frozen berry blast (no booze!)

as i am currently off alcohol for lent (which means that even martini nights remain booze-free!), and admittedly am quite enjoying it, i have discovered the pleasure of mixing nice cocktails without gin or vodka or whatever else makes you spin right round, baby, right round like a record … šŸ˜‰

this one is quite a berry overload, not too sweet and very more-ish:

FROZEN BERRY BLAST

elderberry

ingredients (for one):

  • a handful of mixed frozen berries (go with what you like, i used a mix of blueberries, red currants, blackberries, raspberries and very few strawberries)
  • juice of half a lime or lemon
  • 2-3 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 cl elderberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 10 cl fever-tree elderflower tonic water

in a smoothie-maker or high-powered blender, mix the frozen berries, the lime or lemon juice, the mint leaves, the elderberry juice and half of the tonic water (the berries should be thoroughly covered by liquid) and blend – you will end up with a half-frozen runny sorbet. if it is too thick, add some more liquid and blend again. fill into a cocktail glass and gently pour the the rest of the tonic water on top.

it is very fruity in taste but not sweet and the elderflower tonic adds a nice gentle bitterness to it. it is a great after-dinner treat and can easily replace a dessert, especially as the pips remaining add some texture to the drink!

as always, ingredients are not set in stone, if you can’t get elderflower tonic water use some other flowery tonic water. the elderberry juice is admittedly hard to get, and you can swap it for some other unsweetened berry juice or unsweetened pomegranate juice. don’t use red grape juice as it will be too sweet. the berry blast needs to have quite a fruity zing to it (you can even call it tart, but not harsh!) to really turn your tastebuds ecstatic…

back with a vengeance … and a martini

oh dear … it has been nearly 12 months since my last post. i am still alive but the last year was incredibly busy (both in a good and in a bad way) – but i must get back to sharing culture and tasty things šŸ™‚

as it is friday now, which means martini day, let’s start the new recipes with a

CUCUMBER AND ROSE MARTINI SLUSHY

cucumber-martini

as you can probably see in the back, i Ā acquired a smoothie maker … and apart from smoothies, it makes splendid cocktails too. here we go for the recipe:

  • 3 cl gin (best use hendrick’s for this, as it is already infused with cucumber and rose)
  • 0.5 cl dry vermouth
  • 0.5 cl rose water
  • a handful of diced cucumber (peel it before dicing), chilled
  • three ice cubes

add it all to a smothie maker or a high powered blender and whizz it well … it will come up deliciously frothy and flavoursome. like a liquidy sorbet!

i admit that rose water adds some perfumey floweryness to the drink, which i personally find enticing but some might find bothersome. if you don’t like floral notes that just skip the rose water and use more vermouth instead.

the taste of that cocktail is green and wonderfully cool on the palate, but with a heady fragrance. and what better to start a friday evening?

sip it and enjoy and fall in love!

 

a rosy gin and tonic to chill and enjoy

sometimes it is good to revisit old friends and spice up the friendship with something new. a gin and tonic is always a good and safe choice and something to play around with …

a rosy gin & tonic

g&t with rose

ingredients (for one cocktail):

2cl hendrick’s gin

4-6cl doctor polidori’s cucumber tonic

1-2tsp rose water

2-3 ice cubes

put the ice cubes in a martini glass (as it just looks prettier!), add the gin and the rose water and stir. pour over the tonic water and decorate with a slice of cucumber. drink. chill. perfection!

one absolutely and under all circumstances MUST use hendrick’s gin for this recipe, as it already has a subtleĀ aroma of rose and cucumber which will be magnified by the addition of the rose water (ensure that you use a natural, organic variety … and none that has added artificial rose flavouring – the difference in taste is immense!). the polidori’s cucumber tonic adds more earthiness of the cucumber and it all becomes a very rounded and rich taste on one’s palate – what more could one wish for in a cocktail? you’re welcome šŸ™‚

PS. i discovered the polidori tonic by pure chance – if you cannot find it near you, you can get the details of the distributor here. if you need to substitute the cucumber tonic, fever tree elderflower tonic would work, but it will make the result slightly sweeter and less clean in tasteĀ – if you use it then add a couple of Ā cucumber slices to the glass.

a little gem of blueish colour: aviation

the art of cocktail making comes in so many shapes, aromas and colours, which is a real pleasure not only to the tastebuds but also the eye! whenever you are feeling blue, why not go for a blueish pick-me-up. it is a classic and with a classic you can never go wrong!

aviation

aviation

ingredients:

2cl gin (tanqueray is a good choice here)

0.5cl lime juice

0.5cl maraschino liqueur

2 tsp creme de violette or violet liqueur (i used the bitter truth variety)

combine all in a cocktail shaker and shake withĀ ice – then strain into a martini glass. garnish with some lemon or lime zest or (as i did) with a frozen strawberry!

what i really like about the aviation is the complexity in taste. taken on its own, maraschino liqueur (which is made from marasca cherries) and violet liqueur are quite sweet but the gin and lime juice nicely balance the sweetness and you have a wonderful slighly perfumed aroma in your mouth with flowery and fruity overtones combining well with the tartness of the lime and the herbal touch of the gin. the ‘original’ recipe (but what is original nowadays?!) only asks for one tsp or barspoon of creme de violette, but i find the ‘perfume’ it adds so nice that i always use a bit more – don’t overdo it though as otherwise you might end up thinking you took a sip from grannie’s old perfume bottle instead šŸ™‚

