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Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Celebrities & Champagne, Drinks

Sip a Sparkling Viola Cocktail: Inspired by Viola Davis

February 24, 2012

Inspired by actress Viola Davis, the Sparkling Viola cocktail is a deliciously bubbly mix of violet and blackberry garnished with edible flowers and edible 24 K gold.

For the first time in a few years, I’ll be tuning into the 88th Academy Awards on Sunday. I’ll be watching because I really want to see Viola Davis with the award for Best Actress.

This amazing actress, wife and mother is getting her long-overdue star turn for her work in The Help, a movie about a group of maids in 1960s Mississippi.

She may seem like a late bloomer, but Viola Davis has been practicing her craft for years, giving deeply moving portrayals of people who were often in some kind of pain. One of my roles favorite was on the show “Without a Trace.” She played a mother grappling with the disappearance of her son, and the fact that TV news blasted the story of a missing blond girl, while ignoring her son’s plight.

Davis is making the most of her star turn with gorgeous awards-show ensembles, which inspired the Polyvore set by Svud Je Holivud. Viola’s bubbly, dark and lovely and it inspired me to toast her with a special golden Oscar’s cocktail.

The viola, a dainty flower related to the violet and pansy, is one of my favorite edible flowers. They come in a range of gorgeous shades, and they have so much personality with markings that resemble a face. Candied or in cocktails, they have a sweet cucumber taste.

The Sparkling Viola
1 ounce Rothman & Winter Crème de Violette Liqueur
3/4 ounce blackberry syrup
4 ounces demi sec champagne or sparkling wine, chilled
1 fresh blackberry
1 organic viola flower
24K edible gold leaf flakes

Add the violet liqueur and blackberry syrup to a champagne flute. Top with the sparkling wine. Garnish with the blackberry. Lay the viola on top of the cocktail and top with a sprinkle of gold.

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

 

 

Viola Davis

Food + Recipes, Party Recipes and Pairings

Savory Blackberry Cheese Tarts: Holiday Cooking with Driscoll’s Berries

December 3, 2011
raspberries and blackberries

A perfect little blackberry tart.

I love blackberries, and I usually think about them as a summer flavor. But since they’re available year-round, and  low-calorie, high-nutrition snack, I make an exception to the eating with the seasons rule. Earlier this week, Rick Rodgers, (with a D) — the entertaining guru, chef and author of a bazillion books — showed us how blackberries can sweeten up winter cooking in an event hosted by Driscoll’s Berries.

We visited the Hands-On Gourmet kitchen, a unique space for parties and culinary corporate team-building in Dogpatch. (It’s around the corner from a cleverly named bar called Retox.) The kitchen had a large demo kitchen set up, beautiful displays of food and drinks and space for everyone to sit at belly tables with tall Chivari chairs. And the staff were very polished and friendly, especially my pal Fausto.

The guests included a bunch of heavyweights in the blogging world like Cooking With Amy, Eat the Love, Punk Domestics and a fun new pastry chef turned San Francisco baking examiner Angela Rosoff.

In between Rodgers’ segments, noted food photographer Caren Alpert talked about ways to take better food shots. I liked her tips about having different background to use in soft focus, using a white sheet or even paper to bounce more light onto the plate and styling your hero plate last.

Driscoll’s also used the event to announce their “Celebrate the Sweeter Moments Contest.” Tell them how berries made an occasion sweeter and you could win a Viking Cookware set valued at $1,350. The contest ends December 15; for more information or to enter, visit Driscoll’s.

Everything was delicious, from the Blackberry Cobbler cocktail with gin, lemon and a splash of bubbly to the bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin in blackberry sauce with sweet potato purèe.

But since I love party food and things that come in small packages, my favorite was Rick’s Savory Cheese Tartlets topped with blackberries and thyme. I adored the cream-cheese crust which was utterly rich but had an airy quality, too. And something about adding the dab of honey on top made it remind me of Greek pastries I enjoyed growing up in Chicago.

Savory Cheese Tartlets with Honey-Thyme Berries

Servings: Makes 24 tartlets, 8 to 12 servings

Number of Ingredients: 10

Cream Cheese Dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

7 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature,
plus more for the pans, if needed

3 ounces cream cheese, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

Filling

5 ounces rindless goat cheese, at room temperature

3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. minced fresh thyme

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp. honey, preferably full-flavored, such as chestnut or thyme, warmed

About 1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, and sliced strawberries)

Fresh thyme leaves, removed from their stems, for garnish

1. To make the dough, combine the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade and pulse to combine. Add the butter and cream cheese and pulse about 10 times, until the mixture begins to clump together. Gather up the dough and shape into a thick disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and easy to handle, about 2 hours.

