Wine coolers enjoyed a surge in popularity many years ago. They were the low alcohol counterpoint to more potent cocktails made with spirits. Nevertheless, like many fads, they passed into oblivion. Modern takes on coolers are more likely to involve vodka with something citrus and something fizzy. Continue reading →
Pear Whiskey Sour is what I’m making this holiday season to make my spirits bright. I am toasting the upcoming year. We have just endured a year that cannot be repeated, right? I am hopeful and wanting the world to recover all that has been lost. Some things may not come back to full speed, like raucous bar behavior. Restaurant patrons, those who enjoy conversation that does not need to be shouted, will likely agree. Homemade cocktails suit me just fine for now, unless takeout is an option. Continue reading →
Homemade cocktail mixers are the most handy items taking up valued space in your fridge, ever chilled and at the ready for adding to spirits, fizzy beverages or enjoyed over ice as a solo drink. Continue reading →
When you live in a state that boasts of the world’s apple capital (Winchester, Virginia), you stock up on as many apples and apple products like fresh cider and apple butter as you can during the peak season. Hoping to craft a cocktail with apple essence, I roamed the aisles of the local liquor store and found not one, but several, brands of Virginia apple brandy. The friendly sales clerk schooled me in the difference between applejack (apple plus grain spirits with a lighter flavor profile) and apple brandy ( apple cider aged and possessing a rich depth). Woods Mill Distillery in Faber, Virginia, produces a fine smoky tasting apple brandy which was used for today’s autumn cocktail. Continue reading →
Strolling the market aisles, there it is. That unmistakable perfume of Meyer lemons. A cross between lemons and mandarin oranges, these beauties are both tart and sweet, adding depth to any recipe calling for either lemons or oranges. They have a short season, and that’s a good thing, for prolonged exposure means wearying of their charms and taking them for granted.
A well-crafted cocktail (or mocktail) is a refreshing start to dinner. You can’t go wrong by following the seasons and employing ingredients that speak to whatever nature is serving up, so local apple cider is the star of this fall beverage.
And just like that, it’s summer. We may have a month to go by the calendar, but when the temperature climbs and air conditioners kick on ( with more than a little grumbling that it’s May, dangit, and why can’t we wait until June?), we long for great outdoor dining adventures. Pretty lights strung up between trees, the first fireflies of the season and a light breeze rustling the leafy trees. Yep, it’s time to dine and entertain on the deck, in the yard and on the screen porch.
Blood orange season is mercifully brief. Don’t assume I dislike this deep red tart fruit, but its short run at the markets assures that I indulge while available and pine for its presence once it disappears from the market shelves. I like seasonality and I like to miss things and not take them for granted. Moro oranges are like that for me. I suppose I could purchase the juice in a jar, but then I would miss the opportunity to slice into ruby flesh and fill my kitchen with the unmistakeable aroma of winy blood orange. Continue reading →
Have you noticed the full page of craft cocktails at your favorite restaurants? No longer content to offer the usual manhattans and martinis, bartenders are upping the game with seasonal ingredients and herbs and homemade bitters, tempting with signature drinks to start your dinner with flair.
When there is a chilly bite in the air, it’s time for winter citrus. I enjoy lemon in my summertime tea, and lime juice in warm weather salsas and salads, but winter is when the perfume of pink grapefruits, tangerines, Meyer lemons and blood oranges is at peak and best enjoyed.