Tag Archives: cocktail

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary)

I have never been a huge fan of Gin & Tonics. But in the last year, I had the opportunity to experience some well crafted gins that opened up the world of delicious G&Ts too.

And one such gin was the Tanqueray Rangpur. Crafted using the rare Rangpur limes, this gin has a distinct flavour with the zesty freshness of the limes and the sweetness from the mandarins. Makes it an excellent choice for a G&T.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Most of the time, I enjoy the Tanqueray Rangpur simply poured over ice, but it works brilliantly as a G&T and in cocktails too.

Recently at a Food and Wine event, I had a G&T infused with rosemary. It was delicious; I loved the combination of the herby flavour of the rosemary with the citrusy zing of the lemon. Plus the addition of rosemary only intensifies the herbaceous undertones of the gin. The Tanqueray Rangpur also has that distinct lime flavour, so I decided to try a G&T infused with rosemary this time.

A premium tonic water is best suited to a G&T like this as it has a subtle flavour that lets the gin shine unlike the standard ones that are unnecessarily sweet. Since this gin has a distinct lime flavour, no extra lime is necessary except as a garnish.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

Especially refreshing on a warm summer day…….

Ingredients:

(Serves 1)

  1. 40ml Tanqueray Rangpur Gin
  2. 2 sprigs rosemary
  3. Lemon slices
  4. Premium tonic water
  5. Ice cubes

Method:

(Best served in a Collins glass or Stemless wine glass)

  1. Pour the gin and one sprig rosemary to the glass. Crush lightly using a muddler to infuse the flavour of the rosemary. Remove the rosemary sprig after muddling.
  2. Add a few ice cubes and fill the glass with the tonic water.
  3. Garnish and serve with a sprig of rosemary and lemon slice.

Tanqueray Gin & Tonic (with Rosemary) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail

I do not follow seasons when it comes to cocktails. And whenever we make at home, it’s usually based on the stash that’s available in the bar cabinet. When I dine out at restaurants, then I would pick a cocktail that sounds interesting or different, something I have never tried before.

Tea based cocktails are really amazing and I have tried out quite a few different ones over the last couple of years. One of the best I have had was at Monkey King; wish I could get the bartender to share that recipe with me.

Inspired by all my past experiences with tea cocktails, I thought it’s time I did one too. And that’s how this Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail happened.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Sweet Tea cocktails are very famous, especially in the Southern regions of US because it is essentially, a summer drink. It is light, refreshing and very simple to make in large batches, hence very popular for summer backyard parties.

There are many variations but essentially the drink contains tea, citrus, sweetener and good quality bourbon.

But for today’s drink, I tweaked it slightly by using an iced tea recipe (from this cookbook) that I use often which has spices like cinnamon and star anise for that extra punch. And both these spices work like magic with both tea and bourbon.

The Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail is extremely simple to make. The tea infusion can be prepared ahead and chilled, a time saver if you are making large batches for a party. Good quality bourbon…don’t compromise on that because it does make a difference to the flavour.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups water
  2. 2 tbsp black tea leaves (or 2-3 tea bags)
  3. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  4. 1 star anise
  5. Peel of 1 medium lemon
  6. Sugar, to taste
  7. Orange juice
  8. Bourbon
  9. Star anise, for garnish
  10. Orange slices; for garnish
  11. Ice cubes

Method:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and take it off the heat.
  2. Add the tea leaves to the water along with the lemon peel (remove using a peeler), cinnamon and star anise. Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Strain the tea and allow to cool. Refrigerate in a closed bottle until use.
  4. To make the cocktail, add a few cubes to the glass and fill half of the glass with the tea infusion. Add 15 ml orange juice and 40ml bourbon. Stir and taste; add more orange juice or bourbon to suit personal taste.
  5. Garnish with a star anise.
  6. Cheers!!!

Note: If you want a non alcoholic version, mix the orange juice with the tea infusion to taste. Serve in a glass filled with crushed ice.

Citrusy Sweet Tea Cocktail - thespiceadventuress.com

The ‘Green’ Mojito

Green coriander seeds! I cannot tell you the joy and excitement at seeing these for the very first time in my life…..

Green coriander seeds - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Growing up with parents who were passionate about gardening, I must admit that a bit of the ‘green thumb’ has rubbed off on me too. I have a very basic garden at the moment, mainly herbs and succulents, but I definitely do intend to expand it in the coming months.

