Slip Into Something More Raspberry


What, no one decided to take up the Quest cocktail challenge? That’s too bad!

Maybe this week’s cocktail will be better suited for you, then, and we’ll keep it short and sweet, to boot! It’s the holidays, after all, and everyone seems to be in a hurry.

Raspberry Slip cocktailChefs love to tell stories–I don’t know, must come with the job–and our chefs at school were no exception. One (who also happened to be an English major before he became a chef) loved to tell us all the odd things they’d come up with to round out the usual cocktail and buffet offerings.

Apparently chocolate-dipped strawberries just weren’t special enough for this one client, they demanded something truly decadent and over-the-top to wow their guests. To appease Miss Picky they dipped hundreds of fresh raspberries into dark chocolate–just the barest tip–and called them Aphrodite’s Nipples. A little risque, sure, but the client loved them. Go figure.

About a year or so I created a simple cocktail based on those little gems for a fundraiser, and today I’m taking it another step and creating a darker, creamier recipe as our ‘R’ martini.

Raspberry Slip

1 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 1/4 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 oz Godiva Liqueur
3/4 oz Raspberry Liqueur

Combine all ingredients over ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and slip into a sweet, chocolate-berry languor.

If you’re a fan of those raspberry flavored chocolates that have flooded the market in the last couple years you’ll really like this cocktail.  And if you feel the need to take the even more to the dark side, drizzling some chocolate syrup down the sides of the glass or rimming it with chocolate curls certainly wouldn’t hurt. Or, hey, be decadent and do both! I won’t tell…

Have Your Dessert (Cocktail) First!


Not that I’d know anything about testing out a super-indulgent cocktail recipe before supper. And if I were to do such a thing, it’s only be to take advantage of the light.

Let’s get down to the business of the G-cocktail, shall we? Which just happened to be inspired by a certain special-occasion dessert.

The Groom's Cake Cocktail

The Groom's Cake Cacktail

For those unfamiliar, the groom’s cake is a particularly Southern wedding tradition that is, thankfully, spreading thanks to the global nature of wedding blogs and reality television. An alternative to the (frequently) dry, white wedding cake, the groom’s cake was usually chocolate but, really, these days can be any size, shape or flavor the groom decides (or the bride allows). Often the cake represents a hobby of the groom’s and is one of the few times the groom might have any input into the wedding!

As my mind wandered down this path, I also remembered a cake I did for a friend’s husband that was German Chocolate–the cake itself is only part of the equation; that gooey coconut frosting is another matter entirely! Dreams are made of that nutty, super-sweet stuff.

The Groom’s Cake

1 1/2 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 1/4 oz Godiva Liqueur
1 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
3/4 oz Buttershots
1/4 oz Frangelico
Flaked coconut and cocoa powder for garnish

Combine vodka, Godiva, butter-schnapps, condensed milk and Frangelico over ice in a shaker and shake while you do a run through of the Electric Slide–just to keep in practice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass rimmed with cocoa and coconut.

Alternately, skip the rim adornment and mix a little of the coconut and cocoa with more of the condensed milk, maybe a splash of frangelico, too, and top something sturdy with the mixture and float it in the drink. I used a mini rice cake for the raft and it worked quite well (and made a nice treat at the end of the cocktail!).

Even though we just did a chocolate cocktail 4 letters ago, I’m firmly of the belief that you really can’t have too much chocolate in your cocktail repertoire (or, you know, life in general), so we’ll go with it. The idea was to create a velvety-smooth concoction reminiscent of the cake and icing combo (second only to red velvet cake* with cream cheese frosting, I’d a guess) that is clearly a desert cocktail.

How’d we do? You’ll just have to try it yourself and see, won’t you!

And, yes, I’ve made a version of the bleeding-armadillo Groom’s cake before. Not exactly like the one from Steel Magnolias but it did have grey icing (poured fondant, in this case) and its beady little eyes, according to the recipient, followed you around the room. Which is only a good thing considering the person that ordered it meant it as a somewhat twisted joke.

50 Shots of America–Arkansas

Granny's Baked Apples

Granny's Baked Apples

Arkansas, our 25th state as of June 15, 1836, is no longer The Land of Opportunity.

No, seriously, they changed their motto to The Natural State back in the 1970s to boost their tourism profile.

What they are the land of is national parks, mountains, hot springs and agriculture–they’ve got poultry, beef and pork down pat!

