Cosmic Cocktails | Cancer | The Sensitive Soul


When researching this week’s sign and cocktail the immediate thought I got, reading about the Crab’s nurturing and protective nature, was of a lioness protecting her cub, or an angry momma-bear.

Sensitive Soul Astrological Cocktail

Maybe it should have been a little more Finding Nemo and less Jungle Book (we are dealing with a water sign, after all), but the comparison is still there. Cancerians are very protective of the siblings and friends. They sympathize and empathize with alacrity and are very intuitive beings. They’re not selfless, however, and feel their own emotions just as strongly as others (if not more so). Real or perceived slights are felt keenly and they can get into a righteous funk to end all funks and lay on the guilt trip with a single look or sigh.

Mood swings? Don’t mind if they do!

That said, they make great mentors or caregivers. I can see them being fabulous advocates for children or animal charities, very compassionate souls.

All this sensitivity wasn’t giving me much to go on, drink-wise, so I had to cast a wider-than-normal net for intel. That’s when I found Celestial Living Arts and their handful of articles about food and astrology (usually I just take my cues from Parker’s Encyclopedia of Astrology). For each sign they have a food avatar and Kataka (the Sanskrit name for Crab, whereas Cancer is the Latin) is represented by the watermelon.

Oh, hello, inspiration, how nice to see you again!

CLA related these two because of the high water content of the food. To me it screamed a “wave” of water-ocean-beach-sand-summer that is particularly fitting for our Crab friends, so watermelon would be a key flavor. But what else? For their delicate sensibilities, peach was another must-use (bruise like a peach?), either as nectar or schnapps, and then all we needed was a good base.

The Sensitive Soul

2 oz Green Tea
1 oz Watermelon Schnapps
1/2 oz Peach Schnapps
1/2 oz Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice and shake, imagining yourself one of the ice cubes being tossed about violently, crashing into your fellow ice cubes. Feel terrible for the ice cubes and decide to make it as a stirred drink next time, explaining in detail why you’ve made the choice not to shake your cocktails  to anyone within earshot, because feelings can only be sufficiently felt if they are shared with others.

Either way, strain it into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a wedge of watermelon.

Tea, being mostly water, as well as a soothing drink on its own, seemed an appropriate base for this deep-feeling sign. When I drink it, I get the watermelon up front with a slight undercurrent of peach, while Todd tastes it just the opposite. In fact, this was one of Todd’s favorite cocktails to date. He’s a Pisces, maybe it’s a water-sign thing?

Dreaming of Summer

Watermelon Crawl Martini

Watermelon Crawl Martini

Or, well, at least the foods of summer.

Especially watermelon.

It was all I could think of when I saw that this week’s Alphatini was to be w-inspired and, despite the unseasonableness of the craving it just would not be stopped!

Now, true, our summers aren’t exactly the most pleasant and, despite my cold-natured body I do prefer being able to start a fire or put on a sweater rather than sweltering (or running up the utility bill with constant a/c runnage). So I’ll happily settle for this light and fruity cocktail version of summer in a glass.

Watermelon Crawl

1 1/2 oz Watermelon Pucker
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
3/4 oz Apple Juice
garnish: salt and black sugar

Combine liqueur, vodka and juice over ice and shake it like a watermelon queen who just won her first crown. Strain into a cocktail glass that’s been rimmed with a mixture of sea salt and black-tinted sugar.

But wait, didn’t you once say

This Will Never Do...

Yes, yes I did. But as it’s not at all unusual, at least where I’m from, to put salt on slices of watermelon. So this time I’m making an exception and salting a martini rim. The black sugar (really a very dark green, as you’ll see if you get it wet) adds the look of watermelon seeds to the rim, which is a nice touch.

And if you’re not sure you’ll like the sweet and salty combo but want to keep the look of a rimmed cocktail, feel free to only rim one half of the glass.

The only other question I had as I designed and tested this cocktail, is whether the vanilla vodka would be too much. Well, watermelon pucker is pretty doggone strong and it stood up just fine to the vanilla vodka. But what was surprising is that I really liked the unflavored vodka version just as well. With regular vodka the watermelon is a bit brighter, while the vanilla blends everything together a bit more.

Either way you go, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Watermelon Crawl–unless you have too many, then it might just live up to its name!

50 Shots of America–Washington


The countdown of the last 10 states in the series continues with the northwest corner of the contiguous 48…


Caramel MacchiappleDid you know that when the powers that be in the Washington Territory petitioned for statehood in 1885, they wanted to be known as the state of Columbia? Congress, however, thought it would be too easily confused with the District of Columbia, the Nation’s capital. It’s ironic, then, that they didn’t have a problem naming it the State of Washington, don’t you think?

It might be a pretty big state, but around 60% of it’s residents are cluster in the Seattle metro area, and is home to some serious heavy-hitters in tech: Amazon, Google and Microsoft. It’s known for it’s apple orchards, boasts actual rain forests and is the birthplace of a little, hardly known coffee company 😉

I know not everyone is a fan of Starbucks. I love shopping local, including for my coffee beverages, but oh… oh I love the crazy caloric rush that is the Caramel Macchiato (Caramel Latte almost anywhere esle). And, like some sort of a joke, my coffee order is a bit complex: Venti Decaf Soy Caramel Macchiato.


