Tag Archives: USA

Product of the month, September: Wild Hibiscus

Elegant and Beautiful, class in a glass...
Elegant and Beautiful, class in a glass…

Wild hibiscus, whether you’ve experienced it or not, is probably one of the most elegant additions you can supply to a cocktail…

With their vivid red/burgundy colours and stunning petal work, Hibiscus Flowers, fresh or preserved are stunning to look at and will capture the focus of any avid customer/drinker.

And the best thing about them is they can be bought by anyone. You don’t have to be a bartender at a top bar, or a scientist stuck in a mixology lab, Hibiscus flowers are a garnish/ingredient anyone can buy and use. However, and here is the catch, you have to know when to use them and with what alcohol (especially when making cocktails).

There are not just flowers on the market either as you can purchase hibiscus flavoured sugar syrups, sodas and even sorbets.

These ingredients will all add a flavour enhancement to your cocktails, but the flowers are what we will be focusing on, as they are the most dramatic and stunning of garnishes you could wish for…

Most commonly used as an elegant addition to any glass of champagne, Wild Hibiscus flowers can make any champagne cocktail look that little more vivid. They’re even edible which makes them the perfect garnish in my mind.

After perusing the official website of Wild Hibiscus, the company who make and sell the flowers in syrup (the ones you’ll want for your cocktails) it is apparent that not only is this an elegant product but also the company is somewhat elegantly run. Family owned and the sole distributor of their flowers to 30 countries worldwide (including here in the UK, and over the other side of the pond in both the USA and Canada). Their brand ambassador, Canadian Mixologist Danielle Tatarin, distributes them across Canada and has helped create some of the magical cocktail found on the website I mentioned earlier.

The links I refer to in this blog can be found at the end of this blog, including a few extra links for further reading. Until then why not try out these 3 great cocktail recipes I love to use the flowers in…

1)      Adam & Eve Martini

Recipe:

2 measures Vodka

3 measures apple puree

1 measure wild hibiscus syrup

Garnish: A skewered, cherry & stuffed Hibiscus flower

Shouting class at your face with every sip...
Shouting class at your face with every sip…

Method:

1)      Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled Martini cocktail glass.

2)      Garnish with the stuffed hibiscus flower.

2)      Inaugural Cheer

Recipe:

½ measure Hibiscus Syrup

¼ measure freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 measure Hypnotiq Liqueur

Top up Champagne

Garnish: Wild Hibiscus Flower

created by Danielle Tatarin for Obama's inauguration...
created by Danielle Tatarin for Obama’s inauguration…

Method:

1)      Place the Flower upright in the bottom of a champagne flute.

2)      Mix the syrup and lemon juice together and pour over the flower.

3)      Add crushed ice on top of the flower and syrup.

4)      Gently pour in the Hypnotiq Liqueur

5)      Top up with the champagne.

3)      Wild Hibiscus Daiquiri

Recipe:

3 measures Havana Club 3yo

1 measure fresh lime juice

1 measure Wild Hibiscus Syrup

Garnish: Hibiscus Flower & lime wheel

Daiquiri: Class using Hibiscus & Rum... Shut up and take my money...
Daiquiri: Class using Hibiscus & Rum… Shut up and take my money…

Method:

1)      Place the flower upright in a martini glass.

2)      Shaker ingredients over ice vigorously for around 10 seconds.

3)      Strain into the glass and garnish further with a lime wheel on the glasses rim.

All these cocktails and further information on both the flowers and mixologist Danielle Tatarin can be found through the following links:

Wild Hibiscus Official Site

Danielle Tatarin’s Blog

Meet your Mixologist: Danielle Tatarin

Cocktails O’ Clock: Jericho’s Breeze

The apocalypse is fine and all, but I prefer the Ritz…

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Here’s to the end of the world… Well part of it anyway…

Here’s one for you: Have you ever seen/heard of the US TV show Jericho? – It’s a program starring Lenny James (The Walking Dead, Snatch), that great British actor with a touch of gold (everything I’ve seen him in has been pretty darn good), and follows the townsfolk of Jericho; No? Well what the hell! Check it out on Netflix or IMDB and find a way of seeing it, you will not be disappointed…

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A great show with a fantastic twist, unfortunately cancelled before it’s time, but still a very good watch…

Some of you may have gathered, although I’ve not made a point of it before, when I look for new cocktails to try out, I always try to find ones that can tie into a specific theme.

