As a rule, I don’t drink alcohol anymore, but from time-to-time-I have been known to enjoy an adult beverage, especially during the summer months— usually a Cadillac Margarita with Limilla (lime infused tequila) and a floater of Orange Ina, or a Coco- Mango-Rumba, Mojito. I’ve often wondered why we call liqueurs, spirits? (see cocktail recipes) One school of thought is that the term originated in the middle ages by monks. They believed that the emitting vapors during distillation were the spirit of the fruit escaping its earthly core. Another school of thought is that it raises our spirits, all of which fall in line with my philosophy of life-force-energy. Health and wellness is a choice, as a balanced state of being it includes all facets of life. Eating and drinking are more than just about breaking bread and toasting. It’s a communion of souls enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company. It isn’t what you’re having for dinner so much as who you’re having dinner with because life is a celebration that should be savored. I love entertaining. Even if I don’t partake in a cocktail, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feel part of the festivities with a dressed up aqua fresca. Or that my guests shouldn’t enjoy a quality libation made with fresh juices and liqueurs infused with “real” fruit, rather than artificially induced flavorings. As summer approaches and backyards become the desired venue, I like to have a few on hand for entertaining and cooling down with. The blackberry vodka only takes a few weeks to cure, while the others take 60-90 days to properly infuse, which is why I start them early, so they are ready for summer. They’re easy to prepare. All you need is a few Mason jars, some choice liqueurs, citrus peelings, seasonal fruit, a shard or two of coconut, and a kiss of vanilla.
Recipe notes: What you will need: 1-2qt Mason jars and strainer. Inactive prep time for blackberry infusion, 30-days. For rum and tequila 60-days. For orange, 80-90 days. Yields 750ml each. Difficulty level: Very easy
Cadillac Margarita with Limilla and Orange Ina
- 1-cup Stevia
- 1-cup water
- 1-cup fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2-3cups water (to dilute)
For simple syrup:
- Bring 1-cup water to a boil in a saucepan, add Stevia and dissolve.
- Set aside to cool completely.
- Squeeze lime juice, add remaining water and simple syrup till well blended.
- Taste for sweetness and adjust with water and more Stevia if needed.
- 1 1/2 oz Limilla
- 1-cup mixer
- 1/2-1 ounce Orange Ina
- lime wheels or wedges for garnish
- salt (optional)
- If salting the glass, cut a slit in one of the lime wedges, and run it around the rim, and dip into salt to rim the glass.
- In a blender or shaker, add the first three ingredients and blend.
- Pour into a desired glass, and top with a floater of Orange Ina, garnish with lime
Black Dahlia Vodka Martini
I’m not a martini drinker, which is why I make two versions of this infusion: one for me and one for my guests. Mine is a blackberry aqua Fresca, or “Black Dahlia,” Naratini, rimmed with palm sugar and a skewer of fresh berries. They both look the same, and neither is cloyingly sweet, but the “Black Dahlia” Martini is an enchantress. She may come on soft and subtle, but she is no sissy cocktail, which is why I have plenty of snacks on hand for those who dare to flirt with her more than once.
- 3-oz blackberry infused vodka
- palm sugar
- lemon twist
- In a shaker, combine vodka and ice and shake well.
- Strain into a sugar-rimmed martini or desired glass.
- Serve with a skewer of infused blackberries, garnish with a lemon twist
- 1 1/2-oz coco-mango-rumba
- 3-Tbsp fresh lime juice
- 2-slices fresh ripe mango
- 3-springs fresh mint
- sparkling water
- In a tall glass, muddle lime juice, mint, and mango.
- Add ice, infusion, and top with sparkling water.
- Garnish with mint sprig and lime.