Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

Infused liquor

Posted on: July 14th, 2012 by admin 1 Comment

Infused liquor is such a wonderful thing, summer or winter.  You can drink it straight – to taste the flavours you steep in, or use it in cocktails.  It’s summer here so when NYCase sent me through some new recipes for infusions to try, I couldn’t wait to get started.  I tried a version of her cucumber gin first, because it’s so hot right now and we always love a Pimm’s cup or a Cucumber gimlet.

Here’s the ratio for steeping fruits, herbs or spices:

1 litre of liquor will need about 1 cup of cut fruit, 1/2 a cup of fresh chopped herbs, and about 3 tablespoons of dried spices.

Step 1:

Choose your liquor of choice. Most common is vodka but it might also be nice to try a spiced rum. If you are nervous about using a nice bottle of liquor start with something cheaper until you have perfected your technique.

Step 2:

Make a sample of what you are trying to achieve in a small cup. Add cut fruits or spices to a shot of liquor and leave covered for about half an hour. Once you try it you can adjust the ingredients or amounts as desired.  Remember the flavours will be stronger after a couple days.

Step 3:

Wash and cut fruit or herbs. Chunks of fruit will do fine. Berries can either be whole or cut to release flavour. Tear herbs, cut vanilla bean lengthwise and most other spices can be used whole. Fresh ingredients yield the best results. Add to an air tight jar (mason jars work well) and fill it with liquor.

Step 4:

Leave in a room temperature, dark place for up to a week (under the sink works well). Intense flavours such as peppercorn and lemons should only need about 2-3 days to steep. More delicate flavours like watermelon, berries and ginger might need up to a week. Don’t be afraid to taste test. Shake the jar at least once a day if you get the chance.

Step 5:

Strain the fruit, herbs or spices from the liquor through cheese cloth or a coffee filter. And voila! Drink and be merry :)

Some recipes to try include:

  • Watermelon and mint vodka
  • Lemongrass and cucumber gin
  • Pear and ginger bourbon
  • Rosemary vodka
  • Garlic and basil vodka (perfect for a bloody mary)
  • Cranberry and cinnamon rum
  • Clove and orange peel rum
  • Vanilla bean and blueberry vodka

Use your creativity and personal tastes to create a unique base for cocktails or simply a special treat after a long night in the kitchen.

Our batch was cucumber, basil and lemon steeped gin.  It is so delicious we used it up in cocktails so as not to drink it so fast straight.  We made cocktails with the infused liquor and soda water, as well as a couple fresh basil leaves, cucumber and lemon slices.

Now under the sink is pomegranate and rose petal vodka – we’ll let you know how it goes!

Pottery barn mason jar dispensers

Song for this recipe:

“Two Weeks” – Grizzly Bear Two Weeks - Veckatimest

Grizzly Bear have a new album coming out in September I believe.  The single just released is pretty good – Sleeping Ute.  I hope they mean ute in the proper sense.  Like going for a spin in my ute this avo.  Personally I like Grizzly Bear a lot.  This song is probably their most well known, but their earlier album is also a great listen.  I guess they’re alternative music, if you have to categorize – experimental American band, I play the album Veckatimest quite loudly and no one ever complains so it must be good.


Sunday cocktail sweets

Posted on: June 27th, 2010 by admin No Comments

It’s been so hot here lately that we hardly feel like baking (well scones in the morning, but it’s still cool then!) so we thought our sweet treat for this weekend should definitely be in the form of a refreshing summer cocktail.  Those of you in winter never fear- we already have you covered with hot toddy’s, mulled wine and pimm’s winter cups…  Just click the links!  If you want more cocktail recipes, just look in the cocktail section to the right.

Frozen mango margarita

You can check out how to prepare a traditional margarita glass here.

serves 4

  • 300 g frozen mango cheeks (they need to be frozen)
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) tequila (silver is good)
  • 80 ml (1/3 c) fresh lime juice
  • 80 ml (1/3 c) Cointreau liqueur
  • 50 g (1/4 c) caster sugar
  • 1 c ice cubes

Place the mango, tequila, lime juice, Cointreau, sugar and ice in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth. Pour evenly among the serving glasses.  You can do this in two batches if your blender isn’t super powerful.

