Cocktail Corner: Adult Easter Fun With Seasonal Jello Shots

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

When it comes to Easter celebrations, why should the kids have all the fun? Our friends at Seagram’s Escapes have provided some alcohol-infused jello recipes that will sure to enliven the egg hunt on Sunday.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

 

Jamaican Me Happy Watermelon Slice Shooters: Impress guests and make memories with these adorable and delicious adult treats that look just like fresh watermelon wedges! 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 6 hours chilling time

Makes: 40 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each)  Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

10  limes

2 pkg (3 oz each)  watermelon gelatin dessert crystals 

1 tsp black sesame seeds (optional) 

1. Scrub limes and cut in half crosswise. Use a paring knife to loosen flesh from skin. Scoop out flesh, scraping with a spoon to reveal clean white pith. Place each hollowed-out lime half in cup of a muffin tin.

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy. Divide mixture evenly among lime halves. Chill for 6 hours or until set.

3. Use a sharp knife to cut each lime in half. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds, if using. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

Tip: If you like, juice the halved limes before scraping out membranes. Use lime juice in meat marinades, salad dressings, lime curd or ice pops.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jello Shooters, courtesy Seagrams.

Strawberry Daiquiri Jelly Shooters: Be the life of the party and pass around these fun adult shooters served in hollowed-out fresh strawberries. 

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes 

Total time: 25 minutes + 4 hours refrigeration

Makes: 50 pieces 

1 bottle (11.2 fl. oz.) Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri

50 large strawberries, hulled (about 3 lb)

1 pkg (3 oz) strawberry gelatin dessert crystals 

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup sugar

2 limes, thinly sliced

1. Cut small slice off the tip of each strawberry so it sits flat. Use melon baller to hollow out each strawberry from hull end. Set aside. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Strawberry Daiquiri and lime juice. Divide mixture evenly among strawberries. Chill for 4 hours or until set. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.) 

3. Just before serving, place sugar in small shallow dish. Roll the top of each strawberry in the sugar to resemble a rimmed glass. Cut lime slices into wedges. Garnish each strawberry with a lime wedge.

Tip: To fill hollowed-out strawberries without making a mess, transfer liquid strawberry mixture to a squeeze bottle or use a clean turkey baster.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram's.

Calypso Cream Jello Cubes, courtesy Seagram’s.

Layered Calypso Colada Cream Jelly Cubes: Feel like you’re in the islands anytime with these jelly shots made with a cool and creamy coconut base, topped with a clear blue layer of Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada, as breathtaking as the ocean. 

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes + 10 hours chilling time

Makes: 24 squares 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada

2 tbsp sugar

1 envelope (7 g) unflavored gelatin

1 can (14 oz) coconut milk

3 pkg (3 oz each) berry blue gelatin dessert crystals 

2 tbsp coarse sugar

2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

24 fresh blackberries 

1. Combine sugar and gelatin in small heatproof bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over mixture; stir constantly until granules are completely dissolved. Stir in coconut milk until well combined. Pour into 8 inch square cake pan. Chill for 4 hours or until set. 

2. Place gelatin dessert crystals in medium heatproof bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over crystals; stir for 2 minutes or until dissolved. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Calypso Colada. Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Slowly pour blue mixture over set coconut mixture. Chill for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Run a thin knife around the inside of cake pan to separate jelly from sides. Carefully invert onto parchment paper; tap pan gently to release jelly. Use a large sharp knife to cut into 24 cubes. Invert cubes onto serving platter. (Can be made to this point up to 1 day in advance. Store covered in refrigerator.)

4. Just before serving, stir together coarse sugar and coconut; sprinkle over cubes and top each with a blackberry.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram's.

Strawberry Guava Jello Shots, courtesy Seagram’s.

Strawberry Guava Jelly Shots: Add an element of class and sophistication with these decorative jellies that are bursting with vibrant tropical flavors, and look as beautiful as they are delicious. 

