All posts filed under “Happy Hour

Amaro Smash_ Katherine Sacks
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Amaro Smash

I may have already mentioned that I turned 30 this year, but I never did get around to sharing photos from my fabulous summer birthday trip to Croatia. My sister joined me there and we enjoyed several dinners finished off with a glass or two of amaro. Although it’s an Italian digestif, it felt festive and fitting in the warm climate. It also felt grown up in a way, and, as an official 30-year-old adult, I decided amaro would be my new go-to drink.

Fast forward a few months and amaro still feels festive. Rather then just drink it on the rocks (although it’s delicious that way), I like this smash, a muddling of orange, mint, and amaro topped with grapefruit or blood orange soda. A little sweet, a little bitter, and very herbaceous, it’s my new 30s signature cocktail (cause every gal should have one.) I’ll likely be ringing in the new year with one of these. Whatever you’re drinking, enjoy and Happiest New Year!

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Strawberry Hugo

Strawberry Mint Hugo Cocktail

I took a very early morning train a few weeks ago to Rüdnitz, a small town an hour outside of Berlin, to spend the day working on our CSA farm. The farm belongs to Roberto and Sanna, two amazingly generous people who are dedicating their energy towards creating a sustainable, biodynamic farm that supports a wide network of community members in Berlin.

Unfortunately, I didn’t check the weather report, and chose a very rainy day to visit. We spent the morning hours in the strawberry fields, picking row after row of tiny red juicy strawberries. As the rain came down all around me, I thought about the situation. It was a little cold and I was soaked through, but this was one day in my life, and I was picking the strawberries for myself and the other members of the CSA community. Tasting the juicy strawberries, fresh from the fields, was an incredible experience, and as one of the helpers put it, the strawberries I would receive in the CSA pick-up the next day would be so much sweeter knowing what hard work went into collecting them.

Our friend Charlotte was in town last month from Hamburg, and she asked if we had tried the German summer cocktail Hugo yet. At that point, I hadn’t heard of the drink, but made a point to try one immediately. A combination of sparkling wine, soda water, peppermint, lime, and elderflower syrup,  it’s a refreshingly bright way to enjoy the summer. After the long day at the farm, a nice cool cocktail was definitely in order. For this version, I replaced the elderflower syrup for a quick strawberry one, and added a handful of the fresh mint we’ve been growing on the windowsill. Floral and sweet, it was so nice to sip the fruits of my hard work. This German cocktail is definitely becoming our drink of choice for the summer.

Freshly Picked Strawberries

Strawberry Hugo
Servings: 2 drinks
8-10 very ripe strawberries, tops removed
¼ cup simple syrup 

4 pieces mint, chopped plus additional for garnish
Prosecco or sparkling wine
Sparkling water

Combine strawberries, syrup, and a few pieces of mint in a cocktail shaker and use a masher or fork to throughly mash. Shake vigorously, then strain into two glasses. Fill the glasses three-quarters of the way full with sparkling wine and top off with the sparkling water. Garnish with mint and enjoy!

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Rhubarb G&T

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic

Gin and tonics are everywhere these days. The New York Times says the drink is having a comeback, and it made an appearance on Mad Men last week, so I thought I’d get on board. G&Ts also seem to be quite popular in Berlin—we actually ended up at a bar a few weeks ago that sold the gin by the 0.2 liter, with separate tiny bottles of artisan tonic to DIY.

While I have always thought of gin as fairly flavorless, distillers like Alameda’s St. George and Brooklyn’s New York Distilling Company are showing the clear liquor can be floral, botanical, and pungent, and easily stands up to the darker-spirits competition. Although I’m not much of an on-the-rocks kind of girl, the really good stuff is wonderfully refreshing, great to sip on over ice on a warm sunny afternoon. There are a few German distillers making gins that are supposed to be quite good; both Monkey 47 and Berlin-based Adler Gin are on my list to try.

I received three pretty stalks of rhubarb this week in our farm share, and not sure what to make, I realized it has been quite awhile since I’ve made a cocktail for the blog. We still have a nice bottle of St. George Dry Rye Gin from TH’s parents visit and in the spirit of Memorial Day weekend, and the thought of everyone grilling and enjoying the start of summer back at home, I made this refreshing cocktail for us to sip on over the rainy Berlin weekend. The rhubarb syrup, spiked with a touch of orange zest, gives the drink a beautiful pink hue, which is enough to brighten any day.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb-Orange Syrup
Servings: 3 cups
1½ cups water
1 cup sugar
3 stalks rhubarb, rinsed, leaves removed, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 tablespoon orange zest

In a medium pot, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a boil and add the rhubarb and orange zest. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain, pushing the rhubarb pulp* with the back of a spoon to release all of the juice. Cool the liquid.
* I reserved the rhubarb pulp to make a baked oatmeal dish. Recipe coming soon!

Rhubarb Gin and Tonic, adapted from The Year in Food
Servings: 1 drink
4 ounces rhubarb juice
3 ounces gin
5 ounces tonic water

Combine the rhubarb, gin, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a highball glass and top with the tonic water.