Today's post is by Michelle Syracuse from gather365, a must read for amazing food and drink recipes and East Bay restaurant reviews! xo, Heather
I was thrilled when my friend and fellow blogger, Heather, invited me to do a guest post for Poppy Haus. I love her sensibility, and of course her great ideas for DIY projects. But the thing I love the most is she does it all with 2 very active little boys underfoot. I can relate to that challenge, as I have 2 little wild things of my own.
While it's true there are days when total chaos ensues and our quest for order derailed, we press on in our determination to live, entertain and decorate with a bit of style. And when it comes to stylish entertaining nothing says - "I've got it all together" faster (and easier) than offering your guests a carefully crafted signature cocktail. I kick off every party this way and I've compiled dozens of recipes at gather365 - come on over for some tasty inspiration.
Although it would be fun, you don't need to become a mixologist to make great cocktails. Simply adopt a few game-changer techniques like infusing spirits and mixing custom simple syrups, consider the compatibility with your menu and experiment a little. If you really want to pursue the mixology thing though let this be your bible.
Heather gave me 2 parameters: use only seasonal ingredients - always great advice, and no gin. I gave myself 2 additional ones - a drink that looks as good as it tastes - presentation is everything, and use a recipe that incorporates a few special techniques.
So I whipped up a kumquat Campari martini. The spirit is infused vodka and the seasonal ingredient is kumquat. All citrus marries well with most cocktail recipes, but I especially like this quirky, inside out, sweet and sour variety - the peel is sweet while the fruit is sour. Plus they make for a very festive garnish and no cocktail is properly dressed without that.
If martinis aren't your thing, or you need to make a big batch rather than individual drinks - which I highly recommend for large gatherings, try this recipe.
Kumquat Campari Martini
- 2 oz kumquat infused vodka*
- 1/4 oz Campari
- 1/2 oz kumquat, cardamom simple syrup**
- 1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, strain into a stem glass, and garnish with a slice of kumquat.
Infused vodka: Combine 1/2 pint of kumquats, sliced in half, with 12 oz of vodka and store in sealed glass container for at least 24 hours - 72 hours is best. Adjust the amount of fruit and spirit for number of cocktails - this will make approximately 8 drinks.
Custom simple syrup: Combine 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water plus a hand full of sliced kumquats and 3 dried cardamom pods* in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Cool completely before continuing.
*I served this cocktail with a Moroccan Chicken dish which included cardamom but you could substitute with fresh mint, ginger, lemongrass or star anise if that was a better match for your food.