And this cocktail is not exception to that rule.

True sometimes a classic works wonders, but most of the time I like to theme my cocktail evenings; allowing for a better atmosphere for my friends, and also to make them even more fun (it’s always nice to drink apocalyptic themed cocktails when watching films/TV programs like The Walking Dead, Jericho, The Day After Tomorrow etc…

My process of thought when looking for this cocktail is for an upcoming apocalypse binge. Watching shows as those mentioned above, can really set a certain tense atmosphere in the house, and I feel that coming out with Martini’s or Pina Coladas would ruin it, burst the tensions bubble so to speak, so I like to theme my cocktails to add a deeper sense of theatricality to the evening.

These cocktails are not all my own recipes, it would take me weeks to come up with enough good quality cocktails for my friends, and I respect them enough (well just about enough) to not give them crappy cocktails (a famous genre of cocktails reserved for all those student recipes you thought tasted great but were actually better suited to stripping paint than ladling into your mouths).

So I gathered a few apocalypse-ish cocktails and this one, was really my favourite of the lot. I’ve included a link at the bottom of this post for a couple of god sources but this one, themed only in namesake, is themed towards the aforementioned Jericho TV series… Here’s the recipe (taken from Brian Lucas’ 365 cocktails):

Jericho Breeze Recipe:

(28ml) 1 measure Vodka

(21ml) ¾ measures Blue curacao

(70ml) 2 ½ measures sour mix*

(14ml) ½ measure lime juice

(5-10ml) 2 teaspoons orange juice

Dash sugar syrup

Top up Lemonade

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A representation of what your cocktail should look like when completed…
Picture courtesy of “21nogluten.wordpress.com”

Method:

1)      Shake all of the ingredients (except the lemonade) over ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice.

2)      Top up with the lemonade and garnish with a cherry and pineapple slice.

Whilst not as strong as the more ‘classic’ cocktails this one will certainly make you pay should you ‘neck them without thought. Sure it’s only a measure or two of alcohol, but 3-5 drinks later and you’ll feel them. That said if you drink responsibly then there’s no reason this cannot become one of your favourite sea-breeze type cocktails…

So pour a few out, and enjoy the fruity, light hearted fun with all of your friends…

Sour mix is a mixture of Lemon Juice, Lime Juice and sugar and can be purchased in some places, but is stupidly easy to make at home:

Sour Mix Recipe

(2 parts) 14ml Lemon Juice

(2 parts) 14ml Lime Juice

(1 part) 7ml Sugar Syrup

Stick to this ratio and you should be able to scale up your recipe without any problems. As with all syrups/mixes like this you might find you want more or less sugar/juice, in which case keep working out the kinks and find your perfect balance…

Gear Patrol Apocalyptic Cocktails

The Man Cave Cocktails

Alcohol Apocalypse

Countdown to the Apocalypse

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When facing the edge of the world it’s great to have a plan. Failing that it’s always worth having a cocktail as a back up plan. That way you can bow out in style…
“tonight we’ll sail to the edge of the world and watch the stars fall down” – Crown the Empire.

King of Cool: Cocktails and Justin Timberlake…

“Take Back the Night… With a Cuba Libre”

At home I make cocktails all the time, granted I drink a lot of Cuba Libre’s, (hell if I have rum I’ll drink them all day long) but every now and then I push the boat out, buy some Tanqueray, and chill with a classic Gin fizz, but mainly I’ll use my Boston Shaker for something a little more challenging. Now when I do this, it’s like making a meal, I gather all my ingredients; making sure I have all the tools (utensils, shaker glass etc.) ready and the right measuring jiggers for what I need.

