Category Archives: Cocktails

Bar Stool Fridays – Mango Citrus Cooler

So, if you caught my post yesterday, you probably understand why I’m avoiding alcohol.  So for the next few weeks, things will probably look different here on Fridays.

That doesn’t mean I don’t still want to enjoy happy hour on Fridays, though.  I can still pull out my cocktail shaker and mix up some drinks for me and the teetotalers I know.  That way we don’t feel like we are missing out on all the fun.  And, if I can get an infusion of Vitamin C, all the better.

Mango Citrus Cooler
Makes 1 drink

5 ounces mango nectar
2 1/2 ounces orange juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
club soda
orange wedge for garnish, optional
lime wedge for garnish, optional

In an ice-filled shaker, combine mango nectar, orange juice, and lime juice.  Shake well.  Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice.  Top off with club soda.  Garnish with citrus fruit.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Autumn Sangria

My husband and I recently visited my parents in Laredo, Texas.  Now, not to rub it in or anything, but the weather was pretty great.  Sunny.  Warm, but not hot.  Not humid.  Pretty great.

I was in the mood for a beverage with fall flavors, but I wanted to drink something refreshing that would be nice over ice…a drink for us to enjoy as we sat in the sun on the patio by the pool.

Autumn Sangria
Makes 8 servings

1 orange, sliced
1 apple, diced
1 lemon, sliced
1 bottle full-bodied and fruity red wine
1/2 cup brandy
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 – 4 Tbsp orange simple syrup (see note below)

Add fruit to pitcher.

Pour in wine and brandy.  Add cloves and cinnamon stick.  Add simple syrup and stir.

Serve over ice.

To make orange simple syrup combine 1 1/2 cups sugar with 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan.  Add 1 Tbsp of orange zest and stir.  Simmer over medium heat until sugar dissolved and syrup is slightly thickened.  It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Soothing Toddy

With fall officially here, it is time to indulge in one of my cool weather favorites…the hot toddy.  It is a much needed balm when it is damp and cold and I’m recovering from a sinus infection.  The warm alcoholic drink soothes my sore throat and warms me all over.

You can use any type of spirit for your hot toddy.  The traditional recipe is a mix of whiskey, hot water, sugar, and lemon or orange.  I recommend you avoid the cheapest bottles, though.  I think the heat can make the alcohol taste even sharper, so I go with one of my favorite (and affordable) standbys – Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon.

Bourbon Hot Toddy
Makes 1 drink

lemon slice studded with cloves
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
pinch of grated nutmeg
1 1/2 ounce bourbon
4 to 6 ounces boiling water
1 cinnamon stick

Drop the clove-studded lemon slice into the bottom of your heat-resistant mug.  Add sugar, nutmeg, and bourbon.  Pour in hot water and stir with cinnamon stick.


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Bar Stool Fridays – Dog Walking Adventures

The sun was shining and it felt warm on our skin.  Charley and I had encountered very few U.G.O.s (unidentified ground objects that he tries to consume) or chicken bones (yes, I live in a community where folks really throw chicken bones on the ground) on our daily midday walk around the neighborhood.  We didn’t pass anybody dealing drugs, I didn’t catch a whiff of urine from the alley…I may have even been smiling.  I was really enjoying this walk.

Now, I am definitely not a fearful person.  I walk through life with confidence, but I try to always be aware of my surroundings and I am far from trusting strangers.  However, I had no reason to be suspicious of the car driving toward us.  The driver had his window down with his arm resting on the frame.  He also seemed to be enjoying this lovely day.  And, because I look quite different than most individuals in my neighborhood and I may have been smiling, I was not surprised that he looked our way.  I didn’t find it threatening.  I was not even surprised when he stopped the car and began to speak to me.  Charley was paused to sniff what most have been a particularly fragrant section of tree and he also didn’t feel threatened by this man in the car.

“Uh wahh wahh meh like yah wahh that big black dawg?”

He was smiling when he said this, so for some reason my brain didn’t register this as something with which I should be troubled.  I smiled and replied, “What’s that?”

“Yew wanna walk me like your walkin’ that big black dawg?”

Hmmm…that was not what I expected to hear.  I thought he was going to ask for directions or comment on Charley’s size or shiny coat.  I had no expectation that someone driving down the road would pull over and ask a strange woman if she would walk him like a dog.  No expectation.

