This is a Thing? Why Did No One Tell Me?

This is a thing? Espresso Martini? Why did no one ever tell me? This sounds awesome. I have a birthday coming up if anyone needs an idea.

Espresso Martini





I hear there is some big movie opening today. I’m not a big Bond fan, but I cannot deny that Daniel Craig is worth staring  at for a couple of hours.

Alton Brown decided to celebrate with the perfect martini on his Facebook page

Skyfall – Midnight Tonight

Fill a martini glass with some crushed ice and set aside.
Set one cup of crushed ice into a cocktail shaker.

Pour in a 1/2 ounce of vermouth and swirl it around, making as much contact as possible with the ice.
Using a strainer, pour the vermouth out.
Add 2 1/2 ounces of gin and stir well to combine.
Remove the ice from the chilled glass and add 1 olive.
Using the strainer, pour the gin into the serving glass.Cheers!
Let’s wrap this up with a reprise of Adele (h/t JeffreyW who posted it the day the song was released):

Beer to the Chief

Ever since President Obama revealed he took “home” brewed beer on the campaign trail with him, people have been clamoring for the recipes. The White House released them today. According the the WH, they believe this is the first time alcohol has ever been brewed on the premises:

As far as we know the White House Honey Brown Ale is the first alcohol brewed or distilled on the White House grounds. George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson made wine but there’s no evidence that any beer has been brewed in the White House. (Although we do know there was some drinking during prohibition…)

For all the recipes and the whole story click here.


Iced Coffee Update

I decided early last week to go ahead and try Kirk’s Cold Brew method for a batch of coffee. The first thing that I realized was  – it wasn’t as arduous as it sounds. I have 8 oz containers of ground coffee handy, so I did a half a batch. Let me tell you, it makes sludge. And I didn’t think to ask him if grind mattered, but my coffee was an espresso grind, a fact I realized after I mixed it all together. What I had when I as done was a thick liquid, even after I strained it twice.

Straining it was easy. I have a reusable coffee filter, I strained it through that using my glass carafe as the receptacle. The second time around I added cheesecloth – it didn’t make much of a difference. But it was easy both times. With the grounds that were left, I wished I had a compost pile to add it to. Good stuff.

The flavor is different, that is for sure. The best way to describe it, I guess, is that it’s more like what it tastes like to eat a coffee bean (sans the chocolate coating). It’s a rich coffee flavor, but decidedly different from hot brewed coffee. It is very good, just don’t expect it to taste like brewed coffee.

It is also very, very strong, but as Kirk states, it’s very drinkable because it’s not bitter. But the caffeine kick will do just that, kick you. I have an exceptionally strong tolerance for caffeine and can drink coffee late into the evening without effect. Not so with this, even watered down it packed a considerable kick for me and I had to give up any ideas of drinking it as an iced beverage. Even two parts liquid to coffee mixture was too strong for me and I was finding it difficult to sleep, even if my iced drink was in the afternoon. And at the two parts mixture, I thought the flavor a bit weak.

What I did find though, was it made for a nice, rich frappaccino. I could use a tray of ice cubes, about a 1/4 cup of the coffee brew, milk, touch of sugar and chocolate syrup and the taste was great. And for that reason and the idea that it holds up well in the refrigerator all week, I would do it again.

My next test will be the double brew method and how best to cool down the coffee without watering it down too much. Until then….

Iced Coffees

photo from Seattle’s Best

Yesterday friend of blog, Kirk Spencer, put up a post on iced coffee.  He does a great job of explaining the different ways to approach it. He followed up (after a question from me) with a post on cold brewing, which was great, because I knew nothing about cold brewing and had only seen very expensive machines for the process. I’m going to give it a shot, probably on a small scale.

I love iced coffee in the summer. I do the ‘brew strong coffee and serve immediately over ice” process. I have yet to get the ratio perfect for my tastes. My standard  is Dunkin Donuts, love their coffee, it’s one of the few big coffee shops I can say that about, and their iced coffee is just as good. Not from a mix, it is fresh brewed. They say they double brew it. Whatever, it works. Oh, and did I mention there is not a DD to be found around here? Though that is about to change in a big way. Yay!

I think I will work this summer at perfecting my technique. One advantage I have is the  vita-mix and I can easily make smooth frappucinos. My goal it to make a mocha frappuchino that does not have 400 calories a glass.

So let the adventures begin. I’ll let you know how it goes.  Until then….

Watermelon Coolers

I was searching for something new and different to do with watermelon.  Found two drinks that sounded refreshing.  I may be trying them this weekend.  Give you an update then.

The first one is from the FoodNetwork:


Watermelon Cooler

  • 1 1/2 pounds (4 cups) sliced seedless watermelon, rind removed
  • 1 cup lemon sorbet
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Watermelon wedges and mint, for garnish

2 large glasses

In a food processor, blend watermelon, sorbet, and lemon zest until very smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cold water; cover and refrigerate until very cold. Serve over ice and garnish with watermelon wedges and mint.

The next one is a melon cooler with a kick.  Definitely an adult beverage.  I combined several options for this one:

Kicked Up Watermelon-Strawberry Cooler

  • 4+ pounds watermelon
  • 2 lb strawberries, washed and hull all but 6
  • 1/2 cup vodka (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec (more to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 wooden skewers

Fine strainer or cheesecloth

    6 glasses and 1 pitcher

    Cut the watermelon in half and make 6 melon balls.   Place one melon ball and one unhulled strawberry onto skewer.  Set aside.

    Remove rind and seeds from the remainder of the watermelon, cut into large chunks.  Puree watermelon and strawberries.  Strain out pulp, add alcohol, 3 tbsp limejuice and fruit juice to pitcher filled with ice, stir.   Mix sugar and 3 tbsp of limejuice on flat plate and dip glass rims in the mixture.  Pour into glasses, garnish with fruit skewers.

    Tropical Awakening Smoothies

    Another smoothie flavor in our drink series.  And ya, there’s a little fan girl in this choice.

    Tropical Awakening Smoothies

    • 16 oz vanilla yogurt
    • 16 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
    • 1 pint strawberries, hulled
    • 1 pint blueberries, stems removed
    • 4 bananas
    • ice
    • coconut for garnish

    blender and 4 large glasses

    For each shake: blend together ½ cup yogurt, ½ cup pineapple juice, ¼ of the fruit and ice until the consistency of a milk shake, adding more ice as necessary.  Garnish with coconut.

    Most blenders will hold about 2 shakes at one time.

    Who Needs Ice Cream?

    Okay, I do, but smoothies are a pretty good alternative.  It’s just too hot to cook…or eat anything with a temperature less than 32 degrees.

    Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
    • 1 banana
    • 4-6 whole strawberries, frozen
    • opt: 1 tbsp ground flax and 2 tbsp whey powder


    Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well.  This makes 2 thick smoothies.  For more of a milkshake consistency, add 6 ice cubes and blend well.

    Another flavor smoothie here,  here and here. All just variations on a theme.  Do you have a favorite smoothie combination?  I’m always looking for a good orange flavored one, but haven’t come across one yet.