Drinks

Bar Coach: Master the Muddle

You don’t need to buy a cocktail muddler to make smashing good drinks. Chances are, you have a tool that can crush herbs already on hand. Three to try: the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula (the fatter the better), the handle of an ice cream scoop or the flat end of a tapered rolling pin. Now that you’ve got the gear, here’s how to use it (like in our brand new Cucumber-Basil Smash!):

 

 

 

1. Place the ingredients you want to muddle (usually fresh herbs and sugar) in the bottom of a pint glass, shaker or sturdy pitcher (for big batches).
2. Using the muddler, press down on the mixture in the bottom of the glass and gently twist. Stop as soon as the herbs release their aromatic oils. (You’ll smell ‘em!) And go easy with the squishing! The idea is to release the fragrance of the herbs without ripping the leaves, which can unleash bitter chlorophyll into your cocktail.

 

Here are some more cocktail ideas for you to muddle up!

 

 

Almond-Coconut Mojito

Pink Grapefruit and Basil Mojito Mocktail

Blackberry Cooler Cocktail

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Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry-Prosecco Cooler

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Thirsty Thursday Mother’s Day Edition: Strawberry-Prosecco Sparkler

No Mother’s Day brunch is complete without a cocktail that’s as fabulous as mom herself. This year, try something that’s light, refreshing and seasonal, like our Strawberry-Prosecco Sparkler.

 

 

 

HOW TO: Drop a sugar cube into each of 6 glasses and douse with a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Pour prosecco, champagne or other sparkling wine over top; garnish with sliced strawberries.

 

This sipper is both sweet and tart, and will pair perfectly with your spring brunch menu. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

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#TrendingTuesday: Smoothies

Whether you’re in need of a diet clean-up, nutritious breakfast on the go or simply something cool and refreshing to sip on, smoothies have been all the rage in recipe searches these days, according to Yahoo Web Trend Expert, Lauren Whitehouse. You no longer need to run out to the gym or cafe in order to get a delicious and healthy smoothie, and these quick recipes definitely prove it:

 

Green Sunrise Smoothie

 

Tropical Smoothie

 

Double Berry Smoothie

 

Carrot-Apple-Ginger Smoothie

 
 

More Trending Topics

#masonjars

#barbecue

#maplesyrup

Wide World of Hangover Cures

Now that we’ve encouraged you to celebrate Cinco de Mayo on a Monday, you may need a little hair of the dog tomorrow morning. But why stick to the traditional mimosa or bloody mary when you can go international? These might not be your typical drinks of choice first thing in the a.m., but if a whole country swears by it, they must be doing something right.

 

 

Mexico‘s go-to hair of the dog is a michelada, a frosty mug of beer typically spiked with tomatoe juice, worcestershire sauce, lime and a kick of spicy heat.

 

In Mongolia, hangover relief is in the eye of the beholder–if you happen to hang out with livestock. Pop a pickled sheep’s eyeball in some tomato juice, swirl and gulp. Whatever you do, don’t chew!

 

Waking up wrecked in Poland can make you quite the sourpuss: Among the most trusted local hangover cures is pickle juice. Straight up.

 

Have we changed your mind about going loco tonight? We hope not!

 

 

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National Margarita Day

From Our Editor-in-Chief: Lists I Live By

 

 

Weekends are so 2009! Cinco de Mayo falls on a Monday (excuse me, lunes) this year, and that plays right into my margarita-mixing, tortilla-chip- dipping hands—because Monday is one of my favorite nights to entertain. For one thing, it makes scheduling a snap. Finding a weekend night when four or five friends are all available? Forget it. It seems the later in the week a get-together is scheduled, the more likely people are to cancel as the snowball of obligations threatens to roll over them. But on Monday nights, everyone seems to be free! Even more importantly, Mondays have a built-in low-key vibe—you’re practically prohibited from making a fuss. Here are my three relax-the-rules rules.

 

 

1. No Elaborate Hors D’Oeuvres

On Mondays, pre-dinner nibbles are anything I can pour directly from a bag, box or jar into a bowl, or unwrap and plunk on a plate: olives, fancy potato chips, cheese and crackers, salted nuts. For a Cinco de Mayo party, the classic is also a crowd-pleaser. Chips and salsa coming right up!

 

2. Serve a Make-Ahead Main Course

The beauty of Monday is it comes right after Sunday, a day I actually do have time to cook. The goal is to make a one-dish meal, like chili or chicken enchiladas, that I can simply heat up the next night when everybody arrives. That way, it’s no big deal if I race home from work at 6:45 and guests are due at 7.

