May 252012

With Memorial Day Weekend upon us, I’m reminded that Summer is practically here.  Time to dust off the bbq and find some fun new recipes to try out.  I ran across this one at and was intrigued.  I happened to have a container of dried hibiscus flowers in my pantry (It’s like Felix’s magic bag of tricks, you never know what I’ll pull out) and was excited to use them.  The last time I made a cocktail from them, and the reason I purchased a big old jar, was for a signature drink for a cocktail party and I was underwhelmed at the taste.  Thus, they sat way back in the dark collecting dust.

And then I saw this:

Hibiscus Rum Cooler

The color grabbed me right away…..a rich jewel-like red.  I made the recipe just as it appears.  This is a really uniquely tasty punch, perfect for a summer bbq or picnic.  The recipe itself has a low proportion of booze in it, but you could adjust the quantities as desired.  I ended up adding a bit more simple syrup, something I almost never do, as it was a tiny bit more tart than I wanted.  Hibiscus flowers give a tartness that is vaguely reminiscent of cranberries, yet retain a hint of a floral note.  And the mint lends a mojito-like feel to the drink.  I disagree with the writer, this does not taste at all ‘lemonade-y’ to me.  In fact, I think it would also be great with a higher percentage of the lemon/simple syrup to the hibiscus tea.  I made one with club soda, one with ginger ale (which added a nice bite to things) and one with prosecco.  All were enjoyable.  I’ll make this again when I have friends over for a gathering.  It’s nice to have a pitcher drink to save the hostess from individually shaking each cocktail.

Note: I recommend removing the fresh mint leaves after a few hours, or the base will become overwhelmingly minty.

I shall have to take another look at hibiscus (available at any Mexican market or online).  This is refreshing and unique.

Give it a try~

May 042012


Tonight we bring you a tropical twist on a classic cocktail you’ve seen on this blog before:  the Gimlet.

Now a classic vodka (or gin) gimlet conjures up dimly lit dives with dangerous dames waiting to wreck your life for a smile.  Ok, I’m a sucker for all that is Raymond Chandler.  This little lady is what Philip Marlowe would order while tracking a shady character to a tropical locale.

The Pineapple Gimlet~

Muddled fresh pineapple and chunks of ginger root, fresh lime juice, Rose’s lime, vodka-all shaken with ice and strained out into the glass.  Sweet and tart at the same time, with a subtle hit of heat from the ginger.  If you prefer a sweeter drink (the fresh pineapple provides plenty for me), add a bit more Rose’s lime.  This is a delicious drink.  You can taste all the individual ingredients, yet they dance in the glass to somehow become a new flavor blend.  I love it.

4 3/4 Olives.  Perfect for a summer bbq, luau, or just whenever you want a mini vacation in a glass.

Happy sipping and happy weekend!

Apr 012012

I suppose we could make some joke about the Shakers renouncing all alcohol, it being April Fool’s Day and seeming to be the thing to do around the blogosphere.  But aside from the fact that our light posting of late would make a few casual readers take the bait, anyone who knows us would roll their eyes so violently that I fear we’d be responsible for a terrible rash of Marty Feldman look alikes.   We certainly don’t want that on our heads.  <shudder>

So rest easy in your glasses Shaker pals, we’re just as thirsty and beverage curious as always.  Here’s hoping that spring will bring new ingredients, new inspirations, and some damn free time to actually relax and have a cocktail or three.

Now I think there’s an unfinished bottle of prosecco in my fridge crying out for company.

Happy Sipping!

Mar 172012

Shakers One and Two would like to wish all of our friends a safe and happy drinky day.  And while neither of us are really much for the whole green beer thing, we somehow found a way to put a little Irish in our evening.


The Irish Coffee Martini


3 ozs strong brewed coffee, cooled

2 ozs whiskey

1 oz vodka

1/2 oz simple syrup (or use raw sugar/brown sugar in the cocktail shaker if you prefer)

Heavy cream whipped with about a teaspoon of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons Baileys


Apologies for the poor photo quality, but Shaker One was too anxious to taste this to fool around with fancy photo taking.

