You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Cocktails’ category.

This summer, it’s been devastating to watch wildfires scorch beautiful Bastrop, Texas. The wildfires, located about 30-minutes outside of Austin, have destroyed over 1,500 homes and 95% of the historic Bastrop State Park.

As I sympathize for the people who lost their homes, I also mourn Bastrop State Park. I’ve always had a soft spot for the park, with it’s lost pine trees and New Deal era buildings. About ten years ago I had the honor of staying in one of its lovely vintage cabins. I visited with a friend who was filming a documentary on the federal Civilian Conservation Corps workers of the late 1930s. As part of FDR’s New Deal, the CCC created the state and national parks we love and enjoy. The story of the CCC is truly fascinating, as seen in Ken Burn’s PBS documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. (And no, my friend isn’t Ken Burns. How kickass would that be, though?)

While filming my friend’s documentary, we had the great pleasure of meeting several of the CCC men who built Bastrop State Park. They told us wonderful stories of hard work, conservation, Eleanor Roosevelt, and how the money they received from the CCC literally meant the difference between their families eating or starving. Bastrop State Park is a wonderful example of America, and Texas, at it’s finest. It breaks my heart most of it has been destroyed.

So, I’m more than excited to offer my boozy gelatin molds in support of the Central Texas Wildfire Fund. Austin Bakes for Bastrop is a collection of some amazing Austin food bloggers donating goodies for sale. The sale occurs October 1st all over Austin (see locations below) from 10 AM to 2 PM.

I’ll be selling a few dozen of my individual strawberry margarita gelatin molds (see right) from noon to 2PM at Foreign & Domestic, 306 E. 53rd Street, 78751. I hope to see you there!

Advertisements

I adore the movie Casablanca. The romantic in me swoons at the palatable chemistry between Rick and Ilsa, while my social justice warrior admires Rick’s decision to choose the greater good over the love of his life. Blatant racism and sexism aside, Casablanca elicits my sentimentalities. The music, Ilsa’s dresses, pre-occupied Paris, flowing champagne, scary Nazis, clever self-awareness, fear of the unknown – how sad and magnificent!

For better or worse, alcohol plays a central role in the film. Bourbon, champagne, and French 75s have starring roles. The champagne cocktail, my personal favorite, is ordered by Laszlo as he meets his French resistance contact at Rick’s. Hence, The Casablanca gelatin mold is based on the champagne cocktail.

Several variations of champagne cocktails exist, but the classic recipe calls for 1 sugar cube, 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters, and champagne. (As much as I love champagne, I rarely can afford it! Instead I purchase less expensive Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco.) The bitters and sugar cube offers a tasty, spicy punch to any sparking wine. The spicy sweetness transferred nicely into a gelatin mold.

Recipe for 3.5 cups

  • 2 packets gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming gelatin)
  • ½ sparking wine for heating
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 ½ cups sparking wine
  • 8-10 dashes of bitters (or to taste, personally I prefer A LOT of bitters!)

Put ½ cup of cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water.  Set bowl aside.

Put ½ cup sparkling wine and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sparkling wine and bitters. Spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours


This Japanese-inspired post is in honor of the Austin Bakes for Japan charity event on April 2nd. I’ll be selling gelatin molds at the Nomad Bar from noon to 2:00. All money will go to AmeriCares relief efforts in Japan.

For this gelatin mold, I used plum wine (a traditional Japanese favorite), Cava (a not-so-sweet Spanish sparkling wine), elderflower syrup (an affordable substitute for the fantastic St. Germain), and blueberries. The plum wine and elderflower syrup added a fruit and floral sweetness to the bubbly Cava. The gelatinous result was really foamy, see all the bubbles? The sweet and boozy carbonation in solid form created a surprisingly odd yet fun tactual experience – I could feel the tasty bubbles popping in my mouth.

Recipe for 3.5 Cups

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 ¾  cups Cava (or other sparkling wine)
  • ½ cup plum wine
  • ¼ cup Elderflower Syrup (or St. Germain)
  • ½ cup blueberries (or other berry of choice)

Put ½ cup of cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water.  Set bowl aside.

Put rest of water over medium heat and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat add hot water to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in Cava, plum wine, and elderflower syrup.

Put mixture in refrigerator (or freezer) until thickened to a soft gel consistency. It should be easy to stir but thick enough to hold the blueberries. Stir in blueberries and spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

This strawberry margarita gelatin mold was inspired by the favorite cocktail of one of my favorite people, Tim Inklebarger. Tim is a fellow Okie and music junkie, former Austinite, brief Alasakan, and now Chicagoan journalist who misses the fantastic Mexican food and margaritas of Texas. Can’t say I blame him…

Now, I realize I say this often, but this gelatin mold may be my new favorite. The fresh pureed strawberries combined with lime juice, tequila, and quality orange liquor created a delightfully sweet and tangy gelatin like none I have experienced before. It tasted like a gelatinous citrus-strawberry aqua fresca, with tequila. The key to a margarita gelatin mold is “Top Shelf” booze. Here I used Hornitos Resposado and Paula’s Texas Orange Premium Liqueur. Enjoy and Cheers!

