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Spiked Split Pea Smoothie for Earth Day

Tuesday April 22, 2014

Kale smoothies have been everywhere lately and there are some great recipes like this Green Smoothie or Blueberry Kale Smoothie. However, I have another version that is even more adventurous, for adults only, and completely in the spirit of Earth Day.

American Harvest Spirit Spring Suite Cocktail

The drink is called Spring Suite and it comes from American Harvest, an organic spirit that is almost vodka and has a number of eco-friendly business practices. To that spirit, the recipe adds a little mint and lemon marmalade and juice, but it is the split pea puree that makes this cocktail a whole lot of fun and, honestly, not for everyone. You have to have a sense of flavor adventure to get beyond the fact that split peas are in your cocktail. If it were not for the sweet citrus of the marmalade and the perfect pairing of mint and split pea, this drink would not work, but the way it was designed is quite surprising. Get the recipe...

10 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Bar

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Savory Cocktail Winner: Smoke and Spice and Everything Nice

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Mezcal is the star of the latest winning recipe in the monthly cocktail contest. The theme for March was savory cocktails and today I get to announce that a spicy little drink called Smoke and Spice and Everything Nice is the winner. It was created by Diana Novak, who has recently written for Tasting Panel Magazine and works with craft spirits for Palm Bay International.

Smoke and Spice and Everything Nice

The drink is everything that its name implies. It has a great, complex flavor profile which makes it one of those drinks for people seeking a little adventure. Novak has chosen a nice reposado mezcal for the base and added cilantro, lime, agave nectar, and jalapeno. She then tops it off with Tabasco and ginger beer. The smoke of the mezcal and the crispness of the cilantro work surprisingly well with the hot peppers and the ginger beer is that magical touch that both contrasts and compliments everything to create a well balanced, shockingly good drink. Get the recipe...

My congrats and thanks to Diana!


A Spicy Campari Cocktail?

Monday April 7, 2014

One of the joys of exploring cocktails is to experience all of the unique flavors that are possible and today I have a very, very interesting one for you.

Jose Celebration of Citrus Cocktail

Campari... What do you think of when it comes to a Campari drink? Vermouth, clear soda, some fresh, light fruits, maybe some herbs, but what about a jalapeno pepper? It's true, it is the 'magical' ingredient that makes Brian Hawthorne's Celebration of Citrus cocktail stand out.

Now, before you judge, give this one a try (or at least think about it). The mix is one of Campari, sweet vermouth, orange and grapefruit juices, and a little sparkling wine to top things off. Before all of that, a single slice of  jalapeno is added and if you avoid the majority of the seeds, it is not very spicy at all. It adds a slight vegetal spice that simply finishes off the flavor combination quite interestingly, giving it a unique layer and creating an aperitif that is very pleasing.

You can also find this cocktail on the current menu of The Wayland in New York City.

Get the Celebration of Citrus recipe...

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Where's My Lime?

Friday April 4, 2014

Maybe you have noticed it... a higher priced (or no) lime Margarita, a lemon instead of lime garnish in your favorite drink, or fewer limes at the market. There is currently a lime shortage and it has bartenders and consumers scrounging to fill the gap or pay the price.

Cutting Lime Garnishes

The shortage comes from a number of damaging factors in Mexico's lime production, including weather, disease, and drug cartels. Mexico has fewer limes to sell so the price is going up and this is already effecting bars across the U.S. Some have stopped using limes or at least cut back on the size of garnishes, and some are just paying the higher price, which will impact the cost we pay for drinks. It has been an issue for a few weeks and is predicted to be a long-term problem, though how long is anyone's guess.

Camper English and Lou Bustamante have written in detail about it on Alcademics.com:

What can you do?

  • Skip Lime Cocktails - And that's a lot of drinks. Think about it, how many cocktails are you making that include lime juice? It is one of the most popular mixers because even in small amounts, it is often that finishing touch that marries the other ingredients with each other. Though there are many fine lime cocktails, there are many that do not use lime.
  • Substitute - We've been preaching "Fresh Juice, Fresh Juice, Fresh Juice" for so long that it's difficult to say... there is always that 'other' lime juice. Bottled lime juices leave a lot to be desired and often add far more to the mix than pure lime, but they are available and it's not immediately apparent that this shortage is going to effect the price. Another option (and you will have to experiment a lot) is to use lime liqueurs, syrups, or cordials. Some bartenders are looking to acid phosphates for a solution as well.
  • Wait It Out - As with most things, particularly agriculture, this is not permanent and will probably not last long. Pay the higher prices or skip the lime, either way this will pass and we'll be sipping fresh Margaritas as generously as before (maybe with a higher appreciation).

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