Cocktail Hour: English Garden Gin + Tonic

A Feteful Life: English Garden Gin + Tonic

Fall might be coming, but I’m not ready to give up my refreshing, warm-weather gin drinks just yet. It’s no secret that we’ve been obsessed with the Gin Rickey this past summer, but I was in need of a little variety. Plus, my husband has been traveling internationally a bunch and likes to pick up local spirits to bring home. A recent trip to London brought me back one of my other favorite gins: Hendrick’s. Hence, this week’s cocktail hour. It’s light, refreshing, and includes veggies. Perfect.

English Garden Gin + Tonic (adapted from Kindred Cocktails)

Ingredients
– 2, 1/2″ slices of cucumber (plus a few thin slices for garnish)
– 1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
– 4-8 drops rose water (to taste)
– 1/4 ounce St. Germain
– 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
– tonic water

Directions
1. Muddle cucumber, lime juice and rose water in shaker. Add St. Germain and Hendrick’s. Shake with ice.
2. Strain into glass with fresh ice and top with tonic water.
3. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Cocktail Hour: Italian Greyhound

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian GreyhoundI’m on a big Italian kick right now. I love how simple combinations of flavors can become something truly spectacular. And, this cocktail is exactly that — spectacular. I’ve had several greyhounds in my day but the addition of some rosemary sugar and bitters really takes this one to the next level. If the grapefruit juice is a bit thick or sweet for you, you could always add some club soda to lighten it up.

Italian Greyhound

Ingredients

1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce gin
4 ounces pink grapefruit juice
bitters

Directions

Combine the finely chopped rosemary and the sugar in a small bowl and place on a rimmed plate. Wet the rim of your glass with some of the grapefruit juice and place in the sugar mixture to coat. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and grapefruit juice. Top off with a dash or two of bitters, then stir gently. Add a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Enjoy!

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Italian Greyhound

Cocktail Hour: St. Germain Sparkler

A Feteful Life: St Germain SparklerApple season is upon us and this cocktail is a must for any apple lover out there. Plus, it uses some of that huge bottle of St. Germain that I bought while I was at the beach so, double bonus. The original recipe calls for 4 ounces of apple juice which I find makes it a bit too sweet for my liking. So, I would recommend going down to 2-3 ounces and adding more club soda.

St. Germain Sparkler (adapted from Food & Wine)

Ingredients

1 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce Green Hat Gin (or vodka)
2-3 ounces good quality apple juice (or cider)
Club soda
Apple slices for garnish

Directions

In a wine glass filled with ice, add the St. Germain, gin, and apple juice. Stir to combine. Top off with club soda and garnish with an apple slice or two.

 

 

Cocktail Hour: White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fizz

A Feteful Life: White Peach + Blackbery Gin Fizz

Having my kids home all summer has been both wonderful and trying — particularly so on grocery store trips, which they love to do and I always think sounds like such a good opportunity. They’ll be helpful, and they’ll learn how to read prices, and taste new things. And they do. And then they also want everything they see and I end up spending gobs of money on stuff we either shouldn’t eat or couldn’t possibly eat before it spoils. Hence this week’s cocktail hour recipe of fresh fruit. Yes, they NEEDED white peaches. “We LOVE peaches!” But wouldn’t you know that they wouldn’t eat a gosh darn peach once we got home. Cue googling “white peach cocktails.” A lot of sangria results, of which I’m not a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love wine. I just don’t love fruit and wine. And then I ran across a sweet-looking recipe for a white peach fizz using fresh fruit. Add in blackberries + mint and I had a delicious cocktail that used up some sweet summer produce. Win, win.

White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fizz (based on Adventures in Cooking)
Makes 2 cocktails

Ingredients
– 1/2 cup good gin, chilled
– 1 cup club soda, chilled
– 1-2 tablespoons white peach simple syrup* (recipe below), chilled
– 4 blackberries
– 8 white peach slides (4 for muddling, 4 for garnish)
– a handful of mint leaves

Directions
1. Muddle 2 peach slices, 2 blackberries, and a few mint leaves in the bottom of each serving glass.
2. Split gin, club soda, and simple syrup between the two. Stir until well blended.
3. Float the remaining two peach slices on the top of the drink. Serve immediately.

