Updated: May 1
As the "Stay at Home"order in Florida went from weeks to months, CaptK and I have embraced the 5 o'clock cocktail. We have always sought out Cocktail Bars in our travels. Our fascination with craft cocktails exploded after a stay at the Savoy Hotel in London and several visits to their famous American Bar. At the time of our visit, the American Bar was topping every list of Best Cocktail Bars in the world. The gold standard of these lists is "World's 50 Best Bars," organized by William Reed Business Media. We started using this list as a guide to finding quality libations as we travel. Some of the highlights were our visits to Tales & Spirits in Amsterdam, Cane & Table in New Orleans, Sovereign Remedies In Asheville, NC and The Clumsies in Athens, Greece. With our wings clipped by the coronavirus, we started recreating our favorites cocktails and sampling some innovative new ones from the safety of our home.
Listed below are some of our favorites to date. I have included recipes or links to recipes as appropriate.
A White Christmas Martini is my favorite holiday libation. I am generally not a fan of sweet cocktails, but this drink tastes like Christmas to me. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1oz Vanilla Vodka, 1oz White Cocktail Liqueur, 1oz Peppermint Schnapps. Shake over ice. Garnish with a peppermint stick and green sugar or garnish the rim with crushed peppermint sticks. Put a fire in the fireplace, crank up the holiday music and sip slowly, this is a strong drink. These can be served in a martini glass or my current glasswear crush, a coupe glass.
While restaurants and bars are reopening, CaptK and I are generally sticking to the at home cocktail hour. Pictured above is his latest concoction, The Last Word. It is a satisfying combination of Gin, Chartreuse and Maraschino Liquor topped with a Luxardo Cherry. For the recipe check out Liquor.com
It appears as though this article has inspired many of you to start your own "at-home" explorations in cocktails. Recently, we were invited on a sunset boat ride with Louisiana friends Cathy and Otto Bulich. Cathy and her neighbor developed this version of the Ruth's Chris Steak House classic, A Pink Panty Dropper. They substituted Crystal Light lemonade for the traditional sweet and sour mix.
1 oz Tequila
1/2 oz Pama, Pomegranate Liqueur
2 oz Crystal Light lemonade
Shake and serve over ice.
Peach Season is upon us. I love to make a peachy twist on traditional sangria. Simply combine 3 diced peaches and 1 large apple diced with 1 cup peach schnapps and a bottle of dry white wine. Let it ferment for several hours or overnight at room temperature. Serve over ice. I love these stemless wine glasses from Mignon Faget in the oyster design.
Our research into interesting liqueurs lead us to Fernet-Branca a Italian amaro which is very herbaceous and bitter. You will see it as an ingredient in many of the cocktails in this update. You can find smaller size bottles of many liqueurs, including Fernet-Branca in larger Liquor Stores. The Black Pearl , which is pictured above, combines dark rum, Fernet-Branca, lime juice and Orgeat, an almond simple syrup into a beachy libation. Orgeat is widely available in stores that sell higher end cocktail mixers. https://www.supercall.com/recipe/ultimate-black-pearl-drink-recipe
Keeping with the Mediterranean cocktail theme, we recreated the Garibaldi, an orange juice and Campari combination made famous by Dante's Bar in New York City. The key to this drink is to whip the orange juice in a high speed blender. We used our NutriBullet to get the frothy topper on the drink. https://punchdrink.com/recipes/dantes-garibaldi/
This beautiful drink, the Hanky Panky taught me an important lesson. While I love the bittersweet combination, the bitter-bitter combination is not my favorite. It is crafted with gin, Fernet-Branca, and dry vermouth giving this drink a herbal-bitter flavor. Even with the great name and the added cherry, I just didn't care for it. He on the other hand really enjoyed it. https://www.foodandwine.com/cocktails-spirits/fernet-cocktails-holiday-digestif
In the summer, I love cocktails that have the flavors of grapefruit or cucumber. Captk found a recipe that combines both and I love it. Pictured above is the Sun Goddess. Absolute Grapefruit Vodka brings the grapefruit flavor (we dusted off a bottle from the back of our liquor cabinet.) Captk used a lemon juicer to make cucumber juice from thick slices cucumbers. He makes a simple syrup from stevia to keep the calories lower. Check out the refreshing recipe at https://www.absolutdrinks.com/en/drinks/sun-goddess/
Where the Hanky-Panky was skewed too high on the herbal/bitter scale, the Corpse Reviver#2 hits it perfectly for me. This concoction was first served at the Savoy Hotel Bar , in London as a hangover cure. It has become a regular in our cocktail line-up. https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Corpse-Reviver-No-2/
Nothing says "Easy like Sunday Morning" like a Bloody Mary. Since we have been brunching at home, we have been mixing up some Bloody Mary's. We have been celebrating holidays with Bloody Mary's and Eggs Benedict for almost 40 years. The only thing I like better is Bloody Mary's and Puffy Cheetos, don't judge, it is delicious and a great hangover cure. I like my Bloody Mary's heavy on the Worchester Sauce with spicy beans and spicy olives as the garnish. Celery, bacon, shrimp, there really is no bad garnish.
