Category Archives: Halloween

Dia De Los Muertos – A Mexican Celebration

Tequila is, undoubtedly, the spirit of Mexico. Tequila’s sophisticated and continuously increasing quality is the result of blending native agricultural techniques and modern technology, all held together with tradition.

Being Mexican, this traditional backbone inevitably includes one of the most spiritual celebrations in the human world: Dia De Los Muertos.

Dia De Los Muertos, or the day of the dead (DOTD), is a celebration that grips the entirety of Mexico on the 1st & 2nd of November. To pay homage to this spiritual celebration I’ve gathered three of the best 100% agave tequilas available to me here in the UK.

 

day-of-the-dead-204541_960_720.jpg
Dia De Los Muertos is tradition across Mexico!

 

Taking one cocktail from each brands’ website, I will recreate them, aiming to not only showcase brand used but to really help you get a traditional Mexican celebration going this Dia De Los Muertos.

But, before we delve into the recipes, let’s take a little look a what Dia De Los Muertos is, and why it is so widely celebrated across the country Tequila calls home…

Whilst predominantly celebrated in the central and southern regions of Mexico, DOTD has spread to most of the northern regions as well, no small part due to the Mexican Government declaring it a national holiday.

DOTD takes place on the 1st & 2nd November every year and even though this coincides with the catholic holidays of All Souls and All Saints day, the Mexican population has managed to blend both religion and tradition together, culminating in this very spiritual event.

DOTD rests on the belief that, for the 1st of November, the spirits of deceased children will be allowed passage to Earth, from heaven. During this 24hr period, the children return to their loved ones and enjoy the festivities laid out for them by their friends and families.

On the 2nd of November, adult spirits also return down to their loved ones, enjoying the singing, dancing, and other festivities laid out especially for them.

Almost all houses will contain a homemade altar decorated with marigold flowers, candles, sugar skulls, and pictures of the deceased loved one(s) along with their favourite food and drink. This is all done by the deceased’s families and friends and can come at a great personal expense. But, as this holiday is all about celebrating the lives of their loved ones, the economic cost is not a driving factor – it just serves as an example of how important to the Mexican people this tradition is.

On the 2nd, festivities are taken to the cemeteries and there the individuals will sing, dance, and care for their loved ones’ gravestones. Stories are told of their loved ones and families, friends, and others, all gather to celebrate the lives of their deceased.

Dia De Los Muertos is an upbeat celebration that captures the spirit of joy and ultimately shows a true acceptance of death in everyday life. This tradition celebrates the life of the deceased rather than simply mourning the dead.

Dia De Los Muertos is such a celebration that tequila brands jump at the chance to share it with the world. Of course, it acts as a great selling point for their brands but, ultimately, they also share this celebration with the world.

Simply put, Tequila brands make Mexico’s most famous alcoholic beverage and they make it in the traditional way. Part of this tradition is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos. That is why most tequila brands (especially the 100% agave ones) will really kick things up a notch around the end of October…

Now for what you’ve all been waiting for, the 3 gloriously delicious Dia De Los Muertos cocktails…

Patron – Fresas En Fuego

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Recipe:

(45ml) 3 measures Patron Silver

(15ml) 1 measure Ginger Liqueur

(15ml) 1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

(15ml) 1 measure Sugar Syrup

4 x Hulled Strawberries

2 x Jalapeno coins (slices)

Garnish: Strawberry & Jalapeno Skewer.

Method:

  • In a shaker, muddle the strawberries, jalapeno coins, and sugar syrup.
  • Add the tequila, ginger liqueur, and lime juice.
  • Shake well over ice.
  • Double strain into a chilled coupe cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with the strawberry & jalapeno skewer.

Patron Tequila is as beautifully crafted as they come. It is a premium brand in that it does cost a small fortune to sample some of their high-end products but, as with all alcohol brands, you pay for what you get. All their products are handmade, from Pina to Cork, and this is evident in the high quality taste their products are renown for.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you love spice in your cocktail, try infusing your Patron Silver tequila with some sliced Jalapenos.

Herradura – Agave Seco

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Recipe:

1 measure Herradura Silver Tequila

1 ¼ measure Cointreau

½ measure Campari

1 measure Fresh Orange Juice

1 measure Fresh Grapefruit Juice

Garnish: 1-2 slices Kiwi, 1-2 slices strawberries, and 1 sprig Mint.

