Aperol Spritz a la Mickey Mouse!

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If you haven't had an Aperol Spritz, one WHY NOT and two you gotta try it!!  An Aperol Spritz in so perfect for summer, easy to make and a crowd pleaser!  If you have a dinner party or are out to dinner, this is the perfect way to start the meal, the slight bitterness of the Aperol gets your tastes buds salivating and ready to devour food!  I make and drink Aperol Spritzes all the time and instead of the traditional way of making them, I wanted to have a little fun!  One of my favorite things in the world is anything Disney and to me Disney is part of my life and I will always be fascinated by its magic!  Around this time of the year I always think about Walt Disney and how he had such an incredible vision of making the world's greatest amusement park and how he did it solely to make people feel young, happy and carefree!  Coming up is Disneyland's Anniversary and what better way to make Walt smile then a drink to cheers with family and friends and that has a little Disney Magic!  M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:  

  • 1 1/2-2 oz. Aperol or 3-4 Mickey Mouse or anything fun shaped Aperol ice cubes! (Instructions below)
  • 3-4 oz. Bele Casel Prosecco Col Fondo  
  • Splash of Club Soda  (I used La Croix Pamplemousse) 

Instructions: 

To make the Aperol ice cubes pour in equal parts water to Aperol and fill up an ice tray and freeze overnight.  The next day when you are ready to serve!  Put 3-4 Aperol ice cubes in a glass and top with 3-4 oz. of prosecco and a splash of club soda, an orange wheel and Bibidi Bobbiti Boo the coolest Aperol Spritz ever!  If you don't make Aperol ice cubes then just pour 1 1/2-2 oz. Aperol in your glass add regular ice then add the prosecco, club soda and orange wheel. Then serve! 

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A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions:

Aperol:  Aperol was launched to the public in 1919 at the Padua International Fair in Italy.  Created by the Barbieri brothers and very quickly became one of Italy's beloved aperitvos!  Made from bitter orange peel, rhubarb, gentian root and chinchona bark.  Aperol is legendary and a staple at my home bar.

Bele Casel Prosecco Col Fondo:  The Ferraro family started producing wine back in 1977 in Asolo, Italy.  This varietal is a creamy mineral laced dream.  Col Fondo translates to "with sediment."  This sparking beauty has notes of fresh fruit, bread crust and as you pour more complex notes emerge as lees are present in every bottle.  This traditional method is letting the sediment stay in the bottle so it causes a cloudy effect, but don't be scared it's awesome!

Mickey Mouse Aperol ice cubes:  I used a red silicone Mickey Mouse muffin tray to make the ice cubes.  I bought at the World of Disney store in Downtown Disney in Disneyland, but I am sure they are available online as well!

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Run for the Roses

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It's that time of year for big hats, pretty dresses, fancy gloves and red roses!  The Kentucky Derby is here and after having so many mint juleps I believe it is time for something a little different and just as pretty!  "The Run for the Roses" is a nickname for the Kentucky Derby and it references the lush blanket of 554 red roses that is awarded to the winner each year.  It was believed that in 1883 that New York socialite E. Berry Wall started the red rose tradition, by presenting ladies with each a red rose at a post Derby party.  Both the founder Churchill Downs and the president Col. M. Lewis Clark attended this party and was said to give them the idea of the red rose being the race's official flower!  However, the first recording of the blanket of roses being awarded to the Derby winner was in 1896.   To pay homage to the Kentucky Derby and the beautiful red rose tradition how perfect to have a cocktail to embody not only the Derby but also the time the tradition began and what the cocktail scene could of been like...Around the late 1880's and until the 1940's the fizz was a widely popular family of cocktails in America.  In the last ten or so years the resurgence of the fizz and many other amazing cocktails have resurfaced and have become popular again!  A fizz is typically any spirit, lemon juice, egg white, sugar and carbonated water and the first published recipes are in the 1887 edition of Jerry Thomas's Bartender's Guide.  For this glorious tradition of "The Run for the Roses" it only seemed fitting to create a drink with Four Roses a Kentucky Bourbon whiskey and actual real roses with a lovely Italian rose jam!  You wanna live fancy and have the perfect cocktail to serve while watching the Kentucky Derby look no further cause here it comes!  Introducing the "Run for the Roses" cocktail! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 egg white
  • 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz. Rose Jam
  • 1/4 oz. Heavy Cream
  • 2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon
  • Top with 2 oz. Club Soda

