A Refreshing Blood Orange Cocktail

It’s cold outside but warm indoors and sometimes you just want to kick back, have a refreshing cocktail and just dream of summer. It’s also a great time to take advantage of seasonal citruses like blood oranges and spruce up a classic margarita cocktail. This sweet and tart fruit gives the margarita that extra tang and the spicy merken will just make you want to lick all around the rim! It’s all very simple, just squeeze a blood orange, a lemon and lime…

citrus_cocktail

Wet the rim your glass with a lime and dip in Merken spice…

blood_orange_margarita2

Get some good tequila, ice, simple syrup, lime slices, stir, sip and transport yourself to a sunny beach with warm sand at your toes, hear for the waves crashing in the distance and just breathe…

blood_orange_margarita

Warm the Soul with Spicy Hot Cocoa and Strawberry Marshmallows

Snow in the forecast, chilly winds, wearing my goose-down parka and my hand knit wool scarf and the only thing I can think of is getting inside, peeling off the layers and sinking into the sofa with my spicy hot cocoa and my furry little, long-haired Chihuahua, Diego.

I’d like to say I sit and curl up with a book or a good magazine but truth is, every time I grab something to read, little Diego perks up and wants to play. I’ll try to calm him down by scratching behind his ear which works for about a minute! He loves the attention and soon enough he’ll have his little paw, face or bottom on my book. Never fails! So the local news will have to do for now and that’s fine by me. Spicy hot cocoa, a pooch that doubles as a heated water bottle and catching up on the world outside, it’s just good for the soul.

*gotta get a better pic of him! took above with my phone

Spicy Hot Cocoa with Strawberry Marshmallows

8 oz of milk
8 oz of evaporated milk
2-3 oz of dark chocolate, about 2 sq inch depending on how dark you like your cocoa
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Melt your favorite dark chocolate over low to medium heat, stirring constantly making sure chocolate does not burn. Add milk, evaporated milk and all the spices until well blended. Turn heat up and continue to stir until milk boils.

I topped my spicy hot cocoa with handmade strawberry marshmallows I purchased from one of my favorite desserts shop in the city, Three Tarts. They have wonderful desserts and a very cute gift boutique.

Holiday Cocktails: Jalapeno Infused Vodka 5 Ways!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re enjoying your holiday festivities! Things are about to be a bit jollier with these 5 spicy vodka recipes. One infused spicy vodka and five easy recipes!

The following recipes are made with my jalapeno infused vodka. All recipes are single serving so you can multiply ingredients based on the number of guests. You can even make a pitcher ahead of time for some of these recipes so you’re not running around playing bartender all night and can actually have some fun!

1. Moscow Stallion
This is my pumped up version of the Moscow Mule using the spicy vodka. The Moscow Mule is usually made with ginger beer but I didn’t have any on hand so I mixed fresh grated ginger with simple syrup instead (less artificial and much healthier for you).

2 oz Spicy Vodka
1 oz Ginger Syrup (mix 1 tsp fresh grated ginger with 1 cup of simple syrup but just use 1 oz for single serving)
2 oz of Seltzer
1 lime wedge

Fill a tumbler with ice, pour in vodka, ginger syrup, seltzer, squeeze in the lime, drop it in drink and stir. Cheers or Za Zdorovie!!

2. Spicy Cranberry Spritzer

1 1/2 oz of Spicy Vodka
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Seltzer
Fresh Whole Cranberries for garnish + a tsp of sugar
Green sugar for garnish

Rim a tall glass with green sugar, muddle a few cranberries with a tsp of sugar, fill glass with ice, add spicy vodka, cranberry juice, top with seltzer and stir until well mixed. Drop in a couple cranberries to top for a lovely Christmas drink.

3. Tamarind Martini

2 oz Spicy Vodka
1 oz Tamarind Syrup (get at local Latin or Asian grocery store)
Jalapeno, sliced + 4oz of Tamarind syrup

Take the jalapeno and simmer in the 4oz of tamarind syrup for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat so jalapenos stay firm. The tamarind should reduce to half and you’ll be left with sweet, moist jalapenos to be used for garnish.

Add ice to martini shaker, add spicy vodka and 1 oz of tamarind syrup. Shake it baby! Pour into a martini glass and drop in a slice or two of candied jalapeno. Take another slice of candied jalapeno to decorate glass. Yummy!

4. Spicy Mango Slush
This is a fantastic summer drink but our December weather has been a bit odd…60 degrees here the other day so figured why not, mango is my favorite fruit and can have it anytime of the year if possible. This will be great for those having summer weather now!

1 1/2 oz Spicy Vodka
1-2 Scoops of Mango Sorbet (let it rest so it can melt a bit)
Lemon wedge

Fill a martini glass with mango sorbet, add vodka, add a squeeze of lemon and give it a little stir. Enjoy and pretend you’re on the beach somewhere!

5. Classic but Spicy Martini

2 oz Spicy Vodka
Dry Vermouth
Olives for garnish, olives stuffed with jalapeno is even better

Add dry vermouth to a martini glass and swirl around until well coated, discard excess vermouth. Add spicy vodka to martini shaker with ice and shake it up. Pour into glass and garnish with olives. Sit in front of the fireplace, or a space heater if that’s what you have and enjoy!

Remember, you can always adjust the spiciness of these drinks by using more or less jalapeno in vodka. The longer you infuse the vodka, the spicier the drinks.

Happy Holidays and have a safe weekend!