One of the first herbs to get planted in my garden was coriander, simply because I use it almost every day and realised that growing it is not only super easy but also an affordable option when you are a food photographer. I highly recommend growing coriander if you are starting out with the whole gardening experience. Quite a sturdy, all season herb that grows easily (giving you that much needed confidence when you are a novice) and works well in a tiny apartment space too.

I have always mentioned how social media helps bridge distances and is a source of positivity and encouragement if you use it in the right manner. When I posted a glimpse of my tiny herb garden, a very kind gentleman Mr. D got in touch saying he would like to send me some seeds that he grows in his garden. He lives in Perth and has an amazing garden filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables, some of the varieties bought specially from India. And he got my address and send me the seeds of quite a few vegetables including some native greens, carrots, radish and coriander. I thoroughly appreciate your gesture Mr. D and I will forever be indebted.

While the carrots and radish were not a success in my apartment terrace, the coriander grew and blossomed much to my delight. But there was one problem….I didn’t know how to collect the seeds for the next growth cycle. My ‘duh’ moment!

So back to Mr. D, social media and YouTube it was, to understand how to collect the seeds. Until then, I would always snip away the flowers to encourage growth of new leaves and I realized that if I needed to get the seeds, I needed to let the plant flower. The flowers turn to seeds…..can’t believe I forgot my basic botany lessons from school!!

And this spring, I let that happen and soon the tiny pretty white coriander flowers had blossomed into vibrant green coriander seeds. The ‘spice adventuress’ in me was intrigued on how these seeds could be used in cooking as it had the most intense delicious coriander flavour….I would describe it as a cross between the leaves and dried seeds. I did dry one batch of the seeds for the next season but I also got plenty of green seeds for my flavour experiments.

There isn’t much info available on using green coriander seeds but a bit of research and speaking to friends who go gaga over spices and herbs like I do resulted in today’s drink which I fondly call, the ‘Green’ Mojito.

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

Now it is almost impossible to buy green coriander seeds so the only way you can enjoy this drink is to grow some yourself or get some from your gardening enthusiastic friends. The seeds can be crushed and infused in vodka or you could infuse it into the sugar syrup like I did. The sugar syrup keeps well in an airtight container for upto 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

So there you go…..a very summery, vibrant and delicious Mojito with green coriander seeds!

Sugar syrup infused with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 30 ml sugar syrup (infused with green coriander seeds)
  2. 30 ml lime juice
  3. 45 ml white rum
  4. Sparkling water/soda
  5. ½ tsp green coriander seeds
  6. Lime slices; for garnish
  7. Coriander flowers; for garnish (optional)
  8. Ice cubes; crushed

Sugar syrup:

  1. 1 cup raw sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 2 tbsp green coriander seeds

Method:

To prepare sugar syrup:

  • Crush the green coriander seeds lightly
  • Add the sugar, water and coriander seeds to a pan and place on low heat. Stir occasionally till the sugar has completely melted.
  • Cool well and keep the seeds in for at least an hour to further infuse the flavour.
  • Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make the mojito:

  • In a tall glass, muddle the green coriander seeds along with the sugar syrup and ¾ ths of the lime juice.
  • Add the white rum and crushed ice cubes. Stir well to combine and top the glass with sparkling water.
  • Taste and add the remaining lime juice if necessary.
  • Garnish with lime slices and coriander flowers.

Note: If you do not like the seeds to remain in the drink, strain after muddling with the sugar syrup and lime juice.

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

The 'Green' Mojito - a vibrant, summery cocktail with green coriander seeds - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail!

I have spoken about my need for change before in this post.

I get bored easily, especially with food, which I would say is the driving factor that gets me into the kitchen experimenting. I crave for creating something new, something I have never done before which gives me that adrenaline flush. A new ingredient, a fusion dish, a new cuisine, it can be anything as long as it is new for me.

People often confuse this as a need to keep the blog going. But to be totally honest, I have always been like this in all aspects of my life (which is why I never lasted in the corporate world).

After a week and half of doing familiar stuff in the kitchen, I wanted to start experimenting again. And this time, it’s this pretty cocktail which I have named The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

Every time I spoke to my family and friends in India, I have been hearing just one thing – ‘It’s so damn hot here that we don’t feel like doing anything enjoyable’. The whole of India seems to be reeling under a heat wave at the moment. And this sparked off the idea of a drink with Rooh Afza.

Rooh Afza needs no introduction at all for those who hail from India or Pakistan. In fact, it has become quite famous in several Middle Eastern countries too.

