Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Cocktails

I've never been much of a cocktail drinker. I'll drink a gin and tonic on occasion as well as a bourbon and coke, but nothing too fancy.  This summer I decided to up my cocktail game and try to make something that was fresh from summers bounty.

The first thing I found was Bobby Flay's Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea. This was published in the Food Network Magazine, issue June, 2011.

Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea

Bobby Flay's Blackberry-Bourbon Iced Tea
Serves: 4 to 6

  • 3 cups fresh blackberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs for garnish
  • 6 good-quality black tea bags
  • Good quality Bourbon, to taste (Bobby likes Woodford Reserve)
  1. Combine the blackberries, sugar and chopped mint in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon; let sit while making the tea.
  2. While the blackberries are macerating, bring 1-1/2 quarts cold water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, add the tea bags and let steep for about 3 minutes. Remove the tea bags and pour the tea over the blackberry mixture. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour to let the flavors meld.
  3. Pour the mixture through a strainer into a pitcher, pressing on the solids. Cover and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. (You can also pour the mixture into a bowl set over an ice bath to cool it faster.)
  4. Serve the blackberry tea over ice in tall glasses and float a shot of bourbon on top of each. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs (like a mint julep).
This was pretty good. Although I didn't think you could taste much of the bourbon - perhaps a touch more would be appropriate here.

My next find comes from the series Mad Men. They did a link on Twitter for their favorite cocktails from the 1960's. I chose their Tom Collins.

Tom Collins 

1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar
1½ oz of gin
Lemon slices

Mix sugar, gin, and juice over ice in mixing glass. Stir, strain in cocktail glass with ice, and top off with soda water. Garnish with lemon slices.
This is basically a lemonade with gin. So light and refreshing. This is the kind of drink that can  sneak up on you so take your time and enjoy.

My last selection. a watermelon vodka slush came from that was submitted by Michael Allbright.

Watermelon Vodka Slush
Prep Time: 10 minutes     Ready IN: 4 hours & 20 minutes     Servings: 4

4 cups watermelon flesh, seeds removed
2 fluid ounces simple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup vodka
2 fluid ounces melon liqueur
4 twists lemon zest, garnish

In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Pour the pureed watermelon into empty ice cube trays and freeze for at least 4 hours. Also, freeze martini glasses.
In a blender combine the frozen watermelon cubes, simple syrup, lemon juice, vodka and melon liqueur; blend until smooth. Pour into 4 frozen martini glasses and garnish each with a lemon twist.

This was really fun to eat. Although I thought it was a bit bitter. I remedied this by tripling the simple syrup. I also substituted triple sec for the melon liqueur.

I have an ice cream freezer which attaches to my mixer.  I put the pureed watermelon and the rest of the ingredients into it, stirred it up and placed the whole thing in the freezer overnight. The next day I attached it to the mixer and blended it to a beautiful slush mixture. (The alcohol keeps the mixture from freezing solid.)

I also had no idea how to make a lemon zest for the garnish. YouTube came to my rescue with a video, and it turns out that I had the tool I needed for years in my kitchen tool drawer.

Life is good - enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Ooh these look so delicious! I love a Tom Collins. And love your watermelon slush glass. They all look so pretty out by the pool. I make a blackberry tea on occasion that I got from Southern Living - never had it with bourbon though! Sounds delicious. In 2009 I decided to learn more about cocktails in general so I ended up making 20+ throughout the year. The link is here The Tom Collins was one of my faves (along with the mojito, Bloody Mary, and tequila sunrise)