A Bourbon Gal in Utah

cocktails, cookery & occasional domestic badassery

Archive for the month “July, 2015”

Basil Mojito

No mint? No problem! Make your Mojito with basil, instead:

Basil Mojito!  Now does that look refreshing or what?

Basil Mojito!
Now does that look refreshing or what?

Basil Mojito

1 oz. gold rum

1 oz. silver rum

0.5 oz Cointreau or triple sec

juice of 1 lime, plus save hull of ½ lime

5-6 basil leaves

1.5 oz basil simple syrup*

3-4 drops lime bitters

2 oz (about) club soda

 

To a tall glass add lime juice, hulls, and 2-3 basil leaves. Muddle until basil is a bit bruised but not black and in a million pieces. Add all remaining ingredients except club soda. Stir with a long spoon to combine. Fill glass with ice, add club soda to rim of glass. Garnish with basil leaves and more lime wedges.

 

*to make basil simple syrup: to a pint mason jar, add 1 cup sugar, and pour over with just less than 1 cup boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 4-5 large basil leaves, and stir again. Add enough ice cubes to almost fill jar. Let sit at room temperature until cool to touch (about 3-4 hours). Remove basil leaves, seal with lid. Will keep in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

 

The story behind the drink…

Don’t y’all love how much credit “The Grillmaster” gets for charring up a bunch of food? Seriously, and this is with completely gender neutral observation: whoever pulls the stuff off the flames usually gets the credit for the meal, even if another partner in the equation spent most of the day butchering, marinating, making side dishes, and harvesting all that damn zucchini out of the garden. To be fair, in our house my man, The Macallan, and I generally share grill duties 50/50. But when it’s regular old cooking in the kitchen it’s a total 1950s marriage, mostly because I’d like our family to see the occasional vegetable on the plate. Though I love him dearly, the man’s specialties are pasta sauce from a jar, Steakums, and fish sticks with tater tots.

 

My therapist and feminist friends here will have a field day on the analysis of this breakdown, but for the most part it works for The Macallan and I, and it has for years. I really do enjoy cooking (the clean up? Not so much). And I love to grill. But so does he, so when the opportunity to pass the tongs comes along, as it does almost every hot weekend night at our casa, I let him at it. Then I make both of us huge honkin’ Mojitos, and I go cozy up in a comfy chair with a good book and let him take the credit. After all, nothing goes with passive-aggressive martyrdom quite like juicing the hell out of limes and plenty of rum.

 

Sugar House Distilling and Beehive Bitters Company did not pay me to use their products for this story. I just think their shit’s really awesome. I was thrilled as punch the guys at SHD hired me to work on the label copy for their rum and other spirits, hence the lovely signatures from their swashbuckling crew on the bottles. If you’re in Salt Lake City, stop by their distillery, take a tour, and buy a bottle or two. They’re good people. 

 

Whiskey n’ Goobers

Whiskey n' Goober highballs. Along with pickled yummies and white BBQ sauce.

Whiskey n’ Goober highballs. Along with pickled yummies and white BBQ sauce.

Whiskey n’ Goobers

2 oz. peanut-infused whiskey*

3-4 dashes Tabasco or other southern-style hot sauce

3-4 oz. Mexican or full strength Coke

lemon wedge

peanuts for garnish

To a Collins glass or tall Mason jar, add peanut-infused whiskey and hot sauce. Stir with a long-handled spoon to combine well. Fill the glass with ice cubes, top to rim with Coke. Squeeze lemon wedge over top and garnish with a few more roasted salted peanuts. Sip with a straw.

*Peanut-infused whiskey: To a lidded glass jar, add 1/3 cup salted roasted peanuts and 1 cup bourbon or Tennessee Whiskey (I used Jack Daniels). Let sit at room temperature for about an hour, gently shaking contents whenever you think of it passing by. Any longer than two hours and beware: the whiskey starts to pick up too many peanut oils and gets a slick, oily finish. Strain whiskey through a fine mesh strainer into a clean jar. Discard peanuts, or use them as a yummy topping for fudge sundaes. Makes enough peanut-infused whiskey for four drinks.

The story behind the drink:

Beach hair don't care. The boys and I with my cutie-patootie niece visiting from Kentucky. She looks very fierce in this photo - probably watching for sharks.

Beach hair don’t care. The boys and I with my cutie-patootie niece visiting from Kentucky. She looks very fierce in this photo – probably watching for sharks.

Our family just got back from a week-long vacation on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, and stayed at a cute cottage a short walk from the beach in the village of Salvo. Yes, right about where all the shark attacks were happening a couple of weeks ago. Loved the beach time and hanging out with the family, and this history dork reveled in all of the wonderful shipwreck, pirate, and aviation history right at our fingertips. But it was definitely one of those times where this Mama was taking the show on the road: still made breakfast, packed beach lunches, and made dinner most nights. And laundry. That shit never stops, especially with beach gear. Like at home, but sandier.

Crabbing! Check regs before you go, but where we were the crabs needed to be at least 5 inches across to keep.

Crabbing! Check regs before you go, but where we were the crabs needed to be at least 5 inches across to keep.

This far south on the Outer Banks meant that many evenings we had the beach entirely to ourselves.

This far south on the Outer Banks meant that many evenings we had the beach entirely to ourselves.

The last day of a vacation rental is like an episode of "Chopped!" Trying to put together actual meals out of leftovers is a pain in the ass, but I feel guilty wasting good ingredients. We made crab and shrimp salad sandwiches with the leftover pickings of our crab boil, mixed with lots of Duke's mayo and Old Bay seasoning. YUM.

