Sangria: A latin party maker and centrepiece to boot

•November 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

sangria slowstruck

Here’s a little secret: Sangria is a perfect centrepiece for parties. Ok, so it wasn’tsuper-secret - most of you already knew that!  But do you know the best way to get the most out of your sangria recipes? No? Well, here is my guide to perfect sangrias every time…

Europe And Its Great But Terrible Sangria Obsession

To be faithful to my story telling roots (or, if you want to put it more bluntly, my rambling nature), I thought I’d start with a bit of history: about the origins of Sangria and, most importantly, about why wine takes centre stage in this universal favourite.

What are the origins of Sangria? Well done for those of you who answered ‘Spain’, but even more points for those of you who said Spain and identified the timeframe of 1700-1800’s. We know this historical period more commonly as the Middle Ages (think Game of Thrones, albeit a little less rose tinted – if that’s possible!). Sangria was created mainly out of necessity! Until the mid-late 19th century, safe drinking water was not as readily available as it is today; therefore, the people of the time looked for safer means of drinking.

Based upon the idea that alcohol kills off the harmful bacteria/nasty stuff that causes diseases like Cholera and Diptheria, alcohol naturally and literally became the only safe way to drink any water. In addition to the health benefits of this plan, it was obvious that certain concoctions would be socially shared (quite merrily, I might add).

As these potent mixtures gained popularity, they also accumulated added ingredients, and thus the first ‘Sangria’ recipes came to be. As milk was considered strictly for babies, and as water was more likely to kill you than keep you alive, this wine mixture was consumed en masse, and even given to young children – talk about an interesting childhood.

Traditionally, the typical Sangria consisted of several ingredients: wine, some type of brandy and fruit. This mixture – in one form or another – became popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and has eventually been refined into the modern Sangria we know and love so much. Introduced into the USA back in 1964’s World Fair in New York, Sangria really put Spain (and red wine, especially) on the map across the Americas.

To this day, traditional Sangria is still made using red wine, brandy and fruit, although sugar and fruit juices are generally both used as well.

But where do you begin with the preparation of your Sangria? What ingredients do you need to rustle up a crowd pleasing wonder? Well, before I share with you my easy-to-follow recipes, why don’t you quickly review this check list to get a basic Idea of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wine or non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Try using different fruit juices. Base fruit juices such as orange, apple, peach and grape are great possibilities.
  • Sugar: preferably unrefined brown/muscovado – it’s richer in flavour and is not as bad for you as the refined white cane sugar. Honey/Agave Nectar are also great substitutes.
  • Spirits: rum, vodka, gin, tequila and liqueurs – choose those that work best with the wine you’ve picked. For instance, try using tequila in a spicy style wine, and rum for a sweet one.
  • Fruits, Vegetables, Spices: Citrus Fruits(lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits), Orchard Fruits (plums, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines),Soft Fruits/Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), Exotic Fruits (dragon fruit, bananas, coconut, pineapple, kiwi, sharon fruit, lychee), Vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers) andspices (fresh red/green chili, ginger, jalapeno, cinnamon).

Once you have your plethora of ingredients, you can move on to the step by step guide below (here’s some free advice: for that added ‘special something’, try using locally grown seasonal ingredients; they will add much more flavour and you can direct your friends on where to acquire them).

How to Mix Sangria

sangria (1)

If your Sangria looks a little like this? You did good :)

  1. One giant leap

Start by mixing the wine, chosen spirit, juice and sugar together and then cover and chill for approximately 1-2 hours.

I find that taking your sweet time will result in a better tasting end product. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, and mix in your juices and spirits thoroughly.

Did you know? – Whilst traditional Sangria primarily uses red wine and brandy, you can use pretty much any type of wine and any spirit you like. Why not try rum and sparkling white wine (Prosecco/Cava/Champagne) or vodka and still white wine?

  1. Sugar and spice and everything nice

Now comes the best bit: adding your preferred flavours.