 

 

Recipe for 3.5 cups

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ water (for blooming)
  • 1 ¼ cup water (for syrup)
  • ¾ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup lime juice (approx. 1 or 2 limes, depending on size) with zest reserved
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup triple sec
  • ¾ cup pureed strawberries, seeds strained

Put ½ cup of cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water.  Set bowl aside.

Put water, sugar, and lime juice in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lime zest. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lime syrup and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in tequila, triple sec, and pureed strawberries. Spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

The margarita – a killer combination of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice – is the best of Texas in a glass. And as a Texan and cocktail enthusiast, I take margaritas very seriously. When making them for parties (or just for myself with homemade tortilla soup), I use fresh limes, the best quality alcohol I can afford, and classic margarita proportions (1.5 oz tequila, 1.0 oz triple sec, 0.5 oz lime juice). For booze, I am presently enjoying Hornitos Resposado – it’s spicy, sweet, and affordable. And instead of cheap triple sec, I prefer Paula’s Texas Orange Premium Liqueur. All this creates a lovely sweet and sour combination with no yucky cheap booze or sour mix aftertaste.

I was originally weary of creating a margarita gelatin mold – cocktail-based gelatin molds are a tricky (and expensive) ordeal! I typically experiment with two or three recipes before creating one worth eating. Shockingly, this mold turned out great after just one trial. (I believe the key to cocktail-based gelatin molds is decent quality alcohol – use poor quality booze, and the gelatin mold will taste like a sweet, sticky, cheap boozy mess.) Along with “Top Shelf” booze, the strawberries provided visual interest and sweet fruity tastiness. Honestly, my friends and I were surprised how good this turned out!  Given it’s versatility, I plan on several more margarita-inspired gelatin molds in the future.

Recipe for 3.5 Cups

  • 2 packets Knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming)
  • 2 cups water (for syrup)
  • ¾ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup lime juice (approx. 1 or 2 limes) with zest reserved
  • ½ cup tequila
  • ¼ cup triple sec
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (or other fruit of your choice – except fresh mangos, see Gelatin Tips and Tricks)

Put ½ cup of cold water in a medium bowl and sprinkle 2 packets of gelatin on top of the water.  Set bowl aside.

Put rest of water, sugar, and lime juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lime zest. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lime syrup and add to the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in tequila and triple sec.

Put mixture in refrigerator (or freezer) until thickened to a soft gel consistency. It should be easy to stir but thick enough to hold the strawberries. Stir in strawberries and spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

I’m crazy about Conan. In honor of his new show starting tonight on TBS, I created the Conan O’Brien gelatin mold. Inspired by a traditional Irish Coffee, the Conan involves a cream layer on top of a coffee and Jameson’s Irish Whiskey base. I wasn’t sure how the coffee/whiskey base would taste in gelatinous form, but it was surprisingly delicious. And boozy. If whiskey isn’t your thing, you can substitute it with various liquors such as Bailey’s Irish Cream, Amaretto, Frangelico, Grand Marnier, or brandy.

Recipe for 3.5 cups

Top layer

  • 1 packet gelatin
  • 1 cup water (½ cup for blooming gelatin, ½ cup for boiling)
  • ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk

Bottom layer

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • ¼ cup Jameson’s Irish Whiskey

Top layer:

Put ½ cup of water in a bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set bowl aside. Bring ½ cup water to boil and remove from heat. Pour hot water over bloomed gelatin, stir until fully dissolved. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour mixture into mold(s) and put in refrigerator.

Bottom layer:

Put ¼ cup water in bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Set bowl aside. Put freshly brewed coffee in a sauce pan over low heat, and stir in sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, add coffee over the bloomed gelatin and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in whiskey.

When the cream layer is almost set – some gelatin should stick to your fingers when lightly touched – pour the coffee layer into the mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

Like many pop-culture junkies of my generation, I never get tired of watching “The Big Lebowski.” The 1998 Ethan and Joel Coen film has spawned multiple books, an annual festival, academic works, and even a religion called “dudeism.” The main character in the movie (“The Dude”) drinks White Russians, so when I made this White Russian gelatin mold for our friend Lynn’s birthday, the name seemed obvious.

White Russians consist of coffee-flavored liqueur, vodka, and cream. To create this gelatin mold, I used my basic panna cotta recipe (minus vanilla bean) and added vodka and Kahlúa. I also created a version with sweetened condensed milk (see below). Personally, I preferred the less sweet panna cotta version, but several of my friends liked the sweetened condensed milk more. Both versions tasted like a White Russian ordered at a bar.

