Candied Rims for Cocktails

As you may have guessed from my recent Birthday Cake Martini post, I am a big fan of customizing beautiful, flavorful rims for cocktails.

In addition to the added visual interest, customized rims can add a great pop of coordinated flavor to your chosen cocktail. A great drink suddenly becomes memorable – garnishes can go a long way to establishing a”signature” drink for your wedding, party, or other special event.

While it’s not the most common application out there, I love to use crushed hard candy to rim cocktail glasses. They work particularly well for my taste in drinks (“Diabetes in a glass”!), and I love the way it looks. Candy color and flavor can either match or contrast with the drink, and bring a bit of sparkle to the presentation of it. Also, the possibilities are almost endless!

Use crushed peppermint candies or candy canes (Great for holiday drinks!), black colored hard licorice flavored candies (Ouzo shots!), fruit flavored candies for a jeweled look, hard caramels / toffees (perfect for a Candy Apple Martini!)… cinnamon candies, coffee flavored hard candy on a chocolate or Kahlua based cocktail…

See what I mean? Tons of possibilities!

Candied cocktail rims are quick and easy to do, and the technique comes in handy for my NEXT blog post 🙂 Have fun with it!

You will need:

Hard candies
2 small plates
Corn syrup
Martini glasses

1. Crush your candies. I like to use a mortar and pestle, but there are many ways to do this – food processor, rolling pin, hammer, etc. You will want any chunks to be relatively small, or they’ll just fall off. Alternatively, you can crush the candies down to a powder, for a less chunky look.

Once candies are crushed, spread them out on one of the plates – you’ll want to use them fairly soon – moisture in the air will make the crushed candies sticky.

2. Pour a small amount of corn syrup onto the second plate. carefully twirl the very edge of a martini glass in the corn syrup, until the edge is coated the entire way around the rim.

3. Hold the glass above the plate and allow any excess corn syrup to drip off of the glass. Take your time – extra syrup will run down the side of your glass, not hold the candy securely to the rim!

4. Twirl the edge of the rim through crushed candies, gently pressing down to secure.

5. Fill glass with cocktail of your choice. Enjoy!

Birthday Cake Martini

I have a really dirty, shameful secret, and I guess I have to share it, in order to post this recipe.

Augh!

You guys know I’m the Evil Cake Overlord, and purveyor of all that is awesome about cake. You know that I swear by Swiss Meringue Buttercream, which is – quite simply – the most fabulous frosting that ever existed. I have never steered anyone wrong when it comes to matters of cake.

Here’s the thing: That “frosting” you buy in a can? Like… the “cream cheese” stuff? The stuff I would never personally put on a cake… ever?

I love it.

I have the most ridiculous sweet tooth ever, one that knows NO shame. While I would never use canned frosting on cake, it has other great uses… like making store bought gluten free cookies palatable. Melting some and drizzling it over ice cream is probably my guiltiest of pleasures. (Hear that? That’s the sound of my “cred” dying… ack! ).

With the new cake vodkas on the market, there’s another great use for it – I like to keep some on hand, for rimming martini glasses!

… which brings me to today’s recipe: Birthday Cake Martinis!

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Homemade Wine Slush Mix!

If you’ve ever been to a large trade show, home show, or – in our case this weekend, a Food and Wine show… chances are, you’ve seen a booth hawking wine slushie mixes. “Frappe Vino”, “Wine Slush”, “Party Slush Mix”, “Vino Slush”… there are a bunch of companies offering it. The samples are so good, it’s easy to drop the $12 or so for the 12 oz baggie of powdered mix. Trust me, we’ve done so… twice. That second time, I took a look at the ingredients and almost had a heart attack. I couldn’t believe what I’d just paid so MUCH for!

I was reminded of that this weekend, as the D’Marie company was once again set up with their wonderful wine slush. While we all loved the slush, I decided that I would set about to “reverse engineer” it. Cue jokes about “Dis Marie” bastardizing “Dat Marie’s” recipe…

Anyway… between the ingredient listing, listed weight, nutritional info, and the unused second bag sitting in our liquor cabinet… I didn’t figure it would be hard to do.

It wasn’t. 🙂

The ingredients are simple, and the technique is one of those “so simple, it shouldn’t be considered an actual recipe” deals. You, too, can make homemade wine slush mix at home! While matcha powder isn’t cheap, this recipe doesn’t take much at all – your wine slush mix should cost less than $1.50/batch!

Oh, and remember the citric acid you bought for my Quick mozzarella recipe? Well if you haven’t bought some, what are you waiting for? Cheese and wine slushes aren’t the only cool things you can do with it – more citric acid recipes are coming!

Oh, and that Czar of cakes competition? I won! Click here for photos of my cake entry. (more…)

Boozy Fun with Fresh Citrus Fruit

It’s a great time of year to purchase citrus fruits. Not only are most of them in season at the moment, but they provide a nice contrast to winter. Bright sunny colors and flavors go a long way to offset the “blah” outside.

