Cocktail of the Week: Blueberry Basil Margarita

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blueberry basil margarita

Cocktail of the Week: Blueberry Basil Margarita

A seasonal twist on my favorite Margarita! This sweet and savory Margarita is the best of summer flavors. Be sure to take advantage of what’s growing in your yard and available at the local farmer’s markets when entertaining any time of year.

(Makes 2)
3oz Cabo Wabo Reposado or your favorite reposado tequila
1.5 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 cup Fresh Blueberries
5-6 Basil Leaves
3oz Fresh Lemon Juice
3oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Agave Syrup
2 Lime Wheels, a few more Blueberries and sprigs of Basil for garnish

Blueberries, Basil Leaves, Fresh Lemon and Lime Juice in a cocktail shaker and muddle the berries and basil until the berries are broken down and the liquid looks purplish pink. Add the Agave Syrup, Tequila and Grand Marnier and a few ice cubes, cover and shake well. Strain as you pour into to glasses. Serve over ice or straight up. You can adjust the sweetness by carefully adding more or Agave Syrup but with very sweet berries you may need to use even less. Sip and enjoy!

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Cocktail of the Week: Spiked, Rosemary, Peach Lemonade

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Spiked, Rosemary, Peach Leomonade

Cocktail of the Week: Spiked, Rosemary, Peach Lemonade

I will be meeting tonight with some of my favorite ladies and was inspired to bring an “Adult” beverage. This large batch recipe works well for any summertime gathering and can be cut in half or easily doubled for a big crowd. A perfect refreshment for a summertime shower, barbeque or for a meeting of very deserving volunteers. Cheers!

1 ½ cups Vodka
½ cup Cointreau (or your favorite citrus flavored liquor)
1 cup Rosemary Syrup*
1 ½ cup Fresh Lemon Juice (approximately 6 lemons)
3 Fresh Peaches
Club soda or Seltzer
One Lemon for garnish
2 sprigs of fresh Rosemary for garnish

Cut two of the peaches into chunks and puree. Pour Lemon Juice and Rosemary Syrup into a large pitcher, add pureed Peach and stir well. Add Vodka and Cointreau. Slice the lemon into thinly-sliced wheels and remove any seeds before adding to the pitcher. Slice the last peach and add to the pitcher. Add the Rosemary sprigs to the pitcher. Stir well. Add club soda or seltzer to taste – approximately one liter. If the Lemonade is too sweet, add additional lemon juice. Add ice to the pitcher or pour over ice and serve. Mmmmm.

*To make Rosemary Syrup, place 2 – 3 sprigs of Rosemary in a small saucepan. Muddle the rosemary slightly with a muddler or the back of the spoon – to release the flavor. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to the saucepan and heat on medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. The longer you simmer, the stronger the Rosemary flavor – you do not want the Rosemary to overwhelm the fruit so simmer on low for just a few minutes and then cover and let the Rosemary steep into the Syrup for another 10 – 20 minutes. Let Syrup cool before mixing into cocktails. Store Rosemary Syrup in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Cocktail of the Week: Lola’s Lemon Cooler

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Cocktail of the Week: Lola’s Lemon Cooler
Lola's Lemon Cooler
A few days ago my friend Noreen and her dog Lola were out for a walk and surprised me with a bottle of her amazing home brewed Limoncello. Delicious straight up or on the rocks, Limoncello also brings a lovely, summery flavor to cocktails.  Noreen, walk Lola over for a visit and cocktail anytime!

Makes two:
2oz Limoncello
3oz London Dry Gin – I used Bombay
Seltzer or Club Soda
Thinly Sliced Lemon
Mint

Fill two tall glasses with ice and two Lemon Slices.  Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add Limoncello and Gin, cover and shake well.  Strain as you pour the Limoncello and Gin mixture into the two glasses.  Top with Seltzer, Garnish with Mint.  Call a friend to come over and enjoy the other one!

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Cocktail of the Week: Pink Moon

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Pink Moon Specialty Cocktail

Cocktail of the Week:  Pink Moon

Last week’s cocktail was a tribute to David Bowie, this week honors another British singer songwriter Nick Drake, the Pink Moon – my own spin on the classic Blue Moon cocktail this floral concoction blends the violet and berry flavors of Crème Yvette with Absolut Vanilia and a touch of citrus for a perfect spring blend.
2oz Absolut Vanilia (or another vanilla flavored vodka)
¾oz Crème Yvette
½oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Lemon Twist for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice and add Absolut Vanilia, Crème Yvette and Fresh Lemon Juice.  Shake well.  Strain as you pour into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a Lemon Twist.
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Cocktail of the Week: Life on Mars

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Life on Mars with cocktail creator Nikki Anhalt at FIG Charleston

Cocktail of the Week: Life on Mars

I’m on the road in Charleston and just had spectacular dinner at the highly-acclaimed FIG restaurant. While the food and service live up to the amazing reviews, the cocktail menu is equally inspired. The current menu pays homage to David Bowie and as a fan of the Thin White Duke and tequila, I could not pass up this refreshing citrus creation by FIG’s Nikki Anhalt.

To my friends in Pennsylvania, the state owned liquor stores may require that you make a few substitutions but if you can find all of the original ingredients, it will be worth the effort – it may just be easier and more enjoyable to jet down to Charleston and have Nikki or talented bartender Andrew King mix up a Life on Mars.

