Tag Archives: mexico

The Fervent Shaker Top 10 Liqueurs

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My top 10 liqueurs… Which one makes no.1? Is it this Beauty? Or another great liqueur…

For commercial purposes (i.e. what you’re able to go out and buy yourselves) I’ll only be including liqueurs you can purchase on the UK market. Although this does not really reflect the list, as I do come from the UK and therefore am limited to these myself…

10) Chambord

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A great berry liqueur…

Possibly the sweetest liqueur on this list, Chambord Liqueur has one of the most ‘Royal’ beginnings too. It is said that King Louis XIV (that’s 15th for anyone who doesn’t know) visited Chateau Chambord and was presented with a Raspberry Liqueur that he loved. Well it is this liqueur that has inspired the spirit we all know and love: Chambord Liqueur. This world renowned black raspberry liqueur is a favourite of many of the modern mixologists ingredients.

This raspberry liqueur screams quality, and even the process shows it:

Using only the best raspberries (among other raspberry like berries) the fruit is then double infused and married with the other ingredients (and cognac wouldn’t you believe).

If this doesn’t scream enough quality the shape and design of the glass it comes in certainly covers any excess. Let’s face it, the French do romance and beauty better than any other country in the world and this liqueur is no different. From the minute you open a bottle you’re hit with the strong ‘raspberry jam donut’ fragrance supplied by the black raspberries. This to me makes it one of the best liqueurs, not just in Europe, but in the world.  

Cocktail O’Clock: The Chambord French Martini

50ml Raspberry Vodka

15ml Chambord Liqueur

100ml Pineapple Juice

Method:

1)      Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a large martini cocktail glass.

2)      Garnish with some fresh raspberries.

9) Agwa Bolivia (coca)

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A great Coca Leaf based liqueur, it even gives you a little buzz when you drink it… What’s not to like?!

I make no secret about my love affair with liqueurs/spirits with great stories. And why should this one be any different? Hint – it’s not.

Agwa De Bolivia is a dangerous and controversial liqueur. Dangerous in that What makes it so controversial is what it is made from: The Coca Leaf (that’s right, Coca as in Cocaine). There is nothing illegal about the use of the leaf, nor the consumption of this liqueur, however when it first came to be, it’s safe to say there were some shamefully shaking heads. But ignore them, because this liqueur is something special indeed.

Hand-picked to extremely high standards, the coca leaves are then transported (by armed guard) to Amsterdam where they are processed and infused until we get this almost florescent bottle of magic.

This liqueur is just a little different, a little crazy and a little controversial enough to not only be an instant hit across the globe, but to also interest people into making cocktails with it.

And that’s why it makes it onto this list.

Cocktail O’Clock: Agwa Berry Kiss

45ml Agwa de Bolivia coca leaf liqueur

150ml Italian Prosecco

Fresh Lime Juice (1/2 lime or round-abouts)

Fresh black berries and raspberries

Method:

1)      Fill a fancy champagne flute with the chilled Prosecco.

2)      Shake the lime juice and Agwa in a shaker, over ice.

3)      Strain into the glass, over the Prosecco, watching it ripple through the sparkling wine.

4)      Garnish with some fresh berries however you prefer (we like to skewer them, slicing them and putting them on the glass’ rim works too!)

That cocktail was courtesy of someone who’s had the pleasure of sampling and reviewing the liqueur first hand… Liquor Chick.

8) Disaronno

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A great Italian liqueur, one of our faves here in the UK…

As the story goes Leonardo Da Vinci’s apprentice ‘Bernardino Luini’ was commissioned to paint a picture of ‘Madonna of the miracles in Saronno’ and in return for choosing an innkeeper to model as Madonna the young maiden innkeeper gave him a bottle of ‘golden liqueur’. Then later on this recipe was rediscovered and eventually sold as Disaronno.

Today Disaronno is among the most recognized of liqueurs across the planet. With a sweet Almond taste (imagine concentrated liquid marzipan being loosed upon your tastebuds) Disaronno is both perfect for drinking as is, or in well balanced cocktail.

Due to its carefully smooth texture and taste it can blend well with both the Neutral vodkas and white rums, but also well with the more flavourful tasting spirits like aged rum, Tequila and Gin.

Now this is something you do not often find in liqueurs, at least not an amaretto. Usually they are just good for aperitifs or as the base of a cocktail (where the other ingredients work around them). This however is different, and it’s for this reason it is my 3rd favourite liqueur.

A drink worth trying disaronno out with would be:

Cocktail O’Clock: Disaronno Jazzy Hour

½ measure Disaronno

1 measure Vodka

½ measure Tangerine Liqueur

1 measure Pineapple Juice

¼ measure Lemon Juice (about 5ml)

Method:

Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail (martini) glass.

 

7) Pisa Liqueur

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A fantastic Amaretto-like liqueur from Pisa, Italy. One I hope to see in my cupboard again very soon…

Pisa Liqueur is one of my all time favourite drinks, and was discovered purely by accident. I remember it well, I was looking for a new amaretto I saw in a shop window (a luxardo one, but I couldn’t remember the name) and stumbled across this on the drinkshop. I fell in love with the bottle design and it sounded good, so I bought a bottle for around £13-£14. Since then it’s become no longer available on the drinkshop, but I’m sure that within the next year or so they will break back onto the international market.

How do I know this? Well as recently as January this year (2013) this liqueur was show during an American tv’s superbowl cocktail segment. This alone makes me think they are branching out and it shouldn’t be too long for them to hit the UK commercially again (if they haven’t already)… For all you American reading this: You lucky buggars you, I’m extremely jealous. And would appreciate a few bottles sent my way!!

Here’s what the Pisa Liqueur official website has to say about their history:

“Liquore Pisa was born long ago from a domain steeped in history, rich in flavour and character. Its flavours come from a distant past, a history of intrigues of the renaissance. Therefore Liquore Pisa is aged and wise and imparts the feel of another world. Pisa has been bottled since the beginning in Italy at two Italian owned companies; Franciacorta which exists since 1901, and Torino Distillati.”

Cocktail O’Clock: The Pisa Sour

1 ¼ oz measure Pisa Liqueur

1 ¼ oz measure Stetson Bourbon

¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice

1 egg white (optional)

Fresh grated nutmeg for garnish.

Method:

1)      Shake ingredients over ice and double strain into a coupe cocktail glass.

2)      Garnish with a grating of nutmeg.

6) Prucia Plum liqueur

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One of the classiest liqueurs I’ve ever had the pleasure in owning. It will not be long before I own another bottle, trust me!

