Foraged Foods

I live in one of three UNESCO Geoparks in Canada.  Recently I started reading about foods that you can forage or pick that grow wild. One of the most common fruits found across Canada is the rose hip. This vitamin C packed, red seed-filled fruit has been used by ancient Chinese, Persians, Romans and Greeks. It can be used to make tea, jam, jelly, marmalade, soup (yup! The sweedish make a soup called nyponsoppa) or wine or mead. I love the jelly, but prefer making it into a cordial and then mixing into… you guessed it DRINKS!

Rose Hip Cordial 

This is a hybrid of online cordial and jelly recipes. It uses a double cook method to extract the most flavour from the pulp and a hint of lemon juice to brighten the flavour of the cordial syrup.

Ingredients
  • 1 kg rose hips (flowers & stem removed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 350 grams sugar
Directions

Remove the dried flower bit off the ends and wash the rose hips. Put into food processor and roughly chop the rose hips in batches and place in a large pot. Add 2 litres of water. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for around 15 minutes.

Strain through a double layer of muslin, letting the pulp sit for a good half hour so that all the juice passes through. Set liquid aside.

Put pulp back into the sauce pan and add 1.5 litres of water. Bring back to a boil then turn off heat and allow to infuse for 15 more minutes. Strain through a double layer of muslin again and let drip for half hour. Squeeze out remaining juice and discard pulp.

Return all the strained rose hip liquid to the pot, add lemon juice and boil rapidly until the liquid is reduced to 1 litre. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface, then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Pour the syrup into sterilized bottles, ready to serve. The cordial will keep for up to three months, stored in the fridge. 

So now what? Right? The syrup is too sweet to drink alone so while I could mix it with club soda, I wanted to make the beverage more elegant. Online there are many options for what to do with Rose Hip Cordial that involve alcohol, but what if I don’t want that buzz?

Sparkling Rose Hip Orange Iced Tea 

This recipe is adapted from Orange Rose Hip Iced Tea  and originally calls for dried rose hips steeped like a tea and then cooled and mixed with orange juice and ice. While the end product sounded refreshing – I wanted more of a cocktail and something with a little zing. So I though, why not adapt it to use the cordial and then cut the sweetness with club soda. The result – much nicer but mostly just tasted of orange juice. But you can decide for yourself if you wish to try my recipe adaptation.

Ingredients
  • 1 oz Rose Hip Cordial
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup club soda

Pour 1 oz Rose Hip Cordial over ice in a lowball (short) glass. Add orange juice and club soda to fill. Stir and serve with a slice of orange as garnish.

Rose Hip Cocktail (Virgin Version)

Skotlander Rum published a rum based cocktail using rosehip cordial and lime juice that looked interesting and can be found here rose hip cocktail recipe . I removed the rum and added club soda instead for a virgin version. I served this to my family and some of us found that the club soda cut too much of the sweetness out, so when I served it the next time I tried half clubsoda and half tonic water (as it has sugar in it) and found the resulting drink a bit less dry without loosing the sparkle.

Ingredients
  • 2 oz club soda (or half club soda & half tonic water)
  • 2 oz Rose Hip Cordial
  • 1/2  oz lime juice
  • Lots of ice

Fill lowball (short) glass with ice. Pour ingredients over ice and slowly stir. Serve with a rose leaf for garnish if desired. 

Best time to pick rose hips is after a frost. That was about 4 weeks ago for me up north, but for many of you it could be right now… Happy Foraging!

 

Sparkling Jam Punch

Last year during my canning blitz I decided to try creating one of my favourite drinks as a jam – I love raspberry lemonade so why wouldn’t raspberry lemon jam be awesome? Turns out that adding lemon rind and extra lemon juice to an already tangy raspberry jam makes it too sour for my family. Who knew?

This year I was experimenting with blueberry jam recipes in preparation for a class I was teaching on wild berry freezer jam. One of my first trials of jam turned out a bit on the sloppy side and, while tasty, was too runny for bread. Well, what to do with all this not quite great jam?

I could have tried to fix it. I could have put it on pancakes. But I am into drinks – and since making a favourite drink into jam didn’t turn out – why not make a jam into a drink? And it worked! I stirred a couple spoons full of blueberry jam into a large glass with ice and some club soda and BAM! Sparkling Blueberry Punch. Add a little lemon juice and it’s Sparkling Blueberry lemonade. My daughter went crazy for it, consumed all the sloppy jam in the fridge and started raiding the freezer for blueberry freezer jam.