First, quickly stir your sugar/juice mixture then introduce your ready-prepared mix of fruits and/or vegetables and spices. You can use any fruit you like, so experiment and have some fun. Once the fruit has been added, cover and return to the fridge for another 2-4 hours

  1. The mid-season finale

Like any decent process, you need to check your progress half way through, so this step it designed to allow you to do just that. Remove the Sangria from the fridge, stir it extremely well to make sure the Sangria ingredients are combining well, and then cover and put back in the fridge for one final time (again for around 2-4 hours).

Did you know? – The best tasting Sangria can sometimes involve leaving the mixture in a fridge overnight to allow the fruit to settle into the alcohol, creating deeper, more meaningful flavours in the mixture.

  1. As cold as ice

By now you should have a large bowl/container/pitcher full of a very fruity and alcohol-laced chilled liquid. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to stir thoroughly before serving and have your carbonated mixer on hand (if you’re using one – you don’t have to!). If serving straight away, then ice isn’t necessary. But have a bag or two ready in case it’s a particularly hot day (or you plan on leaving it out all evening).

  1. Service with a smile

To serve, half fill a glass with ice, then top up with your chosen sparkling mixer!

Prosecco/champagne or lemonade make great mixers, but feel free to try any sparkling mixer you want.  I find orange soda works particularly well.

This 5 step guide is genuinely all you need to produce party-popping Sangria mixes every time. You can make non-alcoholic Sangria using  the same ingredients as detailed above. Whether alcoholic or not, your Sangria will be the envy of all your friends and before you know it, they’ll all be after your recipe.

Since it’s taken you nearly an entire day to create this masterpiece on your table, respect it and take every opportunity to enjoy every scent and sip. Did I mention it’ll keep, in a sealed container, for up to 24-48 hours depending on the fruit/juice used?

And, as I don my Etiquette hat for a small moment; A good host always remembers to be responsible when serving/consuming alcohol, and will check thoroughly that no one is allergic to the fruits/vegetables being used.

One Last Thought

I love to take the slower, more traveled path when creating a great cocktail.  I’ll go out and buy ingredients to make my own infused syrups rather than buying pre-prepared, lower quality products. This process scales elegantly in mixtures such as Sangria. Of course you can create a decent version in a couple of hours; but to really blow your guests away, use fresh juice, locally sourced ingredients, maybe something a little less known, and of course take your time preparing it. You should always treat Sangria like a joint of meat in a marinade – allow plenty of time for the flavour to develop.

Stay tuned for next time – I’ll have something a little seasonal once more, in the form of a very well known and historically charged topic: London Dry Gin.

OFFER ALERT! (14/11/14)

•November 14, 2014 • Leave a Comment

sherry

I’ve just received an interesting email – one of which a few of my fellow UK residents might be interested in…

The DrinkShop (.com) have just listed all their Sherry on offer (up to 20% off in fact!).

Now I’ve never taken to drinking Sherry but i never overlook its importance in the world of cocktails (Sherry Cobbler & Other fine cocktails of the crooner years).

Granted Sherry has fallen out of favour in the last few decades but it is on the rise once more, almost like it’s riding in the slipstream of the current general rise in cocktail popularity. So if you happen to be in the market for Sherry this weekend – then head on over to www.thedrinkshop.com and revel.

Sherry Flip Cocktail

Serves 1

4 tbsp Advocaat

1 tbsp Cream Sherry (or madeira)

Lemonade – To top

Garnish: Slice of Lime & Maraschino Cherry

Method:

- Add the advocaat & Sherry/Madeira to a rocks glass with a few ice cubes.

- Top up with Lemonade and stir to mix.

- Garnish with the lime slice and maraschino cherry.

The Sherry Flip bares an alcoholic resembelence to a favourite childhood drink of mine: the ice-cream soda. Whilst the addition of ice-cream to this cocktail would work wonders (and let’s be honest it would be awesome) I feel this drink works wonderfully as it is, with the creamy textures of the Advocaat & Cream Sherry.

A lovely adult version of a childhood classic. Grab a cheap bottle of sherry and give this cocktail a go.

Want to know more about Sherry and its history? Or just after some quick Sherry cocktail recipes? Then check out the links below and revel some more! Thanks for reading and until next time – Mix well!

Fervent Shaker.

