Spring has sprung: Green Reeny

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APRIL! SPRING HAS FOR REAL SPRUNG!

Hi y’all! I’m totally engulfed in a sea of greenery. I have herbes everywhere: in my mind, on my windowsill, in my fridge, on my list of things to get at the Farmers’ Market…

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…in my drinks. Check this beautiful Dill!

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Inspirational ingredients:

  1. My goal was to put Dill and Cucumber in a drink and it not be a Bloody Mary variation.
  2. And I’ve been on a “how can I get Rhum Agricole to go with herby things” kick, so La Favorite Coeur d’Ambre was a no-brainer.
  3. What else goes with planty things? Tequila cause Tequila is planty. I’ve got the delicious Corralejo Blanco in my Home Bar right now and it fit the drink perfectly.
  4. Ok so this next ingredient was actually the hardest decision: Lemon or Lime? Now when you think Dill and Cucumber, you usually think Lemon, but I was working with Rhum and Tequila, hence, Lime.
  5. A lil Cane Syrup for balance.

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Yes, this is a muddled drink, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty! Score those Cukes!

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The name of this cocktail comes from the fact that my illustrious girlfriend who is named Doreen (and sometimes referred to as Reeny) loves this drink. Cheers darling!

Green Reeny

  • 1 oz La Favorite Coeur d’Ambre Rhum Agricole
  • 1 oz Corralejo Tequila Blanco
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • scant 1/2 oz Rich Cane Syrup*
  • 1 Cucumber Wheel
  • 1 Sprig Dill
  • Garnish: scored Cucumber wheels and Dill sprig

In tin, combine Lime juice, Syrup, Cucumber, Dill and muddle. Add Rhum, Tequila, ice, and short shake. Double strain into double Rocks glass over ice and garnish.

*I switched over to 2:1 Cane Sugar Syrup because I wanted to use less volume and have greater viscosity in my drinks. I’m digging it for now.

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Mannnnnnn. It’s so fresh and pretty. You could legit drink a bunch of these while sitting on the porch/in the backyard/in the garden/at a cabin upstate/wherever your green happy place is.

Cheers y’all!

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Cali Surf Girl

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Y’ALL! I LITERALLY just realized that there’s only three days left of Tiki The Snow Away 2016! I have three Surf Girl variations, so we’re just gonna go on a lil marathon and I’ll post one for each day. We’ll start with Cali Surf Girl cause I’m a Cali gurrrrrrrrl.

If you want to share a tropical drink during the month of January, use the hashtag #TikiTheSnowAway on Instagram and Twitter, or tag u/homebargirl on reddit.

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“I’m in love, I’m in love with a Surf Gurrrrrrl.”

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Cast of Characters: Since this is a Cali Surf Girl, I decided to give it some Cali style ingredients like: Corralejo Tequila Blanco and Coconut Water. The Surf Girl trio of Denizen Aged White Rum, Blue Curaçao, and Coco Lopez remains intact and is joined by Lime Juice and a lil pink salt.

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I’m also keeping the garnishes the same so as to have continuity between all the Surf Girl drinks.

Oh and plug your blender in and grab a bunch of ice!

Cali Surf Girl

  • 1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 1 oz Denizen Aged White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Blue Curaçao
  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Coconut Water
  • 1/2 oz Coconut Cream
  • Pinch of Salt
  • * 1/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • ~8 oz Crushed Ice
  • Garnish: Tiki umbrella, Maraschino Cherry, Pineapple

Combine ingredients and blend for 7 seconds. Pour in a 10 oz Surf Girl Tiki Mug and garnish.

*You may or may not want this. You’re working with a lot of ice and typically have to make blended drinks sweeter than shaken or stirred drinks.

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Cheers to all y’all and all y’alls friends and all y’alls parties! Speaking of parties, we’re having a Tiki The Snow Away party in Brooklyn on Feb 4th! If you’re in town, stop by cause there will be a Surf Girl waiting for you!

Mayan Macao

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Mooooving and grooooving right along with Tiki The Snow Away in these frigid times. Today’s drink uses Blood Orange (seasonally topical!) and Corralejo Tequila Blanco for a super refreshing winter Tiki drink!

If you want to share a tropical drink during the month of January, use the hashtag #TikiTheSnowAway on Instagram and Twitter, or tag homebargirl on reddit.

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Blood Orange: so beautiful, so much tastier than regular Orange! Don’t even deny it, it’s totally true.

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Here are your cast of characters: Corralejo Tequila Blanco, El Señorio Mezcal Joven, Ancho Reyes Liqueur, Pineapple Juice, and the aforementioned Blood Orange.

