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!
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!
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!
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!
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:
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!
Keep these Mango-Ginger Mocktails virgin, or replace the ginger ale with ginger beer!
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.
It’s National Spanish Paella Day — you know, that rice and seafood dish stemming from Spain. And what goes better with a great paella than a great Spanish cocktail like Sangria to wash it all down? ¡Salud!
Happy first official day of spring! Whether you’re surrounded by sunlight or still shivering in your sweaters, use today as an opportunity to drink something seasonal: our Green Machine. Made with earthy green tea, tart lime juice and a sprig of mint, this green cocktail is perfect for brunch or a night in. You may even gain a little bit of hope for warmer weather!
2 ounces chilled prepared green tea
1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar or honey
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add green tea, lime juice and agave nectar or honey; shake well. Strain into 2 flutes, then top with champagne. Garnish with fresh mint.
Tip: Look for matcha green tea to create the greenest hued cocktail.
In our brand new April issue, we explore the Southern side of brunch, including a fabulous recipe for Sweet Tea Punch. But what makes Southern sweet tea different from regular iced tea? Only the way you order it. Traditionally in the north, if you were to order iced tea, it would come unsweetened. However, most southerners are drinking their tea sweet, and must specifically ask for unsweet tea if that’s how they prefer it. No matter your tea choice, there are plenty of twists and takes that will brighten your day, any time of year.
Try this recipe for Sweet Tea Punch at your next brunch or get-together, plus get our best sweet tea tips:
Sweet Tea Punch
9 black tea bags
3/4 cup honey
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large bunch fresh mint
2 pints blood orange or regular orange sorbet
1 – 2 cups American whiskey, such as bourbon or rye
3 limes, sliced into rounds
In a large bowl, combine the tea bags, honey and sugar with 6 cups boiling water and stir until the honey and sugar dissolve. Let steep for 4 minutes. Discard the tea bags and add half the mint. Let cool completely at room temperature. Strain; discard the mint. Chill until cold, about 3 hours.
Add one scoop sorbet to each of 8 pint glasses. Top with 2 to 4 tbsp. whiskey and a few torn mint leaves. Divide the tea among the glasses, then top with a splash of soda water. Garnish each glass with a lime slice. Serve with a straw or a long spoon. Makes 8.
Tip: Classic Southern sweet tea is made with white sugar, but the combination of honey and brown sugar gives this version a richer flavor. Spike the punch with as mush whiskey as you’d like.
Tip: The tastiest way to make iced tea is to brew it with hot water–a steamy soak extracts more flavor. But it can also make your drink murky if the tea cools too quickly. For the best results–minimal clouds and maximum flavor–let the prepared tea come completely to room temperature before sticking it in the fridge.