Links:

Wikipedia Sherry

SherryNotes

Imbibe Sherry

The Legend of the Cuba Libre…

•November 10, 2014 • Leave a Comment

cuba cab

The Cuba Libre the epitome of a classic cocktail – it is 114 years old after all! Better yet, it has not only stood the test of time, but today it remains one of the most ordered cocktails across the world.

But for a drink some only know as ‘Rum & Coke’ to have lasted so long would’ve required some rather important factors;

  • A colourful history
  • Simplicity
  • Fantastic taste
  • The use of a world class Mixer

Now simplicity doesn’t always work, and let’s be honest, a colourful history could be good or bad. But mix the good kind of colourful history with simplicity and then blend in the great taste of a classic American mixer then you have formed the perfect storm, in cocktail terms at least.

I’ll be honest here; The Cuba Libre’s success is in no small part down to its drinkability and the fact it’s mixed with arguably the most famous mixer in the world, Coca Cola, is no mistake.

As you can probably already tell, the Cuba Libre is my favourite cocktail. Whilst you’ll rarely see me order one when out and about, as they are so easy to make, at home they’re pretty much all I drink.

Give me a well-made Cuba Libre and I’ll be a happy man.

So let’s look at the facts:

The History of the Cuba Libre…

cuba libre 4

The history of the Cuba Libre cocktail is well documented as being around the turn of the 20th century – when cuba won it’s freedom after the American-Spanish war of 1898. It’s said that after the war ended, around August 1900, Captain Russell (of the US Military) ordered Bacardi Rum with Coke and a slice of lime. The name of the drink was coined when he toasted the phrase “Por Cuba Libre” – For a free Cuba. This phrase was of great political significance at the time, especially as it was used by both American and Cuban citizens alike. Whilst Bacardi Rum is no longer ‘Cuban’ rum (they vacated the Island back when the American Prohibition hit hard) they are still considered the Rum of choice when ordering a Cuba Libre or, as it is better known; “A Bacardi & Coke please”…

Simplicity & the taste of America…

Coca Cola is unequivocally American. Any American will tell you that Coca Cola is as much a part of the USA’s history as the Wild West and JFK, with some of the older memorabilia selling for $100’s with some more specific items fetching far higher prices! The fact that it’s so simple to create; combined with the classic taste of America and the history surrounding the cocktails’ creation means it’s not that surprising it has, arguably, become one of the most famous cocktails of all time.

An Advocate for slow sipping…

The Cuba Libre can be a pleasure when well-made and should always be enjoyed sip by sip; especially, if like me, you like to use it to help taste the finest of rums. I find that Cola helps bring out some of the better flavours of golden/dark rums and this for me not only means I get to enjoy a rum without the burning feeling of the alcohol, but also allows me to spend more time enjoying it. The use of Cola takes a drink that would be over far too soon and lengthens it to perfection.

So whilst this cocktail is certainly a classic, especially when Bacardi is used, it also allows people like me to enjoy the rum they love for longer, by allowing us to sip it slowly over a greater amount of time.

And finally; the two Cuba Libre’s that matter:

The Original (1900) Cuban Recipe…

Recipe:

1 measure Bacardi Gold Rum

3 measures Coca-Cola (bottled*)

2 lime wedges

Method:

  • Build over ice and drop in the Lime wedges for garnish.
  • For an added lime kick, squeeze the juice out of the lime and into the drink before putting the wedges in. Remember to stir before serving…

This recipe is as close to the original as today will allow, with the problem being that Bacardi vacated Cuba shortly after the USA took over. They relocated production to Puerto Rico & Mexico and have rightly had the title of ‘Cuban Rum’ removed from their current products. However if you want a taste of a current day ‘Cuban’ Cuba Libre then check out my favourite recipe:

‘True Cuban’ Cuba Libre:

cuba libre 1

Recipe:

1 measure Havana Club Especial (Gold) Rum

3 measures Coca-Cola (glass bottle*)

2 wedges lime

Method:

  • Squeeze one of the lime wedges into your ice-filled glass.
  • Then pour in the rum.
  • Top up with the Coca-Cola and then stir.
  • Drop in the 2nd lime wedge, put your feet up and sip away.

