{Day 7} Good Cheer: The Gift of Fine Drinking

Cocktails on the ready! If you’ve been following along you would have heard me refer to a few drinks a comin’ and now here they are. The beauty of these is that the two above are made from the residual syrups made from previous gifts. Ginger Lime Syrup from the Candied Ginger and Cowboy Cocktail is made from the syrup of the Cowboy Candy.
What I’ve done here is take those leftovers and added a thing or two and some booze and made the base of two delicious cocktails. Now all your loved one has to do is add some ice, some lime and a splash of soda or tonic, and they are good to go.
When I first made Cowboy Candy I was left with a pretty fair amount of syrup, perhaps about a quart. It was in the early Fall and it just called out tequila and lime to me. The syrup has not only a heat kick that is fierce, but the vinegary sweetness adds a tremendous balance to the tequila and lime. I’ve been reading a lot lately how bartenders are now finding balsamic vinegar into their cocktails and I now understand why. I invite you to try this just for the experience.
The Ginger Lime Syrup also has a pretty dynamic kick to it too. As a fan of Dark and Stormy’s this is a fantastic syrup to use for that. There is enough sweetness in it to avoid the ginger beer and just add rum and club soda. But I also like Gin and Ginger Tonic, which I did here.
Just be sure to label your concoctions and provide a recipe for the proper ratios.
I just think giving someone ready made cocktails for two can be a real treat for the right person. Especially when you’ve already done most of the work for them.
I also created a Chamomile Cordial, which I paired with biscotti. This came out of my love of Chamomile Grappa which I had the good fortune to have at the end of an outstanding meal at Babbo, Mario Batali’s Restaurant here in NYC. Chamomile is long known for is digestive properties but pairing it with grappa is unusual. The only company that makes it is in Italy and it’s not easy to come by here. The  chamomile grappa has a soft mellowness, a slight sweetness to it and the gorgeous aroma of the flowers. I’ve served this to querying guests after a dinner party and so far everyone has been an immediate fan.
Though since not everyone is a grappa fan, as it’s next of kin is rocket fuel. Grappa is made from the remaining “mash”, or skins and seeds, after grapes have been pressed for wine. It’s distilled and fermented and this clear alcohol can be intense in that “oh my goodness this is burning my throat” sort of way. So for those less into rough drink, I created mine with vodka, which turned down the volume a few decibels while still offering a swift kick.
Personally I love to sip it after a big meal or an especially long hard day. I suppose you could make a cocktail of it, but I’m not thinking that way. If you come up with something, please let me know- I’d be curious to see what creations could be made of this.
Gin and Ginger Tonic
 
If you’ve made the candied ginger and reserved the syrup than bravo! but if you haven’t, or need a fresh batch here’s how to start.
 
Take 2c of peeled and sliced fresh ginger and put into a heavy saucepan with 2c of water and 2c of white sugar. 
 
Bring to boil on the stove and then simmer for 30 mins. You can then remove the
 ginger and dry it and candy it {recipe here} or not.
 
While the syrup is still warm, add zest slices from 3 limes and allow to steep in the syrup until cool.
 
To make the cocktail base, combine 1 part syrup with 3 parts gin.
 
To make the finished cocktail the ratio is 1 part base to 1 part tonic (or to taste) and add lime. I recommend adding a tag with the recipe and explanation of your lovely elixer.
 
Cowboy Cocktail
 
Now if you’ve made the Cowboy Candy (and if not, seriously, you should) and you saved the juice, you’re good to go, or…..
 
slice .5# of jalepeno peppers
.33c white vinegar
1c white sugar
.25t ground cayenne
 
Combine in a heavy sauce pan and allow to simmer for about 10 mins. Reserve some peppers for garnish and discard the rest. Allow the syrup to cool. The full Cowboy Candy recipe is here.
 
Combine 1 part Cowboy Syrup to 2 parts tequila for the base
 
For the finished cocktail combine 1 part base with 1 part lime juice and a splash of soda water.
 
Don’t forget that tag with instructions- they’ll need it
 
Chamomile Cordial
this cordial is not overly sweet and really lovely after a big meal
 
8 chamomile tea bags or 1c loose flowers
4c water
4c sugar
vodka or a clear brandy for more kick or heck, go for grappa
 
In a large saucepan heat the water to boiling and let tea steep until cool. This makes a strong intense tea.
 
Remove tea bags or strain flowers and add sugar. Bring to boil and simmer 5 mins
 
Remove from heat and allow syrup to cool.
 
To make cordial combine 1 part chamomile syrup to 5 parts alcohol, or to taste. It should not by syrupy sweet, just a soft sweetness so you can feel the kick of the alcohol.