Prucia is a bit of an enigma when it comes to liqueurs. However whilst it may be half Japanese and half French it is, after all, 100% Plum. This wonderful liqueur is something I discovered after originally falling in love with Brentzen Plum Liqueur. After trying the Brentzen liqueur, I found Prucia and thought I’d spend out the extra £££ for a little extra quality (or so I thought at the time). What I received for my £26 was a liqueur that, quite literally, blew my mind. I cannot shout enough good things about this Liqueur. My only problem is it’s slightly higher price tag – then again you are quite literally paying for the quality of the product, after all the Japanese part of this liqueur cannot come cheap.

“When bored by a splurge of poncey spirit brands, it’s a relief to taste something different…” – The London Paper.

This Liqueur is something a little special, and I wish I could have placed it higher, this with a splash of pepsi cola is just sublime, it’s simple yes, but so good.

Cocktail O’Clock: Prucia Formula

25ml Prucia Plum Liqueur

20ml Antica Formula Vermouth

Top up Champagne

Cherry & orange twist to garnish

Method:

1)      Shake the Prucia & Vermouth together over ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.

2)      Top up with the Champagne.

3)      Garnish by dropping the cherry in the glass and squeezing the twist over the glass and dropping that in too.

5) Agave Sec

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Another of the great quality Triple Sec’s, this one is blended with Agave Syrup for that sweet hit…

Created jointly by Giffard, the mighty Liqueur Giants, and Simon Difford (author of Difford’s guide to cocktails), this curious but elegant blend of agave nectar and Curacao Triple Sec elbows its way onto the world market. It gives Cointreau a run for its money when it comes to a unique and rather floral triple sec brand. Clocking in at 40%, the same as Cointreau, this triple sec fills a niche some bartenders were craving: A triple sec that go toe to toe with Tequila.

The obvious thing that sets this triple sec apart is in the name: Agave Nectar. Using 100% Mexican agave nectar; this triple sec blends the Curacao orange peels, that triple sec are renown for, but without losing the quality in the process.

There are only two things that keep this ‘triple sec’ from bettering Cointreau:

1)      Exposure: basically Cointreau has this triple sec beat on popularity. Cointreau has been around for hundreds of years and it has a brutal stranglehold on all things triple sec. I mean face it, would you swap out that Christmas favourite for something you’re not sure about? No me either (I would for this but hey that’s me).

2)      Cointreau’s combination of bitter & sweet orange peels is still that missing ingredient from every other triple sec out there. Sure this one has Agave Nectar for sweetness, but Cointreau is still on another level. And rightly so, as said above, it’s been around for several hundreds of years, you’d have thought they’d done well in that time right?!

Cocktail O’Clock: The Agave Sec Margarita

40ml Tequila Blanco (choose your favourite brand)

20ml Giffard Agave Sec

20ml Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

Method:

1)      Combine ingredients in an ice filled shaker.

2)      Shake well and strain into a margarita cocktail glass.

3)      Garnish with a lime wheel.

Check out Giffards Agave Sec product page for a little bit more about its history and for some more cocktails, including:

The Nutcracker

The Caribbean Sunset

The Beautiful Apple

Fun fact: “Agave Syrup is 90% fructose, which has a very low glycemic index – this means that it’s a much healthier alternative to cane sugar and you need far less to achieve the same level of sweetness.” – Mangrove UK

4) Cointreau

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Cointreau have recently started up a Fizz summer cocktail awareness campaign… It went rather well…

And here we are: Remy Cointreau’s crown jewel of liqueurs: Cointreau.

A list of my favourite liqueurs would not be complete without this beauty. It misses out on the top 3 by literally the smallest of margins. I couldn’t decide between this and the next and I had to flip a coin for it. Not very scientific but let’s face it: drinking rarely is.

As you know from the whole host of Cointreau blogs I’ve written before Cointreau is a premium grade Triple Sec made using both bitter & sweet orange peels (most other triple sec brands use just the bitter peels).  I won’t go into too much detail as that will negate the point of all the other Cointreau post’s I’ve written. However below I shall leave link’s to all my other Cointreau posts.

Cointreau Fizz Garden

Cointreau Fizz Cocktails

Cointreau Summer Cocktails

The history of Cointreau Part 1

The history of Cointreau Part 2

The history of Cointreau Part 3

Fun fact: Cointreau turns opalescent when added to water, it shows the liqueur is pure and of good quality.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Cointreau Fizz, Original

50ml Cointreau

½ lime (cut into wedges)

100ml Club Soda

Method:

1)      Fill your glass with ice.

2)      Add in the Cointreau.

3)      Squeeze the lime wedges into the glass and drop in when done.

4)      Top up with Club Soda

3) Domain De Canton Ginger liqueur

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A great liqueur with the best of everything… You’re sure to love it!

Domain de Canton Ginger Liqueur is another one of those French enigmas (like Prucia), in that it uses an interesting process and flavour to create something that truly is unique.

I tried this liqueur at university, having more money than I knew what to do with, when I bought and tried several expensive liqueurs. At around £30, it’s quite expensive all though these days that’s not far off some of the more established liqueurs.

Using the best Vietnamese baby ginger macerated with a blend of herbs and spices, unlocking it’s fresh essence.

“Domaine de Canton made in small batches and by hand, therefore mass quantities are not possible.” – partial descritption from the Domaine de Canton website.

This liqueur blends a whole collection of ingredients, including:

–          Fine Eau de Vie,

–          VSOP cognac

–          XO Grande Champagne Cognac

–          Tahitian Vanilla Beans

–          Provencal Honey

–          Tunisian Ginseng

If these ingredients are not enough for you, this liqueur is made naturally without preservatives, or colourings.

It’s worth a try if you have the monies knocking about, or even if you find a bar selling it. It’s perfect for cocktails, but even better with champagne, not to mention its use in food recipes.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Canton Cocktail

2 ½ mesures Domaine de Canton

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

8 mint sprigs

Top up Club Soda (optional)

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients over ice.

2)      Strain into a rocks glass.

3)      To make this drink slightly longer, top up with club Soda.

4)      Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of caramelised Ginger.

2) St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

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A beautifully sweet and luxurious liqueur from France, where else?

What makes St-Germain my 2nd faviourite liqueur? Well apart from the heavenly taste, which by St-Germains own words “is a curious mixture that rivals Paris’ culture”, it’s all about the process St-Germain go through to create their signature liqueur…

Picking only the best fresh elderflower blossoms over the course of a few spring time weeks,  the men that gather these blossoms then transport (by bicycle) the blossoms to the collection depot.

It is here that the fresh blossoms are then macerated using St-Germain’s secret method. Further to this the process they employ created the exceedingly fresh and complex elderflower liqueur we all know. With hints of pear, peach and even grapefruit zest, St Germain truly is a unique and superbly special liqueur. And it is for this reason it beats the other liqueurs in this list to 2nd place. The only liqueur to beat it, is one that holds a special place in my heart…

“Neither passionfruit nor pear, grapefruit nor lemon, the sublime taste of St-Germain hints at each of these and yet none of them exactly. It is a flavour as subtle and delicate as it is captivating. A little like asking a hummingbird to describe the flavour of its favourite nectar. Tres curieux indeed, n’est-ce pas?” – Exerpt from the St-Germain website.

