The Garden Tipple: Naughty Miss Parsley

Naughty Miss Parsley

We’ve gone green, Boozers. It’s still just early summer and while we wait for the tomatoes to reach their full potential, we’re overrun with parsley, that riotous partygirl of the summer garden. Playful and coy with her head of green curls, Miss Parsley loves to be the center of attention as the garden party gets started, although she starts to flag once the serious heat sets in, wilting quietly in a corner, dreaming of her misspent youth.

Naughty Miss Parsley does tend to be highly prolific, and we are often at a loss to know what to do with such abundance — there’s only so much pistou really needed in any household. So we’ve gone and named a cocktail in her honor, filled with a glorious brilliant green parsley juice and just enough vodka to get the party started. Pace yourself, Miss Parsley, the night is young.

Naughty Miss Parsley

Parsley juice does sound like some awful hippie concoction that must be drunk during the waning moon while living in a commune tucked away in the rolling countryside of the Pacific Northwest, but it actually has a bright earthy flavor that somehow tastes like distilled summer in a glass. A snap to make, it pairs well with both vodka and gin, and can be a nice addition to a fresh Bloody Mary.

3 ounces fresh parsley juice (recipe here)

1.5 ounces vodka (we actually used Square One Cucumber Vodka this time, which added another fresh note to this cocktail)

1/2 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur

1 to 2 teaspoons of light agave nectar, to your taste

wedge of fresh lime

chilled club soda (optional)

Put first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Pour all contents into a tall glass and squeeze the lime over it. Can be served as is or topped off with an ounce of chilled club soda.

 

The Friday Tipple: Tomato Water Martini

Tomato Water Martini

Fall is in the air, dear Boozers. As the autumn equinox approaches, we find ourselves with the last of the summer fruits gently rotting on the vine; you’ve probably seen them also, sadly tottering in untidy piles at the farmer’s market: tomatoes. They are usually rather ugly this time of year, coming in an odd assortment of colors, overripe to the point of implosion. These tomatoes are like wrinkled old women at the seaside determined to get one more day of sunshine before winter strips them of their tans. These tomatoes know that they are headed for the compost bin if they can’t attract your attention.

We’ve put some of our tomatoes out of their misery by transforming them into tomato water and combining them with vodka for our elegantly spare Tomato Water Martini; we used the Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka because we like how the cucumber essence of the vodka combined with the slight tartness of the tomato water gives you one last tiny blast of summer. Add a few drops of hot sauce (we like our local Uncle Brutha’s varieties) and it turns out to also be a pretty good way to combat the first head cold of the season. Either way, it’s a win-win, for you and those last desperate tomatoes vying for your attention.

Tomato Water Martini

We treated this cocktail in the simplest way possible, much like our Last Gasp of Summer Liqueur — no need for fussiness here. The only real effort is in making the tomato water, which is messy but ultimately satisfying and an excellent way to relieve any workday tensions before you dive into happy hour.

One cup fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, any variety

Chilled vodka (if you prefer a gin martini, try an earthy rye-based variety like Catoctin Creek)

Kosher salt

Hot sauce (Uncle Brutha’s No. 9 Chile Verde Garlic & Ginger is our personal favorite)

Kalamata olives for garnish (optional, of course)

Let the tomatoes sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Wrap them in cheesecloth and squeeze them tightly to extract the juice, or press them through a fine-mesh sieve. Strain them again to remove any errant seeds or pulp. Pour two ounces of the tomato water and two ounces of vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass, then sprinkle a pinch of Kosher salt over the top, add a few dashes of hot sauce, and garnish with Kalamata olives. 

 

The Friday Tipple: Bikini Shot

Bikini Shot

Bathing suit season is on the horizon, Boozers. Buxom babes are overtaking magazine covers, glowing with cocoa butter on far-flung tropical beaches. Whether you hope to be a buxom babe or merely to attract a buxom babe, the approach of Spring Break prompts us to ponder the winter flab so cleverly hidden by chunky sweaters. It’s time to detox.

While we could consider exercising a little more — or at all — we prefer to go the route of a desperate last-minute liquid diet in order to shed those unwanted pounds. Protein shakes, spinach smoothies, and lemon juice spiked with cayenne are all on the menu, but as happy hour approaches, we feel the need for a little special cocktail to reward ourselves for all that self-denial.

