Canadian Election Cocktails

This Canadian election has been the craziest I have ever seen in my entire life.

In my experience (up til 9 years ago when I moved, anyway).. our elections are usually pretty boring compared to the USA. We don’t really get big sex scandals, or many of the “OMG DID YOU HEAR WHAT HE/SHE SAID!?” kind of moments. Everyone is usually pretty middle of the road, election season is usually quite short, and then we move on.

Then we got Stevie, and everything started to change. The tone of elections got a little darker. Ads started to be a little more nasty. This election season is officially the longest we’ve ever had. Stevie and company have just gone WAY off the deep end with unabashed bigotry.

The backlash has been amazing to watch. As I’m writing this, just YESTERDAY ALONE, I’ve heard about Sluts Against Harper, a marijuana dispensary offering weed as an incentive to vote, and Niqabs of/du Canada. Oh, and Danny Williams telling people of his own (former, as he retired) political party to not vote for Stevie, and to not vote at ALL if they can’t bring themselves to vote for another party. (Danny for PM!)

I want my CBC. Curse geo-blocking, I bet This Hour has 22 Minutes and Rick Mercer Report are PARTICULARLY fruitful and fantastic, this go around.

As soon as this election was announced, I knew I would need to be well stocked on alcohol to get through the actual election day, along with all of my Canadian expat friends. It sucks, having our hands tied like this!

So, rather than just make a few gallons of Rum Runners, I thought it would be fun to come up with themed cocktails for the event.

I swear, when I had the idea a few weeks ago, it was with the absolute best intentions. I have a lovely cucumber vodka that I thought would work well for the Green Party cocktail, for instance.

Brainstorming for them, however, took me way off into snarkland.

It’s always fun to describe Canadian politics to my American husband. The parties, what they stand for, how they came to be, key players… things like how minority governments work, what a coalition government is, etc. I don’t know what they teach about Canadian politics, here… but I get the feeling there’s an assumption that it’s basically the same system. NOPE.

As he learned more and more about the whole deal, he failed to hold me back on my snark, and instead egged me on. It was the night we photographed (and subsequently drank!) our Boozy Sparkling Cider Floats recipe, so that didn’t help keep things polite, either 🙂

So… I’m not sure if I should apologize in advance for these recipes (as a Canadian!), or proudly present them as the obvious and necessary result of such an insane election. I mean really: at this point in the Canadian election, is it even reasonable to expect that a post about election themed cocktails would be anything other than really snarky?

Probably not.

So, here we go!

A Note on ingredients: As an expat, these cocktails are made with ingredients that are readily available in Minneapolis, where I live. I have no idea what’s available where in Canada. Really, if I have to watch this shit show FASCINATING election from afar – with my hands tied – I’m going to use what I can to get through it 🙂

Liberal Party

In designing a cocktail for the Liberal party, the obvious starting point was “Red”. From there, I decided that it should have some heat to it, because… well, Trudeau is so PRETTY. I’m not honestly that shallow, but if you look at the history of Prime Ministers in my lifetime… he does stand out!

Additionally, they’re leading the poll I just read, as I write this… so we’re going to go sparkling, and in a champagne glass, to make it celebratory.

1 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
Sparkling Wine

Pour Cinnamon Schapps into a tulip glass, top with sparking wine.

If you’re less concerned about staying on theme with “heat” and want a drink that doesn’t taste like mouthwash, use something like “Pom” Pomegranate liqueur instead of the cinnamon schnapps. Ick!

NDP Party

I really do want to like the NDP, and I tend to… but Mulclair has eyes that remind me of the demons on “Supernatural”. That really throws me off… especially when you consider that the very first reason I disliked Harper, waaay in the beginning, was that his eyes really creeped me out. I digress.

Growing up, I had Gary Doer as a premier, and he was a good guy. Also, I got choked up with Jack Layton feels as I discussed the NDP with my (American) husband. I told him a bit about their evolution as a party, general stances, etc. I told him that I remembered them being a bit more leftist back in the day, and that it seems like they’re moving more centrist – that they’re basically the Liberal Party with a different leader, at times. I brought up the concern about vote splitting.

To make: Squeeze a little yellow food colouring into a glass. Pour half of the Liberal cocktail into the glass, stir to turn orange.

Conservative Party

Oh boy. Initially, I wanted to just do a rocks glass full of Everclear… with the idea of “this is what we’ll need if Stevie gets in again…”. My husband quipped “Plenty of spirit, no SOUL!”… and we were off.