1 ½oz Espolon Tequila Reposado
¼ oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
¼ oz Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette
¼ oz Giffard Creme de Pamplemousse Rose
¼ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz Grapefruit Juice
1 Luxardo Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Fill a shaker with ice and pour in Tequila, Maraschino Liqueur, Crème de Violette, Pamplemousse Rose and Fresh Juices. Cover and shake. Strain as you pour into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a gourmet Maraschino Cherry. Oh man!

mars2

Cocktail of the Week: Blackthorne

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Blackthnorne Cocktail from Li Halpern Events

Cocktail of the Week: Blackthorne

You’ll have a happy Saint Patrick’s Day with this sophisticated take on an Irish Whiskey Manhattan. A dash of Pernod adds a hint of anise to spice up the smooth Irish Whiskey.

2oz Jameson or your favorite Irish Whiskey
1oz Sweet Vermouth
3 Drops of Angostura Bitters
A Dash of Pernod
A Lemon Twist for garnish

Fill a shaker with ice and add Whiskey, Vermouth, Bitters and Pernod. Shake well. Strain as you pour into a chilled glass. Garnish with a Lemon Twist.

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Cocktail of the Week: Irish Rose

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Irish Rose Cocktail

Cocktail of the Week: Irish Rose

Many of you know I’m from Chicago where the river and beer taps run green and everyone is Irish this time of year. If you are looking for an Irish libation, this pink drink is a great alternative for your Saint Patrick’s Day celebration!

2oz Bushmills Black Bush or your favorite Irish Whiskey
¾oz Grenadine
½oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Club Soda
Lemon Twist for Garnish
Fill a shaker with ice and add Bushmills Black Bush or your favorite Irish Whiskey, Grenadine and Lemon Juice. Shake well and strain as you pour into a chilled glass. Top with Club Soda and garnish with a Lemon Twist.

About Grenadine. The cocktail ingredient (not the liquor) is sweetened pomegranate juice and can be found at major grocery stores. To make your own, pour two cups of Pomegranate juice in a small pot on the stove, bring to a boil. Once boiling turn down the stove and simmer the juice until reduced in half. Add one cup of sugar and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Homemade Grenadine should last for two to three weeks refrigerated in an air tight container.

 

Cocktail of the Week: Kentucky Mule

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kentucky-muleCocktail of the Week:  Kentucky Mule

A delicious reason to break out my favorite copper mugs!  While specialty barware is not required, you will want to celebrate this southern sipper!

2oz Maker’s Mark or your favorite Kentucky Bourbon.
Ginger Beer  (4-6oz per cocktail)
Fresh Lime (one half per serving)
2 sprigs of Fresh Mint

You can make this drink right in your mug but to meld the Mint and Lime flavors, I prefer to mix in a shaker.  Place one sprig of Mint in a cocktail shaker and muddle with a muddler or the back of a spoon crushing the leaves to extract flavor.  Roll the Lime on your counter applying pressure to help break the juice capsules inside.  Slice the Lime in half through the middle.  Squeeze ½ of the Lime over the crushed Mint then drop it into your shaker.  Add enough ice to the shaker to fill your glass and top with Maker’s Mark or your choice of Bourbon.  Cover and shake hard.  The ice will help macerate the Lime and Mint further enhancing the flavor.   Pour everything into a copper mug or a chilled glass,  top with Ginger Beer, garnish with Mint.  Sip and enjoy!

What’s ginger beer?  Ginger Beer is a fermented beverage made from ginger.  Ginger Beer has a deeper flavor, cloudier appearance and frothier pour compared to its sweeter, bubblier carbonated cousin ginger ale.

Citrus Tip:  When using lemons, lime or other citrus juice in cocktails or cooking, try microwaving your fruit for 20 – 30 seconds before slicing to aid in bursting the juice capsules inside.

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Cocktail of the Week: The Jasmine Cocktail

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Cocktail of the Week:  The Jasmine Cocktail

Jasmine Specialty Cocktail

It is Oscar Sunday and if you are looking for a sophisticated specialty cocktail to brighten your party try a Jasmine Cocktail.  This twist on a Negroni blends the earthiness of Campari with smooth citrus Cointreau and Lemon for a snappy sip.   

1 ½oz Gin
¾oz Fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
½oz Cointreau
½oz Campari
Lemon Twist for garnish 

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add Gin, Lemon Juice Cointreau, Campari.  Shake well then strain as your pour into a chilled martini glass or coupe.  Garnish with a Lemon Twist.

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Cocktail of the Week: Pisco Sour

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specialty cocktail pisco sourCocktail of the Week: Pisco Sour

An unseasonably warm weekend deserves a drink reminiscent of good weather and great times. This delicious cocktail is adapted from a recipe shared by my Peruvian sister-in-law Yani. You won’t be disappointed – her side of the family knows how to make a tasty celebration!

3 ounces of Pisco
2 ounces Fresh Lime Juice
1 tablespoon Egg White (approximately one white of an extra large egg)
1 1/2 ounces Simple Syrup*
1/4 cup Ice
2 drops Angostura Bitters
Lime wheels for garnish

In a blender, combine Lime Juice with the Egg White and blend until lightly frothy. Add Simple Syrup, Pisco, and Ice and blend at high speed until ice is crushed and the drink is fully frothy.
Pour into a glass, top with drops of Angostura Bitters, Garnish with a Lime wheel – enjoy!

*Simple Syrup is really simple. Just put 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer for a few minutes to dissolve all the sugar. Store in a tightly closed glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.

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