Our detox drink of choice is our Bikini Shot — combining the health benefits of kiwi fruit, laden with vitamin C and E and colon-cleansing dietary fiber, with a vodka-laced grapefruit granita. It starts off tart and cold and ends up sweet and smooth, not unlike easing yourself into a pool. The Bikini Shot may not actually make that saggy old Speedo fit any better, but it sure will make you feel like a million bucks. Go ahead — hit the beach. Hang ten!

Bikini Shot

granita is similar in texture to a shaved ice, made with fresh fruit juice, sugar, and, in this case, alcohol. We used Square One Cucumber Vodka for this recipe, as the cucumber essence adds a fresh note to the grapefruit, but it would work beautifully with gin. We’ve also had success with a blackberry granita made with Catoctin Creek’s Mosby’s Spirit, which has a certain grappa-like quality that makes us feel like we are vacationing on the Amalfi coast.

One whole grapefruit, juiced and retaining some of the pulp

3 ounces vodka or gin

2 ripe kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into chunks

1 orange, juiced

1 teaspoon light agave nectar

To make the granita: combine the grapefruit juice, pulp, and vodka or gin and pour into a shallow freezer-safe dish (like a pie pan). Place uncovered in the freezer for an hour, then scrape with a spoon to loosen the ice crystals. Return to the freezer for another hour. It can be scraped into a freezer-safe container at this point and kept in the freezer until ready to use.

To make the kiwi fruit juice: Put kiwi, orange juice, and agave nectar in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds (optional). Chill for 30 minutes.

Pour two ounces kiwi juice into a shot glass or aperitif glass; top with a spoonful of grapefruit granita. Enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: Salted Mineral Vodka

We’re sweating, Boozers. As much as we like to present ourselves as cool and urbane, impeccably linen-clad in the subtropical temperatures, the honest truth is that we are actually perpetually clad in a light film of perspiration. Such is the nature of summer in the city. We surrender.

Rehydrating is the word of the moment in regions gripped by heat — as your body sweats water out, make sure to put more in. This led us to become interested in mineral waters — water that contains naturally-occurring minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium, and zinc, which can provide beneficial effects, such as helping to build bone density or regulate blood pressure. And then, one day, we were attracted by a slender bottle of black mineral water in the grocery aisle: BLK. We couldn’t resist.

As our loyal Boozers know, we love to make an ice cube and the idea of a black ice cube was too good to pass up. BLK is infused with fulvic acid minerals, which are purported to help boost the immune system, regulate blood circulation, and restore electrolytes — but, whatever, we just think it looks kinda cool. We like to think that floating a BLK cube in a glass of chilled vodka is equivalent to a health drink. Just go with it.

Salted Mineral Vodka

Interestingly, BLK water is more brown than black — the color of a dark roast coffee — and, when frozen, the fulvic minerals tend to form a dark cluster in the center of a clear cube, rather a striking effect, actually. BLK tastes pretty much like standard water, with a slightly earthy, but not unpleasant, aftertaste, and it’s rather good with vodka. We like chilled Boyd & Blair Vodka ourselves, and, as the color of the BLK cubes reminded us of caviar, we topped it off with a bit of salt — just to replenish what we’ve been sweating out.

1 BLK ice cube

2 ounces chilled vodka (go local — we also recommend Square One, Twenty 2, and Cirrus)

pinch of kosher salt

Chill a short cocktail glass in the freezer for 15 minutes. Add vodka, float ice cube in it, and top with a pinch of salt. Za Vas!

The Friday Tipple: Green Goddess

This week has been a scorcher, Boozers. The kind of weather where you just want to dive into a nice cool mudhole and wallow there until the mercury has dropped below 95. But, if no mudholes are handy, then we just search for the next best thing: cucumbers.

Humans have been cooling off with cucumbers since ancient times, so who are we to argue with the Greeks and Romans? If there be a food of the gods, let it be cucumber, whose mild yet distinctive flavor can be sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. We recently have noticed cucumber soda gracing the shelves of food purveyors and the abundance of this particular summer produce inspired us to whip up a fresh cucumber bubbly base for a cocktail that we like to call the Green Goddess. Just imagine Aphrodite lounging on a chaise overlooking the blue Aegean with a cool glass in her hand. That could be you.

Green Goddess

As you know, we enjoy a gin cocktail, but this particular elixir is also excellent with vodka, so take your pick. We prefer our local Catoctin Creek Organic Watershed Gin, and, as for vodka, we often reach for Boyd and Blair Vodka. However, if you want to kick up the cucumber flavor a notch, you might try Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka for an extra-special cuke-tail.