Cocktail O’Clock: The St-Germain Cocktail

2 measures Brut Champagne (or dry sparkling wine)

1.5 measures St-Germain

2 measures Club Soda

Method:

1)      Stir together the ingredients in an ice filled Collins glass.

2)      Garnish with a lemon twist.

1) Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta Y Tres)

My all time favourite liqueur, this has a special place in my heart, and will never be beaten to that no.1 spot!

Repeat readers of this blog may or may not be surprised by this choice. Either way to me it was the easiest place to decide. I don’t think I could ever willingly go back to not knowing what this liqueur tastes like. Also I will not be going too much into its history or the cocktails, seeing as I have several posts dedicated to this…

A little re-cap of my introduction and history of this liqueur starts with my university life (once again, surprise, surprise). In my first year I was staying in halls which were situated 10 minutes walk away from the local Asda supermarket (a UK company owned by WallMart – a reference all you Americans will get). One time I went out with the intention to purchase a vanilla liqueur and was going to buy Galliano, until I saw this little Gem on the bottom shelf. It looked stunning in its unique little bottle, its black label and that golden liqueur.

So I gave in and spent the £16 (then, it’s around £18-£25 nowadays) and it was probably the best £16 I ever spent. I tried to find what it went best with, and strangely found that Pepsi (rather than coca cola) made the best mixer. Although it works well in plenty of cocktails, just look here for the best ones.

Another nail in the coffin of love I have for this liqueur was when I was on a Geography (University) Field trip to Southern Spain. At the hotel we stayed in, Licor 43 was one of most consumed liqueurs, and I got a lot of approving looks from the people at the bar for asking for it. Even the lady behind the bar seemed rather happy I’d asked for it (it probably helped me asking it using its Spanish name).

A little fact I want to end on it something not a lot of people know: Licor 43, also known as Cuarenta Y Tres, is a descendent of the Mirabilis liqueur made in the Cartangena region of the Mediterranean. And was originally founded by four Spaniards, and that company, Diego Zamora, is still completely family owned.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Power of Cuarenta Y Tres

7 measures Licor 43

1 measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

8 measures Cranberry Juice

4 measure Passion Fruit Nectar

1 measure Caramel Syrup

Fervent twist: Top up Ginger Beer

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients into a shaker and strain over ice in a hurricane glass.

2)      For a slightly longer drink, use our Fervent Twist and top up with Ginger beer.

3)      Garnish with the in-season fresh fruit, and a lime wheel.

This cocktail is the one that, for me, really brings out what Cuarenta Y Tres stands for, both in name and taste.

Keep a look out for an on-going set of posts sharing (and celebrating) Licor 43’s current cocktail of the month initiative.

Previous Licor 43 posts:

Licor 43 Jewel of Southern Spain

Licor 43 Summer Cocktails

International COTM: July

Until next time readers, fare thee well!

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.

Kicking it like a pro – the World’s best Mule’s!

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The best mules in the world… Oh hang on a minute…

The Moscow Mule arguably one of the most famous mule cocktails ever made. But what you might not know is that there are literally dozens of variations. From Paris to New Zealand and everywhere in between, there is a Mule for everyone…

The idea of a mule is very simple… Top with Ginger Beer/Ale (whichever one you prefer). Of course you need other ingredients but if you take a gander at the recipes below you’ll see that those depend on the theme…

It’s important to keep the ratio’s in these drinks as they are written. Use this conversion: 1 measure = 25ml (UK) or 1oz (USA). This way the balance of the drink remains as it should be and everyone is happy!

Onto the cocktails:

10) Berry Nice

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Fresh berries make for the best Mules. Add a splash of ginger beer and Bob’s your uncle!

Recipe:

2 measures of Raspberry Vodka

¼ measure Chambord (Raspberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

8 Blackberries

Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the vodka and blackberries and muddle well.

2)      Add the Chambord liqueur and lemon juice.

3)      Shake over ice and strain into an ice filled glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and garnish with a blackberry and lemon peel skewer.

9) Yule Mule

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A simple yet stunning cocktail that scales up brilliantly if you have a few extra friends round…

Recipe:

2 measures Light (white) Rum

2.5 measures Cranberry Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice-filled Collins glass.

2)      Garnish with a Lime wedge.

This cocktail is a simple Caribbean style Mule. Made ideally at Christmas, so you can use cranberries when they are in abundance (here in the UK at least) for a fresher crisper drink, this cocktail is perfect for the summer too. Refreshing and crisp this drink is simple yet flavourful. Try experimenting with your favourite aged/dark rums for a deeper taste.

8) Blackberry Mule

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A wonderful infusion of British produce and gorgeous vodka… The Blackberry Mule: Summer, well, summed up…

Recipe:

1.5 measures Vodka

½ measure Crème de Mure (Blackberry Liqueur)

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

6-8 fresh blackberries

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Muddle the blackberries with the vodka in a shaker tin.

2)      Then add the crème de mure and lime juice.

3)      Shake well over ice and double strain (to keep out the seeds) into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with Ginger beer/ale.

5)      Garnish with 2 plump blackberries.

A great UK summer cocktail, the Blackberry Mule comes to fruition around the same time as the blackberry bushes bless us with their bounties. Fresh blackberries mean a fresher drink. Sure you can shell out for some supermarket blackberries (the ones that have probably gained more air miles that you will in a couple of years) or you could go blackberry picking and gather some for yourself. Over here in the UK berry picking is still a pastime. I even tried my hand at it when I was younger. There are plenty of farmers that take on hands to help (as volunteers mainly – but they do let you keep the odd punnet or two). It’s a fun day out and you get to enjoy your spoils with a nice splash of your favourite spirit.

Oh right, one last thing, this cocktail tastes just as great using any spirit. Try it with some of these if you’d prefer: Tequila, Rum, Gin & Cachaca.

7) The Mordor Mule

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A drifter from Mordor… This mule has a slightly tangy feel as well as a knock-out blow should you disrespect it…

Recipe:

1.5 measures ‘42 Below’ Vodka

½ measure Lime Juice

¼ measure Agave Nectar

1 whole Kiwi (skinned & chopped into chunks)

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In a mixing tin muddle the Kiwi chunks, lime juice and sugar syrup.

2)      Add the vodka and fill with ice.

3)      Shake and strain into an ice filled Collins glass

4)      Top up with ginger beer/ale

5)      Garnish with a Kiwi wheel (leave skin on this one).

This Middle Earth (New Zealand) themed Mule is something a little different. It combines one of the best vodkas in the world (from NZ of course) with a New Zealand Kiwi fruit and then using the ginger beer/ale as a top up. This cocktail, as a result, is extremely refreshing and crisp and great for those summer evenings when you want something a little different.

