Blueberry Martini

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We’ve taken a week off work this week, to getaway and relax a bit.  For a variety of reasons, I’ve had a very busy and very stressful couple of months, and the last couple of weeks seemed to really put me over the limit.  So I’m really glad that we booked this week off last February, with no particular agenda except that it seemed a logical time to take some vacation.  We knew we didn’t want to go far, and after moving “our youngest” and driving back and forth to Toronto in a single day with a van full of her belongings, another couple of days driving was out of the question.  But – it goes without saying that whatever we do, we’ll be driving there.  How can you shop when you’re on a plane?  And you miss the landscapes!  And by the time you get up early to get to the airport a couple of hours ahead of your flight and then the time after you land but before you can get off the plane because now you’re driving around the tarmac in your 727 – well, I’m not sure you save any time unless you’re traveling cross-country.  In our case, we set 7 hours as our outer limit – and wanted a quiet spot, with a nice Marriott hotel, maybe some decent shopping nearby and not too far from a larger city if we really got bored.  We found just what we wanted in Park Ridge NJ.  Never heard of it!?  Neither had we!  But it’s exactly what we wanted – and so far have no complaints at all!

Ironic then, since New Jersey is the home of some of the best blueberries in the country, that one of the cocktails we tried but that I hadn’t posted yet, is a Blueberry Martini!   So, even though we only make our cocktails when we’re at home, I”m able to post a new one while we’re on vacation!  Sometimes it pays to get a little behind!  This one is a gorgeous blue colour (although not as blue as the Blue Monday).  It’s not as sweet either, and might actually benefit from a bit of Simple Syrup – but you’d have to try it to see what you think.  I guess I was expecting something a bit fruitier – and this was more refreshing than fruity or sweet.  Not one I’d rave about – but certainly had no trouble enjoying it either!

Blueberry Martini (serves 1)

handful of fresh blueberries (about 20 small)

1 1/2 ounces vodka

1/2 ounce blue curaçao liqueur

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

several berries skewered on a cocktail pick

Muddle the blueberries in cocktail shaker.  (yes – muddle – if you don’t actually have a muddle, just find something you can squish them with).  Add the vodka, curaçao, and lemon juice. Fill the shaker with cracked ice.  Shake vigorously to help the blueberries release more colour and flavour.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a chilled martini glass.  Add the garnish.

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Stoli O Delicious

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I’m so far behind it’s making me crazy!  “Our youngest” is moving this weekend, which means we’re the ones renting a cargo van, assembling her furniture and belongings that are still residing at home, loading them on the van and moving it all to her new address in her new city.  The past few weeks at work have been so busy that I can’t look more than a day ahead I’m running so hard to keep up.  I wonder why I don’t return personal calls when I have some time to relax, but its because I don’t do that “relax” thing much – unless you count flaking out on the sofa about 9 pm after I’ve made and eaten dinner.  Oh sure, maybe there’s 15 or 20 minutes between getting home and starting dinner, when I watched some TV – but aren’t I allowed 15 or 20 minutes to just do nothing?!  It has to slow down soon – or I have to start saying “no” and giving myself “me” time every day, and not feel guilty about it.  Ah, there you go, the female condition!  The guilt for putting yourself first.

Anyway, once we get “our youngest” moved, we begin a week of vacation.  No work.  No work calls.  No work emails.  No need to boot up the work laptop at all!  In fact, I left the work laptop at work!  Yay!  And today’s Friday – so all of this busy and moving and impending vacation calls for a special cocktail.  My darlin’ was busy too, and ended his week with mowing the lawn and collecting things for the move – so I thought I’d be the mixologist tonight.  And I chose something called a Stoli O Delicious.  And it was!  Very lemon-y, slightly but not too sweet.  As my honey said, “refreshing!”.  And it was – totally!  I really liked it, and it was just the thing for a warm summer evening.  My only complaint was that it looked, well, sort of bland.  Sort of pale hint of yellow hazy.  And no garnish.  So, if you want something that tastes good, and don’t care if it looks good – this is your drink.  And if you figure out a way to make it look good, without changing its taste – please post to let me know!

Stoli O Delicious (serves 1)

1 ounce orange vodka

1/2 ounce peach schnapps

1/2 ounce limoncello

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with cracked ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into chilled martini glasses.  Serve immediately.

Memphis Belle

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 I’m missing my honey!  He left 2 days ago for a business trip, and although he calls and we chat, I don’t understand how he enjoys being sociable with a bunch of people he’s never met – something I’m not good at.  I’d sooner be alone in my hotel room when not in meetings, than be in a bar with people I don’t know.  So, it makes me anxious – and certainly tests my trust.  And I hope he’d be as trusting if the situation were reversed.  Anyway, his absence means I’m left with my “young son” alone at home with no mixologist! (as opposed to “my oldest” – “young son” is actually 32 years old!)  So, after a fairly good day at work, I arrived home to my son who had decided he would fill his step-dad’s shoes tonight by selecting, then mixing, tonight’s cocktail.

