Tag Archives: cocktails

Food n' FocusApril Aceto is the author of Food n’ Focus, a blog devoted to bringing a variety of cuisines together in one photogenic place. She works in advertising sales by day and behind her camera at night. Her passions for food and photography come from her extensive travel around the country and the world, exploring new cuisine and landscapes. April can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Flickr.

For as long as I can remember my mom has always been the type to put the needs of others before her own. She always is willing to lend an ear or hand when someone is in need and goes out of her way to make someone’s day a little extra special. I like to think this is a quality I received from my mom.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

I think this character trait is what makes my mom really great at hosting and entertaining guests. When I was a child my mom would always throw the best themed birthday parties, paying attention to each and every detail all the way down to the smallest of details. I also like to think this is a trait she passed along to me.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus1. Espresso drinks scream “party” for hot or cold drinks, cocktails and more. The Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker ($90, hamiltonbeach.com) is perfect for entertaining. 2. My mom always taught me a sweet smelling home sets the stage for the perfect party, so she’d love this Capri Blue Jar Candle in Volcano ($28, anthropologie.com). 3. My mom would love this Blanc Cake Stand ($30, surlatable.com), because every party needs dessert. 4. We’re from Wisconsin, so cheese served on a Slate Cheese Board ($20, 12” x 12”, crateandbarrel.com) is a requirement at any social gathering. 5. These Apilco Octogonal Porcelain Serving Platters ($60-70, williams-sonoma.com) are perfect for serving appetizers, entrees or desserts. 6. My mom could throw great summer parties on the patio with this book of 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks ($17, worldmarket.com). 7. These Kate Spade Larabee Dot Balloons Wine Glasses in Clear ($50, set of four, katespade.com) would be perfect for cocktail parties. 8. Every hostess needs an apron as cute as this Botanist Knoll Apron in Multi ($28, anthropologie.com).

With Mother’s Day coming up I have been thinking about what the perfect gift would be for the mom that loves to entertain and host, must like my own mom does. Browsing the internet, I came up with a variety of pretty little gifts perfect for hosting any kind of party or event. On the top of the list is the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker. Whether you’re hosting a brunch or serving cocktails at a party, this is the ideal gift for the entertaining mom. More on that later!

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

There are a few key items I think every host should have: a fancy set of wine glasses, beautiful serving platters and a pretty little kitchen apron. The apron should be something that puts you in the mood to cook and also looks cute even if you’re still wearing it when your guests arrive! Hosting to me is such an art. It’s not just about what you’re serving, it’s about how you’re serving it and your guests will notice if you put in the extra effort.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

These Espresso Juleps were inspired by the Kentucky Derby this past weekend but I thought they would be nice to serve at a brunch or as an after-dinner cocktail if you wanted to include a coffee liqueur or vodka. The light flavors of mint and basil in the simple syrup make them the perfect summer sipper. By using the Hamilton Beach Espresso Maker, it was really easy to put together two drinks. Since you are serving these drinks chilled, you can easily make enough espresso ahead of a large group party and chill it in a pitcher in the refrigerator.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus

If you have a mom that loves to entertain much like my own does, you should consider some of the fun items included on my gift guide. And of course, if you get her the Espresso Maker she can try out these drinks for herself.

Center Stage: Mother’s Day Gift Guide and Espresso Juleps with Food n’ Focus


Espresso Juleps
SERVES: 2

Ingredients
4 shots of espresso, cooled
1 cup whole milk, divided
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup water
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
¼ cup torn fresh mint leaves
1 ounce espresso liqueur or vodka (optional)
Ice cubes
Mint and whipped cream to garnish
Instructions
Prepare the simple syrup by heating the sugar, water, mint and basil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the sugar melts. Cool and strain the mint and basil from the sugar syrup and refrigerate until ready to use.
Divide the espresso and milk evenly between two glasses. Stir in 2 tablespoons of simple syrup into each glass. Add in ice cube to fill the glasses and garnish with mint and whipped creaming if desired.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It’s officially time to roll out the chips and salsa, guacamole, salsa con queso and sombreros. But don’t dare start the party without the star of the show – the margarita! Here are four of our favorite recipes, made with fresh ingredients perfect for toasting our neighbors to the south – and just as good for drinking to spring, summer, a good day, a bad day, a new haircut… you get the idea. ¡Salud!

