DIY Cocktail Hour: Gold Dust Woman Martini

Tito’s Handmade Vodka started something with its notion of taking the distilling of vodka as a serious art in this country. It has been my workhorse vodka for years and will remain one of my favorites unless they change the recipe or start making prissy flavors like “angel food cake” or “cool whhip.”

There are now a plethora of artesinal vodkas that are organic, distilled over charcoal in artesinal springs with dancing nymphs and Romans eating grapes. With Portland 88, Crater Lake and House of Spirits Volstead Vodka, the Portland area certainly has more than its fair share of purified and crystalline vodkas. But this week when I went to Austin on vacation, I wanted to see how the locals stacked up.

dripping_springs

At the liquor store down the street from the ranch that was my vacation home– yep, you got it, a ranch. (No cows but a salt water pool and about a billion stars at night). I found several Austin craft distilled vodkas. I went with Dripping Springs because it had received some convincing accolades. The label doesn’t do it justice. It is a ten times filtered vodka from the water of an artesinal spring. Beautifully alcoholic and clear it has the resonance of crystal. Don’t let the label fool you, it’s not fake crystal. This can’t go through the dishwasher.

With the elegance and decadence of the vodka as a starting point, I created the following cocktail:

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman:

Ingredients
5 oz Dripping Springs Vodka
1 1/2 oz mango pulp
1/2 oz Headsnapper Sauvignon Blanc

Directions
Fill martini glass with sparkling water and ice cubes
Fill shaker with ice
Add vodka, mango pulp and sauvignon blanc
Shake, shake shake until the shaker is frosty and sticks to your hand
Empty martini glass, rinse with 1/2 oz of sauvignon blanc
Partially rim with white sugar
Strain drink into glass 7 oz glass (It’s Texas, it has to be big)
Garnish with giant, freshly picked Texas strawberry

To Pick On: (Cuz Gold Dust Women Don’t Really EAT)
Tex-Mex Strawberry Salad

2 Shredded romaine hearts
1 cup juillienned jicama
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup tortilla strips

Dressing
1 small fresh red chili pepper, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsps agave syrup
1/3 cup pack fresh chopped mint
1/2 cup squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup EVOO
2 tbsps white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Dress salad in bowl, chill if desired and dish up into four dishes.

Best Use: Chillin’ by the pool waiting for your toenails to dry, sparkled gold over violet

Reading Materials:
 Maya’s Notebook, Isabelle Allende

Soundtrack: Duh, Gold Dust Woman… this version

Advertisements

DIY Friday Cocktail Hour: Futbol Hero

frozen margarita in mason jar

frozen mason jar cocktail a la tastespotting.com

I will readily admit that I have had a love affair with margaritas–I know a minute on the lips and a lifetime on the hips. That’s why I come up with variations on a theme that are a little bit lighter so you feel less guilt.

This happy accident came during Cinco de Mayo and is a holy hybrid of the Pina Colada and the margarita.

Ingredients: (Makes one 40 oz pitcher of  Tropical Margaritas plus ice)
Iced Pitchers
 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 1/2 Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

On really hot days, sometimes a frozen margarita is on the menu, if the blender’s not broken 😉

Frozen Pitchers
Pre-frozen sliced banana and small can of pineapple chunks
1/2 cup cocktail ice (if available)
1 1/2 cups Espolon 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
1 cup Trader Joe’s Low Sugar Lemonade
1/2 cup Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cups Monarch Triple Sec (or to taste)

The liquid should cover the frozen bits with about a half-3/4 inch to spare. Blend for 45 seconds to 1 minute depending on the power of the blender.

Serve frozen or on the rocks in mason jars (can be kept cold in coolers or in the freezer
Or serve up in a margarita glass
Garnish with a lime and a pineapple wedge
Cocktail umbrella optional

Serve with: Spicy Mango Salsa and Tortilla Chips from my new fave Sarah’s Cucina Bella
Soundtrack: Futbol Heroes Cinqo de Mayo 2012 by pandemix

What’s your gorgeous spring day missing? An Aperol Margarita

So bear with me on this one because it may sound a bit culturally inappropriate and downright odd. There are those of us in this world who do not like sugary margarita mix. I’m one of them. Combine the sugar water with a triple sec and woo-baby, sugar spike, calorie binge. They may be delicious but they add up.

So, in the spirit of ingredients that mysteriously add up to delicious things, I present the Aperol Margarita. Made with an Italian digestif rather than triple sec, it actually captures quite well the neighborhood in which it was invented: the Italian Market in Philadelphia, a place where Italian Americans and Mexican people co-exist although they don’t often mingle.

Mingle me this Batman.

Aperol Margarita

1 1/2 oz blanco or reposado tequila (100% agave of course, some recommendations here)
1 1/2 oz Aperol
1 1/2 oz fresh lime juice sweetened with agave nectar (to your liking)
Garnish with an orange twist (just the surface zest)

This will be unlike any margarita you’ve had before…call it a “dry” margarita, but it’s great for a spring day when the sun is not radiating you with its death rays and the flowers are blooming.