So this fall I am going to see what other amazing beverages I can create using jam that was too tangy, too runny or has been sitting in my cupboard too long.

Let the experiments begin.

Virgin Mojito Review

A taste of sunshine in winter.

A taste of sunshine in winter.  Enjoy this brightly flavoured drink on winter days and think of sunny beaches.

Last February and we had the biggest snow fall of that winter. Snow was piled higher than my car in the front of the yard from all the snow blowers removing the snow from the roads, and while it’s all so pretty – there were days I dreamed of summer. This year our family headed south to the Dominican Republic for Christmas and my dreams of summer beaches became a reality.

Ah sandy beaches. Where one can sit enjoying the warmth of the sun rays and sip on a cool refreshing drink. Something exotic? Like a Mojito!

Last year we started trying ideas around a non-alcoholic Mojito option so the whole family could enjoy the taste of summer. We found that putting together a drink that is normally rum and club soda based was more challenging than we anticipated. According to food.com a Virgin Mojito simply uses the club soda or switches it out for ginger ale and hold the rum.

Does it work? Well… Sort of.

The resulting drink was approved by my two girls, but I found the flavour of the mint less noticeable than I expected. The drink ended up tasting mostly like a lime pop, slightly sweet and pretentious, but not something that says “Wow! This was worth the expensive fresh mint leaves I drove 2 hours out of town for!”

What to do to fix this… well the drink called for the mint muddled with lime and sugar before adding a simple syrup and ginger ale. So what if the mint was incorporated into the syrup? Or how about more mint mixed in? (The recipe called for 15 mint leaves – but hey why not double it!) Since I didn’t have anymore mint and wasn’t about to venture back out onto the highway for another 2 hour drive to get some we left it at that… what if?

Online, other recipes included apple juice (BBC and Wikihow), lemons or lemonade (Salisfood.com and  BBC), and lemon-lime soda was suggested instead of ginger ale or club soda (Wikihow and Salisfood.com). But all sites I found suggested that only 8-10 mint leaves was necessary. In our test, I found that ginger ale’s flavour did not work well in the drink as it competed with the mint and lime.  I would not recommend using it in further recipes. Again we were left with … what if?

So, this Christmas, I had the tropical drink experts make me up a virgin mojito (and a “leaded” one) and discovered the secret to a successful summer drink. MORE.

Yep. MORE mint, MORE lime and MORE sugar = MORE kick. Watching the bartender make up my order I noticed that they used chopped mint and muddled that into a sugary syrup then topped it up with something akin to lemonade. I found the tropical virgin version to be less lime tasting and have less kick than I expected but it had plenty of taste which my attempts at home had lacked. (The “leaded” version had plenty of kick due to the addition of rum).

It was time to test out my theory and make a High Octane Version. Loaded with fresh lime wedges, lime sweet and sour mix, and about 3 cups of chopped fresh mint, I headed over to our family New Year’s Eve party. “Who want’s a mojito?”

The result? Yummy! The drink matched the bright taste and kick of it’s adult brother and was enjoyed by teens and adults alike. When I left the party a few hours later my niece was sad to see me go – because the drinks were leaving with me. Success? I think so!

Virgin “High Octane” Mojito

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 lime wedges (1/4 lime)
  • 2 oz lime sweet and sour mix (see below)
  • ice
  • 4 oz 7-up (or lemon lime soda)
Procedure

Muddle chopped mint, lime wedges and sweet and sour mix in bottom of a cocktail shaker by crushing the limes to release the juices and pressing the mixture about 4-5 times onto the bottom of the shaker. Add ice and shake once or twice. Pour in 7-up, stir and pour contents into a tall glass (not all the mint will make it to the glass but that’s ok). Top with 7-up if needed, Garnish with a lime twist or mint sprig and serve.

My Thoughts

The 7-Up takes the place of lemonade in the tropical version but adds fizz and sweetness lacking in the original recipe tested using club soda. The addition of lime sweet and sour mix replaced the need for a simple syrup and sugar while maintaining the intensity of the lime taste.

Using chopped mint and fresh limes introduce a bitterness (Wikihow explains that tearing or bruising the mint releases chlorophyll which is bitter, and the lime rinds also have a bitter element). Many cocktails call for bitters to balance the sweetness and allow the drinks flavours to come through and this is the case here.

