Monthly Archives: August 2013

Earl Grey Tea Vodka

Adding further evidence to my making-fancy-flavor-infused-booze-is-the-easiest-thing-ever theory, I experimented awhile back with infusing vodka with Earl Grey tea in an attempt to re-create a cocktail I had at the Bourgeois Pig in New York called the “Cold Toddy.” The name still doesn’t make sense to me, because Hot Toddies usually have bourbon or whiskey in them, not tea or vodka. In any case, it must have been seasonal, because it’s not on the menu anymore, but you should still definitely go there if you are in New York and want an amazing cocktail.

Right, back to the infusion. Here is how it works: take a 750mL bottle of vodka, pour it into a mason jar (wider mouth makes it easier to get the teabags in), add two bags Earl Grey tea (any brand), let sit for approximately 3 hours (the more time you leave them in, the more intense the tea flavor), strain if there are any loose tea leaves in the liquid, chill, and serve. Seriously, that’s all there is to it. You can drink it on its own over ice, or use it to make Cold Toddies (feel free to rename as you see fit):

2oz Earl Grey tea vodka

juice of one lemon

2 teaspoons honey

soda water

Shake honey, lemon, and vodka in a cocktail shaker, pour over ice, and top with soda water. Honey takes awhile to dissolve, so you’ll have to shake well. Garnish with a lemon twist if you want to get all fancy with it. Happy mixing!

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Wedding Cocktails!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I got recently got married. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. Me being me, I wouldn’t throw any kind of party without a signature cocktail, or in this case, two. We knew we wanted a bourbon cocktail and a champagne cocktail.

The bourbon cocktail was fairly easy to decide on. After test-driving a couple different recipes, we settled on the Lady Shirley, with some slight modification, because, well, I just can’t ever seem to follow a recipe exactly. The recipe I found online gives you a pretty sweet little cocktail, which might be perfect for some, but here in the Savage-Liszanckie household we like our bourbon cocktails a little stronger. My recipe was more like: 2oz bourbon, 1/2oz grenadine, 1oz lemon juice (or about half a lemon if you’re squeezing them fresh), top with soda water.

We served them in mason jars. They were delicious.

We served them in mason jars. They were delicious.

The champagne cocktail took a little more experimentation to settle upon. Luckily we have plenty of willing guinea-pigs…er, friends, who very patiently drank the cocktails and gave me their opinions. Tough job, I know. What we ended up with was the Feathers McGraw, named after our favorite Wallace and Gromit character. The inspiration for this cocktail came from Martha Stewart, but of course I made a few changes. First, I made a mint-infused simple syrup. For the cocktail recipe, I upped the amount of Campari and Champagne, and lowered the amount of grapefruit juice and simple syrup. What can I say, Martha’s recipe just wasn’t boozy enough for me. Recipe for this one: 1oz Campari, 1/2oz mint simple syrup, fill glass 3/4 full with champagne (approx 4oz), top with a splash or two of grapefruit juice. The result is something like a grapefruit-y mimosa with a boozy Campari kick. Delicious!

The original Feathers McGraw. Ours was just a tasty tribute.

The original Feathers McGraw. Ours was just a tasty tribute.

The great thing about both these cocktails is that you can easily make them by the pitcher for a party…or a wedding. Just keep the proportions the same and increase by the number of cocktails you want to make. I promise, your guests will be impressed. Happy mixing!

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Simple Syrup Infusions

Sooooooo it’s been a really long time since my last post. Lots of life changes between than and now. I quit my job! I got married! Also, I made a lot of cocktails, probably too many to blog about, but I’ll do my best. First up: simple syrup. For those not familiar with it (and believe me, you WANT to be familiar with it, simple syrup is used to sweeten up fruity cocktails. You can buy it pre-made at Bevmo, but where’s the fun in that when you it’s so easy to make at home?  Simple syrup is called “simple” for a reason. Here is the recipe: 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar. Heat the water just below boiling until all the sugar dissolves. See? I told you it was simple.

The great thing about making your own simple syrup is that you can infuse it with almost anything, which is a great way to add extra flavor to your cocktails and impress your friends. “Oh this? It’s just a ginger-infused simple syrup. I made it myself. NBD.” You don’t have to tell them how easy it is, it’ll be our little secret. After the sugar dissolves in the water, turn the heat down as low as it goes, add anything you want for flavoring, stir and taste occasionally until the flavor strength is to your liking. Unlike liquor infusions, with simple syrup it’s best to stick with just one flavor. Some ideas for simple syrup flavors include: ginger, vanilla bean, lavender, mint, lemon zest, jalapeno peppers…feel free to experiment. We all know I’m obsessed with mint, so my latest experiment was a mint-infused simple syrup. Look for an upcoming post where I use the syrup in a cocktail. Happy mixing!

One bunch of fresh mint.

One bunch of fresh mint.

Mint in the sugar-water mixture.

Mint in the sugar-water mixture.

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