A recent trip to Boston provided me with the opportunity to try a gin new to US markets. Full disclosure: I am very fond of gin and happen to think it is marvelous mixed with tonic or swirled with vermouth in a classic martini.
No.3 Gin has a great story to back up its superb flavor. With over 300 years of gin making experience, Berry Bros. & Rudd know a thing or two about gin. Made from a proprietary recipe of three fruits and three spices, No.3 Gin is a traditional London Dry Gin.
The fruits are Italian juniper, Spanish orange peel and grapefruit peel. The spices are angelica root, Moroccan coriander seed and cardamom. Gin is so fantasticly flavorful, a vodka martini simply cannot compare a well made gin martini.
If you happen to have a gin drinker on your holiday list, I promise that No.3 Gin will surely delight.
Before today's post, I would like to apologize for being so absent in the last few months. I have been hard at work on a project that is launching in the fall and I cannot wait to tell you about it but I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement so mum's the word for now. I also underestimated the amount of work that goes into sending a child with serious health issues off to kindergarten in the fall – This I will place into the I wish life could be easier file. Finally, Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking (Sterling, November 2011) is quickly becoming a reality, I am so excited for the book to be in my hands (and yours), only 5 short months.
Peace, love and kindness to you ~ Kimberly
Now onto the mint of the matter…
I mojitos. I happen to think they are the ultimate summer refresher but I have always wished they could be made with the ease of a perfect gin and tonic.
Then I remembered that in my past life I was the juice wizard for Fresh Samantha so I figured out an easier way to make perfect mojitos for a crowd. No muddler needed, blender required. The recipe development work was tough stuff, let me tell you. Ha!
It starts with a minty lime syrup whipped up in a blender. Then you make a drink base with white rum and limemade (homemade or store-bought – your choice). I made my syrup with Minute Maid Limeade Concentrate and used Newman's Own for the limeade. All of the recipes are below
Heidi has an excellent recipe for homemade limeade concentrate if you are interested in doing everything from scratch and are adverse to corn syrup. I generally pass on corn syrup but I was going for easy here and I promise I am not drinking mojitos on a daily basis.
Lime and Mint Syrup
2/3 cup packed mint leaves
1 (12 oz.) can frozen limeade concentrate
Add the two ingredients to a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a jar or bottle. This can be kept in the freezer for up to one month.
Mojito Drink Base
one recipe of Lime and Mint Syrup (above)
1 1/4 cups white rum
1 1/4 cups limeade (homemade or store-bought)
Add ingredients to a 1-qt. container and shake well. Store in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to make Mojitos in a Minute. You should have a plan for mojitos when you make-up this base, it only holds well for a few days before the mint flavor starts to diminish.
Mojitos in a Minute
(I will be inserting a photo at some point in the future – I forgot to snap one)
Mojito Drink Base (recipe above)
slices of lime and fresh mint sprigs (optional garnish)
Fill one or several tall glasses with ice. Fill half the glass with the Mojito drink base and top with club soda. Add a straw and give the drink a good stir. If desired, garnish with lime slices and fresh mint. And before you can say muddle, you are enjoying one perfectly easy, exceptionally refreshing mojito.
Cool, minty lime bliss!
PS – If you have non-drinkers in the crowd, you can make a virgin Mojito: Fill a tall glass with ice, fill with 1/2 limeade and 1/2 club soda leaving a small amount of room for 1-2 Tbsp. of Minty Lime Syrup (1st recipe above). Give the drink a quick stir with a straw.
Today is International Women’s Day, a holiday created during the rapid industrialization of the early 20th century and observed in countries around the globe for a century.
On March 8th, 1908, 15,000 women protested in New York, marching for voting rights, shorter hours and better pay. In 1910, delegates to the second annual International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen unanimously approved an International Women’s Day, an occasion to lobby worldwide for women’s rights.
The holiday was officially declared as March 8th, in 1913, and has been reinvented many times since its inception, receiving official sanction from the UN in 1975.
So head over to The Franklin Cafe in the South End tonight from From 9pm-2am and celebrate by raising a glass with the ladies of LUPEC.
This is Nicole Lebedevitch (a.k.a. Amber Dream) of Eastern Standard mixing drinks at a previous punch party.
What is a Harvey Wallbanger you might ask? It is a 1960′s era cocktail inspired by a California surfer named Harvey who, after a bad day, had a few too many of these tasty tipples. In an attempt to exit the bar, Harvey walked into a couple walls and the name of the drink was born. We think it is a witty, little tale. The recipe is offered below.
Galliano is a 100 year-old Italian cordial created by Arturo Vaccari. He wanted to send his amici to the American gold rush with a souvenir of their homeland. The signature flavor of Galliano is vanilla but there are also delicate hints of cinnamon, peppermint, juniper and anise.
My first experience with Galliano was as a teenager (and no it is not what you think). Flavorista Julie’s dad used to order Galliano as his after dinner drink; it always seemed exotic to me. With its signature bottle and yellow hue, Galliano is sure to be a crowd pleaser and conversation starter during your next gathering.