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 5 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes + 6 hours refrigeration

Makes: 18 pieces 

2 bottles (11.2 fl. oz. each) Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy

3 envelopes (7 g each) unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup guava juice

12 strawberries 

1. Pour 1/2 cup cold water into medium heatproof bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup boiling water; stir until dissolved. 

2. Stir in Seagram’s Escapes Jamaican Me Happy and guava juice. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Let stand for 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture begins to set.

3. Dice strawberries. Place in 18 decorative 1 oz molds. Divide jelly evenly among molds. Chill for at least 6 hours or until set. (Can be made up to 1 day in advance.)

4. Dip molds into warm water for 5 seconds. Invert jelly shots onto serving platter, gently shaking to release. 

Tips: Decorative molds can be purchased from specialty baking and cooking equipment shops and online retailers. Substitute Seagram’s Escapes Peach Fuzzy Navel for a delicious twist. 

Cheers to an enjoyable holiday! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com. 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 27, 2018.

Web Exclusive: Rock N Roll Tequila Recipes

Photo courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

Photo courtesy Rock N Roll Tequila.

Read our interview with Rock N Roll Tequila founder and Santa Barbara local Andy Herbst in the spring issue of Santa Barbara Seasons.

Meanwhile here are some of Herbst’s favorite ways to imbibe.

ROCK ‘N’ RITA (Rock N Roll Platinum Tequila)

Forget the sugar, sugar. This Rita gets her sweetness straight from tequila’s agave heart.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lime slices or wedges
  • 2 oz. Platinum Tequila
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup (nectar)
  • 2 oz. cup fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS: Rub 1 lime slice over half the rim of an Old Fashioned glass (if you prefer your Margarita on the rocks) or a coupe glass (if you prefer it up). Combine tequila, agave syrup, and juice in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice and shake well. Strain into prepared glass. Garnish with second lime slice.

AMPED MOJITO (Rock N Roll Platinum Cristalino)

Are you ready to party? This refreshing twist of a beauty will help get you there.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 oz. Cristalino Tequila
  • Big handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ½ limes, quartered
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Soda water
  • Sprigs of mint for garnish

DIRECTIONS: Place ice cubes, mint leaves, tequila and simple syrup in the blender or cocktail shaker. Squeeze in the juice from the limes and divide the limes between each glass. Blend or shake until well combines. Divide between the glasses and top with soda water and sprigs of mint.

Go Man Go (Rock N Roll Mango Tequila)

One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready…

INGREDIENTS

  • 5oz. Mango Tequila

DIRECTIONS: Serve loud and chilled

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 1, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Academy Award Winning Cocktails

The Swamp Fizz cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "The Shape of Water," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Swamp Fizz cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “The Shape of Water,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg 

With Oscar’s big night coming up soon (March 4), Cocktail Chameleon author and entertainment expert Mark Addison has created a slate of lovely libations that are perfect to serve at your Academy Awards viewing party next weekend. The book—which takes a dozen classic cocktails and creates a dozen different variations for each one of them—was recently named the “Best in the U.S.” by the Gourmand Cookbook Awards and chosen one of the top six in the world to compete for the global title in  May 2018.

No matter what your favorite film of the year was, here’s a celebratory recipe just for you.

And the nominees are:

  • Darkest Hour: The Churchill
  • Call Me By Your Name Apricot Negroni Spritzer
  • The Shape of Water: Swamp Fizz
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Three Cocktails from Inside Missouri
    • Missouri Mule
    • Missouri Manhattan (aka Moonshine Manhattan)
    • Missouri Martini
  • Dunkirk: Dunkirk Toddy
  • Phantom Thread: Dark Love
  • The Post: Black & White and Read All Over
  • Get Out: The Sunken Place
  • Lady Bird: Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird)

The Churchill Champagne Cocktail is a variation of a Manhattan-style cocktail created for Winston Churchill in the 1940’s at the Savoy hotel in London. This version features his beloved Scotch whisky and champagne, which he reportedly drank most every day from noon to night.

