José Andrés’ Mexican Gin & Tonic

Mexican-G-and-T-Cover

I have a somewhat mandatory tradition upon landing in Las Vegas of heading immediately to Chef José Andrés’ epic Chinese & Mexican food mecca China Poblano at the Cosmopolitan. A big boozy lunch with friends before hitting the pools is my idea of a perfect start to the weekend. On one recent trip, I was introduced to the cocktail perfection that is José Andrés’ Mexican Gin & Tonic. It seems simple enough on paper: Bombay Sapphire, some tonic water, a few garnishes and a splash of St. Germain. But don’t be fooled by the seemingly basic ingredient list… this is without a doubt the best G & T I’ve ever had. Not only is the drink impossibly beautiful and delicate, it has an intoxicating aroma – thanks to those gorgeous botanical garnishes – that grabs you as soon as the drink hits the table. Served in a gorgeous stemless wine tumbler, each sip is perfectly cool and effervescent, with just the right amount of sweet floral kick from the elderflower liqueur. Next time you’re in Vegas, it’s an absolute must. Until then, here’s my take on recreating the drink at home.

China-Poblano-Mexican-Gin-Tonic

Makes 1 drink.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin  – Although any citrusy Western-style Gin would be wonderful as well
  • 1 oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • 4 oz Fever Tree Tonic Water
  • fresh Orange Peel
  • small Sprig of Cilantro
  • 1 whole Coriander Seed
  • 1 fresh marigold (Calendula) edible flower – special thanks to Specialty Produce for these beauties!
  • 1 large whiskey cube – or sphere-shaped ice mold – I like keep a couple of these in my freezer for such occasions.

Mexican-Gin-Tonic-Distillerista-Flowers

Directions:

  1. Place ice cube/sphere in a large stemless wine glass or DOF
  2. Gently pour in Gin, St. Germain and top with tonic water
  3. Quickly and carefully arrange botanicals – orange twist, cilantro, coriander seed, and marigold – in the drink, giving the orange twist and cilantro a little smack in your hands beforehand to release the oils.
  4. Give it a gentle swirl and enjoy!

Distillerista-Mexican-Gin-Tonic-Cocktail DSC_0268 Mexican-Gin-Tonic-MarigoldMexican-Gin-Tonic

P.S. The ‘When Pigs Fly’ steamed buns, Cochinita Taco and Twenty-Vegetable Fried Rice are also not to be missed! 😉

P.P.S. Photos by Megan of Shortography!

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Peach Rosé-a-ritas

Sparkling-Peach-Margarita-Distillerista

{ Glass Pitcher purchased on the side of the road in Baja }

My dear friend Caroline’s recipe blog, Colorful Eats, is a source of constant inspiration and eye-candy. Her easy to make and gorgeously captured grain- and refined sugar-free recipes are what prompted me to go Paleo Monday through Friday. Since switching to an 80% grain- and sugar-free lifestyle about a year ago, I have more energy and am naturally more focused at work. And incase you hadn’t noticed, thanks to Caroline, most of the drink recipes you’ll see here on Distillerista use only natural, unrefined sugars and as many fresh fruit and vegetable juices and purées as possible.

Needless to say, ever since I launched Distillerista I’ve been dying to collaborate with Caroline. I took full advantage of her extended summer stay here in San Diego last month and invited her over to help me come up with something new and paleo-friendly. (She lives in Hawaii most of the time where her husband – my cousin and bff! – is stationed in the Navy.) We got together on a particularly hot July day and mixed up these scrumptious sparkling peach margaritas in honor of prime peach season. While alcohol in general isn’t exactly paleo-approved, Tequila is a relatively low-sugar spirit and also happens to be Caroline’s go-to. As for the sparkling wine… well, what can I say… any opportunity to spend a little time with friends is something to celebrate!

Craft-Cocktail-Recipe-Sparkling-Peach-Margarita

Makes 8 Drinks

Ingredients:

  • 4 C Peach purée (see recipe below)
  • 3 C Good quality Tequila; Casamigos is a current favorite
  • 2 C Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 Bottle good quality sparkling rosé; I like Lucien Albrecht (I get it here for just $15 a bottle!)

Directions:

  1. Make & chill the peach purée
  2. Combine peach purée, tequila and lime juice in a large pitcher or drink dispenser. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, up to overnight
  3. As guests arrive, or when ready to serve, pour Tequila mixture into chilled margarita glasses and top with a splash of sparkling rosé
  4. Garnish with a fresh peach slice and wedge of lime
  5. Cheers & enjoy!

Peach Puree: Pit and dice 6 large or 8 small peaches and combine in a medium sauce pan with a splash of water. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool, then blend well in a high-speed blender or food processor and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Chill for at least two hours, up to overnight. Makes roughly 4 cups.

