World Cucumber Day is June 14! Of course, I’m going to celebrate by putting cucumber in something boozy. And, as of late, frozen. (Because, Texas.)
I chose to work with Hendrick’s Gin for these recipes because the spirit already has a delightful cucumber note. (After macerating and distilling most of the botanicals with the alcohol, rose and cucumber essences are added.) And they get a kick out of cucumbers. They even have a cucumber blimp.
I wanted to try something a little different to add a peppery note to a Cucumber Collins (which is delicious, but not complex enough), so I added a little watercress. Watercress is incredibly inexpensive and also makes for a fun garnish.
Cucumber Watercress Collins
2oz Hendrick’s Gin
1oz fresh lime juice
0.75oz simple syrup
5 cucumber slices
Muddle lime, syrup, cucumbers, and about 10 watercress leaves in a cocktail tin. Add the gin and ice, then shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice, then top with club soda. Garnish with a small bunch of watercress leaves.
Special thanks to Feo Forte from Rapscallion for the help workshopping this cocktail!
As you may have noticed lately, I’ve been a little obsessed with alcoholic popsicles. I’ve gotten a little bit of a wild hair to add a kick to things that aren’t meant to be boozy. Go ahead … call me an anarchist.
Combine liquid ingredients and stir. Place a few slices of cucumber in each popsicle mold, then pour liquid over. Add sticks, then freeze overnight or for at least eight hours.
Not in the mood to make your own drinks? Stop into your favorite drinking establishment this evening and see if they’re offering a special cucumber drink to celebrate the day.
DALLASITES: There are quite a few local establishments that will be offering special Hendrick’s options to celebrate. Maybe I’ll see you there! (Visit District 30, Rapscallion, Dish, The Fairmount, Public School 214, The Standard Pour, Dragonfly at Hotel Zaza, Parliament, Bowen House, The Mitchell, Stock & Barrel, Boulevardier, and The Londoner locations in Colleyville and Addison for features and/or specials tonight!)
Now, a little on the Negroni: it’s a classic Italian cocktail that has been around since the early 1900s that is made with equal parts gin, Campari, and red vermouth with an orange peel garnish, served on the rocks. Campari is a bright red, bitter, Italian liqueur that gives this drink its unique flavor profile. The Negroni is considered an apéritif, which the Italians will sip before a meal to prepare their stomachs.
I know that we’ve all had a traditional Negroni or two this week, so to stir things up a little, I tried my hand at Strawberry Negroni Popsicles for a pool party yesterday! These pops are as easy to make as they could be and are a perfect way to cool down in this oppressive heat.
STRAWBERRY NEGRONI POPSICLES
1 1/2 lb strawberries, hulled
6 T turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
2.5 T Seersucker Gin
2.5 T Campari
2.5 T Sweet Vermouth
1 T Orange Flower Water
Combine hulled strawberries and sugar in a blender, let them sit for 10-20min, then blend until smooth. Add other ingredients and blend for another 20 seconds. Freeze in popsicle molds for at least 8 hours.
Grab your gaudy hat and seersucker suits, boys and girl, it’s time to get to the starting line for the Kentucky Derby!
The traditional drink of the Derby is, as we all know, the Mint Julep. Traditionally made with whiskey, sugar, mint, and a touch of water. the well known cocktail has been the feature of bars at Churchill Downs for nearly a century. No kidding, it’s said that they serve about 120,000 of them each year!
Not being one for tradition, I wanted to put a twist on the usual Mint Julep recipe. Luckily, Seersucker Southern Style Gin challenged me to come up with a cocktail that I’d serve at my Derby party using their brand new spirit, so I had a fun starting point and a unique spirit to work with.
To highlight the botanicals in Seersucker (citrus, coriander, juniper, mint), I paired it with a genever (the father spirit of gin) and ginger syrup. (So, really, this should be a called a “Gin Gin Gin Julep”!) The flavors play nicely together and make for a unique take on the well known recipe.
