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Tag Archives: cocktail

Hot Bourbon Vanilla Spiced Cocktail Recipe

Warm up with a Hot Bourbon Milk Cocktail

With more cold and rainy nights ahead, I thought what better way to warm the heart and soul than with a hot toddy.

As a child I recall when my mom would serve me warm milk before bedtime. The warm milk relaxed my body, and my eyes became heavy.  So I’ve created the adult version of this drink with some spices and a little kick. Try my warm cocktail that tastes just as comforting as when you were a young child. This is the perfect hot toddy after a day of skiing or outdoor hiking.

Combine all ingredients including bourbon, vanilla, anise, milk, maple syrup and cardamon. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Combine all ingredients including bourbon, vanilla, anise, milk, maple syrup and cardamon. Photo by Christine Willmsen

I concocted this recipe using a sample of Lagrima vanilla, made in Seattle by Neil and Rebekah Beam. They get single-source organic vanilla beans from places like Uganda and use vodka, bourbon and rum for their extracts.

Hot in the Kitchen – Hot Bourbon Spiced Milk

Ingredients:

Strain cocktail through a fine sieve. Photo by Christine Willmsen

Strain cocktail through a fine sieve. Photo by Christine Willmsen

½ cup whole milk

1 shot bourbon

1 teaspoon Lagrima vanilla (bourbon extract)

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 star anise pods

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for five minutes, occasionally stirring it. Remove from heat, and pour mixture through a small, fine mesh sieve or colander and serve in a brandy glass or coffee mug with a cinnamon stick.

Cheers

Christine

The Solo Cook creates the Shiso Cucumber Martini

Shiso, also known as perilla, is a great herb to use in cocktails. This martini combines shiso and cucumber.

Try shiso leaves with a cocktail, fish or salad

This bold and herbaceous cocktail I created will quench your thirst. And exactly how I concocted it is just as interesting as the history of the main ingredient – shiso. Plus, discover how one of Seattle’s famous chefs, Thierry Rautureau, uses shiso in his kitchen.

After a brief, but much-needed vacation, The Solo Cook is back, filing you in on the best recipes and hot spots to visit. Don’t think for a second that while I was taking time off I wasn’t thinking of you.  While I may have been entertaining my dad and friend Jane, I was still thinking of ideas for gardening, cooking and enjoying food for all the single people out there. If anything, my time away, stimulated even more ideas.

Shiso seeds can be bought at any nursery or garden store.

Given my need for things that involve risk, I was committed to planting something other than traditional herbs and plants in my garden this year. In mid-June I bought shiso seeds and planted them in a little container on my deck. Weeks later, to my surprise, little red and green plants sprouted and my shiso, also known as perilla, appeared. This annual flourished in the small pot, but it never emerged from the relatively dry ground near my dahlias. So I recommend you plant the seeds directly in a container in early June, and once the plant is a few inches tall, start to harvest the leaves.

If you lack a green thumb, don’t worry about growing shiso. The fresh leaves can be purchased at most Asian grocery stores.

Plant red and green shiso in June. It also can be purchased in Asian markets and grocery stores.

Shiso is a rich source of calcium and iron, and imparts subtle hints of clove, cinnamon and cumin. I decided to plant shiso, also known as Japanese basil, because I enjoy it with one of my favorite types of food – sushi. But don’t relegate this herb to just chopsticks.

For some expert advice on shiso, I turned to James Beard Award-winning chef Thierry Rautureau, who owns Rover’s and Luc restaurants in Seattle.

Rautureau, who competed on “Top Chef Masters” on Bravo TV, has been growing shiso for years, and has developed quite a liking for it.

“I love steaming my cod with a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and take a couple big leaves of purple shiso and wrap the fish in it,” Rautureau says. “Shiso is a great addition to a steamed dish as it releases its pungent perfume.”

For a salad, he recommends combining shiso with watermelon, feta and lemon-olive oil dressing.