Once you’ve squeezed some lemon on your meal, zested some orange into your dessert, or put lime in your Coke…then what?

Well, how about homemade “Sour Mix”? Citrus sugar? Citrus SALT? Citrus infused spirits / liqueur? Cocktails!

Yes, there is a lot of boozy fun to be had with fresh citrus fruits!

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Secret Caker Voodoo for Fabulous Holiday Entertaining

Remember back in October, when my husband made a Cake Wreck ?
Well, it wasn’t just his ADD that had him “like a kid in a candy store” at the cake decorating supply shop.

You see, lay people tend to have NO idea just how many cool things available to cake decorators, to really finish off a cake. Aside from all of the wrecky goodness we could find (Naked plastic babies, creepy Barbie torsos, etc), cake supply shops are also well stocked with what I like to refer to as “secret caker voodoo”.

From super concentrated food coloring in every shade you can think of, to various tools, molds, trimmings, and … well, everything… yeah. The sky’s the limit. It was always fun to work with clients who’d really let me play. You know the feeling you had when you were young, and someone gave you a BIG art kit filled with all sorts of pastels, markers, crayons, and paint – all new, pristine, and in a variety of colors? THAT… only grown up, and slightly more refined.

Anyway, more to the point… some of this “secret caker voodoo” can be used in non-cake ways, with spectacular results. Your secret arsenal to make everything just a little more fabulous when entertaining. Let me tell you about my favorite stuff …. (more…)

“Rum Runner” Trifle Recipe

I am a big fan of Rum Runners. They’re definitely up there among my favorite cocktails ever*.

As the weather gets cold enough to require jackets and gloves, I realize that this summer was sorely lacking in the Rum Runner department. Though it seems sort of out-of-season now, it’s something we’ll definitely have to correct NEXT summer. You know, as we lounge around on our deck and patio, NOT busting our backs all summer doing tornado cleanup and repairs!

While it may be too cold to pour up a fancy, tropical rum runner cocktail, it’s NOT too cold to whip up a dessert inspired by its flavors!

This was one of the first recipes slated for “The Spirited Baker“. In the course of multiple re-hashes of the layout, format, and groupings… I managed to forget to include it. Whoops! You’ll have to buy the book for the other 160+ awesome recipes!

This recipe seems involved, but it comes together quite easily! The cake should be made at least a day before serving, but can be made even further ahead than that! Feel free to tightly wrap the slab of cake in plastic wrap and freeze for a couple of weeks, allowing it to defrost for an hour or two before cutting it up.

While I like to make up my trifles fresh RIGHT before serving them, many people find that they get better by aging a day or two in the fridge – making them an excellent dessert for entertaining!
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Candy Apple Martini Recipe.. and some Martini Trivia.

While on our mini vacation this weekend, we indulged in a rare treat for us – a cocktail at a bar. Generally speaking, we’re far more apt to make cocktails for ourselves at home… it’s a very rare occasion that we have someone else do it for us.

Now, this is for a few reasons. For one, we’re frugal. We’re also not people-people, for the most part, and tend to stay away from (usually) noisy bars. The third reason has only really become an issue since I moved to Minnesota – it’s HARD to get what I want!

You see, I love martini cocktails, which have been my drink of choice since… jeez, turning legal (age 18, back home!). I developed even more of an appreciation for them during my training at the Toronto Institute of Bartending, and well… that’s my style. I’m not a beer drinker, and I’m not all that fond of commercial wines.

Also, as I may have mentioned in previous posts… I like my drinks to verge on “diabetes in a glass”. Save the “dry”, please. My absolute favorite is the Candy Apple Martini – my recipe for it follows!

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Shot Tectonics – The Science of Layered Shooters

Layering shots is not only a pretty way to pour delicious drinks, it’s also a lot of fun. A bit of flavor mixology, some math, some experimentation, pretty colors… that’s always a recipe for entertainment! It’s a shame that it seems to be a technique that’s gone out of favor – the fast paced environment of today’s clubs has put a kibosh on the previous popularity of layering. Bah! Let’s bring it back!

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Marie’s Favorite Mojito

I admit it, sometimes I get weird about my recipes. Sure, there are tried and true ways to do some things – like Mojitos – but when it comes down to it, personal taste has to rule over what’s considered “proper”.

I’ve done countless traditional mojitos.. muddling the lime, sugar, and mint.. but when it comes right down to it, I’m not a fan of carbonated water. (AKA club soda, soda water, etc). It just tastes like baking soda to me, not pleasant at all.

Of course, fresh mint and lime are hard to resist in the heat of summer, so I knew I’d have to tweak the recipe a little. Here’s MY tried and true version of the mojito!

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