Tag Archives: spain

Sangria: A latin party maker and centrepiece to boot

sangria slowstruck

Here’s a little secret: Sangria is a perfect centrepiece for parties. Ok, so it wasn’tsuper-secret – most of you already knew that!  But do you know the best way to get the most out of your sangria recipes? No? Well, here is my guide to perfect sangrias every time…

Europe And Its Great But Terrible Sangria Obsession

To be faithful to my story telling roots (or, if you want to put it more bluntly, my rambling nature), I thought I’d start with a bit of history: about the origins of Sangria and, most importantly, about why wine takes centre stage in this universal favourite.

What are the origins of Sangria? Well done for those of you who answered ‘Spain’, but even more points for those of you who said Spain and identified the timeframe of 1700-1800’s. We know this historical period more commonly as the Middle Ages (think Game of Thrones, albeit a little less rose tinted – if that’s possible!). Sangria was created mainly out of necessity! Until the mid-late 19th century, safe drinking water was not as readily available as it is today; therefore, the people of the time looked for safer means of drinking.

Based upon the idea that alcohol kills off the harmful bacteria/nasty stuff that causes diseases like Cholera and Diptheria, alcohol naturally and literally became the only safe way to drink any water. In addition to the health benefits of this plan, it was obvious that certain concoctions would be socially shared (quite merrily, I might add).

As these potent mixtures gained popularity, they also accumulated added ingredients, and thus the first ‘Sangria’ recipes came to be. As milk was considered strictly for babies, and as water was more likely to kill you than keep you alive, this wine mixture was consumed en masse, and even given to young children – talk about an interesting childhood.

Traditionally, the typical Sangria consisted of several ingredients: wine, some type of brandy and fruit. This mixture – in one form or another – became popular across Europe for hundreds of years, and has eventually been refined into the modern Sangria we know and love so much. Introduced into the USA back in 1964’s World Fair in New York, Sangria really put Spain (and red wine, especially) on the map across the Americas.

To this day, traditional Sangria is still made using red wine, brandy and fruit, although sugar and fruit juices are generally both used as well.

But where do you begin with the preparation of your Sangria? What ingredients do you need to rustle up a crowd pleasing wonder? Well, before I share with you my easy-to-follow recipes, why don’t you quickly review this check list to get a basic Idea of the ingredients you’ll need:

  • Wine or non-alcoholic substitute.
  • Try using different fruit juices. Base fruit juices such as orange, apple, peach and grape are great possibilities.
  • Sugar: preferably unrefined brown/muscovado – it’s richer in flavour and is not as bad for you as the refined white cane sugar. Honey/Agave Nectar are also great substitutes.
  • Spirits: rum, vodka, gin, tequila and liqueurs – choose those that work best with the wine you’ve picked. For instance, try using tequila in a spicy style wine, and rum for a sweet one.
  • Fruits, Vegetables, Spices: Citrus Fruits(lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits), Orchard Fruits (plums, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines),Soft Fruits/Berries (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.), Exotic Fruits (dragon fruit, bananas, coconut, pineapple, kiwi, sharon fruit, lychee), Vegetables (cucumber, tomatoes, peppers) andspices (fresh red/green chili, ginger, jalapeno, cinnamon).

Once you have your plethora of ingredients, you can move on to the step by step guide below (here’s some free advice: for that added ‘special something’, try using locally grown seasonal ingredients; they will add much more flavour and you can direct your friends on where to acquire them).

How to Mix Sangria

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If your Sangria looks a little like this? You did good 🙂
  1. One giant leap

Start by mixing the wine, chosen spirit, juice and sugar together and then cover and chill for approximately 1-2 hours.

I find that taking your sweet time will result in a better tasting end product. Stir in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, and mix in your juices and spirits thoroughly.

Did you know? – Whilst traditional Sangria primarily uses red wine and brandy, you can use pretty much any type of wine and any spirit you like. Why not try rum and sparkling white wine (Prosecco/Cava/Champagne) or vodka and still white wine?

  1. Sugar and spice and everything nice

Now comes the best bit: adding your preferred flavours.

