Tag Archives: sonoran iced tea

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).

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A Secret Soiree in Margate Old Town…

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A busy day at Margate Beach

Margate is a wonderfully quaint little seaside town on the eastern tip of Kent (a county in the UK – for all you non-UK readers) but for those of you who are not acquainted with this sometimes lovely little town here are a few photos, in the form of a Google search…

https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=margate,+kent,+uk&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43148975,d.d2k&biw=1366&bih=643&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=gIIzUbHVJq2a1AWc_oHwDA

Once you’ve seen some of those pictures, imagine this:

                Walking along the Margate sea-front, box of cocktail equipment in hand, leftover tequila, white rum and even a bottle of Prosecco (which remained un-opened in the end) all included, I meander along the path, to be pleasantly surprised by my friend Dan (no relation) who was waiting for me after picking up a small mountain of ice for the Soiree. We both walked back to his house and as we walked in we were both met with a chorus of ‘Woos’ and ‘Dan!’ all from one of the other co-hosts excited to see the cocktail prep could begin. Now I would like to make it clear that at this point, it was around 5-5.30pm and the Soiree did not really get going until around 7-8pm.

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Like walking into a literal time machine, this part of Margate almost feels magical…

After the disappointment of the poorly organised wine and wisdom night (https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/wine-wisdom-cocktails-slight-distraction/), I had been looking forward to this event purely because I knew it had been planned well. I know the hosts well enough to expect an exceptionally well organised night both for me and the cocktail serving but also to maximise the enjoyment of the 40+ attendees.

Before I can do any prep work, I’m shown around the house. First up the main room; where I would be set up. This room also included interactive music, determined by the people in the room at the time (allowing for more personalisation of the evening for the guests – a great idea that really worked well). Then I was taken into the two-tier ‘rave’ cellar and considering it was just 2 brick built rooms the last time I saw it, the neon lights, fairy lights and luminous paint (along with the slightly later addition of strobes and lasers) made this the very club-vibe up beat part of the event.

This two level club-like look really worked and considering the 40+ people attending, was also necessary!

Onwards to the cocktails now:

I started prepping the cocktails and the ingredients needed from around 6pm. This included washing anything I hadn’t done at home, laying out my equipment (knives, strainers, shakers, jiggers etc.) and then of course the softening & cutting of the limes. The alcohol was kept in a make shift bar, an emptied bookcase worked surprisingly well, combined with a large unused table provided me with a sturdy work surface. With people not turning up (generally) until around 7-8pm I offered to make a few test cocktails for the hosts and the music suppliers.

Cocktails tried included the dark n stormy, sex on the beach and (because of a lack of gin/lemon juice) I also served up a tweaked version of the Long Island Iced-Tea (see below [cocktail no.9] for the recipe). This helped me ease into a sense of security and when people started actually turning up I was in my element. For all intents and purposes I had my own bar for the night. Working cleanly and efficiently (and under a great deal of pressure from almost all of the guests at one point) the cocktails started flying of the shelf (quite literally).

I had written the recipes down in one of my handy little notebooks and this allowed people to read what cocktails were available. This not only freed me up to concentrate on the cocktail making process, but also allowed the guests to have a good look at the ingredients and the name of the cocktails, helping them understand what was in each one. This was a little Idea I thought I’d try that also seemed to ease up some time for me to concentrate on the cocktails.

I had planned on serving 8 different cocktails, with a varying amount of flavours and tastes (sweet, sour, dry etc.). These cocktails were a combination of tried and tested recipes along with recipes that I knew would be well received and then one of my own (purely to see if was as well received as it was at the Shindig South of the Border – https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/the-songwriters-shindig-south-of-the-border/).

These cocktail were as follows:

1)      Dark ‘n’ Stormy

2)      Harvey Wallbanger

3)      Mojito

4)      Sex on the Beach

5)      Hawaiian Bay Breeze

6)      Tequila Sunrise

7)      White Russian

8)      Sonoran Iced-Tea

And the addition of:

9)      My tweaked Long Island Iced-Tea.

These cocktails, as you can see, are a combination of classic and contemporary recipes with a little variance in the themes. The mojitos are light and refreshing, whereas the white Russian is a creamier coffee flavoured cocktail. Whilst the Hawaiian Bay Breeze and Sex on the beach are similar in their ingredients, the simple addition/replacement of the ingredients drastically transforms the flavours…

Overall I feel this collection best suited the night and the guests that attended where full of compliments of every recipe. In hindsight the only changes would probably have been the removal of both the Tequila Sunrise and Hawaiian Bay Breeze. These would be changed purely because of a) the tequila sunrise didn’t work with the small opaque plastic cups and b) the Hawaiian bay breeze was too similar to the sex on the beach for the guests to order. Looking at the recipes available with the ingredients purchased the best move may have been to use some more Mexican themed cocktails (tequila and pineapple juice based recipes may have been a good call) to balance the collection out a little.

