Archive for the ‘Cocktails’ Category

Warwick Valley Winery’s Black Currant Cordial and Doc’s Hard Cider

March 13th, 2011

I attended the Whisky Classic in Morristown, NJ, hosted by the Whisky Guild. I am not sure how many styles of whisky were on hand for tasting, but I would not be overestimating if I guessed somewhere around 100. I tasted some truly spectacular whisky, bourbon, and rye, and am already looking forward to next year’s Whisky Classic. It is a very impressive event, and I encourage anyone to go to a tasting if there is one in your city.

Tucked into a tiny corner of this event, there were a smattering of things to sample that were not whisky. I was pleased to see the producer of Doc’s cider, Warwick Winery. I tend to lean toward cider that is extremely tart and dry, so Doc’s hard apple cider is a little too sweet for my taste. However, I am very fond of their hard pear cider. Jason Grizzanti, director of Warwick Winery, was pouring samples of cordials and liqueurs from their American Fruits Distillery. It was my introduction to this product line.

First was a delicious sweet pear liqueur, that was very much like drinking pear nectar, then a vibrant sour cherry cordial. But then there was my favorite, the black currant cordial. To me, there is something quaint about the word “cordial.” It makes me think of white-gloved ladies passing time sharing their latest news, or the snake-oil salesman’s potion that one would take a nip of now and then to relieve whatever ailment one might be suffering. The black current cordial is all that in a bottle; tart, herbacious and organic.

But Jason wasn’t done with me. “Taste this,” he said as he poured some hard apple cider into my glass of black currant cordial. “This” was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The sweetness of Doc’s cider is the perfect foil for the tartness of the cordial. It’s not as bubbly as sparkling wine, so there’s none of the nose-tickle. It is simple and straightforward and tastes of orchards and warm weather. This is what we’ll be sharing with our friends when we’re sitting on the deck this summer, passing time.

Spice & Ice Virtual Cocktail Party: Blackberry-Poblano Margarita

March 10th, 2010

Blackberry-Poblano Margarita

Kara, daaaahling, I’m so sorry I’m late. Yes, yes, I know the party started eons ago, but my dear Felix absolutely insisted I stop by the market to pick up some blackberries for my perfume. The scent drives him wild with passion, and you know I simply can not deny him anything. Oh, thank you, a margarita, what a wonderful idea. I am feeling a bit muddled from my trip.

Your book party is a smashing success, my dear! I haven’t seen so many well-dressed peppers in one place since my cotillion. Had I not been introduced to Felix then, I’d probably be living in sin with that dark, handsome Fiery Almond. Too bad he decided to take up with the Sparkling Ginger Daisy triplets. I understand they liven up a party, but they’re certainly no match for my voluptuousness, hmm? Oh look! There’s Rhubarb Cooler over in the corner. I haven’t seen her since last spring (I hear she might have had some work done), helloooo, dear! Oh, and Red Dawn, how are you, sweetheart! Simply love your dress! I am so glad you didn’t invite that Cosmo girl; she’s been an absolute pill since she had that show on cable.

What’s that? My poblanos? Oh, how kind of you to ask. They are turning into fine, strong little men, although they do have a temper. They take after their mother. I suppose that Latin spiciness runs in my side of the family.

It is just wonderful you decided to feature me in your book, daaahling, and with such a flattering photograph. I look nearly as sweet and luscious as I am in real life! At least I’m told so by several people I’ve given the book to. I think it’s the purple blouse; it sets off my eyes.

I’m sorry, but I must run. Now, now, don’t let me make you pucker like that. I would stay, but Felix has demanded a taste of tequila as soon as possible. Mine, in fact. Ha! Ha! Oh, Kara, how you blush. Tah, tah, daaaahling, and thank you for a wonderful time. I am so looking forward to your next party!

Blackberry-Poblano Margarita

Silver Patron, Cointreau, Fresh Blackberries, Poblano Pepper

by Kara Newman
From Spice & Ice: 60 Tongue-Tingling Cocktails, Chronicle Books, 2009

Yeild: 1 Drink

The luscious purple color of this drink is a stunner! Taste a berry first to check for sweetness. If it’s not supersweet, add a tablespoon of sugar when muddling the berries.

-1 tablespoon fresh blackberries
-1 tablespoon diced poblano peppers, or 1 1/2 tablespoons, if very mild
-1 ounce silver tequila
-3/4 ounce Cointreau

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries and poblano peppers. Shake with the tequila, Cointreau, and ice. Strain into a martini glass.

Note: If working with fresh blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, to avoid pulp or seeds in your glass, strain before serving. Blackberries not in season? Use frozen berries.

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The Blackberry-Poblano Margarita has a herbacious quality from the poblanos, and an earthy, almost tropical flair from the blackberries. This is an ideal summer evening party cocktail. It will knock your guests socks off, possibly literally. Between the spice and the tequila, it is not for the faint of heart.

Kara Newman, author of Spice & Ice: 60 Tongue-Tingling Coctails, is the generous host of this virtual cocktail party. Visit her site to see what others have shaken, stirred, muddled and mixed. I highly recommend her book of savory and sweet cocktails with a kick. It makes a unique gift, and is a wonderful addition to anyone’s library.