Browsing Tag

strawberry

Bubbly Events, Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Celebrate Summer with A New Strawberry Cocktail

June 20, 2012

It’s officially here: the start of summer 2012! But the weather has been so gorgeous for the past few weeks that I already initiated it by creating some new summer drinks starring strawberries.

Even though strawberries make their first appearance in spring, it’s this time of year when they start to get really sweet, plentiful and affordable, which makes them perfect for cocktails.

The Pink Berry Punch, shown above, is a non-alcoholic drink that I made with organic Driscoll’s strawberries, pineapple and pink grapefruit juice along with Perrier Mineral Water.

It was easy, since I fed everything into my juicer. And I showed a crowd of 50 guests how easy it was to use the Breville Juice Fountain to make drinks last Saturday at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre during the Cuisine Noir Magazine Summer Celebration. The demo, which included two delicious recipes by Chef Berlin Lillard II (for a crispy glazed shrimp and a spicy cucumber mint granita), wouldn’t have gone so smoothly without our fabulous hostess: Chef Candi Austin, the culinary specialist at Bloomingdale’s.

In the Bloomingdale’s demo kitchen, with the ingredients for the strawberry and Perrier Pink Berry Punch we served the crowd.

Here’s the recipe if you want to try making the Pink Berry Punch at home. You’ve probably noticed that these flavors would work well with a splash of gin or rum as well. But one in a while, it’s nice to make a drink that everyone at the party can enjoy.

Pink Berry Punch

1/2 cup organic strawberries, hulled

1 pink grapefruit, peeled

4 sprigs fresh mint

1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks

1/4 cup Perrier Mineral Water

small strawberry and sprig mint, for garnish

Feed the strawberries, grapefruit, mint and pineapple through your juicer. Let the juice settle and then strain into a cocktail glass. Add the chilled Perrier water. Garnish with the small strawberry and the sprig of mint.

Makes one drink

By Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl. All rights reserved.

We had a great crowd of 50 guests for the Summer Celebration at Bloomingdale’s San Francisco Centre.

 

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

The Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Sparkling Strawberry Summer Sangria

June 19, 2011

This Sparkling Strawberry Summer Sangria stars everybody’s favorite berry, apricots and brachetto, the sweet-tart red sparkling wine from Italy that tastes of roses, currants and raspberries.

Summer is almost upon us, so I figured it was time to start concocting one of my favorite styles of summer drinks: sangria.

Sangria, which takes its name from the Spanish word for blood, is usually a mix of red wine, fruit, spirits and a little spice.  But really, any inexpensive wine — red, white, or bubbly — can be the start of delicious sangria, as I learned while travelling through Spain’s cava sparkling wine region. Gareth of Mont Marçal Cava shared his Spanish sangria recipe that works equally well with red or white wine.

They can be made year-round with whatever fruit you have on hand, but to me sangrias are most delicious in summer, when they showcase fleeting gems like apricots, white cherries and ripe berries. One of my favorite sangria recipes ever is this Apricot & White Cherry Sangria I created a couple seasons ago.

Best of all, if you’re hosting a party, sangrias are crowd-pleasers – even people who claim not to like sweet drinks will be back for another fruity glass. The trick is achieving a balance between the sweet, tart and spirited elements in your mix.

Last weekend I discovered a bargain bottle of brachetto, a sweet-tart sparkling wine from Piedmont, Italy at a store called Grocery Outlet. Priced at just $7.99 this wine bursting with aromas and flavors of raspberries, strawberries and roses begged to be mixed with fruits in a sangria. So I gave in.

Sparkling Summer Strawberry Sangria

1 cup Limoncello liqueur

1 cup apricot liqueur

1 cup fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

4 ripe apricots, cut in slivers

4 key limes, thinly slices

¼ cup lime juice

1 bottle brachetto Italian sparkling wine, chilled

1/2 bottle peach sparkling cider

3 shakes orange bitters

whole strawberries, for garnish

If you’re starting your sangria a few hours or the night before you plan to serve it, combine the Limoncello, apricot liqueur, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, limes , and lime juice in a glass pitcher. Just before serving, add the chilled brachetto and the sparkling cider. Garnish the glasses with a whole strawberry.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

 

© 2011 By Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl

 

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Punch up Your Next Party: A Sparkling Spring Recipe

February 26, 2011

If you’ve been to a popular mixology bar in the past six months, you probably already know that punch is the hip drink on offer right now. The vintage concoction that your grandma or Aunt Gert loved making is having a Renaissance of sorts.

Of course, a certain sort of punch never really lost its appeal at kids birthdays or coming out parties, but that’s not the drink I’m talking about. The punch that’s popular again takes its cues from the circa 1740s mix of fruits, spirits, spice and wine that Esquire’s Dave Wondrich writes about so ably in Punch: The Pleasures & Perils of the Flowing Bowl.

My sparkling cocktail recipe book The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion (Clarkson Potter, 2009) features several punch recipes, including the popular Framboise Apricot Punch which features three kinds of spirits plus bubbly.

The March issue of Sunset, the fabulous circa 1889 magazine of Western living, features a spring punch I created in the front of the book.