The last day of a vacation rental is like an episode of “Chopped!” Trying to put together actual meals out of leftovers is a pain in the ass, but I feel guilty wasting good ingredients. We made crab and shrimp salad sandwiches with the leftover pickings of our crab boil, mixed with lots of Duke’s mayo and Old Bay seasoning. YUM.

 

Shrimp and Grits with andouille at Basnight's Lone Cedar Cafe in Nags Head, NC.

Shrimp and Grits with andouille at Basnight’s Lone Cedar Cafe in Nags Head, NC.

One of the many upsides to a coastal vacay is access to terrific ingredients. We took the kids crabbing, did some surf casting, and there were a couple of great little seafood markets within a short drive of our place. In this bountiful place of vinegary BBQ and the motherland of shrimp n’ grits, I was definitely in my happy place. Even better, I came back with an unfashionably dark tan (hey! Tan cellulite is much more bearable than whale-belly white cellulite. Just sayin’) and a bunch of southern goods we just can’t get in Utah unless I order through Amazon Prime or I make it myself: peach hot sauce, Duke’s mayo, really good roasted or boiled peanuts.

Being back home, I’ve been wallowing a bit in nostalgia for a taste of the South (um, except for the stifling humidity and mosquitos. I’m happy to live without that shit), and have been playing with flavor combos reminiscent of my years there when I’ve been mixing up cocktails for friends back here in Utah. You know, in between the loads of still-sandy laundry. I don’t remember which of my college friends in Memphis introduced me to throwing a few shell-on roasted peanuts into our Jack n’ Cokes on hot summer afternoons, but I do remember that initial taste of salty-sweet and a little roasted nuttiness being a flavor touch-point that I’ve come back to again and again with fondness. Southerners, especially those in the deep and Delta South, call peanuts “goobers,” a term also used to describe a human especially gifted at being a goofball. Much nicer than being known as an asshat. A couple of these spicy-sweet-nutty cocktails with my girlfriend Amaretto Sour while the kids race around having Nerf gun wars, and I’ll gladly relax into full-on Goober status all long hot afternoon. The laundry can wait.

Firecracker Moonshine Jell-O Shots

Layered Jell-O shots.  Party like it's 1847!

Layered Jell-O shots. Party like it’s 1847!

This week’s H.O.A.G.Y (Help Out a Gal/Guy, Yeah?) is a general request from friends who’ve been asking for my recipe for patriotic moonshine jell-O shots. I make mine with PopRocks and cherries. This recipe originally posted in 2013, but IMHO jell-O shots are a classic appropriate for any old time of the year!

That’s right, people: We are making Freaking Moonshine Jell-O Shots.  With PopRocks on top!

The verdict:  Pretty damn good

The verdict: Pretty damn good

I made the ones photographed here for a July 4th party hosted by Lemon Drop and IPA (a.k.a. Hoss on Hops) in 2013 and blogged about it back then. They were a freaking HIT.  Half I made without alcohol; those were topped with cherries (to make sure the kiddos, pregnant women, recovering alcoholics, and Mormons didn’t get the boozy ones by accident).  Half were made using 80 proof white corn whiskey (commercially available “moonshine”) instead of the frat party favorite Everclear. I left those unadorned until just before serving, then I scattered about ¼ teaspoon of Pop Rocks (yes! The exploding in your mouth candy!) on each shot. The combination of the whiff of Moonshine with the sweet gumminess of the Jell-O was perfectly balanced by the acoustic and sensory bang of the Pop Rocks.  And nobody died from combining Pop Rocks and alcohol, so take that, urban mythologists. As a basis for this recipe, and for help figuring out how to make the “white” layer, I turned to a Wiki-how tutorial on making Patriots football Jell-o shots.  Of course, you can substitute any colors/flavors you want, and you can always use plain old vodka if you don’t have corn liquor on hand. This recipe makes about 35 shots, depending upon what kind of containers you use and how full you fill them.

Layered Moonshine Jell-O shots

(makes about 35)

1 – 3 oz. box blue Jell-O

2 packets plain gelatin

1 can (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk

1 – 3 oz. box red Jell-O

3 cups boiling water (divided use)

2 ½  cups clear relatively flavorless liquor (corn whiskey or vodka)

3-4 packages Cherry or Watermelon (red) Pop Rocks

To assemble your shots: Place 35 small plastic cups on a large rimmed sheet tray.  Lightly spray all of the cups with flavorless cooking spray to reduce sticking.

Blue layer

Blue layer

For the blue layer:  combine blue Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water; stir until completely dissolved.  Let cool slightly (otherwise your liquor will evaporate from the heat- we don’t want that!!).  Add the liquor, and pour equally into small cups.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set.

For the white layer:  sprinkle gelatin packets over 1 ½ cups water just off the boil; whisk quickly to dissolve completely.  Keep whisking and add the condensed milk and ½ cup liquor.   After it’s all combined, pour gently over the blue layer 2/3 the way up the cup.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set.

White layer

White layer

For the red layer:  combine red Jell-O with 1 cup boiling water; stir until completely dissolved.  Let cool slightly.  Add the liquor, and pour equally into small cups.  Add fruit to top at this point, if desired.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until set. For the PopRocks Firecracker finale!  As you are serving the Jell-O shots, have guest sprinkle about ¼ tsp. Rop Rocks on their Jell-O shot.

Everything was a little blurry by this time, including this shot

Everything was a little blurry by this time, including this shot

Post Navigation