1 oz Seersucker Southern Gin
0.5 oz Bols genever
0.25 oz simple syrup
0.5 oz ginger syrup
~5 mint leaves
Top with Club soda
Garnish with a piece of candied ginger.
Seersucker itself is proud of its riff on the traditional julep, the Gin Julep. (They added citrus to bring out the botanicals and reserved the water.)
GIN JULEP (Recipe courtesy of Christopher Ware of Azar Family Brands)
2 oz Seersucker Southern Style Gin
0.25 oz of lime juice
0.25 oz of lemon juice
0.5 oz of simple syrup
~5 mint leaves + more to garnish
Combine gin, citrus juices, mint leaves, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker, then muddle mint lightly. Strain into a julep cup over crushed ice. Garnish with more mint.
Planning to attend Dîner en Blanc? If you didn’t attend last year, I can imagine the whole concept is incredibly exciting and romantic … with that nagging feeling of terror. “Did they really say we have to bring in a TABLE and CHAIRS?” Yes, you bring your entire party in our your back … and leave with it, for that matter.
You MUST take yourself and a guest, a square table (28-32″ wide), chairs, and a white tablecloth. (Keep in mind that not showing or breaking the rules could get you banned the following year. Tough.)
You MAY take food, drink, tableware, table decor, flowers, a garbage bag, etc.
You CANNOT take anything that’s not white (woof) or alcohol (major womp).
Apothic Wine is this and last year’s wine sponsor, so if you were preemptive and ordered your wine beforehand for pickup at check-in … bravo you. If not, sucks to suck because it’s not a BYO event bc of the grumpy old TABC. But fear not, DEB attendees, I have some options for you.
Option #1: Don’t forget your opaque “water” bottles. (It’s important to stay hydrated, right?) 🍷👉🏼🍼
Option #2: Get your friends together before for a few drinks. Last year we noshed on charcuterie and some snacks while throwing back a few before heading to the bus pickup. Establish a solid booze situation and food base so you’ll have less to carry. (And make sure to avoid anything that would be a problem for people wearing white. Duh.)
Here are the drinks that I’ll be making at my DEB Présoireé this year:
1.5 oz Patrón Silver
1 oz Elderflower liqueur
0.5 oz Local lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup
2 oz Sparkling wine (I’ll be using Moët, the official champagne of DEB!)
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker except the sparkling wine. Shake vigorously and strain into a champagne flute. Top off the cocktail with some sparkling wine and finish with a lemon twist while making sure to twist the lemon over the cocktail to release the oils.
Recipe and image courtesy of Patrón International
AGAINST THE GRAIN MARTINI (gluten-free martini)
3 parts Stoli® Gluten Free
Splash of Dry Vermouth
Garnish with an olive or cocktail onion
Shake or stir ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish.
LAST YEAR’S WINNING RECIPE:
THE INDIAN SUMMER
3 parts Hendricks Gin
1 part lemon juice
1 part St. Germain
Muddle grapes with other ingredients, then shake with ice until well chilled. Double strain into a chilled coupe.
I recently turned 30, and I wanted a little extra something to booze my guests up at the big celebration. My party was outside … in June … in Texas, so I thought that boozy popsicles would be ideal. And what better drink to freeze than a French 75.
Traditional French 75 cocktail was first documented in 1927, but an iteration of it was mentioned as early as 1867 (and by Charles Dickins!) and, once named, was named after a French field gun. The first recipes called for bubbly, sugar, citrus, and gin, but newer recipes have introduced cognac as an alternative.
I had to make sure the popsicles were easy to eat (since some of the guests would be wearing white), so I did a bit of research and found the perfect solution: Zipzicles! They’re the tubes you grew up with, but with a convenient zip closure … so no scissors are required and no melty stickiness on my guests’ hands.
The recipe was easy enough and filling the tubes only required a funnel. (And an extra set of hands made it MUCH easier.) It took about 12 hours for them so solidify completely, and since there was gin in them, it was a soft freeze.