Again the room for tweaking lies with the fruit. There are several other edible species of Kiwi fruit available that are different to the commercial one we are all accustomed to. If you want to try them, and they’re available in your country, start here; on the Wikipedia site and have a search around.

Oh and not to mention this is one of my very own recipes so please let me know how it goes down!

6) Parisian Mule

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A great Parisian Mule, picture courtesy of the http://cocktailqueens.wordpress.com

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

1 measure Crème de Cassis

1 measure Lime Juice

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      In an ice filled shaker add the vodka, crème de cassis and lime juice.

2)      Shake well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

3)      Top up with Ginger Beer/Ale and serve with a lime wedge as garnish.

This is a recipe I’m really proud of, back during the early days of this blog I catered cocktails for a friend of a friend’s birthday party. One of those cocktails was a pitcher sized serving of a Parisian Mule. Now various other mules do exist and probably more appropriately named too. But this cocktail is special to me, and when I think of Crème liqueurs I think of France, of the romance capital of the world: Paris. Now the other recipe I have found for a Parisian Mule contains Cognac, a fine vintage too I might say, and it is a delicious drink. But rather than fill up another spot for a cocktail of the same name, if you follow this link for what I have dubbed the Imperial Parisian Mule you’ll find the original website for it. Whichever taste of Paris you prefer, you will not be disappointed.

5) Moscow Mule

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A classic mule, in a classic Russian Copper Cup

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

½ measure Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Build this cocktail in an ice filled mixing glass.

2)      Start with the Vodka, then lime juice and bitters.

3)      Stir well and strain into an ice filled Collins glass.

4)      Top up with your preference of Ginger Beer/Ale.

5)      Garnish with a Lime Wedge and serve with straws.

This classic cocktail is all about the kick. Refreshing and crisp (the lime and ginger pair exceptionally well) it lulls you into a full sense of security, then after about 3 or 4 you try and stand and remember the vodka; It’ll sit you right back down again, I assure you. Perfect for those summer evenings when you just don’t want to get up the next morning. Still they taste great and a couple wouldn’t hurt…Right? Right.

4) Saigon Sling via Bar Blue

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A great Mule variation. It’s balanced well and the lime wedge adds a little tartness to the drink…

Recipe:

45ml Bombay Sapphire Gin

15ml Krupnik Honey Liqueur

30ml Pineapple Juice

2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the Gin, Honey Liqueur, Pineapple juice and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well for about 20-30 seconds.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass (see glass in the picture).

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a slice of lemon.

This cocktail was first tasted by me when I went to London Bridge’s Bar Blue (on the way to the Cointreau Fizz Garden event). Combining the floral flavours of Bombay Sapphire Gin, and the sweetness of Krupnik Honey Liqueur, this cocktail is a borderline Mule, and therefore a controversial choice, but it is just so good I could not leave it out. It is just a wonderfully refreshing drink everyone needs to try at least once.

3) Anejo Mule

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What your Anejo Mule should look like…

Recipe:

1 measure Light Rum

½ measure Dark Rum

½ measure triple Sec

¼ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add all the ingredients (except the ginger beer/ale obviously) and shake well over ice.

2)      Strain into an ice filled Collins glass and top up with Ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a lime wedge sat on the rim of the glass*.

Now I love all types of rum. Whether it’s the classic white stuff or the darker, aged stuff, it doesn’t bother me as long as it tastes great (which most of them do). Usually I find it hard to choose between light and dark rum, but this drink puts a line through this conundrum with a simple answer: Use both…

*this allows for your friends/customers/drinkers to add a splash more lime juice if they would like.

2) Caribbean Mule

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The best thing about a Mule, is you can dress it up to look like a Circus Zebra, but underneath it all, it’s still a Mule.

Recipe:

1.5 measures Light Rum

½ measure Spiced Dark Rum

½ measure fresh squeezed lime juice

½ measure guava juice

1 measure pineapple juice

3 dashes of angostura bitters

Method:

1)      Combine the first 5 ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into an ice filled sling glass and top up with ginger beer/ale.

3)      Garnish with a pineapple wedge and cocktail cherry.

4)      Serve with straws.

Similar to the Anejo Mule, this cocktail adds a little Caribbean flavour to the mixture with some exotic fruit juices. This does lengthen the drink somewhat and water down the rum a little, but it makes it a little more beach specific and refreshing. The ginger beer/ale adds a splash of crispness and heat that is really balanced well with the sweetness of the juices.

Give it a go and close your eyes, you’ll be hearing waves roaring at your feet and feel a tan coming on before you know it…

1) Mexican Mule

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Lots of lime and Tequila, this one is all Mexican 100% baby! (Except the glass – that was made in china)…

Recipe:

2 measures good quality Tequila

¾ measures fresh squeezed lime juice

¼ measure agave nectar

2 dashes Angostura bitters

Top up Ginger Beer/Ale

Method:

1)      Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and bitters into an ice filled shaker and shake well.

2)      Strain into a tall glass filled with crush ice.

3)      Top up with ginger beer/ale and garnish with a lime wedge.

This cocktail is my number one by a country mile. This cocktail takes everything great about the classic Moscow mule and just spins it on its head, in a way only the Mexicans can, with TEQUILA!

Now a couple of months ago it was Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) which celebrates Mexico’s ways in all their glory, although it’s a more United States specific celebration, which means Tequila and all things Mexican are centre stage.

And then there was National Tequila Day (NTD) which was as recent as last week! Again it’s largely an American ‘Holiday’ (I’m starting to notice a theme here, are you?) upon which much more Tequila is consumed (naturally). Now I did a post on the 24th July (NTD) and this was based on the craft Tequila George Clooney has co-financed, along with his life-long buddy Rande Gerber and this is the perfect tequila to use here. If you cannot get a hold of it (I know I can’t) then use the best quality Tequila you can find (that means 100% Agave people!).

This drink, as already stated, turns the classic vodka based version on its head and creates a rather delicious monster. Tequila mixes well with lime, we all know this, but it also mixes fantastically well with Ginger Beer/Ale. So combining the 3 sounds perfect right? Right.

“Never ever mix tequila with lime and ginger beer/ale” – Said no one. Ever.

So mix one of these up, chuck a poncho and a fake moustache on and put the maracas down, Sit back on your hammock and enjoy the sunset – beach, sunset, fake moustache, maracas & poncho not included.

finally enjoy this lovely couple of Mules, can you guess their names? Hint: Even I’m not sure of their names, so good luck…

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A happy Chap…

And the twins here…

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A couple of twins not happy with your lack of a cocktail like beverage already…

Casamigos Tequila – Hollywood gone Rogue…

So I sit here sipping on my very last drops of Havana Club 7YO (Sad Face) and let’s be honest with ourselves, you all feel my pain. Let’s have 30 seconds of pause for a sad moment…

Enjoy the first 15 Seconds looking at this wonderful picture of a great Tequila…
Now spend the next 15 seconds enjoying this simplistic yet rather classy label...
Now spend the next 15 seconds enjoying this simplistic yet rather classy label…

Ok so with that over we can carry on (I’ll attempt to make this Cuba Libre last the entirety of the writing of this post). Recently I’ve had a bit of a fetish for tequila, and seeing as today (July 24th) is “National Tequila Day” in the U.S.A . it thought I’d celebrate it here in the UK with one of the newer Tequila’s on the US market: Casamigos.

