Take A Sip of Summer
I wrote this cocktail round up for Valley Life Magazine, a regional publication, here in LA. I created or put my own twist on the recipes below, with the excpetion of the White Sapphire Ginger Martini, which is created by Bombay Sapphire's James Moreland. Since many of you "sipsters" live outside the LA area, I wanted to share these refreshing drinks with you!
Whether chilling out with a steamy novel, planning a sophisticated dinner party al-fresco or slapping some meat on the barbeque, the perfect accompaniments to summer’s favorite pastimes are only a sip away… Enhance longer days and lazy afternoons with these lip-licking libations..
Relax By the Pool:
Zen Green Tea Liqueur takes the “tea-ni” cocktail trend one step further by infusing the herby, unique flavor of green tea with alcohol. (Caution: This refreshing iced tea for grown ups puts yoga to shame!)
Zen Time Cooler
1 ounce Zen Green Tea liqueur
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce lemon juice
2 teaspoons, sugar
freshly-brewed green tea
Muddle 2 kumquats, sugar and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, Zen Green Tea Liqueur and vodka, then shake. Strain into tall glass filled with fresh ice (never serve a drink on used ice). Garnish with the third kumquat on a drink pick.
Whet Someone’s Appetite:
Bitter liqueurs (rather than sweet ones) and dry spirits are believed to open the appetite, and prepare the body for the nourishment to come. From Capri to Cannes, Campari is the quintessential summer ingredient for a Mediterranean “Aperitif.”
Invented in the 1800’s by Italian “Mixologist” Gaspare Campari, the aromatic bitter liqueur became a main ingredient in the Negroni, first concocted a hundred years later. Named for Count Camillo Negroni, a Florentine aristocrat, the classic Negroni is made with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. This version features a citrus twist:
1 1/2 ounces gin
1 ounce Campari
2 ounces freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
generous dash of blood orange bitters
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
Shake gin, Campari, juices and bitters, with ice. Strain into a rocks glass, filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist across the top of the glass.
Plan A Pairing:
A popular trend in restaurants (and homes) is pairing cocktails with food, rather than wine. Whereas one bottle of wine may not suit each person’s meal or preference, a mixed drink can be customized. (And, don’t we all love that kind of personalized attention!)
James Moreland, formerly a bartender at Manhattan’s infamous Town, is now the head Mixologist for Bombay Sapphire gin. “Perfect Pairings” are collaborations between Moreland and top chefs around the country, whereby specialized cocktails complement high-end cuisine. This White Sapphire Ginger Martini was created to accompany Personal Chef Tara Weaver’s ‘crab cake in sweet pepper and lime vinaigrette’ for a private party aboard a luxury train dining car, between San Diego and Los Angeles.
White Sapphire Ginger Martini (courtesy of James Moreland, Bombay Sapphire)
1 part Bombay Sapphire
Slither of Fresh Ginger
8 White Grapes
1/2 part Fresh Apple Juice
Muddle ginger and grapes at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add remaining ingredients, along with lots of ice. Shake, then strain into chilled martini glass.
A Little Bubbly:
Prior to St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, the only thing available to barkeepers was elderflower syrup. The fragile elderflowers bloom for a mere two weeks per year in the mountains above Provence, and distilling them proved to be challenging. According to Robert Cooper, a third generation spirits maker, it took three seasons before he perfected the recipe and method used to create this exquisite liqueur. The result is lightly floral and decadently bohemian, and presented in an art-deco style, Italian-made bottle. This creation is a nod to the sweet aroma of the south of France.
1 1/2 ounces St. Germain Elderflower liqueur
Pour elderflower liqueur into a chilled, sugar-rimmed champagne flute. Gently top with champagne. Garnish with lavender sprig across the rim of the glass. Breathe in Provence.
Party Like A Brazilian:
Named after one of Rio de Janeiro’s chic districts, Leblon Cachaça conveys the spirit of Brazil. With a slogan like “Live, Love, Leblon,” what else would you expect? This earthy cocktail sambas its way into any celebratory occasion, especially this time of year!
2 1/2 ounces Leblon Cachaça
2 ounces Acai juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
6-7 mint leaves, torn
1 teaspoon raw brown sugar
Muddle mint, lime juice and sugar, in cocktail shaker. Add Leblon Cachaça and acai juice, then shake with ice, and strain into Collins glass. Top with club soda.
Fire Up the Grill:
Nothing says “barbeque” like beer. This version of a south-of-the-border favorite is great with ribs and burgers, or the next day as the ultimate “pelo del perro,” or hair of the dog!
5 ounces pale Mexican beer
2 ounces Clamato juice
Dash each: Tabasco and Worcestershire sauces
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon
1 ounce tequila
Leafy sprig of Cilantro
Pour beer, juices and condiments into a tall, chilled beer mug. Garnish with cilantro.