Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Lover's Cocktails

We love Halloween and we were looking for an appropriate cocktail for our party. Bargirl to the rescue! Bargirl is one of my oldest and dearest friends- since birth actually! Among many of her talents, she has some experience bartending and cocktail waitressing and she offered to spend a day of mixology with me. Here are two Halloween cocktails that we prototyped:

Cocktail #1: Black Lagoon Vodka (our favorite pictured above)

This was our favorite cocktail and the one we served at the party. It had wonderfully blended flavors of black licorice, rosemary and lemon with a spooky, murky appearance. The recipe is from this year's Martha Stewart Halloween Special Edition. It's a great limited edition issue with tons of ideas. I save it each year! She doesn't have a link to this recipe online, so I'll share it.

You will need:
anise seed
fresh rosemary
lemons - peel and juice
seltzer water
black food coloring

1. Make the ice cubes. You have to plan ahead and make the ice cubes first- preferably overnight. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of anise seed to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Strain the seeds out using a sieve and...

then add a few drops of black food coloring until dark. Pour into ice trays and put into the freezer until frozen.

2. Make the lemon-rosemary simple syrup. Peel the two lemons with a vegetable peeler to avoid the bitter white pith.

Bring 2 cups of water, 2 cups of sugar, 2 sprigs of rosemary and lemon peels to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Strain the syrup to remove the solids and place in the fridge to chill.

3. Now you are ready to make the cocktail! For each cocktail, combine 2 oz of vodka, 1 oz of the lemon-rosemary simple syrup, and 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker and stir to combine.
Pour the mixture over two of the black ice cubes per glass and top with about a half cup of seltzer and a stick of black licorice for garnish! As the cube melts, the lagoon gets murkier!

Two tricks:
• Martha says you can make the vodka, simple syrup and lemon mix in advance and keep in the fridge for 3 hours.
• The non-alcoholic version of this is pretty good too. Just substitute seltzer for the vodka!

Cocktail #2: Berry Scary Martini

This recipe is available here online.

It uses black vodka- that's right, it's called Blavod and the black coloring supposedly comes from a Burmese tree.

This cocktail mixes vodka and cherry juice with fresh berries as a garnish. We thought the black vodka had more herbal notes and we didn't love it with the cherry juice as much as we hoped. But we did think a nice variation would use fresh pomegranate juice instead.

So, that's it for our spooky cocktails!