Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5 Drinks to Spring You Into Summer!

Hello world!  It's been ages since my last post.  I apologize.  I hope you've been cooking and eating wondrously since we last spoke.  My busy life has gotten the better of me lately, but I'm back and ready to share some more approachable, impressive and delicious recipes!

Since summer has just started, I thought a series of refreshing drink recipes would be a good way to enjoy the new season.  In my opinion, everyone should be armed with several go-to beverages for their summer parties.  These recipes are simple, easy to personalize and thirst-quenching.  Happy drinking!

5.  Basil Bloody Mary

Bloody Mary’s are a staple at any worthwhile brunch.  They are a classic that rarely get enough attention, let alone a makeover.  Now, I know everyone makes them differently.  In fact, I know people who throw Bloody Mary parties with a bar-ful of ingredients, flavors and accoutrements.  To me, the Bloody Mary should be simple, fresh and crisp.  To achieve this, I employ basil ice cubes.  New, unique and unexpected, this Basil Bloody Mary will make you reconsider any reservations about tomato juice.  

Basil Bloody Mary 

1 C. Tomato Juice (I prefer the spicy kind)
1 Basil Ice Cube (recipe follows)
½ T. Worcestershire Sauce
1 Shot of Vodka
Squeeze of lemon juice
Pepper, if desired
Basil, celery & lemon for garnish

In a blender, combine tomato juice, basil ice cube, Worcestershire and lemon juice.  Pulse to combine.  Add the shot of vodka and season to taste.  Pour into a tall glass and garnish with fresh basil, celery and lemon.  Enjoy.

Basil Ice Cubes

Unique.  Flavorful.  And yeah, a little badass.  Give these basil ice cubes a try.  They're perfect blended into tea or juice, as a surprising garnish in H2O or as the new chill factor for your vodka.

2 lbs. Basil leaves, cleaned

Place the cleaned basil leaves in a large bowl of cool water.  The water helps provide more juice than the basil leaves would give by themselves.

Put the basil through a juicer, a handful at a time.  I juice the basil twice because I find that not all the juice comes out the first time.  Add water along with the basil as needed.

Immediately pour the basil juice into ice cube trays and set in the freezer.  Check back later this week for new recipes and ideas for Basil Ice Cubes!

4.  Blue Basil Vodka

Continuing with my rant on basil ice cubes, here’s another drink that highlights their unusual crisp, fresh flavor.  I actually made this drink a year ago and it was a total flop.  I blended blueberries and basil in a food processor and then froze them.  The mixture didn’t come out of the ice trays and when you took a sip, you had to chew the small pieces of berries and herbs.  Needless to say, it was a disaster.  So, this new version has been perfected and it’s impressive, if I do say so myself.  Pair the basil ice cubes with premium vodka and fresh blueberry juice for a provocative summer-inspired beverage.

Blue Basil Vodka

3 oz. Blueberry Juice
1 oz. Vodka (I use Finlandia)
1 Basil Ice Cubes

Combine the blueberry juice and vodka (shaken, never stirred) and pour into a martini glass.  Gently add the basil ice cube on top.  As the basil cube begins to melt, the drink changes its flavor and color subtly.  

3.  White Chocolate Milk
In this mix of heavy hitting summer drinks, I felt that we needed some whimsy.  So, take a break from your overwhelming everyday and regress to a simpler time with a cool glass of white chocolate milk, littered with coffee ice cubes.  

4 t. white cocoa powder or melted white chocolate
2 C. Whole Milk
Coffee Ice Cubes (a pot of cooled coffee frozen in ice cube trays)

Fill a glass with coffee ice cubes.  In a measuring cup, stir the drinking chocolate into the whole milk.  Pour the chocolate milk on top of the coffee ice cubes and give it a stir.  Revel in sweet, delicious simplicity.

2.  Coconut Thai Iced Tea

Everyone loves Thai Iced Tea.  I’ve posted about it before and I’ll post about it again.  It’s such an exotic take on an afternoon tea (or latte, for that matter).  Why not take it to the next level?  Add some coconut to your next Thai iced tea for something truly remarkable.  Thanks to my friend Kye who gave me some fantastic suggestions on Thai tea leaves!

Coconut Thai Iced Tea

2 C. Water
1/4 C. Thai Tea leaves
1/4 C. Sugar
2 C. Half & Half
Coconut Milk Iced Cubes (frozen coconut milk in ice cube trays)

Tip:  Don’t let the leaves steep in hot water for more than a few minutes or your tea will be bitter.  Thanks, Kye!

Fill a tall glass with lots of coconut ice cubes.  Pour the cold Thai tea over the ice, almost all the way to the top.  Gently pour a splash of half and half on top and let it cloud down.  

1.  Raspberry Rosemary Blended Iced Tea

Last, but not least.  My dear Kateryna introduced me to an amazing Brazilian Iced Tea during our visit in New Hampshire earlier this spring.  I was hooked after the first sip I took and I felt so inspired by its unique flavors that I had to experiment with them at home.  This recipe is my spin on the outstanding concoction from Pao Cafe. My Blended Iced Tea with Rosemary and Raspberry is sweet, frothy and herbaceous and a brilliant new thirst-quenching delight.

Raspberry & Rosemary Blended Iced Tea

2 C. Hibiscus Tea, chilled
The juice of ½ a lemon
1/3 C. frozen raspberries
2-3 T. Rosemary Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

In a blender, combine the hibiscus tea, lemon juice, frozen raspberries and simple syrup.  Pour into a chilled glass and escape. 

Rosemary Simple Syrup

1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
5 Rosemary Sprigs, finely chopped

In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar and rosemary over medium heat.  Stir gently until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and cool.  Strain the mixture and discard the rosemary.  

1 comment:

  1. How many servings does the white chocolate milk recipe make?