*It’s no secret that bottle Coca-Cola tastes better than Canned and this is not a coincidence. Using glass bottled cola is the best way to enjoy it in my opinion, and it is definitely the better of the 3 types for the ultimate Cuba Libre. However any Coca-Cola will do just fine.

Atholl Brose – An Earl, a Well and a Fine Drink

•September 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

So, as promised, here is the first of my ongoing posts from SlowStruck. This one is the first post I wrote for them and can also be found in it’s original form here: Atholl Brose

drunk knights

One of my favourite things about mixing cocktails is that there are always stories involved – where they originate, how they have evolved or even who famously drank them. I truly believe that by savouring the history and/or legends around our drinks, we enrich the actual experience of mixing, tasting and sharing with friends.

So, please humour me… let’s imagine we’ve set some chairs around a pub table. Let’s pour our drinks, toast to each other’s health and take some time together. Don’t despair! At the end of my tale, I have a recipe for you.

Whilst it is not my favourite spirit – I prefer good old rum – it is interesting to share that whisky is by far one of the most varied spirits out there. Unlike the intentional tastelessness of Vodka, whisky made in one part of Scotland can and usually will – taste completely different from whisky made in another part of Scotland.

This diversity in such a small amount of space is what gives this spirit category greatness.
We are going to discount the Americanised whiskies for this post – yes I know it hurts, but it’s all about the flavours Scottish whisky brings this time round.

I can this question burning in your mind: what exactly is Atholl Brose?
Well to answer this we have to visit a little tale first told to me by the Monkey Shoulder global ambassador Grant Neave, and legend of the cocktail, Gaz Regan (yes the one and only).

Whisky & Oats: The traditional Scottish Drink. Who'd have thought it?

Whisky & Oats: The traditional Scottish Drink. Who’d have thought it?

It’s around 1475, and the Earl of Atholl wants a Scottish castle all for himself. The problem is that the current owner of the castle is putting up a bit of a fight. Now the Earl knows the opposing army has the local water well (a big strategic point in the fight). Rather than sending his men to certain death in the battle that would most certainly occur, he sends in a small team of his best men to ‘spike’ the water In the well. Armed with the greatest poison known to man they set of to the little village. The poison of course refers to the alcohol; a rather medieval form the whisky would’ve taken back then.
So armed with the rather rough-whisky, oats, cream and honey, they set off to the little village whilst the opposing forces were asleep. Into the well they mixed the whisky, honey, cream and oats. The trick, no doubt, was to cover the taste of the whisky and when the opposing army woke up and tried the water they soon found there was something different afoot.

So what did the men do when they realised their water source was contaminated? They realised it tasted fine and shared it around with the men who had yet to realise. This obviously led to them becoming rather inebriated.

Of course the opposing earl did not know what was taking place and sent them into battle half cut. The battle was short, swift (and rather hilarious no doubt) as a direct result of the Earl of Atholl’s forward thinking.
This is the first record of this cocktail being used and is popularly considered one of the first whisky cocktails. Of course, these days, the recipes for this drink vary from source to source but generally the combination of the cream, honey, oats and whisky remains.
At last year’s London Cocktail, I attended a historical whisky tour hosted by Grant Neave and Gaz Regan. The event was essentially a time line of whisky cocktails starting with the Atholl Brose, and is where I obtained this guideline to the recipe:
“The Atholl Brose is a combination of water, Scottish oats, whisky & honey. By combining these ingredients and possibly adding some forest fruits (strawberries, cherries etc.) or even some liqueurs like Drambuie or Disaronno, this really can be turned into something a little special” – Grant Neave, Global Brand Ambassador for Monkey Shoulder Whisky.
Granted, the original recipe is more a meal than a drink; but refined in the following recipe, it resembles more of a cocktail than it ever has. This is a prime example of refinement over time. Cocktails have been around in popular culture since the 1920’s and whilst some have the same recipes they did back then, most have experienced changes and tweaks.

