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: 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: Serrano Watermelon Limeade

A Feteful Life: Serrano Watermelon Limeade

I’ve been on a real roll “cooking” with watermelon, which I find hilarious because I’ve never really been a big fan of it. I know — who doesn’t like watermelon!? It just doesn’t do much for me on its own. But I’m finding that I love incorporating it into other dishes and drinks. I was so intrigued by Food52’s Jalapeño Watermelon Limeade, but the only hot peppers I had on hand were serrano. So I decided to give it a go and it was delicious! Spicy, but well balanced by the watermelon and lime. Refreshing, but not boring. And surprisingly easy to make for a watermelon drink — no straining involved.

Serrano Watermelon Limeade Cocktail (slightly adapted from Food52)
(makes 2 servings)

Ingredients

–  4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
– juice of 2-3 limes + more citrus for garnish
– 10 slices of serrano pepper
– 1 – 2 ounces vodka per serving, if desired

Directions

Place cubed watermelon into a blender and blend until smooth. Add lime juice and blend again.

Drop in serrano pepper slices and allow to infuse for about 20 minutes. I suggest tasting about 1/2 way through to check the heat (just don’t actually taste the pepper!). If you don’t love a lot of spice, you might wish to remove the peppers before 20 minutes.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the pepper slices and blend the juice again. Pour over ice and stir in vodka. Garnish with lime wedges.

If you don’t want to make it alcoholic, substitute sparkling water for the vodka.

A Feteful Life: Serrano Watermelon Limeade

A Feteful Life: Serrano Watermelon Limeade

Cocktail Hour: Rhubarb Basil Cocktail

A Feteful Life: Rhubarb Basil Cocktail

Apparently I’m on a bit of a pink cocktail kick with the Elegant Spice a few weeks ago, the cocktail inspiration with the cherry blossom party and now this pretty little one! It must be all that dreaming of spring. And, you know it must be spring when you start to see rhubarb pop up at the grocery store and farmers markets. Yay!

Rhubarb Basil Cocktail (from theKitchn)

Ingredients

3 medium basil leaves
3 tablespoons rhubarb puree (recipe to follow)
1.5 ounces vodka
club soda

Directions

Put the basil in the bottom of a glass and press with the back of a spoon to bruise slightly. Add the rhubarb purée and stir. Add vodka and ice cubes and top with club soda. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Rhubarb Puree (from theKitchn)

Ingredients 

12-13 stalks of rhubarb
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Directions

Chop the rhubarb into small, 1/2-inch pieces. Put in a medium saucepan with the sugar and water. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft.

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and purée until smooth. Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the rhubarb through the strainer, pressing to get as much of the rhubarb out as possible. Discard the leftover fibrous bits.

Use rhubarb purée in this cocktail or pour over ice cream. Yum!

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.