This cocktail retains the base Everclear, because really. I decided – to my husband’s horror – that what it really needed was some Budweiser. Also: bitters.

The bitters is mostly me projecting, as I AM bitter about what that party has become. I’ve voted Progressive Conservative before, and never regretted it. I would vote that way again, in different circumstances (Again: Danny Williams for PM!!)… but I am truly disgusted with what the current iteration of the federal party has done to my country.

To make: Measure about 2 oz Everclear into a tall mug. Add several drops of bitters of choice, stir well. Top with Budweiser. Might wanna chase it with Aspirin, especially if things go poorly in a week and a half.

Honestly, I have no idea how this tastes, there’s no way I’m going to drink it.

Green Party

I’ve never really thought much of the Green Party. Back in the day when I was a young voter, they were VERY far off and unknown, and seemed way too hippie for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by Elizabeth May during one of the early debates. She wasn’t at all what I pictured from the Green Party I’d known of when I was still in Canada, and pretty much came off as the best choice of all of them, based solely on that debate. My husband and I agreed that it was a shame they had no chance in hell of getting in.

So, we decided to go with something greenish, vegetal, and refreshing. The Prairie Cucumber Vodka we used was “certified organic”, so that seemed pretty appropriate too!

To make: Place 2 thin slices of honeydew melon and 3-4 fresh mint leaves in a tall glass. Measure 2 oz cucumber flavoured vodka, a good squeeze of fresh lime juice, and 3 mint leaves into a shaker filled with ice. Shake for 15 seconds or so, strain liquid into prepared glass. Top with sprite.

This one was actually REALLY good. Will totally make it again – definitely a summery drink though!

Bloc Quebecois

Bien que la moitiĂ© de ma famille est originaire de QuĂ©bec , et vit lĂ -bas , je ne l’ai jamais vĂ©cu un endroit avec un membre du Bloc quĂ©bĂ©cois se prĂ©senter aux Ă©lections . Mon exposition au parti a toujours Ă©tĂ© de loin.

Si je suis notamment un cocktail pour le Parti vert , il semble juste de faire un pour le Bloc ! Ils sont , après tout, en avance sur les Verts dans le sondage actuel que je lis.*

To Make: Pour about 1 oz of maple liqueur into a flute glass. Top with champagne.

If you don’t have maple liqueur, use a splash of maple syrup instead. Or, you know, add maple syrup anyway. MMMMM maple syrup…

* Thank you, Shirley, for providing the translation! (As I mentioned to Shirley… I’ve only managed to retain the ruder bits of French that I’ve learned over the years. Whoops)

Canadian Flag

Finally, let’s do a layered shot in honour of the Canadian flag, while we still have one!

First, you’ll want to read my post on doing layered shots, Shot Tectonics: The Science of Layered Shooters.

For the bottom layer, use grenadine.

For the middle layer, use Rumchata

For the top layer, we used Cinnamon schnapps.

Really, again… unless you like that mouthwash taste, find some other kind of high proof, red coloured booze. Go for tasty!

Note: This will turn out nicer if you make it early in the evening, if you know what I mean. Doing layered shots after an evening of developing and photographing cocktail recipes isn’t necessarily the best plan.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

Last year while at Minnesota Renaissance Festival, Porter and I tried sparkling apple cider floats for the first time.

It was nice… refreshing while still being “seasonal”. The bright flavour from the sparkling cider constrasted the rich creaminess of the ice cream well.

So of course we went home and made our own. A little less G-rated, our home version was made with our Homemade Hard Apple Cider. SO good!

This year we did it again, but played with the ingredients a little. Instead of using hard apple cider, we used a complimentary liqueur. Very tasty, and a really fun take on a childhood tradition of rootbeer floats… as my husband pointed out:

“Like growing up on hamburgers, and then having an Apple Chicken Burger with Basil and Gouda… really similar base, and has that nostalgia … but wow this is cool and different. I’m trying not to say ‘it tastes like fall in a glass’, because I think I could easily overuse that phrase, and it kind of makes me want to punch myself in the face.”

Enjoy!

Boozy Sparkling Cider Float

2 oz Apple or Maple flavoured Crown Royal*
Sparkling apple juice / apple cider
1 large scoop vanilla ice cream**

Pour Crown Royal into a tall mug. Add sparkling juice/cider, filling the glass a little more than 2/3 full. Stir gently.