They also have a high number of dry counties throughout the state: 42 of the 75 do not allow alcohol to be sold within their boundaries! And the counties that do sell it get the privilege of collecting loads of extra taxes–4% to start plus an additional 10% on cocktails and wine at restaurants!

Since we haven’t done a non-alcoholic drink in a while, now seems the appropriate time, doesn’t it?

Granny’s Baked Apples

1.5 oz Apple Juice
1 barspoon Sweetened Condensed Milk
splash of vanilla
sprinkle of cinnamon

Combine over ice and shake like you’re prospecting for gems in Crater of Diamonds State Park. Strain into a chilled cordial glass and top with cinnamon.

The primary inspirations for this drink are the state flower being the apple blossom and the state beverage being milk. I suppose if you just couldn’t hang with the lack of alcohol, you could always dash in some vanilla vodka instead of the plain vanilla.

And with this recipe we’re halfway through the 50 States!

50 Shots of America–Mississippi

Muddy Magnolia Shot

Muddy Magnolia

Entering the Union on December 12, 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state to sign on the dotted line.

Thinking of the Magnolia State brings to mind images of plantation homes, cotton fields and the eponymous river. So very strong before the Civil War, top 5 as far as wealth is concerned, it has not fared so well in the century-plus that followed. There were issues, there were changes that didn’t want to be made and when they were made it was at a snail’s pace.

Let’s just leave it at that and move on to some high points and, of course, the cocktail.

Lots of great music came out of the Mississippi Delta–Elvis was born in Tupelo, Jimmy Buffet lived in Mobile for a while… just lots of good music and influence of various sounds around the country.

Other things that started in Mississippi? Root Beer (Biloxi, 1898), lung & heart transplants (U Miss Medical Center, 1963 & ’64, respectively), Rayon fabric (Hazelhurst), the origins of Memorial Day (Columbus, 1866) and Borden’s Condensed Milk (Liberty).

Oh, yeah, you know where this is going!

the Muddy Magnolia

1 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Hazelnut Liqueur
1/2 oz White Chocolate Irish Cream

Combine condensed milk and the chocolate and hazelnut liqueurs over ice in a shaker. Shake like a rushing river and strain into a chilled cordial glass. Float the Irish Cream over the back of a bar spoon and, if you want to gild the lily, shake or shave a little cocoa over the top.

I wanted to call this the Mississippi Mud because that’s sorta what I based the recipe on, that ooey-gooey dessert. But there are numerous drink recipes with that name already so I figured we’d go the magnolia route but also pay respect to the past that Mississippi has–both the good and the bad. Silver tarnishes, magnolias might get a little muddy, but the important thing is that they are still the same inside.

Todd’s comments on the drink: very smooth, the warmth hits the back of your throat in a nice way, very nice. And that was on the first sip! Of mine, actually. This drink he actually wanted one of his own 🙂

50 Shots of America–Tennessee


The 16th state of the Union, Tennessee is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.

Well, wait, maybe it’s a lot of each as both musical genres found their feet with Nashville holding court at the Grand Ole Opry and Elvis recording his music in Memphis. Which makes their choice of the mockingbird as a state symbol entirely fitting.

Not that it’s been all song and dance for the Volunteer State (a nickname earned during the Way of 1812), it’s seem it’s share of downs as well as ups. In response to the end of the Civil War, the original Ku Klux Klan was formed in Pulaski in 1866 and copied throughout the South. In the 1940s this state was the site of the Manhattan Project’s uranium enrichment programs as well as the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King.

Of course, the planned community, Oak Ridge, built around the atomic bomb research is now known as the Energy Capital of the World thanks to the efforts of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) before and the continued energy research after. And the site of Mr King’s death is now the National Civil Rights Museum, preserving a crucial–if incredibly tragic–part of our history.

Now, if you walked into this cocktail blog post about Tennessee and didn’t immediately think Jack Daniel’s, shame on you. Of course this week’s cocktail is going to have a Tennessee Whiskey base! The rest, though…

‘Nanner Puddin’

1/2 oz Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey
1 oz Banana Schnapps*
3/4 oz Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker, shake to a chorus of “Jailhouse Rock” (hip gyrations optional but encouraged) and strain into a chilled cordial glass.

Skip the pretzels and serve this one with a side of Nilla Wafers and you’re good to go!

Obviously the banana flavor is in deference to another King, Elvis Presley, and his fondness for peanut butter-banana sandwiches and banana pudding.

*We used 99 Bananas which is bottled just over the border in Kentucky.