Needless to say, these were a hit! I ended up making about 65 of them, and the only trouble was keeping them cold. (My suggestion would be to use an ice bucket (or galvanized bucket) filled with a layer of dry ice (on the bottom) and top it with regular ice.)
If you need suggestions for more boozy popsicles, check out a popsicle cocktail recipe book that I reviewed a few years back, Poptails!
I love supporting up-and-coming businesses and brands; especially when they are local, and especially when they have a truly awesome product. Ironroot Republic is a new craft spirits distillery, located right in our back yard, in Denison, TX. I had the opportunity to attend Ironroot Republic’s launch party last month, where I met the Likarish brothers, co-founds and distillers at Ironroot Republic, who were as friendly as they were interesting to chat with. Oh, and they brought us some really tasty booze to try. And plenty of it. (Gotta love that.)
Jonathan and Robert Likarish practice their art by employing a “grain to glass” philosophy. Ninety percent of the ingredients used in Ironroot Republic products are grown within 60 miles of the distillery. Take, for example, the lemongrass grown by Head Distiller Jonathan Likarish himself, or the coriander grown by the distillers’ MOM (I’m sorry, but how adorable is that?). Additionally, Ironroot mashes, ferments, distills, barrel ages, and bottles all of their product on-site.
Currently, the brothers are offering three diverse and exciting labels:
Blue Norther Vodka: created using a non-chill filtration process, and made from the finest hand-selected Texas grains; crisp citrus and caramel essence, followed by honey sweetness, and a rich, silky mouth-feel. Full-bodied with a long, vanilla finish. 80 proof; ABV 40%; suggested retail price $25
Carpenter’s Bluff Moonshine: Texas corn whiskey at its finest, made from rare heirloom red corn; hints of fresh honeydew, white peach, and dragon fruit, followed by lychee nut, dark berries, and a lingering sweetness. 90 proof; ABV 45%; suggested retail price $25
Texas Drought Gin: grain to glass, made from local juniper, European juniper, lemongrass, and coriander. The finish is long and sweet due to the caramel wheat malt base. 80 proof; ABV 40%; suggested retail price $25
I was treated to a number of delicious cocktails featuring the full lineup of Ironroot Republic spirits, and each and every one was delicious. The brothers were kind enough to share recipes with us, and I can assure you, they ALL bear recreating. Standouts in my opinion included the Martinez, which was delightfully complex, and the Mexican Martini, which was the crowd favorite of the evening.
Martinez 1.5 oz. Texas Drought Gin
1.5 oz. Sweet Vermouth
0.5 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (Seriously, just hunt down the Luxardo. Don’t even bother with cheap imitations.) 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.
Mexican Martini (pictured as featured image) 2 oz. Carpenter’s Bluff Moonshine
1 1/2 oz. Orange Liqueur (i.e. Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
2 oz. Margarita Mix
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1 Splash of Sprite
Jalapeno Stuffed Olives, for Garnish
Pour the Moonshine, orange liqueur, margarita mix, lime juice, and sprite in shaker. Fill will ice and shake. Pour into martini glass, and garnish with jalapeño stuffed olive.
The Iron Word 0.75 oz. Carpenter’s Bluff Moonshine
0.75 oz. Green Chartreuse
0.75 oz. Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur
0.75 oz. Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into chilled coupe glass.
Denison Donkey 1.5 oz. Blue Norther Vodka
4 oz. Ginger Beer
1/6 oz. Lime Juice
Combine vodka and ginger beer in a copper mug or highball glass filled with ice. Add lime juice, stir gently, and garnish with a lime slice.
One final thing you should know: the Likarish brothers have some really awesome stuff going on at the distillery, above and beyond what you would expect from your requisite Saturday afternoon tour. Yeah, they’ve got that, too, but here is a full lineup of all of the awesome goings on at the Denison distillery:
Friday evenings: the distillery bar is open from 5-9 PM; a tour is available at 6 PM.
