Tag Archives: beverages

Sweet-Tart Homemade Lemonade (made entirely by the kids)

21 Aug

My son and niece (8 and 11 respectively) had made some sugar syrup* for me last week – they are pretty good with the stove these days and eager to see how things are done.

I actually used most of it for adult beverages (mango-chile mojitos and passionfruit mojitos), but in return for their help, I promised I would show them how to make lemonade. In fact, while they were squeezing the lemons, I was taking a shower, then we just measured and mixed and that was it.

It was extremely tasty and refreshing and very easy (especially for me, because they did all the work) and looked so pretty in a special bottle! We’ll be doing it again very, very soon!

So easy, why would you buy?

So easy, why would you buy?


½ Cup sugar syrup*

½ Cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

2 Cups cold water

Mix together and pour over ice

Makes 3 Cups

* sugar syrup: 1 Cup sugar, 1 Cup water, heated on the stovetop till clear and liquid, then cooled. Keeps in the fridge for a month.


Mango Mojitos With Ancho Chili Salt

15 Aug

It was another summer Friday in the neighborhood and that called for another festive cocktail. Riding high on the success of last session’s passionfruit mojitos, I decided to make mango mojitos. The drink itself followed much the same construction, but the mango was decidedly sweeter than the passionfruit, so I decided that it needed a spike of heat and salt for proper balance.

Assembly line for summer

Assembly line for summer

Ancho chile salt on the rim provided just the right touch.Your lips get hot, your tongue gets salty, then the potent sweetness of the mango and rum drenches your mouth in happiness!

Friday night in the hood

Friday night in the hood

I made enough to take to a Spuyten Duyvil concert at the farm two days later. Once again, big hit (except for the bit about the plastic cups…it is not good form to use one-time use cups in our world, but sometimes it happens; mea culpa)!

Spuyten Duyvil rocking the farm

Spuyten Duyvil rocking the farm

Mango Mojitos with Ancho Chile

3 parts rum

2-3 parts mango nectar or juice

1 part simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water heated until clear and liquid and cooled)

Ancho chile salt

1 Tbs ancho chile powder

1 Tbs table salt or salt crystals

Limes quartered

Mint leaves


Club soda or seltzer

Mix rum, juice and syrup together and place in a container until you are ready to use.

Mix salt and ancho chile powder thoroughly and pour onto a small plate. Rub the rim of your empty glass with lime then twirl the rim in the salt until coated.

Add two or three lime quarters, three leaves mint and muddle thoroughly so you have lime juice in the glass. Add ice, pour the mango mix in and top with a bit of club soda or seltzer.

Two Hot Beverage Hacks: Cider and Cocoa

3 Feb

Yes, I am still here! It has been a good long while, as I have dedicated the last month to home and work (the kind that actually pays the bills!). But here are two quickie upgrades for two nonalcoholic winter drinks and it will only take a moment. In fact, I will steal this one from my own Facebook post of Jan. 5

 Action-packed back-to-school morning! First, the boy rages about having to go back at all, then loses a tooth, then spits out his lovingly prepared warm apple cider accusing me of trying to poison him…I was astonished, until it occurred to me that the cinnamon I’d sprinkled on the top was actually ancho chili powder…..‪#‎oneofthosedays‬
Find the long cinnamon sticks at groceries that ofer authentic Mexican products

Find the long cinnamon sticks at groceries that ofer authentic Mexican products

So, aside from more experimenting with chili and hot apple cider ever since, the usual kid-stamp-of-approval recipe is: Warm the cider in a saucepan, pour into a mug, sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with a cinnamon stick if you’ve got!

My son thinks the disappearing candy cane is so cool...

My son thinks the disappearing candy cane is so cool…

The second is a way to stay cozy and add interest to your hot chocolate. Simply add one of those broken candy canes leftover from the holidays or a hard red and white peppermint candy from the last moderately priced family restaurant you were at to the mug. As it dissolves, it adds minty loveliness to the cocoa! And that’s all for today….stay warm and if you can, stay home!

Hurray for Sissy Drinks! (Two refreshing wine cocktails)

24 Aug

This summer has been too damn hot and (in my part of the world) humid for normal alcohol consumption. On a normal day, I am not a sipper. I am a gulper. Of water, of tea — hot or cold –, and wine, my beverage of choice. Add the hazy, hot, and humid factors and you would think that I was a camel, sucking up everything wet the oasis has to offer.