For those who do not know this product, Rooh Afza is basically a concentrated squash (non alcoholic) that is prepared from a range of fruits (pineapple, apple, orange, cherry, blackberry and many others), herbs (chicory, blue star water lily, coriander, purslane etc..), vegetables like spinach and carrot, and also the essence of some flowers like rose, kewra, lemon etc…. Truth be told, this is a special formulation with a ton of ingredients in there.

Rooh Afza - product photography - thespiceadventuress.com

This product is manufactured by the Hamdard Laboratories which has extensive operations both in India and Pakistan. Quite a bit of history as it was formulated by Hakeem Hafiz Abdul Majeed in 1906 and has been in use since then. Rooh Afza is extremely popular among the South Asian Muslims especially during the months of Ramadan and also popular during the summer months. The formulation is believed to be based on the Unani system of healing and hence considered to be healthy and cooling for the body.

Given its heritage and its popularity among the Muslim community, Rooh Afza is hardly ever used in alcoholic drinks or cocktails except for whacky, adventurous souls like me. It is mostly used as a syrup to flavour ice creams, desserts, cold milk drinks. It has a thick consistency, a vibrant red colour and a strong aftertaste of rose essence with undertones of citrus. And this is exactly why the thought of a Cosmopolitan came to my mind.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

In a classic Cosmo, cranberry juice is used which gets replaced with the Rooh Afza in my Indianized version. Since the syrup has a distinct rose flavour, I used both lime and orange juice for that desired citrus punch.

So here is a delightful, delicious and pretty version of the classic; The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan, for those hot summer days and balmy nights.

Note – Rooh Afza is commonly available at most Asian/Indian/Pakistani grocery stores in most of the countries so finding it should not be a difficult job.

Ingredients:

Makes 1 serve

  1. 15ml Rooh Afza
  2. 20ml Triple Sec
  3. 15ml lemon juice
  4. 15ml orange juice
  5. 15ml sugar syrup
  6. 35ml vodka
  7. Ice cubes
  8. Orange wedge; for garnish
  9. Chilled cocktail glasses

Method:

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and add all the ingredients.
  2. Shake, shake, shake…..really shake
  3. Double strain (very important) into a chilled cocktail glass
  4. Rub the rim of the glass lightly with the orange wedge and garnish with the same.
  5. Enjoy…….responsibly.

Note – Making sugar syrup is really simple. Add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a saucepan; heat till the sugar has dissolved completely. Remove and cool; stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for upto 3 weeks.

The ‘Indian’ Cosmopolitan – a Rooh Afza Cocktail! - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Chambord Margarita

Christmas is almost here, isn’t it?

Well, technically there is more than a month but anyone who hosts a Christmas dinner or party would know the pressure and the need to prepare ahead of time. I have not yet decided if it is going to be a Christmas party or a New Year’s one that we are doing. We tend to alternate it every year as our anniversary also falls during the New Year’s time.

Now I have already started to look for recipes, inspirations and ideas for the party. And the first one I wanted to get sorted was a party cocktail. Believe my luck when I received a bottle of Chambord as part of a work assignment.

chambord

For those who aren’t too familiar, Chambord is a black raspberry liqueur that is crafted in a French château in the province of Chambord. The liqueur is a delicious combination of the freshest blackberries and raspberries which are first soaked in French spirits to get an infusion and is then masterfully blended with cognac, vanilla, herbs and other extracts.

I have been wanting to try out this liqueur which comes in a beautiful deep reddish black bottle ever since I first laid eyes on it. But it is slightly on the pricey side and so was reserving the purchase for a celebration time. But as luck would have it, I got this bottle which I am currently carrying around like a baby.

Ok to get back to the recipe, I wanted to make a simple, tried and tested cocktail using Chambord which is also perfect for the warm, summery Christmas that we have down in Australia.

And a margarita seemed to tick all the right boxes. It didn’t need many ingredients, is simple to prepare and can be made in large batches relatively easy during a party. Winner!

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The Chambord Margarita is light and refreshing; sweet, fruity and citrusy but above all, the prettiest cocktail I have made in a long time. A beautiful blush of pink that tastes as delicious as it looks!

And I admit I got carried away clicking this beauty.