The Churchill Cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "The Darkest Hour," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Churchill Cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “The Darkest Hour,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Darkest Hour

The Churchill

(variation on the Champagne Cocktail)

1 oz. Scotch whisky (Churchill preferred Johnnie Walker)

1/2 oz. lime juice

1/2 oz. sweet vermouth

1/2 oz. Cointreau

2 oz. champagne

Garnish: lemon peel

Glassware: 8 oz. Tiffany & Co. Vintage Coupe Glass (7” h)

Shake ingredients together with ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupe and top with chilled champagne. Garnish with the lemon peel.

Three Cocktails From Inside Missouri, inspired by Oscar nominated film "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Three Cocktails From Inside Missouri, inspired by Oscar nominated film “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

“The themes in Three Billboards… are dark and horrific, which is challenging to draw inspiration from for a festive Oscar cocktail…,” says Addison, who instead chose to draw inspiration from the title and the film’s location. “Three Cocktails…” features Missouri-based spirits incorporated into classic cocktails with a distinctively Ozark ingredients and themes.

Three Cocktails from inside Missouri

Missouri Mule

1 1/2 oz. Missouri Sprits Bourbon Whiskey

3/4 oz. lemon juice

1/2 oz. Campari

1/2 oz. Triple Sec

Garnish: lemon wheel

Glassware: 16 oz. Christofle Highball Glass (6” h)

Combine with ice, shake and pour into a highball glass. Garnish with lemon wheel.

Missouri Manhattan

2 oz. Missouri Sprits Corn Whiskey

1/2 oz. Sweet Vermouth

1/2 oz. Agave Nectar

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Garnish: maraschino cherry, one king ice cube

Glassware: 8 oz. Christofle Old Fashion (3” h)

In a mixing glass with ice, combine the ingredients and stir well. Strain over a king cube in an old fashion glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Missouri Martini

2 oz. Missouri Sprits Vodka

1/4-oz. extra dry vermouth

1/4-oz. pickle juice

1 dash of hot sauce

Garnish: dill pickle spear

Glassware: 8 oz. Christofle Martini Glass (6 1/2” h)

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain contents into chilled martini glass and garnish with pickle.

The Apricot Negroni Spritzer cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "Call Me By Your Name," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Apricot Negroni Spritzer cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “Call Me By Your Name,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Call me by Your Name

The iconic Italian Negroni is updated with apricot liqueur and French dry vermouth inspired the film’s Italian location, the apricot orchards surrounding family’s Italian countryside villa and the French heritage of romantic lead character, Elio. Addison notes, “No peaches were harmed in the making of this cocktail… (too soon?).”

Apricot Negroni Spritzer

1 1/4 oz. gin

1 1/4 oz.

French dry vermouth

3/4 oz. Aperol

1/4 oz. apricot liqueur

3 dashes of orange bitters

Garnish: orange peel & apricot wedge

Glassware: 16 oz. Chateau Baccarat Tumbler (3 1/2″ h)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and slowly stir to chill. Pour into a tumbler and garnish with a peach slice and a cherry.

The Swamp Fizz cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "The Shape of Water," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Swamp Fizz cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “The Shape of Water,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Shape of Water

Fizz cocktails were at their height of popularity in the 50’s and 60’s during which the Shape of Water is set. The Swamp Fizz combines green Crème De Menthe (also immensely popular in the era), citrus, sugar and club soda in classic fizz proportions with egg whites for added fizz and accentuates the Creatures’ favorite food, eggs!

Swamp Fizz

2 oz. gin

1 Tsp. Green Crème De Menthe

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 egg white

1 Tsp. Superfine Sugar

Club Soda

Garnish: lime zest

Glassware: 16 oz. Tiffany & Co. Vintage Highball Glass (5 1/2″ h)

Add gin, crème de menthe, lemon juice, sugar and egg white to your shaker with ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into Collins glass over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with lime zest.