Atholl Brose recipe (taken from: http://londoneats.wordpress.com)
Serves 8
Step 1: The Oat Milk
• 1 cup oats (rolled, pinhead…your choice!)
• 2 cups lukewarm water
Mix the oats and the water. Leave to sit for at least 30 minutes (longer doesn’t hurt). Put into a blender and then pass through a muslin cloth. As you get to the end of the, now-strained, mixture you should be left with just a sludgy-oaty mess, squeeze this to get as much liquid from the mixture as possible.
Step 2: Making the Atholl Brose
• 7 parts oat milk
• 7 parts whisky
• 5 parts good single cream
• 1 part honey
Mix the honey with the ‘oat milk’. Put everything into a cocktail shaker or large jar. Shake until mixed. Taste the Brose, and then if required, adjust to taste (more honey, more cream, more whisky…). And finally the most important step of all: Serve chilled or over ice.
It has been great to spend this happy hour with you…I’ll see you soon at our favourite table.

Picture of Whisky & Oats from WikiHow.

Return of the Fervent Shaker

•September 25, 2014 • 2 Comments

im back

Ok so I admit I’ve not written out a decent enough post for this site for many months (The fact that the last post is about Cinco De Mayo scares me far too much!). I have however been writing posts so i do have some coming up that should entertain and impart at least some knowledge onto you.

So here’s a quick rundown on what I’ve been working on the last few months and what you can look forward to in the next year or so…

So first let me explain: I have a new job. It’s with the same company as before (an unnamed supermarket) but a completely different department; which means new skills, new things to remember and absolutely nothing of my boring, mind numbingly dull previous position. I’m starting my training in around 3 weeks so i may go a little quiet (again i know!) for about 2-4 weeks but I’ll have 3 days off per week and hopefully that should allow me to at least update with some pictures and/or recipes for you all to try.

Second: I’ve been working on my Science Fiction Novel and my Cocktail books. These are nowhere near done but i did start spending a lot of time working out what i wanted in the cocktail books (recipe wise) and also spent a heavy amount of spare time on the Sci-Fi novel.
The decision I’ve come to is to start up a Sci-Fi specific blog which will have all sorts of short stories, reviews, poetry with the eventual aim of getting some guest bloggers (mainly friends) to write some items for it.

Anyway back to the alcohol:
Finally the huge news is that I’m now also a contributor for a fantastic website: SlowStruck, on which i write posts very similar to the ones found on this site. They’re exclusive to SlowStruck for at least a month an then I’ll post them on here (with links back to the original source). I’d love for you to keep checking out this blog, but I’d also love for you to check out the SlowStruck website as it has all sorts of great posts all focused on taking life slow and making time to enjoy everything to its fullest.

So what can you expect in the near future from this blog?

Well several things, mainly new & hopefully intriguing posts about all things cocktails (nothing new there then!) as well as some spirit specific posts (I should have one about Sipsmith coming up very soon!).
The main thing i’ll be sharing with you all are the posts i’ve already done with SlowStruck and as stated above these will have links back to the site so you can all check it out if you wanted.

Basically I just want to say thank-you to both long time followers and newbies! As always I encourage comments & feedback so please feel free to look through my posts and leave your thoughts and comments :)

The first post i’ll be sharing is on one in keeping with recent events and also one of Scotlands oldest cocktails: The Atholl Brose. That’ll be up within the week! Take care Shakers!

Margaritas Three Ways – A Cinco De Mayo Special

•May 4, 2014 • 3 Comments

Today is the 4th of May 2014. That means Cinco De Mayo is literally around the corner! Whilst not usually a huge deal here in the UK, they revel in Mexican culture across the pond so it’s only natural they have a whole day set aside for a celebration of sorts.

Image

Whilst not necessarily celebrated the same way in Mexico and other Latin American countries, Cinco De Mayo is a festival celebrating all of the finer things Mexican culture has to offer the world.

Whether it’s Chocolate, Spicy Food or even a certain infamous Mexican spirit (or 2) Cinco De Mayo is a celebration and a time for getting together with friends and family…

So what are the 3 margaritas I have in store for you? Well let’s start with a classic recipe and tweak it a little…

Mi Casa Tequila:

Mi Casa Tequila is an extremely high quality 100% Agave Tequila, obviously from Mexico, and is unfortunately not readily available on the UK Market it can be found readily across the USA so if you plan on heading out there any time soon, be sure to pick a bottle up!