But that kind of hurry can’t be applied to alcohol. I would keel over and instead of being relaxing or fun, the scene would just get ugly. So in the summer, especially in this summer, I have resorted to what I like to call sissy drinks. Low alcohol, lots of non-alcoholic liquids added, over lots of ice.

You may laugh, you may make unfavorable references to the era of Bartles & James, wine coolers and the like, but it works for me. Especially when you can get a bottle of Portuguese vinho verde with a convenient screw top for $4.99 at my local liquor store and make it last for days , with no craziness, no pain, and no dehydration. Sounds good, right? And anyway I suspect you may already be throwing cubes of ice into your white, or (gasp!) red, in secret. Room temperature in my house right now is 81°. That is no temperature at which to serve wine.

Vinho verde, or green wine, is a very light, slightly fizzy, and somewhat citric wine from the northern regions of Portugal. It only has 9.5-10 percent alcohol usually, compared to 13 or 14 percent in most of the wines I see today. It runs from about $5 – 8 a bottle around here. You can, of course, drink it straight, but it makes for a friendly blending wine too, and at that price, I don’t feel an underlying obligation to treat it with any reverence. This is a cheap date!

So the first recipe is a basic cooler with vinho verde. The second is a very simple Orange-Mango Wine Spritzer (yes, I have said it, spritzer. Spritzer, spritzer, spritzer. And I am unashamed.) that we served at a summer barbecue as a refreshing welcome drink that takes the edge off without being too strong. It was very well received (Nancy and Pat, this one’s for you!). Both recipes are, of course, very flexible, so play with the proportions until you find what you like!

Stay cool!

Vinho Verde Wine Spritzer (by the glass)

1 part Vinho verde

1 part Seltzer

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice (optional)

Pour all ingredients into a glass full of ice, stir, and enjoy.

Orange Mango Wine Spritzer

1 bottle sweet white wine

2 Cups orange mango juice, plus a squeeze of fresh orange juice

Squeeze of fresh lemon

¼ Cup seltzer

(optional garnish: lemon/orange slices)

In a pitcher, mix wine, orange mango juice, and lemon. Top with seltzer. Garnish with fruit. Serve over ice.

White Sangría Two Ways (Pimm’s or Limoncello aka: Limon-hello!)

22 Jul

The weather here in the Northeast has been so hot that TV reporters all over the country are frying eggs and heating pizza in the sun. That’s amusing enough for the evening news, but in my house we prefer to do something with more practical applications.

That would be…experimenting with white sangría!

What could be more refreshing after a day of debilitating heat than fruit, wine and a bit of fizz? Sangría usually takes brandy, but I didn’t have any so I broke out a couple of specialty bottles and we (Maryanne, Ashley and I, mostly Ashley) played around with them until we reached a happy, effervescent and refreshing place, safe from the suffocating claws of the heat wave.

Try these two recipes on for size. Pimm’s is a caramelly British alcoholic beverage that makes me think of big hats and horse races. Limoncello is a sweet-tart Italian elixir I first met when I lived in Rovereto, at the foot of the Italian Alps.

Note: we did not add ginger ale or sugar, except to the rims of the glasses as we found the drinks sweet enough as is, but feel free to add as desired!

Refreshing and ever so pretty!

White Sangría, Two Ways (Pimm’s or Limoncello)

First, cut up fruit as follows:
1 apple, chopped into small pieces
1 peach, chopped
1 orange, chopped
1/2 lemon, chopped and with peel removed

 Place fruit in pitcher.  Then add the ingredients for ONE of the following:

 Ingredients (Pimm’s version):

3 ½ cups dry white wine (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, vinho verde, verdejo)
2 tablespoons Pimm’s
1 orange, sliced into thin pieces for the garnish                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Splash seltzer/ginger ale (optional)
½ cup sugar (enough to coat the edges of serving glasses)

Ingredients (Limoncello version):
3 ½ cups dry white wine
2 tablespoons Limoncello (Limon- “hello!” after a few glasses)!
1 lemon, sliced into thin pieces for the garnish                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Splash seltzer/ginger ale (optional)

Stir and pour over ice.

For the Pimm’s sangria: lay the sugar in a plate, dampen the rims of the glasses and dip in the sugar to coat. Garnish serving glasses with a slice of orange
For the Limoncello sangria:  Garnish serving glasses with a slice of lemon

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