MxMo LXXXVI: Southern Hospitality



I can’t swear it for sure, but it must’ve been more than just alliteration that made the powers that be decide upon Monday for their mixology blog-challenge. Some weeks, for sure, Monday is in severe need of a cocktail!

This month’s Mixology Monday is hosted by Thiago of Bartending Notes and our theme is pineapple!

I’m quite fond of pineapple in its many forms. Even more so now that my regular fruit consumption is limited by FODMAPs and pineapple is one of the few left standing, along with citruses and most berries. Pineapple juice makes a fabulous mixer for many cocktails and works great in marinades. In slices, spears, chunks, or tidbits it makes its way into many of our menus; sometimes taking center stage like my pineapple salsa, other times as a nice, tangy component to something larger like Sweet & Sour Pork or Bourbon Chicken.

The other thing that comes to mind when I think of pineapple is it’s long-standing status as a symbol of hospitality. Pineapple lamps and newel posts can still be seen in many hotel lobbies regardless of any other tropical themes (or lack thereof) and I just think it’s nice to have that symbol somewhere in your home, too. (Note to self: find something pineapple-y for the Dollhouse entryway.)

Since we’re moving to Georgia, shortly, and looking forward to opening our new home to friends and family once the dust quite literally settles* something I took our future-home-state’s favorite fruit (peaches) and combined it with this month’s theme ingredient and this is what I came up with:


Southern Hospitality

4″ pineapple spear, plus additional for garnish
3/4 oz peach schnapps
1/2 oz vanilla rum
2 oz pineapple juice
1/4 oz grenadine

In the bottom of a mixing glass muddle a pineapple spear with the schnapps and rum. Top with ice and the pineapple juice and shake to introduce the components to one another. Strain into a fancy glass and garnish with another pineapple spear. Add the grenadine as a float, but don’t be surprised if it sinks. Allow the guest to stir it in with the pineapple spear if they so desire.

Now, while Florida may be part of The South (and we’re here in northern Florida which is more southern-feeling than many of the cities the farther south you travel in the state) it’s not really what you think of when you say The South or the infamous southern hospitality that states below the Mason-Dixon line are famous for. [I feel comfortable in saying that especially since I still consider Louisiana–the state of my birth–my heart’s home even if it has been a few decades since I listed it as a residence.] Georgia, on the other hand, has already shown us quite a bit of hospitality and we haven’t even moved in yet!

This cocktail could easily go tiki-style–I considered adding amaretto but it would have taken it too far in that direction. Keeping it simple with the schnapps and a bit of rum made more sense in the long run. The grenadine float (aka sink, thanks to relative densities being against my desires), on the other hand, is in homage to our new-to-us, soon-to-be very pink house. There’s a good chance a pitcher or punch bowl’s worth of this will be made for the eventual housewarming party, and in that case it will just be stirred in with everything else.


*Seriously, there was pink sanding dust from the guys working on the exterior all the way up the bannister and staircase when we went up there this weekend. Still is, for that matter, since we didn’t have a chance to wet-mop anything other than the kitchen walls!

AlcoHOLidays | National Rum Day | Cruzan Pineapple Passion


Cruzan_Pineapple Passion

In honor of National Rum Day (August 16) I am delighted to share a recipe courtesy of Cruzan Rum, folks who have been so nice as to share with us several of their tasty libations this summer! (It’s also quite convenient as I am both up to my eyes in wedding projects and in the midst of a prolonged Internet outage right now.)

What could be more tropically-minded than drinking something fruity from a pineapple, hmm? Not much, especially if you happen to have a little umbrella to put in there as well.

Cruzan® Pineapple Passion:
2 parts Cruzan® Passion Fruit Rum
2 parts Pineapple Juice
1 part Lime Juice
1/2 part Honey Syrup
2 Pineapple Chunks
Fresh grated Cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a blender with 1 cup of ice and blend for 20 seconds. Pour into a cored pineapple and garnish with fresh mint.

Note: Slice the top of the pineapple off a half-inch from the top. Core the inside of the pineapple. Don’t have a pineapple corer handy? Core your pineapple with an ice cream scoop! Make sure you don’t scoop all the way to the skin or your pineapple will leak.

We may be a bit more than a month away from Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19), but I don’t think anyone would find it amiss if you donned an eye patch, the nearest copy of your favorite Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, and kicked back with a rum cocktail. Just remember to have a designated skipper to keep you between the navigational buoys.


AlcoHOLidays | Pina Colada Day | Van-Pina Colada



When I was very young and we lived with my grandmother, one of the many things I remember about her house was the wet bar in the living room. Tucked away to the right of the televisions and closed off by some bi-fold doors, I just thought (still think) it was one of the neatest things. And some nights my aunt would mix-up some pina coladas for the family and I would get my own (before the rum was added, of course) in a cute little glass that sort of looked like a miniature of those old fashioned sundae glasses.

So you can imagine that pina coladas have a special place in my cocktail-loving heart (or should I say liver?).

Strangely enough, I don’t make them very often. I’m not a huge fan of blender drinks in general and I almost never have Coco Lopez (the coconut cream necessary for a good pina colada). But for Pina Colada Day (July 10) I will certainly make an exception.

What turns me off of most blender drinks, though, is the little shards of crushed and blended ice. Seldom are they truly smooth enough to be pleasant and the brightness of the melting ice sometimes interferes with the taste of the frozen drink itself. The better the blender, I’m betting, the lesser this problem, but I wondered if there was something I could use instead of just plain crushed ice.

Of course there was.

Van-Pina Colada

3.5 oz Pineapple Juice
2 oz Coconut Cream
1.75 oz Aged Light Rum
1.5 cups Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Combine the juice, cream, and rum in a blender and puree until smooth and combined. Add the ice cream and blend until smooth. If you want a thicker colada, add more ice cream.

