Originally designed to prepare and serve the seasonal time-lapse cocktails at the Aviary, Porthole is a stylish infuser designed by Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail design studio. It has been available to the public since their extremely successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2012. They raised over $700,000. I can see why. A look at their gorgeous infusions is enough to convince most amateur mixologists that they need one.
Personally, if I would get one, it would be to make and serve spa water, fruity lemonades and iced teas. Here are a few recipes that you can make at home:
Porthole is currently backordered at Crucial Detail but they should be back in stock in june, just in time for Father’s Day.
Add style to your closing ceremony get together by serving a bronze, silver and gold metal cocktails. Or be the judge and pick one as your signature drink.
The recipes are from Bombay ambassador, the master mixologist Raj Nagra who made the cocktails for me at the Bombay Sapphire event in Montreal two weeks ago. I already shared the recipe for the Bronze medal cocktail. Now, it is time to share the silver and the gold medal cocktail recipes.
Silver medal: Watermelon and Mint Collins
2 parts (60 ml) Bombay Sapphire
4 Chunks of ripe watermelon chunks
8 mint leaves
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part simple syrup
2 parts (60 ml) Processo
Glass: Wine glass
Method: Muddle, mint and sugar in your shaker. Add other ingredients and shake with ice. Pour in wine glass and top with the Processo. Garnish: Long mint tip
Gold medal: Citrus Splash
1 heaped tsp Citrus marmalade
1 part Spiced syrup
1 part Fresh lemon juice
2 parts Bombay Sapphire
1 Egg white
Glass: Cocktail coup
Method: Shake all ingredients (except nutmeg). Shake again with ice. Strain into cocktail couple. Garnish: Fresh nutmeg and grapefruit wheel
All three drinks were delicious. If I have to pick a favorite it would be the Watermelon and Mint Collins. To my surprise, I was delighted when I took a sip by the Citrus Splash; I was unsure that I would like it when I saw some of the ingredients. But I did!!! The ingredients remind me of a late late brunch.
Are you planning something special for the Olympics closing ceremony?
Last week was the annual Bombay Sapphire event that I like to attend. I am in love with this year formula because it enables me to get unique content. For the occasion, the new Bombay ambassador, the master mixologist Raj Nagra, made three summer cocktails that fit my own taste. Any of those could become a signature drink for my outdoor parties.
I am sharing today the easiest one of the three. It is a girlie twist on the classic Collins. I love the color! The swizzle stick looks like a piece of jewelry. I was kind of hoping that I found a set inside our gift box. To be fair, the gift box was nice and I will be proud to serve drinks in the tumbler glasses that they gave us.
Blueberry & Basil Collins recipe
2 parts (60 ml) Bombay Sapphire
4 basil leaves
1 part (30 ml) Fresh lemon juice or the Juice of one lemon
1 part (30 ml) Simple syrup
Method: Muddle blue berries and simple syrup. Add Bombay, basil and lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain over ice. Top with soda water and stir gently. Garnish: Blueberries on a swizzle stick
I will try to share the two other recipes before the weekend shortly.
I was happy to share my summer entertaining tips for the 2012 awareness campaign of the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada. Since the refreshing watermelons are available all summer long, I feel that watermelon is the fruit of summer.
My number 1. Another way to serve the Spiked Melon Balls would be on a lollipop. Serve the lollipops speared into a wheatgrass bed or onto a watermelon.
My number 2. If you host a brunch on a hot summer day, replace the classic by the more refreshing Watermelon Mimosa. To make watermelon juice, you simply need to blend cubed watermelon and strain it through a sieve. Try it with a light Champagne.
My number 3. Finish a grown up dinner with this lovely Watermelon Lavender Granita that contains a hint of vodka. Use watermelon or citrus flavoured vodka to enhance the flavour.
My number 5. For a summer picnic with family and friends, impress the crowd with some delicious Jamaican Rock Lobster Tacos wrapped in parchment paper and tied with twine. I would probably prepare my tacos with seasonal clawed lobsters since they are a local product for me.
Writing this post made me hungry. I will pour myself a glass of my watermelon and mint spa water while I cook dinner.
Note: I wrote this post on my free will; it is a not part of the program that I did for the National Watermelon Promotion Board in Canada.
Garnish with an orange peel and serve in a martini glass
If you live in a place where the NUVO Sparkling Liqueur is not available, you could prepare a Pomtini instead.