Strawberry Lime Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach Strawberry Lime Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach


Strawberry Margaritas
SERVES: 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
5 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order listed.
Blend on CRUSH ICE until blended.
Rub the rims of glasses with a wedge of lime. Dip in a dish of kosher salt or sugar. Pour in margarita.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Fresh Honeydew Melon Lime Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach Fresh Honeydew Melon Lime Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach


Honeydew Melon and Lime Margaritas
SERVES: 4

Ingredients
2 cups honeydew chunks
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
5 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order listed.
Blend on CRUSH ICE until blended.
Rub the rims of glasses with a wedge of lime. Dip in a dish of kosher salt or sugar. Pour in margarita.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Fresh Mango Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach Fresh Mango Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach


Mango Margaritas
SERVES: 4

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups mango chunks
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
5 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order listed.
Blend on CRUSH ICE until blended
Rub the rims of glasses with a wedge of lime. Dip in a dish of kosher salt or sugar. Pour in margaritas.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Blackberry-Blueberry Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach Blackberry-Blueberry Margaritas - from 4 Delicious & Easy Frozen Margarita Recipes for Cinco de Mayo from @hamiltonbeach


Blackberry Blueberry Margaritas
SERVES: 4

Ingredients
1 cup blackberries
1/2 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup lime juice
5 ounces tequila
2 ounces triple sec
2 cups ice cubes
Instructions
Place the ingredients in the blender jar in the order listed.
Blend on CRUSH ICE until blended.
Rub the rims of glasses with a wedge of lime. Dip in a dish of kosher salt or sugar. Pour in margarita.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Perfect blender for smoothies from @hamiltonbeach

Hamilton Beach® Blenders are known worldwide for making smooth and delicious blended drinks. Over the years, people have relied on the Hamilton Beach blender for perfect icy drinks, shakes, smoothies, and the innovation for which this historic brand is famous.

 

View every post and recipe about Cinco de Mayo.

 



Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

William McCormack, affectionately known by regulars as “Mac,” has been a bartender since he was 18 and has owned bars since he was 24. He is the owner of McCormack’s Whisky Grill in Richmond, Virginia’s “Fan” district, which he started because he was “bored and curious.” At the time, he was putting in a lot of work at his other restaurant, McCormack’s Irish Pub, known for its rowdy but loyal punk rock following. He was no longer enamored with his day-to-day work, and when he turned 30, he became curious about spirits and their unique qualities. He dove right into every aspect of bar education, reigniting his fire for the industry, and started serving premium spirits for a small, but interested, segment of his clientele. He began to understand there was a connoisseur market out there, and wanted to open a restaurant just for them. “The Whisky,” in its repurposed-wood and library-wall-of-spirits glory, was born.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

The Whisky has no phones, no TVs and no website. It’s not an oversight. For its first few years, the Whisky Grill didn’t even take credit cards. “There’s a lot of people that don’t like me, but they aren’t my ideal customer, so I don’t care. Sometimes I do controversial things; I’m kind of loud mouth. But the right people really love it, and we have a very loyal following now,” Mac explains, still channeling his devil-may-care attitude. But don’t let his punk cred fool you. Mac has three college degrees (“I was just curious about things,” he explains.) and got into medical school. “Being a doctor was my a backup plan in case owning a bar didn’t work out.”

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

His thirst for knowledge paid off. The Whisky is known for being one of the most discerning places in town. “We often pick what our customers drink. We ask them what kind of spirit they want, how they want it served, and their price range. I never expected people would look to us for recommendations as much as they do, but it’s fun and they trust us,” Mac explains.

Mac guides us through the various types of American whiskies sitting on the huge library shelving behind him, such as moonshine, bourbon, malts and blended varieties; then through Scotland, Wales, Japan and Ireland. They all have different characteristics. Mac tells us bourbon is more popular in the United States, and it’s growing in popularity in Japan, but most whiskies of the world emulate smokier Scotch whiskies.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

Since the Kentucky Derby is this weekend, we ask him for a recommendation to use in the South’s most prized cocktail, the mint julep. Bourbons tend to be on the sweeter side of the whisky lexicon, so they work well in a julep. Lexington or Larceny brands are appropriately sweet with a fruity smell. But if you don’t have these on hand, use whatever you like. “Who am I to tell you what you like?” Mac says. “There are some guys who wear salmon colored pants with blue whales all over them. It’s not my style, but there are people who love those things. It’s all personal taste.”

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

Good bourbon has a lot of nuances that can get lost in a cocktail, so he suggests when making a mixed drink you sub a lower-priced bottle. He’ll even downsell a customer at The Whisky if they order something he feels will get lost in the drink. He explains there are plenty of affordable whiskies out there as good as their expensive counterparts. “Don’t be afraid to try something new when shopping,” he says. “If it’s $15 and you’ve never had it, the worst scenario is you don’t like it straight and you’ll like it mixed with ginger ale or used in cooking.”

Cooking with alcohol is one of the best ways to use it. Wines,
bourbons and beers add extra dimension and depth to food.

