I Still Need a Still…

img_6564Yesterday I saw this little gem in the 50% off cart at the bookstore. The opening chapter makes it seem like distilling one’s own spirits is a breeze!

While I most certainly am looking forward to creating liquor from scratch, that day lies waiting somewhere in the future. Coming up early next week, however, is a overview on the result of my first attempt at making 11 different varieties of Cocktail Blueberries!

The closing chapter of this book has a wide array of cocktail recipes that I believe would translate quite nicely into drinks made with whiskey, rum, and vodka infusions for anyone looking to jazz up their next holiday party!

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Strawberry Vodka à la Spoon!

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Step 1: Infuse Vodka with sliced Strawberries!

  • Slice up enough strawberries to fill your container HALF WAY.
    • Whether you use a 106 oz. jar like I did below, or an 8 oz. mason jar fill it half way with SLICED Strawberries, and then TOP with Vodka
  • Let sit 5 days, flip it over daily, and then strain out the strawberries

Step 2: Add Gelatin

  • In order to avoid cooking out the alcohol add your STRAINED Strawberry Vodka to a cold pot, THEN turn heat to medium.
  • Add 1/3 of the recommended amount of Unflavored Gelatin, and stir constantly
  • As soon as small bubbles begin to form at the bottom of the pot TURN OFF heat, and continue to stir until gelatin disappears.

Step 3: Set the Vodka Gel

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  • Portion Strawberry Vodka with Unflavored Gelatin into bucket glasses
  • Allow to set until firm in fridge with 3 oz. shot glasses placed into center of each bucket glass
  • When Gel is firm, remove 3 oz. shot glasses to reveal a void through the center of the Strawberry Vodka Gel
    • Pouring hot water into the 3. oz shot glasses can help loosen them and make for a more clean removal!

 

Step 4: Add Whipped Cream Through Center and Over Top to Taste!

  • I whipped Heavy Whipping Cream with Vanilla Extract and Crême de Menthe, then piped it all the way down and over top with a Pastry Bag, but your preferred delivery system (including spray can if you’ve already waited long enough!) will do nicely.

Enjoy!

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Foray into Cocktail Culture

Dessert_Whipped Cream Vodka_06Two birds with one stone: I would earn a little food-&-drink money and strike an item off my bucket list. That is why I started bartending at a one of the eight bars near campus. At $2 for a light beer and $2.50 for a flavored Bacardi & diet we were among the more expensive bars in the area—which means that fancy techniques and exotic ingredients were not on the docket. Regardless, I fell in love with the craft, and came to realize that a career in landscape architecture was never going to satisfy me like a career making people happy through booze.

I made the move to downtown Champaign, Illinois in search of a more challenging bar program; where the entire kitchen was at my disposal to experiment with and create syrups, infusions, jellies, rimmers, and anything else that could result in a feature cocktail. At the student-bar I unlocked my passion for getting inside someone’s head, and finding the perfect drink for them—here I honed it.

No longer satisfied with the limitation of whatever traffic that walks through the door of a restaurant, I now endeavor to reach out to a wider audience to display my passion, offer my services, and most of all to learn. Cocktail culture is vast, vibrant, ever-evolving, delicious; and becoming immersed in it is the most exciting journey of my life. Through everything I have learned and continue to learn, here is what I have to say.