Archive for June, 2008

Lemon Fresh

June 22, 2008

Um, you can tell its summer because I seem to be going out more and sipping lots of cool cocktails, which means I’m blogging a whole lot more too. If you’re also looking for ways to beat the heat, try sticking a bottle of limoncello in your freezer. You can make limoncello yourself or pickup a bottle at the liquor store (I prefer Caravella). It’s the perfect sip for balmy summer nights. At Bar Stuzzichini in the Flat Iron District, the bartenders are using it to make the Sgroppino, a fizzy martini made with prosecco, limoncello and sorbetto limone (lemon ice cream). Or, try this one:

Caravella Limontini
Courtesy of Caravella
1 oz. vanilla vodka
½ oz. Caravella Limoncello
1 1/2 oz. pomegranate juice
squeeze of lime

Place all ingredients into a martini shaker along with several cubes of ice. Shake vigorously, strain into a martini glass and serve immediately. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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Acai … it’s the new pomegranate

June 16, 2008

If you haven’t already heard about the benefits of drinking acai berry juice, just wait, you will soon. In New York, acai is gaining momentum as the new pomegranate, which means it won’t be too long before this superjuice makes its way to a grocery store near you. What makes acai so special? It’s a Brazilian (read: sexy) berry loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and lots of other beneficial nutrients (read: healthy). Like pomegranate juice, it was only a matter of time before this trendy fruit juice started showing up in martinis. I had my first acai berry martini last fall at an event promoting a Brazilian hairstylist’s new product line, HC Color. More recently, a friend introduced me to Mona Vie, an acai drink blended with 19 fruits including white grape, apricot, blueberry and more. And then, I found a sample of acai-blueberry Vincent Van Gogh Vodka in my liquor cabinet! Here are two superjuice martinis to try:

Brazilian Martini
Courtesy of Signature Cocktail Creations
1 1/2 oz. Mona Vie*
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 oz. white grape juice
Juice from 1/4 tangerine, plus a slice for garnish

Blueberry Creamcicle
Courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka
1 oz. Van Gogh Acai-Blueberry Vodka
1/2 oz. Licor 43
Splash blue curacao
Splash cream

*Want to try Mona Vie? To get more info, contact Kris & James at kris@monaviepa.com or james@monaviepa.com.

…and a bottle of rum

June 14, 2008

Being a cocktail connoisseur, I just had to hop aboard the ferry in Old San Juan and pay a visit to the Bacardi factory while I was in Puerto Rico. Ya know, Bacardi is one of those rums that, as Americans, I feel we take for granted…always choosing something more “Caribbean” over a States brand. But after my visit to Casa Bacardi, the largest of all the Bacardi factories in the world, I can officially say, there’s no place (or rum) like home. Along the tour — which is free — you’ll view a movie about the company’s history, browse through a gallery of original documents and photographs, and get to sniff various rums. (Hint: if you loose your sense of smell from too much sniffing, simply sniff the back of your hand and you’ll be good to go.) You’ll also get to see old-school Bacardi ads, like the ones shown here, and learn how to make a few rum cocktails. After the tour, and a requisite stop at the gift shop, you’ll get treated to two cocktails compliments of Bacardi! Here’s a recipe using my new favorite rum flavor: Bacardi Peach Red.

Bacardi Peach Red Mojito
1 part Bacardi Peach Red
3 parts club soda
12 mint leaves
½ peach
½ part sugar

Place mint leave, peach, and sugar in a glass and crush well with a pestle. Add Bacardi and top off with club soda. Stir well and garnish with sprigs of mint and a slice of peach.

Puerto Rico — aye yo!

June 8, 2008

Just got back from five days in Puerto Rico where my friend Kira and I were taking a little break so we could gear up for a busy summer (not to mention work on our tans — priorities, priorities). After kicking the weekend off with a champagne tasting at Country in New York (see previous post), we decided to continue our bubbly binge with Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Rosé, a surprisingly refreshing sparkling wine, which flowed freely at our hotel, the El San Juan Hotel & Casino. And of course, there were plenty of enticing, tropical cocktails to be sipped. Here are a few favorites:

1. Pina Caipirinha @ Koco in the El San Juan Hotel & Casino: a traditional caipirinha recipe (muddled lime wedges and sugar with Cachaca) topped off with a splash of pineapple juice
2. Lemongrass Kicker @ Dragonfly in Old San Juan: Absolut Vanil, fresh lemongrass, lime juice, and sugar
3. Red Caribbean @ The Blue Bar, El San Juan Hotel & Casino: Bacardi 151, vodka, Passoa, and pineapple juice

Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere

June 7, 2008

OK, so this post isn’t about martinis, but it is about my next favorite drink at the moment: champagne. Just last week I attended a champagne tasting at Country at The Carlton hotel in New York. This is fast becoming one of my favorite restaurants in the city — I love lighting and decor. The best part? The champagne lounge on the second level. Here’s one of their signature sips:

The International Cocktail
1/4 oz. Hennessy VSOP
Prosecco
1/8 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
Angostura Bitters-soaked sugar cube
Orange zest

Rinse champagne flute with Hennessey, then disregard the rest. Add a bitters soaked sugar cube to the glass followed by Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with orange zest.