The Dunkirk Toddy cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "Dunkirk," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Dunkirk Toddy cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “Dunkirk,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Dunkirk

Inspired by struggle of evacuate the Allied soldiers from the beaches of France under attack by German forces, the Dunkirk Toddy blends a classic English hot beverage with French cognac and Benedictine, resulting in a Franco-British hot cocktail that any of the 300,000 soldiers rescued in the operation would appreciate.

Dunkirk Toddy

The traditional Hot Toddy recipe is made with whisky but to give the classic Toddy a French twist Addison substitutes equal parts French cognac and Benedictine Dom with its lovely warming flavors and its pronounced herbal and spicy tones.

1 oz. Benedictine Dom

1 oz. French cognac

1 dash Angostura bitters

4 cloves

1 lemon peel

1 oz. fresh lemon juice

1/2 oz. honey

Top with hot water

Garnish: one cinnamon stick

Glassware: 8 oz. Bormioli Rocco Oslo Coffee Cup (3 3/4″ h)

Fix the cloves into the wedge of lemon and put into a glass mug. Add

all the other ingredients and top with hot water. Stir gently

and serve.

Dark Love cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "The Phantom Thread," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Dark Love cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “The Phantom Thread,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Phantom Thread

Dark Love is a champagne cocktail that embodies the volatile love affair between 50’s fashion couturier and a young waitress. Parfait Amour (or Perfect Love) is a French violet liqueur, which when combined with blue curacao takes on a blackish tone. The blend of the eau de vie (water of life), Parfait amour and champagne creates a sweet rich libation that is impossible to resist… submit to this Dark Love.

Dark Love

(variation on Perfect Love from Cocktail Chameleon)

1 oz. Parfait Amour (violet liqueur)

1/2 oz. eau de vie Poire (pear brandy)

1/2 oz. blue curacao

5 oz. Champagne, chilled

Garnish: orchid flower

Glassware: 8 oz. Chateau Baccarat Flute (9 1/2″ h)

Fill the shaker with ice, then add the Parfait Amour, brandy and liqueur, shaking until well chilled.

Black White Read cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "The Post," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Black White Read cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “The Post,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: The Post

“What’s black, white and red all over…? The most infamous newspaper, The Washington Post,” says Addison. Known for exposing the Watergate scandal and Pentagon Papers, the latest film The Post (and this cocktail) draw allusions to the then and current presidencies. Black, White, and Read All Over looks like an all American coffee but a white Russian lurks under the surface and is stained by a red cherry syrup.

Black & White and Read All Over

2 oz. cold-press coffee

1 oz. vodka

1 oz. coffee liqueur

1 oz. orange liqueur

1 oz. half & half
Garnish: 1/2 oz. maraschino cherry juice

Glassware: 8 oz. Libbey Irish Coffee Mug (5 3/4″ h)

Fill the shaker with ice and add the coffee, vodka and liqueurs, shaking until well chilled.  Pour into the glass and float the half & half on top by slowly pouring it over the back of the spoon followed by the cherry juice.

The Sunken Place cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "Get Out," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

The Sunken Place cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “Get Out,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Get Out

The character of Chris agrees to be hypnotized by his girlfriend’s mother to cure his smoking addiction but instead, sinks into the “sunken place” where after an operation to transplant the mind of a white man into his body, Chris would remain in the void watching powerlessly. The Sunken Place cocktail looks innocuous on the surface but has a dark underside trapped beneath.

The Sunken Place

2 oz. rum

1 oz. coconut rum

2 oz. pineapple juice

1 oz. cream of coconut

Garnish:

½ oz. blue curacao

½ oz. grenadine

Glassware: 12 oz. Mikasa Cheers Martini Glass (7 1/2″ h)

Combine rums, pineapple juice and cream of coconut in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glass. Combine the blue curacao and grenadine and slowly drizzle down the side of the glass. It will settle at the bottom and create a beautiful “black and white” layered look.

Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird) cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film "Lady Bird," recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird) cocktail, inspired by Oscar nominated film “Lady Bird,” recipe and photo courtesy Mark Addison.

Film: Lady Bird

The Kiwi Punch represents the struggle of Lady Bird (aka Christine) who desperately wants to fly-off to an out-of-state college but feels grounded by her over protective and critical mother. A Kiwi is a flightless bird native of New Zealand as well as a fruit also from New Zealand. Kiwifruit give this punch it’s fruity punch and is served in a soda glass making it look unassuming while packing another punch of vodka. *simply omit the vodka for a non-alcoholic version sans the punch!

Kiwi Punch (aka Flightless Bird) – Serves 8

2 cups kiwi, peeled and diced
12 mint leaves
2 tablespoons sugar
3 limes, juiced
2 cups vodka
2 cups tonic water
ice cubes
1 kiwi, thinly sliced for garnish

Garnish: Star fruit slice, mint sprigs

Glassware: 16 oz. Riedel Coca Cola Glass (6 1/2″ h)

In a pitcher, combine diced kiwis, mint leaves, sugar, and ½ lime juiced. Muddle the contents until fully combined. Fill the pitcher with ice and top off with vodka and tonic water. Stir, pour into eight tumbler glasses over ice making sure each glass receives equal amounts of kiwi and mint leaves. Garnish with a star fruit slice and mint sprig.

Addison’s mantra—which I’m a big fan of—is “It’s called entertaining for a reason; you’ve got to have fun while you do it.” So have fun … and let us know about it (or better yet, invite us)!

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on February 24, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Surf and Swizzle

Holiday Cocktails by MichiBieri, courtesy Pixabay.

Holiday Cocktails by MichiBieri, courtesy Pixabay.

A Spirited Toast to All Things Alcoholic! By Leslie Dinaberg 

We’ll be taking off for the holiday season until January, but don’t worry, we plan to do lots of cocktail research between now and then.  Meanwhile, here are ten fun libation links to send you into the weekend ready for some fun.

Wine and Book Pairings From The Skimm: http://www.theskimm.com/skimm-guides/skimm-reads

Top Books for Wine Enthusiasts From Wander & Wine: http://wanderandwine.com/top-books-for-wine-enthusiasts/

Totally Instagrammable Bottles of Booze From Hello Giggles: http://hellogiggles.com/booze-bottles-that-make-perfect-gifts/

It’s Bourbon Season From The Kitchn: http://www.thekitchn.com/its-bourbon-season-10-bourbon-recipes-to-warm-you-up-recipe-roundup-179751

A Matisse-Inspired Cocktail Recipe and DIY From Design Sponge: http://www.designsponge.com/2014/10/matisse-inspired-cocktail-recipe-diy.html

Cocktail preparations by Stefan Fiesbert, cocktailpodcast.de via wikipedia commons.

Cocktail preparations by Stefan Fiesbert, cocktailpodcast.de via wikipedia commons.

Comforting Holiday Cocktails From Goop: http://goop.com/easy-holiday-cocktails/

The Perfect Cocktail Party Playlist From Apartment Therapy: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/cocktail-party-playlist-181154

The Most Outrageous Pop-Culture Inspired Cocktails From Flavorwire: http://flavorwire.com/562955/the-most-outrageous-pop-culture-inspired-cocktails-sponsored

Feast Days, Food & Drink Poems by George Yatchisin: https://www.createspace.com/6518745

The Best Christmas Cocktails and Mocktails From Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/856474/20-years-living-best-christmas-cocktails-and-mocktails

Cheers to Happy Holidays!

Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 23, 2016.

 

Cocktail Corner: Wine Meets Cocktails—and Mocktails—With Stolen Fruit

Stolen Fruit Mixers, courtesy photo.

Stolen Fruit Mixers, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Winemakers have traditionally seduced delicious tastes from the vineyard and chefs blend verjus—the fresh pressed juice from green grapes, varietal grape juice, and grape skins—to bring flavor to the forefront of their creations. Now these same techniques have been used to craft a fun, new line of grape-based mixers: adding the nuance and complexity of wine grapes to a range of cocktails and mocktails.