Now I know what you’re thinking “we’ve all been there, and thrown up” well you’re wrong. I’m not talking about Jose Cuervo ‘Salt, tequila, lime’ (or however you prefer to take the three) Tequila.

I’m talking about the Cazadores/El Jimador/Casamigos style Tequilas; the ‘Craft Tequilas’ of our time period.

Now the latter of the three is a Tequila I want to focus on (for the remainder of this post anyway). Casamigos Tequila, if you haven’t heard, is something a little different to the norm.

Sure it’s distilled and created in Jalisco (Mexico) and to all the specifications it needs to be called Tequila, but there’s a bit of a Hollywood feel to this tequila. But enough teasing for now, that’s a little surprise for later!

Casamigos Tequila was formed by the common interest of two friends and originally meant for just them and their circle of friends & family (if you believe the stories anyhow) until they decided one day, for some reason or another, to share their gold with the world.

The mystery owners aside, this Tequila really is something a little special; although the company has only been distilling long enough to produce a small amount of their Tequila (by industry standards), they have still found the time and methods to distil a great spirit in a growing market (it’s expanding exceptionally fast – especially in the U.S.A.) that has various flavours and aromas you’d expect from a company distilling tequila for years.

It is (as I keep saying) something special. And this may be because of those mystery owners I mentioned earlier. Do any of you know who they are? Hell some of you may even know them personally… They may even be reading this as you do (in which case HEY GUYS!). Have you guessed? No? Well here’s a little picture to put you out of your misery…

Clooney & Gerber folks...
Clooney & Gerber folks…

That’s right folks, George Clooney & Rande Gerber are behind the new and emerging glass of pure, distilled agave gold.

With the addition of their long-time friend Mike Meldman they are surely a force to reckoned with. It would not surprise me if this time next year, they became one of the top 3 craft tequila’s in the USA. Let alone Europe, should they expand this far (I really hope they do – I’m dying for a sip!).

They are trying different things with both the cooking/distilling and the advertisement (albeit they are in a unique position to exploit their famous reputations). Whether it’s slow roasting the Agave Piña’s or using Gerber’s & Clooney’s star status to advertise both the product and their love for it; putting across the products quality – “if it’s good enough for Clooney it’s good enough for me” is a great slogan to use subconsciously (it’s worked on me at least).

So let’s sum up:

As I cannot taste it and review it that way, I’ll be pining (excuse the pun) over it instead… I want to try it. I want to test it. I want to make some Mexican Mules, Margaritas, Palomas & even sip it on the rocks. Until then I’ll suggest all you American readers jump on the bandwagon and give it a try. I know it’s about $50-60 per bottle, and not everyone can afford it, but if you’re in the market for a craft tequila, I suggest you give this one ago (and let me know what you think as well?!)…

Want to know more about Casamigos Tequila? Clooney? Or even just watch the cheesy but smart advert/trailer for Casamigos (watch out for the painfully good pay off at the end) then follow THIS link and enjoy. Or for a quick link to their Tequila Day blog post check out THIS.

Finally enjoy this picture of Clooney and Gerber enjoying themselves behind the classiest bar in the world:

2 Amigo's making that bar look the most attractive it's ever been...
2 Amigo’s making that bar look the most attractive it’s ever been…

Casamigos Tequila – Spoilers people, Spoilers…

I have heard news of a post about a New USA based* Tequila brand hitting this blog tomorrow around 11am (UK time) as a homage to the USA’s ‘apparent’ National Tequila Day (NTD)  … What could it be about I hear you say… What mysteries will be unveiled? Will it give you a hangover? All that and more on tomorrows post (Except the hangover thing – of course it will. It’s Tequila!**)

Here’s a little teaser to get you ebbing with saliva for that post…

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Who are they? What brand will this tequila be? Is this teaser to revealing? All these and more tomorrow!

Take care, and until tomorrow, drink well and be safe!

*As US based as it possibly can be whilst still being called Tequila…

**Tequila consumed in copius amounts will always cause hangovers, as much as any alcohol consumed in excess. Please drink responsibly and be aware of your limits.

Tequila – Best bottles under £40 on the UK market

Tequila: Does it make you happy?

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Tequila & Lime, a match made in heaven… Or so they say!

So a little while back (Think back to Cinco De Mayo) I posted a 3 course cocktail ‘Cinco De Mayo’ special… After writing about the 3 drink courses, I added a little section about some great tequila you could buy in the UK for under £40 a bottle. Ever since I wrote that post, the tequila section has been on my mind non-stop.

So, in an attempt to rid myself of the constant thought of Tequila (I know, I know), i have decided to post the Tequila section in it’s own post (in the aim of supplying some more products as and when I find them)…

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An Agave Farmer doing what he does best… Wrestling Agave Plants…

So without further adieu here are the best 5 Tequila’s you can buy for less than £40 a bottle (70/75cl bottles)…

The Fervent Shaker Tequila Sampling Selection:

A collection of 5 of the finest tequila’s available on the UK market…

Tequila no.1: Cazadores Reposado

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A 100% Blue Agave ‘rested’ tequila, with a very deep aroma; it is rather pricey but worth the cost.

Fun fact: “The fermentation process takes 2-3 times longer than most producers because no sugars or yeast is added.”

More Information

Tequila no.2: Gran Centenario Reposado

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A rather unknown, but none-the-less fantastic tequila worth your time!

Fun Fact: “The Tequila is rested in never before used French limousine oak barrels for optimum flavour…”

More Information

Tequila no.3: Sauza Hornito’s Reposado

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With a whole host of flavours ranging from Apples & Peaches to Salt & pepper, this tequila is one you just have to try!

Fun Fact: ”This unique Reposado has reduced contact with wood, giving it a paler colour and livelier agave taste than other Reposado tequila’s…”

More Information

Tequila no.4: Jose Cuervo 1800 Silver

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This is the only Silver tequila on my list and it is arguably one of the best silver tequila’s ever made. With a delicate and smooth flavour and an aroma that includes agave, floral notes and a slight fruitiness; this tequila sure does pack a punch. Perfect with a slice of orange and a splash of cinnamon!

Fun Fact: “This is the world’s only super-premium, 100% Blue Agave silver Tequila.”