I paired strawberries, the first fruit that comes on strong in spring with juicy winter pineapple and fragrant Meyer lemon zest and juice. The potency came from aromatic Zaya Rum from Trinidad and St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, which adds a most delightful floral note and sweetness. Then I tamed it all a bit with some jasmine green tea. The last step is adding some ice.

It’s best to do this in a large chunk, so it melts slowly and dilutes the punch, an important key to not having a bunch of sloshed guests, as they will find your punch irresistible. I made a decorative ice ring in a bundt cake mold, decorating it with strawberries, lemon slices and mint.

Make a pretty ice ring for your punch by decorating it with fruit and herbs.

Make a pretty ice ring for your punch by decorating it with fruit and herbs.

You can serve a punch in anything, but they look more dramatic in a punch bowl. The fashionable style right now at punch-friendly mixology bars like Craft & Commerce in San Diego, where they mix punch with fine Raventos i Blanc Cava, Clyde Common in Portland or Rickhouse in San Francisco is the opaque, milk glass or ceramic bowl from the 1950s and 60s.

If I’ve whetted your appetite for a a punch recipe that you can try right now, check out the intoxicating Framboise Apricot Punch recipe.

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

Strawberry Smash Cocktail Recipe

January 31, 2011

Strawberry Smash

This variation on the mojito lets you mix strawberries with your favorite herb such as mint, basil, lemon verbena, cilantro, rosemary or thyme. Be sure to try the drink out before serving it to friends so you get the amount of herbs dialed in to your taste buds. It’s tasty with the alcohol or without; for a totally non-alcoholic drink, use sparkling water instead of the prosecco.

  • 3 ripe organic strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 6 leaves of one fresh herb such as mint, basil, verbena, cilantro OR 1-inch section of fresh rosemary or thyme
  • 1 ounce good white rum like 10 Cane or clean white gin like Bombay Sapphire
  • 1 ounce all-natural sour mix (see note)
  • 2 ounces prosecco

Add the strawberries and your selected herb to a rocks glass. Smash the strawberries and herbs gently with a muddler until the berries are a pulp and the herbs smell strong. Add the rum or gin if using and sour mix to the glass and give it a stir. Fill 3/4 full with ice. Top off with the prosecco. Garnish with a sprig of the herb you used.

Note: To create my all natural sour mix, mix 1 cup lemon and or lime juice with 1 cup sugar in a medium non-reactive saucepan. Heat over a low-medium flame, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When cool, pour syrup into a sterile glass bottle and refrigerate. Keeps for up to 2 weeks.

By Maria Hunt, author of The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion

Cocktail Recipes, Travel

Bubbly Girl Drink of the Week: Strawberry Fields at W San Diego

July 10, 2009
wild strawberry_passionfruit_ice_cream_Berthillon
The elegant Strawberry Fields cocktail at the W Hotel San Diego tastes just like wild Italian strawberries. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

The elegant Strawberry Fields cocktail at the W Hotel San Diego tastes just like wild Italian strawberries. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

On my first visit to Venice in northern Italy, I discovered fragolini di bosco,  the tiny, aromatic wild strawberries. They’re also prized in France, where they’re known as  fraises des bois. Adored for their unique perfumed aroma and curious crunchy texture, these berries once grew wild in the woods. Now they’re carefully cultivated by discerning farmers,  including the ones at Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe.

This May, hundreds lined up for a taste of Berthillon ice cream in flavors like wild honey, fraise de bois and blackberry. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

This May, hundreds lined up for a taste of Berthillon ice cream in flavors like wild honey, fraise de bois and blackberry. (Photo by Maria Hunt)

Visiting Europe in late spring, I always try to get my wild strawberry fix. I got a taste in Paris when I walked over to the Ile Ste. Louis on an extraordinarily hot day for an an ice cream cone from the famous Berthillon. The passion fruit sorbet was exquisite, but the main event was the soft pink fraise de bois sorbet that had a fragrant almost nutty flavor, and was studded with frozen berries. But since it was an extraordinarily hot day,  the line for ice cream was extraordinarily long, so I didn’t go back again. And then when I got to Puglia in southern Italy, I couldn’t find my little strawberries at all; it was already cherry season.

So I was delighted back here in San Diego to discover the Strawberry Fields cocktail at the W Hotel San Diego downtown. The simple libation stars Fragoli, an imported Italian liqueur made with wild strawberries. It captured their taste perfectly and in fact, has little freeze-dried wild strawberries floating in the bottle.

To make a Strawberry Fields at home, mix 1-1/2 ounces of Fragoli with 4 ounces of  chilled Veuve Clicquot champagne. The sweet, low-alcohol liqueur from Emilia -Romagna would be delicious with the Italian sparkling wine prosecco, or even over berries or ice cream.

Since it’s kind of a boutique item, Fragoli can be hard to find in retail stores. It can, however be ordered from the Toschi company’s Fragoli web site; the best price I found on it was at New York state mail-order liquor stores Mid Valley Wine and Market View Liquor that sell Fragoli for about $24.

Fragoli has been around for a while, but was recently re-introduced with new packaging. (Courtesy photo)

Fragoli has been around for a while, but was recently re-introduced with new packaging. (Courtesy photo)