The chopped mint leaves give a stronger mint flavour, the fresh limes lend a sharp kick to the drink and the sweetness of the 7-up and sugary sweet and sour mix create exactly the taste needed for this drink to compete head on with it’s “leaded” brother. I did find I suck up a bit of chopped mint through my straw – so if you don’t like that – I would recommend straining the drink before serving.


Lime  Sweet & Sour Mix

This version uses only lime juice for it’s sour component. I used bottled lime juice for this as I was adding fresh limes into the final cocktail. While fresh lime juice is always nicer, however since this recipe is cooked it is not essential. This recipe is not as sour as a standard sweet and sour mix as the ratio of sugar to juice is higher.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup lime juice

Procedure:

Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan and allow to come to a gentle boil. Allow to simmer 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Cool and store until needed.


Kid-o-metre 5/5 Kids loved it.
Taste: 5/5  Nailed it!
Simplicity: 5/5 Simple and easy to make.
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Mint is not available locally and this recipe calls for a whole lot – I was able to purchase bunches like parsley at a decent price when passing through a larger town.

Valentine’s Mocktails Review

Four very different valentines cocktails to consider for your sweethearts. From left to right: Mexican Chocolate Mocktail, Sweet Apple, Brazilian Strawberry Limeade & Hibiscus

Four very different Valentines cocktails to consider serving  your sweethearts this year. From left to right: Mexican Chocolate Mocktail, Red  Apple Delight, Brazilian Strawberry Limeade & Hibiscus Mocktail.

When I think about some of my most special Valentine’s Day memories they are with family. Going back as far as my childhood, I remember special valentines breakfasts where my mom made a special meal complete with strawberries, fancy pancakes and a chocolate. Dinner often had a little treat for each of us kids, and a card from my parents to each other that once read created a sentimental look in their eyes that us kids at the time didn’t understand.

At the time for us kids, Valentines was about getting  (or not getting) cards at school, and about chocolate and candy hearts, then later as a teen about who would (or would not) dance with you at the Valentine’s dance. And now as a parent and wife, I have come full circle and Valentine’s Day is again about family, sharing a special meal with them and a sentimental card with my spouse.

So as a mocktail enthusiast – I wanted to share some special Valentine’s drinks this year as part of our Valentine’s Day celebrations. The web is full of great pink, red and chocolate Valentine’s Mocktail ideas so we decide to try a few this Valentines weekend.

2015-02-13-by-eye-for-detail-005Hibiscus Mocktini

At Christmas I treated myself to a couple of Herbal Blossom Teas by Epicure that I hoped to try out in mixed drinks. One in particular called Scarlet O included rose petals, hibiscus and elderflowers – three ingredients that are hard to find up north. I also picked up rose water and hibiscus water on my trip to Vancouver – and so this recipe by realsimple.com jumped out at me when I was surfing the web. You can find the full recipe here and my adaptation below. The recipe serves 6.

Ingredients:
Our Thoughts:

This is not a very sweet drink and resulted in mixed reviews from my family. The colour and presentation are fantastic and the drink has a very interesting flavour complex. But, my two girls found it needed additional sweetener and more ginger ale than the recommended amount, and even with a shot of grenadine and added ginger ale only one of the two (the youngest interestingly enough) finished her drink. All four of us found the drink tasted more like tea than a cocktail, and this drink rated the lowest for the majority of our family. Would it work for an adult party? Perhaps, with a twist of pineapple juice thrown in. I would also consider trying this with Dark Gingerale to see if the flavour blend works better. Having no Red Zinger in town though, I am not sure what a different Hibiscus Tea would do to the drink.

Kid-o-metre 1/5 Not enjoyed without adding extra sugar and pop, then only moderately.
Taste: 3/5  Very unique a flavour and for a sophisticated palate.
Simplicity: 5/5 Nothing hard in this from a mixologist perspective. Don’t even need a cocktail shaker!
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Red Zinger was not available, an alternative is thanks to a local home businesses – remaining ingredients easy to find.