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Mayan Macao

  • 2 oz Corralejo Tequila Blanco
  • 1/2 oz El Señorio Mezcal Joven (sub any Espadin Mezcal)
  • 1/2 oz Ancho Reyes Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz Blood Orange Juice
  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice
  • Garnish: Pineapple Spear Bunny Ears, Pineapple chunks, Sword

Combine ingredients over ice and short shake. Double strain into collins glass or tall Tiki mug with ice, and garnish.

*if your Blood Oranges are not sweet enough, you may need to add 1/4 oz Simple Syrup. Taste and see!

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Salud to you and all your Tiki friends!

Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri & Maple Sour

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HELLOOOOO NEW COCKTAIL CRATE MIXERS! As y’all probably know, I’m really into these mixers. I’ve written several articles about Cocktail Crate mixers and 100% of the time, they’ve been awesome. I’m not sure what kind of magic Alex uses to make his stuff, but damn son!

This time, he sent me a Grapefruit Daiquiri mixer and a Maple Whiskey Sour mixer, so break out the bottles and let’s goooooo!

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Always follow the recipe y’all, you will not be disappointed.

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As the good bottle says, use one part clear spirit and one part Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri Craft Mixer. The bottle recommends: Rum, Gin or Vodka but this is also really great with Blanco Tequila!

Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri

  • 1 1/2 oz White Rum, Gin, Blanco Tequila, Cachaça (or whatever!)
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Grapefruit Daiquiri Mixer

Combine ingredients over ice and shake it like a rocket. Double strain into coupe. Aaaaaah, yes.

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Delicious.

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Once again, follow the ratios, this mixer makes an excellent Whiskey Sour.

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The suggestion is for Bourbon or Rye, but I’ve tried Maple Whiskey Sour mixer with Berkshire Ragged Mountain Rum (aged in Bourbon casks), Yamazaki Japanese Whisky, Rye and as a bonus…

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…this White Pike Whiskey from upstate NY. Wow. You have to try Maple Whiskey Sour + a White Dog Whiskey (unaged Bourbon), cause it’s totally AMAZING.

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Now this mixer is made with Maple Syrup, Lemon, some other stuff, and Bitters. Personally, I wanted a tad more Bitters, so I’ve been adding one dash of either Hella Bitters Citrus Bitters or Angostura Bitters.

Cocktail Crate Maple Whiskey Sour

  • 1 1/2 oz Whisky, Whiskey, Bourbon, Rum aged in Bourbon, (or whatever Whiskey you want!)
  • 1 1/2 oz Cocktail Crate Maple Whiskey Sour Mixer
  • Garnish: Lemon peel, Lemon wheel, or Cinnamon bark

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice and garnish.

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Hell yes.

Thanks to Alex for sending me these delicious mixers! Cocktail Crate is supreme above all other mixers!

The Wedding Planner

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A week ago, I went to the Farmer’s Market during the peak of Pepper season and got my hands on some picante goodness in the form of a Serrano Chile Pepper. I also picked up one of the largest Cantaloupe’s I’ve ever seen. Having just returned from the SF Bay Area, and having had a delicious Cantaloupe Margarita at Tacolicious, it was time to get to werk.

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I was inspired by Tacolicious’ use of Cantaloupe purée and decided to make my own with the aforementioned Serrano Chile Pepper and some Lime Juice.

Serrano Cantaloupe Purée

  • 4 handfulls of Cantaloupe chunks
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1/2 Serrano Pepper, seeded

Combine ingredients in blender and blend baby, BLEND!

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You did it? You Blended? Supreme! Next we make a tasty Margarita.

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We make this Margarita to be specific. Isn’t it beau-tiful? Don’t you wanna sit outside/poolside/beachside with this one?

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Why is this drink named The Wedding Planner? Well, I asked my brilliant friends if they had any good names for a Marg with Cantaloupe and Seth said, “The Wedding Planner, cause you can’t elope.” HA HA HA.

Also appropriate for a Wedding Planner, is that this is a recipe for two. I didn’t want any of that Serrano Cantaloupe goodness to go to waste.

The Wedding Planner

  • 4 oz Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz Agave Nectar (if your Cantaloupes are really sweet, you can omit this)
  • 4 oz Serrano Cantalope Purée
  • Pinch of Salt shaken into drink
  • Garnish: Cantaloupe chunks and Tiki Umbrella

Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into double Rocks glass over ice and garnish.

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Cheers to y’all and may all your Melon Marg dreams come truuuuuue.

National Tequila Day: an Essay

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It’s National Tequila Day! Does everyone have their snifters/rocks glasses/reading glasses ready?