Add ice cream scoop, serve immediately

* Not a fan of whiskey? You can use other alcohol here too! Sour Apple pucker, butterscotch schnapps, cinnamon schnapps, Whipped Cream Flavoured vodka… if it’s a flavour that’ll taste good with apples, go ahead and do it! Or, skip this ingredient and just use hard apple cider.

** We tend to use a good quality French vanilla ice cream, but have fun with it. Cinnamon, caramel, salted caramel…

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Grownup Hot Chocolate & Hot Cocoa

The weather here has been pretty miserable for the last little while – TONS of rain, heavy winds, and pretty cold on top of it. Many of my friends have flooding in their homes, and I’m just super thankful we live up on the hill.

We spent yesterday morning running errands in that nonsense, and ended up soaked to the bone while grocery shopping in a walk-in fridge. Getting home from THAT, all I wanted to do was make a big pot of boozy hot chocolate.

As I whipped it up, I realized that I’d promised some friends my hot chocolate recipes a few months ago. Whoops. I’ve been super swamped with “Beyond Flour – A New Kind of Gluten-Free Cookbook“, and with costuming orders. It’s been a while since I posted anything at all – sorry about that! Things should clear up in a month or two, I expect you won’t be able to shut me up, then!

Anyway – hot chocolate. I actually have two recipes for you today, because I do differentiate between “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa”. “Chocolate” using chocolate, and “cocoa” using cocoa. Easy, eh? 🙂

Both of these recipes are the way *I* like it – so ridiculously rich, that 1 coffee mug is enough. I would never be able to drink these in huge, gas station sized cups. It’s diabetes in a cup! When it’s cold and rainy, though – perfect. Feel free to thin them down with additional milk, if you’d like something a bit more … chuggable.

Also, while I advocate always having a baggie of vanilla beans on hand (they can be obtained from Amazon at reasonable prices!), I get that not everyone does. SO, if you don’t have a bean, just add one tsp of really good vanilla extract right before serving.

Grownup Hot Chocolate

Mini Marshmallows
Liqueur of choice*
3 cups milk
2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 cup good quality chocolate chips
Pinch salt

Place a handful of mini marshmallows in each mug, top with about 1 oz of liqueur per mug. Allow it to soak while you prepare the hot chocolate:

In a saucepan, whisk together milk and brown sugar. Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scraping the seeds into the pot – throw the bean into the pot when you’re done scraping it out!

Add chocolate chips and salt to the pot, then turn the heat on. Bring the mixture up to just barely a simmer, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has all melted and is well incorporated, remove from heat.

Pour hot chocolate over marshmallows and booze, serve immediately!

Grownup Hot Cocoa

Mini Marshmallows
Liqueur of choice*
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
Pinch salt
1/4 cup hot water
3 cups milk
1 vanilla bean

Place a handful of mini marshmallows in each mug, top with about 1 oz of liqueur per mug. Allow it to soak while you prepare the hot chocolate:

In a saucepan, whisk together cocoa, brown sugar, and salt. Add hot water, whisk to form a thick paste. Slowly add milk, whisking to fully incorporate it.

Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scraping the seeds into the pot – throw the bean into the pot when you’re done scraping it out!

Bring the mixture up to just barely a simmer, stirring frequently. When hot enough, pour hot cocoa over marshmallows and booze, serve immediately!

* SO many liqueurs work in this, it really is whatever you want. I love Rumchata, Amarula, or Amaretto, while my husband leans more towards whiskey. Kahlua, any of the cream tequila liqueurs, pistachio liqueur, Grand Marnier – if it works with chocolate, toss it in!

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Butter Tart Liqueur!

A while back, I was craving butter tarts .

That’s nothing new, I’m a Canadian away from home – I’m always craving something that I either can’t get at all, or will have to make myself.

What was new is that I was drinking at the time, (Ok, THAT part isn’t new!)… and got it in my head that “Butter tart” would make a lovely flavour for a liqueur or cocktail. I immediately set about working through some ideas, deciding which way would be best to go.

In the end, doing a custom infused spirit and then turning it into a liqueur made the most sense.

This takes very little in the way of ingredients or effort, and the result will make any butter tart fan – or general Sweet Tooth – very happy!

Also: there is time to make this as a Christmas gift!

Buttertart Liqueur

1 cup dark raisins
2 vanilla beans
3 cups decent quality vodka
2 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup water

Place raisins in a large, clean jar.