I love Irish Coffee.  This is all that is right about a perfect Irish Coffee but chilled.  The vodka takes a bit of the whiskey bite out without losing the flavor.  The Baileys give the heavy cream topping an amazing depth.  I over whipped the cream here, which doesn’t make for a pretty drink.  But it tastes amazing.  You can either sip it as is and the coffee part grabs some of the cream with each sip, or stir it up for a drink that Starbucks can only dream of serving.

Thankfully St. Patrick’s Day comes only once a year, or these would become a dangerous habit.

Shaker One gives this 4 3/4 olives.

Now go find your leprechaun!


Jan 072012

Shaker One has been craving tacos all week.   Well, actually I’ve been craving my home made spicy salsa.  As I was making up a big batch of the stuff last night ( it’s so good I will eat it by the spoonful), I wondered what would go with it.  I’m not a big beer drinker aside from the occasional Pacifico.    There was a partially consumed bottle of prosecco in the fridge, but prosecco and tacos?  I don’t think so.

Then I spied my basket of citrus and had a brainstorm:

The Meyer Lemon Margarita~

I pride myself with making an excellent margarita, always with fresh juice- no bottled “mix” stuff.  So I made a batch of half meyer lemon juice and half lime juice (both freshly squeezed).  Into the shaker that went with some tequila, triple sec and ice.

A note on the Triple Sec/Cointreau/Grand Marnier  debate:  I always have triple sec in the house.  I don’t always have Cointreau or Grand Marnier.  That’s often the deciding factor for me.  Now if you’re making a fancy dessert by all means get yourself some GM.  And if you’re having a taco party (Taco Party!!) and want to make your guests feel special, pick up a bottle of Cointreau.  It does have a more complex orange flavor than triple sec.      But in a pinch triple sec is fine.

Now back to the marg.  Shake that baby up, strain into a glass and choose your garnish.  I like my margaritas rocks/partial salt, so you can get a little hit of it if you choose without coming away with a mouthful on each sip.  Balance in all things.

I used the following proportions, but feel free to adjust your sweet/tart levels:

2 shots tequila

2 shots mixed meyer/lime juice (must be fresh)

1 to 1 1/2 shots triple sec

dash of orange bitters to finish and lime peel to garnish

Do note that the meyer is a sweeter lemon, so you won’t need as much of the triple sec to balance it as you would with regular lemon.  And I did briefly consider making it will all meyer juice (no lime), but lime is such an integral component of a margarita that it just didn’t feel right.

I took a sip and actually said “wow!”.  Aloud.  This is one delicious twist on the classic margarita.  It is somehow fresher, with the sweetness of the meyer coming through nicely.  I’ll be making these again, at least as long as the meyers hold out.




Jan 022012

For those of you still celebrating the New Year, here’s a recipe from Apartment Therapy/ 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!

Jan 012012

Wishing a happy and healthy 2012 to all of our friends and fellow cocktail aficionados.

And for those of you who are not nursing the after effects of over imbibing, I bring you a twist on the cocktail I created to wind down the end of each fabulous day spent in Paris last spring:

The Rue St. Roch

Named after the street where our apartment was located and made on the fly with local ingredients in our makeshift kitchen bar (two tumblers served as a cocktail shaker), this makes a light and sophisticated nightcap.

2 shots vodka (here I used Tito’s)

1 shot orange muscat dessert wine (I found a similar option to the bottle that was in every Parisian liquor store)

1 shot Lilet Blanc

Shake over ice, strain into glass and top with a generous splash of San Pellegrino Limonata.  A slice of lemon rind finishes the drink.

Delicious and subtle, Shaker One gives this cocktail 4 3/4 olives.