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Recipe Courtesy – Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:

Sugar syrup:

  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1 cup water

Lime salt:

  1. Zest of 1 lime
  2. 2 tbsp sugar
  3. 2 tbsp salt

For the cocktail (makes 2 glasses)

  1. 6 oz silver tequila
  2. 3 oz fresh lime juice
  3. 2 oz sugar syrup
  4. 1 oz Chambord

Method:

To prepare the sugar syrup:

  • Heat the sugar and water in a pan on low heat till completely melted. Cool before use.
  • Can be stored for up to 2 weeks inside a refrigerator.

To prepare the lime salt:

  • Process the lime zest, salt and sugar in a food processor or blender to evenly mix. Store in an airtight container.

Now comes the Margarita: (For 2 glasses)

  • Rub a lime wedge over the rim of the margarita glass and dip in the lime salt.
  • In a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes followed by 6 oz silver tequila, 3 oz lime juice, 2 oz sugar syrup and 1 oz Chambord.
  • Shake shake shake….shake baby shake!
  • Strain the margarita into the glasses and serve chilled.
  • Drink Responsibly.

 

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Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored post, but I did receive the Chambord for free. 

 

 

 

Lychee and Cardamom Bellini

2015 has been an absolutely rocking year for me so far. There have been so many unique experiences to add to my book of memories. And today I am going to share one such experience with all of you.

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to attend a ‘Spice and Wine’ Masterclass held as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Chef Adam D’Sylva of Tonka and Shashi Singh of Avani Wines took us through a learning process on how to pair and match wines with Indian spices and flavours.

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All of us who attended the event were encouraged to participate in the #socialfeeds cookbook competition hosted by Bank of Melbourne who was the official sponsor of the festival. I can’t seem to turn down any challenge these days and to cut a long story short, one of my recipes was chosen as a winner in the contest. And that meant, my winning dish gets to be featured in an e-cookbook curated by none other than Chef Benjamin Cooper of Chin Chin. The book is a first of its kind featuring recipes from home cooks across Victoria and is a beautiful showcase of how important food is to Australia and drawing inspiration from the multicultural vibe of this country.

(My winning dish was Fish Mappas – a traditional seafood preparation from the backwaters of Kerala, India which I am sure many of you have already seen on the blog. If you would like to download this ebook, just visit here. It’s free!)

Apart from this, there was another special prize….a copy of ‘Chin Chin – the Book’ by Benjamin Cooper. A collection of amazing recipes from Chin Chin, with a lot of detailed information on basic Thai cooking like making curry pastes and broths from scratch.

chin chin

This cookbook is going to be a much treasured one, not just for the beautiful memories now associated with it but also because I finally get to learn how to make these curry pastes from scratch, a long cherished culinary activity I have wanted to indulge in.

But today we are not having a Thai curry although the weather is just perfect for it. The cocktails included in this book were rather fascinating and so today, we are making a simple Bellini with Asian flavours.
Cocktail lovers would know this one for sure; for all others, Bellini is an Italian cocktail traditionally made using peach nectar and Prosecco sparkling wine.

But instead of using peach, today we have a Lychee and Cardamom Bellini. As far as cocktails go, I fall in the ‘rarely make and often drink’ category. So this Bellini was exciting as it was a very simple recipe with easy to find ingredients and hardly require any bar accessory as such. A simple blender would do the job!

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A very refreshing drink and one more suited for the summery months; but I don’t mind drinking this all year through. The sparkling freshness of the Prosecco, tangy sweetness from the lychee sugar syrup and just that hint of spice from the cardamom….this Lychee and Cardamom Bellini is just gorgeous.

Even though my photographs don’t do any justice to the actual drink, I strongly urge you to give it a go if you are a wine drinker.

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Ingredients:

(To make 1 drink)

1. 30ml lychee and cardamom syrup
2. 90ml Prosecco
3. Lemon slice/twist, finely cut; to garnish
4. Lychee, to garnish

For the syrup:

(Makes enough syrup for 10-12 drinks)

5. 250gm white sugar
6. 5 cardamom pods
7. 1 can lychees

Method:

To make the syrup:

1. Heat 250ml warm water and 250gm sugar in a pan. As it starts to boil, crush the cardamom pods and add to it. Continue to heat till the syrup turns aromatic and turns a shade or two darker (should take approximately 15-20 minutes). Remove and allow to cool.
2. Blend one can of lychees along with its syrup till smooth.
3. Combine equal quantities of the sugar syrup with the lychees to get the lychee cardamom syrup.
4. Store in a bottle and refrigerate; use as necessary.

To make the Bellini:

5. In a champagne glass, pour 30ml of the lychee cardamom syrup and then gently top with the Prosecco.
6. Garnish with a lychee and lemon twist.

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