Now, before I could indulge, I got an SOS from our “baby girl” – our youngest daughter working and living in Toronto and about to move into her first apartment!  After rooming with our good friend for years, she has finally found a room-mate she feels she can live with, and an apartment in the right area and is about to move in.  But not without some drama!  The tenant who has been living in “her” apartment was to move out June 1st.  Instead she isn’t moving out until noon June 30th!  And our darling daughter is getting “her” apartment at noon on the 30th.  Which is causing her no end of angst!  Plus having to arrange for her parents (that’s us!) to get a van in Kingston, pack and move her things to the apartment, plus arrange to move things from her current address plus arrange for delivery of her new bed – and coordinate it all to happen on the same afternoon.  Well!  It has just about put our dear heart over the edge!  Poor girl!  So, I listened and did my best to be supportive – but I”m not sure I hit the mark.  But after listening to our “sweetie girl” and her dilemma, I certainly was ready for my cocktail!

So,what had “young son” decided on for tonight?  Well, he had about 8 cocktail books to choose from, and he chose a Memphis Blue.  He thought perhaps we’d had one before – but, although we’ve had blue cocktails, I didn’t recall a Memphis Blue.  Even our “youngest” thought it sounded familiar when I mentioned it during our phone call.  But no, we haven’t.  Know how I know?  Because it isn’t a Memphis “Blue”!  It’s actually a Memphis “Belle”!  Oh!  It isn’t even blue!  There’s nothing blue in it! There was a bit of initial confusion when “young son” thought that orange bitters was the same as the “orange” flavour in Blue Curacao.  I explained that “orange bitters” is  a totally different ingredient.  It took a sip or three to come to conclusion about this one.   The drink itself isn’t particularly pretty to look at, but you can’t judge a book by its cover or a drink by its colour.  Its not sweet, but only slightly tart.  It’s not boozy, but definitely potent.  Its certainly smooth, there’s nothing harsh about it.  It might not please everyone, but on a hot summer day or a sad evening, I don’t want sweet – I want something like this.  Not fancy or pretty, just a good drink.  It might be just what you want too.  A good one to add to your arsenal.

Memphis Belle (serves 1)

1 1/2 ounces brandy

3 or 4 dashes angostura or orange bitters

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

3/4 ounce Southern Comfort

Garnish; lemon twist

Add all ingredients except the garnish to a shaker filled with ice; shake well.  Strain into a chilled martini or cocktail glass.  Add the garnish.  See what you think!

Golf Links Highball

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My honey and I like golf.  He likes to play.  A lot!  I like to play too, but I’m not quite as obsessed as my honey!  And we both like to watch golf.  Summer weekends begin each day with my darlin’ leaving about 7:30 am to play a round with his regular group of guys, followed by settling down later in the afternoon to watch whatever PGA tournament is being played that week.  I enjoy this.  When we get to golf together we have complete, uninterrupted time with each other – no phones, no television and no work to intrude on our time together.  Just a sunny day and a beautiful landscape!  And when my darlin’ heads out on Saturday and Sunday mornings – well, I get to begin my day slowly, and do whatever I want to do for the first few hours of the day – which surely isn’t “domestic duty”!  I can read a book, look at my latest cooking magazine, go shopping, watch a recorded TV show or catch up with friends or family on the phone.  And in the late afternoon, when we come back together after we’ve each spent time on the “to do” list we’ve been storing up all week, and we plop down on the sofa with a glass of wine and some snacks – and we tune in to this week’s show – well that’s what I call “quality time”!  So – OK!  Its a win/win for me – yes, golf is a good influence in my life!

But, as much I like golf, when my honey said tonight’s cocktail would be a Golf Links Highball, I had my doubts!  A golf drink?!  What the *#!?  Really!?  The cocktail book this recipe comes from says two things about this drink; first, that its an “invigorating and revitalizing amalgamation”, and second, it wasn’t served at the Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh, Scotland that boasts the oldest surviving records of a golf game played there in 1456.   The drink itself IS refreshing – and in spite of having 3 kinds of alcohol in it, you wouldn’t guess from the taste.  Its actually very smooth, and slightly fruity without being overly sweet.  Or, maybe I’m just becoming desensitized to alcohol!  And I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a scary thing!  Eek! Anyway, make this and you can judge for yourself!

Golf Links Highball (serves 1)

1 1/2 ounces rye

3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 ounce pineapple juice

1/4 ounce dark rum Club soda, chilled

Fill a highball glass three-quarters full with cracked ice.  Add the rye, vermouth, lemon juice, pineapple juice and rum.  Stir slightly.

Fill the glass with club soda, almost to the stop.  Stir well.  Now, go channel surf for a good golf game and settle in!