First, quickly stir your sugar/juice mixture then introduce your ready-prepared mix of fruits and/or vegetables and spices. You can use any fruit you like, so experiment and have some fun. Once the fruit has been added, cover and return to the fridge for another 2-4 hours

  1. The mid-season finale

Like any decent process, you need to check your progress half way through, so this step it designed to allow you to do just that. Remove the Sangria from the fridge, stir it extremely well to make sure the Sangria ingredients are combining well, and then cover and put back in the fridge for one final time (again for around 2-4 hours).

Did you know? – The best tasting Sangria can sometimes involve leaving the mixture in a fridge overnight to allow the fruit to settle into the alcohol, creating deeper, more meaningful flavours in the mixture.

  1. As cold as ice

By now you should have a large bowl/container/pitcher full of a very fruity and alcohol-laced chilled liquid. But it doesn’t stop there. You need to stir thoroughly before serving and have your carbonated mixer on hand (if you’re using one – you don’t have to!). If serving straight away, then ice isn’t necessary. But have a bag or two ready in case it’s a particularly hot day (or you plan on leaving it out all evening).

  1. Service with a smile

To serve, half fill a glass with ice, then top up with your chosen sparkling mixer!

Prosecco/champagne or lemonade make great mixers, but feel free to try any sparkling mixer you want.  I find orange soda works particularly well.

This 5 step guide is genuinely all you need to produce party-popping Sangria mixes every time. You can make non-alcoholic Sangria using  the same ingredients as detailed above. Whether alcoholic or not, your Sangria will be the envy of all your friends and before you know it, they’ll all be after your recipe.

Since it’s taken you nearly an entire day to create this masterpiece on your table, respect it and take every opportunity to enjoy every scent and sip. Did I mention it’ll keep, in a sealed container, for up to 24-48 hours depending on the fruit/juice used?

And, as I don my Etiquette hat for a small moment; A good host always remembers to be responsible when serving/consuming alcohol, and will check thoroughly that no one is allergic to the fruits/vegetables being used.

One Last Thought

I love to take the slower, more traveled path when creating a great cocktail.  I’ll go out and buy ingredients to make my own infused syrups rather than buying pre-prepared, lower quality products. This process scales elegantly in mixtures such as Sangria. Of course you can create a decent version in a couple of hours; but to really blow your guests away, use fresh juice, locally sourced ingredients, maybe something a little less known, and of course take your time preparing it. You should always treat Sangria like a joint of meat in a marinade – allow plenty of time for the flavour to develop.

Stay tuned for next time – I’ll have something a little seasonal once more, in the form of a very well known and historically charged topic: London Dry Gin.

Licor 43 International Cocktail of the Month: August

Spain: Latino 43

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Imagine being here with one of these in your hand… I do, everyday!

This cocktail continues the Licor 43 International Cocktail tradition of choosing truly delicious cocktails. 

That’s the whole point of the award you may say – well yes you’re right, but its more about them choosing a drink to promote, it just so happens that this one truly is a great choice…

Recipe:

40ml Licor 43

20ml Lemon Juice

4 pieces of lime (1/2 Lime quartered will do)

half a bar spoon of sugar

dash of lime juice

Top up Ginger Ale

Method: 

1) Muddle the lime and sugar together in the glass.

2) Add the lemon juice, lime juice and Licor 43.

3) Top up with crushed ice and stir.

4) Top up with Ginger Ale and garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

This cocktail is a sweet and sour concoction, with a gently spiced twist. The vanilla and citrus is brought out of the Licor 43 brilliantly by the lemon & lime juice and the sugar.

Enjoy this cocktail whilst chilling out in the evening, or at a BBQ with friends. It’s a crisp refreshing drink that truly celebrates everything the summer gives us…

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!