2015-02-13-by-eye-for-detail-002Red Apple Delight

This recipe by SoberJulie looked like a elegant sparkling apple juice coloured by a touch of grenadine. I was intrigued by the addition of sweet lime juice suggested and decided to give it a try at our family Valentines dinner. You can find her recipe here. The basic ingredients are also below. This make 4 servings.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups apple juice
  • 3/4 cups sweet lime juice
  • 4 tsp grenadine syrup
  • 1/4 cup carbonated water
  • 1 cup crushed ice
Our Thoughts:

This drink reminded me too much of Sunripe Apple Lime blend – while the presentation was elegant the drink itself could have used more fizz than it called for. That begin said, my youngest chose this as her second favourite drink of the four we tried over the evening.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 Kids had mixed feelings about it. One didn’t finish her glass and said it was too lime tasting for her.
Taste: 2/5  Isn’t really special enough and too much like something out of a carton.
Simplicity: 5/5 Very easy to make. The garnish is a little tricky, but by the third one I had mastered it.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 All ingredients used to be easy to get locally, however my store has stopped carrying grenadine… sigh!

The next two recipes were from a list of 6 truly inspiring Valentines Mocktail ideas by One Good Thing by Jillee who had come up with amazing recipes including exotic ingredients like pomegranate juice, papaya nectar, blood orange juice as well as more common (but hard to find in my town) ingredients like white grape juice and colourful sorbets. I wish I could try all her ideas, but am settling on two – the first one using strawberries and lime and the last using chocolate.

2015-02-13-by-eye-for-detail-003Brazilian Strawberry Limeade

This recipe is similar to something I had thought of while considering how to incorporate strawberries and cream into a drink. Jillee uses a combination of simple syrup laced with lime, strawberry puree and sweetened condensed milk to create a pink tinted creamy mixture. You can find her recipe here and the ingredients you will need are listed below. This drink makes a full pitcher (about 2 litres) ready to serve to 8 to 10 guests depending on size of glass.

Ingredients:
  • 4 smooth, thin-skinned limes, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 6 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 pound strawberries, pureed
  • Ice
  • Light corn syrup (optional)
  • Red sugar (optional)
  • sliced strawberries and limes for garnish
Our Thoughts:

This drink rated in the top two for the majority of our family. The blend of fresh lime juice, strawberry puree and condensed milk is very sweet and natural tasting and I was amazed at how sweet the drink was considering that the sugar syrup is very light (1:6) and the only other sugar is in the condensed milk (6 tbsp in an entire batch).

I used fresh strawberries for this recipe (about 400 grams) and blended them with half the sugar syrup after blending (then straining) the limes with the other half. The original recipe calls for pureed berries – and having no pre-pureed strawberries I improvised. This may have mixed the drink more effectively – and also added more sweetness from the strawberries since they were almost liquified in the blender.

I would serve this at any Valentine’s Day party – and happily pay for this drink in a bar if it was available.

Kid-o-metre 4.5/5 Kids enjoyed it, but it was not the first choice for either, but both finished their glass!
Taste: 4.5/5  Fantastic! Truly worth the work and cost of ingredients and it’s a huge party sized batch.
Simplicity: 3/5 There is some time required to make this drink, and a blender is an absolute necessity. (Sorry Mom!)
Ingredient finding: 5/5 All ingredients for this were readily available at my local store in my little town.

Mexican Chocolate Mocktail

2015-02-13-by-eye-for-detail-004Chocolate is a must at Valentine’s Day as is cinnamon. Infact if I had to choose, I would pick the cinnamon hearts over a box of chocolate any day. So when I read the ingredients for this Mocktail on Jillee’s website, that she adapted from HGTV.com by adding a red sugared rim, I had to try the recipe out. I would have liked to adapt it slightly myself – by adding crushed cinnamon hearts instead of red coloured sugar – but cinnamon hearts are not available this year locally. The ingredients are below, and you can check out the links to see the full instructions.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup water
  • 
2 cups almond milk, chilled
  • 4 glasses
  • Light corn syrup (optional)
  • Red sugar (optional)
Our Thoughts:

Wow! I am not a huge chocolate milk fan, but the cinnamon, cocoa and almond milk make this drink an absolute dream. This drink rated equal to the last recipe in our home. The recipe makes a perfect four servings and there was not a drop left in any glass. I would still love to try this with crushed cinnamon hearts – sigh. Maybe next year!

Kid-o-metre 4.5/5 Kids chose this as first and second choice of the four drinks.
Taste: 4.5/5  Like I say… Wow! This does require almond milk – which isn’t cheap, but well worth the investment.
Simplicity: 5/5 This is very easy to make. Requires some time for cooling of the ingredients, but no special tools.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 All easily found locally.

