Whew. That’s a good way to describe my weekend once I got to 2:00 pm on Sunday. The last several months – and particularly the last few weeks – have been very busy and to be frank, fairly stressful. Several things came to a conclusion on Sunday and for the first time in a while, I felt like I could take a pause and catch my breath. As a result, I decided that I was not going to write a blog post on Sunday evening, deciding to leave it to Monday night (which is right now). To even put the cherry on top, I decided I would check the box and be a man of my word and I would finally publish the recipes for a handful of the cocktails that I have been posting over the past several months. There are 4 recipes that I will share today – and these have been my go-to cocktails when it’s “Happy Hour at the Borson House“.
In no particular order of deliciousness …
This is an easy and (sometimes more importantly) quick cocktail to make. Since I use pineapple juice rather than lime juice and simple syrup, this margarita seems a bit lighter and fresher. I should also point out that on this recipe, and on all these recipes, you can scale them up or down just by changing your unit of measure. want to make a big batch for a party? Just change the ounce (oz) designation to a “cup”. For example, 2 oz would simply change to 2 cups.
easy-peasy lime squeezy.
Unfortunately for you, sometimes I spend more time drinking these cocktails than taking pictures of them … which is the case with this pineapple margarita.
I should also give you a pro tip on how to get a really nice … uh … not sure how to write this … uhm, how to get a nice ring of salt or Tajin around the rim of the glass. I typically use a wedge of lime around the top and I put the salt (or Tajin – whatever) in a bowl rather than a shallow plate. This will allow you to dip the glass and actually push it up against the side for a consistent band around the top.
This spicy margarita is pretty similar to all the margaritas I make, which seems perfectly obvious to me since if you are making margaritas they are all going to be similar to one another. The main difference between this spicy margarita and the first recipe I shared is the addition of the jalapeno simple syrup. First off, making your own simple syrup is amazingly easy – it is a 1:1 ratio of water to sugar for regular sweetness. You can flavor your syrup with any number of things based on the sort of drink you are making just by adding a flavoring to the sugar and water during the melting process. Things like orange peels, star anise, pineapple, or in the case of this recipe – jalapenos – all bring a little something extra to the party.
Just be mindful that if you don’t want any real heat and just jalapeno flavor, remove the seeds and cut out the white ribs on the inside of the peppers.
I have a juicer and from time to time I will make my own freshly squeezed juice – but I have a market close to where I live and I can buy juice that they squeeze which is frequently a bit less expensive.
Here is a look at the jalapeno simple syrup I made (clearly I like my syrup to be on the hotter side). However, the picture on the right was some of the peppers I pulled out from the syrup and decided to “candy” them. I did remove the ribs and seeds from these since I was planning on using these as a garnish and I did NOT want them to be hot.
Take a look at the bowl of Tajin on the left-hand side of the image above – this is the vessel I use when salting the rim of my serving glasses. If you don’t know what Tajin is, just follow this link (here).
Practice makes perfect and here are images from two different occasions of me making this cocktail. Other than the grapefruit slice in lieu of the lime wedge, these drinks are pretty identical.
Identically delicious! (you had to see that one coming …)
Gin and Tonics, referred to as G&T’s for those in the know, is a cocktail that I drink on occasion, particularly so in the summertime when I am in the mood for something a bit lighter. This version of a G&T has become a house favorite and I can tell you that every single person who has come to our house for a social event when these are served, has decided that it is now their favorite drink.
What makes it different from a normal gin and tonic? The use of Giffard’s ‘Pamplemousse’ – a grapefruit liqueur that is not always that easy to find. Here in Dallas, there are only 1 or 2 places that sell it so I tend to buy a bottle or 3 when I find it on the shelf.
The other part that makes this cocktail a bit of a showstopper is the use of the Empress 1908 Gin – which uses pea blossoms are part of the aromatics and as a result, the gin becomes this intense deep blue. Once you add the Pamplemousse and the lime juice, the acid interacts with the gin and changes the color from deep indigo blue to this slightly pale purple color.
The other thing that is an absolute must with this drink is the use of fresh mint that you “spank” before adding it to your glass as a garnish. You slap the mint on your hand (or something else that’s suitable) which releases the aromatic oil which is quite pleasant as you bring your cocktail up to your mouth to take a sip.
This is a recipe that I have not made yet this year- these images are from last summer – but I promised back then to share the recipe so … better late than never.
This is still a very traditional margarita recipe with the exception of the “mixer” that is used. It takes some time but you have to grill fresh watermelon and peaches and then blend them into oblivion. I will admit that the first time I tried this is was surprised that it took as long as it did to actually grill watermelon and peaches.
The image on the left is the starting point and the image on the left is about 20 minutes later. TWENTY-MINUTES!!!
You can also see that I grilled a few jalapenos to throw in with my fruit during the time it all spent in the blender. You would think that based on all the jalapenos I use that I really like spicy flavors but you would be wrong. I like the flavor and just a tiny hint of the heat – you can see that the peppers on the grill that I’ve removed the ribs and the seeds once again.
Here is a look at all the ingredients used (you can tell that this is from last year because my old icky granite countertops are still in place). I did use the Casamigos Blanco Tequila for this (which is is quite nice in these cocktails) and I used Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier (I can’t really tell the difference in these cocktails but the GM is typically more expensive and I generally try to reserve it for nicer cocktails).
Clearly, this margarita is best served poolside.
This is the final recipe for you today and this one takes more prep time than any of the others (including the 20-minute grill time for the watermelon and peaches). It’s not harder but it is a frozen drink that is very similar to a granita – which is Italian semi-frozen ice made from just about any sort of fruit.
Since alcohol won’t freeze, you don’t have to worry about pulling a solid block of ice out of your freezer. All it takes is a little bit of forking to break it up and from there, it goes in the blender with just enough club soda to get to the consistency you like. I will confess upfront that there is a little bit of feel to this one since the chemistry can get sideways on you based on how strong you like your drinks.
But hey, practice makes perfect! The benefit to getting these right (in case you haven’t realized this just yet) is that you can make this in batches and pull out as much or little as you like. FOr example, each of the pieces of Tupperware in the image on the left is two servings … one for me, and another one for me.
This is just another example of trying to make something that looks as good as it tastes. I don’t drink as much as this post might suggest, but if I am going to go to any amount of trouble at all – other than simply pouring something down my throat (which definitely suggests that I might be self-medicating) you might as well put enough effort into the experience that it actually IS an experience.
It’s been almost two years since I posted my last cocktail post since I normally try to come up with something special for the Holidays. In December of 2019, I wrote The Third Annual Life of an Architect Holiday Cocktail so it’s not like I write these sorts of posts all the time. This was clearly a “Life” day and we will resume our regularly scheduled architecture posts again starting next week. Until then –