The More Complicated the Coffee...

The More Complicated the Coffee...

But would coffee and apples taste good together?

Caramel MacchiApple

1 oz Coffee Liqueur
1/2 oz Sour Apple Schnapps
1/4 oz Caramel Syrup

Combine all ingredients over ice and shake like Mount St Helens getting ready to blow. Strain into a chilled cordial glass (or demitasse) and sip.

The tart of the apple goes extremely well with the smooth caramel and coffee mixture. The Swedish Fish-garnish is a nod to another local landmark: Pike Place Market where the fish go flying.


Only 8 more states to go!

50 Shots of America–Louisiana


Yes, I know, I’m skipping over 4 states in the whole date-of-statehood-order but I have a really good reason:

First, today is my birthday and if you can’t bend (your own) rules on your birthday, what’s the point?

Second, it’s also Louisiana‘s anniversary of statehood. So happy birthday to both of us!

And, in case you missed the memo, I spent the first 6 years of my life in and around Ponchatoula, LA, before I was rudely dragged to Florida to live out what seems to be the rest of my days. Seriously, all I remember about that trip was laying down in the back seat, as furious as a 6-year-old can be, absolutely insulted that we were moving so far away from all of our family.

Louisiana and me? We go way back. So that’s why I’m bending the rules. I promise I will go back and give the 4 states we just leap-frogged their Friday in the sun and delicious cocktails.

My grandfather on my father’s side was an honest-to-goodness hobo during the war. Long after that he built my grandmother her dream home and it’s the home I remember most from my childhood since we lived there, too, for a while. I’m still a little irked that my uncle sold it out of the family more than a decade ago. My grandfather on my mother’s side was a farmer and grew prize-winning strawberries and assorted veggies. It’s his strawberries I remember best, which he made into strawberry freezer jam and made his own strawberry wine, and the annual Strawberry Festival held every April (and still going strong) in our little town.

And, oh, the daiquiris! Obviously I do not remember these so much from my childhood, at least not directly! Not the classic lime daiquiris,but thick, frosty frozen daiquiris absolutely chock-a-block with strawberries. Oh, so good.

Chocolate Covered Daiquiri

1 medium strawberry, hulled and quartered
1 tsp superfine sugar
3/4 oz light rum
1/2 oz strawberry schnapps
1/2 oz chocolate liqueur

Muddle the strawberry, sugar and rum in a sturdy mixing glass until the berries are thoroughly mashed. Add the schnapps and liqueur and top with plenty of ice. Shake it like a last booze run before the storm comes in and strain it into a chilled cordial glass.

This is not too sweet, not too chocolatey, it’s just enough. And if you have trouble tracking down superfine sugar just buzz some regular granulated sugar in a food processor or spice grinder for a bit.

Butterscotch Schnapps


Another (brief) walk down memory lane…

At a Victory Weekend in Daytona Beach, November 1994, one of the girls from Miami spent the entire first evening downing a bottle of Buttershots.

Now, it doesn’t seem like butter-flavored (well, technically butterschotch) liqueur would taste very good or be a good idea in general but I have to say, the more I experiment with shots and cocktails that employ it, the more I’m convinced that it is an idea most excellent, indeed. (And, as one of my chef-instructors said: fat makes things taste good! There may not be any fat in butterscotch schnapps, I’m not sure, but the idea is the same.)

At a party a few years back we were making Buttery Nipples (Irish Cream and Butterscotch Schnapps) when someone (not me, I’m afraid, but the details of who, exactly, are a little hazy) decided to add some Godiva liqueur that I’d also brought. Thus was born the Candy Bar “Shot.” Since then I’ve attempted to streamline the ratios and this is what we’ve come up with:

CHF Candy Bar Shot

2 parts Chocolate Liqueur
1 part Butterscotch Schnapps
1 part Irish Cream Liqueur

Combine in the glass of your choice, depending on your thirst. Pouring the Irish Cream over the back of a spoon (layering) is a nice touch but totally impractical if you’re in a hurry for some yum.

Now, more recently Todd and I were out at a local tapas bar and, after each ordering a “safe” cocktail from their martini menu, became intrigued by one of the offerings: the Oatmeal Cookie Martini. Unable to restrain my curiosity the entire evening, I eventually asked our bar mistress if we could try it as a shot. Oh. My. God. I didn’t think it was possible that a mixed drink could taste like a cookie but this did. In fact, it was like eating an oatmeal cookie with an ice-cold milk chaser. So good.

Of course we had to experiment. What follows is our best efforts to date (though I’ve dropped the martini title as there’s no vodka or gin in the drink):

CHF Oatmeal Cookie

3 oz Irish Cream Liqueur
1.5 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
splash of Cinnamon Schnapps (we, and the bar, used Goldschlager)

Combine in a cocktail shaker over ice, preferably crushed, and shake til really cold. Strain into a chilled glass.

You want to be really light with the cinnamon because it can overpower the drink easily and ruin the illusion that you’re drinking a cookie.

Bottoms up!