Licor 43 International Cocktail of the Month

Sweden Sangreal

I’ve made no secret of my love for Licor 43 (aka Cuarenta Y Tres) and I’ll be honest once more: This is one of the best cocktail’s I’ve ever tasted. Recently I went to Bar Blue and tried a little number called a ‘Saigon Sling’. In some ways they were similar, although overall they are totally different – I know, I know, it all sounds a bit contradictory but just stay with me here… The similarities lie in the use of 3 of the ingredients; Ginger Ale, Lemon’s & a form of sugar syrup (Saigon sling uses plain sugar syrup, whereas the Sweden Sangreal uses grenadine – pomegranate sugar syrup).

Of course the Saigon Sling, using gin and honey liqueur, does differ in taste, but the ideas for both cocktails lie along a similar path…

This cocktail, one of a whole host of cocktails Licor 43 are presenting (a new one each month) is perfect for the summer, both sweet and sour with a touch of crisp ginger to top. The addition of fresh grapefruit just adds that little extra ‘zing’ the drink needs to make truly special.

The recipe, along with a link to the website (and a lovely little video) can be found below…

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This is a Singapore Sling, as I couldn’t find a decent picture of the Sangreal (and mine went far too quickly to be photogenic), for the purposes of this drink, imagine the above picture with a couple chunks of fruit afloat…

Sweden: Sangreal

40ml Licor 43

2 chunks of Grapefruit (2 ¼’s)

2 chunks of Lemon (2 ¼’s)

Large dash of grenadine (around 5-10ml – to taste)

Top up with Ginger ale

Method:

1)      Drop the lemon and grapefruit in the glass and muddle well, releasing the juices (and oils in the skin).

2)      Add crushed ice, then grenadine and finally the Licor 43. Stir well, mixing up the fruit and ice.

3)      Top up with a little more crushed ice and finally top with ginger ale.

4)      Serve with a straw and a second helping (they’ll want another one).

 

So have a go, it’s a simple cocktail to prepare, with the best results coming from using a good quality ginger ale as well as proper grenadine syrup.

Licor 43 is one of those liqueurs that can cost a little bit more than the normal bottle of alcohol, but it will last a lot longer than your average bottle of Vodka (not to mention having infinitely more flavour).

The best place to grab a bottle is here. Unfortunately I still cannot find a bottle for sale any of the supermarkets (should this change I’ll have a massive party to let everyone know!). Until that day enjoy it where you can find it! Adios Amigos!

Sangria: The Latino Method Of Getting Drunk…

Below are a collection of my personal Sangria Recipes… Think of them as a Gateway to your own Sangria Designs.

If you want to use them word for word, you honour me. But if you want to chop and change the ingredients, feel free. That’s the best bit about this post: It’s all about you! – Except my recipes… They’re about me!

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A stunning Citrusy White wine Sangria… Perfect refreshment on a summers night…

So Sangria’s are traditionally a Spanish drink, and are a kind of grey area when it comes to cocktails as it is a traditional way of serving wine and fruit. However in recent years it has been more acceptable to tweak sangria recipes to make them more accessible for the wider crowds. Whilst you won’t find many sangria’s on your local pub/cocktail bar’s menus, they are fantastic centrepieces for your private events. And the best thing about these sangria’s is that you can tweak the recipes indefinitely to suit your own tastes.

One of several simple Sangria recipes is as follows:

1 ½ cups of rum

750ml (1 bottle) dry Red Wine

1 cup orange juice

½ cup white granular sugar

1 lemon

1 lime

1 orange

Optional: Selection of orchard fruits (plums, pears, apples, peaches & Nectarines etc…)

This recipe whilst seemingly complicated can be broken down into a simple; easy to follow method that you can transfer to almost all sangria’s you make:

1)      Chill the rum, orange juice and wine (yes I know its red but trust me you want it chilled).

2)      Prepare the fruit. Slice the citrus fruits and halve/quarter the orchard fruits.

3)      Add the rum, sugar and fruit into a pitcher, mixing in the sugar a little.

4)      Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours for the flavours to mix well.

5)      Shortly before serving, gently crush the fruit and stir in the red wine. Adjusting the sweetness to your tastes (add more sugar if it’s too dry for you).

Following these instructions should allow you to create perfectly fantastic tasting Sangria mixes every time.