1/2 of a large cucumber, peeled and roughly chopped

1 teaspoon light agave nectar

1 tablespoon water

1/2 ounce St. Germain liqueur

1.5 ounces gin or vodka

chilled club soda

lime wedge

cucumber wheel, for garnish

Place cucumber, agave nectar, and water in a blender or food processor and blend until completely puréed. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and pour cucumber liquid into a cocktail shaker. Add St. Germain and gin or vodka, then add about 1/4 (up to 1/3) cup of chilled club soda. Stir vigorously. Run the lime wedge around the rim of a glass filled with ice, then add the contents of the shaker. Garnish with cucumber wheel.

The Friday Tipple: Antioxidantail

We’re on a health kick, Boozers. The Good Booze HQ is crammed with fresh fruits and veggies from our local green grocer, inspiring our good intentions to create a tasty pick-me-up for cocktail hour. And why shouldn’t your happy hour drink of choice help boost your immune system at the same time it calms your nerves from another day navigating the rat race?

A selection of fresh mango and blueberries highlight our Antioxidantail; the mighty mango is rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and omega-3 fatty acids, while blueberries are high in manganese, vitamin K, and anthocyanins. Not only that, but they taste good, too, especially when combined with calcium-loaded dairy-free coconut milk, which has anti-bacterial properties that aid digestion. Add a splash of vodka — we liked Boyd & Blair potato vodka with this particular treat, since, after all, potatoes are also high in potassium, so the vodka must be nutritious, right? We predict you’ll soon start finding this on the menu of your fancy health club’s juice bar, a perfect way to cool down after that hot yoga class.

Antioxidantail

While we love the smoothness of mango combined with coconut milk, we tweaked the flavor a little with the addition of elderflower liqueur and celery bitters (The Bitter Truth makes excellent versions of both). The elderflower liqueur lends a lightly floral undertone when used in moderation while the celery bitters adds a slightly piquant vegetal note, bringing a subtle counterpoint to the sweetness of the fruit. Besides, celery is actually also chock-full of antioxidants. Who knew?

1 fresh mango, cut into chunks

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (there are several good varieties out there, including Silk and So Delicious)

1 teaspoon maple syrup (yep, you guessed it, an antioxidant-rich natural sweetener)

1.5 ounces vodka (we used Boyd & Blair here, but also highly recommend Square One or Nude)

1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur (St. Germain is usually readily available if you can’t find The Bitter Truth)

a few drops of celery bitters

Put first four ingredients in a blender and blend on high until smooth. Add vodka, liqueur, and bitters and pulse a couple of times. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: Bikini Shot

Bathing suit season is on the horizon, Boozers. Buxom babes are overtaking magazine covers, glowing with cocoa butter on far-flung tropical beaches. Whether you hope to be a buxom babe or merely to attract a buxom babe, the approach of Spring Break prompts us to ponder the winter flab so cleverly hidden by chunky sweaters. It’s time to detox.

While we could consider exercising a little more — or at all — we prefer to go the route of a desperate last-minute liquid diet in order to shed those unwanted pounds. Protein shakes, spinach smoothies, and lemon juice spiked with cayenne are all on the menu, but as happy hour approaches, we feel the need for a little special cocktail to reward ourselves for all that self-denial.

Our detox drink of choice is our Bikini Shot — combining the health benefits of kiwi fruit, laden with vitamin C and E and colon-cleansing dietary fiber, with a vodka-laced grapefruit granita. It starts off tart and cold and ends up sweet and smooth, not unlike easing yourself into a pool. The Bikini Shot may not actually make that saggy old Speedo fit any better, but it sure will make you feel like a million bucks. Go ahead — hit the beach. Hang ten!

Bikini Shot

A granita is similar in texture to a shaved ice, made with fresh fruit juice, sugar, and, in this case, alcohol. We used Square One Cucumber Vodka for this recipe, as the cucumber essence adds a fresh note to the grapefruit, but it would work beautifully with gin. We’ve also had success with a blackberry granita made with Catoctin Creek’s Mosby’s Spirit, which has a certain grappa-like quality that makes us feel like we are vacationing on the Amalfi coast.