That put to one side, the overall feedback was good and everyone kept complimenting me on my cocktails, which is a fantastic confidence boost – as I knew pretty much nobody there, and the people I did know had not really seen me in action.

The event as a whole didn’t just benefit me from a networking point of view in that my confidence with serving quality cocktails is improving all the time. The cocktails served were not only great tasting, but well made, and that is great feedback to have.  

As a further more personal note, having cocktails at an event like this, in the way it was done at this event, supplies your guests with a focal point outside of the norm. This can become a conversation topic as well as a general form of interactive entertainment.

 

Now onto the real bread and butter of this post: The Cocktails…

As previously stated the cocktails are a combination of all different flavours. These are not necessarily themed but do share a general Caribbean trend (light fruity juice mixed drinks)

Dark ‘n’ Stormy

1 measure Dark Rum (I used White Rum)

5 measures Jamaican Ginger Beer

I used Sainsbury’s white rum for this cocktail as dark rum is generally hard to find at a reasonable price these days. The only thing the dark rum will give you over the white rum is a larger depth of flavour, but if you use a higher quality rum (let’s use Havana Club 3yo for example) then the flavour depth is automatically quite deep, negating the need for dark rum specifically.

Top Tip: when on a low budget always try to accommodate the supermarket brands, you’ll find that the quality is just as good as some of the more ‘famous’ brands especially when mixing in cocktails…

Harvey Wallbanger

1 measure Vodka

1 measure Galliano

4 measures Fresh Smooth Orange Juice

This cocktail is a classic version of a classic recipe. It was not tweaked in any way and I think this is by far the best way to serve it. If you do not like the vanilla then you can cut it out, but then it becomes a simple Screwdriver. Either way enjoy this cocktail over ice.

Top Tip: this drink is better built in the glass over ice than shaken. You want to create a layered feel to the flavours and shaking the ingredients works against this…

Classic Mojito

60ml White Rum

15ml Sugar Syrup

8-10 fresh mint leaves

1 ½ lime in ¼’s

Top up Soda water/Lemonade

Build the ingredients in the glass you serve it in. Start with the lime and sugar syrup and muddle well, then add the mint and gently muddle. Add the crushed ice and the rum. Top up with lemonade and garnish with a mint sprig.

This cocktail is a classic recipe ONLY when the soda water is used. However my recipe calls for lemonade purely because I have not found a soda water mojito that I like. And I am more comfortable making this slightly sweeter version. This drink is meant to be refreshing so you must use fresh mint leaves. This cocktail just does not work with dried mint at all.

Top Tip: Just before you put the mint leaves in the drink, place them in the palm of one hand, and clap your hands 1-2 times. This releases the oils from the leaves without making the drink bitter.

Sex on the Beach

1 measure Vodka

1 measure Peach Schnapps

2 measure Cranberry Juice

2 measures fresh smooth Orange Juice.

Another built drink. This drink is all about depth in flavour and the best way to do this is to loosely layer the ingredients as you make the drink (over ice of course).

Top Tip: if your guests are planning on drinking this cocktail quickly (or if it’s served in small amounts) then stir gently before serving so they get all the appropriate flavours.

Hawaiian Bay Breeze

1 measure Vodka

1.5 measures Cranberry juice

1.5 measures Pineapple juice

This cocktail can be served either built or shaken. Either way the pineapple adds some Caribbean flavour to an already fruity cocktail. The cranberry and pineapple work perfectly to create an almost punch like feel to this drink.

Top tip: if shaking, double strain the cocktail as you pour it into the glass, taking out the unnecessary foam (from shaking the pineapple).

Tequila Sunrise

1 measure Silver Tequila

4 measures Fresh smooth Orange juice

½ measure Grenadine Syrup

This drink is as simple as it sounds. Build it over ice with the grenadine being dropped from about 1cm above the glass. The grenadine syrup will sink to the bottom and gradually work its way up the cocktail as you drink it. The idea being that the more you drink it, the stronger/sweeter it gets.

Top tip: if you want a bit more culture in your tequila sunrise try using a quality Gold Tequila to add some depth. Jose Cuervo Reposado Gold Tequila is a good shout, but any quality gold tequila will do.

White Russian

1 measure vodka

1 measure coffee liqueur

2 measures Single Cream

This cocktail is a tricky cocktail to make. It may look like it is going wrong but just persist and as long as the cream doesn’t curdle it will be perfect…

Build it over ice and stir before serving…

Top tip: I used my preferred coffee liqueur on this, and the best thing about using coffee liqueur with cream is that you really can be flexible. Try it with Kahlua, but Tia Maria and Soiree coffee liqueur work just as well.

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Sonora is a beutiful part of mexico, and This sunset encapsulates everything The Sonoran Iced Tea represents… A Refreshingly different slice of Mexican culture…

The Sonoran Iced-Tea

1 measure Kahlua (coffee liqueur)

1 measure Disaronno Amaretto

½ measure Silver Tequila

Garnish: ½ measure freshly squeezed lime juice

Top up with cranberry juice.

