Tag Archives: grapefruit juice

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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Cocktails O’ Clock: Navy Grog

It never rains, but it pours… Great words for a rum drinker! Here’s one reason why…

This is my kind of cocktail, full of rum and pulling no punches, it brings together 2 great flavoured rums, honey and my citrus fruit of choice: Grapefruit…

Recipe:

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

20ml Fresh Lime Juice

20ml Runny Honey

25ml Golden Grapefruit Juice

25ml Light Rum

25ml Dark Rum

1 Mint Sprig

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Navy Grog: a 1930’s take on a classic Rum Punch…

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into an ice filled glass.

2)      Garnish with the mint sprig.

A refreshingly sweet drink, this 1930’s take on a classic rum punch works wonders on those rainy days you want to just wish away. Sit on your porch and sip a few of these whilst listening to the rain and thunder. There’s really nothing quite like it if I’m honest. Cocktails don’t just have to be for the beach and bar, they can be for any occasion and situation.

Fervent Shaker Top Tip: Golden grapefruit juice is used here to keep the colour a little more, well, golden (in keeping with the rum’s natural colours). Pink grapefruit juice is slightly healthier but changes the colour of the drink quite dramatically. Feel free to use the one you prefer but keep this effect in mind when preparing the drink.

When creating drinks like this remember to keep them cool, but should you want to lengthen a little, ad a splash of Ginger Ale (it works well with the grapefruit) or Grapefruit Soda – yeah the type of soda used in a Paloma cocktail

Give it a go, sit on your porch and watch the rain fall around you and contemplate life. Or just have a few with friends and watch the TV either way, enjoy this cocktail!

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Cocktails can be as elegant in the rain as they are in the sun, just stick it out and enjoy nature…

Cocktails O’Clock: The Paloma, a Mexican treat…

This is one of Mexico’s favourite cocktails. Forget the Margarita (that’s a common misconception) the Paloma combines tequila with some wonderful fresh grapefruit juice.

This particular recipe is a more craft like cocktail, instead of using grapefruit soda (which is a great choice should you have it) it requires sugar syrup, grapefruit juice and club soda instead.

This tweak creates a bit more depth in the drinks flavours and creates a more balanced cocktail (in my mind at least).

Note: I must say here that I strongly recommend using a high gradeTequila (see here) anything with the phrase “100% Agave” is what you’re looking for. Whilst the supermarkets stock the cheaper Jose Cuervo tequila’s consumption of these will result in worse hangover effects than those a little more expensive (the ones that say “made with 100% Agave”). A good example is the Tequila on sale at your local Waitrose Supermarket (or alternatively you could checkout Ocado’s online service)…

So remember: Cheaper is not always better! Always read the label and buy 100% agave – Tequila that does not say this clearly on the label will give you a worse hangover than those that do! (It’s a process in the distillation, one that I will share in post at another time but should you be interested in further reading try out this: Tequila Facts)

Yeah, yeah I know that was a bit of a lecture but here, check out this great recipe and enjoy you Tequila:

Phillip Wards Paloma

1 lime wedge

Salt

2 measures Blanco (silver/white) Tequila

1 measure Fresh Grapefruit Juice

¾ measures fresh lime juice

½ measure Sugar Syrup (1:1)

Top up club soda

1 lime wedge, for garnish

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The pinkish hue in this version comes from the use of fresh grapefruit juice. It gives it a greater flavour boost than just flavoured Soda…

Method:

1)      Moisten the rim of a highball glass with a lime wedge and lightly dust with the salt.

2)      Fill the serving glass and shaker tin with ice.

3)      Add the Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, sugar syrup and shake wel.

4)      Strain the mixture into the serving glass and stir in the club soda to taste (you should only need around 1 measure for every 2 measures of tequila).

This cocktail is a Mexican classic, but has been tweaked to allow greater flavour and enjoyment. Whilst this is my preferred method of mixing up a Paloma, I know some of you would prefer the quicker, easier version…

So here it is (you can thank me later)…

Paloma, Classic

2 measures Blanco (silver/white) Tequila

½ measure Fresh Lime Juice

6 measures (top up) Grapefruit Soda

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This paler drink is the result of using just the grapefruit soda, if you want a splash of pink add a couple dashes of grenadine…

Method:

1)      Rim the highball glass with salt (using lime juice to moisten the rim).

