GRAPEFRUIT-POMEGRANATE MARGI for Cinco de Mayo

GidgetGrapefruitPomMargi1

Let’s start things off with one cocktailing fact—Cinco de Mayo is all about the margarita. Yes, of course there’s the line up of delicious Mexican beers such as Tecate, Dos Equis or Modelo if you’re so inclined. But for me, this is a holiday that brings my cocktail shaker and a bottle of Tequila out, ready celebrate.

Outside of my cocktailing world there are a few more facts about Cinco de Mayo you should know. Such as the fact that it is a holiday commemorating the date of the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). It is not, as most people think, to celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day which is celebrated on September 16th. Here in the United States, Cinco de Mayo is widely interpreted as a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, where revelers mark the occasion with parades, parties, mariachi music, Mexican folk dancing and traditional foods such as tacos and mole poblano.

But let’s get back to the tequila …

Choosing the right tequila can be confusing to many. Should you spend a bunch of money and get a high-end tequila like Patron or go for your standard issue Cuervo Gold? Truthfully, it all comes down to personal taste (and budget!) but armed with a little tequila knowledge you can head into that tequila aisle with confidence.

Tequila is made from the agave plant. Often mistakenly referred to as a cactus, this succulent plant is native to the dry climates in Mexico. There are many varieties of agave, but distillers use only the superior quality blue agave to make tequila. A blue agave plant can reach eight feet tall and generally matures when it’s around six years old. Interestingly, the region where the blue agave grows has an impact on it’s flavor profile. Higher elevation clay soil sites tend to have plants that produce fruity, delicate and floral drinks. Plans grown in the lowlands or valleys with volcanic soil provide a spicy, earthier flavor.

Now let’s get back to that MARGARITA …

GidgetGrapefruitPomMargi3

For me, May 5th is a day unlike any other when it comes to enjoying a salt-rimmed glass filled with citrus juice and one of the aforementioned tequilas. This is THE day to mix a Margarita for me, so I’m here to share one of my favorite recipes that have made many a friend fall in love with tequila. Trust me, you’ll love this and so will all your fellow Cinco de Mayo revelers!

GIDGET’S GRAPEFRUIT-POMEGRANATE MARGARITA

There’s just something refreshing about drinking a margarita that doesn’t include that tart lemon/lime flavoring. This version mellows things out a bit by highlighting the delicious flavors of grapefruit with a touch of pomegranate. I used Resposado tequila to complement the flavors, but a Blanco tequila is amazing with this cocktail as well.

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, wire strainer, citrus juicer
GLASS :: Old Fashioned
EXTRAS :: Kosher salt, grapefruit wedge for garnish
SERVINGS :: 4 cocktails
INGREDIENTS ::
6 oz. Hornitos Resposado tequila
1.5 oz. Cointreau or Patron Citron liqueur
1.5 oz. Pama pomegranate liqueur
1 oz. POM pomegranate juice
Fresh squeezed juice from one pink grapefruit (~4 oz.)
1 Tbsp frozen limeade concentrate
Lots of ice!

GidgetGrapefruitPomMargi

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Cut grapefruit in half. Twist glass rims on open side of grapefruit to moisten and dip in kosher salt. Set aside.  Juice grapefruit, strain through wire strainer into cocktail shaker. Add ice to shaker and add remaining ingredients.  Shake well to combine ingredients – at least one minute.  Add ice to glasses and garnish with grapefruit wedge. Divide shaker contents into cocktail glasses.

I personally find the bars and restaurants way too crowded on Cinco de Mayo, so I prefer to drink these margaritas in my own home rather than pay the exorbitant cost for watered versions elsewhere. So gather a few friends and celebrate Cinco de Mayo the right way – with plenty of delicious margaritas. Cheers!

GidgetGrapefruitPomMargi2

CELEBRATE the 4th WITH A WATERMELON MARGARITA

Across the US today, Americans will celebrate the 240th anniversary of our country’s independence with parades, fireworks, rodeos and concerts. The 4th of July festivities often include picnics and parties, complete with that summer party staple ~ the watermelon. What is it about those juicy slices of watermelon that scream SUMMER?! I love it! But that’s not all. I love that you can use it in a cocktail too. This WATERMELON MARGARITA is fun to make and bursting with all the fantastic flavor of summer a watermelon has to offer. Add a little tequila, an orange and you’re off to 4th of July greatness! Can’t ya just taste it?!

