Thursday, November 29, 2012

Boozy Berries

Boozy Cranberries covered in sugar and drying out a bit.

I haven’t decorated for the holidays yet, but I’m ready to decorate my drinks with boozy cranberries.

Here’s how I made them:

You’ll need:
1 package cranberries
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1/3 cup Triple Sec (Grand Marnier or Contreau if you’re rich)
Dusting sugar

Rinse cranberries. Heat sugar and water until just boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Triple Sec. Stir in cranberries. Let this mixture sit overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Drain the cranberries. I saved the pinkish sugar water to use to use as simple syrup. Place the cranberries on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with the dusting sugar. Dusting sugar is not powdered sugar—it’s a fine sugar that sticks well to the cranberries. My dusting sugar is tinted pink ‘cause I’m fancy like that. Let the covered cranberries dry for at least an hour before putting them in a container. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Longest Night

Because it is the longest night and because I believe in the old adage feed a fever, get a cold drunk, tonight I'm drinking hot buttered rum.

I make this by the glass. Put one tablespoon butter, one tablespoon brown sugar and the juice of half a lemon in a mug. Add 2 ounces of dark rum--I use Meyers. Fill the glass with boiling water.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ginger Deer

Today I made homemade ginger beer and served it in a reindeer glass. During one minute of exhaustive internet research I learned that currently there is no difference between ginger ale and ginger beer. Both are non-alcoholic soft drinks made with a combination of ginger, sugar and club soda. I wanted something to drink out of my reindeer glasses, so because beer rhymes with deer, I'm calling my version ginger beer.

Just an aside to say one of my favorite things about Christmas is drinking out of my reindeer glasses. Aren't they great?

This is how I made ginger beer syrup:
  • I took a six inch long piece of ginger and washed it off.
  • I ran it through my juicer.
  • I added the juice and all the shredded ginger left in the juicer's waste bin to two cups of boiling water.
  • I added a half cup of blue agave syrup to the mix.
  • I let it simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring often.
  • I strained it into a cute little bottle.
This is how you should make it:
  • Chop ginger up in a food processor if you don't have a juicer. Or just chop it up if you don't have either.
  • Add chopped ginger to two cups of boiling water.
  • Add one cup of sugar to the mix. What was I thinking using agave syrup? Agave syrup is for health nut pussies. It also gave my ginger beer syrup a kind of malty taste. I don't mind it, but sugar would be better.
  • Let it simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. I'm impatient and could only hold out for 10 minutes.
  • Strain it into whatever container you can find. You may not have the foresight to save old bottles like I did.
For the drink pictured:
  • Add one tablespoon of ginger beer syrup to a reindeer glass full of ice. You can use other glasses, but it won't taste as Christmasy.
  • Add club soda, or sparkling water to fill the glass. I used San Pellegrino.
  • Taste and add more soda or syrup until you're happy with it.
Drink up. Ginger is good for you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Salty Dog

I’m inspired by my friends. They are talented and witty and going places. Trying to keep up with them instead of--I'll just admit it--being jealous of them, drives me to drink.

My most recent inspiration came from @sewzinski. Not only is she an incredible artist (check out her shop on Etsy), now she’s trying to get all healthy. When she mentioned how she was eating grapefruit to infuse her body with grapefruity goodness, I was inspired to make a Salty Dog.

Here’s a little lesson on the Salty Dog:

Vodka mixed with grapefruit juice is known as a Greyhound. I don’t know why. If you add salt to the rim of the glass, the Greyhound becomes a Salty Dog. When I really want to annoy the bartender at The Filling Station (bar in Des Moines with fresh squeezed juice drinks), I order a Screwhound. A Screwhound is vodka, orange juice, and grapefruit juice.

I made the Salty Dog pictured by juicing two ruby red grapefruit and adding some Tito’s vodka. I mixed salt and pink sanding sugar to rim the glass. I garnished with a zest of grapefruit. I feel healthier just drinking it.

Warning: I’ve read that grapefruit has some interaction with anti-depressants and makes it so they don’t work. But who needs anti-depressants when you have grapefruit juice and vodka?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I have found my drink for fall. I stole it directly from Shar on The Spirit. Normally I use drink recipes as a jumping off point. I assume I know what I will like better than the mixologists or whatever they call themselves. I usually change the name of the cocktail because, again, I know better.

But when I read about the Soothsayer, a drink with bourbon, maple syrup, lemon, sage and St. Elizabeth's All Spice Dram, I couldn't think of a thing I wanted to change. Well, except this called for Basil Hayden Bourbon, which sounds great, but I didn't have a bottle on hand. I substituted with Templeton Rye.

Oddly enough, I did have a bottle of St. Elizabeth's All Spice Dram. I saw it at the liquor store and thought, "I like spices; I like the word 'dram'; I like being frivolous with my limited funds." And so it was mine.