Slice vanilla beans lengthwise, scoop the seeds out. Add beans and seeds to the jar, top with vodka, and shake well. Store in a cool, dark place for about 4-7 days, shaking daily.

After a few days, taste. If the flavour is good and strong (it’ll likely be!), strain out raisins and vanilla, discard.* If you want more flavour, allow it to sit for another week or so, shaking daily.

Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, and water in a pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, allow to cool.

Combine infused vodka with maple-brown sugar syrup, stirring or shaking well to combine. Bottle in clean wine or liqueur bottles.

After bottling, you should let it age for about a week in a cool place before drinking it – IF you have that kind of patience! Aging results in a smoother, more mellow flavor.

* Saving a few vodka raisins to place in the liqueur bottle makes for a cute presentation idea.

With 2017 being Canada’s 150th birthday, it’s about time I wrote the Canadian cookbook I’ve been planning for YEARS.

“More than Poutine” will be a Canadian cookbook like no other – written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional homecooking recipes, as well as homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!

High quality gluten-free versions of most recipes will be included.

The Kickstarter for “More Than Poutine is live, here. Please consider backing, and sharing the campaign with your friends!

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking? You’ll LOVE Beyond Flour: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

How many times have you come across a gluten-free recipe claiming to be “just as good as the normal version!”, only to wind up with weird textures, aftertastes, etc? Most gluten-free recipes are developed by taking a “normal” recipe, and swapping in a simulated “all purpose” gluten-free flour… whether store bought, or a homemade version. “Beyond Flour” takes a different approach: developing the recipe from scratch. Rather than swapping out the flour for an “all purpose” mix, I use various alternative flours as individual ingredients – skillfully blending flavours, textures, and other properties unique to each flour. Supporting ingredients and different techniques are also utilized to achieve the perfect end goal … not just a “reasonable facsimile”. Order your copy here.

Looking for even MORE fantastic gluten-free recipes? Beyond Flour now has a sequel: Beyond Flour 2: A Fresh Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking and Baking!

Imagine gluten-free foods that are as good – or better! – than their traditional, gluten-filled counterparts. Imagine no longer settling for foods with bizarre after-tastes, gummy consistency, and/or cardboard texture. Imagine graham crackers that taste just like the real thing. Crisp, flaky crackers…without the sandy texture. Hybrid tortillas that: look and act like flour tortillas, with the taste of fresh roasted corn! Imagine chewy, delicious cookies that *everyone* will want to eat! Imagine BAGELS. If you’ve cooked from “Beyond Flour”, you already know that these fantasies can be reality – it’s all in the development of the recipes. Order your copy here.

Ginger 3 Ways – Candied Ginger, Ginger Syrup, Ginger Sugar

Here at the Porter house, we love ginger. We usually have some fresh ginger root in the house, and go through it pretty fast – sometimes when cooking Indian cuisine, sometimes Asian… but a LOT of the time, we use it for making ginger syrup.

Ginger syrup is great for flavoring and sweetening tea, and also in cocktail making. It’s easy and simple to do, and lasts a long time when refrigerated.

Recently, we’ve taken to being more efficient with the ginger we use for making ginger simple syrup. Rather than throwing away the “spent” ginger, we now use all of it, turning out 3 separate ginger products: ginger syrup, candied ginger, and ginger sugar. Simple ingredients – just fresh ginger, sugar, and water to produce everything! Let me show you how…

First, we start with the candied ginger…

Candied Ginger

Ginger Root – We usually use about 1 1/5 lbs
Water – About 4-5 cups per lb of ginger
Sugar – About 2.5 cups per lb of ginger
Pan spray

Use a vegetable peeler to peel all of the skin (rind?) off of the ginger, carefully slice it all into uniformly thin pieces. (I like to aim for between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick). Place in a large pot with the water, cover, and cook for about 45-55 minutes on medium heat. The ginger should be tender.

Strain off the ginger, reserving ALL of the cooking water (This is what you’ll use for the ginger syrup!). Add your cooked ginger back to the pan, along with the sugar and about 1/4 cup of cooking water per lb of ginger. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring almost constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.

While you’re waiting, set up a baking rack (we use one with a small grid) over some parchment or wax paper, and spray it with pan spray.

Around the 15-17 minute mark, the water will evaporate and the whole thing will crystallize and go dry – once it starts happening, things go quickly! As soon as it’s all dry, dump it all out over your baking rack, spreading and separating the pieces as needed. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.

