COOL SUMMER COCKTAILS

It's 98 degrees out and it's almost 7pm.  WHAT IS GOING ON?! 

I used to be okay with heat.  Growing up in Houston, it was just the way of life.  L.A. has completely ruined me.  Mild summers of low 80s has turn me into a sniveling weakling.  All week long people have been commenting on the heat.  It's the first thing you say as you get in the elevator, it's the last thing you talk about leaving the office.  Angelenos just can't handle the high temps.  If you have A/C, it's usually not strong enough to withstand record highs.  In Houston even our outdoor stadium has A/C. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity. 

So the heat has me dreaming of cold icy cocktails.  I want them sweet and fruity so I can keep downing them all summer long. Also, Memorial Day is next weekend so get your cocktail shakers ready!

1. WATERMELON CUCUMBER COOLER via Martha Stewart

2.  CHERRY CAIPIRISSIMA via NY Times

3. GUAVA MARGARITA via Confessions of a Foodie Bride

4. BLACKBERRY BRAMBLE via Redbook

5. APRICOT SAGE BOURBON COCKTAIL via A Spicy Perspective

6. STRAWBERRY GINGER FIZZ via Blackberryfarm.com

7. STRAWBERRY REISLING SLUSHIE via With Style & Grace

8. PEAR NECTAR & THYME MIMOSA via The Glitter Guide

9. GINGER PEACH COCKTAIL via The Boys Club

10. RASPBERRY PEACH PROSECCO via Table for Two

LAVENDER FRENCH 75

Last week's post was such a hit I decided to make Classic Cocktail Friday a regular mainstay.  I mean, who doesn't appreciate a cocktail at the end of the week?  This is a twist on a classic cocktail that most don't know about.  In fact, I didn't know about it until I started researching gin drinks.

The original French 75 cocktail originated in 1915 in Paris by Harry MacElhone.  It is said to pack as much punch as being shelled with a French 75mm field gun, thus the kitschy name.  This version has the addition of a flavorful lavender simple syrup.  It's floral flavor blends beautifully with the botanical flavor of gin and the fresh tartness of lemon.  It tastes like a boozy lavender soda and I believe I've found my new hot weather drink.

FOR FRENCH 75:

  • 2-4 teaspoons of simple syrup
  • 2 ounces of gin
  • champagne or club soda
  • squeeze of lemon
  • ice

FOR SIMPLE SYRUP:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 tablespoons of dry lavender buds

FOR COCKTAIL: Combine simple syrup, gin and a squeeze of lemon in a glass.  Give it a stir and add ice.  Fill the rest of the way with champagne.  For a lighter, less boozy version, fill with club soda. It's extra refreshing! Garnish with lemon.

FOR SYRUP: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat until it boils.  Turn down and let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, and let the buds steep for 30.  You can either strain the buds or leave them in the syrup. Cool, and pour into a sterilized jar. I put a touch of violet food coloring in mine for drama.

I'm not kidding folks, this drink it really really yummy.  It's also helping me whittle down my giant bag of dried lavender buds one tiny tablespoon of a time.  Give it a try this weekend, you won't be disappointed!

THE BEST BREAKFAST SHAKE

CHOCOLATE AVOCADO SHAKE

Ever wake up and decide that the 20th bowl of oatmeal that you made is just too much?  I certainly did.  They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I fully support it.  If you eat the right thing, you are supposed to be able to power through your morning all the way to lunch.  So I, like a responsible adult, ate various forms of oatmeal because it's healthy and boasts a lot of positives.  There's steel cut, cold oats, baked oats (granola), oat bars, oat muffins. SO MANY OATS.  

