Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Archive for the category “beverage”

Golden Lemonade


As the weather gets warmer I get less and less excited about warm beverages. This is an issue because of how we get turmeric into our systems. We typically do a combination of capsules and a concoction we call slime – a combination of butter/coconut oil, cayenne pepper and turmeric – either in our coffee or hot tea. I don’t do well drinking hot beverages in hot weather, so I had to come up with another method of getting turmeric in me.

Turmeric is a most awesome anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, boost activity in the immune system, fight against the development of cancerous cells and make you more resistant to neurodegenerative disorders. The best way to maximize absorption of turmeric (up to 2000%) is to take it with pepper and a bit of fat, which is why we take turmeric capsules that include pepper and some fish oil as fat.

After doing a bit of research I came up with this yummy lemonade. It does not include any fat, but with the dash of pepper it helps maximize the turmeric benefits. In addition to the health benefits it is quite a pretty drink. It is a bit more savory than plain old lemon lemonade, but it is a pleasant, refreshing change.

Golden Lemonade

6 cups water
2 large lemons
1 tablespoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon pure stevia powder (equivalent to 1/4 cup pure cane sugar)

In a large pitcher add the water. Juice both lemons and and add juice with meat to water. Add turmeric and stevia. Whisk together all ingredients until stevia and turmeric are combined.

Chill for at least one hour and stir before serving. Drink lemonade over ice, either straight, or dilute 1:1 with flat or carbonated water.

Cinnamon Whiskey


I get a kick out of flavored liquors. Not so much cloyingly sweet liqueurs, but things like vodka and whiskey with some flavor added. Big D makes fun of me and is above such things, preferring the peaty taste of Laphroaig or the smokiness of Bushmills. I like them too, but the cinnamon whiskey is nostalgic for me, taking me back to days in college when we took shots of Goldschlager or experienced the horridness of cheap cinnamon schnapps. I would like to think my tastes have matured since then, and I now enjoy more subtle cinnamon now. My recent discovery of Fireball took me back to those crazy, boot scooting and ranch party Saturday nights of yore.

The problem with Fireball and other flavored liquors is the mystery surrounding the content of the added flavoring. Do they have grains? Exactly how much sugar do they use? What other chemicals are in that bottle of golden goodness? Such beverages do not have ingredient lists on the bottles or the websites of companies, so a lot of digging goes into actually figuring out what is in them.

One of my favorite flavored liquors is cinnamon whiskey. I can tell from just one sip that, among other things, sugar is definitely added. My attempts at creating my own cinnamon whiskey, so I know what was in it, resulted in two versions. They both have sweeteners, because, honestly, some sweet is why I like it.

The first approach is ideal because it is sweetened with stevia and satisfies my cinnamon hankering. The second approach, using sugar free candies with the sweetener of your choice (or sugary candy if you like) makes the end result very closely match the candy sweetness inherent in commercial cinnamon whiskeys.

Regardless of the approach you use the end result is a pretty, festive red whiskey with a lovely, spicy bite to it!

Cinnamon Whiskey

Approach One
1.75 liter bottle whiskey
5 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon pure stevia powder

Approach Two
1.75 liter bottle whiskey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder
12-15 sugar free cinnamon candies

Remove 1/4 cup whiskey from the bottle. Add cinnamon, pepper and candies or stevia to bottle. Replace top on bottle. Let whiskey sit for at least two days, shaking it two to three times a day. Shake before each use. Serve neat, on the rocks or with mixers as usual.

The last cup of the whiskey in the bottle will have more sediment and be slightly bitter, so I recommend using it for mixed drinks instead of neat or on the rocks.


Gin and Tonic Shots

2015-06-27 11.11.06

I wanted to have fun with gelatin. I remember summer gelatin fun as a kid – mixing it with whipped cream, making jiggly things that can be picked up, bowls of shiny, wiggly stuff that falls off a spoon. Little B likes fruity gelatin, so a while back I went in search of what was available at the grocery. If you look at the flavored gelatin packages you will find either sugar or aspartame in them. Really? Aspartame in a product you are expected to mix with boiling liquid? Have they read any of the information about the stuff and the dangers of heating it?? I will get off podium/verge of preaching and move on…

Making some flavored gelatin for Little B from the simple, unsweetened gelatin packets I also found at the grocery, I was reminded of the gelatin shots often consumed at parties in college. The spiked shots in little paper cups were potent and moved fast through the system. The challenge was always getting plenty of liquor in them while making sure they could still firm up. As I am older and tell myself I am more mature, so I wanted to try a slightly more refined version of the shots. Is there such a thing as mature gelatin shots?!

