AlcoHOLidays | Raspberry Cake Day | Raspberry Bubbles



Who comes up with these holidays? In this case it was probably someone on the Berry Board (I’m sure such a thing exists) but whatever, I’m not complaining, because not only is a good raspberry cake a thing of beauty, so is a good raspberry cocktail!

The thing about raspberry-flavored anything is that it’s all too easy for the yumminess of raspberry to go overboard and plunge straight into ick-ville. And the worst offender is possible raspberry liqueur. So today’s challenge was make a drink with raspberry liqueur, in honor of July 19th’s National Raspberry Cake Day, that avoided the overabundance of raspberry.

Now it just so happened that I also happened to have a surfeit of sparkling wine handy from another cocktail project, so it seemed like a good idea to try the raspberry take on the Kir Royale, but give it a cakey twist.

Because what makes a better cake than berries? Almonds!

Raspberry Bubbles

1/2 oz Raspberry Liqueur
1/4 oz Almond Liqueur
3-4 oz Sparkling Wine
3 Raspberries for garnish

Combine liquers in the bottom of a Champagne flute and top with chilled sparkling wine. Give a little stir with a swizzle stick and dunk a few raspberries in for good measure.

The goal was to balance out the overly-sweet tendency of the raspberry with the equally bossy almond and then smooth the whole thing out with a good dose of prosecco. Did I succeed? Why yes, yes I did, and with the hint of almond it really does taste a bit like a wedding cake with raspberry filling.

Cheers and cake!

Cosmic Cocktails | Sagittarius | The Great Hunt


The Great Hunt, Sagittarian cocktail

Starting off the final four in our zodiacal bacchanal is Sagittarius, the Archer.

It’s no great stretch of the imagination to believe that the Sagittarian is always on the hunt for one thing or another, that it truly is the chase that drives them. Consequently, once one trial is done, the next one must come quick on it’s heals or our Sagittarian may become morose and unruly.

Because of their must-keep-hunting nature, sales is a fantastic job with someone in the sun sign of Sagittarius. Sales, consulting, and other jet-setting fields also give them a great sense of freedom–the other watch-word for this sign. The only thing they could use, though, in a job like sales is a little more tact, decorum, or some sort of filter but, then, everone has their flaws. Lucky for Saggos, though, they’re usually just ribald and rowdy enough to stay charming; for the most part.

Sagittarius is a mutable sign, which means it falls on the change from one season to another (in this case, fall to winter) and suggests a character that is spontaneous, if sometimes neglectful of duty. Routine is not a friend to this sign, with boredom and restlessness setting in quickly if they feel confined to the same-old, same-old.

On the hunt for this week’s cocktail, I was continually drawn to the flavor of darker spirits–whiskey–but also a bright, exuberant flavor.

The Great Hunt

2 oz Pink Grapefruit Juice
1 1/2 oz Honey Bourbon
1/2 oz Raspberry Liqueur
1 splash Angostura Bitters

Combine everything in a mixing glass over ice and shake like the hounds are nipping at your heels. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and enjoy.

Raspberry liqueur is one of those spirits that can easily overpower a drink with its sweet, syrupy, cloying-ness–just like the sometimes-soporific Sagg–but the bourbon and grapefruit are able to keep it on an even keel. This is the first drink using raspberry that I’ve actually had to add MORE to it to balance out the stronger ingredients.


Paging Professor X to the Cocktail Bar…


X-Ray Specs Cocktail

Alphabetical series always have a few trouble spots and X is a biggie. I suppose I could have gone for something musical with a xylophone-inspired cocktail, but I opted to go with the other tried-and-true x-answer: x-ray.

There’s seldom, if ever, a good reason to go in for an x-ray–it’s almost always for a broken this or a not-working that–but we’re not talking fractures, today. Nope, we’re taking a slightly different sort of look inside, this time into your mind.

Two X-people immediately spring to mind (not ex-people, as in no longer around, necessarily, but x-people as in their names are the only x’s I can ever remember): Xavier Roberts and Charles Xavier. And while a friend and I did stumble upon possibly the most inappropriate memorabilia in the gift shop of the former (I mean, really, whose idea was the Cabbage Patch Museum’s shot glasses, hmmm?), I think we’ll go with Professor X, of comic book fame, for this week’s inspiration.

Thanks to the glut of comic book movies that have made their way to the big screen in recent years you don’t have to get anywhere near a comics shop to know that Professor X is the telepathic head of the mutants who try and stay just this side of the law and hope for equality and acceptance with the rest of mankind. And the Professor isn’t just your average side-show (or reality-show) mind-reader; no, his powers pack quite the wallop.

Just like this week’s Alphatini.

X-Ray Specs

1 1/2 oz London Dry Gin
1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/4 oz Raspberry Liqueur
garnish: lemon slice

Combine the gin, vermouth, lemon juice and raspberry liqueur in a glass over ice and shake with all the power of your mind–or arms, for us non-mutants–until cold as steel. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a center-cut slice of lemon.

A few notes: the London Dry Gin is a nod, of course, to the wonderful Jean Luc Picard Patrick Stewart who plays Professor X in the first few X-Men movies. The lemon wheel, with it’s spokes, is a blatant homage to his wheelchair. The rest of the drink is overall dry with a bit of sweet. Because even if you are fighting both misguided mutant supremacists and the scared masses of humanity, I’d like to think you find at least a little time for fun so you don’t burn out.

Just don’t have to many of them, or I can’t vouch for the state of your mind the next morning.

(And for those who might be curious, a single X-Ray Spec comes in at a mere 165 calories.)

50 Shots of America–Illinois

Purple Popcorn Eater

Purple Popcorn Eater

Coming in at number 21 on the sip-by-state roster is Illinois, Land of Lincoln, which became a state on December 3, 1818.

Home to the third-largest city in the country, the state is a bit top-heavy with almost three-quarters of the state’s population concentrated in the northeast: in and around the city of Chicago. Home to the first nuclear power plant, a would-be Latter Day Saints Utopia and the first McDonald’s, the state has oil and coal in the south, corn and soybean fields in the center and industry galore in the north.

It was pretty tough to come up with a theme for this state’s drink, but with a state snack of popcorn and the state flower being the violet, I present to you…

the Purple Popcorn Eater

1 oz Raspberry Liqueur
1/2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/4 oz Kentucky Bourbon

Combine over ice and shake like your stealing home plate. Strain into a chilled cordial glass over ice.

While there is a creme de violette liqueur, it can be difficult to find. I had the raspberry around so I went with that. This drink tastes a lot like having popcorn and a side of really sweet soda, if it’s too sweet and you’ve got room in the glass you can cut it with some chilled club soda. Even though all-alcohol drinks are traditionally stirred, the shaking adds a little of natural mixer via the water that gets added in this step; the ice in the glass is for all the state parks focused on rocks.