It’s an estate-craft tequila from a family run business and has wone numerous awards for their utterly fantastic tequila(s). You can find their page here, but be sure to check out their signature margarita before you do:

Mi Casa Margarita

Recipe:

2 measures Mi Casa Reposado

1 measure St. Germain

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

Image

Reposado Tequila always adds a slight depth to the drink, making it even more awesome!

Method:

-  Mix with ice in a shaker and shake until the tin ices over.

-  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a Lime wedge and fresh sprig of elderflower.

This is a refreshing take on a classic margarita uses the best Elderflower liqueur on the market and awesome tequila to create something familiar yet refreshingly different.

Try it this Cinco De Mayo or any other spring/summer evening it will be a refreshing break from your normal cocktail intake…

 

Margarita Picante

Recipe:

3 Slices red chilli pepper

2 measures 100% Blanco Tequila

¾ measure Cointreau

½ measure lime juice

½ measure sugar syrup

1 pinch cilantro

Image

This Margarita is dangerously spicy, if you like your drinks hot then this is the one for you!

Method:

-  Combine all the ingredients over ice and shake until the tin ices over.

-  After filling a small rocks glass with cubed ice (and a few slices of red chilli should you prefer*) strain the drink into the glass and garnish with a chilli slice on the rim of the glass.

*The fresh chilli in the glass will add an undercurrent of heat and is recommended for those who love their spicy flavours. Feel free to leave it out if, like me, you prefer a little less heat.

This drink is what it says: Spicy. It holds no punches and can bring a person to tears if they don’t respect it. Using a top quality brand of 100% Blanco Tequila (what else) this drink really is something a little spicy; just the thing to celebrate Mexican culture this Cinco De Mayo…

Roasted Blueberry Basil Margarita

Recipe:

2 measures Grand Marnier

1 ½ measures Blanco Tequila (100% Agave)

2 measures Lime Juice

2 ½ measures Blueberry & Basil Flavoured Sugar Syrup

Garnish: Fresh Whole Blueberries, Basil leaves & Sliced lime. And a Salt/Sugar rim (3:2 Ratio).

Image

So here is the oddball… Sweet & Savoury fuse into something rather special in this magical Margarita – Perfect for headlining your Cinco De Mayo…

Method:

-  Rim a large rocks glass with the salt/sugar mixture (use the lime as adhesive).

-  In a cocktail shaker combine the Grand Marnier, Tequila & Lime Juice, shaking `until the shaker ices over.

-  Fill the glass with ice and then strain in the drink.

-  To garnish; add a blueberry & Lime peel skewer and a fresh sprig of Basil to the top of the drink.

-  Serve with a straw.

This drink is remarkably balanced considering the blueberries are roasted, it’s very easy to over-do them and turn them too bitter for the drink. However done right, the basil and blueberry work wonders for the tequila.

It’s a special little recipe I came across a few months back, tried and loved. It’s perfect for Cinco De Mayo and has a refreshing summer evening feel about it, which means you don’t have to wait too long before you can have another one!

So there you go, 3 margaritas; 3 very different cocktails. The best thing about these drinks is that once Cinco De Mayo is over you can continue enjoying them time and time again. Whether you’re a thrill seeking Picante Margarita, or a sweet and slightly roasted blueberry margarita; there’s a drink here for you…

If you’d like to know how to make the Blueberry-Basil Sugar Syrup then click here and roast away…

Links for further reading, original recipes, pictures etc…

Original Recipes & Pictures:

Roasted Blueberry Basil Margarita

Margarita Picante

Cinco De Mayo Facts

Mi Casa Tequila - Check out their Mission Statement :)

Mocktails – For discerning non-drinker…

•April 20, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Non-Alcoholic treats

Cocktails don't always need alcohol to impress...

Cocktails don’t always need alcohol to impress…

So I haven’t had the time recently for a post, with the combination of work and other things getting a bit on top of me. That’s all dealt with and within the next few weeks you’ll see this blog get back to its best. This includes all the “cocktails o’clock”, “Product of the month” and general cocktail musing posts you have been used to seeing.

Anyway with my apologies, and spoilers, out of the way let us move onto the point of this post: Cocktails, or more accurately Non-Alcoholic Cocktails.

