Chocolate Cherry White Russian

Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog

It recently came up, over dinner, that my friends had never seen The Big Lebowski. With this wrong needing to be righted as quickly as possible, we made plans to watch it together the following weekend. Of course, my husband and I informed them that White Russians were required viewing accessories. They were apprehensive about a cream based cocktail but agreed to let me push them out of their comfort zones.

There was a problem with the plan, however: I couldn’t put my money where my mouth was because I have a moderate-to-severe coffee allergy and can’t drink Kahlua. Slightly disappointed that I’ll never know what a real White Russian tastes like, I spent the past week developing a new cocktail, inspired by the classic, so I could join in with the fun.

After some research, I decided the closest swap for coffee liqueur would be chocolate liqueur. I was hoping to find a dark coloured chocolate liqueur to best mimic the look of a Kahlua cocktail, but discovered the only thing available in my area is a clear creme de cacao – so that’s what I used. I didn’t want to be creating what would be, essentially, hard chocolate milk, so I added some kirsch to make things a little more interesting.  The result is a decadent, surprisingly smooth and refreshing cocktail that’s just perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Chocolate Cherry White Russian

Ingredients

  • 1 oz vodka
  • ½ oz Kirsch (or other cherry brandy)
  • 1 oz creme de cacao
  • 1½ oz half & half cream

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice and stir until chilled and thoroughly combined.
  2. Fill an old fashioned glass with a handful of fresh ice and strain mixture over. Serve immediately.

Chocolate Cherry White Russian | Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos be me.

Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon & Black Tea

Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog

I started experimenting with hot toddy recipes for the first time when the weather turned cold. They’ve been so nice to come home to after taking the puppy for her evening walk on the weekends. Although less traditional, I like to use bourbon over whiskey, rye or brandy because there’s just something so Christmas-y about bourbon to me. I also use black tea instead of plain, old, hot water for added flavour and fortitude.

Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog

Ingredients

  • 1½ oz bourbon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • fresh brewed black tea
  • cinnamon stick

For Garnish:

  • lemon slice
  • 3 whole cloves

Method

  1. Add bourbon, honey and lemon juice to an 8 oz mug.
  2. Top up with hot black tea.
  3. Stir well with cinnamon stick. (Serve with or without stick.)
  4. Pierce lemon slice with cloves, slit part way up the middle, and hang over the side of the mug. (I found it easier to pierce before cut and after making a small slit with a paring knife.)

Classic Hot Toddy with Bourbon and Black Tea | Sophster-Toaster Blog

All photos by me.

Black Lemonade

I may love lemonade to an unhealthy degree, especially on hot summer days. On a recent trip up to the cottage, I whipped up a recipe I had been thinking about since the first turned warm: Black Lemonade.

Black Lemonade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

I’ve never really liked pink lemonade. Possibly due to the fact that during my first encounter with it, I got a mouthful of artificial “pink” flavours instead of the sweet and sour raspberries I had assumed to expect. I was so put off by this pink lemonade from a package that I thought I disliked all lemonade for an irrevocably long amount of time – somewhere in the 15 year range. But now I’m making up for lost time with this wonderfully refreshing, boozy blackberry lemonade recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
½ pint of blackberries
2 oz gin
juice of 1 lemon
sparkling water

Method

For the blackberry simple syrup
  1. Add equal parts sugar and water to a small saucepan (use 1 cup for quite a lot of syrup) plus a ¼ pint of blackberries – the remainder will be used for garnish.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over low heat, stirring continuously.
  3. When the sugar has melted, which may happen long before the simmer is reached, abuse the blackberries by (carefully) pressing them against the side of the pan with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until they’ve given up all their juice.
  4. Then stir slowly and continuously (there’s a reason chefs call this sort of thing liquid napalm) until the mixture has thickened to your liking.
  5. Once thoroughly cooled, pour through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and blackberry chunks before transferring to a squeeze bottle.
For the cocktail
  1. Place a few ice cubes in the bottom of an old fashioned glass.
  2. Add 2 oz gin (or vodka, if you prefer).
  3. Add 1 oz of the blackberry simple syrup.
  4. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the glass, being careful to catch the seeds.
  5. Stir and top up with sparkling water.
  6. Garnish with a whole blackberry, if you want to be fancy, and serve.

I made this recipe to my lemon-loving taste for lemonade, which my husband describes as “this lemonade would be great if it weren’t for the sugar”, so don’t be afraid to tweak the simple syrup, lemon and water ratios to make this cocktail your own.

Black Lemonade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Black Lemonade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Black Lemonade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog Black Lemonade \\ Sophster-Toaster Blog

Feeling saucy enough to make this for a group at your next backyard get together? Lucky you! It scales wonderfully to a pitcher recipe. Be sure to serve in a clear pitcher to let the gorgeous colour show through.

For a pitcher (serves 4)
  1. Place a handful of ice cubes in a pitcher.
  2. Add 8 oz gin.
  3. Add 4 – 4½ oz simple syrup (I find a little extra sweetness is needed if the ice will have time to melt and dilute the beverage).
  4. Squeeze, or ream, the juice of 4 lemons into the pitcher, being sure to catch the seeds.
  5. Stir and top up with sparkling water, at least enough to match the amount of lemon juice.
  6. Toss a few whole blackberries into the pitcher and serve.

The Classic Gin Martini

Martinis

Gin Martini

The Martinis used in the photoshoot for the new Red Sequin Table Runner are, sadly, fakes – just boring, wistful, watery imposters. (It was 11:30 am and all I had in my tummy was a bowl of Froot Loops… it didn’t feel like a two-martini-lunch kind of day.)

However, I do make a mean dirty martini: Continue reading