So I happened upon this recipe for a chocolate avocado shake and it piqued my interest.  Growing up Vietnamese, avocado shakes were normal.  Ours were made with sweetened condensed milk, and were very rich.  I actually never got to drink these because my mom was anti-dessert and was afraid that we would all turn into Jabba the Hutt.  But this recipe is actually healthy!  There's no sugar or bad stuff, and the addition of chia seeds adds protein. It will seriously keep you full into the afternoon. I drank this shake every morning for months and never got sick of it.  It is really like drinking an amazing chocolate shake for breakfast.  Try it!

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon of high grade, 100% maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut water
  • 1 cup of almond milk (soy, rice, or coconut if you'd rather)

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!  I would make these every night before bed, pour it in a mason jar, and grab it on the way out the door.  Breakfast on the go!

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ROOT BOOST

So I don't know about you guys, but the holidays left me feeling sluggish.  We went home to Texas and just ate. And ate and ate and ate.  L.A. just doesn't do Tex Mex and they certainly don't do barbecue properly so we spent our time stuffing our faces. And spending time with loved ones. Can't forget the loved ones!  But the days of eating every roasted animal possible finally caught up, and we arrived in L.A. both sick and exhausted.  So I went to the store and grabbed all the fruit and vegetables I could hold with my hands (L.A. grocery stores banned bags and I didn't know!) and set off to make my favorite energizing juice.

Beet, apple, carrot and ginger juice.

Beet, apple, carrot and ginger juice.

This juice is sweet and yummy and easy to drink for first time juicers. I choose to add a lot of ginger because I like my drinks spicy.  It clears my sinuses and it's invigorating!  So try this drink in the morning for a quick nutritious boost and you'll be back in fighting mode in no time.  

FOR JUICE:

  • 1 large or 2 small beets
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 large apple or 2 small apples
  • 1" piece of ginger (add more or less if you'd like)
  • 1/2 lemon, skin removed (or any other citrus) I used some clementines and it was delightful! 

Pass all through a juicer, stir and drink immediately.  Pat yourself on the back for doing something healthy!

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THE BEST GINGER ALE EVER!

So as far as daily drinks go, I'm pretty darn boring.  I don't drink soda, coffee, or juice unless I've juiced it myself (I do live in L.A. where juicing is religion).  So when I'm on a plane and the drink cart goes by, I like to live on the edge and I order ginger ale.  Strangely enough, I'm not the only one who does this!  I've found others who only order ginger ale on a plane and no where else. It's a weird thing.

Well this ginger ale might change your mind.  The ginger flavor is intense and the sweetness is not too cloying.  It's spicy and sweet and the perfect hot day treat.  It's also wonderful in a Moscow Mule!

It's Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost.  It's made with fresh ginger and pure cane sugar. The website describes it as having "a mouth feel of a beer or wine." I describe it as yummy!

EL DIABLO

As I get older, may taste buds are changing and I'm craving spicier and spicier foods.  Lately I've been on a tequila kick and any cocktail with jalapeño in it has got me sold.  I just threw a party and decided to make a large batch of my new favorite cocktail. I call it El Diablo.

It's a wonderful combination of sweet pineapple, tart refreshing lime, a spicy kick from the fresh jalapeño and of course tequila.  For a party comprised of mostly Texans, this cocktail was gone in a flash! This recipe is for one, but you can easily divide your ingredients by parts if mixing a pitcher. 

It's not crucial but this drink would be better with a mini piñata. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz of pineapple Juice
  • lime juice from 1/2 a lime, plus slice for garnish
  • jalapeños, sliced with seeds still in 
  • 2 oz of tequila (I prefer for repasado for shooting, ahem sipping but any good tequila will do)
  • 1 oz of triple sec
  • kosher salt

Steps:

  1. Rim your glass with salt by running a wedge of lime on the lip.  then dip onto a plate of kosher salt.  
  2. Over ice,  pour your ingredients one by one in your glass.  Drop a slice of fresh jalapeño with the seeds in.  Slightly muddle it with a spoon to release the flavor.  You can either fish it out or leave it in for an spicier kick.
  3. Garnish with a slice of lime and enjoy!