MxMo LXXXIII: Preserves | Strawberry Shot-Cake



This month’s Mixology Monday, hosted by Craig of A World of Drinks, is Preserves.

Even though fresh-everything is the clarion call of cocktail enthusiasts today, back when cocktails were fresh and new, themselves, it wasn’t necessarily feasible to have fresh everything at the tip of your barspoon. Sure, that makes the cake for seasonal cocktails, but let’s face it–we’ve all had a craving for something at the absolute worst time for it, so why would imbibers be any different?

In the spirit of those bygone days, the idea was to use an ingredient that had been preserved by drying, canning, freezing, syrup-ing, candying or any other preservation method you like and make a cocktail with it.

My inspiration actually came from an episode of Extreme Cheapskates that I watched sometime last year (thank you, Netflix, for preserving–hah!–all kinds of weird and wooly goodness for those of us who are otherwise eschewing cable). In one episode, the gentleman being profiled actually had a great idea for using up the dregs of the jelly jar: add oil and vinegar and whatever else you like to the jar, give it a good shake, and suddenly you have a vinaigrette for your salad for pennies of what a fancy bottled version would run you.

Well, if you can do it with salad dressing, why not do it with a cocktail?!

Making King Cakes a few weeks ago used up almost a full jar of Welch’s Natural Strawberry preserves, leaving just the right amount of dregs for a cocktail (I’d estimate, for the sake of repeating the cocktail later, about 2 Tbsp or 1 oz of jam clinging to the sides of the jar). And when life gives you strawberries, you make shortcake!


Strawberry Shot-Cake

2 Tbsp Strawberry Preserves
1 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
1/4 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
2 oz Coconut Milk

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass half-full of ice. Or skip the Boston shaker and add the ingredient to your almost-empty jelly jar along with a couple handfuls of ice. Either way, shake until the last dregs of  jam have released from the sides of the jar and the mixture is a nice pink color. Strain (you may have to get creative depending on the size of the mouth on your jar) into a cocktail glass.

An ounce and a quarter may not seem like a lot of alcohol, but I maintain that it is a well-balanced drink, very smooth, and one you could sip after supper without being hit over the head with a sledgehammer the moment you rise from your seat. If you’re just not convinced it’s enough, though, a barspoon of strawberry vodka floats nicely on the top of this drink.

There are hints of daiquiri here–if you were to blend it instead of shake it I think it would do quite well in that form–and the coconut milk (use the full-fat canned variety, not coconut cream or the diluted coconut milk in the shelf-stable cartons) gives it a hint of a pina colada, as well.


AlcoHOLidays | Birthday Special | Pineapple Birthday Cake

Pineapple Birthday Cake cocktail | Colorful party decorations courtesy of Oriental Trading Company

Pineapple Birthday Cake cocktail | Colorful party decorations courtesy of Oriental Trading Company

Okay, okay, while not a holiday in the strictest sense, birthdays are very important points in our lives and everyone has one (whether they choose to celebrate it or not). Since my birthday is next week I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate with a festive cocktail reminiscent of a decadent birthday cake with a fruity filling.

Pineapple Birthday Cake

2 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
1 oz Pineapple Juice
1/2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/4 oz Amaretto

Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice and shake to get the party started. Strain into the chilled cocktail glass of your choice and enjoy!

While this cocktail is similar to the Right Side Up (my take on the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini), the amaretto adds that hint of almond-flavored buttercream icing that is so incredibly delicious on birthday cakes that it’s tough to separate the two in my mind. For a purer “icing” flavor you could skip the pineapple and go with club soda or even just go straight alcohol if you were more interested in a high-test birthday cake shot.


AlcoHOLidays | Peach Cobbler Day | Early Summer Peach


Early Summer Peach cocktail for Peach Cobbler Day, April 13On the south side of my town there’s a butcher shop cum lunch counter that features different entrees each day of the week. It is a haven to southern comfort foods and on Fridays we used to go there to pickup meatloaf and mashed potatoes with cornbread and okra (or greens) for lunch. Used to because it was very rich and easily enough for two meals if you could restrain yourself.

We weren’t very good at restraint.

You had to go early–if you waited too much past noon to swing by they might be out of meatloaf for the day and you’d have to settle for fried chicken or some such. And if you were really lucky they’d have some containers of peach cobbler still.

We used to say that it was so rich it might kill you, but at least you’d die with a smile on your face.

Let me just revel in the memory of it for a moment, okay?

Since peaches are naturally high in fructose (which makes them high-FODMAP) and the doughy topping is, of course, full of wheat (another high-FODMAP ingredient), the peach cobbler from Early’s Kitchen is not something I’m likely to be savoring again any time soon. But in the spirit of Peach Cobbler Day, April 13, I thought I’d concoct a spirited version of the delectable summertime dessert instead.