Method:

  • Add the tequila, Cointreau, Campari, and juices to an ice-filled shaker.
  • Shake well (10-15 seconds should do it)
  • Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with the kiwi, strawberries, and mint sprig.

Herradura produce 100% agave tequila and they pride themselves on slowly aged uncompromising tequila. They barrel age their Tequila longer than the standard required and the quality of their products show through. I had the pleasure of sampling their range at Imbibe Live 2016 and believe me, they are sublime in their quality.

 

Ocho – El Diablo

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Recipe:

50ml  Ocho Blanco

25ml Fresh Lime Juice

10ml Fresh Ginger Syrup

10ml Creme De Cassis

Top Up Ginger Ale

Garnish: 2 x Lime wedges

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients over ice and shake well (again, 10-15 seconds should suffice).
  • Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge. Or two.

The El Diablo Is a cocktail I’ve been excited about for a long time. It’s simple, yet tremendously satisfying to drink. Its balance of heat and sweet is sublime and it brings out the playfulness of the tequila!

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you want a higher hit of heat to this drink, muddle some fresh root ginger in the bottom of the glass with the lime juice. It will add a little raw heat to the overall taste!

So there you have 3 stunning cocktails, using 3 rather eloquent 100% agave tequilas, and what’s more, they’ll all help you kick off your Dia De Los Muertos celebrations with a bang!

Do you have any parties planned for this spooky weekend? Try turning them into a celebration and revel in the spiritual togetherness Dia De Los Muertos stands for!

Disclaimer: the Herradura Tequila was provided as a sample by the grace of Mangrove, a drinks distributor here in the UK. The sample was free, but that in no way biases y statements. Any comments made in this post (or any other) is strictly of my own opinion and will always be so.

Are you a celebrator of the spiritual Dia De Los Muertos? If so, what is your cocktail of choice, if you choose to drink one?

If you enjoy your tequila in other ways this time of year, why not share them in the comments?

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Halloween Cocktails: Spooky Shooters!

So my last post was geared more towards those who like their cocktails classic, simple, and giving them the opportunity to try something they may have overlooked before.

That is all well and good (I’m one of those people after all) but let’s not forget the important thing this weekend: It’s Halloween!!!

Halloween means over the top fancy dress, lots and lots of candy, and of course some great alcoholic beverages (for those of us over the legal drinking age of course!).

And that usually means shots! – Not just simple flavoured vodka shots either. I’m talking spooky, scary, and downright wrong looking shots!

So here below are 5 shots that tick all of those boxes and more! Just remember to enjoy them responsibly!


The Classic Brain Haemorrhage

brain hemorrhage shot

Recipe:

1 measure Peach Schnapps

½ measure Irish Cream liqueur

1 tsp Grenadine

Method:

  • Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass and layer the Irish cream on top.
  • Drop the grenadine in on top of the Irish cream and serve.

Pumpkin Margarita

pumpkin margarita

Recipe:

2 measures Repsado Tequila

1 measure Lemon-Lime Mix

Splash pumpkin puree

Method:

  • Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a well-chilled, large shot glass.

Green Ghoul

green ghoul

Recipe:

1 ½ measure Anejo Tequila

½ measure Melon Liqueur

Method:

  • Pour the Tequila into a chilled shot glass, then drop the Melon Liqueur into the middle of the tequila. Down in one.

Candy Corn Shooter

candy corn shot

Recipe:

1 measure Banana Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

1 measure Cream

1 measure Orange Curacao

1 measure 80proof Vodka

Whipped cream

Method:

  • Combine the vodka and banana liqueur with ice and shake well.
  • Layer into the bottom of the glass.
  • Combine the Cream, Orange Curacao, and Coconut Rum with ice and shake well.
  • Layer this on top of the first layer and top with whipped cream

Green Goblin:

green goblin

Recipe:

1 measure TY KU Premium Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

Splash lemon-lime soda

Method:

  • Stir the rum and TY KU liqueur together over ice. Add into a shot glass and add a splash of soda.

There you go, 5 spooky Halloween themed cocktails that are perfect if you want to impress your friends and family this weekend. Some are scarily strong and will need to be handled with care – the 80 proof vodka should not be handled near an open flame – and as stated many a time: Please Drink Responsibly!

Halloween Cocktails – Without a Twist…

This coming weekend, if you didn’t already know, is Halloween! And just in time here are some spooky cocktails that are on most cocktail menus all year round. Although you may not have tried them before!