Cheers to America!

WATERMELON MARGARITA

Make the watermelon juice ahead of time to speed up production ~ trust us...you'll want more than one!

Make the watermelon juice ahead of time to speed up production ~ trust us…you’ll want more than one!

TOOLS :: Shaker, blender or muddler
GLASS :: Highball
EXTRAS ::  Kosher salt to rim glass, straw
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
*  3 c. diced watermelon, juiced and strained {see below}
*  4 oz. silver Tequila {we like the lighter flavor of a silver with the watermelon}
*  5 oz. fresh watermelon juice
*  ½ fresh orange, juiced
* 1 oz. Cointreau or Triple Sec
* 1 heaping tbsp. of Minute Maid LIMEADE frozen concentrate

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Salt rims of glasses with some Kosher (or margarita) salt.
Fill each glass to the top with ice.
In an ice filled cocktail shaker, add all liquid ingredients and shake it like you mean it! You need to really blend those ingredients together, so shake for about a minute.
Strain cocktail into ice-filled glasses

To make the watermelon juice: Place diced watermelon in blender and juice until all chunks are gone. Strain through a fine wire mesh strainer to capture all pulp. Discard pulp. If you don’t have a blender, you can always muddle your watermelon in a shaker and strain. Works just as well!

SPOOKY COCKTAILS FOR YOUR HALLOWEEN MONSTER MASH

Ghosts, goblins, witches, and werewolves — Halloween is filled with plenty of spooky and bewitching spectacles to make the evening a thrilling event. It’s also a treat to hang out with friends and have a ghoulishly delightful time engaging in a little cocktail mischief. If you’re planning a wicked Halloween party the following cocktails are sure to create an unforgettable All Hallow’s Eve event. No matter what your Halloween guests’ favorite poison is, I’ve got you covered with these cocktails — all guaranteed to raise spirits at your monster mash.

If you’d like a full list of my Top 10 Spooky Cocktails (including the two I created below), visit the article I wrote for TheGoodStuff for the full list of recipes.

R.I.P ‘RITA

Gidget RIP Rita


Get in the Halloween spirit with this lo-cal twist on a margarita. A dash of red food coloring gives the glass an eerie twist.

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, 1 small plate
GLASS ::  Martini
SERVINGS ::  2 cocktail
INGREDIENTS ::

  • 3 ounces TY KU citrus liqueur
  • 1 ounces silver tequila
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
    Glass rim

    • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • 3 Tablespoons corn syrup (I used Karo)
    • Red food coloring

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
On a small plate, mix together granulated sugar, corn syrup, and 5-7 drops of red food coloring. Mix to combine and add more food coloring to get desired results. Dip glass rims into mixture briefly and hold glass horizontally to let excess syrup drip off rim. Place rimmed glasses in freezer until ready for use.
Combine remaining ingredients ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into rimmed cocktail glass

THE DEVIL’S CHOICE

Gidget_DevilsChoice

What would Halloween be without a devilish twist? This wondrous, blood-red cocktail comes with a haunting punch of two kinds of rum and delicious pomegranate juice. Hell won’t freeze over if you make this your cocktail of choice!

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, 1 small plate
GLASS :: Old Fashioned
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails
INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 4 ounces pomegranate juice
  • 2 ounces simple syrup (1:1 sugar to water)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce dark rum per cocktail
  • Cranberries for spooky eyeball garnish
  • Black sanding sugar (I found mine at Williams Sonoma)
  • Lime wedge

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Pour 4 Tablespoons black sanding sugar on a small plate. Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each glass, then dip into sanding sugar. Add ice to glasses. Combine first 4 ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake well and strain into rimmed glasses, leaving space at the top. Gently pour 1 oz. of dark rum onto each cocktail so it floats on top.

LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA ~ THROW AN END OF SUMMER BASH!

I have mixed emotions about the end of summer. While I’m going to miss the warm nights and long days with family and friends, I do look forward to the Labor Day holiday as a time to transition into that fall state of mind. Although I’m not quite ready to turn in my summer sandals for tall black boots, I am ready to embrace the last weeks of summer the right way by launching into the Labor Day holiday and throwing an End of Summer cocktail party!