I would love to create something new, and may spend a little time on Valentine’s Day coming up with my own creation, but while Valentine’s is about love – and I love mixology – it’s about relationships. So my goal for the day is to spend as much time with those I love as I can, being a mom and a wife and a friend.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Glacier Melt

Glacier Melt: a new name for a wicked drink - served over crushed ice for a wonderful new virgin flavour.

Glacier Melt: a new name for a wicked drink – served over crushed ice for a wonderful new virgin flavour.

In looking up drinks to try using the bitters that I had procured in my trip to Vancouver, BC, and while I was in still in holiday mode, I was cruising the internet looking at recipes and came across an drink made with orange juice, orange bitters and curacao along with both dry and sweet vermouth and gin. Being in full holiday mode and awaiting the arrival of Christmas, my brain translated the drink as Santa’s Whiskers – Curled and I thought, what a fun thing to try as a virgin make-over during the holiday!

Turns out I was experiencing a dyslexic moment, as the true name of the drink is Satan’s Whiskers – Curled. Oops.

Not to be daunted by misspelling, I gamely converted the drink into a virgin creation substituting curaçao for curaçao syrup which I had picked up (but is also simple enough to make with some orange rinds, simple syrup and blue food colouring), white grape juice for the dry vermouth and a blend of apple juice, lemon juice and water for the sweet vermouth. The idea for the substitution was based on cooking substitutions for alcohol which if you are interested you can find here.

The result was a fun blue drink, with a nice flavour complex and no name! Without the 2 oz of alcohol, the drink is not as “wicked” as the original and needed a name that fit the new flavour of the beverage.

Glacier Melt

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz juniper and lemon tea (see below)
  • 1 oz Apple Lemon Blend (see below)
  • 1 oz white grape juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz curaçao syrup (or for do it yourself check here)
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
Procedure:

Blend all ingredients in a mixer with ice and shake well. Strain into a old-fashioned glass and serve with a twist of orange. Or serve over shaved ice in a tall glass for an elegant and modern look.

My Thoughts:

This drink received positive reviews from young and old while we were on holidays. Everyone found the beverage tasty and commented on the nice blend of flavours. The addition of the Juniper tea enhances the drink flavour, however the cinnamon was the prevalent flavour and I may reduce the cinnamon by half or less (break the stick into a smaller bit). Depending on what tea you choose to use this drink will vary slightly in flavour.

This drink really relies on the blend of flavours, I tried it again later but didn’t have any white grape juice available, the mix didn’t have as much power and presence.

If you wish to keep this drink less complex, omit the tea. The drink will change in flavour only slightly, but who’s to know but you?

Kid-o-metre 5/5 This drink was enjoyed by my daughters and the adults.
Taste: 4.4/5  This drink can be made with or without the juniper tea, and either way it’s enjoyable.. just different.
Simplicity: 3/5 If you can find curaçao it is slightly easier, but making the juniper tea increases the difficulty of this drink.
Ingredient finding: 2/5 juniper berries, specialty tea and specialty syrups… all need to be shipped in or pick them up on a trip to a specialty store.


Gin Flavouring – Juniper Tea Recipe

To replace gin I wanted a infusion or tea that included a blend of flavours. Gin is normally predominantly juniper, but includes such botanicals as orange and lemon peel, cardamon, cinnamon, nutmeg, angelica and coriander among others. According to ginvodka.org there are usually from six to ten flavouring agents (or botanicals) in the gin making process. So for a replacement I chose a tea, and instead of a simple juniper berry tea I chose a tea from DavidsTea called Detox which has juniper, lemongrass, ginger in it’s flavour profile and added about 2 Tbsp juniper berries, cinnamon and a few cardamon pods to the mix.

Ingredients:

3 tsp juniper/lemongrass based tea (detox or other variety)
2 Tbps juniper berries (dried)
4 cardamon pods
1-1/2 cinnamon stick

Brew all ingredients for half hour in hot water, strain and cool. Store until needed.

Apple Lemon Blend

Knowing someone who knew the taste of vermouth is very helpful in making a replacement. The description of what to replace sweet vermouth from the website mentioned above include apple juice or a blend of lemon juice and water. I worked out a recipe that my taste tester says is very “vermouthy”.

Ingredients:

6 oz apple juice
2 oz water
1 oz fresh lemon juice

Blend ingredients and chill until needed.