 More Information

Tequila no.5: Don Alvaro Anejo

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This is arguable the best tequila on this list, and is aged for a minimum of 5 years in oak barrels. Sporting a rich golden colour and giving off hints of caramel, chocolate and agave this tequila is not out of its depth weighing in among the elite!

Fun Fact: “This Tequila is certified Organic, giving it that little bit of extra ‘good karma’ for the seasoned tequila drinker…”

More Information

These tequilas are what I consider some of the best ‘under £40’ tequila’s available! Whilst they are expensive and to buy every bottle on this list would set you back near on £200, they are fantastic and split the difference between you and your friends and they become reasonably priced. Try all of them with a selection of citrus fruits, soft fruits (like peaches and apples), cinnamon, pineapple and (if you’re one for danger) try a variety of chilli peppers too! All these additions help bring out the tequila’s flavours and help you enjoy them more!

A list for all them can be found here at The DrinkShop.

If you find that even these are a little out of your prices range, why not just pop along to your local supermarket/spirit wholesalers and just grab a bottle or two of anything you like the look of? When sampling remember: Use citrus or soft fruits as well as cinnamon/chilli depending on your tastes, as this helps bring out the flavours of the tequila. Also remember that Anejo or Reposado (rested/aged) – basically any ‘gold’ – tequila’s will pack more flavour than silver, but silver tequila’s do tend to mix better and are generally smoother…

As a final note, i’d like to add this comment from a followe (and great blogger) of mine:

Thanks for the follow Shaker :)

A few years ago ( I ‘ve worked in the hospitality industry for 30 years) my client was a Lebanese man marrying a Mexican woman. They met in Mexico where he was an Agave grower. He showed me a little tequila tip. Take a bottle of Cuervo and poor a little into the palm of your hand, rub your hands together then smell your palm. All you’ll smell is alcohol. Now do the same with a bottle of cazadores -all you’ll smell is agave. He swore by this test – any Tequila leaving agave rather than alcohol smell is good.” – Notes To Ponder

Tequila Summer Cocktails

Do you know what the best thing about Tequila is? It’s perfect for sharing.

It’s a rustique, down to earth (literally) spirit full of flavour. Keeping this in mind I’ve gathered (what I feel are) 10 of the best summertime tequila cocktails… I won’t spoil the surprise, but the top spot belongs to my very own creation… (Yeah, Yeah I know it was a fix from the start, but there are still 9 other fantastic cocktails).

10. Santa Maria

Serves 1

45ml Reposado Tequila*

30ml White Port

15ml Velvet Falernum

15ml Simple Syrup

1 lemon – Juiced

Top up Ginger beer

Taking inspiration from the Tequila Highball, this cocktail mixes intricate flavours with sweet and spicy ingredients and tops it off with a great Reposado (or ‘gold’) Tequila.

*Use a good quality reposado, preferably not Jose Cuervo (use a brand like El Jimador or Cazadores – take a look at my blog on some of the better tequilas available – scroll down to after the dessert: https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/3-course-cocktails-cinco-de-mayo-especial/)

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No.9: Tequila-Cranberry Cooler

 9. Tequila-Cranberry Cooler

Serves 4

150ml Blanco (silver) Tequila

50ml Campari

250ml cranberry juice

125ml Fresh Orange Juice

60ml Fresh Lime Juice*

Garnish:

60g caster sugar

Lime Wedge

4 x cocktail cherries (with stems)

Garnish: Wipe the lime wedge around the rims of all 4 of the glasses and then dip them in the caster sugar. Drop in a cocktail cherry just before serving.

Cocktail: Mix all the main ingredients together in a jug (over ice) and divide equally among the 4, ice-filled, glasses.

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No. 8: Red Ruby Tequila Cocktails

8. Red Ruby Tequila Cocktails

Serves 4

250ml Reposado Tequila

750ml Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

4 tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice

Mix the ingredients in a jug, over ice, and divide equally into 4 separate glasses. Garnish with an Orange twirl…

Top Tip: Using Reposado (rested) tequila really add some fantastic flavour (and a nice little kick) to this already great drink. Add a little splash of soda water to make it a little more refreshing…

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No. 7: Margarita, with Chilli & Cucumber…

 7. Classic (Perfect) Margarita

Serves 1

Drinks as particular as this require a very well balanced combination of ingredients, and for this reason I have used the term ‘measure(s)’ so as its clear that for every measure of tequila you use the relative amounts of Lime & Cointreau…

1.5 measures Silver (Blanco) Tequila

1 measure Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

0.5 measures Cointreau (try not to use triple sec)

Shake the ingredients over ice, until the tin is well iced. Strain the mixture into a salt rimmed, margarita glass (or small rocks glass for a slightly different look).

Top Tip: Only salt rim half the glass in salt. This way the consumer of the drink can decide on how much salt they want.

Flavoured recipes: There are literally hundreds of flavoured margarita recipes out there and I’ll be honest, most of them are awful…

Some, however, are surprisingly refreshing; like the Chilli & Cucumber Margarita.

The best thing about this recipe is that all you’re actually doing is adding some a cucumber & Chilli mix into a classic Margarita recipe (like the one above).

Here’s how you prepare one, for yourself (or friends):

1)      Chop up some chilli (or use dried chilli flakes if you’re too lazy) and mix with some diced (de-seeded & peeled) cucumber,

2)      Leave to chill for between 2-4 hours.

3)      Then just add a couple of tablespoons to your shaker before mixing up your margarita and mix away!

4)      Enjoy you’re rather different Margarita.

 

6. Classic Tequila Slammer

Serves 1

1 Part Tequila

1 Part Soda Water

Build in a glass, cover with a napkin, lightly slam on the table and then take it down in one gulp.

Top Tip: For a twist on this classic cocktail; try using flavoured sodas. Grapefruit & Orange an easy twist, but for some great tasting drinks be a little wild, try something like hibiscus soda or lychee.

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No. 5: Tequila Sunrise

 5. Tequila Sunrise

Serves 1

150ml Orange Juice*

1 teaspoon Sugar Syrup (simple syrup)

35ml Tequila

1 teaspoon Grenadine Syrup

Garnish: 1 slice of lime

Combine the orange juice, tequila and sugar syrup over ice in a glass, and then gently pour in the grenadine. Garnish with a slice (wheel) of lime.

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No. 4: La Pinela

 4. La Pinela

Serves 1

Drink: 45ml Silver (Blanco) Tequila

45ml Fresh Pineapple Juice

15ml Licor 43

15ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

1 teaspoon Cinnamon Syrup

Garnish: 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Lime wedge

Combine the sugar and ground cinnamon on a plate and wipe the rim of the glass with the lime wedge, then rim half of the glass with the sugar/cinnamon mixture and fill the glass with ice.

For the drink; combine all the other ingredients in a shaker and shake until the tin is iced (20-30 seconds). Strain it into the ice filled glass. Finish with a lime wheel.

