Monday, September 10, 2012

Marx Foods Challenge - Cocktails and Mocktails

It's been a while since I have participated in one of the Marx Foods challenges, but when I heard that it was for Cocktails and Mocktails I said to myself, "Self, it's about time you got your challenge on." 
So I sent an email to Kate and lo and behold...   a box full of goodies showed up with the challenge to create a Cocktail and a Mocktail using at least 1 of the ingredients from the goody box in each one.... No repeats.

I suppose this is as good of a place as any to put the disclaimer statement in.....  so here it goes...

I am not employed by Marx Foods, I have never been employed by Marx Foods, nor am I related to anyone (that I know of) who is or has been employed by Marx Foods.  I am not being paid by Marx foods for any of the opinions contained within this blog post.  I am of sound mind and body (most of the time anyway) and therefore all opinions below are my very own.  :)  

OK, now that that part is out of the way, lemme tell ya what they sent me for the challenge....

Dried Pineapple, Saffron, Long Pepper, Dill Pollen, Fennel Pollen and Juniper Berries.

Hmmmm....  Juniper Berries are already a key ingredient in Gin so that was out, and I have used so much Fennel Pollen over the years that even the Dill Pollen couldn't inspire me into something.  Dried Pineapple?  Well, I do like Pina Coladas and gettin' caught in the rain, but I prefer fresh Pineapple for that.  SO.......

This will be all about Saffron and Long Pepper.

But the saffron will be first, cause I'm just wild about saffron......  Not saffron powder, which is often cut with tumeric and ground safflower stamens (making it uber-bitter and not at all very saffron-esque), but good saffron.  Nice red stamens of grassy effervescence are my favorite.  As a result, they often need to be soaked in warm water to release their color, flavor and fragrance.

For my Cocktail I decided to combine Saffron Simple Syrup with Rose Water, Silver Tequila and Lemon Juice.  My original name was going to be the Spanish Rose.... But I looked it up on the Internet and some fancy bartender in San Francisco has already laid claim to the name for a cocktail with a saffron foam on top (evidently I am on the right track with the syrup)  So I have now dubbed this the "Mellow Yellow"  For it IS very yellow, and it is definitely for those that are wild about saffron.

Saffron Simple syrup is, well, very simple.....

Place 1 1/4 cups Hot water in a sauce pan.
Add about 1/2 tsp Saffron Stamens to the warm water and allow them to soak for an hour.

Slowly, but surly, it will turn more and more yellow.

Place the saucepan over LOW heat and pour in 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar.

Stir until it is clear, then bring the whole thing to a simmer/slow boil.

Boil for 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the flame and allow to cool for 20 minutes.

Strain out the spent saffron stamens.

Pour into a glass bottle, stopper and keep in a cool dark place to maintain the saffron's integrity.

Spanish Gold in a bottle.

For the Mellow Yellow Cocktail........

Grab a shaker and fill it with the following.
1 Jigger (1 1/2 oz) Tequila Blanco (I chose Corazon silver)
Juice of 1 Medium Lemon (which is about 1 1/2 oz or a jigger)
1 TB Saffron Simple Syrup (maybe a little more, if your not as much of a sour puss as I am)
1 1/2 tsp Rose Water
Crushed Ice

Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a Martini-ish glass.

Garnish with a rose stabbed through a lemon slice and float on top like a Spanish Galleon.

(I was really stuck on the whole Spanish thing)

Now, lets talk some long pepper.  Yes my friends, long pepper has been around a long time... The Romans used it profusely...  Somewhere along the line, through many centuries of history, the Peppercorn gained favor and graces almost every table in America.  I had heard and seen Long Pepper several times in gourmet shops and the like, but didn't bite.  I was much too obsessed with my Tellicherry and Malabar Black Peppercorns and my Swarak White Pepper Corns and the occasional foray into Green Peppercorns...  Not to mention the "Pink" Peppercorns that aren't really Pepper at all.

So now here I am with a sampler of Long Pepper... Ya know what... It tastes just like Black pepper, BUT, it's a little sweeter, and smells slightly more floral...  (sigh)  I think I am hooked now. 

I decided to put it to the test with my Mocktail.

One of my favorite things to do is to "pepper" my Strawberries to bring out their flavor... I know it sounds weird, but the Italians have been doing it for centuries and I think it's about time the citizens of the U.S. caught up.  Another one of my favorite things, that is a little more commonplace here in the U.S. is Lemon pepper.  I love lemon and pepper together.... and that is what gave me the idea... I love Lemon and Pepper, Strawberries and Pepper and I love Strawberry Lemonade so why can't I combine all three into a Trifecta of thirst quenching deliciousness?

Thus I present......  Strawberry Lemon Long Pepper-ade

Select 3 ripe and juicy strawberries....

Remove the tops and cut in half (this will make muddling a little easier)

Place your Long Pepper in a pepper grinder (I had to break mine up just a little bit)

Apply a few grinds of Long Pepper to your slices Strawberries.

Move the strawberries to a cocktail shaker along with some broken ice.

Muddle until you have achieved a "puree".

Add your favorite Lemonade and stir, then pour into an awaiting glass.

Garnish with a Long Peppered Strawberry.

Cin Cin!!


Patti T. said...

Genuis! I think I like the mocktail recipe the best. I am not a huge fan of saffron. I will have to break down soon and use what I have in my spice cabinet.

Anonymous said...

These look great! Good Luck!

Danielle Imstuffed said...

of course you did a GREAT the strawberry and pepper. I too have fallen in love with this long almost has a sweetness...kinda cinnamon, nutty thing going on with it.
Ok wait...saffron water? I LOVE that idea!