I am a big fan of this virgin version of the drink and look forward to serving this to friends in the future. How does it compare to the original Satan’s Whiskers? Mild, very mild, I would guess.

Virgin Old Fashioned Part Three

Made with Diet Coke and sweetened with Agave, this drink is one of my top ten!

Made with Diet Coke and sweetened with Agave, this drink is one of my top ten!

Kola Old Fashioned

This recipe was found after some serious digging on MakeMeACocktail.com. The ingredients not your standard four as tequila replaces whiskey, chocolate bitters replaces orange bitters, and coke is added (just a splash) instead of the standard water. I was excited about this option – as tequila is actually fairly simple to replace with agave syrup.

I tested this recipe on my kids, my parents and a friend who wanted to join the tasting fun and in an effort to be scientific worked out the important of each ingredient by testing the mix starting with just Coke and bitters and then adding the agave syrup and finally orange to the mix. Interestingly, the agave syrup brings the chocolate taste to the forefront of the drink and lends some complexity to the flavour. This created a very nice “chocolate cola” but I wanted to push it one step further.

As citrus and chocolate are commonly blended flavours, I tried muddling in a mandarine orange (skin and pulp) and adding just a dash of orange bitters back to the mix to bring back the element of citrus so common in Old Fashioned Cocktails. The result was something I am proud of.

Ingredients:
  • 1 oz agave syrup
  • 1 oz water
  • 6 drop chocolate bitters
  • 1 drop orange bitters
  • 6 oz cola
  • 1 mandarine orange (cut in 8)
Procedure:

Muddle orange, syrup, bitters and water in cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake well to blend. Strain into two 6 oz glass full of ice and top cola. Stir and serve with a twist of orange as a garnish.

My Thoughts:

This drink is reminiscent of chocolate orange candy. The cola lends well to the two flavours without being lost in the mix, and the addition of the orange bitters, while seeming negligible, brings out the orange of the mandarine to blend without competing with the chocolate.

Not everyone like chocolate and orange together though – and the drinks without the addition of the muddled orange or orange bitters is also very tasty – just less sophisticated in my opinion. Other family and friends enjoyed both options, some preferred the chocolate alone with the coke and agave. Which to be honest is closer to the original concept of the Kola Old Fashioned.

What did the kids think? My daughter thinks this should be called the Kola Miracle since it converts a simple Coke into something… well magical.

Kid-o-metre 5/5 my kids love this, they finished off their testers and asked for more.
Taste: 5/5  unless you don’t like orange and chocolate together and then, well… you’ll disagree.
Simplicity: 4/5 muddler required.
Ingredient finding: 2/5 mandarines are sometime seasonal, and the syrups require special order or specialty store purchases.

Virgin Old Fashioned Part Two

Silver Mocktail - a pink tinted mild mannered drink

Silver Mocktail – a pink tinted mild mannered drink with hints of juniper and orange.

Silver Mocktail

Another recipe from the same site (found here), called for orange bitters, sugar, and a combination of dry vermouth and gin. Instead of citrus for the fruity taste, they ask for maraschino cherry liqueur. Vermouth can be replaced with white grape juice which is easy to find, and gin… well I had just brewed up a pot of juniper and lemongrass tea which I am hoping would make an appropriate replacement.

Ingredients:
  • 2 oz. Juniper/Lemongrass Tea (or other juniper citrus based tea)
  • 2 oz. White Grape Juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar Syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1 tsp. Maraschino Cherry Juice
  • 4 dash(es) Orange Bitters
Procedure:

Brew tea according to instructions. Strain & let cool. Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Serve garnished with a twist of lemon peel.

My Thoughts:

This drink is pleasant but lacks the kick and clean feel of a true Old Fashioned. The resulting flavour is very mild and … not dry enough? I think this has potential but needs some work. Back to the drawing board!

I tried this with a dash of Jamaican Ginger Beer (a carbonated beverage – non alcoholic) and this added a kick, but also changed the flavour complex from fruity to strong ginger/pepper bite. I may revisit this later… but there are other more interesting options for Old Fashioned Drinks to tell you about next!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 the kids enjoyed this, but didn’t ask for more, I agree…
Taste: 3/5  bland.
Simplicity: 4/5 One ingredient that takes some work, unless you have to make your own bitters.
Ingredient finding: 3/5 specialty tea and orange bitters are a “ship in” items