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No. 3: The Paloma (with lime/tequila shot)…

3. Paloma

Serves 1

1 teaspoon fresh Lime Juice

30ml High-Quality Tequila (Silver)

Grapefruit Soda

Using a lime wedge, wipe the rim of half the glass, and dip it in coarse sea-salt. Then fill the glass with ice, adding the lime and tequila shortly after. Top up with the grapefruit soda and stir before serving. Garnish finally with a floating lime twirl/slice.

Top Tip: For an added kick, scrape out the inside of half a lime and fill it with a shot of tequila, floating this on top with a splash of salt will look stunning and supply you with an added ‘cocktail’ version of that classic tequila shot…

2. Zapatos Nuevos

Serves 2

120ml Silver (Blanco) Tequila

30ml Agave Nectar

500g (2 cups) Seedless Watermelon Cubes

30ml Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Garnish: 2 basil leaves

Fill two highball glasses with ice and leave to one side. Then blend all of the ingredients until smooth and pour into the ice filled glasses. To garnish, gently slap the basil leaves between your hands and wedge just inside the glass for an added herb-hit…

1. Sonoran Iced-Tea

Serves 1

25ml Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

25ml Disaronno Amaretto

12.5ml Silver Tequila

12.5ml Lime Juice

60ml Fresh Cranberry Juice

OR

60ml POM Pomegranate Juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker and shake until the tin is well iced. Strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Serve with 2 straws and garnish with a lime wedge and cocktail cherry.

Top Tip: For a slightly different version try substituting POM: Fresh Pomegranate Juice in for the cranberry juice, or even go half ‘n’ half (30ml of each).

Mexican Sangria – Wine, Tequila and baskets of fresh fruit…

Sangria is not an unknown sensation, especially across Latin parts of the world. Whether you find yourself in South America, Mexico or across Southern Europe you will find sangria in one form or another. The basics are as follows:

Wine,

Fruit juice,

Fresh fruit pieces,

Mixer

Classic sangria’s also primarily use red wines; however I prefer the lighter white wine sangrias that are becoming more and more popular. Whether it’s because you can add other spirits, or whether it’s because white wine doesn’t produce an unattractive colour when mixed with different juices; white wine sangrias are just becoming more and more popular…

You might think that this is a bad thing, but in fact it’s a great move. The use of white wines opens the door for the addition of spirits. Rum, Tequila, Vodka & all sorts of fruit liqueurs all have something to add to the world of sangria (just look at how many punches/pitcher cocktails there are!).

This post is a continuation of my previous Sangria blog, and will be aiming to show you how to use Tequila in sangria recipes…

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So then, let’s get started…

We begin by taking the white wine sangria from my previous sangria blog:

750ml White wine

1 ½ cups white rum

1 ½ cups orange juice

½ cup white sugar

1 lemon, lime & orange (diced/sliced)

Optional: Selection of orchard fruits (apples, pears, plums etc.) to taste

Top up with lemonade (or sparkling wine for an added kick)

This recipe is very basic, but it covers all the basics already mentioned above. For a very simple Mexican Sangria, you could just switch out the rum for silver tequila. But I like my sangria a little more refined. And below are some recipes and tips that show why these sangria’s work.

Recipe 1: Especial Heaven

750ml Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay*

500ml Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila**

500ml Orange Juice

500ml Grapefruit Juice

250ml Cranberry Juice

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

2L Grapefruit soda to top

Lemon, Lime, Orange & Pink grapefruit slices (1 of each fruit sliced up)

Selection of preferred hard fruits: Apples, Pears, peaches, apricots etc…

Add the alcohol, juice and sugar into a bowl and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the fruit and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Then, just before serving add the Grapefruit soda.

*Casillero Del Diablo Chardonnay 75cl (750ml): £7.99 from www.Tesco.com.

**Jose Cuervo Especial Gold Tequila 50cl (500ml): £14.00 from www.tesco.com.

This Chardonnay wine from Chile will work perfectly with the fragrant Especial tequila in this sangria. Its flavours blend in well with the fruits used and the nature of the tequila (agave, and other fruity notes) also lending themselves to the sangria’s overall taste.

Top Tip: Try to match the fruit to both the wine and the tequila. Look online (or on the bottle) for the fruity notes of both and try to use those fruits (as well as the basic citrus and orchard fruits).

Recipe 1: Reposado Royale

750ml Artesano De Argento Pinot Grigio

500ml El Jimador Reposado Tequila

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

500ml orange juice

500ml pineapple juice

250ml mango juice

250ml guava juice

Top up: Mateus Sparkling Rose

Orange, lemon, lime slices

Pineapple slices/chunks

Mango chunks

Blending exotic tropical flavours from the Argentinian Pinot Grigio blend well with the El Jimador Reposado and are topped off nicely with the creamy Mateus Rose’s apricot & strawberry flavours.

Top tip: Just because main flavours are tropical, don’t be afraid of using the creamier, softer berried flavours the rose wine supplied. It adds an extra layer, and greater depth in flavour to the sangria.

* Artesano De Argento Pinot Grigio 75Cl (750ml) £7.99 from www.Tesco.com.

**El Jimador Reposado 70Cl (700ml) £19.99 from www.sainsburys.co.uk (or almost any store).

***Mateus Sparkling Rose 75Cl (750ml) £8.29 from www.morrisonscellar.com.

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So topping your sangria off with sparkling rose adds a little class, not to mention a great taste!

Final Recipe – Silver Key Sauvignon Blanc:

750ml Sauvignon Blanc*

500ml Sierra Silver Tequila**

250ml Triple Sec***

½ cup Muscovado Sugar

500ml Orange Juice

500ml Grapefruit Juice

250ml Cranberry & Raspberry Juice

150ml Passoa (optional)

150ml Grenadine Syrup****

Top up: Any clear soda you like.

Lime, Lemon, Orange slices.

Soft berries: Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Apricots, Peaches, Greengages as well as a selection of citrus fruits (mandarin’s, satsuma’s and clementine’s work particularly well).

*Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 75cl (750ml) £9.29 from www.sainsburys.co.uk

**Sierra Silver Tequila 50cl (500ml) £15.49 from www.sainsburys.co.uk

***Any triple sec you can find will suffice, I think for this De Kuyper/Bols work perfectly fine. Don’t waste your Cointreau on something like this!

****Try to be a little experimental with your choice of syrup. Grenadine works fine if you cannot get anything else, but try exotic flavours like Hibiscus & Kiwi (among others), check out this website for the hibiscus syrup: http://www.creamsupplies.co.uk/rosella-wild-hibiscus-syrup-300ml/prod_5491.html?category=

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Citrus fruit make the sangria. But always feel free to brighten this picture up with some ideas of your own…

So that concludes the recipes… Now for some top tips:

1)      Feel free to experiment, that’s how half of these recipes came about after all!

