Archive for Boozy

Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash

Earlier this week, I left you with a non-alcoholic cool-me-down drink, but today’s version is for the grownups.

I should just say (and not to be a downer here) that you should probably watch the amount of alcohol you consume in the summer, as it is dehydrating. Yes, I know, a delicious cold beer or cider is super refreshing on a hot day, but just be mindful.

Okay! PSA over! Let’s talk gin!

Gin Smash Cocktail

Gin is a fantastic summer drink. It’s light and refreshing, and has floral notes from the juniper. It pairs beautifully with lighter ingredients, like cucumber, mint and citrus, which makes it even better for summer sipping on a patio or beside a lake.

One of my favourite local producers of gin is Victoria Distillers. They’re located in Sidney, which is right as soon as you get off the ferry onto Vancouver Island, if you are taking the Tswassen–Swartz Bay route. I was driving through Sidney recently, and I had to stop and see where they made my favourite purple gin. Victoria distillers

You see, a couple years back, Victoria Distillers launched a new product. It’s called Empress 1908 Gin, and it’s made with Empress tea (yes, from that Empress hotel) and butterfly pea tea, which is what gives it its unique purple colour. You know how obsessed I am with butterfly pea tea, and it’s super cool, colour-changing properties. Empress Gin ingredients

The distillery is just a couple years old, and built right on the water. They have a gorgeous tasting room, shop and bar out front (complete with patio on the water) and in the back, they distill and bottle their various liquors (which include gin, a bourbon-barrel aged gin, and several vodkas). Victoria distillers plant

They are open every day from noon, so you can stop by yourself and check the place out, try some spirits, or have one of their creative cocktails at the bar.

By the way, the purple gin has done so well for them, that they are now bottling up 6,000 per week, and receiving orders as far away as Japan and Bermuda. That is a BC success story if I ever heard one!

Here’s my recipe, inspired by my visit. It’s kind of a cross between a mojito and a G&T, though there’s no tonic needed here. Feel free to top it up with some if you like.

Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash

Blueberry Cucumber Gin Smash

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz gin
  • 10 blueberries
  • 2″ round of cucumber, chopped rough
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 1/4 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • ice

Method

  1. In the bottom of your cocktail shaker, place the blueberries, cucumbers and mint. Muddle well together (this is the “smash” part, get it?).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and the ice. Shake well until the outside of the cocktail shaker is frosted.
  3. Strain into a glass with fresh ice, and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a few blueberries.

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.
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