Posts Tagged beverages

Ringing in the New Year: The French 77

Let me start off by saying this: 2011 was a great year.

*I turned 30.

*I got the best bunny in the entire world, Little Omar.

*I traveled to Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Seattle.

*My niece, Jubalee, was born in July (and she’s perfect and beautiful and the best little chunk of a baby).

*I finally got to dine at a Thomas Keller establishment (Bouchon in Las Vegas).

*I dyed my hair ‘ombre’.

*I planted my first real garden (thanks to the raised garden beds my husband built for me). I grew: squash (delicata, spaghetti, zucchini), chioggia beets, tomatoes, shallots, carrots, chives, arugula, kale, chard, peppers, and cucumbers.

*I was asked to join the board of the Montavilla Farmer’s Market. (And I accepted, of course).

*I finally got on the Harry Potter bandwagon. I read all the books and watched all of the movies this year, and I’m seriously kicking myself for not reading them sooner.

*In June, I celebrated 2 years of marriage to my best friend.

This is us, looking celebratory (!):

So, yeah, I’d say it’s been a fantastic year.

As for 2012? I’ve got a whole lot to look forward to…

*Hosting the PDX Food Swap (The next one will be in March, 2012!).

*Working with the Montavilla Farmer’s Market, specifically working to help reduce food insecurity through the Everybody Eats program.

*Eating at DOC in Portland – it’s been on my list for ages, and somehow I’ve not had a chance to eat there.

*Taking on new freelance writing gigs, in addition to expanding my wedding coordinating and events business. I have some exciting things in the works!

*Traveling to Europe with my love (The plans are still tenative, but if I write it here, that means we have to go!).

*Planting & growing an even more successful garden!

*Disneyland! (We’re going in January. I’m a total sucker for Disneyland.)

*Vegas in March with a couple of my favorite ladies.

*Trying new things, cooking new things, and learning new things.

I’m exciting to grow and change this year. I’m excited for whatever life throws at me. I’m thankful for all that I’ve been given, and I look forward to the new year with a sense of hope and excitement. God is good.

Lastly, I thought I’d share a festive cocktail recipe that is perfect for ringing in the new year. It also happens to be my favorite cocktail of all time: The French 77.

The French 77 is a variation on the classic cocktail, The French 75. The French 75 was created in 1915 at a bar in Paris and the drink was originally made with gin, champagne, simple syrup, and a lemon twist. The name hails from the fact that the cocktail was rumored to “have such a kick that it felt like being shelled with the powerful French 75mm field gun”.

The 77 doesn’t differ much from the 75, but the one slight change makes all the difference (in my humble opinion). The 77 uses Elderflower Liqueur (St. Germain) in place of the simple syrup. The St. Germain adds a sweetness that isn’t too sweet. It’s slightly floral, without being too overpowering. It’s perfect. The cocktail is smooth, balanced, and goes down ridiculously easily. And yes, it certainly has the kick of a French field rifle. This cocktail packs a punch (in the best way).

So, Happy New Year to you and yours! I plan on celebrating with a French 77. Maybe you’ll join me?

The French 77
Note: The drink is often served in a champagne flute, but I like to serve it in a smaller classic cocktail glass.

Ingredients:
2 oz Gin
1/2 oz St. Germain (Elderflower liqueur)
1 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces Champagne (or sparkling wine)
1 small strip lemon zest

Shake together gin, lemon juice, and St. Germain with ice. Strain, and pour into a cocktail glass. Pour champagne float over the top, garnish with lemon zest. Serve immediately.

Makes one cocktail.

Happy New Year, y’all!

Crema di Limoncello

I went to the grocery store over the weekend, and while I was there my husband texted and asked me to pick up a can of red hair spray for his Halloween Costume (he dressed up as Ron Weasley). I went to the Halloween section, which just days before had been full of costumes, candy, and Halloween decor. But now, just 3 days before Halloween, the section was reduced to a measly and picked over half-aisle. I wandered down the aisles to see if there were any other Halloween supplies, but only found aisle after aisle of Christmas merchandise. It was red and green as far as the eye could see.

It’s all a little bit ridiculous, isn’t it? Christmas seems to come earlier every year. I’m just not ready for it — for all the holiday crowds and obnoxious renditions of Jingle Bells playing on repeat in department stores (does a non-obnoxious version of Jingle Bells exist?).

And yet, here I am posting about Christmas on Halloween. I’m just as bad as the grocery store, apparently.

But, the actual recipe has nothing to do with Christmas. The recipe is for Crema Di Limoncello, which is a creamy lemon liqueur that can be enjoyed year-round. I made a batch of limoncello a couple of weeks ago, with the idea of getting a head start on my Christmas presents this year. You see, I make most of my Christmas gifts by hand and so I figured that if I got started on gifts in October, then I’d be less stressed in December.

This idea was good in theory, until my husband and I consumed all the limoncello (OK, we didn’t consume all of it…I did swap some of it at the last PDX Food Swap). Oops. This stuff is dangerously delicious. I suppose this is one gift I’ll have to wait and make in December, as it simply won’t last long at our house. It is too good!

That being said, maybe I shouldn’t recommend that you make limoncello for Christmas gifts. Maybe you should just make a batch and drink it with friends and loved ones. However, if you’re one of my friends or loved ones, you probably shouldn’t make any as I will most likely be giving you a bottle for Christmas. ;)

Anyway…Happy Halloween (and Happy Reformation Day)! I’m going to celebrate with a big bowl of pumpkin curry, and I might just drink the last few drops of limoncello that I have left. Be warm, safe, and happy tonight.

Crema di Limoncello
Adapted from Vanilla Garlic

(**Note the original recipe makes twice this amount. My recipe starts with a pint of Everclear, as opposed to a full 750ml bottle. In addition, the ratio of milk to alcohol is 2 to 1, and yet this limoncello still packs a punch. I was dubious about the 4 cups of milk to 2 cups of Everclear, but it works, trust me.)

Ingredients
5 lemons
2 cups Everclear (You could substitute another brand of vodka in this recipe, but Everclear has a higher alcohol content than other vodkas. If you use another vodka, reduce the amount of milk used)
4 cups of whole milk
1.5 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or half a a vanilla bean)
Cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer

Zest the lemons (using a grater, or by peeling strips off with a knife/peeler). Place Everclear and lemon zest into a jar and seal. Store in a cool, dry place for one week (or more. I let mine steep for two weeks). Strain using cheesecloth or strainer to remove zest.

In a small pot or saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add in the sugar and the vanilla, and cook (stirring frequently) until the sugar has dissolved. Remove milk mixture from heat and allow to cool.

Once cool, mix milk and infused Everclear together in a large bowl or pitcher. Funnel into bottles, jars, or other tightly sealed containers. Store in the fridge or freezer. Serve chilled.

Note: Limoncello is usually served as an after dinner cocktail. I like to serve it in small glasses, poured straight out of the freezer. The colder the better!