Scarlet O’Hara

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I’ve fallen behind with my posts!  I blame it on busy workdays and short evenings.  Some nights I get home from a long day of work around the time other families are sitting down to watch their favourite “prime time” TV shows after having eaten dinner and cleaned up the kitchen.  My brain is fried, and truthfully, I’m a bit bitter that my evening is going to be so brief.  Because, as much as I want to enjoy a leisurely relaxing evening – I know I have to get up early, so getting home late doesn’t mean my evening begins later – it means my leisure time is cut short!  This was exactly the situation on a recent evening, when I arrived home to be greeted by my darlin’ with a cocktail recipe picked out, the necessary ingredients lined up on the counter and a kiss as I came through the door.   I exhale and the stresses of the day are instantly reduced!

I don’t know if it was coincidence, because this particular day the actress (Ann Rutherford) who played Scarlet’s sister, Carreen, had died at age 94.  I’m quite certain my honey had no idea!  But he made us a Scarlet O’Hara.  “Janis Joplin’s favourite drink was a Scarlet O’Hara” he says.  Then, a minute later, he says “Actually, I think it was Southern Comfort!” – the principle liquor in this cocktail.  In any event, it is a delicious concoction!  Slightly on the tart side, and not the least “boozy” – if you like a Cosmopolitan you’d like this!  We certainly did!

Scarlet O’Hara (serves 1)

1 1/2 ounces Southern Comfort

1 1/2 ounces Cranberry Juice

1/2 ounce Rose’s Lime Juice (real lime juice is too tart)

Garnish; maraschino cherry

Pour all ingredients except the garnish into a cocktail shaker filled with ice; mix well.  Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice or a chilled martini glass.  Ass the garnish and enjoy!

Bananarama

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I was talking to a young woman today as my honey and I were trying out a new restaurant for a late Saturday lunch.  As we finished our meal in the near empty restaurant, we struck up a conversation with our waitress.  She told us about being a young single parent of 3 children after ending her marriage of almost 9 years, and I was reminded of my own struggles.  I was instantly transported and recalled, not just memories, but how I felt wondering about meeting someone that I could share life with – and sharing in a real way – to actually have a partner to experience life’s ups and downs beside me, who I could talk to about things, make decisions with, recall events with, watch sunsets with, experience new landscapes with, share favourite things with and create new memories with – I always hoped but was never quite certain it would happen.  So, that little conversation caused me to see again the dramatic shift in my life since my darlin’ swept me off my feet.  Its been almost 7 years since we married, and I never lose sight of how much better my life is with him in it!

After lunch we went by the LCBO, it was “vintage release” day!  When we finally got home we had many more bottles of wine, and had worked up a thirst for a cocktail.  While at the LCBO we picked up a small booklet called Tiki-licious – 28 Island Inspired Cocktails.  Perfect timing!  So, with this for inspiration, my honey made us a Bananarama.  It tastes just like it sounds – all fruity, banana, pineapple yumminess!  Just like you’d imagine you’d drink in Tahiti or Bali.  My honey even said he could have had another – that’s the first time he’s said that about one of our cocktails!  High praise!  So, I recommend yet another one!

Bananarama

1 ounce Bacardi Gold rum

1/2 ounce banana liquor

4 ounces pineapple juice

To a cocktail shaker filled with ice add gold rum, banana liquor and pineapple juice.  Shake sharply and strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a banana slice and prepare to dive in!

Woo Woo

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What a good day!  Today I had my “teacher” hat on, and was working on a joint project with my “student”, and it went so well – we accomplished all we needed to and still had time to chat and get to know each other a bit.  And it turns out we have some common interests – one of which is a love of wine – so! we should get along just fine!  For the first time this week I was able to come home by 5 pm, and my honey was already here!  Its a treat to have so much of the evening with him this time of year as he loves to golf and often goes out about 4 pm, getting home about 8 or 8:30.  So – tonight I’m in a happy place.  Just about to dive into a bowl of guacamole my “young son” has made for us to enjoy with tonight’s cocktail.

Our beverage tonight is a Woo Woo.  I think my darlin’ just wanted something we had the ingredients for, and it was very simple to make.  And let me tell you – its a hit!  In fact, it may be the first cocktail that all 3 of us agree on!  It looks like a cosmo, but tastes quite peachy.  The book says you can “woo your friends” with this one, and I have to agree.  I think its a real crowd pleaser!  It really has nothing to do with Venice, except that I was totalled wooed by that city and can’t imagine anyone not feeling the same way.

Woo Woo (serves 1)

cracked ice

2 measures vodka

2 measures peach schapps

4 measures cranberry juice

Fill a cocktail glass halfway with cracked ice.  Pour the vodka, peach schnapps and cranberry juice over the ice.  Stir well to mix and sip away!  Yum Yum!