img_2173From time-to-time-I’ll indulged with an adult beverage, especially during the summer months—usually, a Cadillac Margarita or a Mojito. I’ve often wondered why liqueurs are called spirits? The term supposedly originated in the middle ages by monks who believed that the emitting vapors during distillation were the spirits of the fruit escaping their earthly core. Another school of thought is that it raised our spirits, which falls in line with my philosophy that health and wellness is a choice, a balanced state of being to include all facets of life. Eating and drinking aren’t just about breaking bread and toasting. It’s a communion of souls enjoying each other’s company. Because life is a celebration that should be savored, and I want my guests to 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, spirits, citrus peelings, seasonal fruit, a shard or two of coconut, and a kiss of vanilla.

Liqueur Infusions:

Orange mariner    lime    Blackberry    mango-rum

Orange-Brandy           Limeilla                           Blackberry-Vodka            Coco-Mango-Rum

 

margarita

Cadillac Margarita with Limeilla and Orange- Brandy

Mixer:

  • 1-cup Stevia
  • 1-cup water
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1-cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2-3cups water (to dilute)

Preparation:

For simple syrup:

  1. Bring 1-cup water to a boil in a saucepan, add Stevia and dissolve.
  2. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. Squeeze lime juice, add remaining water and simple syrup till well blended.
  4. Taste for sweetness and adjust with water and more Stevia if needed.

Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Limeilla-Tequilla
  • Ice
  • 1-cup mixer
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • 1/2-1 ounce Orange-Brandy
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • lime wheels or wedges for garnish
  • salt (optional)

Preparation:

  1. 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.
  2. In a blender or shaker, add the first three ingredients and blend.
  3. Pour into the desired glass, and top with a floater of Orange Ina, garnish with lime

Black Dahlia NaratiniBlack 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 isn’t a sissy cocktail, which is why I have plenty of snacks on hand for those who dare to flirt with her more than once.

Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 3-oz Blackberry-Vodka
  • Ice
  • ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
  • palm sugar
  • lemon twist

Preparation:

  1. In a shaker, combine vodka and ice and shake well.
  2. Strain into a sugar-rimmed martini or desired glass.
  3. Serve with a skewer of infused blackberries, garnish with a lemon twist

mango

Coco-Mango-Rum, Mojito

Cocktail Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2-oz Coco-Mango, Rum
  • 3-Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2-slices fresh ripe mango
  • 3-springs fresh mint
  • Ice
  • sparkling water

Preparation:

  1. In a tall glass, muddle lime juice, mint, and mango.
  2. Add ice, infusion, and top with sparkling water.
  3. Garnish with mint sprig and lime.