The following article I wrote for Daring Bakers. Click here to see the Daring Bakers site and article.
Mix Shake Stir: Recipes from Danny Meyer's Acclaimed New York City Restaurants is the perfect book for me. I have been wanting to try different drinks instead of the usual Margarita or Gin 'n' Tonic. Not that I would ever give those drinks up.
I guess because I am a foodie who is always curious about new foods, then it would only follow that I would be curious about new cocktails. I'm not a big drinker but a tasty little treat of a drink is just the thing I want to help me relax on a Saturday night. Mix Shake Stir has just the types of drinks I want to try.
The bartenders that whirl the drinks together in Mix Shake Stir use fresh ingredients that are in season and encourage local produce as well. “Our menus are seasonal so we use plenty of fresh fruits and herbs, like lavender, in our cocktails during the spring and summer. In the fall and winter we might incorporate pumpkin, quince, pear, and apple flavors.” Eleven Madison Park bartender. They combine flavors so that when you sip a drink you get layers of flavor, rather than just the taste of alcohol.
The first drink I tried was the Cucumber Caipiroska (see pic above). It's made with cucumbers, lemon and vodka. I would have never thought to put that in my drink or even think to order it at a bar. The flavor was amazingly refreshing. I can so see a tall one in my hand this summer.
The next drink I tried was a Jack Rose. A mixture of Applejack, grenadine and lime juice. A little strong for me but I did like the flavor quite a bit. I added a splash of club soda to lighten it up a bit. It will definitely warm you up on a cool autumn night.
For a large party I made Sangria. I doubled the recipe believing that it would be amazingly delicious and would disappear real fast. Indeed it did. Very tasty. I used fresh pineapple in mine as it calls for 3 1/2 cups of fresh fruit.
While the book had many good features to it, there was only one downfall for me. The book recommends different brands of liquors for different drinks. While I do not have that type of money to have three different types of gin or vodka, it is interesting to know that they lend themselves better to certain flavors.
The nice thing about having a lot of alcohol available for different drinks is that it can often be used in many food recipes: Vodka for Vodka Penne Sauce, Sweet liquors such as Grand Marnier for a whole host of desserts and Rum for Rum Cake, just to name a few.
If cocktails are calling you like they have been calling me then I highly recommend this book. It suggests unique flavors to make classic, casual and fancy drinks. There is also a section for bar snacks. This book is sure to please the typical foodie who is interested in venturing out into the mixed drinks arena.Summer Sangria
Adapted from Mix Shake Stir, Little, Brown and Company
6 cups Merlot
2 cups simple syrup
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 oz rum
3 oz gin
1 oz triple sec
1 oz brandy
3 1/2 cups chopped pineapple
1 orange segmented
Mix and use lots of ice.
Now, excuse me while I go try a strawberry ginger mojito...