The molds seen here are especially fantastic. I purchased the star mold at my favorite Austin vintage store (Room Service Vintage), and my friend Christie purchased the flower mold at a Tulsa estate sale.

Recipe (panna cotta version) approx 3 cups

  • 1 packet Knox gelatin
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup Kahlúa
  • ½ cup vodka

Sprinkle the packet of gelatin on top of ¼ cup milk. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up cream and sugar (do not boil). Once sugar dissolves, pour cream over the bloomed gelatin and milk. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in Kahlúa and vodka, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

Recipe (sweetened condensed milk version) 5.25 cups

  • 3 packets Knox gelatin
  • 1 cup water (for blooming)
  • ¾ cup water (for heating)
  • 1 cup vodka
  • ½ cup Kahlúa
  • 2 cups sweetened condensed milk

Sprinkle the gelatin on top of 1 cup of water. Set aside for 5 minutes. In a small saucepan heat up ¾ cup of water and vodka (do not boil). Once heated, pour water and vodka over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and Kahlúa, and spoon into mold(s). Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours.

This gelatin mold is based on my new favorite cocktail of the same name. I first learned of the Bramble in The New York Times Style Magazine article written by Toby Cecchini (the object of my latest foodie crush). Cecchini describes my ideal cocktail – gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and a blackberry liqueur called crème de mûre. Oh yum…

The Bramble, popular in England, is relatively unknown in the states. Especially Austin. My continual attempts of ordering it result in well-intended blank stares. I resigned to purchasing crème de mûre and making it myself when mixologist Alfonso started working at my neighborhood bar, the fantastic Dolce Vita. Alfonso (pictured right) not only knows how to make the Bramble, he adds a few twists like a dash of soda and the occasional coating of the glass with absinthe. (I’ve yet to develop a taste for absinthe, but my friend Monti claims it’s a worthy addition.) Needless to say, Alfonso’s version reins as my favorite summer cocktail.

To transfer the Bramble to a gelatin mold, I created a simple syrup of water, sugar, lemon juice, and stewed lemon zest. After blooming the gelatin in water and dissolving it in the hot syrup, I added gin, club soda, and crème de framboise. (My usually well-stocked liquor store does not carry crème de mûre, so I went with the raspberry equivalent.) The resulting taste competed with the cocktail – but I need to tinker with ingredient proportions before it’s truly berrytastic.

See this mold featured on Delicious Links at Apartment Therapy The Kitchn.

I’m a huge fan of the show Mad Men. Not only do I adore the show’s style, acting, and social commentary, I’m fascinated by the cocktail-centric world it depicts. In honor of Mad Men’s 4th season premier, I created the Don Draper gelatin mold.

The Don Draper is based on an old-fashioned, a cocktail consisting of bourbon (Don preferred Canadian Club whisky), sugar, water, dash of bitters, twist of lemon (or orange), and a cherry. It was a challenge to convert an old-fashioned into a gelatin mold, but I think I’m finally figuring out the magic cocktail-to-gelatin formula.

Recipe for 3.5 cups

  • 2 packets knox gelatin
  • ½ cup water (for blooming)
  • ¾ water
  • ½ cup sugar (or to taste)
  • Juice of one lemon (approx. ¼ cup) with zest reserved
  • 1 ¾ cup bourbon
  • 6 dashes of aromatic bitters, or to taste
  • 1 cup strained maraschino cherries

Put ½ cup of water in a medium bowl and sprinkle the 2 packets of gelatin on top.  Set bowl aside. Put water, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a low boil until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add lemon zest. Let stew for 10-minutes. Strain the lemon syrup, and return to saucepan. Reheat the syrup, and pour over the bloomed gelatin. Stir until gelatin dissolves. Stir in bourbon and bitters. Note: if bourbon is cold, it will reduce the amount of time needed before adding cherries.

Put mixture in refrigerator (or freezer) until thickened to a soft gel consistency. It should be easy to stir but thick enough to suspend the cherries. Stir in cherries and spoon mixture into mold(s). Put in refrigerator until set, at least 4 hours.

The mojito is one of my favorite summer drinks. Sweet, sour, minty, and bubbly. Here I suspended strawberries and mint leaves for visual interest, and added blueberries to create a patriotic theme for 4th of July.

Making cocktail-based molds from scratch is a challenge! I finally decided to steep lime zest and mint leaves in a hot lime syrup (water, limes, sugar). The lime/mint combination tasted great, but I was heavy handed on the rum. Even my alcohol loving friends admitted it was strong.  A bit more practice and I’ll hopefully unlock the secret to cocktail-based gelatin molds.

Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Twitter Updates

  • #metoo. Sexual harassment cost me a career, PhD, and outrageous student loan debts. PTSD and depression too. 1 year ago
Follow Me on Pinterest

Legal

Advertisements