Now to really get into the ‘zone’ I like to chuck on some music, whatever I happen to be into at the time. When I want a classic cocktail from the prohibition I go for Jazz, it just sets the mood, but when I’m making something more modern I like to listen to a bit of pop. Mainstream I know but its easy listening and easy to jig along to.

Anyway, to the point, the other day I chucked on Justin Timberlake’s new song ‘Take Back the Night’ and started to test out some cocktails for the Angostura 2014 Global Cocktail Competition. This was one of the more fun sessions I’ve had recently, both distressing from my current job, and also general life. You might say it’s my happy place… Now I’ll listen to anything me, I’m quite partial to a bit of the classic 80’s & 90’s stuff but also quite into artists like Diana Vickers. Something happy, upbeat and fun, that’s the name of the game for me. This is where good old JT comes in to the fray:

JT likes a drink or two... He's also pretty good at music if you hadn't heard...
JT likes a drink or two… He’s also pretty good at music if you hadn’t heard…

I was jigging along to we take back the night, mixing away working out cocktails that worked and those that didn’t (those that were as crisp and refreshing as being hit around the face by a Pimms marinated cucumber, and those that were worse than a martini containing more brine than a walrus’ backside), when I realised I’d come up with something a little special.

What I came up with are 3 very fantastic but equally dangerous cocktails. I have no doubt that I will not be invited to the UK heats, as I’m sure that there are other people better than me, but I live in hope, the hope that I get to go to such an event and have someone professional judge my work. That’s my aim, for professional feedback from someone in the drinks business. The money always helps should I ultimately win it too hehe.

One of these cocktails is a tweaked version of a mule cocktail I published on a recent post; the Mordor Mule (that’s right the New Zealand themed Mule Cocktail).

I won’t be sharing the cocktails just yet as, should I be invited to the heats, I want them to be a surprise (you never know who’ll read the post right folks?)…

What I’m trying to get across is that for me, music and cocktail making work extremely well together. If I enjoy the music, it helps me get lost in the atmosphere I create, letting my creativity run a little looser than usual.  And the magic potion this time: JT’s Take Back the Night

Although my favourite song at the moment is: Diana Vickers: Music to make boys cry

It doesn’t always result in great cocktails every time, but I find it helps me focus in on the ingredients that work better than others. It may not work for you but that’s the point, I find it works for me, so thought I’d share that with you all… Not to mention this funny cocktail related picture 😀

Even the lesser mammals enjoy a cocktail or three...
Even the lesser mammals enjoy a cocktail or three…

Drink well, drink responsibly!

Cocktails O’Clock: The Classic Manhattan

A truly great cityscape, and a cocktail to match...
A truly great cityscape, and a cocktail to match…

This cocktail is literally one of the greats. If it played basketball it would be Michael Jordan, if it played baseball it would be Babe Ruth, and if he played football (Soccer) he would be a cross between Brad Friedel and Landon Donavon.

That’s right all you Americans, it is literally one of the best cocktails in the world. Congratultions.

The Manhattan is a whisky (Whiskey if you’re from America/Ireland) based cocktail, and is traditionally served in a cocktail glass (similar style to that of a Martini).

Combining 2 parts whisky with 1 part sweet vermouth and a few drops of Angostura Bitters this cocktail oozes class.

The addition of an orange peel just solidifies its position as one of the worlds best cocktails.

There are several stories vying for the title for the history of the original Manhattan cocktail, all of which are fantastically flawed. But they all share one thing: the Romance of the cocktail era. read more about them here & here.

As for the recipe itself, have a little look-see at this:

The Manhattan cocktail, don't argue with class...
The Manhattan cocktail, don’t argue with class…

Classic Manhattan Cocktail:

2 parts Whisky

1 Part Sweet Vermouth

1 or 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Orange Peel & Maraschino Cherry for garnish.

Method:

1) Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into your glass of choice (whatever glass you choose, make sure it is well chilled).

2) garnish with a squeeze of an orange peel (dropping the peel in the drink when done) and a maraschino cherry.