1 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. sour mix, or 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime
1/2 oz. simple syrup (equal parts sugar and cold water dissolved together)
Assemble all ingredients in bar or mixing glass. Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with spiraled orange rind.
Pink Blossom recipe
45 ml (1 1/2 oz) dry gin
15 ml (1/2 oz) lemon liqueur (Limoncello or other)
90 ml (3 oz) pink‐grapefruit juice
3 ice cubes
Combine all the ingredients in a shaker ﬁlled with ice cubes.
Shake vigorously for 8 to 10 seconds.
Strain into a martini glass using an ice strainer.
Garnish with two raspberries or small strawberries.
Nude Nuvo recipe
The last one can’t be easier then this.
Chilled NUVO sparkling liqueur
Served over ice in a champagne flute
Although its color is a faded pink, I enjoy the taste of the grapefruit mimosa at Griffintown Café. This is where we will go for brunch this Sunday.
How do you plan to treat your mom this Sunday? Start by telling me which cocktail (it doesn’t have to be those) that you or your mom will be delighted to drink?
I am always on the look out for tasty summer drinks. The New Times asked mixologists to share a summer cocktail with 3 ingredients or less. Garnishes, sugar, seltzer and simple syrup do not count. Merlin Griffiths, the global ambassador for Bombay Sapphire, told me at a media event that it is best to make a sweeter simple syrup (meaning 2 parts sugar per part of water). You simply put less into your drinks.
Campari is synonym with summer for me. Therefore, I was sad that The New York Times did not published their version of the Campari Sour. I browsed across the Internet and I found several versions. I even found on the Web site of Campari two recipes. I decided to try my own. Once I mastered it, I will share it with you.
+ Summer Cocktails Made Simpler from The New York Times – photos: Andrew Scrivani
+ Campari sour photo: Yana Paskova for The New York Times
The Bombay Sapphire media event gave us the occasion to learn new cocktail recipes. They collaborated with a local chef to pair each cocktail with an appetizer. This year, Eric Gonzales of Auberge Saint-Gabriel was the invited chef in Montreal. I learned several cooking tips from Eric. His food was delicious. I shared his recipes so you can try it at home while sipping your drink.
Merlin Griffiths showed us how to make his modern take on the classic French 75 cocktail. The addition of pear nectar adds a rich, fresh flavor that helps to combat the acidity of the lemon and champagne. I helped Merlin prepared the Sapphire French Highball at the Bombay Sapphire media event. We put it on tape. The images aren’t great due to the lights from the windows but Merlin gives good insights.
Sapphire French Highball Recipe
1 oz Bombay Sapphire
0.5 oz Lemon juice
0.5 oz Simple syrup – 2 parts sugar & 1 part boiling water; stir until dissolved and chill
1 oz Pear nectar/juice
Top with Champagne or Sparkling Wine
Garnish: lemon twist and edible gold flakes
Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and pear nectar to a highball glass. Stir. Fill the glass with cracked ice (lightly smash some ice cubes). Top slowly with champagne and stir once more. Garnish with a long “shoestring” lemon twist and edible gold flakes for pizzazz.
If you do not find it at your local grocery store, know that edible gold flakes are available at Indian food stores.
Cooking with Gin
If you wish to cook with the Bombay Sapphire gin, Chef Eric Gonzales thinks that it seafood and gin are a perfect combination. You can go with scallops, urchin or mussels. For the event, Eric cooked us a tasty clam recipe.
Speakeasy Clam Recipe
Serves 1 dozen clams
Canned clams were a favorite during the prohibition era. You have to remember that there were no fridge at the time; so canned food was more popular. This recipe is a spin on “Classic Clams Casino”, a dish that was served in the popular restaurants and supper clubs in the 1920’s. The use of toasted crushed almonds in this recipe highlights the almond botanicals featured in Bombay Sapphire gin.
50 cl Olive oil
60 g Shallots, finely chopped
1 Clove garlic
10 cl Bombay Sapphire gin
2 small sticks of Liquorice (or fennel) – Liquorice sticks can be bought at the drugstore.
2 springs of Fresh thyme
Zest of one lemon
Sea salt, freshly ground pepper
Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add pepper (to taste), clams and deglaze with a drizzle of gin. Add lemon zest, thyme, liquorice, salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, remove the clams and leave to cool. Remove clams from their shells. Reduce the juices by half.