Once my brain processed what he actually said (and it did take me a couple of beats), I replied, “No.  No, thank you.”  (I have to say thank you ’cause I’m from Texas and we are nothing if not polite.)

He shrugged.  I turned away and Charley and I continued down the block as he drove away in the opposite direction.  My smile actually came back as we walked on because I found the exchange more amusing than intimidating.  I shook my head and thought, “This is why I enjoy so many bloody cocktails.”

So, I decided to make one.  Literally.  Well, with blood oranges…

This drink is inspired by the classic tequila cocktail, the Compadre, which translates to friend/partner from Spanish.  So, I’m calling it the Vecina Amiga, or the Friendly Neighbor.  Yeah, I am using the feminine, but it is pink.

The Vecina Amiga
Makes 1 drink

2 ounces tequila (I used silver)
1 ounce Campari
3 or 4 ounces blood orange soda (see NOTE)
lime wedge, for garnish

Shake the tequila and Campari vigorously with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.  Top with blood orange soda and stir gently.  Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.  Maybe you can even make one for your friendly neighbor.

NOTE: I found the “gourmet” blood orange soda in a local grocery store.  If you cannot find a similar product, mix equal parts of blood orange or grapefruit juice and club soda.  Taste, and if it needs to be sweeter, add a splash of simple syrup.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Bacon and Bourbon

Yay…more food gifts for the Cook in a Bar household!  Our friends Dave and Laura gifted us with some bacon flavored syrup and the suggestion we use it in a cocktail.

We thought that was an excellent idea and what better combination for bacon than bourbon?  And what better time to have both bacon and bourbon than at breakfast?

Bacon and Bourbon Milk Punch
Makes 1 drink

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce creme de cacao
4 ounces whole milk
1/2 ounce bacon flavored syrup
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg

Shake the liquid ingredients and cinnamon vigorously in an ice-filled shaker.  Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass.  Sprinkle the top with nutmeg.

Kick off your weekend right and serve these up for brunch.  You won’t be sorry.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Bourbon Obsession

Should I be worried?

In honor of National Bourbon Heritage Month, I thought I’d share part of our collection of bourbon bottles.

My husband and I have long enjoyed bourbon, but since we returned from Kentucky, my husband has really ramped up his purchases.  Don’t misunderstand.  I certainly reap the benefits of his buying habits, but….I wonder if we should be plotting our roadtrips around shops that stock hard-to-find bottles of bourbon?  Or should a trip to the farmers’ market have to paired with a trip to a liquor store?  Is it bad that we cannot drive or walk by a sign that reads “spirits” without stopping to search for dusty bottles?

Hmmm…let me think about that while I sip this Manhattan.

Makes 1 drink

2 ounces premium bourbon
1 ounce sweet vermouth
2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
splash of Maraschino liqueur or juice from jar of Maraschino cherries
Maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters in an ice-filled shaker.  Strain into glass.  I prefer to drink it with ice.  Garnish with cherry and add a splash of liquid from jar.

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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 – Hurricane Irene

Dear Irene,

Please play  nice.  You see, we here on the East Coast really don’t need your rain and wind.  Wouldn’t you rather become a mild little thunderstorm and bring some much needed rain to Texas?  I think that drought-stricken state would be very grateful to you as a tropical storm.  It is pretty simple to get there.  Turn left and go due west, just past Louisiana.  You can’t miss it.

Thanks for considering my request.

Cook in a Bar

My thoughts and good wishes are with the folks along North Carolina’s Outer Banks and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  I hope Irene isn’t too harsh on you and your homes.

Please understand that I’m not advocating hunkering down and drinking away your sorrows like some old-timers used to do in locales like New Orleans.  I am, however, suggesting that everyone think about the people who will be impacted by the storm this weekend.  And, if it suits you, drink to their good health and fortune.

You might even consider making this drink – my version of a hurricane.  So, the original drink often calls for passion fruit juice or at least maraschino cherry juice to give the drink a pinkish hue..  No luck finding passion-fruit juice in local grocery stores that are being cleaned out in preparation for the storm.  But, as everyone should do in times of emergency, I got creative.  Luckily, I had a pitcher of watermelon agua fresca that I knew would add a bit of red color and a tropical flavor.  I suppose you could use another red juice (cranberry?  kool-aid?), if you prefer.

Hurricane Irene
Makes 1 drink

1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce watermelon agua fresca
2 ounces orange juice
1 ounce lime juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
dash of Angostura bitters

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake vigorously.  Strain into a crushed ice-filled goblet or wine glass.