One whole grapefruit, juiced and retaining some of the pulp

3 ounces vodka or gin

2 ripe kiwi fruits, peeled and cut into chunks

1 orange, juiced

1 teaspoon light agave nectar

To make the granita: combine the grapefruit juice, pulp, and vodka or gin and pour into a shallow freezer-safe dish (like a pie pan). Place uncovered in the freezer for an hour, then scrape with a spoon to loosen the ice crystals. Return to the freezer for another hour. It can be scraped into a freezer-safe container at this point and kept in the freezer until ready to use.

To make the kiwi fruit juice: Put kiwi, orange juice, and agave nectar in a blender and blend until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove seeds (optional). Chill for 30 minutes.

Pour two ounces kiwi juice into a shot glass or aperitif glass; top with a spoonful of grapefruit granita. Enjoy.

The Friday Tipple: The Wolfhound

Holy Mozart, Boozers. It’s the great composer’s 256th birthday and it got us to wondering what kind of cocktail that celebrated imbiber might have enjoyed on his special day. Except, of course, that cocktails were invented long after Mozart’s death, but the well-traveled musician must surely have been introduced to spirits such as vodka and gin, and most certainly tipped a glass or two of grappa with his friend Salieri.

In the days of Amadeus, a refreshing treat would have been the earliest version of carbonated soda — created by adding a pinch of common baking soda to lemonade. This fizzy delight piqued our interest and seemed like a perfect historical base for a modern cocktail. Now that it is late winter, the produce aisles at the grocery stores are piled high with seasonal ruby red grapefruit; we think Wolfgang would have loved the exotic color and sweetly tart flavor, as complex as his Piano Sonata No. 13.

The grapefruit juice naturally led us to the addition of vodka, a cocktail traditionally known as a Greyhound, but that sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda gives it an unexpected edge: say “Wilkommen” to the Wolfhound. Salty, sour, sweet, seductively simple — a veritable symphony of taste sensations. Prost!

The Wolfhound

The addition of baking soda gives this cocktail a slightly salty flavor — and perhaps even soothes a hangover before it has begun. Be careful to add just a small amount or the drink will begin to take on a bit of an Alka-Seltzer quality. If you are not a fan of vodka, don’t despair: this drink is wonderful with gin as well, which pairs perfectly with the grapefruit.

1/2 cup freshly-squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (about 1 whole grapefruit)

2 ounces vodka (we love Boyd & Blair, which is local to our area, but Square One and Twenty 2 are also terrific American-made vodkas)

scant 1/2 teaspoon light agave nectar

a large pinch of baking soda (no more than 1/4 teaspoon)

Put the grapefruit juice, vodka (or gin if you prefer), and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass and quickly stir in the baking soda until it dissolves and the liquid begins to foam. Enjoy immediately.

The Friday Tipple: Tomato Water Martini

The leaves are starting to fall, dear Boozers. As the days shorten, we find ourselves with the last of the summer fruits gently rotting on the vine; you’ve probably seen them also, sadly tottering in untidy piles at the farmer’s market: tomatoes. They are usually rather ugly this time of year, coming in an odd assortment of colors, overripe to the point of implosion. These tomatoes are like wrinkled old women at the seaside determined to get one more day of sunshine before winter strips them of their tans. These tomatoes know that they are headed for the compost bin if they can’t attract your attention.

Luckily for them, we were inspired this week in the Good Booze kitchen by a recipe for tomato water in the latest issue of Imbibe and by a brand spanking new bottle of Square One Organic Cucumber Vodka. We treated this cocktail in the simplest way possible, much like our Last Gasp of Summer Liqueur — no need for fussiness here. The cucumber essence of the vodka combined with the slight tartness of the tomato water gives you one last tiny blast of summer, and, if you add a few drops of hot sauce (we like our local Uncle Brutha’s varieties), it turns out to be a pretty good way to combat the first head cold of the season. Either way, it’s a win-win, for you and those last desperate tomatoes of the year. Cheers!

Tomato Water Martini

One cup fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped, any variety

Chilled vodka (we like the Square One Cucumber rye vodka)

Kosher salt

Hot sauce (Uncle Brutha’s No. 9 Chile Verde Garlic & Ginger is our fave)

Kalamata olives for garnish (optional, of course)

Let the tomatoes sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. Wrap them in cheesecloth and squeeze them tightly to extract the juice, or press them through a fine-mesh sieve. Strain them again to remove any errant seeds or pulp. Pour two ounces of the tomato water and two ounces of vodka into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass, then sprinkle a pinch of Kosher salt over the top, add a few dashes of hot sauce, and garnish with Kalamata olives. Enjoy!