The Friday Tipple: Champagne Creamsicle

Champagne CreamsicleWe’re feeling fancy, Boozers. During this festive season, we like to try out new recipes and a tasty Blood Orange Soup with Frozen Sabayon that we whipped up for Christmas dinner spawned a thought: wouldn’t this make a lovely cocktail, perhaps to ring in the New Year? Oh yes indeed.

And so the Champagne Creamsicle is born. Don’t be afraid of the sabayon, even as you ask yourself “What the heck is a sabayon anyway?”. Basically, it’s a custard, and, when you freeze it, it becomes a frozen custard. It’s luscious and creamy, yet, when paired with citrus, is perfectly balanced. If you’re looking for a way to inspire a new year that is rich, light, and fresh, then look no further than the Champagne Creamsicle. Happy New Year!

Champagne Creamsicle

The frozen sabayon can be made a day ahead and frozen, and will keep in the freezer for a week or two before it becomes a bit crumbly. We added sweet vermouth to provide some contrast in flavor, then created a citrus simple syrup for the champagne, lightly kissed with Bittermens Hiver Amer bitter orange liqueur. If you can’t find Hiver Amer (although we highly recommend it), you can use Grand Marnier, Cointreau, or Triple Sec instead — or even an orange-infused vodka.

4 ounces chilled champagne or sparkling wine

1.5 ounces Spiked Citrus Simple Syrup (recipe below)

1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice

1 large spoonful Frozen Sabayon (recipe below)

Stir first three ingredients together in a cocktail shaker and pour into a champagne coupe (or wide-mouthed wine glass). Top with spoonful of Frozen Sabayon and serve immediately.

Spiked Citrus Simple Syrup: Place a half of a grapefruit (chopped roughly) and a whole clementine (halved) into a small saucepan. Cover with water and add 2/3 cup granulated sugar. Simmer over low heat for at least 30 minutes or until liquid has thickened and reduced by half. Strain and cool, then add 3 ounces orange liqueur. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Frozen Sabayon with Sweet Vermouth

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup sweet vermouth

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

a few drops of lemon juice

Put the egg yolks, vermouth, and sugar in a heatproof bowl; bring a cup of water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan and reduce heat to low. Place heatproof bowl over the saucepan and whisk until mixture becomes thick and creamy — this will only take a few minutes. When the custard is thick enough to hold its shape (i.e. you can pull the whisk through the custard and see a pattern), place the bowl in a bowl of ice water and continue whisking for another minute to cool it down.

In a stand mixer, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold the custard into the whipped cream until it is completely incorporated, and add a few drops of lemon juice. Put into a container and freeze for 8 hours before serving. Adapted from a recipe by David Lebovitz.

The Friday Tipple: Mexican Cocoa Martini with Drunken Fluff

Mexican Cocoa Martini

Yeah, you read that right, Boozers. We are in full holiday mode and nothing will do but a warm chocolate cup of cheer when we get home from a weary day of fighting the crowds of shoppers. Believe us, one sip of our Mexican Cocoa Martini and you’ll forget that tug-of-war you had with some pimply-faced teenager over a discounted Snuggie.

And, as if that weren’t enough, we had to top the whole thing off with a dollop of our Drunken Fluff, which, admittedly, is a bit over the top, but we know you’ll agree that it’s as necessary as a shiny red bow on a beautifully-wrapped box. In fact, we predict that you’ll be looking for excuses to add it to waffles, ice cream sundaes, and your morning cup o’ joe.

Mexican Cocoa Martini with Drunken Fluff

This little cocktail packs a powerful punch, so eat a snack before you suck it down. The Drunken Fluff can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the freezer — it won’t freeze solid, and can be scooped out whenever you need a little boozy puff of happiness.

