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Mingle Mashup: Mocktails Add Some Extra Freshness To Popsicles

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Mocktails are having a moment that will endure. These low calorie, fresh options from Mingle were so good I decided to bring that same tastiness to popsicles. The results are flavorful, refreshing and more subtle than the ones you buy in the store.

One of the biggest trends you’ll notice in the coming months is that more alternatives to alcoholic drinks are coming, and Mingle is one ahead of the curve. They were created by Laura Taylor, who decided to quit drinking a few years ago, and found there weren’t great non alcoholic options out there. (BTW – have you noticed how people sometimes react when you say you’re not having a drink?  Sometimes the LITERALLY react with HORROR!) She created the brand Mingle Sparkling Mocktails to have the same look and feel of a premium drink mixer. They’re delicious, and in fact, they can be mixed with liquor if you’re feeling the vibe. But they look right at home behind the bar.

For a long weekend at the cabin, I decided to take two of my favorite, light flavors, and serve up homemade popsicles that deliver more nuance than just pouring in your typical store bought fruit punch.

Making the MingleSicles wasn’t rocket science. You know the drill. You just need a popsicle mold. To add a little something extra to the Cucumber Melon Mojito Sicle, (which is one of my favorites, BTW) I added some chopped mint to the mold, which does float down, but provides a nice dash of freshness at the end! Keep in mind these flavorful pops are light – almost spa-like, and half the calories of a typical popsicle. Less than 20.

Mingle Mocktails are available in stores and on Amazon – a 750 mil bottle currently goes for 9.99.

The flavors use natural juices and no corn syrup, and each flavor incorporates an element and ingredient that raises it above just buying soda. Nice to have at an event or party where you want something that looks more crafted than buying a two liter bottle of soda and leaving people to their own devices, each of them are delicious alone but would pair well with vodka. (Although I’m thinking the blood orange elderflower might make a nice autumnal drink with a little scotch in there!)

Happy mingling!

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The Smoky Paloma Is My Go-To Drink of Summer, Fall, and Beyond.

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To me, this tops a margarita.

Whenever I step up to a bar, I immediately ask if they have mezcal. If the answer is yes, that’s where the fun begins.

Mezcal is made from agave. Where tequila is only made from BLUE agave, mezcal benefits from a broader range of agave, (plus its traditional preparation in small batches) it’s the smoky flavor that really makes this a standout.

According to Wikipedia: “The process begins by harvesting the plants, which can weigh 40 kg each, extracting the piña, or heart, by cutting off the plant’s leaves and roots.[12] The piñas are then cooked for about three days, often in pit ovens, which are earthen mounds over pits of hot rocks. This underground roasting gives mezcal its intense and distinctive smoky flavor.”

But let’s not get lost in science – let’s get drinking!

While better bars are now designing mezcal cocktails on their menus, essentially, I will ask them to replace tequila in any cocktail and replace it with mezcal. To me, the smokiness is THAT GOOD.

When I stepped into WeHo Bistro in West Hollywood, bartender Chase (@WolfStroganoff on insta) hooked me up with the best Mezcal Paloma I’ve had in recent memory. I drink enough that recent memory can be a very short amount of time, 😉 but it really was spectacular.

Here’s how he made it with the tweaks of mezcal instead of tequila and salt at my request:

2 ounces mezcal

1 ounce grapefruit juice

1 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

At my request, salt.

Cuz WeHo Bistro is classy like that, an edible flower gets smacked right on top of it .

Cmon that thing is gorgeous.

The drink is one that’s easy to make at home, summery, fresh and crisp, and the smokiness makes it equally great in fall and winter.

Try it out!

Also try the WeHo bistro because that Greek Salad I had was crazy good.

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FALL FOR THIS: A Maple Bourbon Ginger Splash

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If you enter the fall season kicking and screaming, this drink may help. I get it, summer is a blast, but autumn is great too. This cocktail combines some of my favorite flavors: bourbon, maple, and ginger.

Before you get all weird about using Maple Syrup in your drink, remember that tons of drinks use simple syrup – essentially, liquid sugar – so this is no different, but doubly delicious.

Here’s how to make it yourself: (makes one cocktail, get ready to double it because you’ll want to share one with a friend!)

Enjoy! Hope you like it!

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Make This, Sip This: You’re Going To Love A Pisco Sour

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This is a cocktail classic you really should try. It’s just ‘extra’ enough without being a lot of work. Your friends and houseguests will be impressed because it’s not something people ordinarily order, so when they see you make one, they’ll be eager to try it.

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO!

And while this recipe – seen in the video below – DOES call for egg white, it also can be substituted for chickpea ‘brine’ or the liquid you find in a can of the beans. (Or, a powder version you can buy online.)

Watch the video and see how it’s done!!! I seriously love them!

 

@brianbalthazarLet’s have a drink. ##cocktails ##bartending ##piscosour ##drinks ##drinkrecipes♬ original sound – Brian Balthazar

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