Mixology

Summer Beer Cocktail: The Wobbly Flamingo

melon vodka cocktail

I think I have a new favorite Summer cocktail, and I invented it myself! After a round or two of testing and polling from friends and family… it’s been dubbed “The Wobbly Flamingo,” and it’s here to stay!

It makes use of one of my favorite seasonal beers: 21st Amendment Brewery’s Hell or High Watermelon as a bubbly base for a fruit-filled punch. Making guest appearances: melon vodka, pink lemonade, and fresh berries! I implore you to give it a try.

watermelon beer punch

21st amendment watermelon beer cocktail
Make sure all your ingredients are nice and chilled before mixing up!

For a round of 4:
1 – Hell or High Watermelon beer
4 oz – melon flavored vodka
1 1/2 cups – pink lemonade
fresh strawberries (muddled)
fresh blueberries

pink lemonade punch with beer and berries

Stir all these ingredients together in a pitcher with some ice, muddling the strawberries beforehand to add extra flavor and color!

summer cocktail with muddled berries

In each chilled glass, muddle a few strawberries, then add the punch. Top off with a handful of blueberries, and garnish as you like! I found these awesome pink flamingo cocktail stirrers in the Target dollar bins a while back, and they were perfect!

wobbly flamingo watermelon beer lemonade
Ta-Da! The Wobbly Flamingo. I will definitely be making a batch of these at our next summer get together.

watermelon wodka beer cocktail
CHEERS!!! :)

Roasted Strawberry Sangria with Basil and Cucumbers

Strawberry Basil White Wine Sangria

Sangrias are like the ice cream sunday of cocktails.  You can throw basically anything you have, like, or want into the mix, and it (almost) always tastes really good.  Take roasted strawberries, lime juice, basil, and cucumbers for example, and mix them with rum and wine.  Off the bat, it doesn’t sound like it would be too appealing – basil wine? – but oh was I pleasantly surprised – yes.

I wanted to try a new cocktail for mother’s day, and combine a few of my mom’s favorite flavors into a drink that she would like. Spiked strawberry lemonades and white wine spritzers have been her celebratory drinks for quite some time now, so I decided to put my own spin on things and make a sangria!

Traditionally, Chardonnay is used in white sangria, but I don’t like Chardonnay so I used Pino Grigio.  Feel free to use the wine that you like.  I also added more rum than normal, partially because I knew I wanted to cut the drink with the bubbly seltzer, but also because I really wanted that sharp bite of liquor to pair with the basil.  I’ve also seen a lot of recipes with added sugars or syrups, but I also don’t like that.  We’re already combining two alcohols here, people…no need to add sugar to the hangover.  I mean mix.

Strawberry Recipes

Ingredients:

Makes about 1.5 gallons of sangria…2 if you include the fruit mixture

-2 pints strawberries

-6 limes

-1 large english cucumber

-1 bunch fresh basil

-2 1.5L bottles of white wine – I used Pino Grigio

-2 (or 3) cups light rum

-2 liters seltzer

-ice to serve

Strawberry Cucumber Lime Cocktail

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees…we’re going to cook us up some Sangria!  While the oven is heating, wash your strawberries, cut off all stems, and slice them into threes.  There’s no real thickness you’re looking for – just try to keep them all about the same size.  Spread the strawberries out on a cookie sheet, so that none are overlapping, and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  You’re looking for the berries to create their own, juicy syrup. Sort of like what you would get if you added sugar to the berries and let them sit a while, but much thicker, and with a REALLY enhanced strawberry flavor.

Confession…the first time I tried roasting strawberries, I ate the entire 2 pints in about one day via a large serving spoon.  They’re good.

Roasted Strawberry Syrup

While the berries are roasting, de-stem and chop your basil, and slice the cucumber.  Again, no rhyme or reason to the thickness, just try and keep everything about the same size. I’d say my strawberries and cucumbers were about a quarter of an inch, or slightly bigger, in thickness.

