Up and Coming Cocktail: St. Germain

 

I am a mixologist of sorts. I really enjoy coming up with new and creative cocktails for dinner parties, or just to serve friends. Although I never partake myself (Not!), it’s fun  to come up with  tasty creations that people have never tried which will accentuate the food and atmosphere of the evening. By using some fresh and natural juices, you can really reduce the calorie impact of a cocktail without sacrificing the taste. And unfortunately, since the skinny jean doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon (tragic), saving calories is a good thing.

Enter St. Germaine. If you have never heard of it, you obviously haven’t been watching a lot of Bravo or Real Housewives. Not that I have, someone just told me about it. Or something like that…..Anyway, one day early in the summer I was perusing the aisles of my local Bev-Mo, when one of the gals came up to me and said, “Jessica, you have to try this stuff.” Is it weird that they know me by name there?  I am not sure, but so do the produce guys at Fry’s, and Jerry, the stocker, at Target. So whatever, it’s not like I am ONLY known in places that specialize in various types of alcohol.

The story behind St. Germain is pretty fascinating. It is handpicked in the old, artisanal way of the French. It is made from the Elderflower, which grows in the foothills of the Alps. There are 40 or 50 men in the world who pick the Elderflowers, put them in sacks, and ride them on bikes to the markets. In a matter of weeks, all the Elderflowers will be picked, thus all the St. Germain that will be available for the year, has been spoken for. The smell of it is intoxicating, almost as  you smell it, you can taste it. From the description on the bottle, St. Germain is “neither passion-fruit nor pear, nor grapefruit, nor lemon, but something of all of those.” And that’s a pretty good description if you ask me. The bottle isn’t the cheapest thing you will ever buy, but nothing really good ever is, right? And if you are using it as a mixer, it lasts quite a long time.

So here’s my latest creation. Let’s call it the Phoenix.

THE PHOENIX

one part St. Germaine

one part fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice (or all natural store bought, just not the Ruby Red stuff)

one part Pellegrino or other sparkling water

Splash of citron vodka or other lemon-lime based vodka

Fill a tumbler with ice and mix all ingredients well. Enjoy! You could even add some red food coloring and make this a fun Halloween drink.

Fun, Creative Cocktails for Warmer Weather

Boy, has it been a long, cold winter here in New England. As the warmer weather slowly begins to approach, I get excited. Not only can my three-year old daughter finally go outside to ride her bike and play on the swings without being bundled up in 3 layers of clothing but it also means using the grill more often and eating on the back deck. Even with a slight chill in the air at night, we love using the grill and feeling fresh air as we eat dinner outside.

The warmer weather also means more gatherings of friends and family on the deck. We love entertaining, having people over and being creative with food and drinks.  So as we approach the warmer weather holidays of Easter, Passover, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, I thought it would be the perfect time to share yummy, eye-appealing cocktails. If you prefer non-alcoholic drinks, I provide an alternative version too.

Peach SangriaPeach Sangria
Spring & Summer just wouldn’t be the same without Sangria, the fun, festive wine-based drink ever-present in the warm weather months. This is a different take on the recipe! 

  • 4 peaches
  • 2 tablespoons brown raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup peach brandy
  • 1 750 ml bottle of Prosecco (I prefer Ca’Furlan Prosecco), chilled
  • 1 cup peach nectar, chilled (preferably Goya)
  • Club soda, chilledCut peaches into wedges; put in the pitcher with sugar and brandy and let sit for at least an hour. Add Prosecco and peach nectar. Top with club soda just before serving. You can also add other fruit too. Serves 6.

Nonalcoholic version: If you prefer to still have a fun drink for a child’s birthday or brunch without the alcohol, then simply leave out the brandy ingredient and substitute the Prosecco with a nonalcoholic sparkling drink or water that’s peach flavored.

Mimosas
Mimosas are probably one of my favorite drinks – simply because I love bubbles (sparkling wine) and orange juice. Mimosas are classic and have been around forever. In addition to just sparkling wine and orange juice, I like to add in some orange liqueur. Mimosas are great anytime but also for brunch with quiche, souffle or toasted Italian bread with fresh orange marmalade.  

  • One (1) 750 ml bottle of very cold Sparkling wine (I like Grandial Brut because it’s dry yet inexpensive, $10.49)
  • 1 cup of cold orange juice (I prefer Simply Orange or freshly squeezed orange juice)
  • ½ cup of orange liqueur (Mathilde or Cointreau is preferable)

Mix all ingredients in a glass pitcher. Serve immediately into Champagne glasses! Serves 6.

Nonalcoholic version: Just combine a nonalcoholic sparkling wine and orange juice. Voila!

Blueberry Lemon Burst
 The flavors of blueberry and lemons together are like yin and yang. The sweetness of blueberries dovetails well with the tartness of the lemons. Enjoy this on a hot Spring day, whenever we get one!

In a pitcher, mix vodka and lemonade. Let chill in the refrigerator for about an hour. Put 3-4 blueberries (or more depending on your taste) in the bottom of each glass. Then pour the drink over top of the blueberries. Make 3-4 servings. Serve in a Martini glass.

Nonalcoholic version: Mix 8 ounces of blueberry or blueberry/pomegranate juice with just a couple ounces of lemonade. Add fresh blueberries. Or for a different twist reverse the amounts of the blueberry juice and lemonade.

Let me know what you think! Share your comments!

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