Tag Archives: ginger ale

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?

Cocktails O’clock: 6 delicious drinks that use Monin’s Falernum syrup…

Recently, Monin (the syrup company) were kind enough to send me some of their products. I received a few flavours and this post will showcase one of their latest products: Falernum syrup. Now Falernum is not a new product, it’s a Caribbean spiced syrup that is often alcoholic and almost exclusively used in Tiki Style cocktails.

I’ve been trying to lay my hands on Falernum, in one form or another, for years and always failed at the last hurdle. However, thanks to the lovely PR team over at Monin (specifically Emma White – Thank you) I’ve finally got some. And boy oh boy it was worth the wait!

Monin’s falernum Syrup is everything I thought it would be. It’s sweet, fragrant, and yet it contains a gentle heat that completes the flavour profile you’d expect from a Caribbean spiced syrup. I can safely say, that I now know why it’s used so copiously across the wide variety of Tiki cocktails.

Below I try to take 6 tiki style cocktails and, with very little tweaking, create them in such a way that you’ll be making them for yourself by the end of the post…

Golden Gate

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Recipe:

2m Plantation 3-star platinum [white] Rum

1m Fresh Lemon Juice

Splash of Monin Falernum syrup

Garnish: 1 orange Peel

 

Method:

  • Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice (around 10 seconds should be enough).
  • Strain into a chilled Coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Top Tip: Although this drink is made short, you can use a rocks glass and crushed ice to make it a longer, more palatable drink – especially if you’re not one for shorter, stronger drinks.

 

Corn & Oil

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Recipe:

2 measure El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum

1 measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters

Garnish: Lime Wedge, Edible Flower

Method:

  • Shake the ingredients hard, over ice.
  • Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.
  • Garnish and serve with a straw, or two.

 

The Zombie (Classic Recipe)

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Recipe:

1 ½ measures Jamaican Rum

1 ½ measures Puerto Rican Rum

1 measure 151-proof rum

½ measure Dons Mix*

½ measure Monin Falernum syrup

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

¼ measure Monin Grenadine syrup

2 dashes Absinthe

1 dash angostura bitters

Garnish: 2 mint sprigs

Method:

Dons Mix: combine 2 measures Grapefruit Juice with 1 measure of cinnamon simple syrup.

Cocktail:

  • Shake all of the ingredients over ice for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain ingredients into a Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top up with crushed ice and garnish with a couple of mint sprigs and serve with 2 straws.

Whilst Jamaican Rum is quite easy to come by (Appleton Estate Special is available in most supermarkets) the Puerto Rican Rum might be a little harder to come by. Sainsbury’s currently stock Flor De Cana, a rum from Nicaragua, which is a decent replacement. Equally, you can experiment like I did and go for something completely different.

I used Plantation Platinum 3 stars, and a Mexican Solera Rum I picked up a little while ago and fell in love with (El Ron Prohibido).

 

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (Tall)

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Recipe:

1 ½ measures El Ron Prohibido Solera Rum

½ measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¼ measure Merlet Trois Citrus (Triple Sec)

¾ measure Fresh Lime Juice

Top up Ginger ale

Garnish: Lime Wheel & Mint Sprig(s)

Method:

  • Add ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake over ice for around 10 seconds.
  • Strain into a tiki mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top with more crushed ice, and then the Ginger ale.
  • Garnish and serve with 2 straws.

This cocktail, originally comprised of just the first 4 ingredients. However, it came up a bit short in my mug (even when doubled). So I simply topped with the ginger ale at hand (Canada Dry) and it seemed to work brilliantly. So I hope you enjoy this lengthened version of the Yacht Club – if not, try it without the ale, serving it short in a coupe/martini glass.

 

Bronx Cheer

Recipe:

2 measures Makers Mark Kentucky Bourbon

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

¾ measure Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Raspberry Simple Syrup

Garnish: Lime Wheel & Raspberry skewer.

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a ceramic Tiki Mug filled with crushed ice.
  • Top up with more crushed ice and garnish, before serving with two straws.

This cocktail is the only one I do not have a picture for. My raspberries went mouldy before their BBE and no shops were open on a Sunday night – murphy’s law, right? However, I have had this cocktail recently and can attest to its rather palatable taste (and considering I’m not a fan of whisky – that’s quite the compliment).

 

Juke Cup

moscow-mule

Recipe:

1 ¼ measures Monin Falernum Syrup

¾ measure Rhum Agricole (high proof)

¾ measure fresh lime juice

¼ measure Honey Simple Syrup

1 Cucumber slice

Top up – Ginger ale

Garnish: Cucumber slice & Pineapple Chunk

Method:

  • Adding the cucumber slice, lime juice and honey syrup to your glass, muddle well.
  • Then add the Falernum and Rhum Agricole and stir well.
  • Top up with ice and mix in some Ginger Ale.
  • Garnish with a cucumber slice and pineapple chunk.

