Everything from roasted potatoes to strawberries and Prosecco (sometimes in the same meal) have been flavored by my rosemary plants; I have been known to make flower arrangements (and wreaths) from the fragrant leaves and drink rosemary infused tea at the same time. And while I use rosemary year-round, this evergreen bush is readily available in the deep of winter, when all the other herbs have died back. Perhaps for this reason, there is something about the flavor of rosemary that just feels like the holidays.
Rosemary flavored vodka has recently become a bit of a staple amongst our friends. It’s easy to make and looks absolutely beautiful when you include a fresh sprig for garnish. It’s been tested and approved in a modified screwdriver: just mix 1 ounce of rosemary vodka with the juice from one orange and serve over ice. Rosemary vodka is also delicious with a bit of Jack Rudy Cocktail Co. Small Batch Tonic or in your favorite Bloody Mary recipe, but the possibilities are endless. If you have a great idea for a rosemary cocktail, be sure to let us know in the comments section.
Make extra of this easy infusion for your upcoming holiday gifting.
Homemade in three days—can’t beat that.
A few weeks back I hosted a small outdoor Wednesday night dinner to welcome friends Nathalie Jordi and Brett Anderson to Florence (and to celebrate my new deck).
In March, Kristy shared a few of her favorite simple syrup recipes, which are a flavorful way to smooth your favorite cocktails.
Though gin is not my spirit of choice, the ginger and mint made this by far my favorite drink of the summer. As posted this morning, I have a particular love for ginger and I love to put a splash of this ginger syrup into a glass of Prosecco.
KRISTY’S GINGER + MINT + GIN
Ginger is such a versatile flavor that plays well with almost any spirit. This recipe uses it in a refreshing cocktail that’s great for welcoming summer.
For the ginger syrup:
1 medium piece ginger root, peeled and cut into ½ inch discs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup water
Combine the ingredients in a pot and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 more minutes. Strain off the ginger with a fine mesh strainer and set aside. Cool the remaining syrup.
For the cocktail:
1 ½ ounces gin (I prefer Hendrick’s for this cocktail.)
¾ ounce ginger syrup
1 large sprig fresh mint, stem included
Juice of 1 lemon
½ ounce spring water
Combine ingredients in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
If you ever find yourself with a surplus of strawberries after picking, puree the extra and make a delicious summer cocktail. Any excess puree can also be stored in the freezer for future use; however, strawberry cocktails are popular at my house and there is rarely much leftover puree.
Experiment with any ripe fruit as you progress through the holidays. We’ve previously posted strawberry cocktail recipes: Homemade Strawberry “Fruli” and strawberry-tarragon simple syrup with Prosecco. This recipe from our ‘Celebrate America’ catalog, shared again below, combines watermelon juice and orange bitters. Garnish with blueberries on rosemary stems for the perfect combination of tart, spicy, sweet, and bubbly.
We finished our week of MAKESHIFT with Crafting Design, a chair workshop hosted at Partners & Spade in New York City.
From the New York Times piece “Pull Up a Chair, Then Fix It” by Andrew Wagner:
“Last Saturday, as part of a conference called MakeShift, Natalie Chanin, the founder of the fashion label Alabama Chanin, held a workshop to rehabilitate some of these castoffs at Partners & Spade on Great Jones Street. The event, which she called Crafting Design, was dedicated to resurrecting the bent, twisted and broken remnants of what the poet David McFadden has described as ‘the most ubiquitous and important design element in the domestic environment’: the chair.”
For me, the warmer, sunny days of spring mean patio lounging and a cold, crisp beverage. It’s during this season that beer spikes in popularity in my house, becoming my libation of choice. But cracking a cold one doesn’t necessarily mean simply turning up the bottle or emptying its contents into a cold mug. On the contrary, beer cocktails are excellent thirst quenching alternatives to other mixed drinks. They offer a refreshing effervescence and lower alcohol content, perfect for springtime afternoon sipping. Below you will find our take on some classic beer cocktails and styles. Beer purists may wish to read no further.
I’ve been trying my hand at making the perfect Old-Fashioned Cocktail for our Visiting Artist Series tomorrow evening, and my friend Angie Mosier suggested that I try The Julian, Julian Van Winkle’s version of the Old Fashioned. Created by Sean Brock at HUSK in Charleston, South Carolina, the drink highlights the – now famous – bourbon founded by Julian Van Winkle’s grandfather, “Pappy” Van Winkle. Pappy started his family business in the 1870’s and was the creator of their original wheated bourbon recipes that are still used and aged today.
The Old-Fashioned happens to be Faythe Levine’s drink of choice, so I thought – what better time to showcase my new-found knowledge on homemade bitters and use the Van Winkle Special Reserve Bourbon so graciously sent to us by Julian at the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky.
If there’s one thing that rivals my love for creating a delicious, soulful meal, it’s mixing a good cocktail. I’ve enjoyed the classic cocktail revival that’s swept through restaurants and bars, as well as the focus on fresh, seasonal cocktail ingredients. But, as much as I like to travel and seek out mad-scientist mixologists and their latest creations, there’s a special pleasure that comes from mixing cocktails in the comfort of my home, sharing them with friends on the back porch or around the kitchen table.
One of my favorite ways to spice up a cocktail is by adding an infused simple syrup. Syrups are quick, easy, and affordable to make and are good for the at-home cocktail party because most of the preparation can be done in advance. I think of flavors that I like to use together when cooking, such as lemon and thyme or blackberry and sage, then simmer these ingredients with sugar-water and incorporate the resulting syrup with a complimentary spirit. Straining off the ingredients you are infusing will allow the syrup to last longer, up to a month in the refrigerator. Below are some simple cocktail recipes using infused syrups:
A month ago I was totally intimidated and scared of bitters, what they were, and how to use them. A recent encounter changed that.
It all began with a cocktail drink at Patois in New Orleans. The beautiful drink menu started off with a lovely champagne cocktail that was something like this: Champagne, Cointreau, Orange Bitters and a twist of orange. Sounds simple right?
I turn to Nathalie and Brett and ask, “What exactly IS Orange Bitters?” I am not the biggest fan of orange-infused anything and I wanted to be SURE to make the best of the most delicious cocktail that evening. Drew explained that bitters are essentially any fruit or spice marinated in 100% Pure Grain Alcohol. Nathalie added, “You can make it yourself.”
I have been taste testing tonight for our Holiday Market and cocktail party this Thursday evening. Come by The Factory to visit with great artists and musicians and, of course, to try my Alabama Royale:
Fill glass with Belstar Prosecco
Add two wedges of organic lemon
Drizzle with a teaspoon of Elderberry Syrup (courtesy of Mothering Herbs)
Sip + enjoy (responsibly).
Join us @ The Factory:
Cocktails + Shopping
Thursday, December 15, 2011, 6 – 9pm
Holiday Shopping + Sample Sale
Friday, December 16, 2011, 10am – 6pm
Thank you to Brian Herr with International Wines in Birmingham for the lovely Belstar Prosecco!