One thing that we got more into this year is muddling. Now I confess I often have muddled thoughts, but in this case I refer to muddled drinks. Take some delicious fruit or herbs and gently press them in the bottom of your glass with a muddler. At first you might want to use a wooden spoon but as time goes on you will want a proper muddler.
I got a new one for Christmas that I quite like. It is wood, not lacquered, and of a decent length. (Yes, size matters!) Too short and you mash your fingers, nobody wants that!
Here is a video on proper muddling.
Once you get into the habit of muddling, the world is your oyster. Or cocktail, as it were.
You are already fabulous in the kitchen, why not try out your culinary prowess in the bar? Thai basil anyone? There are lots of fun recipes that you can come up with using fresh ingredients muddled into a drink.
Moving on, one of our favourite things to muddle is citrus for lager. You have had a lime wedge squeezed into a cerveza, would you be surprised to learn that citrus is great in all kinds of lager? Muddling the citrus gives you the great oils from the rind as well as the juice. The top photo shows our orange lager. Delicious and, hey, almost health-food. Ok, maybe not health food but getting closer.
A lovely drink here is a Raspberry-tini. In a Boston Shaker (the one with the glass and metal parts, behind the drink in the photo) place a handful of raspberries, fresh or defrosted. Muddle, and add two jiggers Framboise and four jiggers Raspberry Vodka. Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Delicious!
Not pictured - me eating the muddled raspberry slush out of the shaker. Hey, waste not want not! It is up to you if you want to strain muddled drinks or not.
If you are interested in the way-cool PUG muddlers, email Chris Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And for dessert - a Banana Mudslide from The Best Summer Drinks, Ray Foley.
1/4 oz Kahlua
1/4 oz Irish Cream
1/2 oz Crème de Bananes
1/2 oz Vodka
1 oz milk or cream
Blend with ice until smooth. Um, I multiplied this recipe by eight.. we were parched..
I hope I have given you a couple of ideas for drinks this New Years, and that you have a wonderful time.
Remember the Puppy Rules - no driving! Not even after one cocktail. And really, who wants only one cocktail? Arrange for a safe trip home before you go out.
Happy New Year!