(Instructions continue under the ginger sugar section!)

Next, we do the ginger syrup…

Ginger Simple Syrup

Ginger cooking water – however much you have left
Sugar

Measure the remaining cooking water, and measure out an equal amount of sugar. For every cup of ginger water, you’ll use a cup of sugar, etc.

Add measured ginger water and sugar to an appropriately sized pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until water dissolves. Turn the heat up a little, and bring it JUST to a boil.

Once syrup starts to boil, remove from heat, strain through a fine wire mesh into a clean bowl/pot, and let it cool completely.

Transfer to an appropriate container – we’ll usually use clean wine bottles with “tasting” corks, but mason jars work well too. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Finally, the ginger sugar…

Ginger Sugar

This isn’t so much a recipe, as a minor clean up procedure!

Go back to your candied ginger, after it’s completely cool. Transfer the pieces to an airtight container, gently knocking them against each other (I’ll roll them in my hands) to dislodge any loose, excess sugar. Cover tightly, store at room temperature.

You’ll be left with a fair amount of excess sugar, mostly clumpy. Run all of that through a food processor until it’s as fine as you’d like it – this will depend on your desired uses for it. Transfer to an airtight container, store at room temperature.

The candied ginger should last 2-3 weeks when stored properly, IF it stays around that long. It’s great for snacking, baking with, topping desserts with (sliced up!) and even making ice cream out of!

The ginger sugar last much longer, maybe 4-6 months? I don’t know, it’s usually gone before it goes bad. Use it to add a bit of extra flavor to your baking, to coffee or tea, or to rim your cocktail glasses!

Cocktail Recipe: The “Drinking in LA”!

So, as I mentioned in an earlier entry, I ended up creating a cocktail while out in LA, “competing” on MasterChef. Well, more accurately, I created it while being holed up in my hotel room!

Anyway, a few days after arriving, we were allowed to go to a nearby mall… it was like getting sprung from jail! We were allowed to roam free for a couple hours, no babysitters, no need to ask permission to go to the washroom. It was kind of awesome, even if I hate malls. FREEDOM!

You know what else is awesome? The fact that you can buy booze at Target in LA.

Now, I’ve seen booze for sale in grocery stores before – in Chicago. Wish it could be that way here in MN, but apparently buying booze on a Sunday means you’re going to hell, soo… yeah. Anyway, seeing booze on a random endcap in a Target was just so novel, I had to giggle. Then, I HAD to buy something, just to say I did.

I settled on a bottle of Malibu. It seemed appropriate, between all the palm trees everywhere, and the general atmosphere of the whole experience. I imagine that this is what college feels like (I wouldn’t know!), and to me, Malibu = young drinking, haha!

I’d already had some UV Pink Lemonade Vodka in the hotel room from an earlier grocery store run, along with various mixers and everyday drinks. Sure, there was a hotel bar, but I am cheap.. AND a poor tornado victim, so was not going to be paying hotel cocktail prices. Best to plan ahead! Let’s be clear – there was a LOT of drinking happening out there. I’ll never look at a hotel room disposable coffee mug – or boxes of wine – the same way again.

As you already know, I like my drinks to basically be “diabetes in a glass”. Sweet, fruity, and fairly girly… and the Drinking in LA certainly fits the bill. It’ll also sneak up on you, so be careful. Very easy to get thoroughly trashed on this, without even realizing it. Just the other day, my LA roomie asked me if I had slipped MDMA into our drinks, LOL!

Anyway, in honor of my MasterChef experience, I am eschewing our typical professionally styled drink photography setup – and proper glasses – to show the cocktail in its original form. Sure, there were the small rocks glasses available in our hotel rooms… but the disposable coffee mugs afforded us portability. Not only were we able to bring our paper cups out to the pool area (no glass allowed, naturally)… but we could put the plastic lids on and proceed to drink our asses off in the main hotel lobby – even in the bar area – undetected!

A neat trick, and something to keep in mind for conventions, haha! I have no idea why this never occurred to me before.

Drinking in LA

2 oz Malibu Rum liqueur
1 oz Pink Lemonade vodka
2 oz Limeade
2 oz Sierra Mist

Measure ingredients into a shaker*. Add a handful of ice, shake a few times, strain into disposable coffee cup.

*Or, if you’re away on a reality show and sequestered without proper bar equipment: skip the shaker, skip the ice. Pour everything into your coffee cup without TOO much regard for measurements, swirl it a little and you should be good!

