YOUR FIRST SPRING FLING :: LAVENDER LEMONDROP MARTINI

Spring is in the air! We’ve sprung our clocks forward and now we’re ready to soak in some of that new found sunshine – with a new cocktail in our hands! We all know that spring is a time to look forward to beautiful flowers, longer days and the beginning of backyard entertaining. In order to welcome this time of year with open arms, we introduce you to a cocktail that may become your official drink of spring: the Lavender Lemon Drop Martini.

The key to this drink is the addition of lavender which is a member of the mint family, making it the perfect culinary herb to add into your springtime cocktail lineup. By taking advantage of lavender’s sweet, floral notes in homemade simple syrup, your martini takes on that special springtime twist you’re looking for.

LAVENDER LEMON DROP MARTINI

Gidget+LaRue's Lavender Lemondrop ~ sure to become a favorite!

Gidget+LaRue’s Lavender Lemondrop ~ sure to become a favorite!

TOOLS ::  Cocktail shaker
GLASS :: Martini
EXTRAS :: Sugar and grated lemon rind for glass rim
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
4 oz. Vodka
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons worth)
2 oz. Lavender syrup (recipe below)

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
1. Using fine grater, grate lemon rind from one lemon onto small plate. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sugar and mix to combine. On another small plate, pour 2 tablespoons of lavender syrup.
2. Dip martini glass into syrup, coating rim then dip the rim into lemon sugar mixture.
3. Place all liquid ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake it like you mean it! (15-20 seconds at least!)
4. Strain contents into sugar rimmed martini glasses and enjoy!

LAVENDER SYRUP ::
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp. dried lavender
*optional: food coloring if you’d like more purple tint to your syrup

1. In a high-sided saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water and sugar, add dried lavender.
2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to ensure sugar is dissolved.
3. Turn heat to low and let simmer 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Using fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain syrup into container.
5. Refrigerate until needed.

This cocktail is simple to make and guaranteed to get you into that springtime state of mind. Add the syrup to lemonade, add ice and club soda to the recipe above or choose gin over vodka for other variations on the drink. No matter what, this Lavender Lemon Drop Martini is sure to have you skipping your way into spring before you know it.

CHEESE + CRACKERS ~ GROWN-UP STYLE

One quick and simple appetizer that’s sure to please a crowd is your classic cheese and cracker platter.  Who doesn’t love to nibble on this delish combo while enjoying that first cocktail of the night? (We do!) So we’ve just discovered a way to up the ante with a delish homemade CHEESY CHEDDAR CRACKER! This splendid cracker is the perfect treat to enjoy with a classic cocktail and trust us – these crackers are good. Way good!

CHEESY CHEDDAR CRACKERSCheesyCracker

TOOLS :: Cookie sheet, mixer, fork
EXTRAS :: Plastic wrap
INGREDIENTS ::
2 sticks of butter (soften)
2 cups of flour
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (room temperature)
½ tsp ground cayenne pepper

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Blend in a mixer flour, cayenne and butter.
  • Gradually add cheese.
  • Mix until smooth. 
  • Cover mixture with plastic wrap, chill for one hour.
  • Once chilled, shape dough into small balls and flatten by pressing down with a fork.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until slightly brown.

 

Makes approximately 5 dozen.

NOTE ::
If you’re feeling adventurous and like a nutty taste to your crackers, flatten crackers down with a pecan half. Yummy!

 

PERFECT IRISH WHISKEY COCKTAIL

St. Patrick’s Day gives all of us a chance to get into that Irish state of mind. What better way to celebrate than with a bottle of Irish whiskey and a new cocktail? We’re going classic here—no green dye required.

Derived from a Gaelic term meaning “water of life,” Irish whiskey is one of the oldest distilled beverages in the world. Irish whiskey’s unique flavor is due to the fact that the whiskey is distilled three times (versus most bourbons or scotch, which are distilled only twice), and that gives the spirit its signature smoothness and sweetness. So let’s kick-start your St. Patrick’s Day with a libation that’s sure to become a favorite, long after the holiday is over.

Irish whiskey drink fit for a Queen!

Irish whiskey drink fit for a Queen!

QUEEN OF CLUBS
Get it? Clubs…Shamrocks…girl power? Giggling yet?!

TOOLS :: Barspoon
GLASS :: Old Fashioned
EXTRAS :: Lime wheel for garnish
SERVINGS :: 1 cocktail

INGREDIENTS ::
1 ½ oz. Irish Whiskey {Bushmills, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Kilbeggan to name a few}
¼ oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
2 oz. Ginger ale

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
• Add Irish whiskey and lime juice to an Old Fashioned glass
• Using barspoon, stir gently to combine
• Fill glass with ice – all the way to the top!
• Add Ginger ale and use barspoon to combine
• Crown the cocktail with a lime wheel

Since the annual holiday of St. Patrick’s Day has become a wonderful reason to enjoy a cocktail or two, this drink provides you a chance to taste a little of the Emerald Isle while sharing one thing in common with all Irishmen ~ Irish Whiskey! All that’s left now is to raise your Queen of Clubs cocktail, toast your friends and shout “Erin Go Bragh” (Ireland Forever)!

CELEBRATE FAT TUESDAY ~ CLASSIC MARDI GRAS COCKTAIL

As we head into March and Mardi Gras, we wanted to help you celebrate Fat Tuesday with a classic Mardi Gras cocktail ~ THE HURRICANE. The creation of this passion fruit-flavored libation is credited to New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien who poured the concoction into hurricane-lamp-shaped glasses to give away to sailors. Here’s a taste-tested Gidget + LaRue twist on the classic. Our recipe is enough for 2 drinks because we don’t like to drink alone!

THE HURRICANE

Celebrate Fat Tuesday G+LaR style

Celebrate Fat Tuesday G+LaR style

TOOLS :: Ice, shaker
GLASS :: Hurricane shaped or large Collins
EXTRAS :: Orange slice and cherry for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
2 oz. Dark Rum (or Dark Spiced Rum if that’s all you have)
2 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Galliano*
4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
4 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
2 good tablespoon scoops of “Hawaii’s Own” Paradise Punch frozen juice concentrate*
1 oz. lime juice
4 shakes of bitters – Fee Brothers or Angostura is great

  • Fill shaker with ice.
  • Add all ingredients above.
  • Shake it like you mean it!
  • Strain into your ice-filled glasses, garnish and enjoy!

++ Here’s your Gidget + LaRue “make it easy” tip ++
If you don’t have Galliano in your bar, no worries. We sub-ed out a tiny dash (less than 1/8 teaspoon) of Anise Extract (from Safeway!) and it worked great. Also, the “Hawaii’s Own” juice is great, but if you’ve got Passion Fruit Nectar around (we couldn’t find it easily), use 2 oz. of that instead. I couldn’t find it and we like the frozen juice because it’s EASY!