I wish everyone a safe and dry weekend.


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Bar Stool Fridays – Cure for What Ails Ya

After a week of alcohol related posts, I thought it appropriate to provide a recipe for when you’ve been having much too good a time with too much of a good thing.  You know what I’m talking about here, right?

Yep, that’s right.  Hangovers.  Ugh.

I’d like to say that now that I’m older it never happens to me, but that would be a lie.  I sometimes lose track and overindulge.  Nothing horrible, mind you, but it has its impact, nonetheless.

I always enjoy hearing about what works for folks the morning after a night of revelry.  Is it a sports drink and reality TV?  Drive-through breakfast and Diet Coke?  Bloody Marys with your ham and eggs?  The raw egg in your Prairie Oyster drink?  I also get a kick out of reading recipes for archaic methods like the classic “corpse reviver” cocktails that basically just prolong your inebriation, like a combination of brandy, applejack, and sweet vermouth.

What causes the pain of a hangover?  Your body is suffering from dehydration and malnutrition.  Alcohol saps your body of water and drains it of its supply of vitamins and nutrients.

My strategy is to avoid a hangover from the start.  Yeah, I know that the obvious solution is to drink in moderation, but …well, you know.  So, anyway, I find that trying to consume a lot of water helps me to stay hydrated.  I drink water both before partaking of alcohol and during the consumption.  I also try to eat, especially something with sugar.  Dessert, anyone?  This helps slow the absorption of alcohol in my body.

The next day I try to drink even more water, but I also find some bubbles (carbonation) can soothe my stomach.  My mother swears by Lemon Schwepps.  While I also enjoy the flavor of bitters and club soda, if I’m feeling ambitious or I have a sympathetic bartender, I try to go for a bit of Vitamin C, too.  It goes great with breakfast tacos, which are a part of my favorite morning after meal.

Spicy Campari and Orange Juice
Makes 1 drink

1 ounce Campari (bitter orange liqueur)
2 ounces orange juice
1/2 oz chile pepper infused simple syrup (see below)
3 to 5 ounces of chilled club soda

Combine Campari, juice, and simple syrup in an ice-filled shaker.  Shake well.  Strain into an ice-filled glass.  Top with club soda.

Sip slowly and take off those sunglasses.

Chile Pepper Infused Simple Syrup – Regular readers of this blog may have figured out by now that I always have some simple syrup on hand.  It is indeed simple so there is no reason not to.  In a small saucepan, combine equal parts water and sugar (1 cup is easy) over medium  heat.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  If you want to flavor your syrup, say with chile peppers or lemon or ginger, add the pieces now and let it simmer for just a minute.

Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool and the flavors infuse.  Strain out the addition before using.  It can be stored in a covered container in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks, so you can always have some on hand to flavor your cocktails.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Herbal Limeade

This post is due to the influence of two remarkable women in my life.  One, is my sister-in-law Sarah, who gently and without prejudice, pointed out to me that not all of my readers enjoy alcohol quite as much as I apparently do.  Point taken and appreciated, thank you.

The other is my amazing friend Wendy who is one of my biggest champions and always pushes me to be more creative.  Wendy has decided to start presenting me with random ingredients and in Iron Chef style makes firm suggestions of what kind of dish I should make.  In this first example she offered me freshly picked Thai basil and demanded, I mean requested, I make a drink with it.

Okay, ladies, I hope you like the results.  This post is for you.  Thanks for the ongoing support.

Thai Basil and Mint Limeade
Makes about 24 oz

1/2 cup basil and mint infused simple syrup
zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups water or club soda
Thai basil sprigs for garnish

To make herbal infused simple syrup, combine equal parts of water and granulated sugar in a saucepan.  Heat on stovetop and stir until sugar dissolves.  Turn off heat and drop in sprigs of Thai basil and mint (about 1 to 2 oz) into the hot syrup.

Let the herbs steep until the syrup has cooled to room temperature.  Remove herbs.  Add lime zest.

Measure and pour syrup into pitcher.  Add an equal amount of fresh lime juice, and stir.  If you like it a little sweeter, add only half the amount of lime juice.

Now add water or club soda.  I added twice as much water as juice and syrup, but you may prefer a slightly weaker taste and may want to add more water.

Serve over ice with a sprig of Thai basil or mint for garnish.


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