Candace Karu

Cocktails

The Classic Bellini

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Harry's Bellini

Harry's Bellini

(Originally created sometime in the 1930s by Giuseppi Cipriani in Venice)

Nothing could be simpler or more exotic than the original Bellini, named after the 15th Century Venetian painter, Giovanni Bellini. Start with a good Italian Prosecco. Add the puree of ripe white peaches. The perfect Bellini requires exquisitely chilled Prosecco and equally icy white peach puree. Even the glasses should sit in the freezer for at least an hour before making the cocktail.

The original recipe insists that only white peaches will do for an authentic Bellini, grated and not blended in a food processor, which will aerate the fruit.

The original recipe also states emphatically that one should never use yellow peaches to make a Bellini, but I’m sorry. I live in Maine. White peaches almost never make an appearance at my local grocery store

I’m perfectly happy to use peach nectar, which can be found in most grocery stores, to create my at-home Bellinis. But please don’t tell anyone at Harrys. They may not let me back in.

 

A Perfect Bellini

Ingredients:

·      1 part frozen white peach puree

·      3 parts chilled Italian Prosecco

Instructions:

·      Chill all ingredients – and glasses – within an inch of their lives.

·      Combine and enjoy.

 

Saluti!

Unzipping: The Green Teani

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The Green Teani

The Green Teani

I begin each morning - usually very early - with a cup of jasmine green tea from the Grace Tea Company. It's light floral scent suits my break-of-day mood and whispers, not yells, for me to start my day. Coffee comes later, when I need a firmer hand to push me on my way.

And let's not forget the health benefits of green tea. It stumps me how something with such a lovely flavor can be so good for you. Green tea is loaded with powerful antioxidants like flavonoids and catechins. Studies show that green tea increases the body's ability to burn fat and can improve physical performance. (Have you seen the Chinese acrobats and contortionists at Cirque du Soleil? I'll bet they drink green tea with abandon.) Other studies have shown that the catechin compounds in green tea can also protect aging brains, lowering the risk of age-related diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Check out more health benefits of green tea here.

Jasmine Green Tea - a gentle way to start the day.

Jasmine Green Tea - a gentle way to start the day.

But, I digress. This is a cocktail post and cocktails it shall be.

On a magical night at one of my favorite restaurants in Portland - Empire Chinese Kitchen - my date and I ordered a martini made with oolong tea. It was, in a word, divine. Several weeks later on a whim I decided to create my own version with my beloved Before the Rain Jasmine Green Tea.

Picture courtesy of  St. Germain

Picture courtesy of St. Germain

My version is simple - light with slight floral notes imparted by both the jasmine-infused tea and the addition of a splash of my favorite liqueur, St. Germain. This artisanal French liqueur is made from the hand-picked blossoms of elderflowers. It smells and tastes like springtime in the South of France. St. Gemain takes so many classic cocktails to delightful new heights. I encourage you to peruse their website and try some of their creations.

The Green Teani is surprisingly refreshing, the perfect cocktail to welcome the advent of a new season. It's like springtime in a glass.

Three simple ingredients to produce such a delightful drink!

Three simple ingredients to produce such a delightful drink!

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz of your favorite Vodka
  • 1 oz Jasmine Green Tea
  • 1 splash St. Germain

Instructions:

Combine ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and give it a good shake. Then shake a little more for good measure. Serve in your favorite martini glass with a twist of citrus or a few fresh raspberries. 

#cheers #clink #weekend

Tito's Greyhound

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Tito's Greyhound

Tito's Greyhound

Like much of what happens in Austin, Texas, a Tito's Greyhound is a cocktail with a unique appeal. What could be simpler? Take an award-winning, hand crafted vodka and douse it generously with fresh grapefruit juice. The two ingredients combine to create a drink that is tart and refreshing, while retaining a sophisticated edge. Garnish it with a sprig of rosemary if you're feeling rakish or a simple wedge of grapefruit if the night calls for classic accessories.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. Tito's Vodka
  • Fresh grapefruit (use bottled in a pinch, but we both know there's no substitute for fresh)

Instructions

  1. Pour the vodka over ice in a cocktail class. If you're so inclined, salt the rim of the glass to create a Salty Dog.
  2. Top off with grapefruit juice. 
  3. Garnish with a sprig rosemary. 