Ok, hubby won’t let me get away with NOT posting a proper drink photo…

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Candy Cane Martini

Happy Holidays! Here’s a classic cocktail to celebrate with today.

Candy Cane Martini

Corn Syrup
Crushed candy canes for rimming
1 1/2 oz Vanilla vodka
1 oz clear creme de cacao
1 oz Creme de Menthe

Using a clean fingertip, smear a thin ring of corn syrup around the edge of an martini glass. Spread crushed candy canes into a shallow dish, gently roll glass edge in them, to coat.

Measure remaining ingredients into a shaker. Add a handful of ice, shake a few times, strain into prepared martini glass.

Halloween Themed Shooters

Halloween is about a week away – Yay! I love this time of year … the fall weather, the changing color of the leaves, and the fun of Halloween. I love how *nuts* one can with with party planning for Halloween, as there are so many directions that one can go. Do you go for gory? Campy? Elegant goth? Each option has an entire world of possibilities for decor and food.

For our part, my husband and I recently decided to craft up some Halloween themed cocktail recipes. We decided to go fairly random on Halloween subthemes, while designing…. colors, flavors, and.. well, a couple that we were just aiming for “gross”.

As most of these ended up utilizing layering techniques, I’d suggest reading my earlier blog entry, “Shot Tectonics: The Science of Layered Shooters” before getting started. No worries, it’s really not that difficult!

Have fun with it!

To me, Black Licorice + Orange is an epic flavor combination. I grew up on it with Tiger Tail Ice Cream, and have played with it in other recipes, such as my Tiger Tail Cake Recipe.

Halloween Candy Shot

Orange Curacao
Anisette

Pour Orange Curacao into a shotglass, filling it about halfway. Gently pour Anisette into the middle of the glass, filling it almost to the top.

The Anisette is “heavier” than the Curacao, and will sink to the bottom – creating a pretty gradient effect as it does.

Witches’ Stockings

I’ve got to admit – on its own, I really don’t like Creme de Violette. In this drink, though? It works! Monumentally more palatable, IMHO!

Creme de Violette
Sour Apple Pucker Liqueur
Orange Curacao

Layer liqueurs in order of mention above – First the Creme de Violette, then Apple Pucker, topping off with Orange Curacao.

Be VERY gentle as you layer these liqueurs – They’re fairly close in specific gravity, so they require a bit of extra attention to not mix them!

This one may not taste anything like Candy Corn specifically (We were going for layered colors, more than anything…), but it DOES taste like candy!

Candy Corn Shot

Creme de Banane
White Chocolate Creme Liqueur (We used Merry’s)
Orange Curacao

Layer liqueurs in order of mention above – First the Creme de Banane, then White Chocolate Creme, topping off with Orange Curacao.

I’m not going to lie, the actual shot part of this drink was a bit of an afterthought. The idea of making an edible bloody eyeball came to me in a dream, and was what inspired this whole blog entry. Then I woke up, googled, and found that I wasn’t the first to think of it. BOO.

The Bloody Eyeball

Canned Lychee
Red colored jam (We used Lingonberry)
Large blueberries
Sour Apple Pucker liqueur
Grenadine

Use a small spoon to carefully fill each lychee with jam. Place a large blueberry in the opening of the lychee, pressing in gently to secure the berry / cause a bit of gushing.

Fill shot glasses about 3/4 full with Sour Apple Pucker, then pour a bit of grenadine right in the middle. It’ll sink to the bottom, with a bit of swirl.

Top each glass with a lychee eyeball, using a toothpick if necessary.


This next one.. I can’t even tell you what it tastes like! We went for appearance first, looking to employ pouring and curdling techniques to create something that just looked disgusting. I can’t handle drinking curdled drinks… but my husband loved this!

We used a tall shot glass for effect, but these are usually done with normal shot glasses… whatever floats your boat will work just fine.

Zombie Brain Hemorrhage

Peach Schnapps
Creme de Menthe (Green, not clear!)
Bailey’s Irish Cream
Grenadine

Pour the Peach Schnapps into a shot glass, about 1/2 full. Pour a splash of Creme de Menthe in next – it’ll sink to the bottom.

Next, pour on the Bailey’s. I like to do a clean layer, you may prefer to gently pour it in for more of a mixed “brain” effect.

