Jan 022012

For those of you still celebrating the New Year, here’s a recipe from Apartment Therapy/thekitchn.com that will send the old mimosa packing like last year’s hemline.

Spiced Citrus Champagne

Basically a simmered simple syrup of honey, lemon zest and whole spices including cinnamon sticks and star anise.  A bit of the spiced simple syrup concoction, a splash of fresh orange  juice (I used Meyer lemons for both the juice and the zest), topped with your favorite sparkler (Prosecco here).

A more sophisticated flavor profile than your traditional mimosa, but still an excellent brunch beverage.  The spices are subtle but don’t get lost in the juice.  I first used Meyer lemons in place of both the regular lemon (zest) and orange juice, as I prefer a tarter drink.  I did a sample with the orange juice, too (just for comparison).   I actually like it both ways, but they are two very different drinks.  The Meyer Spiced Citrus is tarter, and I think you get the hit of the spices in a slightly more pronounced way.  The OJ Spiced Citrus really brings out the honey notes from the simple syrup.  Both are well worth tasting and completely delicious.

I love this drink.  Thanks to the folks at The Kitchn for introducing me to what may be my new favorite brunch beverage!

Nov 152011

Did you guess?  Shaker One has begun making her own cranberry liquor.

While browsing thekitchen.com at apartment therapy (I love that site, it’s a daily stop of mine), I ran across a post on making your own cranberry liquor.  I love cranberries.  My great grandmother would finely dice cranberries by hand to make her holiday cranberry relish (imagine the labor in the days before food processors!).  I like to make a cranberry martini using her relish recipe around the holidays.  But when I saw the post I thought, ‘hey, wouldn’t cranberry liquor be a lovely addition to champagne?  Sort of a holiday champagne cocktail!”……..so off I went to the store for fresh cranberries.

The recipe couldn’t be easier.  Simply add chopped cranberries and simple syrup to vodka and leave in the fridge for 3 or 4 weeks, shaking or stirring every other day or so.  I added a cinnamon stick, a vanilla bean, the rind of part of an orange and a couple of cloves to give it a greater depth of flavor.  The shot above is from day 2.  Right away the cranberries imbued the liquids with a lovely deep red color.  When I first mixed everything together all I could smell was the vodka.  Now after 2 days I’m beginning to smell the cranberries as well.  I can’t wait to sample it, which I plan on doing at the end of each week-just to see if any adjustments are needed.

I’ll check back in in a week or two to let you all know how it’s coming along.

Of course, now all I can think about are cranberry champagne cocktails.  Sigh. Oh well, I’m told patience is a virtue.






Jun 032011

Ah lemon, is there anything this beautiful sunny citrus can’t do?  Precious little, according to the Shakers.  Shaker One adores all things citrus.  And no better citrus on earth than the beloved Meyer Lemon.  Sadly this seasonal beauty eludes us for part of the year.  Each late winter/early spring Shaker One juices, zests, preserves and curds pounds of the gorgeous golden orbs.

What is curd?   Well, take a handfull of lemons, some eggs, some butter, some sugar and a bit of alchemy and you have a lovely custardy velvety substance known as “curd”.  Usually something one spends serious time at the stove stirring and stirring, thanks to a post at Apartment Therapy- the Kitchen, you can now make this easily in your microwave!  Now often this deliciousness is poured into tarts or pies.  But what does a Shaker do with her curd? Why, she makes martinis!

Feeling creative one night and rooting through her fridge, Shaker One spied a small bottle of meyer lemon curd and thought: this should really be a martini!  And behold- the Lemon Meringue Pie-tini was born.


Equal parts vodka and curd shaken over ice (either plain or vanilla if you prefer a sweeter end result).  Creamy and tart/sweet.  Shakers One and Two give this lovely creature 4 3/4 olives-both the sweet vanilla version and the regular slightly more tart girl.  If you use a regular lemon curd we would recommend you opt for the vanilla vodka…it needs that extra kick of sweetness that the Meyer version already has.  And if you wanted to get fancy, you could even add an egg white to get the ‘meringue’ layer on top.  But don’t stop at lemons~try key limes, regular limes, blood oranges……whatever citrus you have on hand.  Not as sweet as many dessert martinis, it makes the perfect end to a summer dinner.



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