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Sangria’s can make use of old fruits, anything you have can go into a Sangria. Waste not want not!

My first taste of sangria was a red wine, vodka and amaretto mix. As you can imagine it was more a student ‘get drunk quick’ recipe, and whilst it did its job, nobody seemed to enjoying the taste, which is a real shame considering some of the alcohol going into the drink. So the next time I had a party (my University leaving party in fact) I made it my mission to include a refreshing summery sangria that not only got people drunk, but actually tasted fantastic.

I started by stripping the sangria recipe’s found online back to the basics: Wine, a spirit and Fruit. These are the 3 most important ingredients to any sangria. I don’t like red wine in general, so I swapped it out for a medium priced (£4.99-7.99) Pinot Grigio (White) wine. This instantly meant no matter how chilled the mix became the wines taste would only improve (seeing as the general consensus is to serve white wine chilled and red wine at room temperature).

Then I dealt with the spirit:

Technically rum is the classic ingredient and I still believe it works well, especially with white wine. Using a combination of white, golden and dark rums I created layers in the sangria within the rum.

Then using a host of orchard and citrus fruits I bulked out the mix and then topped it up just before serving with a 2L bottle of lemonade. This created a sparkling, refreshing sangria that I found worked better with alcohol used.

The recipe was as follows:

750ml (1 bottle) Pinot Grigio (White) wine

250ml Orange Juice

250ml Cranberry Juice

250ml Pineapple Juice

1 cup of white sugar

500ml White Rum

350ml Golden Rum

250ml Dark Navy Rum

2L (1 bottle) Lemonade

Fruits: 2 x Oranges, 3 x Limes, 3 x Lemons, 3 x Plums, 3 x Peaches, 3 x Apples, 3 x Pears & 1 x Cucumber.

This fruit was sliced, halved, quartered, diced and shredded (cucumber) allowing for quick absorption of the alcohol.

Now I would suggest on sticking to the 5 steps of the recipe at the top of this post, but in this case I could only prepare it 1hr in advance. So to chill the ingredients whilst they mixed, I added 1KG of shop bought ice. This was purely to chill the mixture before serving. Also as a side note, I added the lemonade just before serving, so as the drink kept its fizz.

This ‘white-wine’ sangria recipe might seem slightly complicated but when you look at it, all you have to do is cut out the stuff you don’t want. I had to cater for around 10-15 people but if you have less, I would suggest on cutting out at least half the rum. Using just white rum is not only economical for your bank balance, but also responsible too. This recipe is for enjoyment not a route to satisfy an incessant need to just get drunk.

White wine sangrias are becoming more and more popular, both because of their taste and because they mix better with the fruits used. They are easier to prepare and give a more British feel to this otherwise Spanish drink. Don’t get me wrong, if you like red wine based sangrias then that’s great, but more and more people are heading towards the arguably easier to drink white wine based sangrias.

A simple quick to make White wine Sangria perfect for summer nights would be as follows:

750ml (1 bottle) White Wine

1 ½ cups of white rum

1 ½ cups of orange juice

½ cup of white sugar

1 lemon, lime and orange

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

Top up with either sparkling wine or lemonade.

Top Tips: For further customisation, use your favourite wine (Pinot Grigio’s, Chardonnay’s and Rose wines work equally as well as each other). Also use different fruits. Don’t restrict yourself to the citrus, add some different flavours, try soft berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc…). And finally why not try using your favourite mixers? Cola’s do not work very well, but different fruit soda’s such as Fanta, Sprite and Vimto all work very well, and add a little extra flavour to the sangria. It’s all about your personal touch, make the sangria something you like, but make it so that the people drinking it will want more. Most importantly, enjoy the experience, from buying the wine, to making the mix to drinking it. It’s all part of the experience…

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I prefer white wines, but a Traditional Red Wine Sangria is sometimes just what the doctor ordered… (Disclaimer: Doctors would probably not recommend Sangria ever!)

