Archive for Boozy

Cherry Basil Vodka Cocktail

I love how here in Vancouver, we are slowly but surely making a name for ourselves in the world of booze. It started with the Okanagan, and the wines that are grown and produced there. Then, it spread closer to home, with the proliferation of micro- and craft-beer breweries. It’s such an exciting time to be living in this city! The variety of these new, locally-brewed beers, wines and ciders is inspirational.

cherry basil vodka cocktail

The next wave of artisanal booze is spirits. There are lots of great things happening in the city right now, with Long Table, Liberty, Odd Society, Sons of Vancouver, and others brewing up gins, vodkas, and even amarettos.

The newest guy to join this cavalcade of craft spirits is Sid. Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka, to be exact. Located in Delta, this brand-spanking new distillery is putting out some pretty great product.

For me, the mark of a really good spirit is if you can sip it, neat (or maybe on the rocks), solo. No mix. Just the spirit by itself. If it tastes good, if it’s smooth, that is the hallmark of a good liquor.

sids handcrafted vodka

So, of course the first thing I did after I cracked open my bottle of Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka was try it, neat. And it’s good. Smooth and easy to sip.

The second thing I did was make a cocktail out of it.

Now, it’s August, which means it’s stonefruit season, and that means cherries. This recipe combines sweet with savory, which is one of my favourite things right now.

I actually juiced up some cherries in my juicer to make this, but you could just as easily buy some ready-made cherry juice.

This would make a great end-of-day cocktail, to be sipped while watching the world go by from your porch or patio. I actually served this at brunch, and it was a pretty good match. For brunch, though, I’d serve it in a champagne flute, rather than a martini glass.

cherry basil vodka cocktail

Cherry Basil Vodka Cocktail

(recipe courtesy of Big Oven)


  • fresh basil leaves
  • 1.5 oz cherry juice
  • 1.5 oz chilled vodka (I used Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka)
  • sparkling wine to top (like Prosecco)


  1. The day before, place 6 basil leaves (one in each of 6 holes) in an ice cube tray, cover with water, and freeze, so that you have ice cubes with basil leaves frozen inside them.
  2. Place one basil leaf in your glass, and lightly muddle it. Add two frozen basil ice cubes to the glass, then pour over the vodka and the cherry juice. Give it a bit of a stir. Top with sparkling wine and serve immediately.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Beer Sauce

I feel like most people associate a cold beer with a hot, summer day. I know, I know, there are those of you out there who are happy to drink beer any day, any time. I’m not really that person. In the winter, I tend towards red wine and warming cocktails, but in the summer, I always crave something lighter. More refreshing. Cold. Something that will slake your thirst on a hot day.

I never learned to love hops, so I tend towards beers that are lighter, and I really like fruit beers and wheat ales. There’s something about a fruit beer that is extra summery–like drinking whatever fruit is currently in season.

panna cotta with raspberry beer sauce granville island brewing

I’d had the Granville Island Brewing False Creek Raspberry Ale in the past. It’s a seasonal beer, and a really wonderful one for the summer.

But, you know me, I’m never happy to just drink something! I have to make something out of it.

Many people use beer with meat dishes. It makes a great stewing liquid for pork or beef, imparting flavour and tenderness to the meat. But I’m not much of a meat eater, and those kinds of dishes feel more like they are for the winter to me.

So I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, and I decided to make a dessert.

I love panna cotta in the summer. Like beer, it’s cool and refreshing, so why not pair it with a sauce that incorporates the beer?

The sauce turned out to be simple, but delicious. There are hints of vanilla throughout the dish, which is nice alongside the raspberries. I added a little cardamom for earthiness, and the hops in the beer keep it from being too sweet. The raspberries are what really sing in this dish, though. They are the seasonal star of the show.

panna cotta with raspberry beer sauce

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Beer Sauce

For the panna cotta, you have two options:

Vegan Panna Cotta (made with coconut milk and thickened with agar)

Regular Panna Cotta (made with cream and thickened with gelatin)

Raspberry Beer Sauce Ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup raspberries
  2. 1/4 cup Granville Island Brewing False Creek Raspberry Ale
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
  4. 1/8 tsp vanilla beans
  5. 3 cardamom pods


  • In a small saucepan on top of the stove, place all the ingredients and gently bring up to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the cardamom pods.
  • Place the sauce in a blender and blend well. Strain to get out the seeds.
  • Unmold your panna cotta onto a plate and drizzle with the raspberry beer sauce. Garnish with fresh berries and enjoy.


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