Lillet Rouge sangria.By Virginie Boone
Craving something a little new in a summer cocktail? Looking for something cool, spicy, sweet? We've got a trio of fun hot weather mixed drinks for you to explore this summer.
If you adore the fragrantly spicy foods of Southeast Asia, you might want to try ginger-infused drinks.
Only able to grow in tropical and subtropical climes, the gnarled ginger root is peppery and mildly sweet and an integral part of Asian cuisines. The French discovered it during their colonization of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and -- much like the British in India with their Pimm's No. 1 Cup (traditionally a blend of gin and ginger ale or lemonade) -- concocted a refreshing combination of ginger and brandy to get through the unfamiliar heat.
That makes a perfect drink for high summer, and there are several brands of ginger liqueur available. One of the most popular is Domaine de Canton, which re-creates the French colonial combination of ginger and brandy in the following drink .
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2½ parts Domaine de Canton or other ginger liqueur
½ part fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Slice of lemon peel, for a twist
1. Combine liqueur, lemon juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake vigorously and strain over ice in a rocks glass.
3. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This recipe comes from Sandoval's Tequileria Maya.
For the jalapeño-infused tequila:
2 medium-sized jalapeño peppers, sliced in half lengthwise
1 liter tequila blanco
For the pepino:
1.5 ounces jalapeño-infused tequila
2 ounces organic cucumber puree (fresh organic cucumbers pureed with skin on)
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce agave nectar
Tajin seasoning (a blend of chile powder, lime and salt), for garnish
Slice of cucumber, for garnish
1. Macerate the two jalapeños in the tequila at room temperature for 10-15 days. Shake the spirit three times per day to distribute the flavor.
2. Strain, bottle and store at room temperature.
3. Combine infused tequila and remaining ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice, shake 30 times.
4. Moisten the rim of a glass and dip it into the Tajin seasoning.
5. Add ice to the glass and strain the cocktail into it.
6. Garnish with the cucumber slice.
* * *
Brothers Raymond and Paul Lillet concocted their eponymous wine-grape-based spirit in the Bordeaux region of France in the late 1800s, developing two types, each a blend of 85% wine and 15% citrus liqueurs, that are still produced in Bordeaux.
Lillet Blanc is made from sauvignon blanc and semillon grapes mixed with orange and lemon fruit peels that have been macerated in pure distilled spirits for several months. Aged in oak barrels, it tastes of candied orange, fresh mint and honey, and is typically served over ice with a slice of orange.
3 ounces Lillet Rouge or Blanc
½ ounce fresh lime juice
Diced fresh fruit of choice (berries, apples, grapes, oranges, etc.)
Slice of orange
1. Combine the Lillet, lime juice and fruit over ice in a wine glass or Collins glass and stir to combine.
2. Top with lemon-lime soda to fill the glass and garnish with an orange slice.
Zester Daily contributor Virginie Boone is a Sonoma Valley-based wine writer. She has reported on the Northern California wine scene for the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and its affiliate food and wine magazine, Savor, and is a contributing reviewer of California wines for Wine Enthusiast.
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