Other recipes for white wine sangrias can be found on these websites:

Google search for Classic White wine Sangria’s:

https://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=classic+white+wine+sangria+recipes&oq=classic+white+wine+sangria+recipes&gs_l=serp.3…3418.7327.0.7608.19.15.4.0.0.5.204.1694.8j6j1.15.0.les%3Bcappsweb..0.0…1.1.5.psy-ab.r9h6UQ357_E&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&fp=3fe8463959a88f3d&biw=1366&bih=600

Google search for classic Spanish sangria’s:

https://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&sclient=psy-ab&q=classic+spanish+sangria+recipes&oq=classic+spanish+sangria+recipes&gs_l=serp.3..0i30j0i8i10i30.4357.8648.3.9123.21.19.2.0.0.3.160.1878.12j7.19.0.les%3Bcappsweb..0.0…1.1.5.psy-ab.BC575HLSjHo&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&fp=3fe8463959a88f3d&biw=1366&bih=600

For a quick, easy & light red wine sangria try this recipe: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sangria_93847

Why not check out this great blog for a Rainbow Sangria:

http://21nogluten.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/somewhere-over-the-rainbow-sangria/

P.S. On a final note, I would just like to say that whilst I generally use Pinot Grigio in the recipes, it was only because that’s what was on offer at the time. I tend to find Chardonnay wines (especially Kumala) make for better additions to the sangria, mainly because they have fruitier bouquets. Also Prosecco is better as a sparkling wine topper than fancy champagne. Revert to my post on champagne/sparkling wine for more information:

https://theferventshaker.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/champagne-cocktails-more-than-just-bellinis-and-mimosas/

Licor 43 (Cuarenta Y Tres): The Jewel of Southern Spain…

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Licor 43: Cuarenta Y Tres… Why all the fuss?

My first encounter with this seductive liqueur was about 6 years ago, purely by chance too! I ordered Cointreau, and instead, out came this rather yellowy-gold nectary glass containing what I now know to be called: Licor 43. Alongside which was a small glass bottle of Pepsi, ready for me to serve… Now I was a bit confused, but considering I had just paid for it, I certainly made the most of it. Now as you can imagine I had no clue as to what it was I was drinking, all I knew was that it tasted bloody amazing.

Here in this focus I want to get across to every one of my readers 2 things;

1)     That this little known liqueur is looked over by many individuals, and rarely comes out to play.

And:

2)     That this liqueur can help create some of the (arguably) best cocktails in the world. Simple, yet eloquent cocktails that make you wonder why you never tried it before.

So please, read, and enjoy (and as usual feel free to share your opinions/feelings/thoughts and anything else you want to share about this topic at the bottom of the post)…

The first website I went to gather information was the official Licor 43 website: www.licor43.com and there I was greeted with the customary age input you get with all the alcohol sites, but this is where the similarities with other alcohol (spirit especially) websites; After it loads, you’re met with this fantastically vibrant and contemporary home page draped in black and gold. It really is a great welcome by the liqueur company and you’re sure to remember it well into the future. But even this eye catching design, they feel, isn’t enough: that’s right you’re met with this wonderfully melodic piece of music that, for lack of a better, word is perfect for the website & the liqueur.

Once you take a few seconds to steady yourself, you can begin to explore the relatively simple but effective pages of the site. I started with the cocktails, for obvious reasons (they taste great by the way) but for all intents and purposes I shall discuss the history first.

The History of Licor 43

As with every liqueur company their histories are almost always somewhat exaggerated, like a game of Chinese whispers that got out of hand; it starts with ‘my auntie gave me the recipe’ and ends with ‘my auntie gave me the recipe, but did so whilst saving my family from a hoard of giants and dragons’… Needless to say you should always take these with a pinch of salt…

Licor 43’s history is not as ‘flowered up’ on their official website, and started off with humble beginnings. Created by a group of entrepreneurs; two brothers (Diego & Angel) and a couple by the name of (Mrs) Josefina Zamora Conesa & her husband Emilo Restoy Godoy Licor 43 started off small and became well known locally.

Working hard together, and pioneering advertisement techniques in southern Spain at the time (including TV, radio and even vehicle ads), they turned a small liqueur company into the single most successful Spanish liqueur ever created. It became the highest sold/consumed liqueur in Spain before hitting the European and world markets (sold in a total of 55 worldwide markets, present day).

