Cocktails

Pineapple Mezcal Cooler

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I shake up Pineapple Mezcal Coolers! This cocktail uses my Fresh Pineapple Agave mix, made with fresh pineapple chunks and organic agave nectar then blended until nice and smooth – I love using my Vitamix The Quiet One blender! Add this to unaged mezcal (or silver tequila), fresh lime juice, earthy sage, and a splash of soda water for a late summer sipper. The Fresh Pineapple Agave also works as a tasty non-alcoholic beverage as well – just add soda water.

Enjoy! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 27th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Lifestyle, Small Screen Network, videos

Spirits Shine at Tales of the Cocktail

What do you get when you combine thousands of mixologists, spirit industry professionals, bar enthusiasts and a lot of libations together in New Orleans? Tales of the Cocktail, of course! Like a five day summer camp for the best and brightest in the spirits industry, Tales is THE highlight of the bartender circuit. Held annually in New Orleans, the week features seminars, parties, and cocktailing galore in this boozy 24-hour playground. It can be a liver workout – trust me!

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Guest Mixologists shaking up and showing off their creations at the Diageo USS World Class Happy Hour event: Tony Devencenzi, Beckaly Franks and Tim Cooper

The Competitive Spirit at Tales

Mixologists love to collaborate, but they also love to compete! And competitions abound at Tales, from this year’s challenge to create the best spin on the Rickey for the title of Official Cocktail of TOTC’13 to the Stoli Most Original Bartender competition and the Cocktails on Tap Contest sponsored by Drambuie.

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Jacob Greer’s Portland Rickey – official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2013

Reading, Learning, Shopping….Boozy Style!
No trip to Tales is complete without a stop at the TOTC Bookstore by Octavia Books. It is the definitive place to go for spirited books. All the new boozy tomes are there, from Molly Wellman’s Handcrafted Cocktails to bar pal Matt Seiter’s The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars which was a top 10 nominee for Tales’ Spirited Awards best new book. And this year they also incorporated a Bitters Market featuring a huge array of bitters — it’s hard to control yourself in there! So many great new books and bitters… HIDE my credit card!!!

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Molly with her new book, Handcrafted Cocktails!

And speaking of shops, Cocktail Kingdom transformed the Hotel Monteleone’s gift shop into a Pop-Up! Sparkly cut-glass yari cocktail mixing pitchers, gold stirring spoons, ice ball molding machines, sexy jiggers… if you have never shopped their site check it out – it’s my go-to for unique barware and cool cocktail products.

There were a lot of great panels and seminars but my favorite was “Fun with Hydrocolloids”. Molecular mixology and its techniques can sometimes be a bit intimidating but this crash course on hydrocolloids and its many uses was enlightening! They presented on the different types and what their textures were like – it was great for attendees to experience and feel these in a comparison tasting.

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Sazerac in an “Edible” Absinthe Shot Glass

I enjoy making cocktail gelees for seminars and love to discuss how “eating” liquor is so much different than drinking it, so I was very intrigued by the panelists take on a Sazerac. The drink was presented in an edible absinthe-infused gelee shot glass! Fair warning – spirited gelees look innocent enough, but their boozy bite might sneak up on you!

Those that know me well know that I am a garnish freak… I’ll admit that I can sometimes to get carried away. From edible gold flakes to baby coconuts and fluffy fire sticks…..I just love a good garnish! Garnishes are the finishing touches on our cocktail experience, and Francesco LaFranconi and Charlotte Voisey led a seminar about that very subject.  “Hey, Good-Looking” went through the history and functionality of garnishes and how to really jazz up your cocktail.

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I love Edible Fire Sticks for Garnish

The Ladies were in the House!
The west coast has always led the country in the local and sustainable food movement, and it’s evident in our many restaurants and bars installing everything from full working gardens to beehives on their premises. The trend is sweeping across the country, and Amy Stewart -also known as the Drunken Botanist- and Susan Morrison captured the essence in their panel, “Successful Bar Gardens”. These two ladies brought their considerable know-how and sage advice about all things green and gave us a panel chock-full of ways to put your green thumb to work for you and your bar, and the benefits having fresh produce right at your fingertips. And if that has your interest peaked check out my blog that I did on Amy’s Book The Drunken Botanist.

