Any Kitchen Will Do

Give me a kitchen and I will cook.

Archive for the category “liquor”

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!

Whiskey Watermelon

whiskey watermelonThis treat was fun! After some frustration. Little B had been asking for watermelon for a week or so, but it was never when we were actually in the store. Big D and I don’t really eat much of it, so getting a whole one is often wasteful. Finally, one day I was at the store and there were smaller packages with just a few slices for sale. Is it cheaper to buy a whole melon and waste most of it, or pay a little more for a smaller quantity? It is often the question I ask myself in such situations, but it was a non-issue this time because the price was the same per unit. I grabbed it, excited to be surprising Little B. Alas, when I returned to the RV with the watermelon she had decided that she no longer liked it, it was yucky and she never wanted to eat it again. The reaction probably had something to do with not getting a nap on a busy, hot, humid Saturday, but I was still bummed. So now I have watermelon on my hands and the cocktail hour is approaching. In the past I made watermelon margaritas in such a situation, but no tequila. Then, I spotted the whiskey. Not an expensive, aged sipping whiskey, but a simple bottle of the stuff we use with mixers. Perfect! Let’s get the watermelon drunk! I set it all up and let the morsels soak for about an hour. Yummy! Reminded me of college days when the impact of a few jello shots in a row hits all at once. Be careful with these things. The watermelon soaked up the whiskey all right. And the juice left over at the bottom of the bowl worked quite well for a mixed drink later. Enjoy summer and watermelon while it lasts, in spite of your three year old’s protestations.

Whiskey Watermelon

1/2 small watermelon
1/2 cup whiskey

Remove rind from watermelon and cut melon into 1 inch square pieces, smalller if you want the alcohol effect stronger. In a resealable bag combine the watermelon squares and whiskey. Gently press the back to remove excess air and seal. Place in refrigerator for at least an hour, but four hours is better. Remove and serve in small bowls with forks or toothpicks.


Post Navigation