There truly is not a better a cocktail than the Manhattan when viewing this wonderful city in all its glory…

Sunset in Manhattan, a truly wonderful sight...
Sunset in Manhattan, a truly wonderful sight…

Aguas Fresca – Fresh Water

Smoothies, Just a little… Smoother.

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A great Selection of aguas fresca for sale in the America’s…

A little bit more from the Mexican/Central American part of the world… Now this blog is all about cocktails, but it’s also not too proud to admit that alcohol is not always needed for a great drink (I know it’s a bit of a shocker but trust me sometimes needs must!).

The whole idea behind this post is to show that people out there who do not drink alcohol, whether the reasons are religion, dietary or just plain personal choice there’s a cocktail for everyone.

These ‘cocktails’ are not really cocktails per-sae, but are a mixture of fruit/cereal/flowers/seeds, sugar and water. This may not sound too appetising, but trust me, after the concoctions I’ve been trying I’m fully sold on the idea.

And the best thing about this drink is that should you want a little alcoholic kick, you can just mix in a little vodka spike…

Now onto a bit of information – don’t say I never give you anything!

Also known as Aqua Fresca, the term is Spanish for ‘Fresh water’. These drinks are popular across Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and more recently the USA.

Mexican & Central American Aguas Fresca’s regularly come in these flavours:

Sweet

MelonPapayaMangoStrawberryBananaOrangePassion Fruit, as well as other exotic fruits…

Sour

PineappleLemonLimeCucumberTamarind.

Seeds / Flowers

Hibiscus TeaHorchataAlfalfaCebadaChia.

This collection of flavours shows how varied this type of drink is. It’s a testament to the versatility of that wonderful chemical we all depend on: H2O (Water).

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Courtesy of Desert Dreaming*, this picture shows how vibrant the aguas fresca drinks can look…

It’s also a testament to our nature; humanity’s inevitably get bored. We look for something new, try to recreate things. After all that’s how fire and the wheel were invented. Not to mention the Light Bulb, even artists such as Da Vinci & Michelangelo worked to improve and change every day items.

So this idea of blending fruit with water (and sugar) should not come as a surprise. It changes something some consider boring into something vibrant, in both taste and appearance.

Here is the basic recipe for you use at home, just add your own fruit and enjoy…

Ingredients:

–          4 cups of water

–          2 cups of fresh fruit

–          ¼ cup of sugar (caster is best used for this)

–          2 teaspoons lemon OR lime juice (fresh squeezed)

–          Lime/Lemon wedges/wheels for garnish

Method:

1)      In a blender pour the fruit and water. Blend until smooth.

2)      Pour the mixture through a sieve and into a pitcher.

3)      Stir in the citrus juice and sugar.

4)      Add additional sugar to bring up to your own tastes.

5)      Garnish in the pitcher and serve over ice with your friends.

So as you see it’s a simple process that results in something truly amazing. Of course you can change out the sugar for agave nectar and honey, but you would need to blend it in with the fruit water (after sieving the mixture put it back in with the honey and mix well). Equally you could hand whisk.

Hopefully this has helped you all understand Aqua Fresca a little better. If this is your introduction to the drink, try it out; let me know what you think. Better yet, share it with friends and combine fruits.

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Courtesy of Chef Martin*, this picture shows again a shop vendors selling prowess…

I do enjoy the odd Summer Berry blend, as well as peach and apricot. For an added alcoholic kick, add in a few doses of fruit liqueurs into the first blend.

For more information on Aqua Fresca and related topics, check out these links:

Original Method

Wikipedia

Also see:

Licuado    &    Paleta,

*Desert Dreaming

*Chef Martin Seasons

My Favourite Liqueurs: Spoilers! Spoilers! Warning, Spoilers!

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What’s your favourite?

So everyone enjoys a cocktail (if you don’t? Leave! NOW!), and I’m no different. But when it comes to liqueurs I just love a story. It adds a bit of romance to the bottle your drinking from. To know where it came from, and where it is now. 