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Amy Stewart’s The Drunken Botanist

Speaking of the ladies: women were definitely shaking things up this year! Bombay Sapphire Gin Most Imaginative Bartender All-Stars Competition was won by a woman for the first time in Tales history! Miami’s Cricket Nelson took gold with her “Sapphire East Love Game”, a delicious elixir crafted with Earl Grey tea, rosebud syrup and fresh Thai basil. Yum!

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Cricket Nelson serving up her winning “Sapphire East Love Game” cocktail.

And then there were the Tastings….
All day, every day, spread throughout the city, from rum and mezcal to vermouth and champagne. Having just come back from Peru and a tour of the Porton distillery, I had to visit the Pisco Pavilion for a taste of my travels! Can I just say that Pisco Sour is my favorite new drink!

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Inspired by Tales – A Passion Fruit Pisco Porton Sour with Edible Baby Orchid I made at the Recent Flavor Experience Conference with Monin

And then it was on to all the special events that take place – the USS Diageo World Class Happy Hour for a libatious trip around the Mediterranean with featured cocktails with some of my favorite mixologists. Next it was off to see Liquid Kitchen associate Danny Ronen at the Krug House Champagne Tasting where he welcomed guests with ice-cold glasses of bubbles – a bit of a welcome reprieve from all those cocktails!

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Me enjoying the Krug House champagne tasting party with famed mixologist Francesco Lafranconi
photo by Danny Ronen

Spirited Dinners…
…are always the highlight of Thursday night. And this year I attended the Beam Great Whisk(e)y Debate. Held at the Bourbon House Restaurant, this spirited showdown aimed to determine once and for all what America’s favorite whisky is! Fred Noe III, 7th generation Master Distiller for Jim Beam, squared off against Kieran Folliard (Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey Ambassador), Dan Tullio (Canadian Club Ambassador) and Simon Brooking (Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch Ambassador ) and engaged in a good-natured -but not without much teasing, elbowing and well-meaning jibes- debate. Everyone fought valiantly, but in the end, and in the spirit of good sportsmanship, the moderator called a draw. We were more than happy to continue debating amongst ourselves over courses of whisky, naturally!

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The lords of whisky at The Great Whisk(e)y Debate – Simon Brooking, Kieran Folliard, Fred Booker Noe III and Dan Tullio – Yes! There were pins to support your favorite whisk(e)y guy.

The Spirited Awards
The Spirited Awards are the capstone event, honoring the cocktail industry’s top dogs over the past year. This year’s theme was The Roaring 20’s by way of The Great Gatsby, which was the perfect way to honor all things libatious!  And I want to give a special congratulations shout out to Charles Joly beverage director of The Aviary in Chicago on his win as American Bartender of the Year. I recently visited Charles at The Aviary on a trip to Chicago and had some of the best cocktails of my life – and that is no small claim considering how many I’ve tasted in my time! A well-deserved win!

And then there is all the swag that has to find a place in my suitcase:
One of the coolest perks of attending Tales of the Cocktail is the mysterious curtained-off lagniappe room.  Presenters, media and VIP’s were given a special bottle cap to obtain entry into the swag room and an “all you can fill bag”, then let loose upon the mountains of swag! I stuffed my bag with all sorts of goodies – from bar tools to key chains, little bottles of amaro, swizzle sticks, a handy compact raincoat – I’m from Seattle, of course I needed that! – and tons more boozy mementos of my wonderful time at Tales.

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Tales Swag

Leaving Tales is always bittersweet – I love learning new things and seeing my cocktail friends from all over the world, but eventually you’re up to your eyeballs in drinks and the floor at the Hotel Monteleone starts to just get a bit too sticky… that means it’s time to head home! See you next year at Tales!

-Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 14th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Conferences, Recent Posts, Tasty Travels, events

Sparkling Tradewinds Punch

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I make a crowd pleasing Sparkling Tradewinds Punch! Gold rum, brandy (cognac works too!), fresh fruit juices, a touch of Bitter Truth Apricot Liqueur, and Bitter Truth Creole Bitters all mingle together for this party drink. I even add in a bottle of brut champagne for bubbles and the Cherry Bitter Ice Balls add another d’lish layer of flavor!

