Tag Archives: campari

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.

 

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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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Valentines cocktails: An Bitter Aftermath

So Valentines has been and gone, couples have loved and lost and there’s even been a rather infamous movie release (a favourite with the female audience more than the male I imagine) but sometimes valentines does not always work out for everyone so below is a cocktail specifically created for the aftermath of a bad valentines day. Whether it was the breakups to end all break ups or just simply a poor first date this cocktail will help you suck it up and move on. Or realise what went wrong and correct it… Either way enjoy the cocktail and and chin up!

A Shot to the Heart

Recipe:

1-3 slices Jalapeno

1.5 measures Campari

1.5 measures Cold Coffee

Bitter and refreshing, this cocktail is sure to perk you up...
Bitter and refreshing, this cocktail is sure to perk you up…

Method:

  • Shake all of the ingredients well, over ice (shake for around 5-10 seconds, or until the tin ices over).
  • Double strain into a small rocks glass with fresh ice.
  • Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel and another slice of Jalapeno pepper.

This cocktail was originally created and shared for a twist on the same old valentines cocktails. It was meant as a take on how sometimes this time of year can be a bitter pill to swallow for obvious reasons.

However I feel the cocktail itself is pretty darn good in its own right. It blends bitter Campari with refreshingly cold coffee and, in a move that shouldn’t work but does; it also has a subtle hint of spice, from the Jalapeno, running through it! This might sound like a match made in hell but assuming you like all three ingredients this drink really is something you can sink your teeth into, it’s a little different which will look good when preparing it for your friends.

One final thing to mention is that the spice scale can be tweaked for those who, like me, have an adversity to too much spice. Simply use 1 slice per spice level (1 for a slight tingle, 2 for a slight tingle followed by a small burst of intense heat and, finally, use 3 slices for an intense heat wave that will build up as you sip (especially with the garnish floating about).

Bitter-Sweet Valentines day? Then knock this cocktail back and forget all about it...
Bitter-Sweet Valentines day? Then knock this cocktail back and forget all about it…

So for those of you with a passion for spice and coffee then this cocktail could be your new sipper and even if you’re not a fan it could still be a hit for one of our spice loving friends…

Cocktails O’ Clock: Negroni

Reacting to a classic italian cocktail…

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Courtesy of badassdigest.com

The Negroni, in cocktail terms, is ancient. It is one of the pillars of the cocktail world, along with the Manhattan and the old fashioned…

A staple on the menus of most cocktail bars, the Negroni works well on several levels, from the floral Gin to the sweet vermouth and the bitter Campari, this drink blends all of the individual elements together into a tasty little glass.

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Gin

Orange Zest

Method:

–          Build the ingredients in a rocks glass filled with ice.

–          Garnish with a twist of Orange zest and stir well.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: to make this drink drier, try using a splash more of gin, or even substituting the sweet vermouth for dry/extra dry vermouth.

This cocktail is a classic and you should all know how to make one for your friends, especially if you’re having a cocktail party anytime soon. This is a drink is one of the rare drinks that I think are better left short and sweet. Given my preference to longer drinks I did find it a little strange to begin with, but the strength this drink provides is matched by the flavour combination.

The Negroni can be dated back to around 1910 (if you believe the stories) and was apparently used to strengthen another cocktail; the Americano. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous then why not join the trend of using the Negroni as a base, and use these rules:

Base Spirit (your preference) + Bitters + Vermouth (your preference) = Your Negroni.

Various versions of these Negronis can be found HERE. Otherwise check out these 3 rather different versions…

Tequila Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Reposado Tequila

1 measure Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Aperol

A mexican style earthy-tasting version of a classic italian cocktail: The Tequila Negroni.

Method:

–          Stir over ice for 20 seconds.

–          Pour over ice in a rocks glass and enjoy.

–          Use a Lime twist should you want a fruity kick.

The use of Aperol means this drink is a little less bitter than when using Campari, but it works well and the tequila adds a real earthy taste to this version.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: As always, you should only use 100% Agave Tequila, and my preferred brand at the moment is Aqua Riva, but any 100% Agave Reposado Tequila will suffice.

