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.
Just because the Olympics are over, doesn’t mean your cocktail rims have to go back to being bare. With warm weather approaching soon, we’re getting ready for margarita season, and there’s always more than one way to top your tequila! Pair fruity margaritas with these new sweet and spicy rims, and you’ll have yourself enough margarita combinations to last you through spring!
1. Cantaloupe Margarita: Cinnamon & Sugar
Add sugar and spice, and this drink will taste nice! The warm heat of the cinnamon pumps up the mellow taste of the canteloupe.
2. Pineapple Margarita: Old Bay Seasoning & Black Pepper
This savory mixture may seem more at home in a bloody mary than on a margarita rim, but the black pepper and secret spices give the sugary juice a kick!
3. Strawberry Margarita: Cocoa Powder
One taste and you’ll swear you’re sipping on a chocolate-covered strawberry. How decadent does that sound?!
4. Cranberry Margarita: Sugar & Grated Lime Zest
Pucker up: This pairing starts out sour (thanks to a lime juice rim*), turns sweet, then finishes with a tart, cranberry-filled exclamation point!
*Tip: Dampen the rim with a lime wedge before dipping it into the mixture
You may have heard of this authentic Mexican beverage, and you may have even tried one at some point, but do you know what, exactly, a horchata is? Made from rice or almond milk, a horcahta is a refreshing, cinnamon-spiked beverage with an extensive history tracing back to ancient Egypt. As the story goes, the horchata was created to serve on hot summer days without the risk of spoilage (a true horchata is dairy-free), and is comprised of a mixture of homemade almond and rice milk, cinnamon and sugar. Our version, however, is quick and easy, but still tastes authentic as ever. The best part? You can serve it warm for these chilly winter days!
4 cups unsweetened rice milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract
In a saucepan, bring rice milk, sugar, cinnamon sticks and almond extract to simmer over medium. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves, 5 minutes. Serve hot, or let cool and pour over ice. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Serves 4.
National Margarita Day is a great excuse to enjoy our favorite tequila-based drink and remind yourself warmer weather is upon us! (Seriously, it has to be.) Rather than stopping by your go-to Mexican joint, mix it up and try a margarita recipe with a twist. These three cocktails put a flavorful spin on the traditional margarita, but still keep your taste buds in check with the holiday. Cheers to that!
Just two short days stand between you and the weekend, and even less time stands between you and happy hour. No matter what time your drinking activities begin, you should enjoy this blushing twist on a brunch classic: The Rosy Mimosa.
Not only do you swap out champagne for sparkling rosé wine, but also try using the juice of a Cara Cara orange, an extra juicy, low-acidity navel orange that’s pretty in pink. Here’s the full recipe:
1 part Cara Cara orange juice
2 parts sparkling rosé
Combine juice and rosé in a champagne flute and enjoy! Does it get much simpler than that? Cheers!
Six weeks into the new year, you may feel a little less motivated to stick to some of those New Year’s resolutions. But all it takes is some smart decision-making and a little bit of effort to make healthy food exciting again. What could be easier than water?! It’s something you drinking regularly anyway, so let’s give it a facelift. Here’s how to stay hydrated and healthy.
Instead of floating a few wan slices of cucumber or orange in your H2O, puree the produce with a little water, strain it and mix in some more water. The refreshing result, known as agua fresca, will taste like a liquid distillation of the ingredient. Try it with any fruit or vegetable you love. Hydration just got a whole lot tastier!
Agua Fresca Fiesta
2 cups diced cantaloupe, pineapple or English cucumber, or 2 cups whole raspberries or pomegranate seeds
6 cups cold filtered water
Ice, for serving
1. Place the fruit (or vegetable) in a blender with 2 cups water. Blend on low speed until finely chopped but not pureed.
2. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl; press on the solids. Transfer to a pitcher; add the remaining 4 cups water. Skim and discard any foam that rises to the top. Pour the drink into ice-filled glasses, and enjoy all day long!
By Tula Karras