Just before serving, pour a splash of grenadine into the middle of the shot glass. It’ll drag some Bailey’s down, causing a curdling effect. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch – here’s a progression:




We DID take a video of it, on the night we designed these cocktails. You’ll have to excuse us, it was at the END of the cocktail design session…

Rum Runners – Cocktail Recipe

I’ve been meaning to post today’s recipe for a long time … ah, procrastination!

Anyway, as I’d mentioned in last year’s Rum Runner Trifle post, this cocktail is one of my all time favorites. I’m a fan of rum, I’m a fan of really sweet “girlie drinks”… in my eyes, there’s nothing NOT to love in this cocktail!

Here’s the thing: It’s called “rum runner” for a reason – There’s a lot of booze, and it sneaks up on you. Much like the ‘rum runners” from back in the prohibition days, this drink does a really good job of concealing the alcohol! If you’re up for it, you can also pour another oz of rum over top – dark rum, ideally! Personally, I like it without the optional dark rum float.

This is a really great drink to make larger volumes of, for parties. By the pitcher, by the cooler… just be sure to have some designated drivers on hand!

Rum Runner Cocktail Recipe

1 oz Amber rum
1 oz light rum
1 oz creme de banane
1 oz blackberry brandy
1-2 oz orange juice
1-2 oz pineapple juice
Splash of grenadine
Splash of Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice

Fill a cocktail glass* with ice – ice should come just above the edge of the glass.

Measure ingredients into a shaker. Shake, then pour contents into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a pineapple wedge, orange and/or lime slices, and/or a maraschino cherry.

(That’s how you’re supposed to do it. Honestly, I skip the shaker and just pour the ingredients straight into the glass!)

To make this for large groups, forget the “oz” measures, go for “parts”. 1 cup of each ingredient will yield about 8 servings… and I recommend using 2 parts of each of the juices, unless you want a really quick drunkfest!

* I like to use fancier tall glasses for this, usually some variation on a hurricane glass.

Interested in boozy culinary experiments? You’ll LOVE my first cookbook, The Spirited Baker!

Combining liqueurs with more traditional baking ingredients can yield spectacular results.Try Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake, Candy Apple Flan, Jalapeno Beer Peanut Brittle, Lynchburg Lemonade Cupcakes, Pina Colada Rum Cake, Strawberry Daiquiri Chiffon Pie, and so much more.

To further add to your creative possibilities, the first chapter teaches how to infuse spirits to make both basic and cream liqueurs, as well as home made flavor extracts! This book contains over 160 easy to make recipes, with variation suggestions to help create hundreds more! Order your hard copy here, or digital edition here.

Jolly Rancher Martinis

In yesterday’s Candied Rims for Cocktails post, I mentioned that I was leading up to a post. Look at this! I followed through in a timely manner!

This is my own recipe for Jolly Rancher Martinis… and an excellent excuse to smash up candy and rim your glass with it! Use a solid flavor – Apple, Cherry, or Watermelon work best for this, on their own – or use one each of a few flavors of candy for an even more colorful rim. (We used one each – Apple, Cherry, Grape, and Blue Raspberry Jolly Rancher candies for the tutorial on that entry).

As I mentioned in an earlier entry on Candy Apple Martinis & Some Martini Trivia, this drink is properly called a “Martini Cocktail”, as it’s not a true “Martini”. The use of cranberry juice gives this a perfect amount of sweet/tart, yielding a VERY drinkable cocktail. Enjoy!

A disclaimer: This is my own recipe for Jolly Rancher Martinis, the way I like them. They vary slightly from what I was taught: 1 oz unflavored vodka, 1/2 oz Sour Puss Apple, 1/2 oz Sour Puss Raspberry, 2-3 oz cranberry juice, splash of bar lime mix. Hey, it’s my blog, I’ll mess with recipes if I want to!

Jolly Rancher Martini Cocktail

Jolly Rancher candies (optional)
1 oz watermelon flavored vodka**
1 oz Sour Apple Pucker / Sour Puss Apple
1 oz Sour Raspberry Pucker / Sour Puss Raspberry
1/2 oz Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice
4 oz cranberry juice

If doing a candied rim, use the candies and follow the instructions here.

Measure remaining ingredients into a shaker. Add a handful of ice, shake a few times, strain into a prepared martini cocktail glass (~8 oz size).

*For the purposes of this blog entry, we picked up appropriately shaped/sized glasses at IKEA for about $3 each 🙂

** You can substitute “99 Watermelons”, if feeling particularly ballsy 🙂