Salud! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 13th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Lifestyle, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Creamy and D’Lish Avocados!

Every year I can’t wait for California avocados to hit the summer markets. They are so rich, creamy and flavorful! And they’re super nutritional, too! Like olive oil, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fat (AKA “the good fat”) as well as potassium, B-vitamins, and folic acid.

Avocados
(Photo from the California Avocado Commission)

Avocados are delicious when sliced and served in sandwiches like a summer BLTA, cozied up to thick sliced summer tomatoes. We also love them in chunky guacamole scooped up with crispy corn chips, or folded in a tropical fruit salsa.

I love them in salads, especially when paired with sweet and tangy oranges like in my Orange, Avocado & Red Onion Jumble with Poppyseed Vinaigrette it’s wonderful to top bib lettuce as a starter or as an accompaniment to grilled Alaska salmon. Yum!

Speaking of salads avocados are also great blended into salad dressings, such as the classic Green Goddess or in a low fat ranch—so tasty drizzled on grilled fish tacos.

And don’t forget breakfast, I love them sliced over a pepper jack cheese omelet with a dollop of fresh salsa – d’lish!

And yes avocados are also pretty tasty and interesting in blended beverages too. In Dubai, I had a really interesting layered drink with avocado, red date and rose. A little closer to home, Portland’s Lucy Brennan of Mint Bar put the blended avocado daiquiri on the cocktail map. It’s good – really!

Just remember my 2 avocado “rules”:
1. Buy them a couple of days ahead so they get nice and ripe — but are still firm.
2. Don’t throw that pit away! Put it back in your dressings and guacamoles until ready to serve. It helps keep the avocado from turning brown.

So think green and add in fresh California avocados to your next dish! – Kathy

Orange, Avocado Jumble
Photo from Kathy Casey Cooks: Favorites.

Orange, Avocado & Red Onion “Jumble” with Poppyseed Vinaigrette
Makes 4 cups; about 6 servings.

3 large oranges
1 cup very thinly sliced red onion
2 ripe but firm California avocados

Vinaigrette
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon finely minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup canola or light olive oil
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley

Make vinaigrette first. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Chill until ready to serve salad.

Cut ends off of oranges and then cut skin off the sides of orange, carefully removing all the white pith. Cut oranges in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place in a large bowl with onion. Cut avocados in quarters, peel and then slice into salad.

Toss with dressing and serve.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Green Goddess Dressing
Makes about 2 cups

1 ripe California avocado (reserve pit)
2 egg yolks*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
1 shallot, minced fine
4 anchovy fillets
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream (or light sour cream)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

In a food processor (or blender) place the avocado, egg yolks, lemon juice, herbs, shallot and anchovies. Process for about 1 minute until well combined. Then slowly drizzle in the oil, as when making a mayonnaise. Mixture should become smooth and creamy. Turn machine off and scrape down the sides. Add the sour cream and pepper. Process for about 30 seconds more or until smooth.

Place in a container; submerge the avocado pit to help dressing keep its green color. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the dressing’s surface and cover well. Will keep refrigerated for up to 4 days.

* Note: Raw eggs are not recommended for pregnant women, children, the elderly or anyone with immune deficiencies.

Recipe by Kathy Casey Food Studios®.

Posted by Kathy Casey on August 9th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Books to Cook, Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, appetizers, other, salads, sides

Berries & Bubbles

This week on Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, I shake up a Berries & Bubbles cocktail! Fresh, in-season berries (I’m using d’lish raspberries for this episode!) works wonderfully with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, and Double Cross Vodka. A splash of Champagne bubbles adds a bit of elegance and is perfect for summer celebrations and entertaining!

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 30th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Foodie News, Fruit, Recent Posts, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos

Seattle Magazine

Seattle Magazine just posted my special piece covering this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. Check out my guest blog, Mixing It Up at Tales Of The Cocktail 2013!

