Saturday, June 18, 2016

Unexpected Uses for Cocktail Cherries

Any cocktail enthusiast will tell you that a better cherry will seriously up your cocktail game, but how about your food game??  The answer is yes, and I'm here to prove it to you.

I'm a firm believer that Luxardo makes the best cocktail cherry on the surface of the earth, and so naturally, these cherries have been creeping into all sorts of other recipes.  Breakfast?  Yes please.  Ice cream?  Hell yes.  Cheese Platters?  Bring. It. On.

Today I will be showing you 3 unexpected ways to use cocktail cherries, and therein, change your life.

First up: The Cherry Ice Cream Float

Ice cream floats are insanely delicious to begin with - but when you add a heavy drizzle of Luxardo syrup, they become nothing less than pure bliss.  I love this recipe because it replaces any artificial sweeteners or flavorings, and it is incredibly simple to make.  I also appreciate that it uses the leftover syrup of the cocktail cherries themselves, which is a shame to waste.

Cherry Ice Cream Float
Created by Gastronomista

1 oz Luxardo Cherry Syrup (From the Jar of Cherries)
1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream
Soda Water
Luxardo Cherries to Garnish

Build syrup and ice cream in a low ball cocktail glass, and top with soda water.  Serve with a metal straw, a spoon, and garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry or two.

Another favorite place to use cocktail cherries?  Breakfast

Luxardo Cherries are fabulous on a bowl of Greek Yogurt, especially when loaded up with granola, fresh fruit, toasted coconut flakes, and spiced chickpeas.  Add a drizzle of the cherry syrup for more sweetness, and enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Yogurt Bowl

Greek Yogurt
5-6 Luxardo Cherries (whole or diced)
1 T Toasted Coconut Flakes
1 T Spiced Chickpeas
1 T Granola
2 T Fresh Fruit
1/2 oz Luxardo Cherry Sryrup

Scoop fruit into a bowl and top with fruit, granola, coconut, chickpeas, and cherries.  Drizzle with cherry syrup and enjoy!

Last, but certainly not least, I want to share another entertaining tip and an unexpected use for cocktail cherries: Paired with Cheese!  I sneak Luxardo cherries into my cheese boards and pair with elegant white creamy cheeses like white gouda, ripened goats milk cheese, and even a creamy blue cheese.

Creamy cheeses pair really well with the sweetness of the cherries, and it can replace any other sweetener you would typically serve on a cheese plate (honey, jam, quince...).  Just remember, presentation is everything: build a decadent cheese platter with loads of crackers, fresh fruit, meats, nuts, and a selection of a few different cheeses.

Here are a few cheeses I recommend that pair beautifully with the cocktail cherries:

Jasper Hill Harbison – A soft-ripened cheese with a rustic bloomy ring

Cypress Grove Midnight Moon – Goat’s Milk from Northern California

Cypress Grove Bermuda Triangle – Goat’s Milk Soft Ripened Cheese with an Ash Rub

Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese – Cow’s Milk Blue Cheese aged in Roquefort Modeled Caves

Président Triple Cream Brie - Creamy Brie that is easily found in any grocery store

Luxardo Sources
Cherries 400g Jar - $23
Cherries 6 lb Tin - $77

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luxardo. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Friday, June 17, 2016

La Jefa - A Martini Made with Altos Plata and Bitter Aperitif

I came up with this cocktail about a year ago, early in my love affair with Altos Tequila, during a late night with friends and I was free styling new cocktail recipes.  Not long before, I had discovered a book called Beta Cocktails by Kirk Estopinal of Cure in New Orleans and Maksym Pazuniak.  Beta Cocktails is a self-published book you can buy on, and is one of the most dog-eared and post-it tagged in our library, a beloved treasure in our collection of cocktail books.

It was in this book that I discovered the Campari “Martini” – a simple martini made with Campari and saline solution.  This cocktail Blew. My. Mind.  It was also the time that I was understanding how martinis work: that they are like prisms and the vodka pulls apart flavor and makes each independent aromatic more distinct.  SO – in comes Altos Plata Tequila.  A gorgeous silver tequila that has a nice clarity, a clean taste of agave, and all that minerality that I love so much.  In short, it is a savory tequila.  Enter bitter aperitifs – the tequila in this martini is the prism, and pulls apart all those gorgeous aromatics found in a well-made bitters product.  Add a few drops of saline solution, and a few drops of hops distillate to add a spicy vegetal note to the cocktail and you have La Jefa – which means Boss Lady in Spanish.  This cocktail is a stunningly beautiful lady - but she is strong and powerful - lest you forget who is the boss.

The great thing about martinis is that you can prepare them one off or you can batch them and serve them in a classy martini pitcher.  Below are the proportions for both the batched version and the singular serving – because I know you are going to want to share this cocktail with friends. 
I hope you enjoy this cocktail as much as I do, I’m starting to think that this is my new Spirit Cocktail (is that a thing?).  Anyway….  It’s damn delicious, and it is a lovely martini variation for summer entertaining.

La Jefa
Created by Gastronomista
Serves 1

3 oz Altos Plata Tequila
1 oz Bitter Aperitif
2 drops Hops Distillate
2 drops Saline Solution (1 Cup Water to 1 Tablespoon Salt)

Stir with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail coupe

La Jefa – Batched
Makes 5 Martinis

15 oz Altos Plata Tequila
5 oz Bitter Aperitif
1 Barspoon Hops Distillate
1 Barspoon Saline Solution
2 oz Chilled Water

Stir and chill in the refrigerator prior to serving.