The problem with Halloween, with any seasonal event really, is that it’s easy to buy into novelty drinks that taste super-sweet and contain ingredients don’t actually do anything for the drink they’re in, except maybe mask the taste of too much alcohol…

So for this post I’ve tried to keep away from novelties and go for 5 cocktails you will be able to order in any good cocktail bar at almost any time of year, but by the same token they’re cocktails you may not have tried at all…

So let’s begin with arguably the most themed of the lot…


El Diablo

Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties...
Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties…

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Reposado Tequila

½ measure Crème de Cassis

½ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 or 3 measures ginger beer/ale

Method:

  • Combine the tequila, lime juice, and cassis liqueur and shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Fine (or double) strain into a collins glass filled with cubed iced.
  • Top up with the ginger beer/ale (whichever you prefer) and garnish with a wedge of lime.
  • Serve with a straw.

The Last Word

Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!
Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!

Recipe:

1 measure Gin

1 measure Green Chartreuse

1 measure Maraschino Liqueur

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

Method:

  • Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake well.
  • Strain into a well-chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.

Blood & Sand

Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!
Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!

Recipe:

1 measure Scotch Whiskey

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Cherry Heering

1 measure Orange Juice

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a well-chilled cocktail coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Black Velvet

Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Recipe:

Guinness (Stout Beer)

Champagne

Method:

There are two ways to make this drink, neither are right nor wrong. It’s personal preference:

  • Pour the beer into the chosen glass and then gently layer the champagne on top.
  • Pour the champagne into the chosen glass and then gently layer the beer on top.

Simple no? Well this cocktail is sublime in its simplicity and is a cocktail everyone should try at least once. You may not like it if you don’t like the beer (like me) but, also like me, you may be surprised at how smooth and drinkable this cocktail actually is!

Chartreuse Smash

A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur...
A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur…

Recipe:

10 mint leaves

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2 measures green chartreuse

2 tsp turbinado sugar

Method:

  • Place sugar, mint and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and muddle well.
  • Add the chartreuse to the shaker and add ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a small rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and, if you’re feeling it, a sprig of sage…

These cocktails are not only my tip for great drinks this Halloween, but they’re perfect if you’re looking to try something new the next time you head to that swanky cocktail bar, or spend the weekend at a nice hotel (they all have great bars nowadays right?), and they’re also perfect if you plan on a Christmas themed party with a difference…

But don’t think I’ve forgotten all of you that are looking for something a bit novel – the next of my Halloween themed posts is just for you: 6 Spooky Cocktail Shooters!

Have fun and please, as always, drink responsibly – no one enjoys a night in A&E!

Further Reading & original recipes:

El diablo – imbibe

Last word – saveur

Blood & sand – Liquor.com

Black velvet – Liquor.com

Chartreuse smash – saveur

The Zombies are coming… And they are carrying Hangovers…

Yes Halloween is over, and yes I know you’re probably getting over your hangover as we speak but bear with me here and I guarantee this post will make your afternoon/evening/day/weekend.

Everyone knows that hangovers are caused primarily by dehydration as alcohol is a diuretic and can have that effect but also by the chemicals found in darker alcohols.

Free advice: Hangovers suffered after drinking just clear alcohol (Gin/Vodka etc.) is felt less* than one suffered after drinking just darker spirits (Dark rum/brandy etc.).

Now I won’t tell you that hair of the dog is a good idea, because it is not. It will make you feel a little better in the short term but only as it prolongs the hangover (yes, it makes you drunker quicker than normal). The best way to treat a hangover is to replace the nutrients you lost through urinating. Now the first thing to do is a have a nice relaxing shower and maybe a drink of water and feel clean and ready for your day, then follow that up with a light breakfast that includes fruit juice. Something like oats/multigrain cereal work well. As for the juices; go for orange, apple, cranberry and any ‘super-food’ or ‘super-berry’ juice (things like berry/soft fruit smoothies, blueberries etc.) as they replace the nutrients and minerals you need. If you feel like cheating find a

Free Advice: I love a good smoothie, making them fresh is brilliant but any premade product (like innocent/supermarket brands) will also work just as well.

So where am I going with this post I hear you shout, well listen to this: Cocktails don’t have to contain alcohol. Sure they taste better with some, but there is a whole library of ‘Mocktails’ out there that can help you out on a hung-over Sunday morning/afternoon.

Here are some of the best:

The All Rounder

Recipe:

100ml Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

250ml Apple juice

100ml Peach Puree

10g Fresh Ginger, sliced/cubed

150ml Cranberry Juice

1 apple, 1 orange (peeled & seeded), 1 Banana*, handful of fresh berries (to taste).