*use less simple syrup (1/2 tbs per drink) if you like your cocktails not too sweet and just add more club soda

White Peach Simple Syrup (slightly adapted from Adventures in Cooking)

Ingredients
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
– 1 white peach, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices

Directions
1. Macerate the white peach slices in a small saucepan with the sugar and water.
2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Then strain peach pulp out and reserve syrup. Keep the syrup refrigerated until use.

A Feteful Life: White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fizz

A Feteful Life: White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fizz

A Feteful Life: White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fiz

Date Night In: At the Bar Dining

My husband and I love to sit at the bar when we go out to eat. I think the fact that we get to sit next to each other (without the smirks that same-side table sitting draws) makes for an intimate dining experience. We like to share small plates with each other and that’s easier to do at the bar. Plus it’s something you absolutely can’t do when dining with kids, which is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish when out for an evening by ourselves. So I’d love to recreate that set-up at home for a date night in. We already have a bar in our kitchen, but here’s what else I’d pull together for a nice evening ….

A Feteful Life: Date Night In At Bar Dining

1. While we have a breakfast/wine bar in our kitchen, we haven’t invested in any bar stools yet. I love these CB2 acrylic ones — they’ll keep it nice and open (and I hate when bar stools don’t have a foot rest for us not tall people!)

2. Bar snacks are a must and this mix of smoky popcorn and Japanese rice crackers looks fabulous.

3. My husband and I both love Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown — it’s a great mix of culture, food, politics, and travel. And booze. I think it would be fun to put this on an iPad on the bar as background while we eat. Just like a bar.

4. We almost always order oysters on the half shell when eating at a bar (as long as it’s the right place to order such things). I haven’t dared try to do these myself, but I think I might have to. Plus, crushed ice.

5. I’m normally not much of a champs girl (it gives me a headache), but lately I’ve been drinking a lot of French 75s when we go out. They pair perfectly with oysters and include my other favorite spirit: gin. (I’m seeing a Green Hat Gin French 75 in my near future).

6. I still have a stack of monogrammed paper cocktail napkins from when I set up my husband’s bar tray for him. They’d be a fun addition to date night.

 

Fete Local: New Columbia Distillers + Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

Well, it took two fete locals for us to feature a local distillery, which is about two more than I thought it would. Fortunately, we recently found our way to a tasting of the fabulous Green Hat Gin and a tour of the first craft distillery in DC since prohibition: New Columbia. Co-owners Michael Lowe and John Uselton graciously showed us around their distillery, explaining their craft and how they opened up shop. Oh and pouring a few small tastes of their outstanding gins, of course.

New Columbia currently distills a classic gin and two seasonal editions (a Spring/Summer and a Fall/Winter) — we’ve had all of them and they are all truly delicious on their own or in a cocktail. I particularly like the Spring/Summer edition, which features floral cherry blossoms (from a local florist) and rosemary sunbaked in John’s own backyard. How’s that for local? Plus, keep your eyes peeled for a rye whiskey on which they’re currently working.

In addition to crafting fantastic gins, New Columbia boasts spectacular graphic design (from local Design Army) and an awesome backstory to their gin’s name (it’s the moniker of the legendary bootlegger to Congress). AND you too can check out the New Columbia Distillery, which opens its doors for free tasting and tours every Saturday from 1 – 4 pm. Father’s Day is right around the corner and we can pretty much guarantee that dads would appreciate a tour and tasting far more than another bad tie (or good tie, for that matter). We intended to take both Mr. Fetes with us, but they were too busy being awesome dads. Don’t worry, we picked up a little something for them from the Distillery’s retail store. But if you can swing it, a tasting and tour followed by eats and drinks at nearby Union Market would be fabulous. Also, if you really want to get involved, get on the Distillery’s bottling party list — if you’re lucky, you might get picked to help label and bottle a batch.