The inspiration for this post is my brother; he’s been on a bit of a detox since Christmas and stopped his alcohol intake completely (don’t worry I’ve been drinking his share). I admire him for it, although would never attempt such a feat (nor would I tell him that I admire him for it).

This post therefore will represent 3 non-alcoholic cocktails, inspired by my brothers detox, and then also some little tips on how to make them a little more interesting…

The Cocktails;

1)      Green Grape Glacier (cocktails.about.com)

Ingredients;

12 seedless green grapes

4 measures white grape juice

4 measure cold sparkling spring water

Image

Vividly Green, this cocktail is as refreshing as it looks…

Method;

-          Freeze Grapes & then mix 10 of them in a blender with the grape juice until smooth/thick.

-          Pour mixture into a highball glass.

-          Add the sparkling water and stir gently to combine.

-          Garnish with the remaining 2 grapes and serve with straws.

This drink is refreshing, fragrant and perfect for evenings spent watching the April showers. I find that using sparkling spring water instead of plain soda water adds more of a natural taste to the drink. Try using different grapes for slightly different flavours.

Fervent Shaker twist: this drink leaves itself open for the addition of a broad range of spirits, and I find that different spirits result in, unsurprisingly, different tastes… Using Gin creates a crisp refreshing evening drink, whilst Rum results in a more vivid summer spritzer. Then there’s Vodka, which results in the classic refreshing spritzer (although a splash of fresh lemon always helps here) and finally Tequila; which adds a specifically earthy and rather rich taste to the drink.

2)  Green Lemonade

Ingredients;

4 measures Lemonade

2 measures limeade/lime cordial

4 kiwi slices, peeled

¾ measure sugar syrup (agave nectar)

Kiwi/Lime slice for garnish

 

Image

The fizzy nature of this drink sets it apart from your standard mocktails… It looks pretty good too!

Method;

-          Muddle the sugar syrup and kiwi slices in a mixing glass.

-          Add limeade, lemonade and ice and shake well.

-          Strain into a highball glass full of fresh ice.

-          Garnish with a kiwi/lime slice.

This ‘mocktail’ is a bitter lemon style mixture with the kiwi adding its very own special brand of flavour. If you’re a fan of Kiwi, like me, then you’ll love this drink.

Fervent Shaker Twist: This one is easy; it’s built for vodka left right and centre. I worked up a post about the Kiwi inspired Mordor Mule a little while ago and this reminds me of it so much. So yes I’d go for vodka but it may also suit a tequila fan if balanced well.

3)  Spring Fever

Ingredients;

¾ measures lemon juice

¾ measures mango syrup

1 ½ measures apple juice

2 measures blood orange juice

 

Image

Striking as any red drink should be, this mocktail is very fruity and goes down a treat on those chilly spring nights…

Method;

-          Add ingredients into a shaker and shake over ice until the tin ices over.

-          Strain into a Collins glass half filled with crushed ice and serve with straws.

This is a slightly complicated drink in that blood orange has a very specific and almost pungent taste. I’m not a complete fan of this drink and that’s simply down to me preferring Valencia orange juice. However, that aside this drink has a certain feel about it that makes it perfect for those windy yet warm spring evenings. The use of orange & lemon juices also leaves this drink open for the addition of various spirits without a great change in the flavour (excluding those of the alcohol itself if you’re using aged spirits). Vodka is the obvious, albeit dull, choice but rum is the spirit to use if you want to taste some real magic. Using Golden rum (I’d suggest Havana Club Anejo) will add a sense of depth in the drinks flavour as well as the usual aged rum taste.

So there you go, proof that not only are cocktails for people who don’t drink alcohol but that the drinks that seem non-alcoholic only can always be turned into something a little more exciting for those who like their tipple.

But as always remember to drink responsibly, I only ever suggest to add 1-2 measures of alcohol per drink and each measure is roughly 25ml (although sometimes I like to go halfway between the two and use just 35ml).

Notes: Pictures are courtesy of;

Green Grape Glacier – Pinterest

Green Lemonade – MixedGreensBlog

Spring Fever – Festen.dk

Please check out their websites for further information/more fun stuff :)

 
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