Dec 312011

Over the holidays I was gifted with a bottle of bubbly unfamiliar to me.  Described as “Russian champagne”, it sat in my fridge waiting to be sampled.  Last night I opened it and shared an early New Year’s toast with a friend who had tasted it before in his travels to Eastern Europe.


This is one of the loveliest bubblies I’ve tasted.  It has a slightly floral nose, almost as if it’s been sprinkled with a bit of St. Germain and rosewater.  Though it’s a bit on the sweeter side, the sweetness is a fruity one not a sugary one.  We went through this happily, wishing we had another bottle.  I will be thanking my friend not just for the lovely gift of the bottle, but more for introducing me to what will surely be a favorite celebratory beverage.

I just hope The Candy Store carries this.

Dec 292011

I freaking LOVE Christmas. I love the decorations, the food, the drinks, the friends, the gifts and I adore some of the seasonal favorites that are brought out this time of year ingredient and product wise.

Peppermint ice cream, eggnog, panattone, pumpkin this and gingerbread that… such deep, spicy, rich flavors that come out. It is like a beautiful holiday parade of flavors that, I think, is unmatched at any other time of the year.

Now, I know we focus on martinis and other festive drinks here at The Red Shaker.. and I am not adverse to extolling the virtues of hot toddies, mulled ciders and wines, wassail and eggnog spiked with all sorts of tasty liquors, but today, I am going to take over The Shaker and share one of my favorite Christmas morning breakfasts – and one I had neglected for a few years (BAD me!)

Eggnog French Toast.

Oh yes, that glorious, creamy, rich beverage is not just for sipping anymore. Mix that stuff with a couple eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, pinch-o-nutmeg and soak some cinnamon raising bread in it and you have yourself and amazingly decadent version of the classic. I top with a touch of real maple syrup and a side of sausage and it’s a Christmas miracle on a plate, my dears.

The other rendition I have is with another holiday product – panattone.

If you have not tried this lovely Italian sweet bread, you are missing out. You can find it in Italian markets and even your regular grocery stores packed in a box. You can try to make it, but it is a lengthy process that will test your patience (it has to rise for almost a day) but so worth it. You can only imagine, in addition to the traditional ways it is served – that this lovely, slightly sweet bread, would make ROCKIN’ French toast. (I don’t use the eggnog for this one, that would be overkill – which is good in a shaker, but not on a plate.)

As we take a bit of time to wish everyone a very merry, happy and glorious holiday season, enjoy the moments with family and friends.

And keep shaking it up while we get ready to ring in 2012!

Dec 272011

I was recently at a friend’s house and she offered me a beverage. Knowing her gifts in the kitchen, I easily accepted to see what she had come up with cocktail wise. As she was pulling out various bottles, she handed me a little bowl of cherries and told me to try them. I’m game, so I popped one in my mouth, hoping it was not one of the typical sad little maraschino cherries… I really should trust my friends – it wasn’t.

I could not quite identify the liquor they were soaked in. There was a bite along with the sweet cherry – but nothing too insanely rough to the mouth. She pulled out a jar and showed me the label. I had had my first moonshine cherry.

She had finished mixing up the drink and plopped a couple into the beverage and I took a sip. Lovely. This was her own concoction of a pomegranate martini that was really lovely.Pom liqueur, lime juice, vodka, orange juice and moonshine cherries. Being that we are both silly, as a nod to moonshine’s southern roots, she adorned the glass with a giant plastic insect.

We sat at her table and as we enjoyed our drinks, she told me about a friend of hers that she had given a jar of the cherries. Turns out, her friend hid them from her husband because she liked them so much she wanted them to herself. One night, my friend was visiting their home and the woman kept sneaking moonshine cherries. Needless to say, she got a wee bit buzzed and went to the cupboard where she told her husband that he had to try these cherries. He asked “What cherries?” and the cat was out of the bag. He then asked my friend if she would let him know if more cherries were given. When he asked his wife why she had hidden them, she said “I just love them so much.”

If you can find these babies, I say try them out.


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