2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Have ready two 12-cup miniature muffin pans (each cup measuring 1 7/8 inches across the top and 7/8 inches deep), preferably nonstick. If the pans are not nonstick, lightly butter them.

3. Divide the dough into 24 equal pieces. One at a time, place a piece of dough in a muffin cup, and use your fingers to press it firmly and evenly up the sides to make a pastry shell. (A wooden tart tamper can help the job go quickly.) Freeze for 5 minutes.

4. To make the filling, mash the goat cheese and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the egg, yolk, minced thyme, salt, and pepper and whisk until combined. Spoon equal amounts of the filling into the chilled pastry shells.

5. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the filling is puffed, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans. Remove the tartlets from the pans and transfer to a wire cake rack to cool completely. (If you wish, warm the tartlets in a preheated 350°F oven for 5 minutes before serving.)

6. Just before serving, lightly brush the tops of the tartlets with about half of the honey. Arrange the berries on top as desired. Drizzle with the remaining honey. Sprinkle with the thyme leaves and serve.

Recipe adapted from Rick Rodgers

© 2011 Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes, Cocktail Recipes, Drinks

The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Cocktail

August 19, 2011

Fresh blackberries star in the Berry Bramble, an icy cocktail perfect for summer entertaining.Anyone with relatives from the South eventually learns the phrase : “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice.”

My mom taught it to me as a tip for selecting the sweetest, ripe fruit, and it’s pretty much true with produce like cherries, plums and blackberries. Of course, when I got a little older, I learned it was a double entendre. And last week, I discovered chef Heather Jones’ blog on African Americans in the culinary world called  The Blacker the Berry Food.

I’ve enjoying lots of delicious blackberry cocktails lately. We sipped a delicious blackberry cocktail called the Blackberry Cobbler at the retro restaurant Flora. They wouldn’t divulge the recipe, but it stars a house-made blackberry syrup that’s shaken up with Martin Miller’s Gin, pineapple juice, orange liqueur, lemon and poured over a tall glass of crushed ice.

When these freshly picked Sonoma blackberries got soft, I juiced them and boiled the juice with 1-1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan to make blackberry syrup.

 

And at Redd in Yountville, the entertaining bartender named Mason wowed us with his Samurai, a piquant and fruity martini that mixes blackberries with yuzu citrus.

Samurai
6 whole berries or 2 tablespoons blackberry puree
1/2 ounce yuzu juice
2 ounces Charbay green tea vodka
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 to 2 ounces ginger beer

Add 5 blackberries to a cocktail mixing glass and muddle to a pulp or start with 2 tablespoons blackberry puree. Add the yuzu juice, vodka and lime juice; then fill the shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled then double-strain into a martini glass. Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the remaining blackberry.
Makes 1 cocktail

But my favorite blackberry cocktail recipe in recent memory is the Berry Bramble, which Chase Osthimer and Erick Castro made by the hundreds during SF Chefs. This one was created in the 1980s by London bartender Dick Bradsell who’s credited with modernizing bar culture in the UK. Osthimer says the Bramble was the UK version of the Cosmopolitan. Here’s a video of the man making his famous drink:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1g7OmcJpJY

I laughed when I heard the name. I thought I was so clever when created a blackberry and champagne recipe for my book The Bubbly Bar and dubbed it the Bramble. I quickly added “Bubbling Blackberry” to the name when my research turned up Bradsell’s famous recipe.

The Berry Bramble

4 each fresh blackberries, blueberries and raspberries
1 tablespoon simple syrup
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 ounces gin, such as Plymouth
1 tablespoon berry liqueur like creme de mure or Framboise

Add 9 (3 each) fresh berries to a sturdy rocks cocktail glass and muddle them to a pulp. Add the simple syrup, lemon juice and gin. Pack the glass with crushed or shaved ice, mounding it up a bit. Drizzle the berry liqueur over the top. Garnish with the remaining three berries.

Makes 1 cocktail

 

 

 

Bubbly Girl Cocktail Recipes

The Best Red, White and Blue Berry Drinks for the 4th of July

June 30, 2009
A martini with Strawberry Rosemary Lemonade (Photo by Maria Hunt)

A martini with Strawberry Rosemary Lemonade and a blooming sprig of fresh rosemary (Photo by Maria Hunt)

I thought it would a fun challenge to create three summer berry cocktails – one red, one white and one blue – for the 4th of July. So I went out and bought every type of berry I could- raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries- along with white cherries and got to work.