2)      Combine the tequila and lime juice in a shaking tin and fill with ice.

3)      Shake well and strain into the serving glass.

4)      Top up with Grapefruit Soda and gently stir it in.

5)      Garnish with a lime wheel/wedge and a maraschino cherry.

So there is the classic recipe and Ward’s tweaked recipe. Either way I hope you enjoy them, remember: Tequila is not bad as long as you respect it. That being said please remember to drink responsibly!

Some great summer cocktails (via the Whisky Exchange)

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Relax, sit back and sip on one of these glorious cocktails…

There are some great cocktails out there that are perfect for summer. Here are a few courtesy of the whisky exchange.

Classic American Whisky (or Whiskey) Sour

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An American Classic, shown on the hit show Mad Men, this truly is a fantastic cocktail…

 

Recipe:

1 measure Bourbon whisky

1 measure Sweet & sour mix (a mixture of Lemon & Lime Juice)

½ measure Sugar Syrup

1 dash Angostura Bitters

Method:

1)      Shake well over ice and strain into glass over fresh ice cube.

2)      Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

For a slightly frothier drink dry shake and egg white with the ingredients and then shake over ice too cool. Then strain like normal.

Mizuwari

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A great whisky cocktail, watering down this aged whisky (Nikka) allows one to savour the truly robust collection of flavours…

Recipe:

50ml Nikka ‘from the barrel’

150ml Spring Water

Method:

1)      Stack large cubed ice cubes in a tall glass.

2)      Lay in the Nikka Whisky

3)      Then top up with the 150ml water.

4)      Stir around 10-14 times.

5)      Taste and adjust water (add more) if required.

Mango Cooler

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Smooth & Fruity this cocktail is a tropical explosion…

 

Recipe:

50ml Kingston Mango Liqueur

100ml Lemonade

Method:

1)      Pack the glass with crushed ice.

2)      Pour over the Mango Liqueur and lemonade, stir well.

3)      Garnish with some red berries (cherries, raspberries, red currents all work well).

Kingston also make a Red a Curacao which works just as well in this drink – although you end up with a drink that’s more citrus than mango…

1980’s Classic Pina Colada

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The ultimate Tiki beach cocktail. Enjoy it. I know I will!

 

Recipe:

50ml Pampero Blanco Rum

50ml Coco Real cream of coconut

100ml fresh pineapple juice (fresher the better)

Method:

1)      If you have a blender then blend all the above ingredients with a mixer glass worth of ice. If you don’t have a blender, then shake the mixture really hard with a little less ice.

2)      Serve with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry.

 

Paloma

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Traditional Mexican Cocktail technique at its finest…

 

Recipe:

50ml Tapatio Blanco Tequila

150ml Grapefruit Soda

Method:

1)      Fill a glass with ice and pour in the Tequila.

2)      Top up with the soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

For an added splash of citrus, try adding in 12.5ml – 25ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice. This will cut through the Tequila a bit, should you find it a little too strong.

A Fancy G&T

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Adding the Chartreuse doses you with an extremely rich, strong and flavourful version of this British Classic…

 

Recipe:

2 measures Gin

Top up Tonic Water

5-15ml Green Chartreuse

Method:

1)      Make up your G&T like normal;

  1. Over ice, build the ingredients.

2)      Then float the Green Chartreuse (the amount is to your taste) on top of the drink.

3)      Enjoy your luxurious G&T.

Sea Breeze

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A twist on a Classic…

 

Recipe:

25ml Absolut Vodka

25ml Grapefruit Juice

75ml Cranberry Juice

Method:

1)      In an ice filled glass, build the ingredients one by one.

2)      Stir it briefly and garnish with a lime wedge*.