 

marteani … a marriage of cocktail and tea (or the art of infusing gin with tea)!

valentine is over, hence it is the day after being sarcastic. i used the weekend to infuse my own flavoured gin, made from gin and tea. it is quick, fragrant and rich in taste. i actually made two different kinds (as i have heaps of different teas) and afterwards two different cocktails. cocktails first, the recipe for tea infused gin will follow at the very bottom:

earl grey marteani (with a hint of elderflower)

earl grey marteani

ingredients (for one):

5cl earl grey infused gin

2.5cl lime or lemon juice

2 cl elderflower syrup

add all liquids with iceĀ into a cocktail shaker and shake, shake, shake! strain into a martini glass and start sipping like a real gentleman (or lady) …

the elderflower syrup adds a to the heady floral taste from the bergamotte in the earl grey. should you detest elderflower than just substitute with simple syrup or agave nectar. overall it is a very nice blend of flavours and smells divine!

jasmine marteani

jasmineteani

ingredients (for one):

5cl jasmine tea infused gin

1-2cl vermouth with lime flavour (i used cinzano – if you cannot get vermouth that is slightly lime flavoured, then use regular vermouth bianco and add some lime zest)

with this recipe, i stayed much closer to the regular martini by using just gin and vermouth – hence the taste is cleaner and less fruity. add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake with ice vigorously, then strain into a martini glass. it will have some nice frothy foam on top and looks pretty.

the jasmine martini is headily floral in scent with a flowery but ever so slighly tartĀ note (from the green tea leavesĀ that areĀ used for jasmine tea), which i find very mouthwatering. i think this might become a new favourite of mine and will substitute for a regular martini quite often…

how to make tea infused gin?

it is ever so easy and done in under two hours! all you need is:

350ml* gin (use a regular dry gin that is clean in flavour)

4 tsp aromatic tea leaves (best to use oganic), i.e. earl grey, jasmine…

in a big jar or bottle with a wide top, mix the gin with the dry tea leaves and give it a slight swing around or stir. close the bottle and let the leaves macerate in the spirit for about 60 to 90 minutes (swing around once more during that time), then strain through a sieve. do not squeeze the tea leaves in the sieve, just let them drip off and then discard them. if you squeeze the leaves, your infused gin will turn very bitter as you will extract too much tannine from the tea! the colour of the infused gin will depend on the tea you used, a green tea will be lighter than a black tea (in the picture above you see how dark the earl grey infused gin is, it is the bottle to the left behind the glass).

as i am usually quite bold with flavours, taste the gin while infusing after about 30 minutes (it might have enough flavour by then, according to your tastebuds), as the infusion i made is on the strong side – for a lighter flavour, infuse the gin for a shorter period of time.

et voila, your infused gin is ready to be used in marteanis, g&ts or even pure! you can use any black or green tea you want for infusion, but i would go with teas that have a floral scent as this goes soo well with the herbiness of the gin.

 

*see what i did? as a regular bottle of gin has 700ml, you can get two differently infused gins from one bottle! šŸ™‚

physalis charleston – a ray of bright orange!

sunday is cocktailtime! and time to reinvent a ‘classic’, a charleston cocktail with a twist!

physalis charleston

charleston

ingredients (for one):

six frozen physalis (also known as cape gooseberry or tomatillo)

two tbsp peach liqueur

juice from one clementine

prosecco or cremant (chilled)

first of all, juice the clementine and fill into an icecube tray to freeze (juice should make about three cubes). put in the freezer, as well as the physalis (separately) to have allĀ frozen (will take a couple of hours).

once the physalis are frozen, blend them into a mash in a food processor with the two tbsp of peach liqueur. fill the puree into a cocktail glass (if you don’t like pips, then strain through a sieve beforehand).

meanwhile add the iced clementine juice as well and fill the glass with chilled prosecco or cremant. gently stir it all together (be careful not to be too vigorous … you don’t want it to go flat).

decorate with a fresh physalis and enjoy a cocktail that is as sunny in colour as it is wonderfully fruity in taste (without being too sweet!). makes a great welcome drink for a cocktail party with friends!!!

vatican for pleasure … or how even catholicism turns into a (vegan) cocktail!

as it is carnival season in the cologne area (don’t ask, if you were not born in the area you will not understand. i was not born in the area. i don’t understand and don’t really appreciate the why?!) the streets will this thursday be filled with dressed up people who mostly are drunk before noon. even though it does not get me festive, it gives me an excuse to become cocktaily again – though not before noon!

the vatican is a very colourful cocktail with only a couple of ingredients but lots of flavour. no idea where the name comes from, but the flavourĀ is good enough in itself: a bit sweet and a bit spicy. sounds strange? tastes splendid!

vatican

ingredients (for one cocktail):

4 frozen strawberries

4cl vodka

1cl fresh lime juice

dash of sugar syrup (optional, depending on how sweet the strawberries are)

pepper (freshly ground from the mill)

in a blender, mix all ingredients (apart from the pepper) together until you have a smooth liquid (it only takes a couple of seconds). transfer to a cocktail shaker and shake with a couple of ice cubes, then strain into a cocktail glass.

grind some pepper on top of it (if you like it really spicy, chili flakes are fine too). then sip it and enjoy the pepper giving it a slight tingling which really complements the sweetness of the strawberries!

personally, i would prefer this as an after-dinner drink as it is too sweet for an aperitif. the sweetness mainly coming from the strawberries, means it is headily fruity rather than sticky-sweet. plus it will make you happy.