Friends, it’s summertime. I am down in Texas this week trying not to melt as I make plans and preparations for fall gardening and an impending chicken coop (stay with me for that adventure).
Did you know that Vietnamese culture is very prevalent down here? Vietnamese is actually the third most spoken language behind English and Spanish. So I was noodling on a new cocktail idea and thought to combine some ingredients that would really represent the Gulf Coast region: basil used in Vietnamese cooking, lime juice, Tajín, Topo Chico and Western Son Gulf Coast Lime vodka.
I often refer to beverages as “summery” and this one is a summer super star. Bottoms up my lovelies!
WHAT YOU NEED:
1 ounce of fresh lime juice
1 1/2 – 2 ounces Western Son Gulf Coast Lime Vodka
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1 tsp. agave nectar
6-8 leaves of Thai basil
6 mint leaves
1 tsp. Tajín
In a rocks tumbler muddle the herbs vigorously. Add the top four ingredients. Put some ice in a shaker. Add the ingredients of the tumbler to the shaker and SHAKE IT!
In a saucer drag the teaspoon of Tajín into a little line. Use one of your spent lime rinds to wet the outer perimeter of your rocks tumbler. Coat the wet area in the Tajín.
Add fresh ice to the glass. Pour the contents of the shaker into the glass and top with Top Chico.
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.
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.
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.