Craft-Cocktail-Recipe-Peach-rose-Margarita

Extras:

  • As I mentioned before, Caroline avoids sugar so these margaritas are on the not-so-sweet side. If a sweeter drink is desired, add up to a half cup of raw honey when blending your peach purée.
  • These margaritas are a bit thick thanks to the fresh peach purée, so feel free to thin the purée out with a bit more water to achieve your desired consistency.
  • If you don’t have access to fresh peaches or want to make these Margaritas during another part of the year, feel free to use frozen peaches for an icier, frozen-style margarita

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{ Matching glasses stumbled upon excitedly at HomeGoods }

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P.S. Check out a few of Caroline’s paleo cocktail recipes: Blackberry Mojitos, Pink Grapefruit Sparklers & Sunrise Squeeze!

P.P.S. Since I can’t work a camera to save my life, Caroline thankfully snapped these drool-worthy photos for us. Download her food photography and styling guide, Scrumptious & Styled, here!

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Free E-Book! Classic Cocktail Recipes Vol. 1

So if you’ve been so kind as to sign up for the Distillerista email newsletter, you might be aware you were promised a free E-Book! Well… a couple months later, it’s finally here! Working on both launching a blog and opening a legal distillery at the same time is just a teeeenssyyy bit time-consuming and this E-Book project fell through the cracks. #Sorry!

EBook Cover final copy{ E-book Cover!}

But the good new is, 1. it should be in your inbox right this very minute! and 2. it’s FRIDAY! Print that baby out – or don’t, we love trees – and get to making some classic cocktails tonight!

P.S. If you haven’t already, sign up for the Distillerista Newsletter on the side bar to the right! –>

The cocktails in this debut Distillerista E-book include the perfect Moscow Mule, a fool-proof Martini and the best ever Manhattan. Each recipe is accompanied by drool-worthy photos à la Megan of Shortography, as well as some tips, extras and creative ways to make the drinks your own.

Enjoy, tell your friends and spread the love by following Distillerista on Twitter, Instagram and liking us on Facebook!

Cheers to the weekend!

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The Gimlet: Three Ways

Gimlet-Three-Ways-Header-Distillerista

A Gin gimlet has to be my favorite classic cocktail. For a couple of reasons… First, it’s so simple and yet so perfect. That blend of Gin (my most beloved spirit), tart lime and smooth sweetness just fits so perfectly into any imbibing mood I’m in. Second, it’s a genius way to introduce the Gin-averse to the error of their non-Gin-drinking ways. Simply put, it’s the perfect starter Gin cocktail. A gateway drug to the realm of Gin, if-you-will. (Ok, I’ll stop.)

However, when I first started ordering gimlets regularly I was always confused as to why I was paying craft cocktail prices for a half-ass mix of Gin and Rose’s Lime Juice… ?! Well, little did I know, that’s the way Gimlets were (sort-of) traditionally made!

First concocted as a way to encourage sailors to down scurvy-fighting lime juice, Gimlets were a common vehicle for daily Gin rations on British Naval ships. {Popular belief has it that the Royal Navy doctor during that time was Sir Thomas Gimlette.} Sailors quickly switched to Rose’s Lime Cordial – a blend of lime juice and sugar that made it easy to preserve the citrus on long oversea hauls – as it had recently been invented. All this time I’ve been scoffing at what I thought was a shitty excuse for a great classic cocktail when really I’d been drinking history! Sailors, forgive me!

While the Rose’s Lime Juice of today (corn syrup, artificial flavors, weird additives) is a far cry from what it originally was, I suppose the OG recipe is still worth including here. I’ve also added a recipe for what I consider the modern day Gimlet (The Contemporary), and a fun twist on a Vodka Gimlet for those who aren’t quite ready to come over to the Gin side (The Lime Hangar Gimlet). Mix up one of each this holiday weekend (Happy Independence Day!) and let me know which you prefer!

Each recipe makes 1 cocktail.