Blackberry breeze

Serves 4

  • 150 g punnet blackberries
  • 250 ml (1 c) lemonade
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) vodka
  • 125 ml (1/2 c) raspberry cranberry juice
  • Crushed ice, to serve

Place the blackberries in the bowl of a food processor or the jug of a blender and process until pureed.  You can mash them by hand if you have no machines!  Strain through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl.

Stir in lemonade, vodka, raspberry cranberry juice and lots of ice until combined.

Harvey Wallbanger

Legend has it that this drink was named after a Manhattan Beach surfer who was a regular patron of Duke’s ‘Blackwatch’ Bar on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood during the early 1950′s.  It is reported to have been invented in 1952 by three-time world champion mixologist Donato ‘Duke’ Antone, who is also credited for inventing, the Rusty Nail, Flaming Caesar and the White Russian.

serves 4

  • Ice cubes
  • 12 thin orange slices
  • 750 ml (3 c) fresh orange juice
  • 120 ml vodka
  • 60 ml Galliano liqueur

Place a few ice cubes in four serving glasses.

Divide the orange slices, orange juice, vodka and Galliano among the glasses. Stir to combine. Serve immediately.

Watermelon Breeze (non alcoholic)

serves 4

  • 400 g seedless watermelon, chopped (to give about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 60 ml (1/4 c) lime juice
  • Ice cubes, to serve
  • 250 ml (1 c)  pink grapefruit juice
  • 250 ml (1 c) tonic water

Place the watermelon and lime juice in a blender and blend until smooth.

Half-fill 4 tall glasses with ice cubes. Divide the watermelon mixture and grapefruit juice among glasses and top up with tonic water. It’s nice to serve with some chunks of watermelon in the glass.  This works well with a shot of vodka also…

Mulled wine

Posted on: October 21st, 2009 by admin 1 Comment

Although this cocktail does seem most suited to Canadian winters it is definitely enjoyable everywhere all year round. Best served hot, but don’t be afraid to drink it chilled in the warmer months also (apparently mulled wine sorbet is killer). Any evening will be bettered after a glass or three of mulled wine. Cheers to special guest Gio for sending us the recipe!

  • 2 short cinnamon sticks
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 3 black peppercorns
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 small orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle red wine (your favorite kind or merlot will be good)

First off, wrap the cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and cloves in a cheesecloth and tie them with elastic or twine. (Alternatively you can throw it all in to the pot and sieve it later).

Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a heavy pot, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, then add the spice bag, wine, vanilla bean and fruit. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally just for around 3 minutes.

Best served hot with a ginger snap.

May Cocktails

Posted on: May 2nd, 2009 by admin 1 Comment
  • Time for another special guest post from the wonderful NYCase.

I love a good afternoon



1-2 shots tequila
1/4 cup of blood orange juice
1/4 cup of lime juice
1tbs sugar or sugar syrup

The best part about making a Margarita, I think, is salt-frosting the glass. Run a lime or lemon wedge around the edge of a cocktail glass and then dip it onto a plate of salt. Margaritas can be made with a drink shaker, or a blender or some vigorous stirring of all the ingredients at once with ice. This is a very versatile drink, with many combinations possible. Try coconut and pineapple, strawberry and kiwi, pomegranate, any juice that takes your fancy. It is also perfect frozen, just blend the juice with crushed ice, or half freeze the juice first.

This drink tastes better than its name:

Sex on the beach

1 1/2 shot of vodka
1 shot peach schnapps
1/4 cup of pineapple juice
1/4 cup cranberry juice

Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain. Pour onto fresh crushed ice. Alternatively (if you don’t have fancy drink making equipment) try and make your own by covering a non-breakable cup with a plate to shake and strain. Or simply stir and serve over ice. Serve with a slice of peach or pineapple.


And of course, hic, enjoy!

More cocktails

Posted on: March 15th, 2009 by admin 6 Comments

Yes indeed, seeing as citrus are still in season most of the northern hemisphere, and are generally available year round down south. Here are some more delicious cocktails to try.

