Be My Guest Blogger

Today I had the pleasure of creating a guest post for a signature cocktail for PoppyHaus - one of my fave blogs and a go-to guide for the stylish DIY diva.

I whipped up a Kumquat Campari Martini. Head on over and check it out while that yummy fruit is plentiful.

Verjus Martini

I'm typically not a martini drinker, or maker for that matter. While I know there's much discussion about technique and ingredients - vodka or gin, shaken or stirred, a little or a lot of vermouth - French or Italian, an olive or a twist. I still wonder, what's the fun in mixing a cocktail with only 2 ingredients - 3 if you count the garnish?


Then I stumbled across this tasty ingredient - Medlock Ames Verjus, and once again I'm reminded how slight variations can equal huge impact - especially when those variations have to fit in a 4 ounce glass. A half ounce of this stuff completely transforms a drink I once considered overwhelmingly strong and one-dimensional.

The subtle citrus tang of verjus, or the juice of green grapes, adds just enough depth and flavor for me to reconsider my position. I've now decided there's plenty of fun to be had mixing, sipping and remixing this classic cocktail.

Verjus Martini

2 oz gin 

I used Bombay Sapphire this time but just like vermouth, there are myriad styles of gin to try.

1/2 oz dry vermouth 

I used Noilly Prat,  but there's a full-on vermouth revival providing endless opportunities for future tweaking.

1/2 oz verjus 

I used Medlock Ames but check your fave winery for their take on it.

Lemon twist  

I'm sure you could further finesse the layers with grapefruit, lime or orange - depending on the botanicals in the gin you choose.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice, shake until well chilled, strain into a stem glass and garnish.


Black Lily

I'm raising a glass to the town that has an event called San Francisco Cocktail Week - "a weeklong celebration of all things cocktilian." 

It means the relentless inspiration to push the boundaries of what makes a great drink is alive and well, which in turn means we'll always have libation worthy of the awesome food they dish out here.


Now that's something to celebrate AND another great use for that bottle of Fernet-Branca I bought.

This is the 2012 Official Cocktail of SF Cocktail Week - Black Lily, and here's the story behind the name and the recipe is below.

Fernet has a very distinct flavor and that part I like, but overall I found this combination a tad too sour so I made a few adjustments. 2 oz Cointreau instead of 1.5 and a teaspoon or so of simple syrup - you can make your own or try this one.

Black Lily

1.5 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. Fernet Branca

.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Shaken, strained over ice in a rocks glass. Garnished with an orange twist

Pimientos Dulces

I love cucumbers - I really do. OK, maybe not as much as I like french fries, and that's a shame really, but I like them  A LOT. I like them in water, in salads, on sandwiches, pickled, muddled or just sprinkled with salt.

When I'm scanning new cocktail recipes, it is the one ingredient that always catches my eye - add a slice or two of yellow bell pepper and you've got my full attention. This drink is pure summery perfection in a glass.

If you're not a fan of tequila but you like vodka try this one. If you like gin try this one. If you like rum try this one. If you like the taste of cucumber but you can't be bothered with the pesky slicing, muddling, juicing or infusing just buy this.

Pimientos Dulces - "Sweet Peppers"
Imbibe Magazine

2 oz blanco tequila
1 oz Cointreau
¾ oz lime juice
¼ oz simple syrup
3 slices cucumber
2 slices yellow bell pepper

Combine all ingredients in shaker, muddle the pepper and cucumber, shake with ice & strain over fresh ice and garnish with pepper and cucumber.

Fresh Cherry Margarita

I took the kids cherry picking today and it was er... a fruitful outing indeed. We came home with a whopping 20lbs of fresh cherries! I think it's safe to say this was about 15lbs more than I anticipated. 

As I'm mulling over, or rather panicking about, all the possibilities for utilizing this bounty, I had the good fortune of stumbling across a cocktail recipe from one of my favorite SF Bay Area chefs/cookbook authors - Joanne Weir.

This sounds like the perfect accompaniment to the incredible Mexican food at her new restaurant in Sausalito - Copita. Now I only have 19.5lbs of cherries to go - perhaps I'll make an infusion or two - or twelve.

Fresh Cherry Margarita

12 fresh sweet cherries, pitted 
1-1/4 fl. oz. (2-1/2 Tbs.) tequila, preferably blanco 100% agave 
1 fl. oz. (2 Tbs.) fresh lime juice 
3/4 fl. oz. (1-1/2 Tbs.) agave nectar, preferably dark 
1/2 fl. oz. (1 Tbs.) maraschino liqueur 
1 fresh sweet cherry with stem, for garnish 

Put the cherries in a cocktail shaker and mash them with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon until well crushed, about 1 minute. Add the tequila, lime juice, agave nectar, maraschino liqueur, and 8 large ice cubes. Cover the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Immediately strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with the cherry.