With delicious food, refreshing drinks, and good company, everyone loves a great party. But how do you make sure your end of summer cocktail party is truly great? I think throwing a picnic-style party extends the casual feeling of summer for all your guests. From there you’ll need a fantastic cocktail (or three!), some entertainment to keep your guests mingling and amused, and one final surprise to send them all home smiling. Check out the article we wrote for TheGoodStuff to see how to easy it can be!

As always, we think it’s fun to start off with the cocktail menu, so here’s a great way for you to have a little fun pumping up the patriotic theme for the Labor Day holiday. Everyone loves a good cocktail, and what a better way to get your party started then by offering them three delicious drinks to choose from?

Mason jar cocktails in red, white & blue? 'Merica!

Mason jar cocktails in red, white & blue? ‘Merica!

Pre-mix each cocktail and place them in Mason jars (you can use the 8-ounce size) so have time to enjoy mingling with your guests. With a simple, hand-drawn sign, a stack of lime wedges, and a bucket of ice you’re ready to celebrate in red, white, and blue style! Your guests simply grab a jar with their libation of choice, remove the cap, and add some ice and a lime wedge. Voila, cocktails are served!

Recipes below and ingredients listed are per cocktail.

Red Cosmo

  • 2 ounces citrus vodka (regular vodka works fine, too)
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice

White Gin & Tonic

  • 2 ounces quality gin
  • 5 ounces tonic (I love Schweppes or Fever Tree)
  • Juice from one wedge of fresh lime

Blue Margarita

  • 3 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

As the carefree days and warm nights of summer come to a close, let everyone enter into fall with wonderful memories of an afternoon spent with friends enjoying the warmer weather and a few cocktails. There will be smiles all around!

Gidget_LaborDay2

 

COCKTAILS FOR AN EPIC SUPER BOWL PARTY

Everyone wants to throw the ultimate Super Bowl party. And nothing makes game day festivities stand out quite like the perfect Super Bowl party cocktails. So if you’re rooting for one of the two teams that made it this year, or even if your team didn’t even make the playoffs, you can still have fun and enjoy sipping on these beverages during the big game. We designed a comprehensive cocktail game plan with a wonderful array of incredible (and team color-appropriate) cocktails, mocktails and beer-tails ~ you can get the full playbook and recipes in our article for TheGoodStuff HERE.

If you want a quick peek at our top two recipes, created in the Gidget+LaRue test kitchen, here you go!

Super Sunday Cocktails for every fan!

Super Sunday Cocktails for every fan!

If You’re Cheering for the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
The entire city of Seattle is swept up in 12th Man madness as the Seahawks make their way to the Super Bowl- for the second time in 2 years! If you’re favoring the Seattle Seahawks for your Super Bowl Party, here’s a drink to ensure your cocktail playbook is Seahawk ready (Skittles not included but highly encouraged).

THE 12th MAN MARGI

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, small plate for salt rims
INGREDIENTS ::
3 oz. silver tequila
1 oz. blue curaçao
1 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice {~1 lime}
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz. simple syrup {1:1 sugar to water}
Kosher salt for rim

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Pour kosher salt onto small dish. Rim each glass with lime wedge and dip rim into salt. Add liquid ingredients into ice-filled shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into individual ice-filled glasses. Add straw and garnish with lime wedge.

If You Cheer for the New England Patriots

If your team focus is a little further east, let’s take a look at the amazing New England Patriots. As they head to Arizona to appear in their 8th Super Bowl and go for that coveted trophy for a 4th time, let’s celebrate the wonders of New England’s finest – cranberries and maple syrup. If you’re cheering for New England, here are some hometown flavors that will rock your Super Bowl party cocktails.

BRADY (CRAN)BERRY BLAST
Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka is made using only New England grown cranberries to produce a light taste. All cranberries sourced for Deep Eddy are non-GMO and come from farms with sustainable farming practices.

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker
INGREDIENTS ::
2 1/2 oz Deep Eddy Cranberry Vodka
1 oz fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice {~1/2 lime}
1/2 oz. simple syrup {1:1 sugar to water}
Fresh cranberries for garnish

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Add liquid ingredients into ice-filled shaker and shake until well chilled. Strain into individual ice-filled glasses. Add straw and garnish with fresh cranberries or lime wedge.