4oz Tomato Juice
11/2 T Worcester Sauces
1/8 t Black Pepper
1/8 t Celery salt
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Juice of a Lime Wedge
Juice of a Lemon Wedge
Shake well and serve over ice with your favorite garnishes.
Margaritas, chips and fresh pico de gallo, that could be a meal for me! I like my Margaritas on the rocks, in a salted glass, made with fresh lime juice and not too sweet. This is Captk's recipe, add as much stevia as your sweet tooth needs.
1/2 oz Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
3oz Lime juice
1oz Orange Juice
1 packet Stevia or to taste
Shake with ice to combine, pour into a salted glass.
A Painkiller, the official drink of the British Virgin and my favorite boat drink. The Soggy Dollar Bar in White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, BVI is the originator of the Pain Killer. The name Soggy Dollar comes from the condition of the money used to pay for these sweet, creamy drinks as White Bay does not have a dock and sailors must swim in to enjoy this Caribbean cocktail. The Soggy Dollar website has a webcam for all of us to get our beach fix. They also sell their own dark rum. www.soggydollar.com While the Soggy Dollar does not reveal with their proportions, I am happy to share CaptK's recipe with you.
2oz dark rum
1oz cream of coconut (we use Coco Lopez)
1oz Orange Juice
4oz Pineapple juice
Shake with ice. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with fresh nutmeg and garnish with a cherry.
Our first inspiration came in an email I received from Punch, a website dedicated to all things cocktails with a heavy dose of travel. Their article on the Negroni sent us to the depths of our liquor cabinet to dust off a bottle of Campari and prepare Andrew Zimmern's Tangerine Negroni. Refreshing and so Italian, we paired it with a replay of a travel movie favorite, Under the Tuscan Sun. It is as close as we are going to get to Italy for awhile. www.andrewzimmern.com/recipes/page-tangerine-negroni
Inspired by a cocktail mixed by my friend Mommashepp on our annual girl's beach trip, this cucumber and basil Gin&Tonic is a jazzy revision of my British Virgin Islands go-to cocktail. Sipping one of these while watching Bravo TV's Below Decks eases my homesickness for the Caribbean.
6 Basil Leaves
3 Cucumber Slices
1/8 of a Lime
1 1/2 oz Gin
Tonic Water to taste
Muddle the basil, cucumber and gin. Strain into a highball glass. Squeeze in the juice of the lime. Add ice and Tonic Water. Garnish with a cucumber slice and lime slice.
Looking for a taste of Spain, CaptK mixed me up a Bubbly Paloma. Named for its color, the orangish brown that is so often seen in summer sunsets. Paloma is from the Spanish word for pigeon or dove of the same color. I love them as a lighter revision to the Margarita.
1 1/2 oz Tequila
1 oz grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 Truvia or other stevia product
Spectacular Grapefruit Soda or La Croix Lime Soda
Shake the first 4 ingredients and pour into a salted highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with a lime.
CaptK is a whiskey lover. His cocktail of choice usually combines lemon juice and some type of whiskey, add an egg white topper and he is in libation heaven. Enter the Rattlesnake, a lemony, frothy creation served in a glass that is washed with an anise flavored liquor.
At our Florida house, Blood Orange Martinis and steamed stone crabs are the very best date night tradition. Florida Stone Crabs season is December 15th to May 15th. On our weekly provisioning run, we went by our favorite roadside seafood vendor and got 3 pounds of claws and a container of local blood orange juice. Saturday night we took our claws and our martinis out to the dock and had a south Florida Date Night.
2 oz orange vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz Blood Orange Juice
1 Tbs simply syrup
Shake the above ingredients with crushed ice. Serve up or with crushed ice garnish with an orange slice.
Blueberry Gin Sour, yes please. Deliciousness with a kick. Fresh or frozen blueberries are muddled with gin, lemon juice, and sugar, then strained and shaken with an egg white. Next add ice and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. The result is a reminder that summer and sunny days are just around the corner. Thank you Lucy at Supergolden Bakes for creating a drink that reminds us better days are ahead. www.supergolenbakes.com/blueberry-gin-sour-cocktail
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