Oven Roasted Strawberries

When the strawberries are done, use a rubber spatula to immediately spoon them from the pan, along with the syrup they made, into a glass/ceramic bowl.  Be warned, if you don’t do this while the berries are still hot, you’re going to be scraping them from the bottom and won’t be able to harvest any of the syrup, and you’re really going to miss out on that flavor.

Strawberry White Wine Sangria

When the berries are cool, squeeze the fresh lime juice over top, and stir.  Add this mixture to your pitcher, pour over the wine and rum, mix, and let sit in the refrigerator for anywhere from an hour to overnight.  About an hour before serving, add the basil and cucumbers – we want them to be an added brightness with a hint of earthiness, and to not be too overwhelming. Serve over ice.

Strawberry Basil Cucumber Drink

To be honest, it was REALLY hard to photograph this drink for a ton of reasons – time of day, glassware, party commencing without me – and also because the beautiful red roasted berries begin to turn transparent after soaking in the liquor, which does’t look super cute on camera.  But trust me, it was gone in a flash, and it was delicious. Next time, I’m thinking I might have guests strain their sangria into their glasses, and use basil, cucumber, strawberry infused ice cubes instead – fancy fancy.  I’ll have to make this next time Hayley and I get together – have you seen her beverage posts?  Check out our Mixology section, because they are awesome.

Basil Cucumner Sangria

How are you treating your mom, or special lady in your life? Let us know, and tag us @whattodowithlemons on Instagram with your creations!

 

 

 

Red Hot Candy Infused Rum

cinnamon candy infused rum

No matter what kind of Valentine’s Day you’re having, it can probably be improved with a festive cocktail! Hot date? Fun “gal-entines” day plans with girlfriends? A quiet night at home with your cat? ALL deserve a special drink to toast the occasion!

I’m not sure if you knew this, but infusing alcohol with fun candy flavors is easy peasy. I mean really easy. Perfect for last-minute valentines. So I whipped up a version to share with you all that feels very appropriate for Valentines Day: red hot cinnamon-candy infused rum. Mmm!
infusing alcohol with candy
All you need is some light rum, some cinnamon candies, and an empty glass bottle or jar. Or no empty bottle if you want to make ALL the rum cinnamon flavored, in which case you can keep it in the big bottle!

If you can’t find Red Hots specifically, (they aren’t that common anymore) most grocery stores will carry something called “cinnamon imperial hearts” either in the baking or bulk candy aisle. Those will do just as well.
red hots cinnamon candy infused rum
The ratio that I used was 2 Tbsp of candies per 1 cup of rum, but you can adjust based on how strong you want the cinnamon flavor to be. It will also add sugar to the rum, sweetening it up quite a bit.
making candy infused rum
Combine your rum and candy, close off the container, and give it a good shake! It should immediately turn red. It will take an hour or two for the alcohol to completely dissolve the candy. Just let it sit on your counter for a while, giving it another shake every once in a while,
valentines day cinnamon rum drink
Once all the Red Hots are dissolved, you can move right on to taste testing! I like it over ice and topped with ginger ale, with some fun holiday garnishes. Here I used a pink sugar coated rim and a lollipop stirrer. I think I’ll call this little concoction “Cupid’s Flaming Arrow”… what do you think?
cinnamon rum and ginerale
If you’re making candy infused booze as a fun Valentine’s gift, you might add a nice label and some ribbon. Done. Move over chocolates and flowers, RUM is this year’s romantic gift of choice! <3
Red Hot candy infused rum
Cheers and Happy Valentines Day! We love you all!!! <3

Make Your Own Flavored Coffee Syrups

make your own flavored coffee syrups

You guys! I got an espresso machine for Christmas this year and it might be the best thing that’s ever happened! I’ve had to limit myself to only making lattes on weekend mornings, or I would be a total caffeine crazed maniac 24/7. I’ve been a little obsessed with all the possibilities this opens up for my daily coffee fix, and in the midst of all that orange-mocha-frappachino dreaminess I made some flavored syrups. They turned out to be incredibly easy, and surprisingly versatile!