Styling Notes
Mixology Coupes - Waterford
Martini Pitcher - Waterford
Seamless Gold Jigger - Parched Penguin
Gold Bar Spoon -  Parched Penguin

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Altos Tequila. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hendrick's Air & National Cucumber Day

Normally I try to completely ignore PR holidays, but since tomorrow is National Cucumber Day (June 14), and such a holiday exists, it will forever have a special place in my boozy heart.  I can say with certainty that I am accepting this holiday not because I love cucumbers or tzatziki, but rather because of my deep love affair with Hendrick's Gin - from my first Hendrick's Martini to recent years when I have had the privilege of getting to know their team, the brand ambassadors, and all the tiny details that go into making their epic parties happen.  This year Hendrick's Gin has taken it to a new level once again, with New York's Cucumber Festival, and their support of the soon-to-be-released cucumber emoji.

Last summer Hendrick's launched their Cucumber Airship - a slow moving, curious cucumber-y flying object.  Prairie Rose and I were lucky enough to score a trip on said Airship, and today, on this eve of the first Cucumber Day ever, I am sharing our photos.  (Also, I'm a total slacker and didn't get them up last year).

Tomorrow, I will be flying again Hendrick's Air on the Cucumber Airship (weather permitting).  Follow me on Snapchat for copious cucumbers, flying and not: 👻 Gastronomista.

Photo by Shannon Carpenter

"We believed in the cucumber garnish back in the dark days when people thought it was inferior to the lime and we will always stand behind it. True, we fully expect pushback from the arugula and parsnip lobbies, but," he added with a wink, "they don't have an airship." 
- Jim Ryan, Hendrick's Gin National Ambassador

Photo by Shannon Carpenter

Just two Boozy Babes in a Flying Cucumber...

...and of course a little tomfoolery...
Jim Ryan - Photo by Shannon Carpenter
Photo by Shannon Carpenter
Photo by Shannon Carpenter
Photo by Shannon Carpenter

See you tomorrow on the S.S. Cucumber! 

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Boozy Boston Cooler

A few months back I saw a story on about the Midwestern ice cream classic - the Boston Cooler.  It is an incredibly simple recipe: a few scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with ginger ale, and voilà, you have a gingery ice cream float. This float is just as sweet and creamy as you remember from your childhood, but with the spicy ginger-ale that cuts right through all that sweetness.

Make this classic float a boozy float for your next ice cream social by using an alcoholic ginger beer such as Crabbie's, a trick that will make this sweet treat more spicy and higher octane.  For this recipe I used vanilla ice cream with Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer, but you could easily play with different combinations of flavors such as vanilla ice cream with Crabbie's Scottish Raspberry, lemon sorbet with the Original, or chocolate ice cream with Crabbie's Spiced Orange.   

The possibilities are endless...

Boozy Boston Cooler

3 Scoops Ice Cream
1 Bottle Crabbie's Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer

Scoop Ice Cream into a glass, top with ginger beer and enjoy!

Styling Notes
Glasses - Vintage
Straws - W&P
Brass & Wood Spoons - Collyer's Mansion
Triangle Towels - Shapes and Colors

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Crabbie's Alcoholic Ginger Beer. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Chocolate Añejo Boulevardier

For the next cocktail in my Altos Tequila series I wanted to use Altos Añejo, the newly released product in the Altos family.  The Añejo is aged 18 months, and on first taste has strong flavors of cinnamon and chocolate that come from the barrel.  The tequila still has the signature salinity and fresh taste of agave that I love, but this tequila demands a proper stirred cocktail to make it sing.

I have had this tequila stirred into a Manhattan, but I wanted to play up the flavors of cinnamon and chocolate as well as introduce some spice.  This cocktail is a rift on a Boulevardier, the classic cocktail made with bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari - but instead of bourbon there's tequila.  I added ancho chili liqueur to give this cocktail a bit of spicy kick, infused the vermouth with cacao nibs, and topped it off with grated cinnamon chocolate and an orange slice.  I also enjoy a bite of cinnamon chocolate while drinking this cocktail, it's a nice pairing and it brings out the cinnamon & chocolate flavors of the tequila.

This cocktail is a nice option to pre-batch for parties, prepare ahead of time in a pretty martini pitcher and chill in the refrigerator before your guests come over.  When you're ready to serve just pour, garnish, and serve.  Easy!


Chocolate Añejo Boulevardier
Created by Gastronomista

Makes One Cocktail

2 oz Altos Añejo Tequila
1 oz Cacao Nib Infused Sweet Vermouth
1 oz Campari
1 oz Ancho Chili Liqueur

Garnish: Cinnamon Chocolate and an Orange Peel

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe.  Grate cinnamon chocolate on the top of the drink and express the orange peel onto the drink.  Garnish and serve.

Cacao Nib Infused Sweet Vermouth

1 375ml Bottle of Sweet Vermouth
1/4 cup Dried Cacao Nibs

Add cacao nibs to the vermouth, and let sit for 1 week.  Store in the refrigerator.

Styling Notes
Galaxy Mixing Glass and Coupe Set - Love and Victory

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Altos Tequila. All opinions are 100% mine.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

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