 

3. Put Someone Else on Dessert Duty

I remind whoever it is that we’re on the no-shame-for-store-bought plan. If she gets the urge to bake brownies, fantastic. But if she wants to swing by the store for a few pints of ice cream? Make mine chocolate-chocolate chip, please!

 

My Margarita Musts:

 

1. A salt rim.

I’m easygoing about rocks versus no rocks—ice changes a cocktail’s strength, not its taste. But salt is mandatory to brighten and balance a margarita’s sweet-sour flavors.

 

2. Mid-shelf tequila.

Save the smooth, aged, expensive tequila for sipping on its own. Margaritas are best when they’re a little rough around the edges

 

3. Fresh lime juice.

You’re forgiven if you like your margaritas no-salt, top-shelf or served in a plastic tumbler shaped like a saguaro cactus, but back away from the bottled lime juice. If that’s all you’ve got, switch to beer!

 
 

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Thirsty Thursday: Lemon-Berry Freezes

With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, you’re definitely going to need a fruity and refreshing blended drink to was down all those chips and guac. Rather than making the classic margarita or piña colada, blend something up that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit sour and is just as festive looking as the sombrero on your head: a Lemon-Berry Freeze.

 

 

In a blender, puree 2 cups ice cubes, 3/4 cup frozen lemonade concentrate, 3/4 cup vodka, 6 hulled strawberries and 2 tablespoons Campari until slushy. Divide among 4 glasses; garnish with lemon slices.

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

 

 

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Behind the Scenes: Making Mezcal Cocktails

Spanish Cocktails

Is it 5:00 yet?

Come 5:00, we all know what time it is: time for a cocktail. But this past month more than ever, users are extra thirsty and looking for a good drink recipe. According to Yahoo Trend Expert Lauren Whitehouse, cocktail recipe searches have been spiking off the charts since March, and the top 10 favored searches include White Russian, Margarita, Sangria and Moscow Mule. So now that you know what your equals are craving, get to it! Here are some recipes to get you started:

 

Classic Margarita

 

Sparkling Pomegranate Sangria

 

Moscow Mule

 
 

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Cheers to National Spanish Paella Day!

Cheers to National Beer Day!

We know it’s only Monday, but here’s a reason crack open a cold one: It’s National Beer Day! If you’re looking for the perfect beer to take the edge off, consider one of these two appetizing ales from Founders Brewing Co.

 

 

Curmudgeon Old Ale is blended with molasses and then oak-aged for a strong, rich and malty flavor. The result is a smooth and drinkable beer, perfect for a rich dinner on a chilly spring night. But get it while you can! This beer is only offered from April to June.

 

Is light beer more your thing? Try Founders’ best-selling All Day IPA, which was developed due to the need for a full-flavored IPA with a lower ABV (only 4.7%!). What you’re left with is a complex, aromatic beer with a very clean finish. The IPA is offered year round, and is also available in 15-can packaging (the first major craft brewery to do so), which they are rightfully calling a “Brewer’s Dozen.”

 
 

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Drink Up! It’s Mango Season

It’s officially mango season, and we couldn’t be happier! Not only are mangoes super healthy (they’re jam-packed with nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamin C, just to name a few!) and ever-so versatile (chile-rubbed mangoes? mango slaw?), they also make the perfect natural sweetener to a number of boozy (or virgin!) beverages. Check out some of our top picks below, and get blending!

 

Frozen Mango Daiquiri

 

Mellow Yellow Margaritas

 

Keep these Mango-Ginger Mocktails virgin, or replace the ginger ale with ginger beer!

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Green Machine Champagne Cocktail

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Behind the Scenes: Making Mezcal Cocktails

In our May issue, we explore tequila’s rival sibling, mezcal, a smoky, slow-roasted, double-distilled liquor also made from the agave plant. We tasted tons of mezcal cocktails from the country’s best bartenders and adapted two favorites–plus created one of our own! Go behind the scenes and explore our mezcal cocktail-making process. Then, get our fabulous cocktail recipe that was the result of one tasty testing session. ¡Salud!

Test Kitchen Associate, Charles Grayauskie and Test Kitchen Director, Janet McCracken doing some delicious research.

 

Lots of different ingredients go into making the perfect cocktail! The green Vida bottle (left) is actually many bartenders’ go-to mezcal: easy to find across the country and very easy to drink.

 

 Pouring up Old Major’s La Rosa Bonita

 

From our test kitchen, The Smokin’ Dog–our own riff on the Greyhound!

 

6 oz. fresh grapefruit juice (pink or yellow)

1 oz. mezcal

Splash of club soda

1 grapefruit twist

Fill a rocks glass with ice, then add grapefruit juice and mezcal. Stir to blend; top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with the grapefruit twist. Makes 1.