The Taste Of The Real Southern Spanish Gold:

‘O Tono Con Todo’ meaning “The Tone With All” – Licor 43 is Spain’s biggest International Success.

Licor 43, or “Cuarenta Y Tres” as it is known locally (and to almost anyone who can pronounce the words), is a golden-yellow liquid made with 43 individual ingredients. The flavours you get when drinking it, consist primarily of vanilla and citrus but there are also subtle notes of spice and an almost aged-rum like quality, but overall the liqueur is very sweet. This however does not detract from its mixability or overall taste/flavours.

As the website suggests, it’s made to the highest quality and cannot be imitated, and has a smooth finish that not only allows it to become a possible drink for all palates but it makes it easy to mix into almost any other liquid, should it be other spirits (for cocktails), coffee, cola’s or even milk!

Whilst it is an easy liqueur to mix, you should never just presume that it works the same as a vanilla liqueur. However, as long as you take into account the subtle spice flavours as well as the citrus, you will be able to create more complex flavours in your cocktails.

Other Funny Little Things:

So I speak to people about this liqueur all the time… And every time I’m met with a blank stare and simply asked: “What’s this Licor 43 then?” along with “never heard of it” … Now this always gets to me because I have a well held love for this liqueur and have done since I first tried it about out 6 years ago. I feel the biggest problem with this, and the reason hardly any one knows about it in the UK is that it’s not sold in many bars or supermarkets, which is a big problem for myself. This is the problem with almost any product you want, or want to share with people; you are limited to what the supermarkets or other vendors are willing to sell.

The shame here is, in my opinion (as a bit of a cocktail snob), that i would replace Galliano (a vanilla liqueur) with Licor 43 in almost 99% of the relevant cocktails – purely because, in my opinion, it tastes better as well as helping to develop more complex layers of flavour in a drink. From simple concoctions such as the Harvey Wallbanger to the more complicated maidens kiss, Licor 43 adds that extra layer and again, in my opinion, adds something special to any drink it’s in.

Licor 43 is the most famous Spanish liqueur, revered by bartenders across the world...
Licor 43 is the most famous Spanish liqueur, revered by bartenders across the world…

So what about the liqueurs aesthetics I hear you shout!? – Don’t worry if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you my thoughts anyway!

So as you can see from the picture above it is a golden-yellow liquid and its stored in what is, in my opinion, a simple yet stylish bottle. It does have one of those annoying pouring regulator plastic things in the neck of the bottle but sometimes (although definitely not all the time!), especially with thicker/denser liqueurs like this, it can be of help. Taste wise, its mainly vanilla and citrus you get, but if you try it again and again, you’ll eventually come across the spices in the drink as well. This is a well-balanced liqueur that, as shown by its sales history in Spain alone, is probably one of the best in the world. It’s unique in both its flavours and their balance, not to mention great in a simple Pepsi mix, or even complicated cocktails.

You can buy miniatures from this website: (usually around £2-£2.50) … http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=5748

Now this is the link for the miniature(s) of the drink, but there is a link on that page for the full 70cl bottles (around £18/£19) and they can be purchased there. If you want to give it a try, grab a couple of miniatures and get mixing, pick one of the following cocktails and let loose. Eventually you’ll find something you like and I promise you won’t regret it!

Licor 43 Cocktails: Mix Up Something Special…

Key Lime Pie Martini

–       1 measure Licor 43

–       1 measure Key Lime Juice

–       2 measures Cream

–       2 measures Vanilla Vodka

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for about 1-2 minutes. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Enjoy.

The vanilla from the vodka and the citrus from the lime juice help extract both the vanilla and citrus flacours from the licor 43, This frees up the spices/other flavours the licor 43 contains to be tasted in the drink.

Hedonism 43

–       1.5 measures Licor 43

–       4 measures Pineapple juice

Licor 43 is perfect for this sort of summary drink. The smoothness of Licor 43 is really apparent in mixes with juice like this… Try using the same amount of Orange Juice instead of pineapple for a completely different, but still fantastic, tasting cocktail!