Cooking with alcohol is one of the best ways to use it. “We use bourbon in over ten dishes here at the restaurant. Wines, bourbons and beers add extra dimension and depth to food. It creates an amazing richness as the alcohol cooks off.” Home cooks should be careful using bourbon and whiskey in their food because it can be flammable. Use it sparingly and keep an eye on what you’re doing. The acidity in whisky also works great in marinades for because it helps break down the muscle fibers in tough cuts of meat. Mac suggests using sage, basil, dill, lemons, garlic, salt and pepper, and a cup each of bourbon, olive oil and apple cider vinegar. He does this with fish, mushrooms and meats.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

We steer back to the mint julep. Contrary to what many think, it’s not supposed to be really sweet, so Mac only uses about half a teaspoon of sugar or a teaspoon of simple syrup. He grabs 6-7 mint leaves, likely grown in the garden behind the restaurant, and muddles it with the simple syrup. He adds a full measure (2 oz.) of bourbon and muddles again, then adds a few ice cubes and shakes it well in a shaker to bruise the mint even more and combine it with the whiskey. Some recipes call for soda, but he reminds us the original recipe for mint juleps didn’t use it, so he doesn’t either. (Despite his rebellious nature, he has a charming appreciation for tradition.) He pours the julep into a glass, garnishes with a mint leaf, and serves us. The room smells like mint, sugar and spice, and everyone agrees it’s the perfect amount of sugar and soda isn’t necessary at all.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

He then makes us a non-traditional julep (“I love doing things non-traditionally,” he says, not recognizing his contradiction.) with sliced fresh ginger, 6-7 mint leaves and a splash of simple syrup. The fresh ginger adds a nice spicy zip to the drink. We can see why this is Mac’s favorite way to enjoy a mint julep. It’s delicious, and ginger is really inexpensive, so this is a fun summer drink to enjoy on the cheap.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

Blueberries and raspberries highlight the final mint julep he makes. He adds a little more sugar than last time to carry the fruity notes. This drink was born as a custom creation for a friend’s wedding, and it’s been popular in their circle ever since. It gets rave reviews and everyone thinks of porch cocktails on a spring weekend. It’s a beautiful julep – full of bright colors from the berries and mint – so it makes sense it was used for a wedding.

Three Ways with Mint Juleps with McCormack’s Whisky Grill from Everyday Good Thinking by @hamiltonbeach

You can try the mint julep with blackberries, oranges, or peaches and cream. You can also swap out the mint for basil or sage. While adamant Southerners might want to stick to their classic mint juleps (and they are delicious), Mac suggests thinking outside the box and trying something different. If you’re hosting a Kentucky Derby party, suggest everyone dress up and wear big hats. Serve the mint juleps with a cheese assortment, sausages, smoked fish (which he points out is not southern, but from his New Jersey upbringing) and some crackers. Cheap, fun and perfect for a Kentucky-style spring weekend.

McCormack’s Whisky Grill | 204 N Robinson St Richmond, VA 23220
2nd location: McCormack’s Big Whisky Grill | Regency Square Mall, Eastridge Rd, Tuckahoe, VA 23229


Sour Apple Martini from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

We can’t wait for midnight to arrive so we can toast the new year with our friends and families. If you’re planning your evening but haven’t yet decided on a cocktail to sip until the ball drops, try this festive sour apple martini that can be made with a few ingredients you might already have on hand.

Sour Apple Martini from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach

Before guests arrive pull out your juice extractor and make a delicious blend of grapefruit and apple juices. Shake the fresh juice with ice, vodka and grenadine, then pour it into a martini glass and garnish with an apple slice. It’s a beautiful drink that tastes (and looks) worthy of a celebration. Cheers!

Sour Apple Martini from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @hamiltonbeach


Sour Apple Martini
SERVES: 2

This recipe uses a juice extractor.
Ingredients
1 medium grapefruit, peeled
1 large Granny Smith apple
3 ounces vodka
1 ounce grenadine
Thinly sliced apple, for garnish
Instructions
Cut grapefruit and apple as needed to fit through the chute of the juice extractor.
Juice the ingredients in the order listed.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add 6 ounces of the juice mixture, vodka and grenadine.
Shake and pour into martini glasses. Top each martini with an apple slice before serving.
Notes
Add more grenadine if you would like the drink to be sweeter.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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Hot Buttered Rum from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @HamiltonBeach

Hot buttered rum is a classic fireside cocktail, perfect for the colder months when we need to warm up from the chill outside. Serve it as a hot beverage at a party (guests will welcome the warm mug in their cool hands) or as an after-dinner drink that keeps the conversation flowing. The fruity hot buttered rum could stand in for dessert, and it will make your house smell divine as it warms in your slow cooker.

Hot Buttered Rum from Everyday Good Thinking, the official blog of @HamiltonBeach

 


Hot Buttered Rum
SERVES: 15

Ingredients
4 cups water
4 cups cranberry juice
3 cups pineapple juice
1 1/2 to 3 cups rum
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 vanilla bean (optional)
Instructions
Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker crock. Stir well.
Cover and cook on HIGH 1 1/2 hours or LOW 3 hours.
Everyday Good Thinking http://everydaygoodthinking.com/

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