I take my vacations pretty seriously. I also happen to take my cocktails pretty seriously. That's why during my first week of vacation in Atlanta I decided we should have a different cocktail for happy hour everyday. And so we did. There were some hits and some misses but all in all it was an awesome week of tasty drinks. This is the life, my friends. This is the life.
THE RECIPE: Using this recipe from Tyler Florence, I made a fresh pineapple and jalapeno puree and added the homemade simple syrup to it. I then added that mixture to a pitcher of margaritas using this ratio 1:2:2 for lime juice, triple sec, tequila. THE VERDICT: Very good. Very strong. If you don't love spice I would be careful with the jalapenos here. These had a pretty serious kick.
THE RECIPE: About a tablespoon of fresh peach puree + about a tablespoon of fresh strawberry puree + 1 part St. Germaine Elderflower liquer + 1 1/2 parts prosecco. Just mix 'em all to taste, guys. You can't really screw this up. THE VERDICT: A favorite among the tasters for sure. These were the perfect sweet and fruity summertime thing to sip on. And boy oh boy did they go do smooth. And quickly. (You've been warned).
THE RECIPE: One of my favorite locals back in NYC has an insanely delicious drink called The Herbacious Mojito. It is absolutely to die for. And this was an attempt at recreating that. I infused some vodka by adding a big bunch of cilantro and a deseeded jalapeno to about two cups of vodka. I covered it and let it sit for a few days so the vodka would take on those flavors. Once it was time to make the cocktails, I muddled cilantro and fresh lime in the bottom of the glass and then added about a shot of the infused vodka and filled the rest of the glass with club soda and ice. THE VERDICT: This was probably the biggest miss of the week. During the infusing process, the jalapeno totally took over. The overwhelming taste was burning! I tried to save them by adding some simple syrup and pineapple juice for sweeteness, but it was a lost cause. This recipe needs some work. Hey, they can't all be winners.
THE RECIPE: I am insane for the strawberry and basil combination these days. Something about those two flavors really works for this lady's taste buds. So I wanted to make a cocktail that celebrated the deliciousness of this pairing. I muddled some fresh strawberries, basil and simple syrup in the bottom of the glass and filled the rest with ice, a shot or so of vodka and some club soda. This was not flavorful enough so I made a quick puree of the leftover strawberries and basil and poured some of that in each glass. THE VERDICT: OMGPERFECTION. 6 billion thumbs up. This was my favorite cocktail of the week by far. I will make this again and again for the rest of my days here on planet earth. Also, take out the vodka for a perfectly delicious and refreshing non-alcoholic treat. Although I don't know why you would do something like that. Kidding. Ish.
THE RECIPE: And lastly, this Martha Stewart concoction had been on my "to-make" list for awhile and now was a perfect time to give it a whirl. I followed the recipe almost exactly except I used simple syrup instead of rock candy syrup (whatever that is) and I omitted the coconut rum drizzle at the end (only because I didn't have any). THE VERDICT: Not amazing, but definitely showed promise. They just weren't coconut-y enough for my taste. I could not find the recommended brand of coconut milk and the kind I got was not very sweet. So if I make these again I will try to track down the Funkin coconut milk.
All in all cocktail week was a raging success and met with rave reviews from the tasters. My sister helped me create all of the cocktails and is a dream to collaborate with. We'd make one hell of a bartending team. The only problem is we would drink everything we made and be fired within one hour. But at least we're fun.