When I first started out on my journey up this cocktail brick road I met some truly wonderful liqueurs. There was the Tin Man looking for a heart: Disaronno, The Lion: looking for its courage: Southern Comfort and finally the Scarecrow searching for it’s brain: Cointreau.

Now let me briefly explain the above metaphors are by no means insults. They are just observations of where these spirits were, in my mind at least, around 8 years ago as well as their personal histories and challenges they faced…

The Tin Man: Disaronno

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Disaronno: An extremely famous Italian liqueur. Popular all over the world.

                Disaronno is a liqueur through and through. The company claims the recipe was given to an artist under the guidance of the Leo Da Vinci, by a greatful innkeeper, then rediscovered several decades later and produced it for family consumption. If you fancy reading more about the liqueur’s history then click here and enjoy the story. I’m not one to call their bluff as I don’t care if its a fake or real story; I love it when liqueurs like this have romantic stories behind them…

The Lion: Southern Comfort

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Southern Comfort: One of, if not the, leading whisky based liqueur from the States.

                Southern comfort, back in my teenage days, was a lowly bottle of whisky-based liqueur on the shelf for about £15 (yeah I know, cheap right?!), I knew of three or four people that drank it, and they always recommended it, but everyone else I asked had either never heard of it or never tried it… Now you look for it, and it’s one of the most famous liqueur brands full stop. When you think about liqueurs, SoCo will always be on someone’s tongue. And to further point out its heightened market share it has, over the last couple years, released both lime and black cherry flavours (going back to their fruity routes with the latter).

The Scarecrow: Cointreau

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Cointreau: without doubt the worlds leading triple sec liqueur, It’s quality speaks for itself…

                I cannot remember a time when Cointreau was not a Christmas favourite, but always I have thought of it as more – I mean think about some of the most famous cocktails in the world, they all include Cointreau (think Margaritas & cosmopolitans). Now in recent years they’ve really gone for the jugular when it comes to advertisement, they are plastering our T.V. screens, they are subtly creating an air of affordable exclusivity. As recent as June-July this year they have held 4 ‘Cointreau Fizz Garden’ Parties where they invited limited numbers to attend the specifically designed Magdalen house rooftop (with an amazing view of the Shard I might add).

 

So with those explanations out of the way I’d like to think you have taken away 3 things:

1)      My love for cocktails, doesn’t stop with the drinks, it extends to both the spirits and other ingredients.

2)      Nothing is straight forward when it comes to describing a spirit. I like to think of things a little more creatively and to me, the above 3 liqueurs bring all the things above to mind when I think about them.

3)      Liqueurs are great. And to prove this I’ll be sharing my top 10 favourite liqueurs below…

And with luck, tomorrow evening you’ll be able to see (a) were I’m going with this. and (b) that all important top 10 of my favourite liqueurs… And believe me there are some wonderful liqueurs on that list…

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.

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.

4th of July Cocktails – A Cheeky Link

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So the problem ive got right now is this:
I have a heavy week at work and pretty much no time to write a post on something i’ve been looking forward to for a whole year.
Last year I was in the process of writing a little plan for the perfect 4th july (USA’s Independence Day -for all you non-Americans reading) party, for the know-nothing Brit.
Ill see if I can get it up in the next few days, but I may have to wait for another year, purely to make it topical.

Either way I could not leave yoi without at least one USA patriotic cocktail so jut in case I do not make it give this ago…

Red, White & Blue shooter…

In a large shot glass layer the following in the following order…

1/4 teaspoon sugar stars*
1 part Well-Iced Blue Curacao
1 part Well-Iced Vodka
1 part Frozen Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice.

Top with a sprinkle of edible blue glitter.

For literally 10’s of more USA themed cocktails check out this great website…
Great USA Themed Cocktails

And remember;  however you choose to enjoy one of the best celebrations in America,  drink responsibily. And stay safe. Also make sure you choose a good quality alcohol! Happy 4th July.

Happy 4th July!
Happy 4th July!

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/