In Asian folklore, shiso was a sacred herb that if disrespected or stepped on meant death, according to Botanical Interests, a seed company. Another factoid of interest is that in the U.S., shiso was a key ingredient in sarsaparilla and flavored dental products.

For this blog, I usually create a food recipe perfect for one, but I thought it would be daring to concoct a drink with something from my garden.

Be adventuresome and try this cocktail. At a minimum, I can guarantee it will be intoxicating.

Hot in the Kitchen

Shiso Cucumber Martini

Muddle shiso leaves and cucumber.

Ingredients:

2 shots premium vodka

6 shiso leaves (two for garnish) that can be grown or purchased at Asian market

2 teaspoons simple syrup *

¼ cucumber cut into chunks (thin slice for garnish)

Tear shiso leaves apart and put in cocktail shaker or pint glass. Use the handle of wooden spoon (like mine from Ecuador) or a muddler to mash cucumber and shiso together. Add vodka and simple syrup and continue to muddle. Add ice to glass until half full, and shake or stir.

Garnish martini with cucumber slice and two shiso leaves.

Strain ingredients into a martini glass and garnish with a red and green shiso leaf and a thin cucumber slice.

* Simple syrup is a must-have when making cocktails and other drinks. Just bring to boil equal parts sugar and water together until dissolved. After cooling, syrup can be stored in refrigerator for several months. I usually make one cup.

Cheers

Christine

Tapas bar in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood is a hit for singles

Ocho – a Hot Solo Spot

This deviled egg delight combines salmon roe, pickled onion, tomato dust and dill.

Turn to Ocho in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, if you want a restaurant that has small bites, made just for one person with an artistic impression.  As The Solo Cook, I look for places that single people can enjoy, whether it’s the vibe of the place or the menu that is eclectic and perfect for one. I’ll share my secret hot solo spots with you and I’ll also discover new places along the way.

At Ocho they throw great cocktails behind the bar and create bite-size menu items that are loaded with flavors from Spain.

This small tapas bar at 2325 NW Market St. is hopping, but there’s usually an empty seat at the bar. I also like to people-watch so I sit in the outdoor area, just in front, where I’m entertained by the foot, bike and car traffic, zooming by the table.

The Solo Cook enjoys the San Miguel cocktail at Ocho, a tapas bar in Seattle.

What’s fantastic about Ocho and other tapas bars is that you get to try several menu items, without getting full like you would if you ordered a large entrée.

Visually, these tapas tempt the eyes. I craved deviled eggs as a child, so when I saw Ocho’s grown-up version, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the creamy egg. Their Huevo del Diablo for just $2.50 is an explosion of flavors in the mouth with salmon roe, dill, fried capers, pickled onion and tomato dust.

Another great menu item at $1.75 is the Banderilla de Boqueron, which combines skewered anchovy, red pepper, deep-fried artichoke and aioli.

“I wanted to convince people to try anchovies because in Spain they’re eaten like candy,” said Ocho owner and manager Zach Harjo.

While chatting with Harjo, I discovered his inspiration for the restaurant.

This tapas dish at Ocho will make you an anchovy and artichoke lover.

After graduating with several art degrees from University of Washington in 2003, Harjo backpacked through several regions of Spain. He discovered a vibrant nightlife with people standing at bars, nibbling food and having cocktails.

“I wanted to bring the bar nightlife of Spain to here,” he said about opening Ocho in 2008.  “The two or three dollar items inspired me in Spain and I love the flavors.”

To quench your thirst, I recommend you sip on the herbaceous and refreshing San Miguel drink with gin, St. Germain, rhubarb bitters and a touch of lemon.

Another gin drink called El Picador, changes colors as you imbibe. Because the speared beet bleeds into the drink, it turns red much like a Spanish bull bleeding in the ring, Harjo said. Drinks cost $8 and tapas about $2-9.

Cheers

Christine

My twitter account has changed, now follow me @thesolocook

Ocho on Urbanspoon

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