Sunday, August 5, 2012
Sunday Recipe: Cocktail Hour
It's that lazy time of summer when we've all been too hot for too long. No longer motivated to go out and actually do things, most of the time, after a long, hot day, all I want is a drink. Those of you who know me know that I am generally a beer drinker, but these are two great refreshing vodka cocktails I have been enjoying (and serving to happy visitors) for the last couple of weeks. Naturally, you can use whatever vodka you like, but I like to keep things hyper-local, from the produce I buy to the beer I drink, so I've been using Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka -- made with locally grown potatoes, distilled and bottled right in Glenshaw.
The first drink, a spicy mango concoction, comes courtesy of Rob, a distiller at B&B. It is bubbly and fruity, but also has a serious bite, thanks to the ginger beer and the arbol chilis. It's a party in my mouth.
The second recipe is my own creation -- a Strawberry Mint Collins -- a good drink for your less intrepid guests -- smooth, fruity and light. The only caveat is that it takes some forethought to infuse the vodka several days in advance.
Both are delicious, refreshing and will loosen those knotted, angry muscles. I guarantee that you will crave them and I am already dreading the day, mid-winter, with strawberries and fresh mint but a dim memory, that I have one of these cravings.
Summer in the City Recipe:
1.5 parts vodka
.5 parts lime juice
.5 parts chili mango syrup (recipe below)
Shake all ingredients (except beer), strain over crushed ice. Top with ginger beer to taste. Garnish with lime wedge.
Strawberry Mint Collins Recipe:
1.5 parts mint infused vodka
.5 parts strawberry syrup (recipe below)
Muddle some fresh mint in the bottom of your glass. Separately, shake together the mint-infused vodka and strawberry syrup. Add ice to the muddle mint glass, pour strawberry-vodka mixture and top with seltzer to taste.
Mango-Chili Syrup Recipe:
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar (unrefined is preferable here)
7 pieces of dried mango (you can get this at a Mexican food market -- I picked mine up at La Reyna in the Strip)
3 to 7 dried arbol chilis (again, they sell these loose at La Reyna; use as many as you like in terms of heat -- my syrup was made for my palate, which is to say on the spicy end of things)
Add to a small pot, bring to a low boil. Let it boil for just a few minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool. When cool, strain (make sure to get all the pepper flakes and seeds).
Strawberry Syrup Recipe:
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar (again, the unrefined gives this a really nice flavor)
2 cups of ripe strawberries, cleaned and coarsely diced
Add to a small pot, bring to a low boil. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool; when cool, strain.
This one is easy. Either grab some fresh mint from your garden or get some from a local farmer. Put it in a ball jar. Fill the jar with vodka. Let it sit for four to six days. Remove the mint leaves and the vodka is ready to go.