In our last article we gave some unique ways to flavor liquor. The idea was to infuses them in one month, then see how they turned out and pair them with different mixers to create unique cocktails that you can try at home. There were seven infusions that were created. Berry Basil Vodka, Grilled Grapefruit & Pink Salt Tequila, Cucumber Melon Gin, Apple Pie Bourbon, Lemon Lavender Vodka, Smoked Pineapple Spiced Rum, and Spicy Garden Vegetable Vodka . Each one had some interesting results on their own.
For example, the berry basil vodka is tasty, but if you keep the basil in the vodka too long, it gets a medicinal flavor, so take the basil out after one day or it may taste like cold medicine. The cucumber melon gin has a weird pickle flavor if the mixture sits too long, so only let it marinate for about a week. The smoked pineapple spiced rum is way too spicy if you add to many cloves, allspice or star anise as I did with my first batch. The spicy pickled vegetable vodka started out with me using mostly pickled vegetables. It ended up tasting way too much like pickles and not enough like vodka, so we adjusted it to using fresh vegetables. Beware of the habaneros, They do add a kick. With that said, here are the seven cocktails that made the grade for this cocktail article.
Cocktail number one was made using the Berry Basil Vodka. Hmmm, let’s see, what goes good with berry flavored vodka? ICE CREAM! A creamy, berry basil vodka float. Creamy vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry sorbet layered with berry basil vodka and lime soda. OMG! That’s a kiddy concept with an adult whollop. I think it should be called The Titanic, because it starts out afloat, but after three or four, you end up a sunken wreck. Take a tall glass, alternate two spoonfuls each of vanilla ice cream and raspberry sorbet. Top with about one and a half ounces of berry basil vodka. Top with lemon lime soda or seltzer. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and a basil sprig. Cheers!
Cocktail number two was made using the Grilled Grapefruit Tequila with Pink Salt. Come on, this one was easy. Margaritas anyone? We combined grilled grapefruit tequila, agave nectar, grapefruit juice and ice. You know the drill. Fill a blender with ice and about a tablespoon or two of agave nectar. Add about 1/3 of the blender with the grapefruit tequila. Add 2/3 sweetened pink grapefruit juice till the ice just starts to float. Blend until thick, but slushy. Pour into pink salt rimmed margarita glasses and serve with a grapefruit twist. Arrribbba!
One of my favorite drinks in the summer is a mojito. I love the combination of mint and lime. Therefore, it was natural to pair these with our next infused booze, the Melon Cucumber Gin. Add 2-3 honey dew melon balls, two chunks of seedless cucumber, two mint sprigs and a wedge of lime to the bottom of shaker glass. Muddle with a drink muddler or the back of a long spoon. Add ice and about a third of a glass of the flavored gin. Add a few extra melon balls. Shake and pour into a tall Collins glass. Top with soda water or lemon lime soda. Serve with a slice of lime and a mint sprig for a garnish. The combination of mint, melon and cucumber with the undertone of gin is extremely refreshing and flavorful. Gigiggittiuup!
Cocktail number four just happens to be perfect for this time of the year. Our Apple Pie Bourbon, which by the way is delicious by itself on the rocks or neat. Another tribute to childhood was the inspiration for this one. The Whiskey Slush. Wisconsinites are more familiar with this being made with brandy, but since Wisconsin consumes most of the nation’s brandy, we thought we’d use it with something you might find at the liquor store. American Kentucky bourbon. Did you know that in order to be called bourbon whiskey must be distilled in Kentucky? Me either till recently. There, you can now say you learned something. Anyway, what goes good with Apple Pie Whiskey? Turns out fresh apple cider does. Pour about two cups of apple pie bourbon into a bowl. Add about two cups of fresh apple cider. You know, that really good apple cider you can only get at your favorite apple orchard in the fall? Stir well and pour into a one quart pan. Transfer to the freezer, making sure it is level. Freeze for eight hours or up to one week. When you’re ready for some yummy, spoon about two thirds of a rocks glass with the frozen slush. Top with orange juice, stir and serve. This one is a great way of surviving the holidays.
Cocktail number five is designed for those classy kids out there who like a classy cocktail. The Lemon Lavender Vodka gets paired with champagne a sugar cube and a sprig of lavender. I’m feeling richer already just talking about it. This one is great at the polo club while discussing the outrageous profits you made on the market today to your bestie. Pick whatever champagne you like. Trailer style or mansion worthy, this drink has a nice lemony floral flavor that’s great with either.
Since it is going to start getting colder soon, number six was developed to ward off the winter doldrums. We combined the Smoked Pineapple Spiced Rum with hot coconut water and caramel flavored ice cream for a hot toddie with an island twist that will have you saying “Ya Mon” . Heat about one cup of coconut water in a sauce pan. Pour about one and a half ounces of spiced pineapple rum in a toddy glass. Add hot water, then top with a generous spoonful of caramel ice cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Stir and serve. Then repeat, repeat, repeat. Who cares about old man winter after that?
Our last cocktail is an old classic with a new twist. The bloody mary that everyone loves during football games because somehow it’s acceptable to drink at eight o’clock in the morning if the booze is mixed with tomato juice. I always love the concept of the bloody mary until I get one. I always get about half way through with it and then I’m done with them. So, I thought hey, what if the bloody mary was the size of that snit of beer, and the beer was, well, full sized? Sounds just my style. After all, anyone who’s made bloody mary’s knows what a pain they can be when you have to make more than say four or five. This way, you can make a big batch, and they’ll last all game. We combined our Spicy Pickled Vegetable Vodka with all the standard bloody mary fixins to create what Jena calls a Dirty Gardener. Sounds like the title of a Harold Robbins book right? In a one quart glass measuring cup combine one cup spicy pickled vegetable vodka, two and a half cups of your favorite tomato juice, three dashes of Worcestershire sauce, a teaspoon of horseradish, a splash of hot sauce and some ground black pepper. Stir well and refrigerate until ready to serve. To spice it up a little, we brought back a couple heroes from our previous articles on flavored bacon and morel mushrooms. The jalapeno bacon is a great garnish for the shot size glass of bloody mary. To make it extra special, I like to coat the rim with our Morel Seasoning. Feel free to use celery salt of whatever seasoning trips your trigger. When you’re ready to go, just pour shot size glasses of the prepared Dirty Gardener into shot glasses and serve with a mug of your favorite brew. Feel free to use whatever size glass you want, but while your making another batch every half hour, I’ll be enjoying the game.
Well, that’s it for the drinks. We hope you enjoy these simple cocktails and the infused booze they are made with. If you’re looking for a creative pressent to send your loved ones for the holidays this year, simply pour the flavored liquors into decorative bottles and add some homemade labels. That will keep you good graces with the relatives for awhile. Until next time, remember to cook with love and live to cook.