Honey syrup:

Combining at a 1:1 ratio, add honey to water and simmer, mixing until the honey dissolves.

Top Tip: the original recipe called for Ginger beer, but I find it to be a tad too spicy so I stick to the gentler ginger ale. If you like your ginger soda with a kick, try using ginger beer with this cocktail!

So there you have 6 cocktails that make great use of Monin’s Falernum syrup! Monin did a fantastic job supplying me with the Falernum used in this post (you can see it in a couple of the images) and I’d like to thank them for sending me a product I’ve been desperately after for years!

Monin has a vast array of flavoured syrups at their disposal and as a cocktail imbiber, I am always interested in trying out new and novel syrups! My favourite simply has to be this Falernum, although their Hibiscus syrup is a truly inspirational. You can purchase Monin syrups from a wide variety of outlets but click here for more information!

What about you? What’s your favourite flavour Monin syrup? Do you like the cool, crisp taste of their Cucumber syrup or are you a fan of their refreshing Melon syrup? Why don’t you drop a comment below and let me know! You never know they might send me a bottle to use in future posts!

Offers! – Rum and Sunshine!

So another week on, and another offer from the drink shop.

They currently have offers on all of their rums! Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good rum. Seriously, I love rum; So this offer is like catnip to me.

Whether you love a ‘Blanco’ white rum in your Mojito, or an Anejo dark rum in your Cuban – there’s bound to be a rum you love on this list. Not to mention you might find a rum you’ve never tried before!!!

So why not check out the offers, grab a bargain or two and chill this Easter! I know I will be!

Check out the offers page right here!

And when you get your new bottle why not try out this cocktail full of sunshine:

My Sharona

My Sharona

Recipe:

6 Raspberries

50ml Rum

25ml Lemon Juice

12.5ml Agave Nectar

75ml Ginger beer

Method:

  • Muddle Raspberries in a mixing glass.
  • Add the Rum, Lemon Juice, and Agave Nectar.
  • Shake well for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with Ginger Ale.
  • Garnish with a lemon twist.

Cocktails O’clock: Beauty and the Bison…

Here we have two refreshing cocktails that whilst not very festive, at least in their entirety, they do have subtle festive flavours. However I have tried to keep their refreshing profiles at the forefront because I want them to be available for all year round and not just for Christmas.

Therefore I have decided not to tweak the first cocktail, a classic using Green Chartreuse. And have also decided to share a cocktail I recently came up with and whilst it is not perfected is still a very refreshing combination of ingredients.

#1: Chartreuse Smash

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Recipe:

2 measures Green Chartreuse

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2tsp brown sugar

10 mint leaves

Method:

  • Combine the sugar, lemon and mint leaves in a Boston shaker glass and gently muddle until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add ice to the mixture and then pour in the Chartreuse.
  • Shake well, for around 30 seconds – or until the tin is well iced.
  • Strain into a small glass full with crushed ice.
  • Top up with more crushed ice if necessary and then garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon twist. Serve immediately and with a straw.

This cocktail is somewhat of a god amongst mortals. In that it is a pretty great drink. I’ve never tried Chartreuse before this drink, shamefully I’ve never had the opportunity, but thought that should change. And boy am I glad I tried it in this cocktail! It’s a perfect balance of sweet and bitter sugar-lemon with the refreshing mint to counter the earthy qualities of the Herbal Chartreuse.

Combined as it is above, over crushed ice – lengthened and well-chilled, it breaks through that barrier of ‘not too sure about this’ we tend to set up with new flavours or ingredients we’ve never tried. It’s a drink I would suggest any one of you try – should you ever have the pleasure of owning some chartreuse, or better yet have the pleasure of being in one of the few bars that actually sell this cocktail!

It’s a great introduction to one of the most stunning liqueurs on the market, an introduction that makes me want to write more about the spirit in a future post (keep an eye out for that one).

I suppose the best thing I can say about this cocktail is that by the time I finished the first mouthful I already had the straw in my mouth for the second. Scarily moreish!

Also if you like Mojito and Sour style cocktails then this is a must!

Continue reading Cocktails O’clock: Beauty and the Bison…

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

Cinco De Mayo 2015

So Cinco De Mayo is here! It might be nearly over here in the UK but over in the USA it’s just about time to prep your drinks and start upon your drinking night…

My addition this year is a simple yet often overlooked tweak to make your lovely cocktail a little more… punchy.

