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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cocktail ingredients Utah update – July 2012

July is usually the hottest month of summer, and this record-setting year seems to be no exception, bringing plenty of hot weather to Utah.  Hot weather means that when cocktail hour rolls around, Utah’s amateur mixologists should have plenty of takers for their cocktails. The number of items on SPA (Special Price Adjustment) this month dropped from around 350 in June to a more penurious 243 in July, but there are some quality cocktail ingredients on sale this month at the Utah DABC State Liquor Stores, so you can get what you need to make some great cocktails.  What’s needed this month are some great summer cooler cocktails in time for your barbecue or pool party.  Here are some suggestions that will save you money by taking advantage of items that are marked down this month.

The classic Gin cooler for hot weather is the Gin and Tonic.  This month you might want to try one using New Amsterdam Gin (1750ml CS# 031473 down 10% to $24), an excellent economy Gin.  It goes well in a Tom Collins, too.  If you’re more interested in a Classic Martini, pick up some Hendricks Gin (CS# 028625 down 12% to $29) or some Bombay Gin (CS# 028206 down 14% to $18).

Two great Tequila coolers are the Margarita Cooler and the Tequila Mojito.  Some of my favorite mixing Tequilas are marked down this month: try Milagro Tequila Reposado (CS# 089583 down 12% to $28), Milagro Silver (CS# 088116 down 13% to $25), or El Jimador Reposado (CS# 089278 down 15% to $17).  All three of these go well in a classic Margarita, too.

Deals on Vodka this month include Ketel One (CS# 034456 down 12% to $22), Absolut (CS# 034006 down 15% to $17), and liter bottles of Stolichnaya (CS# 034747 down 11% to $24).  Try these in a Cosmo Cooler, a descendant of the classic cocktail.

Two of my favorite Rum coolers are the Mojito and the classic Rum and Coke (with lime, of course).  This month try some Mount Gay Eclipse Rum (CS# 042666 down 16% to $15).  If you’re in the mood for some Bourbon instead, try some Buffalo Trace (CS# 018006 down 12% to $21).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Tuacarita Cooler will help take the edge off of those hot summer days

The long, hot summer is well under way.  You’re doing yard work, hosting barbecues, and just plain relaxing in the shade.  That means it’s time to get your summer coolers in order.  Just imagine you and a tall, frosty glass covered in condensation (just the glass, not you).

Last March the Utah Mixologist tried his first Tuacarita and loved it, as did Mrs. Mixologist.  Tuaca is a “vanilla citrus liqueur” that is golden brown in color, originated in Italy 500 years ago, and is readily available in Utah and across the US.  Its ingredients are, of course, secret but are reputed to include brandy, citrus (orange?), and vanilla. Tuaca tastes sweet, with vanilla as the dominant flavor, and goes well with Tequila.  So could the Tuacarita be converted to a summer cooler?

Sometimes, scaling a cocktail normally served “up” to a cooler is just a matter of adding soda, and the Tuacarita is almost one of those, requiring only minor changes.  Feel free to play around with the proportions (especially on the agave nectar) and post a response if you think you have a better recipe, but avoid increasing the liquor too much; hot weather combined with too many summer coolers can easily result in over consumption. 
  • 1 oz Tuaca® Liqueur
  • 1 oz Herradura® Blanco Tequila
  • ½ oz Triple Sec
  • ¾ oz Lemon juice
  • ¾ oz Lime juice
  • ½ oz Agave nectar
  • 2-3 oz Seltzer

Prepare a salt-rimmed Collins glass and fill it about 2/3 full of ice.  Add liquid ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake vigorously and strain into the glass. Top with Seltzer or soda water and stir lightly.  Garnish with a twist of lemon or a lime wheel (optional) and serve with a straw.  (You may also build this cocktail in the glass, but your drink will stay cooler longer if pre-chilled in a shaker…)  Kick back and relax!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cocktail coolers for this hot Fourth of July

Tom Collins

The Fourth of July finds Utah and most of the US in the midst of a summer heat wave, enduring lots of hot, dry weather.  It looks like great weather for a barbecue or cook-out as long as you have plenty of shade.  While you could have beer at your cook-out, the fact that you’re reading this article is a sign that you’re interested in doing something a little bit different. 

When selecting coolers for a barbecue, you probably want to think simple, but not too simple, they are cocktails.  To please your guests, have the ingredients (and appropriate garnishes) for two or three different summer coolers ready to mix and enjoy.  Even if you’re not having a cook-out, these cocktails are great to enjoy while relaxing by the pool or just watching the sun go down.

Most of these cocktail recipes are fairly simple, which makes them ideal for mixing and drinking while you’re running around getting the grill ready, or just sitting and listening to the sound of food sizzling.  They’re just as great for relaxing on porch or patio any hot afternoon after work.  In this weather, be sure to pay attention to how much you’re drinking.  Summer coolers may not taste strong, but they have as much alcohol as any other cocktail, so if you are having a cook-out, have plenty of soft-drinks available, too.

Here’s a list of great summer cooler cocktails in time for the Fourth of July.  Just browse the following list to find something that sound good, then click through on the links to get the recipes.

  • Blueberry Mint Cooler –  the sweetness of blueberries and syrup offset the tartness of the lemon in this delicious Vodka-based cooler.
  • Cosmo Cooler – all the ingredients of a classic Cosmopolitan with the addition of some Grenadine make this cooler an instant hit.
  • Dark and Stormy – the spicy tartness of this dark Rum cooler makes it one of my favorites.
  • El Diablo – this Tequila-based cocktail that counts Crème de Cassis and Ginger Beer among the ingredients is even spicier than a Dark and Stormy. 
  • Gin and Tonic – the name is a spot on give-away of what’s in this Gin classic, but don’t forget to serve it with a lime wedge.
  • Gin Rickey – it shouldn’t take long to gather the three ingredients for this 100+ year old cocktail, and even less time to mix it.
  • Lavender Colada – having Lavender infused Vodka, Cream of Coconut, and pineapple juice as ingredients push this cocktail close to the border of the Tiki category.
  • Margarita Cooler – start with the ingredients of your favorite Margarita, but drink this Tequila-based cocktail cooler style.
  • Mojito – Rum, lime, sugar and mint: who would have thought that those simple ingredients could taste so good?
  • Pomegranate Rum Rickey – a Rickey is a cocktail made from a liquor, some lime juice, a little sweetener, and soda water.  The pomegranate juice gives this beauty an extra twist.
  • Rum and Coke – this long-time favorite is simplicity itself, but don’t forget the lime.
  • Tequila Mojito – a delicious variation on its namesake with one obvious substitution.
  • Tom Collins – one taste of this unique recipe should overcome any objections your friends might have to the blue color.