Tag Archives: vodka

Bar Stool Fridays – Girl Scout Cookie Shots

I’ve got something in my pocket,
It belongs across my face,
And I keep it very close at hand
In a most convenient place.

I’m sure you couldn’t guess it
If you guessed a long, long while.
So, I’ll take it out and put it on -
It’s a great big Brownie smile!

As a girl, I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout.  I even worked for the national organization as an adult.  Luckily, I don’t think there are any pictures of me wearing the uniform as an adult.  Our office had access to cookies year-round and we kept them in the Cookie Closet.  I’m not kidding.  That is really what we called it.  My colleagues and I really enjoyed that closet and it made us quite popular around town, especially as supplies dwindled for civilians, even for those who hoard the cookies in their freezers.

While reminiscing with some of my former Girl Scout colleagues, we thought about all the happy hours we enjoyed together.  Wouldn’t it be great to combine our loves for alcohol and Girl Scout cookies?  They encouraged me to develop a drink or several drinks inspired by Girl Scout cookies.  Wonderful idea, I thought, and I decided to consult with my bartender brother, Tom.

He took the lead and created two delicious shooters.  One is inspired by the Thin Mint cookie and the other tastes like the chocolate and peanut butter Tagalong.  Each drink tastes like you are taking a big bite of cookie.  They are sure to bring a great big Brownie smile to your face, too.

Thin Mintastic
Makes 2 shooters

2 ounces vanilla vodka
1 ounce creme de menthe
1 ounce creme de cocoa

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously.    Strain and pour equally into two small glasses.  Toast your silver and gold friends.

Tagalong With Me
Makes 2 shooters

2 ounces vanilla vodka
1 ounce Frangelico
1 ounce creme de cocoa
1 ounce Castries peanut rum creme

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously.    Strain and pour equally into two small glasses.  Enjoy with a campfire.

We will go to work on the other cookie flavors soon!

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Bar Stool Fridays – Infused Vodkas

I think most commercially flavored vodka tastes like chemicals.  I don’t like it at all.  I do like the concept, however.

So I decided we should just make our own flavored vodka by infusing it with fresh fruit.  We made two different batches – one with lemons and limes and the other with fresh pineapple.  They both turned out beautifully and couldn’t be easier.

You just need fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs, vodka, a glass container, and time.  You may be tempted to use cheap vodka, but don’t – you’ll be disappointed.  Use a vodka that you don’t mind drinking.  You can also use another kind of spirit, too – be creative.

Lemon Lime Vodka
Makes one 750-mL bottle

3 – 5 limes, thinly sliced
3 – 5 lemons, thinly sliced
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Layer the citrus fruit along the bottom of a large glass container.

Pour in vodka.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

The citrus oils can be very strong tasting.  You may want to filter the vodka when you bottle it.

Discard the used fruit – all the flavor has been steeped out by the vodka.

My brother and his friend enjoyed this vodka so much on ice that they drank it before I had time to make a cocktail with it.

Pineapple Vodka
Makes one 750 mL bottle

1/2 to whole fresh pineapple
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Peel and dice the pineapple.  You can use one-half to a whole pineapple.

Arrange in the bottom of a glass container.

Pour vodka on top.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

Once you are ready to bottle, discard the used fruit.

New Orleans is hosting Tales of the Cocktail festival this weekend.  I wish I was there.  Instead, I made a cocktail like something I might sip there.

Tales of the Pineapple
Makes 1 drink

2 oz pineapple vodka
2 oz spiced rum
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz mango nectar or juice
2 oz orange juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker.  Shake well.

Serve over crushed ice with a pineapple slice garnish.  Goes well with sunshine and good company.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Ginger Beer

I’m a big fan of ginger beer.  I love that it has a bite and it isn’t too sweet.  It probably also helps that I associate it with good times and great weather.

Let’s get you started on building some fun associations of your own…

Homemade Ginger Beer
Makes about 4 quarts

2 1/2 pounds fresh ginger, roughly peeled
4 cups water, divided
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 8 limes)
2 1/2 to 3 cups of granulated sugar
Club soda/seltzer water

This is a lot of ginger, so you may want to enlist a helper or two for peeling, like I did.

Dump the ginger pieces in a blender or food processor with  2 cups of water and liquefy.  Strain the juice into a large bowl or pitcher.