Instructions:

Take out you shaker tin and first crack an egg and separate the yolk out and drop the egg white into the tin and add all other ingredients besides the club soda.  Dry whip all ingredients in your tin for 10-15 seconds.  Then add ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds, until shaker tin has a frost on it.  Lastly, add the club soda to the tin and then double strain and pour out all ingredients into a chilled glassware of your choice.  Garnish with a red rose petal or a whole red rose like I did, it's the Kentucky Derby- Be Fancy!  

A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions: 

Four Roses Bourbon:   The name Four Roses came from a story when the founder Paul Jones Jr. became infatuated with a lovely Southern belle.  When he saw her at the grand ball she was in a beautiful gown with a corsage of four red roses.  He later married the girl and named his beloved Bourbon "Four Roses" after that glorious night at the ball with his beautiful Southern belle.  This delicious Bourbon is an beautiful golden Amber color with notes of pear, apple, honey, flowers, and gentle spices.

Confettura Extra di Rose Jam:  Very common in Italy and is super fun and delicious in a cocktail!  You can order online, a specialty spice store, or go to Eataly if you have one near you, that is where I got mine.  

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Dream Within A Dream...

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 "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream" a line from Edgar Allen Poe poem rings very true in how life really is.  Life can be so unpredictable, overwhelming and awe-inspiring at times and sometimes we cannot believe that is is our reality!  No matter what is going on good or bad all experiences make you "stronger than yesterday!"  I learned about this beautiful Poe poem not from school but from it being the underlying theme of one of the most iconic music tours is history from the one, the only, the legendary Miss Britney Spears!  Believe it or not Britney is a constant inspiration to me and will always be and just like her, "I go through life like a karate kid."  When I was concocting this dreamy elixir, all I could think about was how this cocktail was a high class, strong and vivacious lady drink and to me nobody embodies that more than Britney!  Enjoy this gin martini variation and let it take you into your own dream within a dream.

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Martin Millers Westbourne Strength Gin
  • 2 dashes Scrappy's Grapefruit Bitters
  • 3/4 oz. Dolin Dry Vermouth
  • 1/4 oz. Amaro Meletti 

Instructions:

Take out a chilled mixing glass and stir spoon and add in all ingredients above and 4-5 medium sized ice cubes.  Then stir ingredients for up to a minute until cocktail is fully diluted and chilled.  Next, take out your julep strainer and pour cocktail out into a chilled coupe glass.  Then peel a long grapefruit peel and express oil onto the cocktail and rim the glass with the peel.  Finally take the peel and roll up into what looks like a rosebud.  Cheers!

A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions: 

 Martin Millers Westbourne Strength Gin:  A small batch London Dry Gin with notes of jade, jasmine, juniper, citrus peel, cardamom and peppercorn.  After distillation the spirit is shipped to Iceland and blended with Icelandic water.

Amaro Meletti:  Silvio Meletti began producing liqueurs in 1870 in Marche and a few years later began producing this beautiful Amaro.  With notes of saffron, lavender, violet, chocolate, anise and orange.

Dolin Dry Vermouth:  Produced in Chambéry, France since 1821 and is the last distillery in that region.  Tasting notes of lemon peel, green grass, tarragon and stone fruit.

Scrappy's Grapefruit Bitters:  Seattle Bartender Miles Thomas created this bitters line in 2008.  He set out to make an artisanal small batch bitters line made with integrity and quality  and he did just that.