Negroni Sbagliato (Wrong Negroni)

Recipe:

1 measure Campari

1 measure Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Spumante/Prosecco (Sparkling wine)

Sparkling and refreshing this ‘Wrong Negroni’ cocktail will help lift your spirits…

Method:

–          Build over ice and stir the first 2 ingredients.

–          Pour in the sparkling wine and then garnish with an orange twist (expel the oils over the drink before dropping it in).

This version of the Negroni keeps to its traditional Italian theme, using a Prosecco or Spumante sparkling wine. This way the tradition is still there, only this drink is a little lighter, allowing for a more refreshing longer drink-feel.

Cucumber Negroni

Recipe:

1 measure Cucumber infused Vodka

1 measure Campari

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

Sweet, Crisp and refreshing, what could be better than that?

Method:

–          Stir all the ingredients over ice and pour over ice into a rocks glass.

–          Drop in an expelled lemon zest twist and serve with a straw.

This version simply swaps the cucumber Vodka in for the gin. The cucumber flavour adds a little flavour where the removal of the gin would leave a hole and supplies a nice crisp taste to the bitter and sweet of the Campari & Vermouth.

Links:

11 Awesome Negronis

Imbibe Negroni Special

The Hooch Life

Cocktails O’Clock: Campari Flamingo

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Ok, so one of my rather sad pastimes is perusing the internet for new and innovative cocktails, new bars in my local area and literally anything to do with cocktails in the UK (and to be honest I don’t usually stop at the UK, but it’s a good start). Now recently this pastime has led me to uncover what I feel are great summer cocktails, and they are cocktails either not being served locally or just unheard of by people I speak to.

Whether you want a long refreshing fizzy aide to your evening or a shorter more refined flavour experiment, there’s a summer cocktail for you. Like Rum, Vodka, Tequila or Gin? Well you’re in luck, just follow the links for 10 of the best summer cocktails, using those spirits, you’ll ever try.

For the here and now, this great pink cocktail is rather refreshing and a perfect strong arm for all you ladies out there…

The Campari Flamingo

¾ measures Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

1 ½ measures aged rum*

½ measure Campari

3 measures Grapefruit SodaT

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Pretty in Pink: The Campari Flamingo – Picture & Recipe from http://www.seriouseats.com/

Method:

1)      Fill a shaker with ice, and pour in the Rum, Campari and Lime juice.

2)      Shake well & strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

3)      Top up with the grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime wedge and grapefruit twist.

Top Tip: The best rum for this sort of cocktail is one full of flavour, try Appleton Estate, or Chairman’s Reserve for the best results. But ultimately, like any cocktail, just use your favourite rum, and you’ll get a great drink.

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A great example of a great aged rum…

*The term ‘Anejo’ is Spanish for aged (and Reposado the Spanish for rested). Anejo Rum is rum that is aged by (generally) leaving it in sealed barrels over a period of time. 5 year old rums have been aged for 5 years and 7yo for 7 (it really is that simple). For best results and ease of purchase, look for the golden/dark rums as aging of spirits like this commonly results in the golden/black hues of the spirit.

T Grapefruit Soda is a great flavoured fizzy drink, but if you like your soda a little more natural why not take a leaf out of Phillip Ward’s book and check out this great alternative using soda water, fresh grapefruit juice and sugar syrup: Phillip Ward’s Paloma Recipe…

So as you can see this cocktail is a great summery drink, with the crisp refreshing tastes of citrus and the bitter taste of Campari. The soda just lightens the drink up a bit to make it a truly refreshing summer spritzer.

Great for BBQ’s, summer garden parties, and; due to the ease of which it can be scaled up to a punch sized volume, it even suits house parties (should the mood take you).

This drink should be on your ‘to try’ list if only as you finally have a drink other than the 3 basic (and rather classic) Campari cocktails everyone knows about… Hopefully this leads you to try this wonderful spirit and how it can blend well with other spirits, but also other flavours allowing you to experiment and come up with new and wonderful drinks yourselves.

Enjoy it and, as always, drink responsibly folks! 70cl of Campari can go a long way if you treat it right. Worth the £15 odd you will shell out for it.

Best chance for purchasing a bottle near you is:

Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Aldi, Lidl, and if all else fails try online at: the great WhiskyExchange OR the ever reliable TheDrinkShop.

Drink up me’ hearties yo-ho!

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