You know that lineup of sweet Italian syrups they use at Starbucks to make your regular latte a hazelnut, pumpkin spice, or cinnamon dolce? These are just like those, and quick and easy to whip up at home. You can use them in an espresso drink, regular coffee, hot chocolate, tea, cocktail…. virtually anything that you would normally sweeten with regular sugar, but this way it’s just… fancier. I made four flavors: vanilla, almond, dulce de leche, and cinnamon. (Side note: you only see two flavors pictured above because I only had two cute glass bottles on hand, but I promise the other two are just as good!)

easy coffee syrups

The recipe for these syrups couldn’t be simpler: Mix equal parts water and sugar. Heat until dissolved. Add desired flavoring. Pour into a bottle. Done.

making cinnamon syrup with whole cinnamon sticks

Just start with a basic simple syrup: sugar supersaturated into water. Based on the size of my containers I used one cup of each. Heat the sugar and water mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved. Then, stir in your flavor (amounts of each below) and continue to heat until just a bit thickened.

DIY cinnamon coffee syrup

For Dulce de Leche syrup: add 2-3 tbsp dulce de leche sauce (this works the same with caramel sauce)

For Vanilla syrup: add 1 tsp of vanilla extract

For Almond: add 1 tsp of almond extract

For Cinnamon: add 2-4 whole cinnamon sticks, depending on size of sticks and desired amount of flavor

DIY flavored coffee syrups

These are so easy to make, it’s no problem to make one of each to have a whole arsenal of flavor on hand. Having overnight guests or hosting brunch? Your new barista skills are sure to impress! Did I mention these are perfect for iced coffee? The sugar is already dissolved, so they mix in easily.

So. Many. Options.

Blood Bar: 3 Halloween Cocktails

Frankenmelon Cocktail

1) The Frankenmelon:

This creepy concoction is a mash-up of flavors made with 1.5 oz of vodka, 1 oz of melon liquor, and topped off with 3 oz of ginger ale. Shake vodka and melon liquor over ice and strain into a chilled glass. Top with cold ginger ale and add creepy garnishes like a spider ice cube or a gummy worm.

To make the blood dripping rim, mix equal parts corn syrup and strawberry syrup in a small sauce pan. Boil on medium high for about 2 minutes. Allow this mixture to cool fully (it will thicken as it cools). Paint onto the inside rim of your glass using a spoon or small paint brush.

Blood Sample Vodka Shots

2) Blood Sample Shooters:

Spook your guests with these layered vodka shots that are made to look like separated blood samples. The “red blood cells” are made from raspberry puree and the “serum” from vodka mixed with a splash of orange juice.

To make, cook down some frozen raspberries along with a few spoonfuls of sugar over medium heat, just until the sugar dissolves. Blend to make a puree, then strain out seeds using a mesh strainer. Pour an inch or so of raspberry puree into the bottom of each test-tube shooter glass. Mix 1.5 oz of vodka with a small splash of orange juice, and slowly pour down the side of the tube to layer.

Halloween Shots
Serve these chilled. The raspberry puree acts as a kind of “chaser” for the vodka shot!

Blood Drop Gin & Tonic

3) Blood Drop

This one is an eerie looking twist on a classic gin and tonic. Prepare the blood-dripping rim the same way as described above, then pour 1 oz of grenadine into the bottom of the glass. Slowly pour 1.5 oz of your favorite gin (or vodka if you prefer) down the side of the glass to float on top of the denser layer of grenadine. Gently top off with Tonic water so as not to stir up the “blood drop” at the bottom.

The most fun part about this one is that tonic water will glow under a blacklight, making this classic combination perfect for a Halloween party! Cheers!

