My Favorite Mai Tai


My friend Susan Axelrod is an online content producer for MaineToday.com and posts centered around delicious food and drink. And you know that’s right up my alley. So I saw this post earlier today and knew I had to create my version of a classic favorite, Mai Tai!

I happen to be into infusing spirits with fresh fruits. I have a mason jar in the fridge with some dark rum. It’s a little too heavy, so I decided to add some light rum to it (when from the start, I should have just used my favorite Mt. Gay which is a nice medium golden rum). So when I read that the recipe Susan posted uses a light and a dark rum, I thought, “perfect!” because that’s essentially what my infusion is. I didn’t have orgeat syrup on hand, however, since it’s a little sweet, citrusy and floral, my ideal substitute would be St. Germain. It has the most beautiful aroma reminiscent of sweet honeysuckle and roses, but not too heavy or perfume-like at all.  And those who know me, KNOW that St. Germain is my favorite addition to so many cocktails. It adds a certain je nails se quoi that leaves you wondering!

So my version went like this:

4 ounces of pineapple infused rum (fresh pineapple chunks, fill mason jar half with light rum, half with dark, such as Goslings, or all Mt. Gay, and let sit for a week or two)

1 1/2 ounces St. Germain

the juice from 1 lime

the juice from 1/4 wedge of an orange

the juice from a 1/4 wedge of a lemon

Shake over ice, pour into a chilled glass and serve it up! Garnish with lime peel and a pineapple wedge. To lighten it up? Add just a splash of club soda.

Thanks for the inspiration, Susan! Next time you and Ted come over, let’s have “Chopped Cocktails”! :)

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Fresh grapefruit, anyone?


One of my favorite recipes (and inn guests as well) in my cookbook The Art of Breakfast is the Grapefruit Brûlée. And somehow I always find myself inspired to transform breakfast creations into cocktails for the “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” part of the day. I think it comes from the beautiful colors that fresh fruits provide. The brûlée recipe is a cold grapefruit half, a chilled vanilla cream sauce and it gets topped with raw sugar and torched (I love to use my torch). So how did I transform this into a cocktail? Quite simply. Fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit, vanilla vodka and a brown sugar rim. DELICIOUS!

Grapefruit Brûlé Cocktail

Grapefruit Brûlé Cocktail

My Favorite Cocktail: a French Gimlet


Those who follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter know that I love to post cocktail photos. But for me, it’s all about the creation. About mixing fresh flavors, citrus, herbs and sometimes, colors. And just like with cooking, I get inspired by colors when I think about creating a fun cocktail. But sometimes it’s all about the flavor. Sometimes the most flavor can be found in a cocktail with next to no color. That’s where my French Gimlet comes in. It’s a twist on the classic Gimlet, which is gin or vodka with fresh lime. My favorite French version dresses it up with the addition of the French elixir, St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur.  It’s sweet, floral and VERY aromatic. It works quite well with citrusy cocktails.

Just three ingredients go into this one – vodka or gin (like any Gimlet), St. Germain and fresh lime juice. I prefer gin in this one – the floral notes of the St. Germain offset the herbaceous notes of the gin, creating a beautifully balanced concoction!

If you like a less tart cocktail, use more St. Germain. If you like tart, like grapefruit, follow my recipe:

1 ¾ ounces Hendrick’s or Bombay Sapphire Gin

¾ ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur

¾ ounces freshly squeezed lime juice

Pour all ingredients into an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime peel or lime slice.

Sip and savor!

1496112_10201644122718917_273197985_oNote: There are less expensive elderflower liqueurs on the market but what I’ve tasted is inferior, so it’s worth spending the extra $$ for St. Germain.

THE FUCHSIATINI – Twenty 2 Vodka, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Basil Simple Syrup and Beet Simple Syrup


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Talk about gorgeous color? The photo doesn’t do it justice! Amounts are about (I rarely actually measure) 2 to 1 vodka to juice. Fresh grapefruit juice and vodka are the primary ingredients. But I made a simple syrup by cooking raw beets with a splash of St. Germain, sugar and water. Then I made a basil simple syrup (which I LOVE on strawberries with fresh lemon) and added a dash of both simple syrups to come up with this beautiful cocktail! I give you, the Fuchsiatini !!

Creative infusion du jour…round two…


This is a Roasted Tomato Bloody Mary. I started with Twenty 2 vodka (high proof spirit). I roasted Roma tomatoes with olive oil, salt and pepper. When dark and caramelized, I added them to a mason jar, tossed in some black peppercorns and filled the jar with Twenty 2 vodka. I let the jar sit in the fridge for about 72 hours, then strained and added filtered water (remember, this is 160 proof!!!).

So to my Bloody Mary today I added a splash of Twenty 2 chile pepper infused vodka, some Mrs. T’s mix, horseradish, lime and spicy banana peppers for garnish and ice. And here you are. Happy Sipping!

Tasting the Twenty 2 Vodka Infusions…


So this was my first taste of the lemon infusion I made a few days ago. I added cranberry juice, Twenty 2 vodka and my Twenty 2 lemon infusion. The result was a bright, not too sweet version of the classic Cosmo, but with lemon instead of orange.

Happy Sipping!

Let the Twenty 2 Vodka High Proof Spirit infusion testing begin…


So I began with several mason jars…and Twenty 2 Vodka‘s High Proof Spirit

The fun includes:

  • toasted marshmallow
  • oven roasted tomato and peppercorn (great for Bloody Marys)
  • grapefruit basil
  • pineapple
  • raspberry
  • blackberry
  • blueberry thai basil
  • lemon
  • chile pepper

Anyone who follows me knows that I like to use the torch in the kitchen. So I decided to burn some marshmallows to infuse. That’s where it started. There are marshmallow flavored vodkas out there but I wanted to try making my own, but with my favorite Maine spirit, Twenty 2. I like a good Bloody Mary now and then (think I learned that from my parents, thanks mom and dad!) and most of all, I love citrus and basil. Oh and let’s not forget about the sweet and spicy cocktails, so I had to do a spicy infusion!

The last five need another day or two and I’ll post about those later!

Next up? Cocktails using the infusions! Stay tuned…