Method:

1)      Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

2)      Serve straight away and enjoy with a grapefruit and some brown sugar.

This concoction is one of my very own recipes and includes some orchard fruits, which are always a handful when blending, which can be removed if you keep the juice. The fruits help boost your nutrient intake, and the ginger helps your body cope with any ethanol left in your system. The orange juice is a natural source of Vitamin C which is always handy, but can be removed if necessary.

This smoothie is not going to set the world on fire, but it is a pretty good all-rounder, perfect for batch making and has enough of everything you need for a fruit filled breakfast boost.

 

The Super Fruit

Recipe:

100g Blueberries

100g Raspberries

4 hulled, Strawberries

100ml Mango Juice

100ml Pomegranate Juice

200ml Milk

2 tablespoons honey

Method:

1)      Blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

2)      Pour into a glass and enjoy with some blueberries as garnish.

This Smoothie is all about helping you ‘be all you can be’. The fruits used are considered ‘super’ for their health boosting properties, not to mention the boost in nutrients and high calcium content of the milk. This is perfect for those who prefer milkshakes to juice smoothies.

 

Ultimate Hangover Buster, courtesy of ‘hip & healthy

330ml Cocoa Coconut water

1 Banana*

1 Kiwi fruit

1/3 Pineapple

Method:

1)      Chop up and blend until smooth.

2)      Serve straight away and enjoy.

Courtesy of Hip & Healthy this ultimate hangover buster contains the main nutrient lost due to alcohol ingestion:  Potassium. Almost all of the ingredients used in this drink contain high levels of the mineral, which means your body gets a huge boost to help you combat the hangover symptoms. The fruit juice contains high amounts of naturally occurring water easing that banging headache of yours and the nausea, well that should go once your body starts to break down the fruits.

The perfect choice for the morning after a heavy night! Make a few of these up in advance and store in the fridge and you’ll be the super-hero of the hangover curing world.

 

Fruit & Tea

Recipe:

3 tablespoons water

1 green tea-bag

2 teaspoons Honey

200g Frozen Blueberries

½ Banana*

180ml Vanilla Soya Milk

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Super fruit + Green Tea = A very good start to the morning after…

Method:

1)      Boil the teabag for 3 minutes in a small glass/mug of water.

2)      Remove the teabag and add the honey and stir until dissolved.

3)      Allow to cool.

4)      Combine the berries, milk, banana, tea in a blender and blend (some blenders have a ‘crush-ice’ setting – use this, failing that use the highest setting).

5)      Blend until smooth, and pour into serving glasses.

For the more sophisticated hangover, this recipe is more across the board than the previous 2 recipes, but it does its job very well. Mixing the healthy green tea with the original super-food blueberries and a potassium pumped banana this recipe will have you up and about in no time.

Time consuming and best served fresh on the day, this recipe is probably the one that will have you working the most for the pay off, but it is ultimately worth the effort. The flavour combinations are surprisingly tasty, the nutrient boost is fantastic and the fact that this recipe is a little different (due to the tea) makes it something worth trying at least once. Again it is very easy to scale up for guests.

Berry & Almond

250ml Almond Milk

1 banana

65-80g mixed berries (try using forest fruits here, including blueberries & blackberries)

½ teaspoon Cinnamon

½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract

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Attractive and fruity this smoothie will pick you right up…

Method:

1)      Blend all the ingredients until smooth.

2)      Serve in rocks glasses.

This recipe is for those of you who are Lactose intolerant. Utilising a relatively new product on our UK shelves; Almond Milk, this recipe also combines a warming cinnamon with the fragrant vanilla and mixed forest fruits. High in healthy nutrients and high in Calcium (not to mention the rather different flavour) this recipe is great for settling your stomach early in the morning and having instead of a bowl of cereal.

Studio 72 House Smoothie

1 Kiwi,

½ Lime,

75g mixed berries (include blueberries)*,

50g Acai berry,

100g pineapple chunks,

250ml water

Method:

1)      Blend all of the ingredients until smooth.

2)      Serve in a tall ice filled glass.

This is also one of my own recipes and it’s more of an afternoon smoothie. A mix of potassium high fruits, nutrient rich berries and the super Acai berry this recipe will both quench your thirst and boost your body’s system and help pep you up a bit.

