Slippery Slope Cocktail
One of my favorite blogs about crazy country living is Going Country. Updated daily by the often quirky and always hilarious Kristin, it has introduced me to wonders such as sheep on the beach and pillows that freeze to the wall. Last January Kristin challenged her readers to help her name a new cocktail which incorporated mulberry juice, vodka, and seltzer. Since the mulberry tree from which said juice was extracted is located on a steep slope, and since attempting to gather the mulberries while hundreds of fallen berries created a mushy mess on the ground results in sliding down the slope, this cocktail was aptly christened the “Slippery Slope“.
Now before moving to the Midwest my only reference point for a mulberry, was the children’s song about here-we-go-round-the-mulberry-bush. I envisioned something similar to a blueberry bush with small berries. Little did I know that these “bushes” are actually 30′ high trees with berries that will turn you a permanent shade of purple if you just look at them. (Which makes the second verse of the childrens song “this is the way we wash our clothes” all too appropriate!) In fact I think birds take great pleasure in eating mulberries and then leaving bird “graffiti” on any patch of clean deck or driveway, which no amount of scrubbing will remove. This year I decided that the birds shouldn’t be the only ones having fun and set out to find a mulberry tree for myself.
In the woods behind our house Mr. B and I found three mulberry trees surrounded by brush and laden with ripe black fruit. We got busy and started to pick the berries, careful not to slip on the squishy goo below our feet. I popped a few berries into my mouth and discovered that they are quite juicy, with a sweet almost herbal flavor. They are also full of seeds. *Spit*. Once we had picked a bag full of berries we emerged from the brush and I glanced down at myself. I was covered with purple stains that ran from my lips to my fingers to the bottoms of my feet. What a mess!
Back at home we rinsed the berries, and then gently simmered them with a little sugar to extract the juice. After carefully straining out all seeds and stems (thank heavens for a black sink) I poured the juice into jars while Mr. B located the vodka. Mixed together with a bit of seltzer and orange liqueur this drink achieved summer perfection. It was refreshing, fruity, and fizzy. The double entendre of the Slippery Slope finally became clear when I found myself staring at the bottom of my glass and wishing for another!
1 1/2 ounces of Vodka
1/2 ounce Orange liqueur (such as Patron Citronge or Cointreau)
1 1/2 ounces of Mulberry Juice*
Seltzer (Club Soda)
Slice of Lemon for Garnish
Fill a high ball or double old fashioned cocktail glass 2/3rds to the top with ice cubes. Pour in vodka, orange liqueur, and mulberry juice. Stir to combine. Top off with seltzer. Stir again, and garnish with lemon slice.
Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups of juice
5 cups fresh mulberries
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
In a medium sized heavy pot, combine mulberries and sugar. Place over medium-low heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the liquid has reached the top of the berries, about 20 minutes. Sir occasionally, pressing down on the berries to help extract liquid. Once liquid has reached the top of the berries, remove the pot from heat and cover. Let steep and cool for 30 minutes.
Place a fine meshed strainer over a medium bowl and (working in batches if necessary) strain berries and liquid into the bowl. Press down repeatedly on the berries with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard crushed berries and seeds. Pour strained liquid into clean jars, and seal with lids. Juice will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Note: Kristin cans her mulberry juice (see her comment below) but I have yet to overcome my fear of the water bath. This recipe is NOT a canning recipe.
Mulled Apple Cider with Rum
Once I finally had my own kitchen, mulled cider quickly became a regular in the winter drink rotation, and Mr. B has heartily welcomed the addition. The combination of mulled cider with a cinnamon swizzle stick and an (optional) jigger of rum will thaw out the coldest of noses and is easy to make for just one person or to warm up an entire sledding party.
Recipe from Williams-Sonoma
2 Tablespoons mulling spices
Rum (optional) Directions:
Pour apple cider into a small pot and place over medium heat. Measure mulling spices into a tea infuser. (Or cut a 2″x2″ square of cheesecloth, place spices in the middle, pull corners up around spices and tie closed with kitchen string to create a small satchel.) Place infuser or cheesecloth satchel into the cider, and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 20 minutes to infuse spices into the cider.
If you’re using rum, pour 1 1/2 ounces of rum into the bottom of each mug. Add one cup of mulled apple cider into the mug, stir with a cinnamon stick and serve.
Left Coast Cosmopolitan
Left Coast Cosmopolitan
2 oz Tequila (Patron Silver is great, avoid using aged tequila)
1/2 oz Cointreau (Triple Sec works too)
1/2 oz Cranberry Cocktail Juice (100% cranberry juice is too strongly flavored)
1/2 lime, juice only
Place a martini glass in the freezer to chill about 10 minutes ahead of time.
Using a cocktail shaker, pour all ingredients over ice and shake to chill. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lime slice and enjoy!