Clam and crab topping
125 g Snow crab meat
35 g chopped Italian parsley
20 g finely chopped fresh basil
35 g melted Butter
50 g shredded Parmesan
60 g Breadcrumbs
40 g crushed, roasted almonds
Zest and juice of one lemon to taste
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Sauté the shallots until soft, deglaze with the gin, reduce by half. Add the clams after cutting them in half, the crab meat, herbs, parmesan and season with lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Mix the almonds, breadcrumbs and melted butter together. Preheat the oven to 375º F, place the clam shelves on a cookie sheet, garnish with the clam and crab mixture, top with breadcrumbs and bake for 5 minutes.
The media event of Bombay Sapphire is my overall favorite media event. Every year, I always looked for it. One reason might be that the global ambassador of Bombay Sapphire Merlin Griffiths is an amazing storyteller. Plus, I always left the event with three more drinks to add to my cocktail recipe book.
The theme was speakeasy, which led to great tales. Take notes since it is a theme that would be awesome for a birthday party. In case that you do not know, a speakeasy, also called a blind pig or blind tiger, is a secret establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages. They gained popularity during the prohibition era. They were often members-only establishments. One famous speakeasy in Chicago used a personalized gold key to identify their members. The gold key attached to my invitation told me that we would get a treat. We did!
How to Host a Speakeasy Party at Home
Keep to an invitation-only guest list. Speakeasy were about a selected few. Therefore, invite a small number of close friends. Ask your guests to dress the part by either wearing 1920s-style clothes or their favorite stylish clothes. Display a few props and serve a few classic cocktails.
Chunks of Ice in Your Drinks
Good quality ice plays a role in making outstanding cocktails. Make yours with boiled water for a clear, pure taste. If you wish to stay true to the era, serve your drinks on ice chunks, that you smash from an ice block. Merlin explained to us how to make your own ice block. Pour the boiled water in an Eskimo cooler and put it on the freezer for 3 or 4 days. This is the amount of time it takes to freeze.
One last details are the glasses. Your grandma treasures would be perfect for this occasion. Otherwise, shop at a dollar store or visit the flea markets to find your set of old-style tumblers and highball glasses.
Have a look at this video for all the insights on how to make your own Sapphire and Sin (recipe below).
Sapphire and Sin Recipe
1.5 oz. of Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz. fresh orange juice
0.5 oz. fresh ginger syrup (recipe below)
Ginger slices and cilantro leaves for garnish
You can make it ahead and filter the juice in a fine strainer.
Add all the ingredients to a cocktail shaker, starting with the gin, follow by the juices and the ginger syrup. Add big pieces of ice that you just smashed from your ice block. Then, shake vigorously. Serve on the rocks in a tumbler. Garnish with ginger slices and cilantro leaves.
Ginger Syrup Recipe
Put in a saucepan 1 cup of powdered white sugar, 3/4 cup of boiling water and 5 thick slices of peeled ginger root. Or you could use ginger root juice to infuse your simple syrup with flavor. Cook the mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat. Let it cool for 30 minutes and strain into a clean bottle. Refrigerate. You can keep it for several weeks in the fridge.
I will share more drink recipes in the coming days. In the meantime, you can see more photos on my Facebook page.
Instead of serving a glass of Champagne, you can serve Champagne cocktails. You can either use real Champagne or a sparkling wine. We found that the Roederer Estate Brut NV from California is a wonderful substitute to the real thing. A versatile Champagne is the Veuve Clicquot.
The Kitchn shared three bubbly cocktails. Their Pear-Cranberry Champagne calls for an optional dash of orange bitters. For next time, I found two online sources; one in Canada and in the United States.
Here are three simple Holiday recipes from Ricardo Larrivée, that many of you know from his cooking show Ricardo and Friends at Food Network Canada. For party favors or hostess gifts, you can make several jars of Creamy Fudge Spread. It will also come handy if you host a brunch.
No need of having any baking skills to bring a Cookie Kit in the jar to the hostess. Simply write the step-by-step instructions on a nice piece of paper or a gift tag.
You can bring at a party a bottle of your own Clementine-Flavored Vodka. It is made with freshly squeezed clementine juice, lemon juice, sliced clementines, sliced lemon, sugar and your favorite vodka.