Using the fresh pressed juice of grapes dropped during thinning and dried wine grape skins, Sonoma-based Stolen Fruit takes what is normally discarded from the winemaking process to create the base for each mixer. Then the concentrated natural juice of a specific grape varietal such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier or Grenache, is blended in along with complimentary fruit and botanicals to build a layered, balanced drink base.

The flavors include: Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Jasmine Juniper Viognier, Hibiscus Grenache (my favorite), Blood Orange Muscat and Fig Grains of Paradise Zin.

We tried them out last weekend and they’re delicious, with or with the booze! Mix them with sparkling water or club soda or lemonade for a non-alcoholic drink that still feels fun and festive. Add in sparkling wine and/or your favorite spirit and you have a terrific cocktail. We tried Stolen Fruit with Pisco, Rye, Vodka and Prosecco. I liked them all, as well as in combination with Jardesca, a refreshing wine-based aperitif.

Created by Dry Creek Valley AVA grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor, owners of Provisor Vineyards, and Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown, these versatile mixers are a great addition to your home bar, as well as nice gift for your host.

Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers ($18) are initially available for purchase online at stolenfruit.com, which also has recipes for cocktails, mocktails and food pairings, as well as on Amazon.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on July 15, 2016.

Cocktail Corner

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg
(Here is my newest column which I write every Friday for Santa Barbara SEASONS Magazine.)

 

© Pac | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Pac | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Popping the Cork for Mother’s Day

One of my favorite things about Mother’s Day is that it’s a terrific excuse reason to have Champagne for breakfast. Of course, you can do this anytime you want—and pretty, pretty please invite me over!—but on Mother’s Day, unless you’re visibly pregnant, no one looks at you strangely when you order a bottle of Champagne with your Eggs Benedict (which is a fabulous pairing, by the way). But here’s an even better reason to toast mom with some bubbly this weekend: new research has just come out that three glasses of Champagne a week can help to improve your memory!

Kentucky Derby Day Drinks

Early Times makes the official Mint Julep of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. (courtesy photo)

Early Times makes the official Mint Julep of the 2013 Kentucky Derby. (courtesy photo)

It’s Kentucky Derby time this weekend, and although all I know about the leaderboard is thatOrb is favored to win, I know enough about Kentucky Derby Day traditions to know whichever horse your money’s on, y’all should be cheering ‘em on with a Mint Julep.

Citrus & Spice Cocktail at The Pan (photo by Leslie Dinaberg)

Citrus & Spice Cocktail at The Pan (photo by Leslie Dinaberg)

Cheers to The Pan

I’m a big believer that variety is the spice of life. If I could tipple “cocktail flights” for every happy hour and nibble appetizers for every meal, I would be doing a happy dance for the rest of my life. I still haven’t found a place that has “cocktail flights” on the menu (sharing sips with friends is the next best thing), but I have found a great small bites place just a hop, skip and jump from the office: The Pan.

Cheers to Prosecco

OGIO prosecco (courtesy photo)

OGIO prosecco (courtesy photo)

I had my first taste of Prosecco just a few years ago, when a friend brought a bottle of Mionetto IL Prosecco to accompany our sushi at one of the summer concerts at El Capitan Canyon.  It was delicious, bubbly and tasted good with potato chips too.

Wine and Cheese Please!

I was thrilled to discover that today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day. What better way to fight the post-vacation blues than to celebrate this traditional American treat and pair it with some of our favorite local wines?

KAPPA Krush (courtesy of KAPPA Pisco)

KAPPA Krush (courtesy of KAPPA Pisco)

Potions With Pisco Popping Up

I wasn’t too familiar with Pisco last fall, when someone gave me a bottle of KAPPA Pisco, a new Chilean Pisco from the House of Marnier-Lapostolle, producers of Grand Marnier. But since then, this exotic beverage has been showing up more and more.  Especially in Montecito, where it’s behind the bar at Cava Restaurant and Bar and the Biltmore’s Ty Lounge and on the shelves at The Bottle Shop, among others.