Blood Drop Glowing Cocktail

Quick Mulled Wine with Baked Spiced Oranges

Quick Mulled Orange Wine

When we were at school, Hayley and I would go to a German festival with our friends and get a glass of hot, mulled wine.  It was spicy and sweet, and was the perfect drink to warm you from the inside out – it just tasted like fall!  I really wanted to make some for myself, but to be honest, I wasn’t really excited about making a syrup and stewing fruit.  Sometimes you just can’t wait for your wine!  This quick mulled wine combines warm spices with sweet baked oranges and is the perfect drink for a fall evening.  I also tried the oranges in hot passion fruit tea, and even ate some by themselves at work.  They are so, so good! The smell of the oranges baking in the oven brought back so many memories, and really got me ready for the season.  You’ve got to try this!!

Baked cinnamon orangesIngredients:

-fresh oranges

-whole cloves, 3 per orange wedge

-ground cinnamon

-dry red wine

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash then slice your oranges into six wedges.  Stick three whole cloves into the rind of each wedge, and place on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle cinnamon on both sides of the orange slices, and put in the oven.  Bake for 15 minutes, let cool just to the touch, then squeeze two wedges into a glass.  Place the squeezed wedges in the glass and pour your wine over top.  Enjoy immediately, or let soak overnight – both options are delicious!!

Spiced Oranges in red wine

French 75 Cocktail

French_75_cocktail_4

Okay, you caught me. This is not a recipe that I developed in my own kitchen. The French 75 is a classic champagne cocktail, invented in Paris around 1915. It packs a punch, and is said to have the same potency as the 75 mm field gun used by the French army during World War I, hence the name. Though I didn’t invent this one, I did give it a small twist. Remember the lemon simple syrup that we made along with the candied lemon peel recipe a few posts back? It’s perfect for this cocktail, so I replaced the regular simple syrup with that!
French_75_cocktail_1
Here’s what you will need:

– 1.5 oz gin
– 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
– 1/2 oz lemon simple syrup
– 3 oz champagne

This is an easy drink to make. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the gin, lemon juice, and lemon simple syrup and shake well. Strain into a glass over a few ice cubes, then top it off with champagne. Garnish with a twist of lemon or a lemon wedge, and serve! Your guests will love this one, it’s refreshing and not too sweet.
French_75_cocktail_2
The French 75 is traditionally served in a champagne flute, but we didn’t have any, so I used a stemless martini glass instead. Sometimes you just have to break the rules…
French_75_cocktail_3
While gin isn’t usually my favorite, I am a big fan of this cocktail. It tastes like a very sophisticated hard lemonade. Give it a try for your next get together, I promise it will be a crowd pleaser!

Summer Blackberry Margaritas

DSC_0719

It’s August, and the blackberries in our back yard are finally getting ripe! I went out to pick some after a long day at the office, and after a few pricks and snags (blackberry bushes are VERY thorny!) I decided the best way to put these little gems to use would be in a batch of margaritas!

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DSC_0672
Margaritas are one of my favorite summertime cocktails, they always seem to put people in a relaxed and festive mood. Blackberries make a great compliment to the traditional tangy lime flavor, not to mention add some rich color (and probably some health benefits too, right???)

DSC_0687

For a batch of 4 you will need:
– 2 cups of fresh blackberries
– 1/2 cup of simple syrup (or to taste)
– 1/2 cup of triple sec
– 2/3 cup of tequila
– juice of 3 limes
– coarse sea salt for the rim of your glasses

DSC_0695Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 10 – 15 seconds should do. Next, pour the liquid through a mesh strainer into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. This step can be a bit tedious, but is definitely necessary, because getting tons of raspberry seeds stuck in your teeth is really no fun. You can help the process along by pressing the juice against the strainer with a small rubber spatula.
DSC_0723Now tighten the lid and give that baby a good shake. Prep your glasses by running a lime wedge around each rim, and dipping each glass into a saucer of sea salt to coat. Fill up each glass with ice cubes, and pour. Garnish with a lime wedge or a few whole berries and sip away!
DSC_0715Cheers to Summer! It’s not over yet!