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Tag: St-Germain

Segue Into Spring: Moving from one season into the next

Segue Into Spring: Moving from one season into the next

Sometimes when one season transitions into the next, the change can seem a bit abrupt. This is often not a problem when we’re moving out of winter because we’re eager to be basking in 75 degree temperatures. Since the first day of spring occurs in the ever-fickle month of March, however, things don’t always go as expected. I had the opportunity to visit the Tait Farms booth at the Philadelphia Flower Show this past Saturday, and I’ve been wanting to use their pear shrub in a spring cocktail ever since. The weather over

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Pomegranates: From strange fruit, to super fruit, to cocktail superstar!

Pomegranates: From strange fruit, to super fruit, to cocktail superstar!

When I was a young Thirsty Camel, I was fascinated with pomegranates. I mean, is there anyone who isn’t? You have this fruit that’s kind of ugly on the outside with its leathery skin and strange shape, and then you cut it open to reveal these seeds inside that look like shiny little rubies all nestled together. The seeds are actually called arils, but I didn’t learn that until much later on. I thought the taste was amazing, although I will admit that the idea that you practically had to put on a beekeeper’s suit when you ate one did have its drawbacks for my mom. There is a technique that involves turning the pomegranate upside in water that is supposed to help you to release the arils without looking like you’ve been in a Martin Scorsese film, but where’s the fun in that? I think the other reason why I loved pomegranates so much is because they only made an appearance in our house at Christmas time, so they became permanently linked to the holiday for me. Pomegranates have since ascended to super fruit stardom, but I can honestly look them in the eye and say “I loved you even when everyone thought you were weird.”

Since my friends at Gorshin Trading Post in Haddonfield have kindly asked me back again to pour cocktails during candlelight shopping this Friday night, I am starting my planning today. The first drink on deck is a Pomegranate Elderflower cocktail that marries my favorite fruit with one of my favorite spirits, St. Germain, made from the tiny white blossoms of the elder tree. These trees only bloom in spring time for a few short weeks, during which the elderflower blossoms are handpicked and transported by bicycle back to the village to be made into St. Germain. It’s a delicate and meticulous process, which is why St. Germain is one of the pricier liqueurs, but the taste is worth it. A blend of pear, peach, and grapefruit is how it’s described on the website, but I always taste honey too. There is also fresh lime juice in this recipe, one of St. Germain’s favorite flavor partners, as well as simple syrup. St. Germain is already fairly sweet so feel free to adjust the amount of the simple syrup down if you need to. The resulting cocktail tastes amazing and looks beautiful, making it another great choice for the holiday season.

Pomegranate Elderflower Cocktail (from drinkandcocktailrecipes.com)

1 1/2 ounces Stateside vodka
1/2 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce pomegranate juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce simple syrup (1 cup sugar dissolved completely in 1 cup of boiling water)

Add the vodka, St. Germain, pomegranate juice, lime juice and simple syrup to cocktail shaker. Add your ice (1 large cube and 2 small if you have them); cover and shake vigorously. Double strain into chilled glass. Garnish with lime or leave ungarnished if you prefer.

Friday Musings: One Twisted Gimlet coming right up.

Friday Musings: One Twisted Gimlet coming right up.

twisted-gimletHappy Friday! One night last fall I received a text message from a friend about an amazing cocktail she was drinking at Azul, a restaurant in Miami. It was called a Twisted Gimlet and her request was very simple. “Is there any way you can make this for us at home?” Since then I’ve received quite a few similar text messages from family and friends wanting to know if I can figure out how to duplicate a particular drink they’re having. Sometimes I get a picture too, or a list of ingredients, or a screenshot of the menu, or even the menu itself. One friend in particular likes to call it “field research,” which I love. Whenever I look at my phone and see that this kind of message has popped up, it always makes me smile. Let me tell you why.

First of all, I love text messaging in general. Yes, yes it’s true. I’m one of those people who does not see this electronic means of communicating as the downfall of real relationships, but rather as something that can actually enhance the way we’re connected to one another, especially when we’re limited by time or distance. Secondly, trying to figure out how to make a drink involves some detective work and I am, at heart, a Nancy Drew wannabe. Aren’t we all, really? So it’s fun to track down ingredients, work out the right ratios, make infused simple syrups… whatever it takes to get the drink as close as possible to the original! But there’s something else here other than just fun, which is the most important reason why I love all of this so much. There’s a lot more to making a cocktail for someone that you care about than just the process of measuring, mixing, pouring, and garnishing. You can surely look at it that way, but why not step things up and make the gesture a bit more grandiose? I’d like to think that cocktails, especially those that are thoughtfully planned and carefully made, can be a reflection of the way we feel about one another, as well as a testimony to the lengths we’re willing to go to make each other smile, and the effort we’re willing to put in to maintain the connections that are important to us. Too much? I really don’t think so.

Bottom line to my family and friends: keep those cocktail text message requests coming! They make me very happy. As for the Twisted Gimlet from Azul, it was the very first cocktail I ever attempted to replicate for someone who asked me to do so. It will always have a special place in my heart.

Twisted Gimlet

2 oz vodka*
1/2 oz St. Germain
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz jalapeño simple syrup**
2 slices cucumber for muddling
Cucumber and lime for garnishing

Muddle the cucumber and the jalapeño simple syrup together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the remaining ingredients along with 1 large ice cube and 2 small. If you don’t have the large cubes on hand, fill the shaker 2/3 full with regular ice. Shake for at least 15 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cucumber slice and a lime strip. Enjoy!

Notice the ratios above: 2 oz of the base spirit (vodka), 3/4 oz sour ingredients (lime juice), and 3/4 oz sweet ingredients (simple syrup and St. Germain). It gets a bit trickier when there are lots of ingredients involved, but this a basic formula that’s a good place to start with most cocktails like this. Then you can adjust or add from there. Give it a try at home!

*CROP vodka is my very favorite.

**To make the jalapeño simple syrup, mix together equal parts of water and sugar in a pot and heat gently until all the sugar has dissolved and the liquid turns clear. Pour into a mason jar and add several jalapeño slices. Seal the jar and allow to steep, checking frequently to see how hot the syrup is (spicy hot, not temperature hot). Remove the jalapeño slices when it’s to your liking. Store for about 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

Have a great weekend! See you all on Monday!

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