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Bloody Mario

It is no secret that we are not fans of tomato juice. Consequently, we have never written about that famous classic, the Bloody Mary. Of course, we recognize that many of our readers probably enjoy this morning pick-me-up and it has been somewhat irresponsible to ignore it for so long. We thought it might be time to set aside our foolish challenges and come to the table with a working recipe. And then it hit us: While we may not like tomato juice, we absolutely love pizza! It's a wonder we hadn't thought of this before.

Just in time for spring, and for all of our fellow pizza lovers, we give you the Bloody Mario. No, it has nothing to do with video games or mustachioed plumbers in colorful suspenders. This is an honest cocktail, modeled after the Bloody Mary, but one with more Italian flair. Think of it as

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Coffee Cocktails

Coffee flavor in cocktails is nothing new. Classic recipes like Mexican and Irish Coffee are legendary. You also have coffee liqueur which shows up occasionally in recipes (one of our favorites is the Curfew cocktail), not to mention how easy it is to make an infusion. Drop a dozen beans into a bottle of vodka and in just a few days you have coffee vodka for a very interesting "martini". We happily admit to hosting more than one party with a creamy and sweet espresso cocktail on the menu! All playfulness aside, some readers know that we are actually pretty serious about coffee. We roast our own beans, pull shots of espresso at home, and we don't mind sharing our experience and knowledge with others. Ok, we are coffee snobs (this is the Pacific Northwest, after all) but we still get excited when new products come around that

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Pama Frost

Happy New Year!

Over the years we have done plenty of experiments with ingredients, often recommending to our readers that it's okay to adopt a playful attitude of trial and error when it comes to recipes. Sometimes it's a result of substitutions for not having the right ingredients, but more often it comes down to personal taste. There are recipes that call for very specific proportions, but most of the time it makes more sense to taste the result and adjust as necessary. For instance, adjustments are almost always expected when balancing sweet and sour. One never knows how much acid is present in a volume of citrus juice, and personal taste can affect what you consider "balanced". We tend to lean toward the sour side, but we understand that some recipes are meant to be sweet. Time and experience can transform your idea of a good cocktail.

Today, we

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Barrel Aged Cocktails Without the Barrel

Let's jump right in with the details: We are using toasted oak chips and a charred oak stick in a mason jar to age scaled-up portions of our favorite drink recipes. The results are—in a word—amazing. We could also say surprising, or even easy. Given the fact that we have done true barrel-aging in the past, we were pleased to discover this time-saving alternative that produces results that are similar, if not better than the traditional method. It's so simple, in fact, that we plan to keep it going so that we always have aged, pre-mixed cocktails in the house. This is also so much more satisfying given the limited investment. It's hard to justify not doing this. If you have been thinking about making barrel-aged cocktails but haven't had a chance to track down a barrel—or perhaps you don't want to spend the money on

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Le Coco

We love the "hunt" for ingredients to reproduce something delicious at home. Even after amassing an embarrassingly complete inventory of possibilities, this drink forced us to collect a few things we were missing. We recognize that not everyone will have the ingredients to make this cocktail—in fact, most of you probably won't—but for those of you adventurous enough chase down a few items—even if it means making some creative substitutions—please join us and share what you think of this unique creation.

First, we need to credit the drink's inventor, Tom Lindstedt, bar manager at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, OR. There are so many fantastic places to eat in Portland that it's almost impossible to justify returning to the same place twice, but we keep going back to Little Bird. So far, we have never had a single bite that wasn't totally satisfying and delicious (the cassoulet is wonderful!).

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Figgy Pudding

Over four years ago we had the pleasure enjoying a few drinks at the Strip Club, a wonderful little steak joint in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to serving its delicious namesake New York Strip done several different ways, the place also has a wonderful cocktail program. In fact, the Strip Club blossomed in this regard relatively early in the Twin Cities cocktail scene. At that time, the number of places serving great cocktails in both Minneapolis and St. Paul could arguably be counted on one hand. Still, these guys were already veterans of house made tonic, bacon-infused bourbon, bitters and so on. One such masterpiece was a drink that is no longer on the menu called Figgy Pudding.

The original concept is based on whiskey that has been infused with butternut squash. This was combined with a muddled black mission fig

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Raspberry Shrub

The concept of balancing sweet with sour in cocktails has been around for a very long time. Most of us associate lemons and limes with the acid side of that formula, but there are more ways than citrus to add sour to beverages. One solution common in the culinary world is vinegar. Coupled with fruit and sugar, this is known as a gastrique, but in liquid culture we call it a shrub.

Shrubs or drinking vinegars may not sound like a good idea to many people. We think this negativity probably comes from the idea that when a wine turns bad, it transforms into vinegar, and you don't want to be sipping bad wine! And yet, nobody has a problem using it to make salad dressing. The truth is, shrubs have been an important part of drinking history since the 15th century. And although the origins may be traced back

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