Category Archives: Champagne Taste Beer Money

The Gentleman Caller’s Texas Gin and Cucumber Martini

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Ahhh, it’s coming. Summertime. Cut offs and cowboy boots. Oh, wait, I outgrew that when I was 6. It was an interesting look though. Maybe I’ll try to bring it back this year.

I digress. Texas has had a lot of distilleries pop up in the last decade or so, and some of them are doing tremendous business. When I was down there a few weeks ago, I went to the local hooch house and eyeballed what they had that was fun and new. I ended up bringing back to New York a gin called Old Highborn. It’s nice, smooth, and very affordable.

Now if you come here much, you know I like a cucumber. I wanted to fuse the summery cucumber and the dry gin in a glass with a lovely froth on top. I did a little testing and now present you The Gentleman Caller’s Texas Gin and Cucumber Martini. This makes two 4 to 5 ounce martinis or one fish bowl, ya lush.

What you need:

  • 3 ounces dry gin (I used Old Highborn)
  • 1 ounce elderflower liqueur
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 of a large cucumber, rough peeled and chopped
  • 1 egg white

Put 2 martini glasses in the freezer or fill with crushed ice.

Muddle the cucumber pieces thoroughly and then press the juice through a wire mesh, careful to keep seeds out of the liquid.

Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add gin, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lemon juice, strained cucumber juice, and egg white. Shake like crazy.

Strain into chilled glasses. Garnish with cucumber skin if you like, but really the egg white froth is quite enough fanfare.

Enjoy!

Downloadable PDF here: The Gentleman Caller’s Texas Gin and Cucumber Martini

Cheers to you,

The Gentleman Caller

The Gentleman Caller’s Texas Gin and Cucumber Martini

 

The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate

 

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Wow, it’s coming fast, kids. We’re just ripping those doors off our advent calendars at breakneck pace!

Today I got a great big package from Alvin, Texas and I was perplexed as to what it might contain. So I FaceTimed with Momma so she could walk me through it in case I wasn’t supposed to open something from “Santa Claus.”

To my delight and surprise, it was filled with homemade cookies, fudge, citrus from mom’s backyard trees (standby for The Gentleman’s Winter Marmalade Recipe…), and this enduring classic: The Gentleman’s Momma’s Holiday Hot Chocolate.

Every year in December mom would make this beverage powder, and divvy it up into decorative containers, mugs, and jars. Then she would gift it to friends and relatives. This tastes like my childhood.

Here’s what you need:

Don’t you love when the recipe is in the hand of the person from whom you receive it? 

  • 1-8 quart box powdered milk
  • 1-1 pound box of Nestle Quick (it’s now branded as Nesquik and has a big rabbit on the front)
  • 1-1 pound box powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces powdered creamer

Combine all the ingredients in a big mixing bowl.

In a kettle or the microwave heat water or milk. Add 1 cup of liquid to 1/4-1/2 cup dry ingredients. Add marshmallows. Add a peppermint. Add Baileys and look at the tree.

Make all your friends happy by sharing your concoction. Or drink the whole damn batch yourself!

More later.

The Gentleman Caller (+ Momma)

THE GENTLEMAN’S MOMMA’S HOLIDAY HOT CHOCOLATE

The Donkey in the Manger, aka The Gentleman’s Holiday Mule

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock knock knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Hello, holiday revelers!

I’m about to knock your stockings off with a donkey kick to the palate with my Holiday Mule.

Do you know what a pomander is? It’s when you take an orange and shove cloves in its skin in a decorative way. We used to make them when I was a kid. Very aromatic. This was my inspiration for this beverage.

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Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup whole cloves
  • oranges
  • vodka
  • ginger beer**
  • club soda
  • orange bitters

Combine water, sugar, and cloves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes. While that’s cooking, use a vegetable peeler to take the outer skin off the orange.

At the end of the 20 minutes, add the orange peel to the saucepan and remove from heat. Allow to steep and cool. Reserve a peel or two for garnish. Strain the solids out of the syrup once cool.

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Fill your mule glass with ice. A traditional mule is copper with a handle. I found this ridiculously cute one at Pier One Imports.

To the ice add:

  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce cooled clove-orange syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh orange juice (if not using fresh, reduce to 1/2 ounce)
  • 2 ounces ginger beer**
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • dash of orange bitters

**ginger beer has no alcohol. Make this kid and Designated Driver friendly by simply eliminating the vodka.

Swirl with a spoon to get everything happily married. Toss a reserved orange peel on top and chug-a-lug from that sweet copper mug!

I’m certain this will become one of your holiday staples.

Enjoy in moderation.

xoxo,

The Gentleman Caller

THE DONKEY IN THE MANGER, AKA THE GENTLEMAN’S HOLIDAY MULE

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Make them say OOOOH with a Punchbowl Ice Wreath

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Knock, knock, knock.