Saturdays: the distillery bar is open from 2-9 PM; tours are available at 2, 4, and 6.
First weekend of every month: Bloody Mary bar with 20+ ways to dress it up. (personally, I am very excited to check this one out!)
Distillery tours cost $5; tours have a 20 person max. Your $5 ticket goes toward your purchase of Iroonroot Distillery swag!
A huge shout-out to the bartenders at Alamo Drafthouse Richardsonfor expertly preparing these tasty libations; I always forget how awesome the patio is here. I would go here just to drink, no movie attached. Seriously.
I recently attended an event highlighting Caledonia Spirits and have been intrigued by the brand since. Each of their spirits is crafted in small batches with Vermont honey. (And this honey is le-git! I was given a jar of raw honey to take home and taste and I don’t think I will be able to go back to honey as I knew it. This raw, unfiltered honey has never been heated so it has traces of pollen, propolis, and beeswax.
Barr Hill Gin (90 proof) is handcrafted in small batches. Raw honey is added just before bottling with a finishing taste of juniper berries. Barr Hill Gin has a gold medal and “Gin of the Year” at the 2013 Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition and it won the a double gold meal at the 2012 New York International Spirits Competition.
Tom Cat Barrel-Aged Gin (86 proof) is aged for four to six months in new, charred American White Oak barrels. It has whiskey-like notes of oak and spice with a finish of juniper and honey.
Barr Hill Vodka (80 proof) is handcrafted in small batches completely from raw honey. It has notes of honey, flowers, and vanilla and has a very smooth finish and was (way too) easy to drink.
Oh, and all three of these products are gluten-free and kosher … so that’s neat.
Beefeater recently began distributing its newest bottle of heaven in the United States – Dallas being only the 10th U.S. city in which it debuted. Previously, only the lucky travelers that ventured to Canada could snag bottles and bring them back to wave them under the jealous noses of those who didn’t make it up to the Great White North to get their own bottle. Sadly, I missed the launch party, but since I’m such a lucky little lady and people at Beefeater have heard of my little site, a bottle of the ambrosia arrived on my doorstep.
I couldn’t wait to unscrew the cap … but I did. But I only waited for my friendsand the proper mixers to come together so I wouldn’t be tempted to empty the bottle all by my lonesome. Soon enough, friends arrived and drinks were mixed. We made at least one of each of their signature 24 cocktails and I can’t think of a single one of which I wouldn’t want a few more.
The gin itself is quite tasty. They say it’s made with botanicals and teas, and by some of the brightest minds (read: biggest lushes) in the industry … but what I know it that is doesn’t make me shudder when I take a swig of a strongly-mixed G&T. It delivers hints of grapefruit with each sip and it’s de-lightful. Not a single complaint could be heard in Chez O the night we so diligently explored the intricacies of 24.
Since a bottle of 24 is only $28.99 for a 750 mL, it’s not a budget-breaker and will occupy the top shelf of my bar from now on. So grab a bottle for yourself and try out a recipe or two below for yourself. Guarantee … you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
St. Henderson’s 24 | Signature Cocktail Created by Scott Melton of Bar Celine, Dallas, TX
1 Part Beefeater 24™
½ Part Aperol
½ Part St. Germain
½ Part Lemon Juice
Shaken, topped with soda and served over ice with a lemon peel to garnish
Shifting Sands | Adapted from a recipe by Sasha Petraske of Milk & Honey, New York
1 & ½ Parts Beefeater 24™
1 & ½ Parts fresh grapefruit juice
¼ Part fresh lemon juice
2 Bar Spoons of Maraschino Liqueur
1 grapefruit wedge, as garnish
24 Martini | Created by Dan Warner
5 Parts Beefeater 24™
1 Part Lillet Blanc
2 Dashes of Regan’s Orange Bitters
Stirred and served up with a grapefruit twist.
Triple Citrus 24&T 2 Parts Beefeater 24™
1 Part Fever-Tree Tonic