Vanilla Dreamiscle

–       1.25 measures Licor 43

–       2.5 measures Orange Juice

–       1 tbsp brandy

–       1 tbsp milk

Shake all the ingredients well, and serve over ice in a chilled glass.

Perfectly smooth, this drink oozes class. The vanilla and citrus flavours in the Licor 43 blend well with the brandy and orange juice, and adding the milk just adds a little creaminess to this drink to make it perfectly smooth.

Licor 43 is so smooth, it can be mixed with almost anything, from Soda's to milk and every thing in between (even Coffee!)
Licor 43 is so smooth, it can be mixed with almost anything, from Soda’s to milk and every thing in between (even Coffee!)

43 Pina Colada

–       4 measures Pineapple Juice

–       3 measures Licor 43

–       1 measure coconut cream

–       ½ measure Malibu/coconut liqueur. (Optional)

Shake all ingredients well over ice. Pour (no straining) into a chilled glass and drink through straws.

43 Caipirinha

–       2 measures Licor 43

–       2 measures Light (white) Rum

–       ½ teaspoon White granular sugar

–       ¼ Lemon, sliced

In a cocktail shaker muddle the lemon with the sugar until most of the sugar dissolves

Then add the Licor 43, Rum and crushed ice and shake.

Pour, without straining, into a chilled glass and add a splash of soda water.

Now this drink is a bit naughty, as it takes out the one ingredient that makes it a Caipirinha; The Cachaca (a spirit distilled from sugar can in South America)… However in an attempt to make it at least resemble the original drink it does include white rum (a North American equivalent to a sugar cane based spirit).

This drink is included because it tastes great (trust me I’ve had a few of them in my time), but also to make a point.

Cocktails like this are all about experimenting with what you have on hand. In South America they made this drink’s Father (Classic Caipirinha) into a classic. Now all over the world you can order a Caipirinha and enjoy its refreshingly crisp taste. However, this specific ‘offspring cocktail’, as shown above adds something a little special that the original doesn’t have: a more complex flavour…

As you can see from the recipe, its preparation is remarkably similar to that of a Mojito (minus the mint) and in this case, it’s shaken only due to the high density of Licor 43.

My advice to you when making this brilliant cocktail is to not be afraid to meddle with the amount of sugar used. For some, the licor 43’s sweetness will be enough but for others not so. Try different amounts of sugar, or even different sugars (in my opinion a Mojito tastes better with demerara sugar not white and the same goes here) but in the end you need to find your own flavours and the best way is to try things out…

Pro Tip: for a smoother drink, try using caster/superfine sugar instead of the granulated kind.

The Gold Standard

–       2 measures Gold Tequila

–       1 measure Licor 43

–       ½ measure Curacao Orange Liqueur (Triple sec also works well here)

–       ½ measure Sweet & Sour Mix

–       ½ measure (Freshly Squeezed) Orange Juice.

Using Curacao Liqueur is obviously the best move for this drink, but in the case of you not finding any orange curacao (the Blue curacao is most readily available but will ruin the aesthetics of the drink) use Triple Sec liqueur instead (it’s made by the same method only its slightly stronger and clear).

43 & Tonic

–       4 Measures Licor 43

–       2 measures fresh Lemon juice

–       Top up Tonic Water

Build the ingredients over ice, add the tonic water and stir well to mix. For some added bitterness add 2 dashes of angostura before the tonic, for some added sweetness add a ½ teaspoon of sugar syrup at the same point. Enjoy.

From shots to Tall iced teas, Licor 43 is extremely versatile, why not try it out?
From shoots – long iced teas, Licor 43 is extremely versatile, why not try it out?

So to close, i just want to say one thing: Some of you have probably heard of Licor 43 before, and most of you won’t have… Either way i hope reading this has opened your mind to both it’s quality as a standalone liqueur, and at the very least given you some cocktails you’d like to go away and try.

Just please go out and give it a try, you won’t regret it, I promise you that much!