Cocktail Hour: Chai Tea Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Chai Cocktail

A few years ago, we spent some celebratory time in South Carolina and a lot of that time with sweet tea vodka. Needless to say, we’ve been on a sweet tea vodka break for a few years (really, a few years was warranted). But I broke it back out to try this fabulous fall chai cocktail. It’s iced, but still warms you up. And it’s delicious.

Chai Tea Cocktail (adapted from Plum Deluxe)

Ingredients: 
– 4 ounces cold chai tea concentrate
– 2 ounces sweet tea vodka
– splash of cream

Directions: Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice. Stir gently and sip.

Cocktail Hour: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

I wanted to make a sweet (but not too sweet) cocktail to help celebrate Rosh Hashana using festive holiday flavors. I love, love this drink and the added fun of the pomegranate ice cubes. Moreover, it’s incredibly easy (and still delicious) to make as a mocktail for those who are abstaining from alcohol. Happy New Year, all!

Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail (adapted from Honestly Yum)

Ingredients
– 1 1/2 oz vodka
– 1 – 1/2 oz pomegranate sparkling soda (or plain pomegranate juice)
– 1/2 oz lime juice
– 1/2 oz vanilla cardamom syrup
– dash of bitters
– pomegranate ice cubes* and sprig of fresh mint for garnish

Vanilla Cardamom Syrup
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 6 cardamom pods, cracked open and ground with mortar + pestle

Directions
1. To make vanilla cardamom syrup, add water and sugar to a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla extract and ground cardamom and let simmer two minutes before removing from heat. Cool to room temperature and strain through a fine mesh strainer.

2. Fill a glass with pomegranate ice cubes and add vodka, pomegranate sparkling soda, lime juice, vanilla cardamom syrup and dash of bitters. Stir and then garnish with fresh mint.

3. To make this a mocktail, leave out vodka and bitters and add either more pomegranate sparkling soda or sparkling water.

*fill ice cube trays with pomegranate seeds and then with water. freeze overnight.

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail

Cocktail Hour: Hemingway Daiquiri

A Feteful Life: Hemingway Daiquiri

While I usually make the mental shift from summer to fall after Labor Day, the actual change of season doesn’t happen until September 22nd. So, in honor of this last week of summer I’m making one last “tropical” cocktail. And, I say that in quotes because most tropical cocktails (and daiquiris for that matter) are super sweet. But this daiquiri is very different — there’s not even an ounce of simple syrup in there!

This cocktail was created at El Floridita in Havana, Cuba whose claim to fame is their creation of the classic daiquiri along with their most famous regular customer, Ernest Hemingway. Apparently, he spent a lot of time there drinking lots of daiquiris and this particular variation became his favorite. And, I have to agree with Hemingway, it’s definitely my favorite daiquiri as well.

So, here’s to summer! Cheers, it was fun. Now bring on the apple picking, pumpkin patch visiting, and turkey roasting. I’m ready for you fall!

The Hemingway Daiquiri (from El Floridita via the kitchn)

Ingredients

2 ounces light rum, such as Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur

Directions

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Cocktail Hour: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler

 

A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler

Happy Almost-Fourth! We’ve got the perfect cocktail for your holiday BBQs. Super easy to make with a great sweet-sour balance. And you can leave out the alcohol to make a fun sparkling drink for the kids, too.

Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler (slightly adapted from The Kitchn)

Ingredients
– 2 ounces vodka
– 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
– 1 ounce cherry simple syrup (recipe below)
– sparkling water
– fresh basil for garnish

Directions
Combine vodka, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to combine. Pour over crushed ice into a glass and top with sparkling water. Garnish with fresh basil. If making it for kiddos, shake lemon juice and simple syrup only. Pour over crushed ice and top with lots of sparkling water.

Cherry Simple Syrup (from The Kitchn)

Ingredients
– 1 cup water
– 3/4 granulated sugar
– 1 cup ripe cherries, pitted*

Directions
In a small saucepan heat the water, sugar, and cherries until the sugar has completely melted. Using a potato masher, smash the cherries. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids. Chill to room temperature.

*if you don’t have a fancy cherry pitter (I don’t), you can push the cherry pits out using a pastry tip.

A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler A Feteful Life: Sweet + Sour Cherry Sparkler

Cocktail Hour: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

 

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

You’ll also be alliterating after you twist your tongue around this insanely delicious tropical punch. It’s sweet, it’s sour, it’s simple. It uses up leftovers (pineapple peel!). It technically has fruit in it. You really cannot go wrong.

Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch (A Feteful Life)

Ingredients
1 ounce pineapple-ginger simple syrup (see below)
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces Pisco
pineapple chunks and leaf for garnish

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake to combine. Pour over crushed ice into a glass and garnish with pineapple chunks and leaf threaded onto a stirrer.

Pineapple-Ginger Simple Syrup (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients
peel and core of one large pineapple
1, 3-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
4 cups water
1 cup sugar

Directions
Cut pineapple peel + core into 1-inch pieces; place into medium saucepan with ginger, sugar, and water. Boil until reduced to 1 cup; 25-30 minutes. Strain, discarding solids. Chill.

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

A Feteful Life: Pineapple-Ginger Pisco Punch

Cocktail Hour: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

So, my intent was to actually make grilled lemonade. We’ve started to have some really beautiful weather in DC and I couldn’t wait to get the grilling going (neither could Suz — did you SEE that grilled flank steak yesterday? YUM). I’ve also really been loving Meyer lemons lately and decided to try those for the drink. I prepped everything and went up to turn on the grill … only to find that we had no propane — ack! No worries, I pulled out my trusty grill pan and decided to try it stovetop. And it worked. Except that instead of grilling them, the shallow pan filled up with the sugary lemon juice and caramelized them. I’m actually not a huge fan of sweet drinks and this was SWEET. I tried cutting it a variety of ways and liked best when I used half caramelized lemons and half regular lemons to make the drink. And even though I intended to make a mocktail, adding an ounce of vodka to my glass on one occasion also helped (in more ways than one). I think one time I’ll try regular lemons and see how it works out. Grilled or Carmelized. Sweet or Balanced. It was pretty delicious all ways.

