Tag Archives: cocktails

Eggnog

The Dish: Kentucky Eggnog Spike

Georgia has the best peaches and everyone loves California wine but Kentucky knows its bourbon. Celebrate the holidays with a taste of the South by making this eggnog spike. One glass will be sure to have you kissing under the mistletoe in no time!

This particular concoction is best made at least a week in advance and given time to marinate. So, if you want to be drinking it by Christmas Eve get going now!

Check below the recipe for complimentary gift labels, wrapping suggestions and a tutorial on removing labels from wine bottles.

Kentucky Eggnog Spike

Makes about 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bourbon
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks
  • 7 whole cloves

Preparation

Pour bourbon, rum and brandy into 1-quart bottle. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into bourbon mixture; add pod to bottle.

Using mortar and pestle or bottom of heavy small skillet, crack whole nutmeg into 4 or 5 pieces. Add nutmeg pieces, cinnamon sticks and cloves to mixture. Cork bottle tightly. Let stand in cool, dark place for 1 week. (Can be prepared 3 months ahead.)

To make the eggnog

Ingredients

Makes about 6 servings

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 quarts half and half
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1+ cup spike
  • 1 cup milk or more as needed
  • freshly grated nutmeg

Preparation

In a heavy saucepan with an electric mixer beat together half-and-half, cream, sugar, and yolks until combined well. Cook mixture over moderate heat, continuing to beat, until slightly thickened, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove pan from heat. Continue to beat mixture until slightly cooled. Stir in vanilla and nutmeg.
Transfer eggnog to a bowl and chill, covered, at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

Add 1 cup of the spike to start and adjust to taste.

Just before serving, thin eggnog with milk to desired consistency. Garnish with cinnamon or nutmeg.

 

Preparations and Gifting Suggestions

For a quick and easy way to remove labels from wine bottles, check out this tutorial at DIY Idea Time.

Once labels are removed, thoroughly wash and dry your bottle. Using a funnel, pour the eggnog spike in to the bottle followed by the vanilla and spices. Seal firmly with a cork.

Using a thin layer of glue, attach the eggnog spike label to the bottle.

To make your bottle extra special, drip red or green sealing wax around the cork to ensure no leakage and make opening it part of the fun. Finish it off by tying a Christmas ribbon with a big bow around the neck. A fresh piece of nutmeg and a grater would also be great attached to the ribbon.

Use these special touches to let your friends and family know how much you care about their buzz this Christmas.

Click on the image below for complimentary labels or try your hand at designing your own!

Eggnog Label Sheet

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Local Eateries Master Mint Cocktails

There’s a reason people fight for the last bite of mint chocolate ice cream or the last stick of peppermint chewing gum: mint is a crowd-pleaser. There’s nothing like a burst of fresh mint to energize your palate, cool off your taste buds, and add a little zing to the party. Here are four local favorite refreshingly minty cocktails.

·  Get your mint fix with the Cucumber Mint Cooler at Thirsty Lion Pub & Grill features Smirnoff Citrus Vodka, muddled cucumber and fresh mint, simple syrup and ginger ale and costs $8. They also have a tasty Wild Berry Mojito which is a blend of Bacardi Silver rum, triple sec, wild berry puree, mint, lime, simple syrup, soda, & Sprite and costs $7.50.

·   The Strawberry Shamrock at Kelly’s At SouthBridge features Cruzan Strawberry Ginger, Effen Cucumber, sweet and sour, fresh mint and club soda. It’s super refreshing and perfect for summer! It costs $10 regularly and only $6 during happy hour which is every day from 3-7pm, all day on Sundays.

·  The Pineapple Blossom Margarita at Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill features el Jimador Reposado Tequila, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Herradura Agave Nectar, lime juice, fresh pineapple and mint. This sweet, delicious drink costs $8.50 regularly and $7.50 during happy hour.

·  Try the Strawberry-Lemon Mojito at Uptown Alley for your daily dose of mint! This Mojito features Bacardi Superior Rum muddled with lemon, sugar, mint leaves and strawberries mixed with soda water and costs $6.99.

Mint leaves, most commonly used for breath-freshening and food and drink flavoring, actually have a number of health benefits unbeknownst to most. Mint is a plant that has been utilized in a variety of cultures such as India, the Middle East and Europe for numerous health reasons.

As delicious as mint tastes in our favorite foods and drinks, it’s even better for soothing the stomach. Eating mint cools the digestive track, making it more fluent, while also relieving abdominal pain. Even simply smelling a fresh mint aroma is a powerful medicine in treating nausea, seasickness, and motion sickness (great for summer vacations and travel).

pumpkin martini

Cocktail Creations: Pumpkin Martini From Kelly's At Southbridge

October may have come and gone, and we may have said “goodbye” to our Jack-o’-lanterns, but that doesn’t mean pumpkins are out of the picture.