The Original Harvey Wallbanger:
There is no substitute for the Galliano so pick up a bottle for your holiday parties.
1.25 oz. vodka
3 oz. orange juice
0.50 oz. Galliano
1 slice orange
Fill a tall glass with ice and add the vodka and orange juice. Float Galliano on top and stir. Garnish: An orange slice
A recent trip to Mexico preceded by Natural Products Expo inspired this post. Coconut water is a natural isotonic. Next to water it is the best way to rehydrate if you are dehydrated which is the main reason why athletes and weekend warriors alike are buying the retail brands Zico and O.N.E.
I’ve tasted most of the retail coconut waters and can safely say that aside from having fresh coconut water right out of the coconut, the two brands mentioned are the best -bar none.
This is because the water is extracted from young coconuts, or rather coconuts that are about 7 months into their maturing process. The meat of the coconut has not yet developed. Zico and O.N.E. are manufactured in their country of origin which is Brazil.
Coconut water takes a little getting used to which is why these brands are adding natural flavor. Believe it or not but coconut waters do vary in flavor, not only from country to country but from tree to tree,
The Mexican coconuts above were very different in taste. The one on the right, known as Naranja because of its orange color, was sweeter than the greener ones on the left.
On Cozumel, I saw many coconut water cocktails. There was one called Mexican Gatorade which was made with rum that claimed you wouldn’t get a hangover from it. Indeed because of its rich potassium content, it does make a great refresher if you over imbibe. I like to make agua frescas using coconut water. With all this hot summer weather, this recipe is worth a try.
Using fresh is great but then you are left with having to deal with getting the meat out. The coconut pictured above is actually a mature coconut that I used in Shanghai while developing drinks for a client.
The recipes below use O.N.E. brand in the quart size package. I chose watermelon as the Chinese believe watermelon to be very cooling. You can try using strawberries and mangoes. If you use frozen fruit, you can omit the ice.
Depending on the sweetness of the fruit, you might not need any simple syrup. Simple syrup is made easily by boiling 1 cup water with 1 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool before using. During the summer I store simple syrup in the refrigerator so that I can make homemade lemonade and agua frescas anytime.
Coconut Agua Fresca
2 cups coconut water
1 cup fresh watermelon or cantelope, no rind
a few cubes of ice
simple syrup, to taste (Kim’s mint syrup would be a great choice)
In a blender place the ice, coconut water and cut up melon. Process until all the ice is broken up.
Add simple syrup, 3 Tbsp. at a time, until you get it to your desired sweetness. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
It has been a very hot week around these parts and we Mainers are not accustomed to such heat for such a long time. Mealtimes around here have consisted of watermelon, blueberries, cherries and toast. One night I got a little crazy and made some scrambled eggs. Other than popsicles, it is simply too hot to eat.
A few housekeeping notes as we head into the weekend. If you have been missing Barr’s posts, fret not. She is traveling internationally for work and has only intermittent internet access. I am shooting to still get three posts out a week, but if I am remiss, please forgive me. We’ll be back to full strength and more posts in no time.
I am working on a vegetarian version of Slow Cooker Boston Baked Beans for Meatless Monday, many thanks to flavorista Margaret for the timely idea.
When I read this post on food52, I knew that the mint syrup portion of the limeade would be making an appearance at my house over the summer. Might it be possible to make a mojito-like cocktail without muddling? Mint Juleps also quickly came to mind.
I am happy to report yeses on the cocktail front, but wait there’s more! The original mint limeade is ultra-refreshing and not cloyingly sweet. The mint syrup is also a superlative sweetener for classic iced tea.
For mint juleps without muddling, make the mint syrup (recipe below). Mix together 1 cup of good quality bourbon and 1/4 cup of the mint syrup. Pour over shaved iced and if desired garnish with fresh mint. This makes about 6 drinks. The mixture can be refrigerated for an otherwise fussy cocktail at the ready. We don’t suggest you wait until the Kentucky Derby and do feel free to don a fancy hat.
In addition to tipples, this mint syrup can be drizzled over cut fruit and/or berries for a Four Seasons, fancy pants fruit salad. If I were a better planner, I would have saved a sprig of fresh mint for the photo above. Just the tiniest bit of syrup is needed to accent an otherwise everyday dish of fruit.
There are many versions of beer and lemonade cocktails. The English have shandies, the Germans have Radlers and the French have Panachés. I am going to have to side with the French on this one.
I learned about this beer cocktail many moons ago at a Summer Fancy Food Show and have been enjoying it every summer since. The French lemonade can be a bit hard to find. When I see it, I stock up. Any type of bottled, effervescent lemonade can be substituted.
What I like about Panaché is that it knocks the alcohol content down a bit and ups the hydration factor – perfect for summer sipping. These beer cocktails are very refreshing and definitely easy to drink.
Chilled French Lemonade
Chilled Lager Beer
Fill a glass half full with lemonade, top with lemonade beer (thanks for catching the typo Eliza & Kitty). If serving a crowd, prepare the panache in a pitcher.Santé!