2015-06-27 13.40.00My favorite cocktail of all time is a gin and tonic. It took a couple of tries to get the liquor/non liquor liquid ratio right, but I figured it out. I highly recommend keeping close to the ratios I present, even if you vary the liquor or flavoring. For example, rum and coke or screwdriver or margarita or…oh boy do I have more experimenting in my near future! My mother in law, who is also a gin and tonic lover, liked them. Sis in law did too! She is usually a sangria kind of gal, leaving gin to the rest of us, but she downed a few. I do agree that they are not a substitute for slowly sipping a tall gin and tonic on the rocks during a hot summer evening, but they were a fun variation to liven up a dinner party.

I remember first seeing the lime presentation in a magazine a billion years ago (well, maybe ten), unfortunately I do not remember where, so crediting it must remain a mystery. Happy summer to you!

Gin and Tonic Shots

3 cups diet tonic water
2 tsp stevita (or other granular erythritol/stevia sweetener)
6 tsp unflavored gelatin (Knox brand usually has 2 tsp per envelope)
1 cup gin
6-8 limes, sliced into 6 rounds each

Heat 2 cups of tonic water and sweetener until boiling. While liquid boils add final cup of tonic water into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over it, letting it sit for one minute. Add hot liquid to bowl and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add gin and stir. Pour mixture into a 9×9 baking dish, or pour into approximately 50 mini paper cups/mini cupcake papers, or split between both methods. If using mini cupcake papers it is suggested they be arranged in mini cupcake pans, for the liquid will seep through. Refrigerate at least overnight.

To serve from the dish, cut shots into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes with a sharp knife, removing from the dish with a thin, flexible spatula. Place squares on lime rounds to serve. If using paper or cupcake cups, gently peel away paper and invert them on lime rounds. To eat, tip shot into mouth, then with your teeth fold the lime round in half and bite down, releasing juices to mix with shot. Juice may dribble down chins, but you won’t care.

Big D’s Eggnog


Some may be freaked out about this recipe. Not because it is eggy and not because it is boozy, but because it is RAW. You might get a bit antsy about consuming raw eggs, but we live on the edge. I do like the taste of cooked eggnog and in my opinion is often dominated by the alcohol taste. I much prefer the raw version – I can taste all the different flavors mixing together in each sip. It is frothy right out of a blender, and nice and smooth after it sits in the fridge for an hour or two. Do not fear, for it is still boozy, just not as obvious. We often make it between November and January. I have thought about making it other times of the year, but it seems wrong. Big D has perfected the ratios over the years and I discovered recently that I have yet to post about it! Well, here it is. I hope you enjoy it!

Big D’s Eggnog

10 eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup Stevita granular sweetener
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup spiced rum
1/4 cup whiskey
Additional ground nutmeg for garnish.

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high for 10 seconds. Let eggnog sit for five minutes. Serve immediately, sprinkled with nutmeg, or refrigerate until time to serve.

Cucumber Cilantro Cooler

cucumber cilantro cooler

Cilantro is best when fresh leaves and stems are used. As usual, I bough a bunch of it for a Tex-Mex feast we made the other night, kind of like this one, and some was left over. Also as usual I dropped the extra cilantro in a jar with water to keep it fresh as long as possible. It was still staring at me, and it was the cocktail hour, so I looked for some beverage ideas. I enjoyed my Whiskey Watermelon from a few days ago, so why not?! Here is what I came up with. It came out fresh, tangy and perfect for a hot, humid July evening. I got the idea from here and tweaked to my taste. I also made a version with tequila for Big D and he very much enjoyed it, so if you are not a vodka drinker try it with your liquor of choice.

Cucumber Cilantro Cooler

½ cup chopped cucumber, seeds removed
Small handful of fresh cilantro
2 ounces vodka (I use Tito’s, made in Texas)
1 lime (or 2 key limes), juiced
1 tsp granulated sucralose
¼ to ½ cup Seltzer water (optional)

Add chopped cucumber to a cocktail shaker along with a large handful of cilantro leaves. Muddle well, and then add vodka, lime juice, sucralose and ice almost to fill the shaker. Shake well for twenty seconds and then strain into a lowball glass filled with ice. If you want to make the cocktail a little less powerful, strain it into a taller glass and top with a splash of seltzer, then stir quickly. Garnish with a wheel of cucumber and a sprig of cilantro. Sip sip sip!


mojitoThe first true mojito I had was made by a neighbor many years ago. She prepared a big pitcher as cocktails at the beginning of a dinner party. When poured over ice and muddled mint, it was a welcome refreshment on a warm Virginia evening. Now, many years later in Maryland, watching the tops of the trees sway their new heads filled with leaves, I sip a mojito. The weather is again dropping in temperature from 70 to 50 degrees as rain clouds blow in. Little B plays hopscotch while Big D lounges just inside on the couch reading a book. Yep. Life sucks and I would not trade it for the world.