Give the lime wedge a little squeeze to dump the juice in the drink before dropping the wedge in on top. Quickly stir again and you have a slightly more apparent citrusy hit in your drink.

All the ingredients for these drinks, as well as original pictures and recipes can be found on the Whisky Exchange’s website. They offer a competitive, yet affordable price on almost every product they sell, and honestly, some of the products you cannot get anywhere else. Not here in the UK anyway!

For all non-alcoholic ingredients, as well as some slightly cheaper store-brand alcohol you can check out your local supermarkets.

TheWhiskyExchange  has had no involvement in this post. This is a post I made to share what I feel is one of the best websites out there for cocktail ingredients.

Planters Punch – Another great Caribbean delight…

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The Planters Punch cocktail is unmistakably Caribbean in heritage and like you would expect, its perfect for mild beach evenings.

The recipe for this is a very complicated mix of sweet, sour and tart. And in no way is that a bad thing…

Planters Punch Classic Recipe:

45ml Dark rum

35ml Orange Juice

35ml Pineapple juice

20ml Fresh Lemon Juice

10ml Grenadine

10ml Sugar Syrup

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

This is the classic version I took from the cocktail books in my library (a cupboard in the kitchen). However as some people find Dark Rum a bit overpowering, you can substitute any rum you are accustomed to (be it Bacardi’s standard white rum or a nice Havana club 7 Anejo or even Captain Morgan’s Spiced)…

However due to restrictions in my own cabinet, I could only make this the once. So I decided to tweak the recipe to suit my dwindling range of spirits…

My own tweaked Recipe:

45ml Kraken Black Spiced Rum (remember this bad boy?)

35ml Grapefruit Juice

35ml Pineapple Juice

20ml Fresh Lime Juice/lemon juice (personal taste)

10ml Grenadine

10ml Sugar (Vanilla flavoured)

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

My version was slightly tarter and a little brisker on the taste buds, but on a nice summers evening it’s just as thirst quenching as the original. Don’t get me wrong, the original is fantastic and I suggest you try that before mine, but my recipe is proof that experimenting to what you prefer is what mixology is all about (this point is a constant theme throughout my blog posts). The idea that not every cocktail is going to be liked by everyone, but with a small tweak (sometimes the addition of a mixer) even the most disliked drink can be made favourable.

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Mixing fruit into a planters punch is like mixing up a Pimms, add in what you like and dress it up as much as you want… Just make sure it tastes good first…

Tequila Highball – a taste of Mexico, with a Caribbean twist…

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Combining Tequila with Grapefruit juice whilst not new, when combined like this, it makes for a great recipe…

This recipe takes its inspiration from the Anejo Highball recipe (albeit purely inspiration).

The Anejo Highball (as previously posted) is as follows:

1.5 measures Anejo Rum

½ measure fresh lime juice

½ measure dry curacao/triple sec liqueur

2-4 dashes Angostura Bitters

Top up with Ginger Beer

Lime/orange wheel slices to garnish.

The Tequila Highball recipe is, however, slightly different;

1.5 measures Gold Tequila (preferably Anejo, but Reposado will do)

 ½ measure fresh lime juice

½ measure dry curacao/triple sec liqueur

1.5 measures Pink Grapefruit Juice

1 measure Peach Schnapps

Top up with Grapefruit Soda

As you can see this is very much a Mexican themed drink, but coming from a Caribbean train of thought. Using the lime for the same reasons the rum version does, to help cut through the taste of the alcohol but using the Grapefruit juice to help blend the otherwise Margarita style concoction with the Peach Schnapps. And topping up with grapefruit soda purely lightens the up the drink (without losing the flavours).

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Tequila can mix well with almost all sweet fruits… As long as its mixed well… Don’t be afraid to experiment

This is very similar to the thought process I went through for the Mexican themed party (see my previous blog: https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/the-songwriters-shindig-south-of-the-border/) and the use of grapefruit soda along with grapefruit juice blends in well with the Mexican theme of this drink.

A side note; the Schnapps in this particular recipe, for all intents and purposes, is Peach flavoured, but you can substitute your favourite flavour if you do not like peach.