Archive for the ‘Tequila’ Category

A perfect pitcher: herbs, tequila and Cinco de Mayo

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Wow, I think my calendar did stop since my last post because here it is almost Cinco de Mayo. ..

Here is a quick quiz. When hankering for a drink on Cinco de Mayo, do you:

  1. Avoid tequila because of “that one time when I…” ? (then you really should see my past post on the subject).
  2. Embrace the tequila, but drown the taste with artificial sweet and sour mix, or worse, one of those pre-mixed, pre-frozen tubs of margaritas (“Just Add Tequila!”).
  3. Say the hell with it, and grab some Mexican beer instead?

I’m not a counselor, so I won’t be diagnosing where you fall on the scale of tequila-avoiders. Nor can I relate to your plight because I love tequila. Nonetheless, I do have a solution.  I call it Herbaceous*, but that’s partly for lack of inspiration (do you know, naming cocktails is often harder than creating them?).

Herbaceous* mixes a couple of tasty herbs while cutting the tequila with vodka. I can’t even remember why I did this initially – did I run out of tequila? – but it works. Red and my friend PRS, both tequila shunners, like this pitcher drink a lot. The taste of tequila is still present, but softer, and pairs seamlessly with the flavors of cilantro and lemon-thyme. The overall ratio of booze to non-booze makes it light and refreshing.

The Herbaceous pitcher drink uses muddle cilantro and lemon-thyme syrup. Use about this much lemon-thyme per 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water.

The Herbaceous pitcher drink uses muddle cilantro and lemon-thyme syrup. Twelve stems of cilantro are shown here on the cutting board. Use about this much lemon-thyme (on the right) per 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water for the syrup.


Bunch of cilantro (approx. 12 stems)
6 oz reposado tequila
6 oz vodka
6 oz fresh lime juice
11 oz lemon-thyme syrup
24 oz club soda

Muddle the cilantro with lime juice in a pitcher. Add lemon-thyme syrup, tequila and vodka and stir well. Refrigerate for one hour, and then gently stir in chilled club soda. Serve on the rocks in a short bucket glass.  The recipe above serves 12.

Lemon-Thyme Syrup

1 c. sugar
1 c. water
4-5 stems of lemon-thyme (see photo)

Boil sugar and water together until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and drop in rinsed lemon-thyme stems. Cover and steep for 30 minutes, then strain out solids and cool liquid. Makes 12 ounces.  I recommend doubling this recipe so that you have the syrup ready for an ice tea sweetener – I keep this on hand year-round.

I brought this creation to two functions last summer and it disappeared quickly. Enjoy it with friends at a Cinco de Mayo gathering, and keep the recipe on hand for summer days. ¡Salud!

Cheers, HEILO

For more Cinco de Mayo options, see my previous posts: Granada de Amor and  St. Rosemary.

*Seriously, do you have another suggestion?


Doomsday approach-eth

Monday, December 17th, 2012

We don’t need the Maya to point out December’s doomsday vibe. The days are so dark and short, the traffic catastrophic and the calories so destructive.  It seems fitting that the Maya chose to end their extensive calendar system on Dec. 21, 2012.*

I’m pretty sure we’ll live to see 2013. But just in case, I created this cocktail to soften the blow of Maya Prophesy Day. It’s strong, so you won’t feel the flames lickin’ at your feet…

Doomsday Drink

1 oz reposado tequila
½ oz crème de cacao (I used Marie Brizard white)
¼ oz vanilla syrup
½ oz Becherovka liqueur
4 drops Xocalatl Mole bitters (Bittermans)
Grated cinnamon garnish

Combine first five ingredients with ice in a shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and grate a dusting of cinnamon over the top…

… Or, hell, just dump them all in a glass and tip back. The world is ending, people! This is no time for prissy drinks!


Sorry, hysteria contained. Why these flavors for the Doomsday Drink, you ask? Simple. The Maya’s territory stretched from southern Mexico through Central America, and their descendants still favor the flavors of chocolate, cinnamon and vanilla. Mexican tequila and Xocalatl Mole bitters also fit geographically. The digestif Becherovka lends the cinnamon note and keeps the drink from being too sweet.

But don’t despair: If Dec. 22 rolls around and you find the world still intact, this would make a great cocktail for Festivus/Winter Solstice/Christmas/New Year, et al. A multitasking cocktail is a truly welcome gift.

Cheers and fa la la la la,  ICE

*Well, we know now that they didn’t. Their calendars continued on elsewhere, and apparently we are safe for thousands more years. I think the Maya would have enjoyed this cocktail, though.

As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.


¡Salud to Cinco de Mayo cócteles!

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Although we are far from the U.S.-Mexico border here in Seattle and my kids can speak more Spanish than I can, we do have a cat named Nacho Libre and I’m always happy to lift a glass in celebration.  I think that’s enough to get my tequila revved and ready for Cinco de Mayo.


El luchador mexicano dice: "Escucha al HIELO, este es un cóctel muy bueno!"(translation: The Mexican wrestler says, "Listen to ICE, this is a very good cocktail!")

This cocktail, the St. Rosemary by mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout, is another approachable tequila drink (more here) that is easy to make and chug, er, sip.

St. Rosemary

Leaves from a 1-inch rosemary sprig, plus 1 rosemary sprig for garnish
¼ oz fresh lime juice
1¾ oz  reposado tequila
¾ oz  St-Germain elderflower liqueur
1¼ oz apple juice, preferably unfiltered

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the rosemary leaves with the lime juice. Add ice and all of the remaining ingredients except the garnish and shake well. Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with the rosemary sprig.

¡Salud, ICE

As always, check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.


Uniting Fire and Ice

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Remember that jalapeno brown sugar syrup from a previous post?  I created a third cocktail with this syrup, this time in honor of our wedding anniversary today, October 30th (Devil’s Night!).  

Fire With Ice Margarita

1 ½ oz tequila
½ oz Cointreau
1 oz lime juice
½ oz jalapeno brown sugar syrup

I like my margaritas on the rocks, so I filled a glass with ice, added the ingredients and stirred well. Nice to cool the jalapeno fire with ice.

Heat Miser!

Incidentally, “Fire and Ice” is the name of our maybe-someday-in-the-future boat. Fire because hubby is a redhead and, of course, I’m ICE.  We used that idea for Halloween costumes a few years back, going as the HeatMiser and SnowMiser from The Year Without a Santa Claus. I’m too embarrassed to post a picture of us, but be assured there were cocktails involved that night, too.


Happy Anniversary, Fire!

Cheers, ICE

P.S.: I saw this on a forum:” If loving Halloween is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.” Yes!

Snow Miser!