Off to the races…or a fiesta
A dilemma! Two fab cocktail-ready events on Saturday, May 5, but which to choose? Cinco de Mayo, with tequila and citrus, or Derby Day (not roller derby, darn it), featuring the always-welcome Mint Julep? I may have to decide officially by rochambeau.
Granada de Amor
If you are hosting a Cinco de Mayo party, having a pitcher drink will free you from bartender duties. And if you want to stay in theme but have tequila-phobic guests (there are many of those), try the Granada de Amor. It uses citrus vodka as its base, but gets Mexican street cred from the use of Damaina liqueur.
Damaina liqueur is made from the damaina herb, thought to have many health benefits and aphrodisiac qualities. The bottle, in the shape of a buxom fertility goddess, touts Damaina liqueur as a traditional bridal gift from the groom’s mother (I’m thinking those mothers lack faith in their son’s virility). If the legends hold, those serving the Granada de Amore this weekend should watch for a baby boom around New Years.
12 oz citrus vodka 3 oz Damiana liqueur 4 ½ oz fresh lime juice 4 ½ oz fresh orange juice (I opted for a bit less) 1 ½ oz cinnamon syrup 6 orange twists to garnish
Combine all ingredients except garnishes in a pitcher and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Stir and strain into chilled cocktail glasses. Garnish with orange twists. Serves 6.Cinnamon syrup see previous post
The Mint Julep is the class Derby Day drink. There are many ways to make it and most of the variations involve how to handle the mint, while some swap the bourbon for rum or rye whiskey. The consistent elements are crushed ice, mint, sugar and a brown spirit swizzled into icy goodness. The following Mint Julep introduced me to bourbon and I love it still.
Run for the Roses*Crushed ice 1 ½ oz bourbon 1 oz mint syrup (I reduce to ¾ oz) 1 sprig of mint for garnish
Fill a silver mint julep cup (no, I don’t have one, either) or lowball rocks glass with crushed ice. Add the mint syrup and bourbon. Stir briskly to chill thoroughly. Garnish with mint sprig and straw.
Mint syrup¾ oz turbinado sugar ¾ oz water 1 c. chopped mint
Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add fresh mint. Cover and stand at room temperature for 3-5 hours. Strain, bottle and refrigerate until needed. Makes about 1 cup.
El Luchador was featured here for Cinco de Mayo 2011, but reappears for another laugh.
*the Granada de Amor is featured in Food & Wine Cocktails 2008 and hails from Andina, an incredible Portland restaurant
*Run for the Roses is featured in MixShakeStir
As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.