Early Summer Peach

1 oz Whipped Cream Vodka
1 oz Pineapple Juce
3/4 oz Peach Schnapps
1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
1/4 oz Butterscotch Schnapps

Combine all ingredients over ice and stir until combined. Not too vigorously, think of it like a lazy summer Sunday afternoon and you’ll get it juuust right. Serve over ice in a low-ball or old fashioned glass.

I could have used peach nectar, true, but the point wasn’t to emulate biting into a ripe peach, it was to inspire the flavor of dipping into a gooey, sticky-sweet bowl of peach cobbler, maybe with a little ice cream on top. That’s what this combination does, quite handily. True, I added the bit of cranberry juice primarily for color, but the little bit of tartness doesn’t go amiss, either.

Whether you celebrate with the real thing or a cocktail version, celebrate something this weekend, okay?


AlcoHOLidays | Caramel Popcorn Day | Caramel Jack

Caramel Jack Cocktail

Caramel Jack Cocktail

In our house we’re quite divided between sweet and savory popcorn–Todd prefers his strictly savory and while I do enjoy some salt or Parmesan cheese on mine on occasion, I really adore the sweeter side of popcorn, even better if it’s got nuts and chocolate, too!

Way to make a healthy snack decided less so, right?

But Michael Pollan says you can eat as much junk food as you want, as long as you make it yourself, right? So I suppose if you’re willing to put in the work, then you deserve the indulgence. While I remember making batches of it to give as Christmas gifts many moons ago, it seldom seems worth the effort going through all that trouble these days. Which is why most of our popcorn has salt, nothing more.

A cocktail version, on the other hand, why that’s no trouble to mix up at all! Though I do think I’ll stick to one, know matter how easy they are to make.

Caramel Jack

2 oz Cola
1 oz Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey
3/4 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/2 oz Dark Rum

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass over ice and shake like kernels rattling in a popper. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

Usually I don’t call out a particular spirit without a reason and while I suppose you could use another corn-based whiskey and be fine, it’d be harder to call it a Caramel Jack, right? The play on Cracker Jack-brand caramel corn was just too enticing. The richness of the rum and butterscotch strike just the right balance for mimicking the rich caramel coating and the cola adds color, a little more sweetness, and the much needed mixer level to take this from a high-proof shot to a sippable tipple.

How will you celebrate Caramel Popcorn Day on April 6?

AlcoHOLidays | Girl Scout Cookie Week | Coconut Dream



Oh, yes, it’s that time again. If you haven’t been accosted coming out of your local supermarket I’m sure someone on your friend’s list has posted, shared, or otherwise reminded you that, indeed, it is Cookie Time once again.

According to my sources, the official Girl Scout Cookie Week is March 10-16, 2013.

What started out as a single-troop bake sale (I’m sorry, service project) of sugar cookies, in 1917, has continued unabated (except during WWII when they had to sell calendars, instead, due to the scarcity of ingredients) into the high point of the cookie-loving population.

Of course, not everyone always loves the mighty Girl Scout cookie. I seem to recall a dust-up in recent years over their use of palm oil (it’s lack of sustainability and the fact that it destroys orangutan habitats), and then there’s the whole question of whether it’s good for a service group to sell cookies to a nation that is largely overweight. According to their website, though, they’ve embraced a more sustainable practice around palm oil.

Still, the Girl Scout Cookie has many more fans than detractors, and everyone has their favorites. While Thin Mints are undoubtedly the best value for the sheer number of cookies you get, my favorite was always the Samoas (aka Caramel deLites), even if you did only get 16 cookies in a box. And don’t get me started on how quickly a quart of Edy’s Samoas ice cream would be gone.

That was in the good ‘ol days, though. Before I had to give up things like wheat and certain sugars and, yeah, all that stuff. Sure, I could still eat them if I was willing to risk the consequences, but I also admit that they stopped being as good as I remembered several years ago and haven’t bought any for at least 2 years.

But what I can do is try to recreate that delicious flavor in cocktail form, and that might actually be even better in the long run!

Coconut Dream

1 1/2 oz Coconut Water
1 oz Coconut Rum
1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Tuaca
1/4 oz Butterscotch Schnapps

Combine all ingredients over ice and shake or stir until well-mixed and chilled, whichever way you choose. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass (you can drizzle it with chocolate syrup if you want the extra oomph) and sip content in the idea that you can have this year round–no need to stockpile those green boxes.

Usually I’d shake a cocktail like this, one with a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic ingredients, but I have a staggering head cold right now and the idea of shaking anything is just not high on my list. Stirring worked out fine, so I suppose we could consider the shaken version Samoa-style, and stirred the Caramel deLite-style. Either way it’ll be delicious. While plenty of similar recipes use coconut milk, I opted for coconut water as it gives flavor without too much bulk. And I bet this would be fabulous blended with a couple scoops of ice cream.

Whether you enjoy your cookies baked or in cocktail form…