At least, not at Kelly’s At Southbridge in Old Town Scottsdale. They’ve created a new, dangerously-delicious martini to celebrate the holidays — the Pumpkin Martini.

Pumpkin Martini

Pumpkin Martini at Kelly's At Southbridge

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie Vodka
  • 1 oz Pumpkin Liqueur
  • Holiday Cheer (Kelly’s original mix)

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients; shake over ice.
  2. Strain into martini glass.
  3. Sprinkle with Holiday Cheer.
  4. Top off with mint garnish.

So, what do you think?
Replace the pumpkin pie, and shake things up a bit this holiday season.

Kelly’s At Southbridge
7117 E. 6th Ave., Scottsdale
(480) 393-3205
kellysatsouthbridge.com

SnoBar

SnöBar Cocktails Expands Its Presence In Arizona

After one of the biggest splashes in the state’s alcohol history, SnöBar Cocktails is further expanding its footprint in Arizona to include additional resorts, liquor stores and restaurants. SnöBar’s alcohol infused ice cream and ice-pops are made with natural ingredients and premium alcohol. There’s a full cocktail in every serving and the alcohol infused desserts are guaranteed to stimulate and please even the most sophisticated palate.

New locations carrying SnoBar’s alcohol infused ice cream and ice-pops include JW Marriott Camelback Inn, Westin Kierland Villas Scottsdale, Wigwam Resort, Friday’s Front Row at Chase Field, Hotel Valley Ho and BevMo locations in Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale and Phoenix. Over the next few weeks, SnoBar will also be available at Montelucia Resort & Spa, Chase Field and additional locations across the state.

“The response from Arizonans has been better than we could have ever dreamed and we’re absolutely thrilled to expand to new locations,” said SnöBar Co-Creator and Senior Vice President Shannon Masjedi.  “With it already feeling like summer in some parts of the state, SnoBar will be a great poolside adult treat.”

SnöBar’s two types of ice-pops, Margarita and Cosmopolitan, replicate the distinct flavor and experience of the traditional cocktails. The Margarita ice-pop is made with premium tequila, lime and triple sec; the Cosmopolitan ice-pop is made with premium vodka, triple sec and cranberry. The superior-quality ice cream is currently available in the following flavors: Grasshopper, Pink Squirrel, Brandy Alexander and Brandy Alexander with Chocolate Chip with over 50 new flavors in development. With 8.22 – 14.67 alcohol by volume, each serving of SnöBar Cocktails ice-pops and ice cream has the equivalent alcohol percentage of a full cocktail and with a frozen appeal.

SnöBar’s ice-pops and 1.75 liter ice cream have retail prices comparable to that of a regular cocktail or bottle of premium alcohol. SnöBar is currently distributed in Arizona by Alliance Beverage Distribution Company and in Las Vegas by Wirtz Beverage Group. The brand has an aggressive nationwide roll-out plan for 2012.

SnöBar Cocktails products are spirits and are to be consumed only by adults over 21 years of age.

You can find out more about SnoBar Cocktails at snobarcocktails.com.

foreground desert tray with coffee press and cup out of focus in background

Regions Bistro & Bar Highlights Recipes From Around The Country

With a brand new location in Scottsdale, Regions Bistro & Bar is serving American comfort food in style. In fact, it’s serving the type of homestyle cooking that would make Mom proud. Every month, one page in the menu changes to represent food from a different region (get it?) of the United States — from New England to the Pacific Northwest and everything in between.

Part of the menu remains constant, but this twist on cuisine and cocktails keeps things interesting and customers coming back each month. In case you don’t see your favorite region’s culinary dishes, the restaurant takes suggestions for future menus.

The ever-changing menu isn’t the only thing that hooks patrons. I was intrigued by the modern, sophisticated atmosphere from the moment I walked inside. Regions truly has something for everyone. The lounge, complete with a bar and televisions, is a great place for socializing and enjoying the happy hour specials. Meanwhile, intimate dinner seating, along with private dining areas, provide a cozier experience. The restaurant’s impressive happy hour specials with half-price drinks and small plates every day from 3-7 p.m., make it even more appealing.

The cocktails provide tasty enjoyment and amusement with creative names such as the Tree Hugger, the Flirtini and the Face Lift.

After checking out the lounge, our party moved into the dining area and began to examine the menu. It does indeed feature traditional American comfort food, but we could tell it was going to be a step up from what we were used to. For appetizers, we decided to sample steamed Oregon mussels from the regular menu and fried green tomatoes and okra from the monthly regional menu, which featured Mississippi soul food. The mussels, which were steamed in pinot gris, garlic, shallots, butter and cream, were impressive even to those of us who had never tried them before.

Next, of course, were the salads. While the traditional Caesar salad and American chop salad were exquisite, the table favorite was the wilted baby spinach salad, complete with toasted almonds, couscous, feta cheese and, the star of the salad, bacon vinaigrette dressing. It was a unique flavor that gave a tangy punch to the taste buds.

