Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

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.

Herbaceous*

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?

 

Going…going…tarra-GONE!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

 Just when I thought I had a handle on all the essential cocktail herbs to grow, I discovered a new one – tarragon.

I have eaten plenty of dishes with tarragon, but still had no sense of its individual flavor. While browsing through our farmer’s market, picking up plump cherries and vibrant sunflowers, I noticed a bunch of tarragon and remembered that it is supposed to pair well with strawberries, also in my bag. Time for cocktail making!

This photo is not digitally enhanced: this drink was red, red, red!

To muddle or infuse? Not knowing how long my tarragon bunch would last, I opted to infuse a syrup (recipe below) and save the muddling for my incredibly delicious, juicy strawberries. My new Gun Club gin from local Sun Liquor rounded out the flavors for this blissful cocktail inspiration:

Strawberry-Tarragon Summer Bliss 

1 ½ oz gin
½ oz tarragon syrup
½ oz fresh lemon juice
3 juicy strawberries
Splash of club soda
Sprig of tarragon to garnish (optional)

Muddle the strawberries in a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice and syrup. Add gin and ice and shake well to chill. Double strain into an ice-filled tumbler and garnish with sprig.  Note: my strawberries were quite naturally sweet and flavorful, but you may need to add another strawberry or an extra bit of plain simple syrup if yours are not.

Tarragon Syrup

1/4 c. chopped tarragon leaves
1 c. sugar
1 c. water

Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Add tarragon and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, then cool and strain leaves before bottling.

The tarragon, I discovered, has a soft anise/licorice flavor. It does indeed pair well with strawberries and gives a bump of subtle flavor at the end of a sip. Tarragon surprisingly doesn’t appear in many cocktails. It’s time to change that, at least in my glass.

Cheers, ICE

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

 

 

Crossing the Bridge

Monday, October 10th, 2011

Look at me go: the third post in a row with my own creation! I feel like I’m in touch with my inner mixologist. Or maybe my inner lush. Sometimes they are very hard to tell apart.

My inner mixologist pointed out that many of my herbs will soon be departing for winter. My inner lush reminded me that pear vodka is great in the fall. So I shook up the following concoction, sort of a bridge between summer and fall; or a bridge between mixologist and lush.

 Bridge the Gap

 4 large sage leaves
3 inch rosemary sprig
1 1/2 oz le poire vodka*
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/2 simple syrup

 Muddle sage and rosemary with lemon juice; add ice, vodka and simple syrup and shake well. Double strain into a rocks glass with ice. Add additional sage leaf to garnish (optional).

 

Something else that will satisfy my dual inner voices is the new Swig Well, a “drinking academy” started by Anu Apte, bartender/owner of Rob Roy in Seattle. Anu presented a preview class just for LUPEC members last week, where she demonstrated how tweaks to a cocktail can help us match our “Memories in a Glass.” Classes are open to the general public by reservation, unless otherwise noted. I can’t wait!  Looks like I’ll be spending more time on a bridge — the 520.

 Cheers, ICE

 *I find most flavored vodkas too sweet or artificial tasting, but the Grey Goose Le Poire is quite nice.

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

 

Sham-rockin’ on St. Patrick’s Day

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Get out the green and have a cheery St. Patrick’s Day. But just a warning: Leprechauns get thirsty, and you really don’t want to piss them off. Have one of these drinks on hand. Even if you aren’t delivered a pot ‘o gold, these drinks are still magically delicious.

The cilantro garnish almost looks like a shamrock clover, right? Right?

Sacred Silence

1 oz citron vodka
½ oz green chartreuse
1 cucumber chunk (less than 1″, peeled
2 cilantro leaves
4 green peppercorns
1 squeeze of lemon
½ oz simple syrup (I reduced to ¼ oz)
¼ oz Jones Green Apple Soda (optional; just bumps up the green)

Muddle cucumber, cilantro and peppercorns in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodka, green chartreuse, lemon squeeze and simple syrup and shake well. Double strain into ice-filled glass.

Note: while the picture shown on Grey Goose’s site makes this drink look very green, it wasn’t.  I added the Jones Soda to make it more appropriate for St. Patrick’s Day and adjusted the simple syrup accordingly. 

The Sparkling Shamrock for one day only.

I admit I was skeptical about the next cocktail, but gave it a shot. Red and I had the same, probably comically surprised reaction – this is a really good drink! Incidentally, I found this on the Grey Goose site when scrolling through their fabulous pictures looking for green drinks, but later saw the same recipe on other sites with an appropriate name change: The Sparkling Shamrock.

 Cucumber Fizz/Sparkling Shamrock

1 ½ oz pear vodka
½ oz St. Germain
2 oz juiced cucumber (peeled)
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz simple syrup
Top with lemonade or club soda

Shake all but club soda with ice. Double strain into ice-filled highball glass and top with lemonade or club soda. Garnish with mint, cucumber slices and lemon zest.

If you are looking for other green options, click on the “green_drinks” tag in the sidebar.  And, as a new feature, you can always check out my Glossary of Spirits page for alcohol and mixer definitions and details.

Cheers! ICE