I have both built and shaken this drink, for the best blend I find shaking makes it lighter and negates the need for ice in the glass, whereas building it requires crushed ice. But please find the best way that suits your taste.

At this event I served the lime juice as a garnish (adding just after pouring into the glass/cup). Shaking the rest of the ingredients negates the need for ice and also saves time as you can serve it straight away.

Top tip: you can add the lime juice to the drink and shake or pour it in at the end; I just prefer the crisp lime flavour at the beginning. Please feel free to experiment and find the way that best suits you.

Bonus cocktail recipe:

My forced-tweaked version of the Long Island Iced-Tea

1 measure vodka

1 measure rum

1 measure silver tequila

1.5 measures fresh lime juice

2 measures sugar syrup

Dash of amaretto

Top up with Coca Cola (original not diet)

This drink was born out of a lack of gin, triple sec and lemon juice. It was not one of my planned cocktails but I was challenged by one of the guests to make up what I could with what I had, using the L.I.I.T. as a base. It was rather sweet and as far as I’m concerned it worked. The guest was happy and it spread like wildfire throughout the event, becoming better than most of the cocktails on the menu.

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.

The Songwriters Shindig south of the border

‘Tequila and lime… may or may not be involved…’

So for the second instalment I thought I feed back to you the Mexican themed party I attended for my friend Jack. He asked me to help him create some special themed cocktails for a party he had arranged for some of his university buddies. Now I am not a stranger to parties, nor to catering cocktails for them (I refer you to my first post). But this one is different. It’s the first one I had to cater for that was not directly for my group of friends. I knew of a couple of the attendees but only through passive meetings.

Now the cocktails for this party were all Mexican in theme (sticking with the theme for the party overall), using the various flavours and alcohols Mexico is famous for (I.e. Coffee, tequila, chilli & lime to name a few). From the fruity ‘Twisted Lemon Mojito’ to the quite painful ‘El Agua del Diablo’, the drinks for this event were perfectly themed.

List of cocktails on the menu: (a * denotes those taken from cocktail books – the others are my own recipe)

–          Twisted Lemon Mojito

–          Classic Tequila Slammer

–          Monterrey Martini

–          El Agua del Diablo

–          Good Morning Paloma

–          Tijuana Slinger*

–          Mexican Mule

–          Navajo Trail*

–          El Dorado Fountain

–          Mariachi Music Maker

–          Mexican Fizz*

–          Yellow Bird*

Whilst not all of these were served (Its hard to serve a set menu at a student party it seems– who’d have thought it?), some other ‘off menu’ recipes were made as well as a few improvised creations, for example a lot of people wanted standard mojitos (Which is fine with me as I love making them, and feel I can make a far superior version than most bars will serve you)..

Refreshing, Crisp, It's the sonoran Iced Tea.
A refreshing take on an iced tea, but jazzed up with a bit of classic Mexicana…

The choices leading towards the recipes chosen for the menu were made to represent the spicier more raw side of Mexico’s culture (tequila and chilli etc…), but as the party continued, it was obvious that a disdain for anything pure Mexican was in the air (a disdain for the stronger, shorter tequila based drinks) and centred more on ‘longer’ cocktails, making use of the vast amounts of mixers available. This was not really a bad thing, as it allowed for more experimentation and for the attendees to get involved with the making process much easier.

Here, give it a try, and remember, take your time!

Thanks to this experimentation, and the demand for a longer drink, I was able to create one particular cocktail I’m quite proud of. It’s been dubbed the ‘Sonoran Iced Tea’ – although does not contain many of the ingredients you’d find in a classic iced teas – another blog dedicated to this cocktail. The recipe can be found above.

I attended the event for 3 hours, and during that time I created some great cocktails, but more importantly I showed others how to make them, although It’s not even worth taking a poll to see that the mojito was the most favoured drink at the event (everyone wanted a Mojito!).

Once you show people how to mix a cocktail, they can appreciate it more as they enjoy it. The best thing to remember is to explain it as you make it, especially if they want to know. For example; in the mojito’s case, explain why you need certain amounts of sugar/mint/soda etc… They can then experiment to their own tastes and also know what flavours to mix and what ones to keep away from.

Whilst this was my secondary aim, it was an important one, as I wanted to see how easily people can take to a simple cocktail recipe, and how willing they are to adapt it to their own tastes.

As I always say, cocktails are all about experimentation. No cocktail would ever have been invented had it not been for experimentation. The sea breeze would not have occurred if someone had not tried to mix different fruit juices to different spirits.

Anyway, message here is that experimentation is integral to any Mixologist, you just need that little bit of passion and a little curiosity. Either way you need to realise quickly what works and what doesn’t. If you can do that, and do it well, you stand a good chance of creating something special.

So that’s the feedback and feelings resulting from my 2nd ever event! Hopefully you all found it interesting; I shall be doing some smaller easy reading blogs about cocktail recipes I like. Including the new star on the block from this party the ‘Sonoran Iced-Tea’ until then…