had one absolutely refreshing drink in common: Sangria. Although mostly associated with summer, it can be found throughout the year, especially in the warmer Southern parts of Spain. (For another dark  fruit drink, try this dragon-blood punch.)

Sangría comes from the Spanish word ‘sangre`, which means blood. The drink’s colour is dark red, thus the name. The strength and taste can vary depending on the spirit and quantity used.

Sangria is a kind of red wine punch that is thought to have been created during the 15th century in Spain and then spread to Portugal. However some people believe that it was actually invented in the Antilles in the Caribbean, which at the time was a British Colony. Although it is true that the drink is quite common in that part of the world, it is most likely that sangria came from Spain.

The beauty of the basic Sangria recipe is that it is as delicious as it is flexible. I like to vary the fruits I use, or even garnish it with strawberries, which are not in the actual recipe. This drink only gets better as you add your favourite fruits and spices!


  • 1 litre of red wine
  • 3 peaches
  • ½ lemon
  • 2 oranges
  • ½ glass of lemon juice
  • 50g of sugar
  • 1 glass of fresh orange juice
  • 1 spiral of lemon peel


How it’s made:

1. Peel the peaches, slice in half and then remove the core. Cut into fine slices.

2. Peel the oranges and slice thinly. Do the same with the lemon.

3. Place the fruit slices in a container with the sugar and brandy. Allow this mixture to marinate for up to 3 hours.

4. Put the mixture into a large pitcher. Then add the red wine, orange and lemon juice.

5. Add the lemon peel spiral to the pitcher and leave cooling in the refrigerator.

6.  Serve the drink very cold with ice.

Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 pitcher of sangria

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03Apr 12


Sidecar CocktailLast month, a good friend invited me over to France for a couple of days. She has always had a great sense of humour and an undying passion for nights out. This trip, instead of sipping wine, she introduced me to a drink called the Sidecar.

The Sidecar was invented at the Ritz Hotel Bar in Paris during World War I, and was named after a certain captain who liked a tot or two before dinner. One evening at the Ritz, he was feeling under the weather and ordered an aperitif before dinner.

Since brandy was used to combat a cold in those days, the captain thought a little brandy would help. However, he didn’t want it straight, so he suggested that the bartender add lemon juice and Cointreau to lighten it up a little. After a few of them, he realised he was in no shape to drive his motorcycle and decided to get someone to drive him home while he sat in the sidecar, and thus the cocktail earned its name and reputation.

The main ingredient to a Sidecar is brandy, which is a spirit produced by distilling wine. It generally contains between 35 and 60 per cent alcohol by volume and is typically taken as an after dinner drink. The sidecar is considered a strong sour drink, because Cointreau -the other main spirit in it- is a French triple sec that contains around 40 per cent alcoholic volume.

Because of its high alcohol content, I suggest eating something to go with this tipple. If you want to stay with a French theme, try these crepes suzette.

After those few days in Paris, I have become quite a Sidecar fan. Not only because it is very effective if you are feeling under the weather, but also because the story behind the drink is one of the most amusing I have heard so far.


  • 5cl Brandy
  • 2cl Cointreau
  • 2cl lemon juice

How it’s made:

  1. Rim a chilled cocktail glass with sugar.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  3. Shake for 1 minute.
  4. Strain into the prepared cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange or lemon slice. (optional)

Time: 5 minutes

Serves: 1 cocktail

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28Mar 12

Bloody Mary

Bloody MaryBloody Mary. What a strange drink with an eery name! This tipple supposedly is the cure to all hangovers, but prescribing a cocktail to battle against the effects of the rest seems contradictory, to say the least.

Whether a Bloody Mary is good for hangovers is matter of much discussion. Most scientists claim that more alcohol (on top of a lot of it) cannot be good for you. However, many of my friends vow that tomato juice contains fructose, a type of sugar that helps your body metabolize alcohol more quickly, and that this is probably why the morning-after Bloody Mary seems to help with hangovers.

In my case, eating lots of carbohydrates also helps beat a bad hangover. So, if carbs and tomatoes are the cure, then both together in this clams linguine will get you feeling better in no time!

As to how it got its title, one theory indicates that the drink’s haunting name makes reference to Queen Mary via a lonely regular often found drinking at Harry’s American Bar in Paris in the early 1920s. Sitting alone, sipping on her drink, she reminded regulars of an imprisoned Queen Mary, who was also known as Bloody Mary.

The bartender at the place, Fernand “Pete” Petiot is credited with inventing the cocktail, mixing just vodka and tomato juice in equal parts to start with. Vodka was a drink brought over by the Russian refugees while canned tomato juice was an American invention fresh off the boats from the United States after World War 1.

In 1936, Petiot moved to New York to be the head barman at the St. Regis Hotel’s King Cole Bar, where he finished creating the legendary cocktail by adding pepper, lemon, Worcestershire Sauce and Tabasco to the original mix.

My personal experience is that a Bloody Mary on a difficult morning is a blessing. It tastes very much like a straight tomato juice, and the most distinct flavour in the palate is the Tabasco sauce mixed up with the Worcestershire sauce. To make an extra good one, I always insist on loads of pepper.


  • 4.5cl vodka
  • 9cl tomato juice
  • 1.5cl lemon juice
  • 2 drops of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 pinch of pepper

How it’s made:
1. Rub lemon or lime around rim of highball glass
2. Add ice to glass.
3. Mix vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, salt, pepper and celery salt. Pour in glass.
4. Garnish with lemon or lime wedge, celery stalk, and a green olive.

Time: 5 minutes

Makes: 1 serving

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