2 ounces vodka (we like Boyd & Blair, but please support your own local distillery)

1 ounce Kahlua

Splash of Creme de Cacao

1 teaspoon cocoa powder mixed with  1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 large spoonful Drunken Fluff (recipe below)

Put vodka, Kahlua, and Creme de Cacao in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the cocoa powder and cinnamon until it is thoroughly blended and the liquid is hot but not boiling. Warm the martini glass slightly and pour in the Mexican Cocoa; top with the Drunken Fluff.

to make the Drunken Fluff:

3 egg whites at room temperature

1 cup castor sugar

1 cup corn syrup

1 vanilla bean, split

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup whiskey (we used Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye — you could also use bourbon, rum, or whatever strikes your fancy)

First, make the whiskey sugar syrup. Put the sugar, corn syrup, water, whiskey, and vanilla bean into a saucepan and heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly for a few minutes. Bring to a low simmer and check the temperature with a candy thermometer — you want to heat it to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, but not any higher than that. Remove the vanilla bean.

While the syrup is coming up to temperature, whip the egg whites for about 5 minutes in an electric mixer, until they form soft peaks. Add the hot syrup slowly in a continuous stream with the mixer running at a medium speed, then increase the speed to high for several minutes until the mixture has a consistent creamy and fluffy texture. Allow to cool and then store in an airtight container in the freezer.

The Friday Tipple: Shake Shots

We’re feeling shaky, Boozers. The excesses of debate drinking games and watching baseball playoffs late into the night has left us somewhat out of sorts, and, while we know that the logical response would be total abstinence, we are lured by the seductive call of a fortifying “adult” milkshake. What could be more tasty than combining a full-fat ice cream with a little tot of distilled goodness?

Of course, the thing about a milkshake is that it can sometimes be too much of a good thing, at a time when all we require is a bit of a treat. Hence, the advent of Shake Shots. By starting with a simple vanilla shake base, you can build many different flavors: add a little fresh-squeezed orange juice, tequila, and a drizzle of grenadine for a Tequila Sunrise shake shot, or a tablespoon of chilled coffee and Bailey’s for an Irish Cream delight. We know you’re already planning a DIY Shake Shot bar for your next party.

For today’s Shake Shots, we made two shots with that vanilla shake base, adding freshly-grated ginger to one for a frosty version of the Dark ‘n Stormy, and adding some malted milk powder to another as a topping for a beer shake shot. For the third, we went seasonal and used our local Moorenko’s Pumpkin Ice Cream for the shake, to which we added a spicy shot of rye whiskey, courtesy of one of our favorite local distillers, Catoctin Creek.

The only limit is your imagination. Just watch out for the brain freeze.

Shake Shots

It seems insulting to your intelligence, dear Boozers, to tell you how to make a milkshake, but we will. Basically, put about 3/4 of a cup of vanilla ice cream in a blender with 1/4 cup of milk and start blending. You’ll need to add more milk slowly until it gets to the consistency you prefer; we’d suggest leaving it on the thicker side so that it doesn’t thin down too much when you add liquor to it.

for the Dark ‘n Stormy shot: Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly-grated ginger to a 1/2 cup of the vanilla shake base. Pour into a shot glass, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top, then top with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum.

for the Beer shot: Add a teaspoon of malted milk powder to the vanilla shake base. Pour chilled beer (we went seasonal again, using Dogfish Head Punkin Ale) into a shot glass, topping with a large spoonful of thickened milkshake.

for the Pumpkin shot: Make a thick shake with pumpkin ice cream (you can substitute a pumpkin syrup with vanilla ice cream). Take a half-cup of the shake and add 1.5 ounces of rye whiskey. Pour into shot glasses and dust the top with unsweetened cocoa powder or ground nutmeg.

The Friday Tipple: Pumpkin Pie

You know what’s coming, American Boozers. Yes, Thanksgiving. Watching Uncle Greg wrestle with the turkey, being forced by Grandma to sit at the kiddie table, again (“I’m sorry, honey, there just isn’t room for everyone at the big table. And the kids love you so much, dear.”), and that classic moment when your mom insists that you show everyone your impersonation of Adolf Hitler. Good times.