July is National Berry Month and right now all these berries are super sweet and very affordable, even the organic ones from Driscoll, a huge family owned berry company in central California. Besides being delicious, berries are one of nature’s superfoods. They’re low in calories and packed with Vitamin C, fiber and all sorts of antioxidants, plant substances that fight ailments like cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. Studies have shown that the purplish-blue hue of  blueberries and  blackberries means they have particular helpful plant chemicals, while red berries like strawberries and raspberries are loaded with other good antioxidants.

The RED cocktail is a Strawberry Rosemary Lemonade that started with a simple syrup flavored with fresh rosemary from my garden mixed with juice from fresh organic strawberries. It’s easier if you have a juicer, but if you don’t just puree the berries in a blender and strain. Once you’ve created this syrup, you’ll find it useful as a base for all manner of drinks or to drizzle over vanilla ice cream. Start with 1.5 ounces of Strawberry Rosemary Syrup and, according to your taste:

  • Mix with sparkling water for a tangy Italian style soda
  • Add regular water for lemonade
  • Add water and freeze the lemonade to make popsicles.
  • Drizzle it into a glass of champagne or sparkling wine
  • Mix with 2 ounces gin, vodka or white rum and shake over ice to create a martini
  • Blend with 2 ounces tequila and ice to make an unforgettable margarita

Strawberry Rosemary Lemonade
Makes 3 cups syrup

1 cup fresh strawberry juice
1 cup lemon and/or lime juice
1 cup Rosemary Syrup (see below)

Combine the strawberry juice with the lime or lemon juice and the Rosemary Syrup. Pour into a clean bottle and cap. Syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to one week. To make Rosemary Syrup, mix two cups water with one cup granulated sugar in a pot over medium heat. Bring it to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add needles from 4 sprigs fresh rosemary and simmer for a couple minutes, then turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes. Strain the syrup.

Berry White Elderflower Sangria (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

White Elderflower Berry Sangria (Photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The WHITE cocktail is a White Elderflower Berry Sangria that’s spiked with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur made from these fragrant white flowers that bloom in the French Alps and every berry I could find. The bitters add a note of complexity while the lemon juice keeps it from being too sweet. The secret to good sangria is time. The fruit needs time to sit in the liqueur and absorb its flavors and vice versa, so if at all possible, start your sangria the day before you plan to serve it.

White Elderflower Berry Sangria
Makes 6 servings

1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
1 cup white cherries, halved and pitted
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup blackberries
1 cup St. Germain White Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 cup gin or vodka
1/4 cup orange liqueur like Cointreau
1/4 cup Homemade Sour Mix (see Recipes page)
2 teaspoons orange bitters
1 bottle brut sparkling wine, well-chilled
handful fresh mint, torn

Add the strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blueberries and blackberries to a large pitcher. Top with the St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, gin or vodka and orange liqueur. Let sit for a few hours in the refrigerator or overnight if possible. Or if you’re in a hurry, add the sour mix, orange bitters and sparkling wine to the pitcher. Add a cup of crushed ice. Top with the freshly torn mint and serve by ladling some fruit into each glass and then pouring sangria on top.

The Blue Basil Fizz (photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The Blue Basil Fizz with a African Blue Basil garnish (photo by Maria C. Hunt)

The BLUE drink isn’t technically blue as that shade really doesn’t exist in nature. The Blue Basil Fizz is more of an inky purple thanks to all those antioxidants in blackberries and blueberries. These berries shine when mixed with Chambord black raspberry liqueur imported from France and muddled with fresh basil. Top it off with prosecco, the light sparkling wine from Italy for the refreshing fizz.

Blue Basil Fizz
Makes 1 cocktail
6 blueberries
4 blackberries
3 leaves basil
splash Homemade Sour Mix (see Recipes page)
1 ounce Chambord
3 to 4 ounces prosecco, well chilled
sprig basil for garnish
drinking straw (optional)

In a heavy pint glass or mixing glass, add the blueberries, blackberries, basil and Homemade Sour Mix. Muddle until the mixture is very pulpy and fragrant. Pour it into a tall Collins style glass. Add the Chambord and fill three-quarters with ice. Top off with prosecco and garnish with the sprig of basil and a straw.

Cocktails created by Maria Hunt aka The Bubbly Girl, author of The Bubbly Bar: Champagne & Sparkling Wine Cocktails for Every Occasion on Amazon.com