Carmelized Lemonade (based off of Food Network’s Grilled Lemonade)

Ingredients
16 Meyer (or regular) lemons, halved
1 1/2 cups sugar (1/4 cup for dipping lemons)
1 3/4 cups water
pinch of salt

Directions

To make a pitcher, dip the cut sides of 8 halved lemons in sugar and grill on pan until marked, about 5 minutes; let cool. Simmer 1 1/4 cups sugar with 1 3/4 cups water and a pinch of salt until dissolved; let cool. Squeeze the grilled and regular lemons through a strainer into a pitcher; stir in the sugar syrup, some ice and a few of the grilled lemons.

For another twist, try using rosemary simple syrup or to turn your lemonade into a delicious cocktail, add 1-2 ounces of vodka to each serving glass.

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

A Feteful Life: Carmelized Lemonade

Cocktail Hour: Blueberry-Cucumber Gimlet

A Feteful Life: Blueberry-Cucumber Gimlet

I figure if I just start making summer’ish cocktails, warm weather should follow. Right? This might be a summery drink, but it tastes just as fantastic in this in between time where you’re just wishing for it to heat up already! And, in the event you’re looking to make this a mocktail, you can replace the gin with sparkling water, and replace the lime juice with lemon juice for a fruity lemonade fizzy (my kids loved them).

Blueberry-Cucumber Gimlet (from The Boys Club, a fabulous blog, btw, which has now become part of Chasing Delicious)

Ingredients (Simple Syrup)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Ingredients (Gimlet)
1/4 cup blueberries, more for garnish
8-10 slices cucumber, more for garnish
1 fl. oz. (15ml) fresh lime juice
1 fl. oz. (15ml) simple syrup (recipe follows)
2 fl. oz. (30ml) gin

Directions
Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until all sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for three minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 – 10 minutes in refrigerator or 30 minutes on the counter.
Gimlet: 1. Add blueberries and cucumber into a shaker and smash several times with the muddler until juices are released; add lime juice, syrup, and gin, and top with ice cubes. Cap the shaker and shake vigorously until well combined, about 20-30 seconds. 2. Pour mixture into glass, half-filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and blueberries. Serve chilled.
A Feteful Life: Blueberry-Cucumber Gimlet
A Feteful Life: Blueberry-Cucumber Gimlet

Cocktail Hour: Celery Cilantro Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Celery Cilantro Cocktail

Despite today’s plummeting temperatures in our neck of the woods, I swear that spring is right around the corner and this fizzy celery cilantro cocktail is a perfect fit for the season. Honestly, its a bit of an odd taste combination at first. But it’s really a nice, light drink that will keep you in those spring skinny jeans. Plus, it’s green and would be a great kickoff to a St. Patty’s Day celebration.

Celery Cilantro Cocktail (from Skinnytaste)

Ingredients
1 ounce Absolut Citron
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tbsp simple syrup (or 1 tbsp agave, 1 tbsp water)
5-inch piece celery, chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 tbsp seltzer
ice

Directions
In a mixing glass or pitcher, combine celery and cilantro and muddle together with vodka, lime juice and simple syrup. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a glass filled with ice and top with selzter. Garnish with celery greens and cilantro.

Cocktail Hour: Pomegranate Mocktail

A Feteful Life: Pomegranate Mocktail

A few weeks ago, I finally figured out how to easily remove the seeds from a pomegranate (for our Winter Brunch salad) and my whole family’s been totally obsessed since then. We’ve been putting them in every salad, the kids’ yogurt for breakfast, and all by themselves as a bright little snack. I’ve been on the hunt for new pomegranate recipes and found this great-sounding mocktail. It turned out such a pretty ombre drink and tastes delish. Another pomegranate success.

Pomegranate Mocktail (slightly adapted from Self)

Ingredients 
1 tbsp pomegranate seeds
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce pomegranate juice (I used a cranberry/pomegranate blend)
sparkling water
lime slice

Directions
In a shaker, muddle pomegranate seeds and lime juice. Add pomegranate juice and ice. Pour into a tall glass and fill remainder of glass with sparkling water. Garnish with lime. 

Cocktail Hour: Rosemary Margarita

A Feteful Life: Rosemary Margarita

There’s no doubt that I love me a nice, cozy winter cocktail. But I’m ready to start to give winter the slip. I was looking for a bright drink that’d help shake off some of that slumbery feeling hanging around. This rosemary margarita did the trick, for sure. It’s on the sour side (the recipe I was following was waaaay too sour originally), but still has a nice seasonal touch with the herbs. If you’re looking for something different, I’d definitely give this a try.

Rosemary Margarita (adapted from This Girl Walks Into A Bar)

Ingredients (Rosemary Simple Syrup)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary
Ingredients (Margarita)
1 1/2 ounces tequila
1 – 2 ounces rosemary simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
light beer or sparkling water, to taste
rosemary sprig, for garnish

Directions
Rosemary Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until all sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for three minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool 5 – 10 minutes. Strain out rosemary and store in an air tight container.
Margarita: Add tequila through lemon juice to a shaker and shake well. Pour into a glass filled with ice. Sip. Too sour? Try adding a splash of light beer or sparkling water to dilute slightly. Just sour enough? Garnish with rosemary and proceed with drinking.