What you really need after you’ve eaten the last bite of Aunt Irma’s famous Ambrosia salad with the gummy bear surprise, is a drink. Something festive for which you can truly give thanks. Enter the Pumpkin Pie cocktail — believe us, you need this far more than you ever needed any traditional piece of pie. Made with our signature Pumpkin Juice, we keep it simple by adding Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka.

Yes, we know, we were skeptical too: “Whipped cream vodka? Not possible.” However, it turns out that you really can make vodka taste like pretty much anything under the sun, and, while we know that we could probably come up with our own housemade version, we suggest that you give yourself a break. Buy the Pinnacle, whip up a quick batch of Pumpkin Juice, and loosen your belt. You know you need to build up your strength for Black Friday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Pie

This drink tastes astonishingly like a slice of pumpkin pie, but without the fiber.  We added just a soupçon of Nocello, which imparts a slight undercurrent of nuttiness — rather like your family, we suspect.

3 ounces Pumpkin Juice (recipe here)

1.5 ounces Pinnacle Whipped Cream Vodka

Splash of Nocello

Whipped cream and nutmeg for garnish (optional, but do it anyway)

Pour the pumpkin juice, vodka, and Nocello in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with whipped cream and nutmeg.


The Friday Tipple: Birthday Cake Shot

Happy birthday, Boozers! Well, maybe it’s not your birthday yet, but we had a birthday here at Good Booze this week, and we are still celebrating. You may enjoy a little special libation on your own birthday, and we couldn’t agree more. So, we went trolling around on the glorious Google world looking for the legendary Birthday Cake Shooter. It’s purported to taste like a birthday cake — who could resist?

The basic recipe calls for either citrus or vanilla vodka, paired with Frangelico and a sugar-coated lemon slice on the side. However, with apologies to Frangelico, we find it a bit too sweet, so we went for Nocello instead — an Italian walnut liqueur that is slightly more subtle. And, while there are plenty of vanilla vodkas on the market, it’s a breeze to infuse your own, and, because it was our birthday, we wanted a really good vodka, not just some run-of-the-mill variety. We recently came across Boyd & Blair Vodka in our quest to drink local first; they are not exactly right around the corner, but their distillery is close enough to fall into what we like to call the Mid-Atlantic Liquor Watershed.

While we’re not quite sure that the Birthday Cake Shot tastes exactly like a slice of birthday cake, it is certainly a tasty little morsel that may help distract you from your advancing age. Just don’t forget to blow out the candle first. Many happy returns!

Birthday Cake Shot

1 ounce Vanilla Vodka (we like to infuse Boyd & Blair vodka —instructions below)

1 ounce Nocello liqueur

1 lemon slice, coated in sugar

Shake vodka and Nocello in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a shot glass, with the lemon on the side. Shoot down the Birthday Cake, then suck on the lemon. Yum.

How to infuse vodka with vanilla:

It’s embarrassingly easy. Put a cup of vodka in a mason jar. Add a vanilla bean that has been split down the center. Let sit in a cool dark place for a few days, remove the vanilla bean, and enjoy.

Guess what’s inside? Crackerjack Syrup

We’ve begun to recover, dear Boozers, from the shock of baseball’s Wild Card battle and have moved on to cheer for the Tigers (come on, you know Detroit deserves a little pick-me-up). In the spirit of the season, we recently developed a tasty little sweetener based on that old-time favorite: Cracker Jack. Our Crackerjack Syrup is a bit corny, we know, but it supplies a charmingly nostalgic undertone to cocktails like our own Wild Card and also makes an absolutely fabulous addition when drizzled over peanut butter cheesecake, vanilla ice cream, and good ole apple pie. You really can’t get more American than that as we indulge in the waning days of our national pastime. Enjoy!

Crackerjack Syrup

1 cup raw turbinado sugar

1 ear of fresh corn, kernels cut off (scrape edge of cob with knife to collect corn “milk” as well)

1 cup water


Set sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until sugar liquifies, being careful not to let it burn. Add water slowly and stir. Put all corn kernels into the sugar syrup. Add a large pinch of salt and allow to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Strain and cool completely. Yields about a cup; can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months.