½ lime, divided into thirds
2 – 3 sprigs fresh mint
1 packet sugar or sweetener (about ½ – 1 teaspoon)
1 part rum
5 parts club soda

In a tall glass add lime pieces, squeezed, and half the mint leaves, gently torn or muddled. Add sweetener and rum. Stir mixture with teaspoon until sweetener is dissolved. Add soda and then ice to fill the glass. Imbibe. Relax.

Dragon Fruit Frenzy

dragon fruit salad

Dragon Fruit is the funkiest fruit I know. It is bright and crazy on the outside and and a neutral black, white and mild on the inside. It kinda tastes like kiwi fruit, but unlike the skin of the kiwi, you should shy away from eating the thick pink skin of the dragon fruit. With the single dragon fruit I got from the market I made two simple recipes – a fruit salad for Little B and a rather odd looking cocktail for myself. The meat of the dragon fruit can be sliced or cubed and looks really pretty with brightly colored fruit – in this case, strawberries. dragon fruit margaritaFor my cocktail I did a margarita-type drink (I know, blasphemy for the margarita purist), and sipped it while having a nice green salad with shrimp. The whole meal felt kind of summery, which felt odd, since it is December, but very refreshing after some of the heavier foods we are eating lately. With my eyes closed the cocktail was soft and lovely. With my eyes open it looked like a gray sludge that tasted soft and lovely. I don’t know what to do about the color, but it tastes wonderful.

Dragon Fruit Frenzy

Strawberry Dragon Fruit Salad

½ dragon fruit, meat only, cubed
¾ cup strawberries, chopped
1 Tbsp lime juice

Combine dragon fruit cubes and strawberries. Drizzle juice over fruit and gently toss. Serve immediately or chill before serving.

Dragon Fruit Cocktail

½ dragon fruit, meat only
¼ – 1/3 cup tequila
½ lime, juiced
1 – 2 tsp truvia
6 cubes ice

Add 1 tsp truvia and remaining ingredients to blender. Blend on high until ice is broken up. The sweetness of the fruit can vary, so taste the cocktail and add more truvia to preferred sweetness. Serve immediately.

Cold Brewed Coffee

I just spent $3.00 for a big iced coffee. It is not exorbitantly expensive, but probably ten times what it would cost to make for myself. Now that hot weather has invaded my life I could not be less interested in steaming cups of java. Today’s iced drink reminded me that I need to pull out a big jar and grind some coffee. My favorite caffeine boost in the summer is cold brewed coffee. It is easy and delicious and does not require a coffee maker (which we are lacking right now). I like mine with a little cinnamon and cream. Big D tasted this batch – I have made many but he never before partook. As is my opinion, he thought the cold brew made for an extremely smooth, strong finished result. He usually likes triple shot espresso concoctions called sludge or the like, so I was surprised that he liked my little cold brew. I use dark roasted coffee (not French Roast – yuck) and there is no bitterness. Just deep, toasty flavors that only weaken slightly as the ice melts. Of course, there are endless possibilities when it comes to doctoring up the final product with spices and creams and sweeteners. Deep in the summer I lean towards just a splash of cream, then as fall nears I go heavier on the cinnamon and nutmeg, before I finally turn to hot coffee as the summer wind is replaced with cool breezes. I first learned about cold brewing long ago from my old friend Brian, then was reminded of it again years later by the guys over at The Bitten Word. I tweaked it a little since first making it for myself, but their version is wonderful.

Cold Brewed Coffee

1 cup dark roasted coffee, coarsely ground
4 cups cold water
Optional flavors for serving:
Heavy cream
Half and half

In a quart sized jar* with screw lid add water and coffee. Screw lid on tightly and shake. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Leaving it for more than a day will not hurt it. Strain liquid into another jar or bowl, through a sieve with coffee filter lining it. Rinse jar and return coffee to it. Store in refrigerator. To serve, fill your serving cup about ½ way with coffee and add ice until glass is filled. If the coffee is too strong for you add a bit of water. If you like, stir into the coffee about 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream, a dash of cinnamon and any sweetener or other spices – the way I like it – or have it straight, which is delicious, too!

*Before my french press broke I would use it for the brewing and straining. It is a smaller volume, but makes for a faster process. The proportions are different, but I try to do 4:1 water to coffee, and it works out the same as using a jar and slightly clumsy process of straining with sieve and filter. When you put it in the fridge leave the plunger up, then before serving gently press it down to filter the coffee.

Post Navigation