Transfer the ginger pulp back to the blender or processor, add another cup of water, then liquefy again.  Strain again, adding the juice to your bowl or pitcher.

 

Repeat the step once more…ginger pulp, 1 cup of water, blitz, and strain.  Use your hands to squeeze the last of that goodness from the ginger pulp and release as much juice as possible.

Discard the ginger pulp.  Then, add lime juice and 2 1/2 cups of sugar to the ginger juice.  Stir well and give it a little taste.  It will have a really nice bite.  If you need more sugar, add just a little at a time until you reach the desired sweetness.

Pour about 4 cups into your serving pitcher.  Add an equal amount of club soda.  Stir and serve.

If you aren’t ready to drink immediately, hold off on adding the bubbles.  Just store covered in the refrigerator.  It will keep well for 3 or 4 weeks.  Shake or stir before serving.

I think ginger beer is a great nonalcoholic beverage to serve during the summer, but it is also pretty great in some cocktails…

Dark N’ Stormy
Makes 1 drink

2 oz dark rum (I like Gosling’s best)
1 tsp ginger simple syrup
3 to 4 oz ginger beer
1 – 2 lime wedges

Fill an old-fashioned glass with ice.  Add rum and ginger syrup.  Stir.  Top with ginger beer.   Squeeze lime wedge(s) over the drink and drop them in.

Moscow Mule
Makes 1 drink

2 oz vodka
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
4 oz ginger beer
lime wedge for garnish

Pour vodka and lime juice into an ice-filled tall glass.  Top with ginger beer and stir.  Squeeze the lime wedge over the drink and drop it in before sipping.

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Black Eyed Susans for the Preakness

Well, we made it.  We are all still here.  Congratulations!

Let’s celebrate by watching the Preakness and drinking Black Eyed Susans.

The Black Eyed Susan is the official drink of the Preakness Stakes, or the middle jewel of the Triple Crown.  It takes place in Baltimore at the Pimlico Race Course, which is the second oldest race track in the U.S.  The black eyed susan is not just a cocktail, though, it is also the state flower of Maryland.

I lived within walking distance of the Pimlico race track for a couple of years and attended the Preakness.  I was a poor graduate student at the time and could only afford tickets to the infield.  This is the grassy area inside the dirt race track.  There are no seats, so folks carry in lawn chairs, blankets, and old couches.  I’m not exaggerating.  During the Preakness it becomes packed with drunk young people who have forgotten that they are there to watch a horse race.  It has made for some interesting story-telling in my life.

I knew I could afford to buy one Black Eyed Susan while I was at the race (and therefore have a commemorative glass), but I made a pitcher-full of the drink for my friends to enjoy while we watched naked women mud-wrestle and caught glimpses of running thoroughbred 2 year-olds.

Black Eyed Susan
Makes 1 drink

3/4 oz vodka
1 1/4 oz whiskey (I used bourbon)
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
2 oz orange juice
orange slice and cherry, garnish

Combine alcohol, juices, and simple syrup in an ice-filled shaker.  Mix well.  Strain into a crushed ice-filled glass and garnish with an orange slice and cherry.  Enjoy in the cheap seats, or with the civilized bunch.

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Granita for Grown-ups

I often get a little carried away at the farmer’s market and it can be a struggle not to purchase more produce than we can use in a timely fashion.  Case in point – I picked up some locally-grown blueberries recently without a clear idea of what I would make with them.  They just looked yummy.  I started planning to make some more popsicles, but decided that I would rather have something with a bit more adult sophistication, instead.  Enter the blueberry basil granita.

With a recipe from Epicurious as my guide, I picked basil from our backyard to provide an herbal element that pairs well with fruit.  And with a nod to my dark side, I added a splash (or three) of citrus vodka.

Blueberry Basil Granita
Makes 4 servings

1 pint fresh blueberries
1/2 cup water
8 fresh basil leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp lime zest
4 tsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp citrus vodka (optional)

Wash the blueberries and pick out any stems.

Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Pour into an airtight container and freeze until slushy.  My batch took about 3 hours to reach the right consistency.

Scoop out into individual servings.

If you are feeling sophisticated, too, you can garnish each serving with a sprig of basil or a couple more blueberries.  If you are not feeling sophisticated, stick out your tongue stained blue with berry juice.

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