Category: Drinkery

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Hello Daiquiri

Making cocktails has been an interest of mine dating back to my early twenties. I was fascinated by drinks that tasted great but weren’t simply masking the flavor of the spirits involved. While throwing some vodka in twelve ounces of juice certainly makes a drinkable drink, it lacks something in the romance and presentation department. Making a drink can be a soothing ritual. When I made my first Long Island–at a time when I abhorred both gin and tequila–with just a splash of soda and touch of lime I was hooked.

How could something that was basically just booze be so delicious?

That said, I am not a mixologist and have never tended bar. I am however, an engineer, and I live for improving things where I can. I get to make drinks for Michelle and myself at home and enjoy striving for perfection as well as keeping things interesting. Otherwise, we’d probably just drink negronis or whiskey all the time. While there are worse fates, it’s easier to keep an appreciation for your favorites when you toss in a martini, daiquiri, aviation, or martinez every once and a while.

So about daiquiris…

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Food swap haul

Apple Pie Moonshine and My First Food Swap

Despite being from South Central Pennsyltucky, I had never heard of the magical elixir that is apple pie moonshine until a few years ago when my friend Maria gave me a jar. I’m not generally one for sweets, but I am an apple cider fanatic and it hit all the right notes. Sweet for sure, but still maintaining the crisp distinct apple flavor with just a hint of cinnamon. Liquid apple pie.

Shout out to Kevin and his beautiful handwriting

Shout out to Kevin and his beautiful handwriting

This jar came with a warning, however, and thus so shall this recipe. This stuff may taste like dessert and be totally devoid of the an alcohol bite, but it is strong. Apple pie moonshine is mean to be sipped, shot, or added to cocktails. It’s delicious straight, but go easy. It creeps up on you.

Ingredients

1 gallon apple juice
1 gallon apple cider
2 cups brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks, or more to taste
1 pinch apple pie spice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle Everclear
1 (750 milliliter) bottle vodka

Assembly

This is the world’s simplest recipe. Combine everything but the booze in a large (and I do mean large) pot and simmer on the stove for an hour. Then, let it cool completely, add alcohol, and bottle.

I made a batch for last week’s Philly Food Swap and it was a bit hit. Turns out swappers love a jar of booze (I knew you guys were my people). It was my first time attending a swap, and I can’t believe I waited so long. I think I was partially intimidated by the overwhelming amount of talented home cooks that come. Either way, I could not be happier that I finally joined in the fun. It was an absolutely whirlwind of an evening that resulted in a gorgeous haul of homemade goodies lovingly crafted by local bakers, canners, and cooks. I even came home with a batch of home-cured bacon.

Food swap haul

That’s right, I snagged bacon, cheese, AND gin.

Gorgeous, right?

I’m already brainstorming my contributions for next time since the word on the street is that swaps may be happening quarterly (please let it be true!) and I want to get creative. If the rumors are true and a spring swap is on the horizon, I think I see some foraged gifts in my swapping future.

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Classic Cocktail of the Month: Negroni

 

Gin was the first hard liquor I fell in love with. I started slow with gimlets and G&Ts as I worked my way up to dry martinis and, of course, Negronis. I don’t know how my infatuation with gin started, but it happened fast and as early as 21 I was saving up for bottles of Hendrick’s and Blue Coat so I could have something to savor for months. Top shelf gin was my designer shoes. I even enjoy it on the rocks–cannot get enough juniper.

So it seemed only fitting that the first cocktail of the month be gin-based. And being that I’ve recently begun a love affair with bitters (more on that later), the Negroni was the clear choice.

Negronis are a perfect before or after dinner cocktail because they act as a digestif. The bitterness of the Campari stimulates digestion and either kickstarts your appetite or settles your stomach after a large meal. They’re also boozy, delicious, and incredibly simple to make.

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You’ll need:

1 oz Campari
1 oz of your favorite gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
A fresh orange peel

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and top with equal parts Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth.
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Stir until chilled through, then strain into a rocks glass over a large rock. Ice spheres and oversized cubes are perfect for negronis.

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Express an orange peel by gently bending it length-wise by the lip of the glass and spritzing the essential oils over brim.

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Give the brim a quick swipe with the peel, coax it into a twist, and garnish.

Ta-da! Negroni.

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