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.

Creamy Nutella Liqueur

First up, let’s get the legalities dealt with – This post is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or requested by the makers of Nutella or Guylian.

While Nutella seems to be a fairly new and exotic addition to local grocery stores, it was something I grew up with back home in Winnipeg. Nutella on toast was pretty much all we did with it… I’m kinda shocked that my mother never played around with it more, now that I think about it.

Anyway, yes. Nutella is awesome, and something I probably don’t need to spend a whole lot of time extolling the virtues of.

Recently, my husband bought me some Guylian chocolates – the Belgian chocolate seashells. Again, something far more common back home, than here. Nostalgia hit, I remembered once trying a Guylian brand of liqueur based on those chocolates, and decided to make a chocolate hazelnut creme liqueur myself. My mind went straight to Nutella as an ingredient, and … well, here we are.

Not only is this recipe ridiculously easy to make, it’s insanely delicious. I mean really, can you think of anything better than liquified, drinkable Nutella?

I think not.

With the holidays coming up, know that this would make an excellent hostess gift – Just make it a few days ahead of time, so it has time to mellow a little. Also, be sure to use a good vodka – cheaper stuff will give this an unpleasant burning taste, and really take away from the smooth luxuriousness of it.

Enjoy!

Nutella Creme Liqueur

3/4 cup Nutella (room temperature)
1/2 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup Heavy whipping cream
2+ cups Vodka

In a medium saucepan, whisk together Nutella, sugar, and vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat, slowly adding whipping cream. Gently whisk until everything has combined into a smooth, creamy mixture.

Continue heating, whisking frequently, until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat, allow to cool down to almost room temperature.

Once mixture has cooled, whisk in vodka until well combined. Taste, add more vodka if you so desire.

Keep in fridge for up to three weeks.

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.

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 🙂

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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Homemade Cranberry-Cuties “Christmas Wine”

I’ve mentioned our holiday homebrewing tradition before. Rather than deal with crowds, traffic, people, and the kind of over-stimulation that drives us both nuts, we use holidays as a bit of quiet time at home, enjoying each others’ company… while brewing up something tasty.

A few days before the holiday, my husband clears space in the brew room, while I design our recipe. For our Christmas day brew, we try to do something holiday themed, both to remind us of our “holiday”, and so that the final wine will be something appropriately themed for future holiday consumption. You know, being labeled as “Christmas wine”!

The first year of this tradition was when we designed the recipe for “Cuties” Mead, which has since gone on to become a favorite not only with us, but with other homebrewers. Cheers, guys!

As I’d mentioned last Christmas, our 2010 Christmas Wine was a cranberry-Cuties wine. Oh MAN, did it ever turn out amazing! 1 year to the day we brewed it, we were serving this up at a friend’s “orphan’s Christmas” Dr Who marathon. (Having moved our traditional holiday brew day up 1 day to accommodate such a worthy event!).

home brew cranberry orange wine recipe

This turns out a gorgeous light red, fruity wine. The Cuties oranges work beautifully with the cranberries, and the result is a smooth, festive libation. We really love the use of “crack oranges” to flavor our holiday brews… and they certainly didn’t disappoint in this recipe. Don’t wait til next Christmas to put a batch of this on – those Cuties oranges are at peak season for another month or so!

If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!

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How to Make Homemade Banana Wine

Homemade banana wine is an interesting thing, in a few ways.

For one, by the time you’re ready to add the yeast to get the product started… well, you’re working with a liquid that just looks revolting. Muddy brown-grey dishwater looking stuff. You add the yeast, cross your fingers, and hope for the best.

Then, the yeast starts acting on it. Oh BOY does it ever! I’ve never seen such violent fermentation before! It really was a sight to behold.

One day, you walk by your carboys, and you think “Hrm. My orange mead looks really yellow for some reason”… and then you realize that you’re looking at your banana wine. All of a sudden, that ugly, milky looking mixture clarified at some point. It left you with a gorgeous, brilliantly golden yellow and crystal clear wine.

… and it tastes like heavily banana-flavored Everclear! Yes, we’ve termed our banana wine “Banana Jet Fuel” for good reason – it comes in at a whopping 20% ABV!

No worries though – let your finished wine age for about a year after bottling, and you’ll be rewarded with a smooth, flavorful wine that packs a punch! The harsh “Everclear” flavor will age right out.

Banana wine is very easy – and very CHEAP – to make. Also, it finishes a unique color, which will make a beautiful addition to your wine rack – or gift.

If you haven’t attempted making wine before, don’t be intimidated! Check out our primer to home brewing, it starts here, with parts 2 and 3 here and here. Just a small handful of entries, and you’ll be good to go!

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