It’s finally spring outside and that means my palate is screaming for fresh flavors of the season. I look to the tastes that make me thirsty to rekindle my relationship with drink.
One of these flavors is found in, remarkably enough- a bottle! The utter freshness of this product is what makes my breath quicken and my heart grow full of the warmth inherent in each and every sumptuous sip. The product of course is virtually handmade in small batches, using absolutely the finest ingredients available. But what is this product that makes me so utterly smitten?
It is Fruitations of course. The flavor for the season is none other than the tangerine. What can I say about something that is perfectly delicious the very moment that you open the top?
The aroma of freshly sliced tangerines are the basis for this lovely drink that uses not only Fruitations, but also Aperol, that crimson hued formerly medicinal slurp that hails from Italy. Medicinal? What do you mean? Did you know that Aperol was originally used to heal the gut? Sure!
Back in the day before the drug companies made you practically dash to the drug store every time you have a belly-ache, the first step would have been to the your medicine chest for a bit of Aperol and soda water to settle your stomach. Or if you should find yourself on a sailing vessel and seasickness lurks, same thing. Aperol and soda water- add a pinch of salt and it is smooth sailing!
In this cocktail, you may not necessarily have a tummy ache, or perhaps complain of seasickness, but isn’t it nice to know that the ingredients that I included in this recipe work extremely well in the unlikely situation that you actually have a tummy ache?
I’ve also included Vietnamese style lemonade in two styles. These dazzling recipes for lemonade is much different from the corn syrup sweetened, dehydrated and powdered and then reconstituted lemon flavored products that clog deli shelves. We are lucky to have Vietnamese lemonade in this country because this product bears no resemblance to anything on the commercial market and this fact alone makes it enthralling. I think the key to this product is freshly squeezing the lemons. I like mine in the glass with a touch of palm sugar simple syrup. This is the “hurry up method” so to speak.
Vietnamese Lemonade: Un-preserved variety
Crush at least 20 small lemons to yield about 5 ounces of fresh lemon juice. I like to roll the lemons on the counter while pressing on them to release the juice before slicing them in half
For 5 oz. of simple syrup, add 5 ounces of Vietnamese Palm Sugar or Demerara or even Moscovado Sugar together to 6 ounces of boiling water, stir and let cool, add a tablespoon of vodka for preservation purposes if it will sit at room temperature or use immediately without the vodka added.
Vietnamese “Preserved” Lemonade
2-4 pieces of preserved lemon (available at Asian grocery stores)
8 oz. cool water
Muddle the preserved lemon slices with the cool water and let sit overnight at cellar temperature to infuse the water with the juicy goodness, strain and use immediately
Use the preserved lemon- lemonade in your recipes for gin, vodka, Aperol, Champagne, whisky… Or what have you!
Prosecco goes in next, or you can use a Cava or similar inexpensive sparkling wine. Just try not to make this drink with a sugar forward sparkling wine. Using
“cheap champagne” will skewer your brain towards hangover territory. Not a place I strive to become a part of and nor should you!
Calling Fernet Branca!
I’ve named this very easy to formulate drink The Somerset Hills Fizz after the nearby rolling hills located just past Mendham, NJ.
1 oz. Aperol
2 oz. Vietnamese Lemonade-preserved or un-preserved style (up to you)
1 oz. Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup
1 oz. Prosecco or Cava
4-5 drops Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Grapefruit zest. Wide cut, always with a knife- never a peeler
In a Boston shaker filled 3/4 with ice add the lemonade with the Fruitations Tangerine Syrup and the Aperol
Cap and shake hard for 15 seconds or until really frosty and fresh
Pour into a well-chilled Burgundy wine glass with a few cubes of ice
Top with Prosecco (that’s the Fizz!)
Add the Lemon Bitters
Garnish with your grapefruit zest
I recently received some very intriguing liqueurs from a very kind and generous man named Howard Witkin. I’d recently read about him in the New York Times and his desire for a handcrafted product is suitable for the holiday table and all year round. Its also remarkable mixed into craft cocktails. His product is named Sukkah Hill Spirits. What he has recreated using authentic ingredients needs to be tasted to be believed. There is a huge market for spirits with provenance such as these and I don’t need to go into that much more. Let’s just say that the market hasn’t even scratched the surface of the global need.
Sukkah Hill is making historically correct recreations of Jewish Holiday liqueurs using the best ingredients that money can buy. And the funny part is you can drink them all year round AND you don’t even have to be Jewish to enjoy them!
Sukkah Hill is all natural and gluten free if that is important to you.
From what I have tasted last night in a well-chilled glass with one cube of ice- well- they are truly unique, quite salubrious and my dreams were extra vivid for some reason- maybe they unlocked my inner thoughts? Who knows for certain? All that I do know is that Sukkah Hill is delicious and it mixes like a dream.
There are two varieties so far. The Etrog is the variety that is derived from the citrus family. It’s an unlikely looking citrus fruit- quite ugly by my vision, but the natural sugars and assertive flavor of this fruit makes it quite intriguing.
The other is named Besamim. This one appears to taste to my lips like is entwined with cloves and Middle Eastern spices. It’s intriguing and fabulous mixed with a splash of Stroh Austrian Rum and spicy ginger beer syrup from Pickett’s- or woven into a long drink with something like Barrell Bourbon and a splash of frosty grapefruit scented seltzer water.
The Mid-Alps Slam
2 oz. Besamim Liqueur
2 oz. Hot Chocolate (cooled overnight in the fridge)
1 oz. Stroh Rum 160 (yes that is 160 Proof)
1 oz. Ginger Ale
El Guapo Bitters
To a Tall Collins Glass, add ice
Add the Stroh Rum
Add the cooled "Hot" Chocolate
Add the Besamim Liqueur
Top with the Ginger Ale
Dot with El Guapo Bitters
Whichever version you should choose, perhaps you will try them both? I hope so. Because it really doesn’t matter to me what awards a spirit wins, what matters to me are the memories that are made by drinking it. At your holiday table or in-between, these liqueurs are world class in quality and certainly well worth your hard earned dollars.
Etrog and Espresso Gelato
Scoop your favorite Espresso Gelato into a bowl
Let soften slightly
Pour over 2-3 oz. of the Etrog Liqueur
Did I tell you that I love them?