We went to some friends’ house for Easter dinner and they sprung for roasted lamb, so I decided to return the favor with cocktails. Our hostess said she had some homemade limoncello on hand and I wanted to work around that and the lamb.
After pondering what would be a good prelude to lamb, I remembered this tarragon vodka from Sub Rosa Spirits made right here in Portland. After perusing Sub Rosa’s website, I found the perfect drink: the Lemon Blossom. It has limoncello in it and I thought the herbal qualities of the vodka would be perfect. I found the original recipe by Sub Rosa to be a little too tart, so I decided to back off the fresh lemon juice by half and ended up with what I think is a nicely balanced cocktail. Our hosts didn’t complain either.
1 + 1/2 oz Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka
1 oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz Limoncello
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, elderflower liqueur, juice and Limoncello. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a 10 oz chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
I made this drink first at home with commercially available limoncello. It was good, but it was even better later with the homemade limoncello. If you want to go the extra mile, I suggest you make or get your hands on some of the homemade stuff. There’s a great blog post on cocktailnerd’s site with tasting notes about various limoncellos.
Also, if you want to find out where to buy Sub Rosa Tarragon vodka, visit their website for more information.
I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than drinking a terrible margarita at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant. All you are able to taste is premade sour mix and you wonder if there’s any tequila in there at all.
Well, you don’t have to suffer at home if you do one important thing—ditch the “margarita mix” and treat yourself to a REAL margarita. It’s surprisingly simple to make.
2 oz Sauza Hornitos Añejo Tequila
1/2 oz Harlequin Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz agave nectar
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the tequila, orange liqueur, juices and agave nectar. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Pour (without straining) into a 12 oz double old fashioned glass with a salted rim.
You can use either Reposado or Añejo tequila, but make sure it is 100% pure agave. Otherwise, you are only getting half tequila and fillers. On the other hand, don’t use ultra premium tequila either because you can’t tell much difference with the additional ingredients. Ultra premium tequilas are meant to be sipped straight. That’s why I like to use Sauza Hornitos or a similarly priced brand.
For those of you who don’t know, agave nectar is a sweetner and can be found in the grocery aisle (usually near the honey).
Being it’s St. Patrick’s day and this is a site devoted to cocktails, it seems fitting that there should be a post about it. In fact, this is the only holiday that is specifically designed around drinking (or at least this is what St. Patrick’s day has come to symbolize). You know, green beer and all of that.
So, if you’re just dying to make a libation in honor of St. Patrick, I will direct you to an interesting cocktail recipe on Imbibe’s site: the Tipperary. Naturally, it features Irish Whiskey but the addition of green Chartreuse makes this one to try. And, of course it’s festive because of the green Chartreuse. I offer a slightly adapted recipe here for convenience:
2 oz John Power & Son Irish whiskey
3/4 oz. sweet vermouth
1/2 oz. green Chartreuse
Fill a mixing glass halfway with ice. Add the whiskey, vermouth and green Chartreuse. Gently stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Chartreuse is a really amazing spirit—it’s made from 130 plants which have been distilled and blended into a liqueur. It’s also naturally green due to the ingredients. And, it’s made by French Carthusian monks, with the still secret recipe passed down for some 273 years. They made it because they needed the money to help perpetuate their order and dedicate their lives to prayer and meditation. You can read the full history on the Chartreuse website while you’re sipping your Tipperary.
There are a lot of choices about which cocktail to post first, but I decided to choose one I made recently: the Blood Orange Cocktail. This is a great winter cocktail since blood oranges are in season. And yes, you must use FRESH blood oranges—not the bottled juice. Please read the About Viva la Cocktail page so you understand my thoughts on this. It’s a little more work, but you’ll enjoy your drinks more.
This cocktail is a little tart based on the recipe below, but I think the balance is just right. You can always add a little more simple syrup if you like your drinks a little sweeter.
Fill a shaker with ice. Add the vodka, Cointreau, juices and simple syrup. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Strain into a 10 oz chilled martini glass and garnish with a quarter slice of blood orange.
If you are making this drink for a group, it is a good idea to juice your oranges ahead of time and store it in the fridge. I use a Cuisinart electric juicer which saves a lot of hand work.