Teaching is my favorite thing to do in the liquor business. Whether training distributors’ sales teams, doing an on-premise spirits talk in bars and restaurants, or teaching a cocktail class for the everyday person who loves to entertain, sharing my passion for mixology keeps my own fire ignited. I particularly love teaming with a cooking school because it really exemplifies that following a cocktail recipe is not more complicated than making a cake.
I really love teaming up with the lovely ladies at Spork Foods in West Hollywood. Their all-vegan cooking school not only focuses on healthy, easy-to-make dishes but Jenny and Heather deliver the information with all the snappy fun of a one-two duo at an improv theater. It’s Los Angeles at its best!
This week, we presented a Kitchen Meets Bar cocktail class, based on the name of my video series Edible Cocktails: Kitchen Meets Bar, in which I use ingredients in both food and drink. The gals and I paired healthy appetizers with drinks using market-fresh ingredients, and the students got to make, nibble and drink the fruits of our (and their) labor. It was a blast! Here are some recipes for you to consider for your next party:
1) LAVENDER GIN SOUR, Paired with Vegan Cheese straws
- 2 ounces G’Vine Floraison gin
- 1 ounce Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 ounce lavender syrup
- Garnish: lavender sugar rim, edible flower
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with edible flower or lavender sprig.
Homemade Ingredient: Lavender syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup lavender buds
Bring all ingredients to a boil., stirring often. Once clear (all sugar dissolved), let cool. Let lavender sit overnight. Strain, and bottle.
2) DRUNKEN CHERRY MANHATTAN, Paired with Creamy Cashew Cheese with crudite and bread
- 2 ounces Whistle Pig Rye whiskey
- ¾ ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
- ½ ounce sweet vermouth
- dash bitters
- Garnish: Drunken Cherry
Stir with ice. Strain up into martini glass, or over ice in a double rocks glass. Place drunken cherry into glass.
Homemade Ingredient: Drunken Cherries with Cherry Heering liqueur & Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey Cover cherries in Cherry Heering liqueur and Whistle Pig whiskey. Cover, refrigerate.
3) PEAR MARGARITA, Paired withRoasted Tomatillo Salsa with organic chips
- 1 ½ ounces Excellia blanco tequila
- ¾ ounce Pear Puree
- ½ ounce Xante cognac-based pear liqueur
- ½ ounce lime juice
- Garnish: pear fan
Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with pear fan.
Homemade Ingredient: Pear Puree made with Xante cognac-based pear liqueur
- 2 cups peeled, chopped pears
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ cup Xante Pear Liqueur
Simmer all ingredients on medium heat for about 1 hour, or until pears are very soft and liquid has reduced. Cool, then puree in blender. Refrigerate.