Recently I was out for a meal at Chiquito’s (a Mexican/Southern American themed chain restaurant here in the UK) and my tipple of choice whenever visiting this particular branch is their exceptional Dark N’ Stormy. They use Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, and of course Goslings ginger ale – What you have to use to create a Dark n’ Stormy, and call it so.

Well I finished my first one and, sporting my Mexican sports jacket (I purchased it during the 2014 world cup – it’s a delightful shade of green) I asked the waitress if she would mind asking the bartender to make me a Dark N’ Stormy, but with a tweak… She told me they can if they have the means, so I asked for a Dark N’ Stormy but for Tequila instead of rum, I said I wasn’t too fussed on what tequila, just whatever the bartender thought would work best.

Now I don’t know what tequila the bartender used, nor did I remember to ask on my way out (a mistake on my part – although I’d had a few and was with friends). All I know is that it tasted fantastic, and worked wonderfully! So whilst I do not know what tequila was used (I’ve left that to your own tastes) I have included a recipe I know to be pretty accurate to what I had:

Cinco De Mayo Special: Mexican Storm

Whilst it lacks the famous looking dark line at the top of the drink, it has a little more kick and is perfect for your Mexican themed parties...
Whilst it lacks the famous looking dark line at the top of the drink, it has a little more kick and is perfect for your Mexican themed parties…

Recipe:

50ml Tequila (your favourite)

150ml Ginger Ale/Beer

15ml Fresh Lime Juice

Method:

  • Pour the ginger ale/beer into a half filled tall glass.
  • Squeeze in the lime juice and top up with the large slug of tequila.
  • Garnish with a slice of lime and serve with a couple of straws.

This cocktail is so simple it’s a wonder it isn’t used more often in the world of cocktails. Supplementing tequila for rum in this case means your drink packs a little more of a kick, as well as making it instantly Mexican themed…

So next time you order a Dark N’ Stormy, switch out the rum for a nice quality Tequila, preferably your favourite, and you may never go back. I know I’m sold!

Happy Cinco De Mayo Everyone!

Que tu noche sea una buena!

Cocktails O’ Clock: The Shady Grove

Shade is a small miracle on hot summer evenings so sit on down and refresh yourself…

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This shady little grove is just what you need to enjoy this cocktail…
Picture courtesy of: trailblogs.wordpress.com

I haven’t done a gin cocktail for a while now, which is odd as I have a rather full bottle of Plymouth Gin (42%) in my cupboard. So it made sense to try a few out and this one stuck in my mind…

Mixing ginger ale (if you haven’t guessed it’s my favourite mixer) and lemon juice with this gin was a master stroke. Whilst the cocktail should work with any gin, there was something about this gin that made using it the first stop for any future attempts (it may have been the slightly increased alcohol content of 42% – most gins are around 37.5-40%).

Regardless of the reason for this difference the cocktail was refreshing and had the usual heat and crisp taste Ginger ale brings to the table, but with enough sweetness from the sugar to balance out the lemons sharpness.

This drink is perfect for the final days of summer, should we have any summer weather left (it’s pouring with rain as I type this).  

Here’s the recipe:

Shady Grove Recipe

2 measures Gin

1 measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1 teaspoon Caster Sugar

Top up Ginger Ale

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Gin, Ginger & Lemon: Holy Matrimony…
Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinckneybend.com

Method:

1)      Shake the first 3 ingredients over ice vigorously (to help dissolve the sugar).

2)      Strain into an ice filled tall glass.

3)      Top up with Ginger Ale and garnish with a slice of lemon and 2 slices of fresh ginger.

This cocktail works well as a refreshing after dinner drink, but also as a standalone summer evening drink. You can add small amounts of liqueurs into the shaker to help flavour the drink lightly (try around 7ml/1 teaspoon), for example the use of Chambord will add a slightly sweet raspberry taste whereas the addition of Licor 43 (Cuarenta Y Tres) will add a Vanilla taste but with added undercurrents of citrus (with help from the use of the lemon).

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: Using a martini cocktail glass and leaving out the ginger ale is a good way of shortening this drink and allowing for a more robust taste affair. For an added Ginger hit, use a teaspoon of Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur. Also garnish with a stick of fresh/stem Ginger.

Fervent Fact: The use of sugar in this drink adds a slightly course taste, but for those who like their gin cocktails smoother try using Agave Nectar or Sugar syrup (the use of flavoured syrups are favourites in my book, but a double measure of a sweet liqueur would work just as well).

Until next time, why not check out these great blogs I found recently…

Trail Blogs

Summer Fruit Cup