Blood Orange Collins

  • 30ml Tanqueray gin
  • 15ml Campari
  • 15ml Lemon juice
  • 15ml pink grapefruit juice
  • 15ml blood orange juice
  • 5ml sugar syrup
  • Soda water

Combine all ingredients minus the soda water in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and give it a quick rigorous shake. If using party ice be quick, otherwise it will dilute too quickly. If using home made solid ice cubes, you can give it a slightly longer shake. Strain the mix into a highball glass. Fill with ice and top with soda water or, schweppes ciata. Garnish with a cherry and a blood orange slice.

Sea Breeze

  • 45ml vodka
  • Cranberry juice
  • Fresh grapefruit juice

Pour vodka into a highball glass filled with ice. Three-quarters fill the glass with cranberry juice and top with fresh grapefruit juice. Garnish with a lime quarter.


  • 1 oz. Absolut Mandarin Vodka
  • 1 splash Cranberry Juice
  • 1 splash Lime Juice
  • 1 splash Triple Sec

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Pimms Winter Cup

  • 30ml Pimms
  • 20ml Johnnie Walker Red
  • Dry ginger ale
  • Squeeze fresh orange

Build over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a squeeze of fresh orange. A fresh winter warmer, Pimms served long with scotch and ginger ale is really a treat.

mmm Cocktails

Posted on: February 24th, 2009 by admin 1 Comment

Ok so the last cocktail recipe was more for winter warmth, the old Hot Toddy. So our resident cocktail expert, NYCase has given us some more gems for general enjoyment. Including the delicious Cuban highball, the Mojito, and our summer fav, the Craze. Get those citrus’ squeezed and join the party.

We’re using a traditional 1 oz shot. That’s 2 tablespoons if you don’t have a shot glass!!

The Craze

1 lime quartered
1 shot of Vodka (citrus flavored if desired)
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
1 cup ginger beer
sugar to taste

“Muddle” the lime in the bottom of the glass- this means releasing the juice by agitating the lime so an easy way is to squeeze before putting in the glass or pound with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin. Add the vodka, ginger beer, raspberries and sugar if desired and stir well. This drink can be modified by using a blender and squeezing the juice of the lime (not adding it whole) and adding ice in the summer for a fruity smoothy cocktail.

Also try making it pretty but running a lime wedge around the edge of the glass and coating it in sugar and slipping the lime wedge over the edge of the cup!


The Blushing Lady

1 shot Pomegranate Liqueur
2 shots Vodka
1 shot Pink Grapefruit Juice
Lemon Wedge
coarse sugar, for garnish

Rub a wedge of lemon around the rim of a martini glass and dip the glass into a plate of coarse sugar, same as for the Craze. Set it aside. Pour the remaining ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into the garnished martini glass. Pomegranate is such a great unique flavor, it goes really well with most citrus.


1 1/2 shots white rum
12 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lime
2 tbsp simple syrup (or 4 tsp. sugar)
top off with club soda

Muddle mint leaves and lime in tall glass. Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice; add rum and club soda; stir well. Garnish glass with lime wedge and sprigs of mint.

Note: Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a sauce pan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the solution. Generally, a ratio of two parts sugar to one part water is used.


Tot Hoddy

Posted on: February 7th, 2009 by admin 3 Comments

Time for the first special guest post! Today our resident cocktail expert NYCase is in the house……

There’s nothing quite like coming home after a long day and sitting down with a relaxing cold beer in hand. Unless it’s winter and you need to wear gloves to hold the beer. I prefer drinks that warm you up while you wind down. My favorite winter drink is a Hot Toddy.
There are many different ways to make a hot toddy but I found a simple no frills recipe that works for me:

  • 1 c apple Juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • 1 shot of whiskey, brandy or rum

Warm the apple juice, cinnamon stick and honey on the stovetop (to let the cinnamon steep. Alternatively you can microwave). This should only take about 4 minutes on medium heat. Pour into a mug and top with the liquor. Make sure to keep the cinnamon stick in the cup for extra flavor and stir. If the liquor is added before heating the alcohol will burn off and reduce its toasty effect!

Some other variations use lemon juice, tea, cloves, sugar, or apple cider so experiment with flavors to find a toddy that works for you. Think of it as a warm, sweet winter concoction that your grandmother might serve to keep the cold away.