Finally, it was time for the main course. The overwhelming favorite was, not surprisingly, the epitome of comfort food: mac and cheese. But this was no Easy Mac. The pasta was mixed in a creamy sauce and topped with lump crab and more cheese, creating the most grown-up, sophisticated mac and cheese any of us had ever tasted. If crab isn’t your thing, it can also be prepared with shrimp or chicken, and no matter what, it’s sure to be a winner.
A close second for our table was the grilled wild Alaskan king salmon with corn relish and lemon butter sauce. It was perfectly grilled, tender and full of delicious flavor.

Although it was difficult to imagine being able to eat anything else, we knew we couldn’t leave without sampling dessert. After much discussion, we decided on three desserts: fresh fruit creme brulee, New World trifle and the regional dessert of the month, Mississippi mud pie. All three were absolute perfection and we left the restaurant feeling satisfied.

So the next time you’re craving some good old-fashioned comfort food, consider feasting on American comfort food with a twist. No matter how many times you visit Regions Bistro & Bar, there will always be something new to try!

If You Go:
Regions Bistro & Bar
9343 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 100, Scottsdale
480-657-2600
www.regionsbistro.com

Roka Akor Butterfish Takaki

Minimalist Decor At Roka Akor Allows The Food To Shine

Don’t let the understated decor of Roka Akor fool you, for the true masterpiece awaits you the moment you take your seat. Simple furnishings — wood floors and tables and stone-like walls — let the cuisine take center stage. Roka Akor Interior

The centerpiece of the restaurant is the massive robata grill powered by charcoal and maintained by attentive chefs who carefully grill, glaze and garnish. The grand grill sits in the middle of the restaurant, allowing guests to watch everything as it is being made.

Roka Akor has journeyed far to reach Scottsdale. The original restaurant opened in London, with other locations opening in Macau and recently in Hong Kong. With such an international resume, it seems surprising that this chain would choose Scottsdale to open its flagship U.S. location. Yet, here it is and we couldn’t be any happier to have it.

Roka Akor Black CodDescribed as Japanese Robatayaki cuisine, the menu has endless options to choose from. From traditional sushi to great grill items, Roka Akor has myriad dishes. We began the evening with a traditional component of a Japanese meal: edamame. The steamed edamame with sea salt was the perfect beginning for the feast that awaited us. Tasty cocktails were in abundance, with shochu infusions being the top draw. The vodka-like alcohol is distilled from wheat or barley and Roka Akor carries several flavors. The cocktails also serve a dual purpose, according to the menu: The raspberry shochu helps to improve memory, and the shiso lime schochu is listed as aiding in “great skin and blood tonic.”

Next, we selected appetizing snacks from the cold and warm starters. The butterfish tataki melted in your mouth and the white asparagus and yuzu shallot dressing rounded out the flavor. Favorites of the evening were the spicy beef and kimchi dumplings, lightly fried to crispy perfection. The grilled asparagus topped with sweet sesame and the grilled eggplant were also well received. When dining at a Japanese restaurant, sushi is always a must. We ordered a variety of familiar rolls, shrimp tempura, spicy tuna and softshell crab, to please the palate and none disappointed.

With plenty of delectable robata dishes to choose from, we settled on a range of flavors; a grilled salmon teriyaki, lamb cutlets, and duck breast basted with honey and sansho pepper. The lamb was everything you could ask for — tender, juicy and infused with Korean spices. But the pièce de résistance was the grilled Madagascan tiger prawn. The massive marine crustacean is the world’s largest species of prawn and was certainly the star of the meal. Grilled on the robata, the prawn was flavored with yuzu Roka Akor Barkoshyu chili paste, a tangy spice that gave it just the right amount of zing.

Our meal was paired with a few tasty side dishes. One standout was the rice hot pot, precisely described as “Japanese risotto.” The rice dish was comprised of various mushrooms and wild plants cooked in harmony to create the quintessential texture of risotto.

If you’re not too worried about breaking the bank, for nearly $20 an ounce, the Japanese wagyu beef sirloin can only be expressed as exquisite. It is, after all, recognized as one of the best beefs in the world. Our small tasting was given compliments of the chef, thanks to a chance remark that caught his attention.

For dessert, we decided on the Roka Akor platter, which proved quite a sight to see. Served on a large stone plate, the platter included a wide variety of tastes, textures and colors to please all. Four delicate scoops of sorbet in flavors ranging from raspberry to green tea were placed on a huge cube of ice in the middle of the plate. For the chocolate lovers, the platter also included a moist, chocolate cake filled with a molten green tea center. A final unique taste found on the platter was the chawan mushi, a Japanese custard with strawberries and honeycomb.

Presentation is key to Roka Akor’s appeal. Everything is served on rustic stone plates, intentionally simple to draw attention to the food. With a no-fuss approach to making great-tasting food and serving it up in style, Roka Akor is sure to be in the Valley for the long haul. Welcome aboard.

www.rokaakor.com