¡Viva Margarita!

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There are dozens of origin stories about the invention of this universally loved cocktail. Many of them involve suave bartenders creating a special drink for a favorite show girl or socialite. The truth of the cocktail's genesis is lost somewhere in the mists of time, but its legend and appeal live on.

With many variations available to customize a Margarita, the basic recipe is nonetheless quite simple. Esquire magazine named the Margarita its "Drink of the Month" in December, 1953 and its proportions have stood the test of time.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce tequila
  • Dash of Triple Sec
  • Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon

Instructions:

Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt—pour, and sip.

A simple formula, yes, but open to change and suggestion. Do you like a frozen Margarita? Increase the measured ingredients a little and throw them in the blender with ice. I'm a fan of this basic recipe shaken and poured over ice in a cocktail glass with a salted rim. Some people prefer the mellower effect of lemon juice over lime, but I'm of the opinion that fresh lime juice is key. And don't skimp on the tequila. Buy the highest quality you can afford and revel in the smokey nuance of this drink.

A final word of caution. A well made Margarita goes down easily. It also packs a punch that can sneak up on you when you least expect it. Proceed with caution.

Buena suerte, amigos.

Lychee Martini

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Let it be known that the Lychee Martini is no quotidian cocktail, but an alcohol-infused punctuation to an important event. It is slightly sweet, light, and fragrant, an exotic take on an iconic libation.

Yes, you could call it a Girlie Drink, but you’d be wrong. Think of it more as an exotic alternative to a classic Martini, a luscious libation with a hint of mystery and intrigue.

Ingredients (for one Lychee Martini)

·      1 oz Vodka

·      2 canned lychees

·      2 oz syrup from canned lychees

·      juice of half a lime

 

Instructions

  • Put two lychees in a martini glass and freeze for half an hour.
  • Combine remaining ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Extra points if you are dancing as you shake.
  • Pour over the frozen lychees.
  • If you are feeling particularly festive, add a splash of Champagne or prosecco. Because…bubbles!

The Perfect Martini

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Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • Vermouth
  • Ice
  • Olives

Instructions:

My recipe for a perfect martini involves the full complement of aggressively chilled gin with almost no Vermouth. You may want yours less dry, if so you can add up to 1 oz of Vermouth, according to your taste. Like James Bond, I want my martini shaken - not stirred - in a cocktail shaker filled with crushed ice, so the resulting drink has tiny ice crystals floating in the gin, keeping it properly chilled. I prefer olives to a lemon peel. I also believe that a dirty martini - one with a splash of olive juice - isn't really a martini at all.

If you're a fan of tiny cocktail onions, drop a couple into your martini and it is magically transformed into the cocktail known as a Gibson.

Take all caution with this powerful cocktail and remember what Dorothy Parker had to say:

"I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
After four I'm under the host."

 

 

Rosemary Gin Fizz

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) gin
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary simple syrup
  • 1/3 cup club soda
  • lemon and lime slices, and rosemary sprigs for garnish

Rosemary Simple Syrup

Add sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat. Add rosemary to the simple syrup and let steep for about an hour. Discard rosemary sprig and refrigerate until you use it. Simple syrup can be kept refrigerated for up to a month.

How-To

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add gin, lemon and lime juice, and rosemary simple syrup. Strain into a glass filled with ice (I like to use the ‘dirty rocks’ from the shaker). Add club soda. Make it pretty with a lemon or lime slice and s festive sprig of rosemary.

Mocktail Version

For a refreshing, non-alcoholic version of this cocktail, substitute lemonade for the gin. Pink lemonade is even better, because it makes the drinks so darned pretty!