The Garden Tipple: Watermelon Moonshine Shooter

Watermelon Moonshine Shooter

We’re celebrating independence, Boozers. Some days, the weight of responsibility can be crushing, as the gimlet-eyed gaze of a soulless COO leaves you wondering if you can survive another day in corporate America. And then you push through those gleaming glass doors into the hot sunshine of a late summer afternoon and you raise your arms to the clear blue sky and you scream, “I’m mad as hell — and I’m not gonna take it anymore!”

Or you just go to the corner and buy a bottle of moonshine.

Because at least you’ve got a three-day weekend ahead of you, and a hometown parade, and fireworks exploding in the darkness. And good friends who will share a shot — or two — and remind you that there’s always another way to get to the finish line. Grab your independence and run with it.

Watermelon Moonshine Shooter

Watermelon are a dime a dozen this time of year, whether in the garden or the farmers market, and, as you can imagine, they make a tasty drink on a hot day. We like to use a white whiskey — also known as moonshine — but it would be equally good with tequila.

1 cup fresh watermelon chunks

4 ounces white whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit, but support your local distillery)

1 fresh lime

a few dashes of citrus bitters (optional, but we like Hella Citrus)

Kosher salt

Put watermelon and whiskey into a blender and liquify. Strain the liquid, then squeeze fresh lime juice into it and add a few drops of bitters. Mix well and let chill for an hour. Stir again before pouring into shot glasses, and sprinkle a few grains of salt over the top before drinking it down.

 

 

The Friday Tipple: Celebration Shot

Celebrate good times, Boozers. June is a month often jam-packed with family celebrations — graduations, weddings, anniversaries — and the parties can seem non-stop. We don’t mind, as we enjoy a good reunion, and the options for tasty beverages tend to explode as early summer produce starts to hit the streets. A charming little piece of fruit called a champagne mango made its way into our bar recently and it just seemed to cry out for some special treatment. Hence, the Celebration Shot.

There’s nothing more fun than toasting good times with a brimming shot glass, but slugging down straight whiskey or tequila in the warm June sunshine seems like a family brawl just waiting to happen. We chose instead to temper such firewater with seasonal flavors that also create a nice palate cleanser for barbecued ribs and Grandma’s famous potato salad. So treat the relatives to a special toast of good times and remember that today’s not the day to remind your brother-in-law that he still owes you fifty bucks. Alla famiglia!

Celebration Shot

The trick to making this shot refreshing is to pour some of the whiskey-mint infusion into the bottom of the shot glasses and then place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes — just long enough to make it very cold and create a light frost across the surface. Once you add the mango-tequila mixture on top, it will melt the frost so that it can all be swallowed down quickly, or even sipped. The recipe below should yield about 4 shots.

1/2 cup white or clear unaged whiskey (we like Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit)

1/2 cup packed clean fresh mint leaves

scant teaspoon light agave nectar

2 mangos, peeled and cut into chunks (yes, you can use defrosted frozen mango if you can’t find fresh)

1/2 cup silver tequila

Place the whiskey, mint leaves, and agave nectar in a blender and blend on high until the leaves are completely broken down and the liquid is a fresh green color. Set aside. Then place the mango chunks and tequila in a clean blender and blend on high until liquefied. Pour through a strainer to remove any chunks and set aside.

To assemble the shot: put about 1 ounce of the whiskey-mint infusion in the bottom of a shot glass and put in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then add 1.5 ounces of the mango-tequila infusion on top and drink up.

The Friday Tipple: Carrot Top

We’re gripped by spring fever, Boozers. Never mind that Punxsutawney Phil predicted an extended winter or that we see snowflakes in Monday’s forecast— we are now firmly planted in meteorological spring and nothing can turn us back even as the clocks move forward just a week from now. Spring has sprung.

Building on last week’s exploration of root vegetable cocktails — and an unintentional nod to 1980s pop culture — we were inspired yet again by the fresh produce delivered by our friendly green grocer. Nothing heralds spring more than a cheerful bunch of carrots, sweet and crunchy and topped by a frothy head of green fronds. Carrots are particularly sweet in the early spring, when frosty nights help concentrate their natural sugars and the warm sunny days allow them to deepen in flavor.

The pairing of carrots with rye whiskey is a perfect match for spring, which, as Charles Dickens said, is a time “when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade” — the rye has a comforting spicy warmth while the carrots lend a welcome note of bright sunshine. The Carrot Top is a necessary shot of spring; go ahead and put on the flip flops that you’ve been eyeing longingly in your closet. You might want to throw on a pair of toe socks with them, just in case. Cheers!

Carrot Top

This lovely little infusion makes a fabulous aperitif on its own, but also makes a smashing cocktail when poured over ginger beer on ice (and, even better, throw in a splash of Stone’s Ginger Wine to add another layer of flavor). If you don’t have crystallized ginger, then substitute a couple of small chunks of fresh ginger and about a 1/2 teaspoon of raw sugar.

1/2 cup rye whiskey (we used Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye)

1 carrot, freshly grated

3 chunks of crystallized ginger, about 1-inch each

Place all ingredients in a jar and set aside for two hours. Strain liquid and discard carrot and ginger. To serve, put two ounces of infused rye into a cocktail shaker with an ice cube and shake vigorously. Strain into an aperitif or shot glass and sip responsibly.