 

Cheers to Spring at the Ty Lounge

Four Seasons Biltmore's barrel-aged Negroni (courtesy photo)

Four Seasons Biltmore’s barrel-aged Negroni (courtesy photo)

A great spot for cocktails just got even better. The Ty Lounge (at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara) has always been a beautiful place to drink in the priceless view of the Pacific, but now mixology pro and manager Chris Nordella has introduced a lively selection of spring cocktails.

Dargans (courtesy photo)

Dargans (courtesy photo)

A Bit of the Blarney About Dargan’s

Irish eyes are always smiling at Dargan’s, one of my favorite downtown pubs (18 E. Ortega St., 805/568-0702). Of course the place will be rocking this weekend in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s a great place to tipple any time of the year.

A Bouquet of Orchid Cocktails

Black Orchid (courtesy photo)

Black Orchid (courtesy photo)

With the  68th Santa Barbara International Orchid Show coming up this weekend, a bouquet of orchid cocktails is certainly in order to celebrate this event.

Chuck's Famous Mai Tai (courtesy photo)

Chuck’s Famous Mai Tai (courtesy photo)

Chuck’s Famous Mai Tai

A lot of places slap the label “famous” onto a cocktail, but Chuck’s Famous Mai Tai is one “famous” libation that’s ready for a “legendary” label. It’s not quite as good as a trip to Maui, but it’s pretty darn close.

Red Carpet Cocktails

For those of us who won’t be at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre this weekend, the competition for Oscar-inspired libations is every bit as fierce as the race for Best Picture. Here are some red carpet cocktails to make your home viewing party a hit!

How to Make a Sidecar with Rachel Maddow and Dita Von Teese

I love pretending I’m Rosalind Russell and ordering old-fashioned cocktails. Must be the journalist’s fascination with His Girl Friday. Phrases like, “How ’bout a Sidecar, doll face?” and “Gimme an Old Fashioned, the old-fashioned way,” just trill off the tongue, don’t they? Anyway, when I stumbled across this video of one of my favorite journalists—MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow—demonstrating how to make a Sidecar, I just had to share it.

Cajun Martini at the Palace Grill in Santa Barbara

Cajun Martini at the Palace Grill in Santa Barbara

Cajun Martini at The Palace Grill

It’s always Mardi Gras at the Palace Grill (8 E. Cota St., 805/963-5000), the closest you can get to New Orleans while staying in Santa Barbara.

The Antagonist at The Marquee

I’ve been really into sweet, hot and spicy cocktails recently and had a fabulously tasty one the other night at The Marquee. The Antagonist is made of chili-infused Absolut Vodka, white peach puree, mixed berry puree and pineapple juice.

Toasting the Film Festival

Even movie stars shine a little brighter when you give them a perfect cocktail. Since the stars will out in full force this week, here’s where I would take some of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival VIPs out for drinks.

Paradise Cafe Margaritas

My childhood smelled like Coppertone, my teenage years like Love’s Baby Soft, and my 20’s smelled like the Margaritas at the Paradise Cafe .

National Hot Toddy Day

It’s National Hot Toddy Day. A “hot toddy” is a warmth-inducing yummy drink made with honey, lemon, hot water, and the spirit of your choice (usually whiskey, brandy, or rum).

 

Alcazar's Heat of Passion cocktail. Courtesy Photo.

Alcazar’s Heat of Passion cocktail. Courtesy Photo.

The Heat of Passion at Alcazar

The sultry Heat of Passion is sweet, hot and spicy and certainly my favorite cocktail at the moment.

Simmering Sangria

Sangria is one of my favorite warm weather libations, but until our recent uber cold front (quite unusual for Santa Barbara) I had never thought about serving it warm.