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Prosecco Granita

Despite the fact that I just got my contracts for teaching in September (it always feels weird planning my life months ahead), it is spring, you guys! 

Yeah. For real. It’s here. 

Prosecco Grenita

I’m starting to think about what plants I want to put in my garden (yes, I know, I’m super late this year), and day dreaming about patios and patio parties. 

Rhubarb and asparagus are in at the Farmer’s Markets, which always makes me super happy, because those are always the first fresh produce I buy to mark the coming of spring. 

This is also the time of year that I start to think about ordering or buying white wine as opposed to a more robust red. Rosé is always a good bet this time of the year, or, let’s face it, pretty much anything with bubbles. 

Prosecco is always a popular option—light and refreshing, bubbly and dry—Prosecco is, for many people, the go-to drink for celebrations both small and large. 

I wanted to pay tribute to this lively white wine, but I also wanted to incorporate some spring and summer elements into it, so I made it into a granita with rhubarb. 

Granita is an italian dessert, or it’s sometimes served between courses as a palate cleanser. It’s a lot like an ice or a sorbet, but you don’t need an ice cream maker to make it, just a pan and a fork and freezer. 

The finished result isn’t creamy like ice cream. The texture is rougher, more grainy, but it’s an incredibly refreshing way to finish a meal. 

Another way to enjoy this is by putting a couple scoops of it into a wine glass, and then topping it off with fresh, sparkling Prosecco. It’s kind of a cross between a cocktail and an amped-up Prosecco. The granita will also keep your drink colder, longer. 

The tart rhubarb plays nicely with the dry wine, I think. 

Give it a shot and tell me what you think! 

Prosecco Granita

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup prosecco
  • 1/2 cup chopped rhubarb
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • lemon zest
  • 1 tsp citrus water (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water, sugar and rhubarb up to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer until the rhubarb is soft. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice, lemon zest and citrus water if using. Stir. Allow to cool, then place into a blender and puree.
  2. Add the prosecco to the rhubarb puree and stir well to combine.
  3. Pour the mixture into a metal 8″x8″ square cake pan and place in the freezer. After about 30 minutes, remove from the freezer and scrape it all over with the tines of a fork. Place back in the freezer, and continue to scrape it every 10-15 minutes until you get it to the right texture.
  4. Store in a container in the fridge. To serve, scoop into pretty glasses and garnish with a little mint.

La Taqueria: Small Space, Big Flavors

Last week I got invited down to the Hastings location of La Taqueria to sample their new cocktail menu.

Now, I have to say, I don’t think it’s weird for a taco place to be small. In fact, I think the most legit ones are. But this location of La Taqueria, which was Vancouver’s first (they now have 6), is tiny. There’s a bar, and a few seats, maybe 20 people can fit in there at most.

La Taqueria Cocktail Menu

But what they can do with that tiny kitchen and bar??!? Let’s just say that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The overall effect is kind of like hitting up a mom-and-pop taco stand somewhere in Mexico, but with really great cocktails.

La Taqueria owner, Marcelo Ramirez, enlisted the help of Simon Aukett for creating the new cocktail program. Recently moved here from London, UK, Simon has been making magic at the Keefer for the last couple of years. Here, he turned his attention to creating spins on classic cocktails, but using tequila and mezcal as the base spirits.

Simon Aukett La Taqueria

I love cocktails. I drink a lot of them. Whenever I go into a restaurant, I love to sit at the bar so I can watch the bartenders and ask them questions. And what’s important to a really good cocktail is not the base spirit, or the garnish, or the flourish with which it is presented. It’s whether or not the cocktail is balanced. You want it to be not too sweet, but not too acidic, either. You want bitter notes, floral notes, maybe some heat if it’s warranted. But overall, it needs to balance, and all La Taqueria’s new cocktails, whether heavier or lighter or spicy or not, were beautifully balanced.

La Taqueria Nachos

Oh–and because it’s never good to drink cocktails on an empty stomach, you should probably eat something, right? I love restaurants that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, and La Taqueria is very much that. The guacamole is chunky and the chips are freshly-made. The nachos come with sweet corn and a chipotle crema that sings. And you can’t leave without trying the churros (which are baked and not fried to avoid cross-contamination), which come, of course, with dulce de leche for dipping.

La Taqueria churros

Okay, the cocktails!

They run the gamut from light, summery sippers, similar to a margarita (if that’s your jam, look for Shifting Sands or Sunset), to heavier cocktails with warmer spices, heat and smoke.

I really enjoyed the lighter cocktails, but it’s March, and it’s gross out, so heavier and more warming are where it’s at right now.

Bad Hombre La Taqueria

The Bad Hombre is warming alright: the base is Wild Turkey, with a little mezcal for smoke. It also has ginger, chartreuse, and habanero, which gives it quite the kick going down. it’s warm and spicy.

Sangre Y Humo La Taqueria

I also really loved the Sangre Y Humo. The base spirit here is Mezcal, but with some beautiful floral notes from hibiscus, herbaciousness from cilantro, vermouth and orange to even it out.

And speaking of warming, it doesn’t get much warmer than Sinner Man. The name is a play on ‘cinnamon,’ as the cocktail is garnished with a still-smoking torched cinnamon stick. It starts with 3-yr-old Havana rum, and includes saffron and grapefruit, and falerhum, a mexican-spiced rum. Very tasty.

The new cocktail menu at La Taqueria launches this weekend, do yourself a favour and get out of the cold and into some warm food and cocktails.

La Taquria

322 W Hastings St.

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