Gentleman Caller.

This is an oldie but a goodie, friends. The classic ice wreath.

Now if you’re like me, you have sweet memories of cut glass punchbowls and ladies stirring concoctions of sherbet, 7-Up, pineapple juice and other sweet delights into it and watching the foam rise. Family parties, showers, holidays… A punch bowl was a staple. Granted you get a thimbleful of liquid in the dainty cups, but when it’s loaded with the calories of a traditional Southern style punch, perhaps that isn’t a negative.

Earlier I told you about a crisp Autumn cocktail with cranberries and cinnamon syrup. I made this beverage in a large quantity (just make all the ounces into cups…) in my vintage cut glass punch bowl and it was a hit.

Now if you know anything about me by now, you know half-assed is not an option. So I crowned the punch with a shining ice wreath. And it really did look like a crown.

Here’s what to do. This wreath is ideally for Vaccinium Autumn Vaccination.

  • Put a bundt pan in the freezer for a couple of hours. Make sure it’s flat/level.
  • Add about a cup of cranberries to the bottom. Add about a half cup of lemon Perrier mixed with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon syrup (see Vaccinium recipe). This shouldn’t cover the berries. Cranberries float; that’s how they are harvested. You only want to glue the berries down with the liquid mixture as it freezes.
  • Once that layer is frozen solid, add grapefruit juice to cover the berries and then some.
  • Allow that to freeze solid.
  • Slice and de-seed a lemon (thin slices). Leaving the mold in the freezer, adhere the slices into the broad side sections of the pan. The slices will freeze on contact like a tongue to flagpole.
  • Allow that to all freeze solid.
  • Mix about a cup of grapefruit juice, a cup of cranberry juice, a little cinnamon syrup and some lemon seltzer so you have enough liquid to almost cover the lemons. It should all be cold. Pour it into the mold.
  • Peek at it occasionally. When it starts to get good and slushy, poke a cinnamon stick into the narrower divots at the edge so that they will be visible.
  • Allow to freeze solid.

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When you’re ready to serve the punch, run the bundt pan carefully under hot water. Don’t allow the water to come into contact with the ice ring. It should slide out quite easily. Add your crowning touch to the punch. You may put either side up; the one side will have red glistening cranberries, the other a crown of cinnamon sticks. You can’t go wrong.

I hope you wow your guests with this relatively simple show stopper.

All for now.

The Gentleman Caller

Sparkling Ice Ring Crown in a vintage cut glass punch bowl
Sparkling Ice Ring Crown in a vintage cut glass punch bowl

 

Vaccinium Autumn Vaccination – The Gentleman’s Fall Special

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Manicured hand courtesy of Chris Crowthers.

Printable PDF at the bottom of the page!

Knock, knock, knock.

Gentleman Caller.

Yeah, I know. You’re thinking, “What in the hell has he titled this beverage?” Vaccinium is the term for a species of low bushes that yield the delicious, tart cranberry. And you know what a vaccination is. Consider this cocktail a vaccination from your loud mouth brother-in-law or cousin that’s coming to Thanksgiving dinner and going to talk politics and conspiracy theories all day. Just simply look at your spouse or significant other, or perhaps a worldly child relative, and say, “Babes, I need another VAV.” See, an acronym there.

In all seriousness, though, this bad boy is not too sweet and really tasty. I auditioned it before a room of sophisticates and got the thumbs up.

Here’s what you need:

  • Cranberry syrup – in a small saucepan, combine 1 cup cranberries with 1 cup orange juice. Bring to a boil and simmer till all the berries pop. Take a potato masher and smash ’em good. Run the mixture through a wire strainer, dispensing with the leftover solids. Tah dah, cranberry syrup.
  • Cinnamon syrup – in a small saucepan ( I know, you want to hit me with a small saucepan because this is already too much work), combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Add 5 cinnamon sticks that you’ve broken up a bit with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin. Bring to a boil. Simmer ten minutes and then let steep and cool. Strain the cinnamon sticks out. Tah dah, cinnamon syrup.
  • Lillet (pronounced li-lay, a French aperitif wine, relatively easy to find)
  • Vodka
  • Perrier lemon flavor
  • Fresh cranberries for garnish

In a shaker or jar or whatever, combine 1 oz cranberry syrup, 1 oz cinnamon syrup, 1 oz Lillet, and 2 oz of Vodka. Swirl it around. Pour into a rocks glass over ice. It better be square ice. You know I don’t like misshapen ice cubes. Top with Lemon Perrier. Toss in 3 cranberries. Voila!

This is the PERFECT beverage to serve at your cocktail parties or family gatherings this time of year. I mean, one sip and your leaves might change color. I don’t know what exactly that means; use your imagination.

I’m out for now, fellow fans of fall.

The Gentleman Caller

VACCINIUM AUTUMN VACCINATION – THE GENTLEMAN’S FALL SPECIAL

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