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 30th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Conferences, Foodie News, Lifestyle, Tasty Travels

Celebrate Summer Sweet Cherries

From Bings to Queen Annes to Rainiers, cherries are one of the Northwest’s most famed exports and also one of our most valuable crops. Needless to say, they’re luscious, sweet & tart, and decadent.

Bing Cherries
Tasty bing cherries!
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Nothing beats eating cherries out of your hand but I love them muddled in fresh lemonade or in one of my favorite summer cocktails, Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd. Make this ultra-refreshing sip up to three days ahead of time for your next barbeque or picnic. It’s perfect for your next patio party!

For a super easy app, Cherry Bings are fun. Pit large Bing cherries (with either a cherry pitter or by using a chopstick to poke the pit out). Roll in some goat cheese and toasted almonds. Viola – a d’lish appetizer!

Thinking of a summer cherry inspired entree? Whip up a batch of my Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa. It’s great on grilled chicken or salmon – yum!

So head out to the market to grab a big bag of fresh local cherries and taste the season! –Kathy

Cherry Mojitos
Photo from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Cherry Basil Mojitos for a Crowd
You can make the cherry-rum mixture up to 3 days in advance and keep it refrigerated—the flavors will just get better and better.

Makes about 10 servings

3 cups pitted fresh sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 bunch fresh mint (about 1 1/2 cups sprigs)
12 sprigs fresh basil
3 cups silver rum
2 cups sugar
2 cups fresh lime juice
Loads of ice for serving
Two 10-ounce bottles soda water, chilled

For Garnishing: fresh mint and basil sprigs, fresh cherries

In a large nonreactive container, such as a glass pitcher, lightly crush the cherries with a potato masher. Then add the mint, basil, rum, sugar and lime juice. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (You can remove the herbs before serving if you like and then garnish with fresh ones.)

For each serving, fill a large rocks glass or tumbler with ice and measure in 4 – 6 ounces (1/2 – 3/4 cup) of the rum mixture (I like to use a ladle to do this), being sure to get some of the cherries into each glass. Top with 1 – 2 ounces of soda. Stir, then garnish with a mint sprig or basil leaf and a cherry.

Recipe  by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®.

Cherry & Goat Cheese Bings
Makes about 20 pieces

20 fresh dark sweet cherries
1/2 cup (2 ounces) sliced almonds
1 teaspoon olive oil
Pinch of salt
4 to 6 ounces fresh goat cheese (chèvre)

Pit the cherries and set aside to drain on paper towels for 30 minutes.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, mix the almonds, oil, and salt in a small bowl, then spread on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool to room temperature. When cooled, use your hands to crush the almonds to the size of cracker crumbs; put into a shallow bowl.

Take 1 heaping teaspoonful of cheese in the palm of your hand, place a cherry on the cheese, and start rolling with your hands to coat the cherry. If there are any thin spots, add a bit more cheese. Immediately after rolling the cheese around the cherry, drop it into the crumbled almonds and roll to coat with the nuts. Repeat with the remaining cherries. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, for up to 2 hours.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Sassy Bing Cherry Salsa
Serve this sassy salsa over grilled chicken or salmon. I also like to add in some toasted crushed coriander seeds for a different twist.

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups pitted sliced Bing cherries (about 1 pound)
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup minced Walla Walla sweet onion or other sweet white onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons very finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it)

In a small bowl, gently mix all the ingredients. The salsa is best if made right before serving but can be made up to 2 hours in advance.

Recipe from Kathy Casey’s Northwest Table.

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 25th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Fruit, KOMO Radio, Recent Posts, Recipes, appetizers, sides

Strawberry Basil Blush

Stay refreshed and keep summer libatious with brand new episodes of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen®! Launching the 4th Season in style is my Strawberry Basil Blush!

This cocktail incorporates fresh, sweet strawberries with fragrant basil and works great with either vodka or gin. This drink is versatile; it can be strained and served up in a nice martini-style glass or served on the rocks in an Old Fashioned-style glass.

Cheers! -Kathy

Posted by Kathy Casey on July 17th, 2013  |  Add Comment |  Posted in Cocktails, Fruit, Lifestyle, Recent Posts, Recipes, Small Screen Network, videos
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