It might seem silly to put an afternoon recipe in here but if you combine it with any of the other morning recipes then you’ll find your hangover not only goes quicker but you’ll feel much better long into the night.

Free Advice: please be aware that some people are allergic to bananas, oranges, strawberries etc. so make sure you ask before making these drinks. All these drinks are mixable without the relevant allergens, just substitute in fruits the person of note is able to eat.

So there you have 6 hangover helpers that will make the difference to a wasted day and a quick recovery. Sure they might not work instantly, but the point is to rehydrate and replace lost nutrients. Experiment with the fruit you have at home, with milk or water, and even use vegetables if you like. Chin up and get on with your day!

So after a few too many daiquiri’s and Martinis fill your morning with fresh fruit smoothies and light, energy boosting foods and you’ll be ready by lunchtime!

Drink well and prosper folks!

Links to websites used:

Hip & Healthy

Lifestyle 1

Lifestyle 2

AllRecipes

DrinkAwareUK

Halloween Special: The best of the rest…

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Huge Pumpkins, now the cocktails to match…

I planned on bringing you 5+ of my very own creations this Halloween week, but due to work commitments (my day job) I haven’t had as much time as I thought when I planned that.

So rather than let you down by not bringing you those cocktails, I’ve decided to make up for it by supplying literally 100’s of Halloween themed cocktails…

But not through direct recipes, part of this of this blog is to help up the popularity of cocktails and the best way to do this is by sharing the best sites…

And are the best Halloween Cocktails, courtesy of the best sites I’ve found:

Brit & Co.

Cocktails About.Com

13 to die for halloween cocktails

27 Halloween Cocktails

7 more Halloween Cocktails

Halloween Cocktails by food & wine

Creepy Halloween Cocktails by the Food Network

The BBC’s Halloween Cocktails

Cocktails O’ Clock: Inspired by… Halloween Part 2

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2) The Brain Haemorrhage Shooter…

So it’s the day before Halloween and not a creature was stirring, well that’s a lie straight away, I have a headache and have not long been in from work.

Anyway Tequila Cocktail in hand (a wisely chosen Paloma) and sausage roll in the other, I type this (with my nose) festive post all about the scariest Shooter of them all…

The Brain Haemorrhage

Truly a disgusting mixture if one was ever seen, enough to scare pets and small children for years to come.

But mixed right and presented well one (or several depending on your day) will look right at home in your hand this Halloween.

The Recipe:

½ measure Schnapps,

¼ measure Bailey’s Irish Cream

¼ measure Grenadine Syrup

Image
Nice and big, so you can enjoy its hideousness…
Picture courtesy of: Brit & Co.

Method:

1)      Pour the schnapps into a well-chilled shot/rocks glass.

2)      Then layer the baileys on top,

3)      Then pour in the grenadine, drop by drop, from above the glass.

The trick: the simple, yet effective, way to make this drink is by following these 3 rules:

1)      Use equal measures of everything, that way it will still taste ok when you finally drink it.

2)      Use the heaviest ingredient last (I.e. The grenadine or well iced liqueur).

3)      Drink carefully, the name may be jovial, but the alcohol content is serious (especially if you use an iced liqueur instead of the non-alcoholic grenadine).

Stick to those 3 rules and you’ll create frightfully tasty cocktail shooters every time…

Treat: Here’s the Alien-brain version should the classic recipe be too boring for you…

The Recipe:

½ measure Schnapps

¼ measure Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 teaspoon Grenadine syrup

1 teaspoon Blue Curacao

Image
By mixing in different coloured liqueurs the drink takes on rather eerie effects. Try using different coloured Curacao’s for varied effects.

Method:

Same as the classic except for the step between the bailey’s and the grenadine:

1)      Pour the schnapps into a well-chilled shot/rocks glass.

2)      Then layer the baileys on top,

3)      Then layer the Blue Curacao on the bailey’s (don’t worry if some sinks below, that’s bound to happen – and add to the effect).

4)      Then pour in the grenadine, drop by drop, from above the glass.

Trick: use Crème De Menthe for a really nasty flavour (and aesthetic) combination (use in place of the Blue Curacao).

So there you go, combine that with my Spiced Caramel Apple cocktail and you have a couple of fantastic Halloween themed cocktails to show off at your parties… Keep your eyes open for my ‘best of Halloween’ post coming shortly, with links to some of the best Halloween cocktails on the net… Enjoy your evening!)

Website with some cool Halloween cocktails (and source of my picture above): Brit & Co