Category Archives: Spirits

Watermelon Vodka Spritzer

Watermelon Vodka Spritzer
The other night Jill and I tried this new place in town called Ida Claire. It’s owned by a group that is opening some pretty hip, clever and good restaurants around town (Mexican Sugar, Whiskey Cake). Ida Claire is a southern type bistro with southern costal food that spans from Lousiana to South Carolina but also has plenty of Texas style dishes.

Jill ordered this watermelon julep that was so great. It had a little aperitif to smooth it out. So I had watermelon on my mind and decided to make a vodka watermelon drink.

I added some fresh cold watermelon into the blender and Vodka from the freezer. I also added the juice of 1 lime and blended it and strained some of it. Jill likes all pulp removed while I enjoy a little pulp.

Pour into a an iced glass about 3/4 full and top with Ginger Ale and some fresh mint. Summer in a glass but with no sugar added. If you want it sweeter you certainly could add a little simple sugar.


Cool As A Cucumber Gin and Tonic

Cool As A Cucumber Gin and Tonic
I have been making these green smoothies for breakfast and one ingredient I have been using is cucumber. Tonight I wanted something light and refreshing with our dinner. So I cut up a few slices of cucumber and poured my Gin over the top. I let them infuse in the fridge while I made dinner.

Then when ready to serve, I juiced a lime and divided it into two glasses and then topped with tonic and added ice.
Perfect summer drink without any sugars or syrups. Drinks like an infused water but with the bite of Gin.
I used Bookers Gin for this one.

Pretty in Pink Margarita


Tonight Jilly was feeling Mojito or Margarita versus our typical Whiskey. Since we have had several mojito’s lately we opted for tequila. I didn’t have any simple syrup on tap and quite frankly didn’t want to take the time to make it and cool it down etc… I know lazy.

So I juiced 6 limes, added a tablespoon of turbinado sugar, and then about 1/2 cup of cranberry juice. Also about a cup of tequlia and blended it up until smooth.

Tart, not too sweet.

Defiant Single Malt Whisky, NC

Defiant Whiskey


Picked up a bottle of Defiant the other day. This is a Single Malt Whisky out of Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina distilled by the Blue Ridge Distilling Company. They boast of their simplicity in their ingredients and overall process or should I say technique because they claim to defy stodgy recipes and processing and rely on their taste. They don’t filter due to their clean local water source. They also don’t age very long but still able to impart some of the white oak and barley.

It’s an easy drink. Clean with some mild fruitiness and generous burn on the finish. It has won some local Carolina awards. You can check out their video on their website which is mostly about their attitude behind their product.

Good stuff. Give it a try.

Duvel’s Golden Ale

Duvel’s Golden Ale

When it comes to beer, Duvel is absolutely one of my favorites. It’s light, crisp with a perfectly “skunky” finish. The first time I had it, post first sip I wasn’t impressed but a few seconds later I was thinking “holy cow” that’s nice. We have so many draft beers on the market these days that it doesn’t make it on a lot of beer menus but if you spot it, you must try it. It’s a Belgian beer that is served in it’s own glass. It takes 90 days to brew and they unapologetic-ally provide instructions on how to store, pour, and drink their special golden ale. Perfect for the summer.

Duvel’s Profile
A Duvel is still seen as the reference among more full-bodied ales. Its bouquet is lively and tickles the nose with an element of citrus which even tends towards grapefruit thanks to the use of only the highest-quality hop varieties. This is also reflected in the flavour, which is beautifully balanced with a hint of spiciness. Thanks to its high CO2 content, this beer has a wonderful roundness in the mouth. A Duvel is both the perfect thirst quencher and the ideal aperitif.
Special beer, re-fermented in the bottle

Slightly fruity, dry aroma, well-hopped beer and with a slightly bitter aftertaste

Saaz-Saaz & Styrian Golding


Serving Tips
Always serve in the tulip shaped Duvel glass at 5°C

Jalapeno Margarita with Tajin rim

Jalapeno Margarita with Tajin rim


Cinco de Mayo requires Tequila or Mexican Beer. I made a copycat Mia’s Brisket Tacos the other night and wanted to enjoy with a margarita. I used jalapeno for my brisket but kept the tops, seeds and ribs and infused that heat into my simple syrup.