If you are just looking for the gins, the Distillery retail store is open Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. They are also in an impressive number of retail stores, restaurants and bars throughout DC, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware (you can check out all the DC spots right here). Pick up a bottle of the Spring/Summer edition and get busy making one of the Distillers’ favorite cocktails: Michael likes a classic gin + tonic and John’s into a Summer Rickey variation (btw, we learned that the Gin Rickey is DC’s official cocktail and you can expect to see something from us on that soon!).

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

A Feteful Life: Green Hat Gin

Cocktail Hour: Cucumber Cilantro Gin Fizz

A Feteful Life: Cucumber Cilantro Gin Fizz

Clearly Mother Nature took note that summer season “officially” kicked off on Monday because it has been hot and muggy here in the Nation’s Capital. After the horrible winter we had, I made a promise to myself not to complain about the hot weather this summer. So, no complaining here – I’m just stating the facts, it’s hot and humid. Which happens to be excellent weather for a nice, refreshing cocktail. Perfect!

I was feeling a bit creative this week and came up with a new cocktail with ingredients I generally have on hand during the summer – cucumbers & cilantro. If you’re not a cilantro fan, I’m sure mint would be a great alternative. But I’m a big fan of herbal cocktails and I think the subtle cilantro flavor is perfect in this drink!

Cucumber Cilantro Gin Fizz (by A Feteful Life)

Ingredients

2 ounces of gin (preferably our local favorite Green Hat Gin)
3-4 thin slices of cucumber + 2 slices for garnish
3-4 sprigs of cilantro
.5  ounce simple syrup (recipe here)
2 dashes of Scrappy’s lime bitters
3 ounces mineral water (or club soda)

Directions

Add the 3-4 slices of cucumber, cilantro, simple syrup, and bitters to a shaker. Muddle the cucumber and cilantro. Add the gin and about a half cup of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass with a large ice cube or two. Top off with the mineral water and add the additional cucumber and a sprig of cilantro for garnish.

Cocktail Hour: Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic

A Feteful Life: Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic

As soon as I saw this Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic from A Cozy Kitchen, I knew I had to try it out for my next cocktail hour. It takes a bit of work, but it was totally worth it. And with strawberry season just rounding the corner, I expect a lot of these in my house in the near future (although I’m theoretically back on to a clean eating kick, so I might have to play around with substituting something for the sugar — thoughts?!).

Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic (A Cozy Kitchen)

Ingredients

– 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
– Scant 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
– Pinch of sea salt
– 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– Handful of fresh basil
– 4-6 ounces of your favorite gin

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, add the strawberries, along with the sugar, pinch of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. Allow the strawberries to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. In a blender, add the strawberries and all their juices. Pulse until the mixture resembles a puree. Give it a taste and adjust the sugar accordingly. Run the mixture through a sieve, discarding the seeds and pulp. You should end up with a scant 1/2 cup.

2. To assemble the cocktail, divide the basil leaves between glasses. Muddle the basil leaves, being sure to press the stems, with a muddler. Fill all the glasses with ice cubes. Pour in 1 to 2 ounces of gin, 2 to 3 tablespoons of strawberry mixture and top with tonic. Give the mixture a good stir and garnish with basil flowers and a few turns of freshly ground pepper.

A Feteful Life: Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic

 

A Feteful Life: Strawberry Basil Gin + Tonic

Cocktail Hour: Blood Orange & Gin Spritzer

A Feteful Life: Blood Orange & Gin Spritzer

I think I have a club soda problem. I’m addicted. Especially when it comes to cocktails. This light and refreshing cocktail uses a combination of blood orange soda and plain club soda, mixed with gin & bitter campari. It’s slightly sweet, slightly bitter and oh so delicious.

Blood Orange & Ginger Spritzer (by A Feteful Life)

Ingredients

1 ounce gin
1 ounce campari
blood orange soda, like San Pellegrino (I got mine from Trader Joes)
club soda
clementine, thinly sliced

Directions

In a tall collins glass, mix the gin and campari. Add ice to the top and top off with blood orange soda and club soda to taste (the more blood orange soda, the sweeter it will be). Garnish with a thinly sliced clementine.

 

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