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#MCM Mint Chocolate Malt!💕💋❤️🌹

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What to do for Valentine's Day is always on everyone's mind!  How will I make my lover swoon over my affection on this glorious day of Love!  The holiday began as a feast of love and affection and to recognize and celebrate Saint Valentine!  Only in the late Middle Ages did Geoffrey Chauncer begin the tradition in which lovers showed their affection by giving flowers and cards known as "valentines" and there ya have it!...Or if you are single even more the reason to treat yo self!  After all it is a day to celebrate love and what's better then loving yourself!  In fact another reason to celebrate this day I got from the amazing Liz Lemon (Tina Fey from 30 Rock).  Instead of celebrating Valentine's Day celebrate Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!  One of the fearless leaders in the women's suffrage movement and it happens to be her birthday!  Here here!  Either way you look at it LOVE wins! Ok...now to the important stuff what cocktail to celebrate with?!  I am thinking something dreamy and mint chocolate creamy.  Check out my #mcm, the Mint Chocolate Malt!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Hershey's Milk Chocolate Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. Branca Menta  
  • Top with 1/2oz. Soda Water

Instructions:  

Take a Nick and Nora or any small stemware glass and put in the freezer for an hour before making this drink.  After that take out your shaker tin and measure out all ingredients and put in tin besides the soda water!  You do that at the end after you pour the drink out.  Dry whip shake all ingredients for like 10 seconds, then add ice and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds until you feel the shaker tin is ice cold with a slight frost on it!  You will feel it!  Then take your Hawthorne strainer and fine strainer and pour out all ingredients into the super chilled Nick and Nora glass.  Top the cocktail with a bit of fresh club soda and the drink will froth up some more!  Slap a single mint leaf together in your hands to release its aroma and essential oils and lay it on top of the cocktail.  So pretty and perfect like a classic malt shop refreshment!  Cheers Lovers! ❤️💕

A little background on my preferred spirits: 

Branca Menta:  Invented in the mid 1960's as a result of the popularity of drinkers adding a mint syrup to Fernet Branca to sweeten up the pungent amaro.  Resulting in a peppermint menthol dream that is perfect for sipping after dinner for dessert!  Don't worry Fernet Branca lovers it contains part of the secret Fernet Branca recipe.

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Old Fashioned

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The first documented definition of the word "cocktail" was in response from a letter in the May 6, 1806 issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository in Hudson, New York asking to define the word.  In the next issue on May 13, 1806 the paper's editor wrote back that is was "a potent concoction of spirits, bitters, water and sugar..."  On another occasion years later J.E. Alexander also describes the cocktail similarly in 1833, as he encountered it in New York City, as being "rum, gin, or brandy, significant water, bitters, and sugar, though he includes a nutmeg garnish as well."  Now after reading this, what does that remind you of...The Old Fashioned we know to love!  The name "old fashioned" came about referring to just that, the oldest reference to a cocktail!  Of course we know the old fashioned as being made with whiskey and it gained the most popularity with that spirit in the 1880's, but what if we decided to go back and make it with brandy one of the first ways it was made!  It is 2016 people and that means that it is the perfect time to switch up your normal drink routine and let me tell you with brandy this cocktail rocks even more!

Ingredients:

  • 1 white sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz. Vecchia Romangna Italian Brandy

Instructions: 

You can either build this cocktail in the glass you serve it in or mix separately in your mixing glass and pour out.  I like to make separately and then pour out myself...ok here goes!  Drop the sugar cube in the glass and soak the cube with the bitters then take your muddler and crush the cube and make a paste.  Add the 2 oz. of brandy and stir and combine all ingredients without ice, really integrating the sugar into the spirit.  Once you feel the sugar has dissolved enough in the liquid add some ice and stir until the cocktail is cold and properly diluted.  Once it is ready and you haven't built it in the glass take a large round or square cube and place in a double old fashioned glass.  Take out your julep strainer and strain the cocktail out onto the fresh big ice!  Peel part of an orange and express the oil onto the cocktail and then rim the glass with the orange peel, then place peel in the drink.  Advanced barkeeps can even flame the peel!  Look for a flaming peel video tutorial coming soon... 

A little background on my preferred spirits and inclusions: 

 Vecchia Romangna 10yr. Italian Brandy:   Distilled from the Trebbiano grape with the "Charentais" method using a slow distillation process using small copper stills.  Aged 10 years in small Limousine or Slavonian oak casks.  Dry, full bodied, smooth with notes of vanilla and rich fruits.

Angostura bitters: Most commonly used bitters at the bar. (I am obsessed!)  Recipe developed as a medicinal tonic by German surgeon general, Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert in 1824.  Distilled in Trinidad and still made from the same 1824 recipe.  Flavor notes clove, gentian root, cinnamon, and tamarind.

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