In the Cocktail Hour

It’s not often I spend an entire afternoon playing with cocktails (and still remain sober enough to write a post about it), but that’s what I’ve done.  I assure you it’s all for a worthy cause.  A good friend of mine asked if I would be interested in testing out a few products she’s been trying to market. Free gadgets to play with in the kitchen?  I’m in!  Like a kid in a candy store I got to choose the style and color of each item to be tested.  The first item on the roster, a perky purple soda siphon.

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I’ve been obsessed lately with making my own flavored sodas so this was right up my alley.  The thing I noticed first about the soda siphon was that it seemed to keep the water carbonated longer than the soda maker I currently own. Once you inject the CO² cartridge into the ice cold water (this is the key to proper carbonation), you can dispense as much or as little soda as you want without releasing any of the gases and causing the rest of the soda to lose carbonation.  It’s perfect for topping off mixed drinks because the dispenser releases the soda with just enough pressure to force it into the drink, essentially “mixing” it.  Once I got the soda siphon set up, I went to town!

Putting the soda syphon through its paces was a great excuse for me to experiment with my latest Farmer’s Market find–cherry juice extract. It is weird that the first thing I thought of to do with this was to make cocktails??  I doubt it’s what the vendor had in mind…although, you never know.

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Intense in flavor, the syrupy consistency belies it’s tartness–a little goes a long way.

For my first cherry-themed cocktail, which I’m calling Into the (Cherry) Woods, I mixed the cherry juice extract with bourbon, amaretto, orange bitters, lemon juice and a little syrup simple (to offset the acidity), then topped it off with soda.  Almonds and cherries are a classic flavor combination, and the bourbon adds a smokey dark, almost woodsy note to the pairing.  Orange bitters ties all the components together.

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Into the (Cherry) Woods

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 1 oz. amaretto liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. cherry juice extract
  • 3-4 dashes orange bitters
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 3-4oz. chilled soda or seltzer water
  • mint for garnish

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes and shake vigorously to blend.  Strain mixture into a glass over ice, then top off with soda water and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Now you know I can’t pass up an opportunity to throw in a movie clip.

So to keep the Brit vibe going, my second offering is a yet another riff on the quintessentially English Pimm’s Cup, which I’m calling….wait for it…Cherriots of Fire!  Okay, Rina actually came up with this one.  Instead of just mixing together lemon-lime soda and Pimm’s No. 1, I’ve upped the flavor (and booze) factor by adding gin, cherry juice extract, and fresh lime syrup, topping off with soda water.  It’s as refreshing on a hot summer day as a brisk race along the water’s edge.

Cherriots of Fire

  • 1 oz. gin
  • 1 1/2 oz. Pimm’s No. 1
  • 1/2 oz. cherry juice extract
  • 1/2 oz. lime syrup*
  • 3 oz. chilled soda water
  • cucumber strips, mint, maraschino cherry for garnish

Combine the gin, Pimm’s, cherry juice extract and lime syrup in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes, then shake vigorously to blend.  Strain into a glass over ice, then top with soda.  Nestled cucumber strips along the inside of the glass, then garnish with mint sprig and cherry on top.

*for lime syrup, bring to a simmer 1/2 cup sugar with 1/2 water, then stir in the juice of 1 lime.  Cool completely before using.

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In honor of “National Tequila Day,” the next cocktail is a scintillating variation on the Tequila Sunrise, which I’m dubbing Tequila Sunset (Under the Cherry Moon).  Like how I managed to get two movie references in there?  I’ve used fresh-squeezed orange juice and substituted cherry juice extract for the grenadine, and added orange liqueur, lime juice, and agave syrup.  If you like your cocktail strong, leave out the soda water.  Either way, it’s a sexy cocktail…just like Prince.

Tequila Sunset (Under the Cherry Moon)

  • 4 oz. fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila reposado
  • 1/2 oz. orange liqueur (e.g. Triple Sec)
  • 1/2 oz. cherry juice extract
  • 1/2 oz. agave syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • chilled soda, optional
  • corkscrew of orange peel for garnish

Combine the orange juice, tequila, 3/4 of the cherry juice extract, agave, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes and shake vigorously to blend.  Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, then slowly pour in the remaining cherry juice extract.  Top off with a little soda water and garnish with orange peel.

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My second offering in honor of National Tequila Day, is a spin on the popular Silver Paloma, traditionally made with sliver tequila and grapefruit juice.  I’m calling my version a Ruby Paloma.  This time instead of cherry juice extract I used Campari, which is the ideal compliment to grapefruit.  Like the cherry, it gives the drink a deeper blush of pink, while the tequila reposado imparts complexity and intensity of flavor.  Finished with chilled soda, this is one cocktail you’ll want to have in your arsenal of summer drinks.

Ruby Paloma

  • 4 oz. fresh squeezed ruby grapefruit juice
  • 2 oz. tequila reposado
  • 1/2 oz. Campari
  • 1/2 oz. agave syrup
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 3-4oz. chilled soda
  • mint and lime slice for garnish

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 3-4 ice cubes and shake vigorously to blend.  Strain into a glass over ice and top off with soda.  Garnish with mint sprig and slice of lime.

Author: Puddingyrl

I'm a pastry chef (geek) whose appetite invariably exceeds the actual size of my stomach. Skinny jeans be damned! My innate curiosity usually leads to full-blown obsessions--culinary and otherwise--which is why you'll find me sticking my finger in the proverbial pudding...if not licking the whole damn bowl. Given my varied interests, I figured blogging is a good way for me to explore those ideas that are always nibbling at my brain. Along for the ride are two of my girlfriends who share some of my obsessions and have no problems diving headlong into that bowl of pudding. After all, it's more fun to share the calories!

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