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The Traditional

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Pour gin & juice into a cocktail shaker or tall glass
  2. Shake or stir with ice, whatever your preference
  3. Strain into a Martini Glass and garnish with lime wheel if desired

Gimlet Three Ways Comtemporary Distillerista

The Contemporary

Ingredients:

  • 2 Oz Traditional, London-Dry or New American Style Gin (I’m using citrusy Tanqueray No. 10)
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 1 tsp superfine sugar
  • Lime wheel and mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Dry shake (no ice) lime juice and sugar for at least 60 seconds to dissolve sugar.
  2. Add gin, ice and shake.
  3. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Alternatively, strain into a chilled coupe.
  4. Garnish with lime wheel and sprig of mint. (No garnish if you went with the coupe)

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Lime Hangar Gimlet (ever so slightly adapted from the famous Ivy Gimlet)

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz. Hangar One Kaffir Lime Vodka a.k.a. the only lime vodka you ever need to know about
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 5-10 Mint leaves, muddled
  • 1 tsp Superfine sugar

Directions:

  1. Combine muddled mint, citrus juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Dry shake (no ice) for at least 60 seconds to completely dissolve sugar.
  3. Add Vodka, a handful of ice and shake.
  4. Pour into a sugar rimmed glass filled with crushed or cubed ice and garnish with a wedge of lime and sprig of mint. As an option, top with a splash of seltzer or sparkling water. Enjoy!

Photos by the delightfully talented Megan Burgess of Shortography!

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A Father’s Day Cocktail

Distillerista-Fathers-Day-Cocktail-Recipe

The only thing you can get our Dad to drink – besides the occasional glass of Pinot Noir – is vodka (I know…I’m working on him). He’s been known to knock back the champagne when duty calls (4th of July *cough, cough*), but vodka is his ride-or-die. And much like anyone who has enjoyed more than twenty-five years or so of legal drinking, he has a go-to cocktail he sticks to fiercer than you would an alibi. Sure, his tastes are a bit unorthodox compared to your standard male, – don’t even try gifting him a 6-pack of craft beer or a 30 year scotch – but it’s actually a convenient habit, as his family and friends always know exactly what to make him or order him at a bar. SUPER simple and to the point, with just the tiniest hint of tart sweetness, I give you… The SPJ.

Fathers-Day-Vodka-Soda-Distillerista

Makes 1 Cocktail.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 oz Really good vodka (We like Hangar One Straight Vodka or St. George Spirits new St. George Spirits All Purpose Vodka)
  2. 1.5 Oz. Good quality club soda (Can’t beat Fever Tree Soda Water)
  3. Splash or so of cranberry juice (If you can find an all-natural or no-sugar-added version, go for it, but cranberry juice cocktail works just fine)
  4. Generous wedge of lime

Directions:

  1. In a DOF or other short glass filled with ice, combine vodka and soda and stir gently
  2. With a steady hand, splash a half ounce or so of cranberry juice over the soda
  3. Don’t stir. Viciously squeeze a wedge of lime on top, plop it in the glass and let the cranberry mix with the clear liquids gradually
  4. Serve to Dad & Enjoy!

Fathers-Day-Vodka-Cocktail-Distillerista

Cheers to all the papa bears out there! Happy Father’s Day!

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Big Batch Bourbon Cocktail

{Anthropologie Glassware | BB&B Mason Jar Drink Dispenser}

This cocktail is a special one, as it’s a bit famous (or should I say infamous?) amongst my family and friends. It’s been a catalyst for many a late/questionable night, as well as the signature drink for countless get-togethers and celebrations. This mix of citrusy, maple-y goodness coupled with sweet bourbon and a bit of spice makes this a great choice anytime of year, day or night (seriously, we may or may not have finished a carafe by noon before). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… Luke’s Whiskey Cocktail.

Whiskey Cocktail IngredientsMakes roughly 10-12 Bourbon cocktails.

Ingredients:

  • 1 QT {or roughly half a 2 QT bottle} Spiced apple or pear cider (I’m partial to Trader Joe’s versions)
  • 1 750 mL Bottle good-but-not-too-good Straight Bourbon (We like using Bulleit for this)
  • Juice of 10 or so lemons
  • 2 16.9 Oz Bottles of something bubbly… I like to use a mix of sparkling water and Ginger Ale to keep the sweetness down, but lemon lime and/or club soda would work equally as well

Directions:

  1. In a large drink dispenser or punch bowl carefully pour in your cider and Bourbon.
  2. Squeeze the lemons into the mixture, careful not to get any seeds in the drink. We recommend deseeding the leftover juiced lemons and dropping them into the bowl/dispenser for color, aesthetic and extra lemon flavor.
  3. 10 minutes before guests arrive, add lots of ice and your desired effervescence.
  4. Give it a quick stir with a long wooden spoon, pour and enjoy!

Tray of CocktailsExtras:

  • I love an autumnal riff on this where we sub a quarter to half of the cider for rosemary maple simple syrup.
  • Leave a small bottle of bitters beside the cocktail so guests can add a dash or two for extra depth!
  • Sub half the lemons for grapefruits for a tart & summery, less-sweet version.

Cider Whiskey CocktailWhiskey Cocktail LemonDrink Dispenser Whiskey TablescapeTray of Whiskey Cocktails

[Special thanks to Megan Burgess of Shortography for the gorgeous photos!]

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