My simple syrup uses organic sugar so it’s caramel in color. I also don’t go as heavy on the sugar so my simple syrup ratio is about 2:1 water over sugar. I love Tajin seasoning because while it has some chili flavor it also brings a nice lime tang to it. So I rimmed my glass with it.

Take your favorite tequila and mix in fresh juiced limes, the jalapeno simply syrup to your portions. We go heavy on tequila and use the simple syrup and lime juice in equal parts.

Green Margarita

Green Margarita
We had tacos the other night and I wanted to have a margarita with it. I don’t like sweet drinks. I treat my sweet like you might treat vanilla extract. Just a touch is all I need. Since we were having tacos that could be on the the heavy side I wanted to pair it with a margarita that was fresh and light. If you don’t like cilantro, leave it out.

2 parts Tequila
1 part lime juice
1/2 part simple syrup
a touch of club soda for fizz (or a lemon/lime soda)

Cara Cara Gin Cocktail

Cara Cara Gin Cocktail

Ive been very behind on my cocktail posts but rest assured I am consuming them. I really need to work on my photo compositions of my cocktails. But this orange is photogenic. Not to mention I have been on the Jack Daniels and Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper kick for sometime now. But spring is here and so the first cocktail of the night can incorporate some white liquors and fruit without me mailing in my man card.


I must be late to the party, but I confess that I have never heard of a Cara Cara Orange before. I have heard of a blood orange but never a Cara Cara. Look at these beauties!

So I whipped up a little Gin concoction using these orange beauties. As I mentioned, my cocktail photo stink but what I did was used an orange, gin, sliced cucumber and Dr. Brown’s Cel-Rey Soda. I am really liking cucumber in my drinks because they freshen it up. If Gin isn’t your thing, Vodka would work.

2 Drinks
1 Dr. Brown’s Cel-Rey Soda
4 oz of Gin (we get down)
2 Cara Cara Oranges (juiced)
sliced cucumber

Combine and stir.

Tequila Modelo Cocktail

Tequila Modelo Cocktail

Tonight I made the Drunken Pork Sandwich which you can see from the earlier post. The recipe required beer for the sauce and for the braising. My most often my “go to” beer is Modelo Especial. It’s crisp and smooth. So Jill and I enjoyed one while cooking and decide to make a cocktail with it.

When we go to the “store” or make “a run” on a Saturday they always have reps handing our samples. I am a softy so if I try it, I buy it. There are many of them that I really don’t want to buy but I appreciate the reps doing that work and dealing with mostly a-holes. Probably most want free booze while the rest treat them poorly. Well Jill got sucked into a dude selling Caymen Jack Margaritas. Little handcrafted bottles of blue agave margarita.

Typically I object to any pre-made anything cocktail. This one isn’t bad but we have had them around for a bit and I didn’t have enough limes to make a proper margarita. So I split one of the little bottles into two glasses. I added about an ounce of tequila to each glass. Then topped it with Modelo Especial, ice and a lime wedge.

Not too shabby. I really like whiskey, tequila in my beer. The familiarity of both present in one glass is fun. It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup with the chocolate and peanut better but instead with booze.


Lemon Drop Cocktail

Lemon Drop Cocktail
These pics are bad because I was in a rush.

One of our local haunts serves a mean lemon drop which Jill enjoys. So while at “the store” I saw this fancy looking Vodka called Infuse Vodka that has bits of whatever the flavor is supposed to be. So I see the spiraled lemon peel suspended inside the dramatic bottle and I plucked one and stuck it in my basket. It’s been sitting in the freezer for a while but I saw it and thought I wanted to try it. A Lemon Drop seemed like an easy choice.

This is a bright and summery cocktail. I will tell you it is a dangerous one because it drinks like a lemonade. It’s like the alcohol is wearing a Harry Potter invisibility cloak. This mix is right in the middle of tart and sweet so if you want to go tart, pump up the lemon juice and if you want to go more sweet pump up the simple syrup.

2 oz Infuse Vodka Lemon
.5 oz Triple sec
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh lemon juice

Make your simple syrup by putting equal parts sugar and water in a small pot on medium low heat and stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove and let cool. I poured mine into a measuring cup and put it in the freezer to speed up the process.

Put everything in a shaker and give it 40 shakes or until you can’t hold it any longer due to frost bite. Jill is adamant on a sugar rim so for hers I run a lemon on the edge and then dip the wet rim into sugar.