Pina Coladas usually call for white rum but I find white rums brassy and harsh in so many cases so I took advantage of my new-found love of Aged Light Rum (like the Cruzan I review last week) and used that instead. The ice cream I used was Breyers Vanilla Bean (Lactose Free) and the result is a rich, creamy, colada-cum-milkshake that gives me the flavor I was looking for without the unpleasant texture despite having a less than top-of-the-line blender (mine was actually a thrift store purchase many years ago for all of $5).

Adding more of any one mixer would usually dilute the flavors of the drink too much, but I think with the flavor enhancing properties of vanilla in the ice cream, you could safely increase the ice cream by quite a bit to stretch this drink to several servings.


Post Rewind: Not Exactly Beer-Can Chicken


Todd made us roasted Cornish game hens the other night and I was reminded how, back when I was in my early 20s, I thought Cornish game hens were just the height of chi chi food. I mean, what’s better than having your own little mini-chicken, right?

Granted, my culinary landscape has greatly expanded since then, but game hens are still fun food in my book, and I was reminded of the not-exactly beer can chicken Todd and I made 3 years ago around this time and thought it’d be a perfect time to dig that old post out of storage and give it a refresh.

And, hey, if you take out the garlic powder (just sub for a bit of garlic-infused oil) this still totally works on a low-FODMAP diet!

So without further ado, here’s Pineapple-Can Game Hens, courtesy of the way-back machine from July 2010!

Pineapple Can Game Hens

Pineapple Game Hen

1 stick (4 oz) butter, softened
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 Tbsp lime zest (approx. 1 lime)
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp rubber sage
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Cornish game hens, approx. 1 pound each
salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
olive oil
2 6-oz cans pineapple juice

While the hens are defrosting, combine the butter, lime zest, cilantro, salt, sage and pepper in a small bowl, transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a cylinder. Chill until firm (about an hour or so).

Prepare your pineapple cans by removing the paper labels and scrubbing off any glue left behind. It took a combination of hot water and steel wool to get the job done, but not much time. Open each can and pour out about half, then punch 2 more holes in the top.

Rinse and pat dry the hens once they’re removed from their wrappings. Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder inside and out of each bird. Slice coins of the chilled butter and slip them under the skin all around the bird–don’t forget the back, too. Tuck the wings back, drizzle the birds with olive oil before settling them over the pineapple cans.

Carefully transport each vertical bird to the grill and cook over indirect heat for 45 minutes (in my case this meant cranking up the flame on either side, leaving the middle off and setting then hens there; if you’ve got a charcoal grill, scoot the briquettes over to one side or the other).

We paired them with grilled corn and blue-cheese potato salad (the latter we picked up from Fresh Market). They look small, but half a hen is totally enough for one person with the usual sides.

Pineapple Can Game Hen, Blue Cheese Potato Salad, Grilled Corn

AlcoHOLidays | Memorial Day | Kilbeggan Waterwheel



***This post has been sponsored by Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey; a sample was received in consideration for Tuesday’s review as well as today’s recipe share. Other than that, no further compensation has been received and the opinions expressed below are entirely that of the author. No further affiliation with Kilbeggan Distillery is being claimed. And now with that out of the way…***

Memorial Day. Unofficial start to summer. Reason for barbecues and pool parties across the nation. Last 3-day-weekend until Labor Day. Excuse for car lots to piggy-back yet another tent sale with the waving of the red, white, and blue.

‘Oh, yeah, and military stuff, too.’

At least that’s what it appears to mean to most.

Starting after the Civil War, Decoration Day has a fuzzy beginning with several cities claiming first rights–though decorating soldiers’ graves goes back farther than our War Between the States–on both the North and South sides of history. The dates observed were varied, as well, with May 30th being the common date in the North and, gradually, the rest of the country. It wasn’t until that 1967 act that normalized a bunch of holidays into their nearest Mondays, creating those beloved 3-day weekends, that Memorial Day shifted from May 30th to the last Monday in May (though it took a few years to be put into practice).

Granted, if you’ve never lost a friend or family member while they served in the Armed Forces, chances are this holiday might have less personal significance to you, but as a nation it’s a time when we attempt to honor those who died in service and a sense of nationalism overall. For some, this means visiting a relative’s grave and placing a flag or flowers thereupon. Others volunteer to beautify all service-member graves, relatives or not, as a show of thanks for their sacrifice. While others might be more inclined to reminisce with those nearest, some solemnly, others more in the style of an Irish wake.

Or at least that’s how I’m going to segue into today’s cocktail, contributed by Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey.

Kilbeggan Waterwheel
Recipe By Darren McGettigan, resident mixologist at Bar Beoga of the Menlo Park Hotel

1 1/4 ounces Kilbeggan® Irish Whiskey
2 1/2 ounces Pressed Apple Juice
1 1/4 ounces Pressed Pineapple Juice
6 Fresh Blueberries
1 Dash of Cherry Bitters
1 Bar Spoon of White Sugar
additional blueberries for garnish

In a Boston shaker, add blueberries and sugar, muddle hard. Fill the shaker with ice, and add all other ingredients. Shake well, and double strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries on a cocktail pick.

I can easily see this multiplied in a frosty pitcher to serve to your barbecue guests both on Memorial Day as well as the rest of your summer events. I’d skip the straining, obviously, and leave the bits of blueberries to float around for color, or freeze some blueberries to use as “ice cubes” to keep the drinks cool without further diluting it.

However you choose to observe this national holiday, please remember to do so responsibly and to use a designated driver or call a cab rather than risk some other sort of memorial being required. If you catch my drift.