Shortly after I started this blog back in Sept 2014, I wrote a post for a cocktail called Volver along with a Tequila Challenge. The challenge was, “Sip your Tequila instead of taking shots” and an encouragement that “Tequila can be used in so many more recipes than a standard Margarita.” The goal of that post was to open the eyes of the American public to the fact that drinking Tequila does not equal blackout drunk, but that it is a beautiful, complex, and earthy spirit. It is full of life.

Today, I’m not going to make any drinks, I’m just going to smell, sip, and talk about Tequila.

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Blanco Tequila

All Tequila begins as Blanco because that is what comes right out of the still. The aging process for Tequila actually begins with the Blue Weber Tequiliana Agave plant itself. These plants are usually grown for anywhere between 7-12 years before being harvested by los jimadores. These agave farmers pull the plants from the earth and strip the beautiful blue leaves from the piña, or heart of the Agave. The piñas are baked for several days, mashed, washed, smashed, and juiced producing a liquid to be fermented. After fermentation is complete, all 100% Blue Agave Tequila is distilled at least twice to remove impurities and bring the spirit up to proof.

So that’s Blanco. No aging in wood, no additional flavours. Literally the purest expression of Agave possible. It’s magnificent. I am absolutely Team Blanco. I fully believe in Blanco and I fully love to sip Blanco. Pictured above is Casa Noble Crystal Blanco Tequila. It has most definitely become one of my favourite Blancos, because Casa Noble is all about passion, heart and terroir.

Terroir is a French word wine enthusiasts use to mean “the characteristic taste and flavor imparted to a wine from the environment in which it is produced.” Essentially, terroir conveys that you, the person drinking the wine should be able to smell and taste what the actual land tastes, smells, feels like. It’s a powerful concept and it absolutely applies to Tequila.

Whatever Blanco becomes your go-to Blanco, be sure you can sip it and be sure you can taste terroir.

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Reposado

Reposado means “rested” en Español and that is precisely what Reposado Tequila is. Once Blanco Tequila leaves the still, it is rested in (usually American but sometimes French) new or ex-bourbon white Oak casks for 2-11 months, imparting some woody, vanilla, and carmel flavors but not much.

Reposado Tequila is actually the most popular type of Tequila in Mexico because it’s a little less wild and a little more refined than Blanco. The thing about a good Reposado is that you can definitely still taste the Agave. I love using Espolón’s Repo because it is smooth and plays well with others. It has enough flavours and fullness to make a cocktail interesting but is also wonderful to sip on its own. (Actually, Espolón Blanco is really great for sipping too.)

There isn’t a lot to say about Reposado because it’s not a contentious expression of Agave. Repo is juuuuust right.

Corralejo-Añejo

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Now here’s the contention! Here’s where people are getting fired up. Oh Añejo Tequila, what on earth happened to you? Who stole your soul? Who took your Agave away?

Recently in the Tequila industry people have begun to take sides about Añejo Tequila. There is even a book called How the Gringos Stole Tequila which details the impact that America’s recent thirst for Tequila has had on the industry. And one of the greatest impacts has been on Añejo Tequila.

Añejo means “old” en Español and is usually aged in American (but sometimes French) white Oak ex-whiskey casks for 1-3 years. I want to emphasize those last two parts again, ex-whiskey casks for 1-3 years. It could also be aged in ex-sherry casks, ex-Rum casks, etc. Now, this itself is not inherently evil, I mean really, we can’t get too moral or riled up about the aging process of a spirit.

Where we can get a bit upset is when the spirit no longer tastes like itself. With the American market getting soooooo much more interested in Añejo Tequilas have come a whole bunch of products that no longer taste like Agave. They taste like the casks they were aged in: Bourbon, Cognac, Sherry, Rum but somehow not Tequila.

“Gurl! Are you saying we shouldn’t drink these Americanized Añejos? They’re so delicious and smooth! Weren’t you just saying how Tequila should be sipped?”

Yes, I did say that Tequila should be sipped and these Añejos are totally delicious and definitely made for sipping. Yet, perhaps they should be in a different category, a category not called Tequila.

However, this is not the case with Corralejo Añejo which totally still tastes like Agave and totally still feels like Mexican Tequila that Mexicans made out in the fields of Guanajuato, Mexico. There are plenty of Añejos full of terroir and have been mellowed out by a few years in oak. Personally, I like those the best.

The More You Know

Why bring all of this up on National Tequila Day? Because we need to know what we’re drinking when we drink Tequila.

This has been Home Bar Girl encouraging you to think about and sip your Tequila on National Tequila Day.