2)      The use of fruit is essential, but it must be to you, and your guests’ tastes. If someone is allergic to Banana’s then don’t use them. (I know this one is a no-brainer but it happens!).

3)      When making Mexican sangria remember: Tequila is king. Always use top quality tequila.

4)      While tequila is king, you need fruity flavours. To accomplish this, use fruit liqueurs – don’t be afraid to add small amounts in. Stick to a 1-5 rule (for every 500ml of tequila use 100-150ml of the fruit liqueur).

5)      Read the labels. Read the wine and tequila labels to work out what fruit to use in the mix. Also – always use the freshest fruit.

In summary I suppose I just want to say that the idea behind this post is that if you have the ingredients for great Mexican sangria’s (like those above) then fantastic – enjoy yourself, but for those that don’t; make sure you have the wine and tequila’s available and just use whatever else you can afford/have at hand!

Please feel free to leave comments as to what you thought of these recipes, or even just general feedback! I am enjoying some tequila nights here at home this week, so I’ll have some more Mexican themed posts on their way to you soon! Thanks for reading and keep a weather eye out!

Oh, and please remember to drink responsibly!

TODAY IS CINCO DE MAYO!!!

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But it’s not all fun and games both sides of the border…

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican themed festive day celebrated more in the USA than it is in Mexico. Mexico generally does not celebrate Cinco de Mayo (with the exception of Puebla which celebrates the festive day fantastically) and contrary to popular American belief it is NOT the Mexican Independence Day.

Cinco de Mayo (literally translated as May 5th in English) is a commemoration to the Mexican victory against the French back in 1862. This was an unlikely victory as the French outnumbered and outgunned the Mexicans 2-1. Yet the Mexicans still went on to beat the French in the town of Puebla.

Naturally Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal in Puebla but it is also a popular celebration north of the border in quite a few of the US states. The previous Mexican territory states of Texas & California hold some of the biggest Cinco de Mayo events in the US, not to mention events celebrated in Denver, New York and Portland, as well as in Mexican restaurants across the world.

The best thing about Cinco de Mayo is the relative carefree attitude towards the celebrations; with parades, fairs, mariachi bands, Mexican food and the joy of all things alcohol (of course), including Tequila & Corona (among others).

Now you are brushed up on the idea of Cinco de Mayo, here are some of my cocktail tips and some places to head out to over the next week or so…

Cocktails:

It’s all about Tequila at this event, sure you can find cocktails without tequila in, but to enjoy Cinco de Mayo in classic Mexican fashion you need that famous Mexican spirit: Tequila.

Whether you prefer silver, reposado or Anejo, there is a style of tequila for everyone… An important thing to remember though is that Tequila is NOT a mescal. It used to be a type of mescal but in recent years it has been awarded a form of ‘unique spirit’ award allowing tequila to be respected as a spirit in its own right (not to mention only allowed to be made in certain parts of Mexico – think back to my champagne post explaining this type of regional ‘patent’).

There are obvious choices of cocktail to try; like various flavours of ‘margarita’, or the fruity ‘Paloma’ as well as the very raw ‘Tequila Slammer’ (not to be confused with a ‘tequila shot’ – salt & lemon).

Recipes:

Classic Margarita recipe

0.75 parts – Fresh Lime Juice

1 part – Triple Sec*

1.5 parts – Good quality Silver (or Blanco) Tequila**

Shake the ingredients over ice and double strain into a fancy cocktail glass. For an ‘iced’ margarita serve in a glass filled with a heap of finely crushed ice.

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A classic Margarita cocktail.

* Don’t use Cointreau in this recipe as it distorts the clarity of the finished drink. Use a high quality clear triple sec (check out Marie Brizard or Bols/De Kuyper). If you insist on having a ‘dirty’ margarita then I recommend ‘Agave Sec’ instead of Cointreau – you have to stay Mexican after all!

** Silver (or Blanco) tequila is better for this sort of cocktail, brands such as Jose cuervo & sierra are great tequilas to use.

Link for clear triple sec:

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/productlist.php?text=triple+sec

Link for ‘Agave Sec’…

http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=6320

There are more flavoured recipes for the margarita than I can count using a calculator not to mention actually list on this blog, so follow the link below for a great selection of flavoured margarita recipes:

http://mixthatdrink.com/49-margarita-recipes/

Keep an eye out for some more great Cinco de Mayo posts today… their on their way!

P.S. Here’s a link for a great Cinco de Mayo post by a talented blogger:

http://behindthebooze.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/cinco-de-mayo-celebrating-mexican-heritage-and-welching-the-french/

A Sonoran Iced-Tea Please… A Taste Of Mexico In Your Glass!

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A classic Mexican mix, but with a little electric twist…

At the party ‘south of the border’ (https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/the-songwriters-shindig-south-of-the-border/) I was tasked with concocting a drink at very short notice. Now given choice of alcohol was restricted to the party’s specific Mexican theme. I wanted to create something with a Mexican feel, but, at the same time, offered something a little different. So I tried mixing the coffee with cranberry. The combination of just those two flavours would have been too dry, but by adding the amaretto the drink has the sugar to balance the cranberry and coffee as well as that extra layer of flavour (with the almond).

Overall the drink balances out well, and is both crisp and refreshing in equal parts.

People would have you think that the cocktails we now call ‘classic-cocktails’ were well researched, highly thought out masterpieces. Whilst in some cases that’s true (and in my opinion they are all pretty much masterpieces) for the most part, they are a result of pure experimental work. And this is exactly how this one came about.

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A lovely refreshing cocktail. Give it a try and drop me a comment or two…

Im not saying this is a classic cocktail, im not that big headed, but it does have something a little different about it, something that I feel most classic cocktails have. In all my years drinking cocktails (I’ve had more than my fair share) I’ve never had a cocktail that tasted quite like this… The Sonoran Iced-Tea is a carefully layered cocktail that hits you in stages of flavour. First you smell the coffee liqueur, then you get hit with the fresh fruity flavours and the dryness of the cranberry. Finally you finish with the Tequila and Coffee liqueur. The main thing about this drink is that it makes you think. It looks like a normal summer evening drink, and it is, but it has a hidden flavour surprise and that’s what I strive for.  Give them a try and let me know what your thoughts are. It was very well received at the event, but always I look for feedback where possible!

The more perceptive of you, will notice that the recipe I included in the Mexican Party post did not include the tequila… This is because since then i’ve had time to refine the cocktail to help balance, as well as add to, the layers of flavour…

Sonoran Iced Tea

2 measures Coffee Liqueur

2 measures Amaretto

1 Splash (1 teaspoon) of silver tequila

½ measure Lime Juice

Top up with Cranberry Juice

Shake  the first free ingredients well (until the shaker ices up), then top up with the cranberry juice. Serve in a highball glass filled with ice.