OK, so I really wasn’t exaggerating when I told you last time that I have been grilling EVERYTHING lately.
Even my beverages. Oh yes, I went there, and it was a glorious thing….
Who wants a pretty cocktail?
Me! I do! I hope your hand is raised, too, because not only is today’s cocktail PRETTY and DELICIOUS, but it helped me through some nerve-wracking television as well. I’ll explain that in a bit.
Are you a lemon fan? I know I’ve said this a bunch of times already, but I SO AM. I love lemons. If it weren’t for my husband’s aversion, I’d have something lemon-flavored for every meal. Sweet, savory, and everything in between. If it has lemon in it, it’s usually good in my book. I can’t even tell you how many arguments over lemon we’ve had in my house. They usually go something like this: “Ew, there’s lemon in this.” “Yeah, duh, because it’s the best flavor in the universe.” “No, no, it isn’t.” “You’re dumb.” The end….
Today calls for a fancy cocktail.
Why? Because it’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway through the week. That deserves a celebration. And this gin fizz is definitely worthy of a celebration. It just makes sense.
Not only is it GORGEOUS (look at that color!), but it’s springy and super tasty. Ever since traveling to New Orleans for the Super Bowl a few years ago, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the old-timey gin fizz I had there. Somehow, I haven’t managed to attempt it at home until now. It was well worth the wait, but now I’m kicking myself for not doing it ages ago. This cocktail is heavenly.
Instead of doing a straight-up gin fizz, I wanted to infuse some spring flavor into the mix. The berries have been out of this world lately, so that seemed like a natural fit. The blackberry is such an underused berry, in my opinion. Strawberries and blueberries often steal the show, and I love them, but I’m giving the blackberry its time in the spotlight today.
Then, there’s thyme. It is one of my most favorite herbs. Especially in cocktails. It’s so light and lemony and herby…but not so much that your cocktail tastes like…lawn clippings. Know what I mean? It’s perfect for infusing into simple syrup to be used in your favorite boozy treat. It goes with just about every fruity flavor I can think of.
An authentic gin fizz calls for a raw egg white. This version sticks to that tradition. If you’re weird about using raw eggs, then just leave it out. You won’t get the fluffy white cloud of fizz on top (hence the name), but it will still taste great. Promise.
It’s light, slightly sweet, slightly tart, and herbacious in the best way possible. And let’s not forget the gin. I LOVE gin but opt for a lighter, less-piney brand (Hendrick’s is great). If you’re not a gin drinker (and I know a lot of people who despise it), you could swap it for vodka. Of course, it wouldn’t be a gin fizz anymore, but the flavors would work well with vodka too given its neutral taste.
This drink may have to make an appearance at the Mother’s Day brunch I’m hosting in a couple weeks. I mean, really….that COLOR. That FIZZ. It’s just damn elegant. And it sure is pretty.
Yield: 2 cocktails (with syrup left over)
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 cup fresh blackberries
½ cup gin
Juice of half a lemon
Juice of half a lime
1 egg white
Splash of half-and-half or heavy cream
3-5 tablespoons of the blackberry-thyme syrup (or to taste)
¼ cup cold seltzer water
Fresh blackberries, for garnish
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for a couple minutes and then remove from heat. Add the thyme and berries and allow to steep until cooled to room temperature. Remove the thyme and then pour the syrup and berries into a blender. Blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the seeds. Keep cold in an airtight container until ready to use.
Place the gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, half-and-half, and blackberry-thyme syrup into a large shaker (without ice). Shake vigorously for about a minute, then fill the shaker with ice, and continue to shake until everything is icy cold and frothy. Strain the mixture into two glasses. Pour the seltzer water into the shaker to pick up the foam leftover from the shaking. Spoon the resulting fizz on top of the glasses and garnish with fresh berries. Serve immediately.
Are you ready for the springiest of spring cocktails?
Wednesday calls for cocktails. And right now, I am DEMANDING spring. This cocktail is beyond necessary…and appropriate. This whole in-between-seasons stuff is getting on my last nerve. I either want it to be cold and snowy or warm and sunny. Things around here have been gray, gray, gray…with temperatures topping off in the 40s and 50s and still cooling down to the 20s! Not fun. I am dying to take the baby for a walk every day, and I feel like I can’t quite do that yet with this weather. We’ve squeezed a few in here and there on sunny days, but I’m still experiencing some heavy duty cabin fever.
Anyway. While I wait for spring to hit me full force, I’ll drown my seasonal sorrows in this amazingly refreshing, totally-seasonally-appropriate cocktail. It’s perfect for April Fools with it’s intense green color, too. Ya know, in case you want to tell someone you’re serving chilled slime for cocktail hour. Hopefully that didn’t just turn you off from trying this. Even I can admit that color is….well, I said it already and I’ll say it again: INTENSE. It’s good, though! Promise!
It’s been a few years since my first cucumber cocktail, and it seems that they are all the rage these days. Most menus include a cucumber variation of some kind, and I am usually tempted to order it. I adore the bright flavor of cucumber, and pairing it with vodka and a little sweetness makes it even better (really, though, ANYTHING would get a little better with some vodka and sweetness. Right?).
It all starts with some homemade cucumber-infused vodka, which is SO good on its own. I tasted it just because I was curious, and the cucumber freshness totally cuts down on the hard alcohol punch. It’s divine just shaken over ice. But I couldn’t leave well enough alone, and so I went ahead and made a fresh cucumber juice to shake up with the vodka. Fresh cucumber juice is really easy to make, and as long as you give yourself a little chilling time in the fridge, it makes marvelous cocktails. You could add it to all sorts of things: mojitos are the first thing that come to mind. Lemonade even…for a virgin mixer. Heck, if you love cucumbers as much as I do, you could even drink it plain over some crushed ice. This stuff is really wonderful. So fresh, so yummy, and packed with spring flavor and color.
Man. I brought up the color again. I should stop doing that.
Yield: 2 martinis (with extra vodka/juice left over)
1 (750-mL) bottle of plain vodka
1 large English cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 large English cucumber
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
Pinch of fine salt
1 cup of the cucumber juice
½ cup of the cucumber vodka
2 tablespoons melon-flavored vodka (optional – I used Van Gogh)
Juice of 1 lime
Sliced cucumber, for garnish
Place the cucumber in a large mason jar. Pour the vodka over top and seal the lid on the jar. Allow the vodka to sit at room temperature for at least 3 days and up to 2 weeks. Strain out the cucumbers and discard. Chill the vodka before using in drinks.
Chop the cucumbers into small pieces.
Place the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and then add in the chopped cucumber. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the cucumber is very tender. Allow to cool slightly.
Add the cucumber mixture to a blender and puree until completely smooth. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the pulp and transfer the liquid to a mason jar or other resealable container. Chill the juice until ready to use.
To a shaker filled with ice, add the vodkas, cucumber juice, and lime juice. Shake vigorously until well mixed and chilled. Pour into chilled martini glasses and garnish with sliced cucumber. Serve immediately!
Hi There. I'm Molly. I'm a food-obsessed, self-taught cook and I can't wait to share my passion for all things culinary with you. My love for egg yolks is just the tip of the iceberg! Read More…