Soothsayer means prognosticator. You probably already knew that--I didn't. Soothsayer sounds soothing and mystical--both qualities of this drink. Prognosticator sounds like something you'd have to take your pants off for at the doctor's office. So, the name Soothsayer stays. I foresee a lot more of these in my future.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Boozy Banana Bread

I find myself in a wonderful temporary situation where I have been laid off, but because of a severance package I'm getting paid until sometime in late spring. I'd go into more detail, but I fear angering the corporate gods and losing this windfall.

So now is the time I should be doing all sorts of things I've always wanted to do if only I didn't have to work. I'd like to bake. I'd like to drink in the mornings. I'd like to visit friends for "coffee."

This morning's Boozy Banana Bread project will allow me to do all three of those things. This Roast Banana-Pumpkin Breakfast Bread recipe from 101 Cookbooks has always been my favorite banana bread recipe. Probably because of the rum raisins. You can go to her site for the recipe, but I have a few thoughts after the ingredient picture on how to make this Glass Half Full style:

Let's start with the bananas: Banana bread is a perfect recipe for people like me because it makes use of bananas that are past their prime. Letting the bananas get overly ripe is actually a good thing for banana bread. I had four bananas and the other two are going in the freezer for when I make this bread again. It's really gross how black they turn in the freezer, but it makes good banana bread. It also means you can have the ingredients on hand so you can make this on days you don't want to leave the house. Now that I don't have to work, I find I can go days without leaving the house.

Coconut Milk: Not much to say about this except when you open the can you'll find some thick white stuff and some watery stuff in there. I try to get a mixture of both in my half cup.

Pumpkin Seeds: I have made this without pumpkin seeds and it tasted pretty much the same. I had pumpkin seeds on hand, so I used them. I toasted them in the toaster oven for two minutes while the bananas were baking.

Raisins: The recipe calls for golden raisins. I'm sure brown would work, but it might look like you have little black things floating around in your bread. The golden raisins look really pretty in the finished product. And you're going to all this trouble, so do it right.

Rum: This being a blog dedicated to drinking, I have a lot to say about the rum. I use Myers's Original Dark Rum for all my rum baking needs. I also like to drink it with tonic water and lime on hot days, but that's a post for another time. This recipe tells you to boil the raisins in a half cup of rum and then let them soak for an hour. I usually use a little more rum. I'm always tempted to cut the soaking time short, but I don't do it because an hour is about how long it takes for the raisins to soak up all that rum. It also smells really good.

The recipe says to discard the rum that's left when you strain the raisins--not going to happen. I drink that rum or save it to pour over my bread if I accidently over cook it. Sometimes the day after I've made this bread, I'll use the leftover bread and make French toast with it. The leftover rum works well mixed in with the maple syrup. Have I made my point yet? Don't pour out the raisin rum.

The picture below shows my finished product. One to take to a friend and one to use for French toast tomorrow.

Before I go I'd like to say a little bit about the fact that this friend has children and I'm heading over there with rum-loaded banana bread. What if the children ask for a piece of the banana bread? You could reason that there probably isn't any alcohol left in the raisins because they were boiled and baked. Being a little tipsy from drinking my leftover raisin-soaked rum, I tend to disagree.

I like children to like me. Therefore, I don't want to be known as "Mommy's creepy friend who smells funny and tries to make me eat icky fruit bread." I'm stopping at a shop on the way over and picking them up some candy bars.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

During the holiday season I like to drink Southern Comfort Punch. It is actually called "Holiday Punch" in the Southern Comfort pamphlet I have from 1974 (real date of pamphlet may not be 1974, but it has a 1974 feel to it and me and my family have been drinking this for a long time, so you get the idea).

I made it at least three times in December for various events I held in my home. Some of those events were as simple as me decorating the Christmas tree. My family drank it on Christmas Eve, like we do every year. I think drinking this mixture at other times of the year would ruin the special holiday magic it holds for me.

So, since the new year is fast approaching, get started mixing up your batch now or wait until after Thanksgiving 2011. Directions after ingredient picture below:

  1. Get punch bowl.
  2. Add one container of frozen orange juice (any brand will do). It can still be slightly frozen because I think that makes the punch colder and it will thaw eventually.
  3. Add one container of Minute Maid Limeade. I always use Minute Maid Limeade because it just tastes better.
  4. Add some Cranberry Juice Cocktail--classic Ocean Spray works best. Don't use real cranberry juice. This is no time to try to be healthy. I like the punch to have a pinkish orange color, so I add enough cranberry juice to achieve that look.
  5. Add Southern Comfort. Use your judgement here. No matter how much you add, it will pretty much taste the same. So you decide how drunk you want people to end up and how much of your precious alcohol you want to use. Southern Comfort is relatively cheap and I like people to have a good time, so I add a lot.
  6. Add a bunch of ice or an ice ring. You've made this pretty strong and the juices are pretty sweet, so it can handle a lot of melting ice without losing any of the flavor.
  7. Add a can or two of 7-Up before serving. The fizz makes it good, that's why I add it as close to guest arrival time as possible.
They say what you are doing on the first day of the new year will pretty much predict how that year will go for you. So what better symbolism for the year to come than the abundance of a bowl of punch shared with people you love. Wishing you joy and abundance in 2011!