We’re Toasting: Cocktail Hour

As summer vacations are on the horizon, along with the ability to enjoy afternoon cocktails on sunshine filled days, here are a few ideas we have been enjoying lately.  Relaxing is required, these should help with that. Aloha!

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I don’t do a lot of frozen cocktails, the sugar and calories keep me from it. But, if you are a frozen cocktail fan, at least create one with fresh fruit and lots of ice, instead of resorting to processed mixers. With peach season on the horizon, this tasty option blending fresh peaches, lemon and Deep Eddy Real Lemon Vodka will please any cocktail lover. Be careful and drink it slow. It is so good you will want to down it fast, which will lead to a terrible brain freeze (I am speaking from experience.)

20150430_142056_resizedFrozen Peach Lemonade
Ingredients: (for 4 tall glasses)
8 ounces Deep Eddy Real Lemon Vodka
4 peaches, cut into chunks, pits removed
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 cup club soda or water (you could also use Sprite, but it is really sweet enough without adding any additional sugars)
Ice

Preparation:
Add peaches and club soda to a blender and pulse until very smooth. Add Ice, lemon and vodka. Pulse again until the ice is crushed. Pour into tall glasses. Garnish with a lemon wedge or sprig of mint.

I am a ginger fanatic, loving just about anything with the spicy, sweet flavor. Skyy Vodka has a great line of infused vodkas, including everything from Moscato grapes to delicious ginger. Mango are abundant here in Hawaii, so adding very ripe mango with freshly picked mint to the spicy spirit made the perfect balance of fruity sweetness and spicy savoriness for this refreshing cocktail. You could also use pineapple, peaches or nectarines.

20150516_200929_resizedMango Ginger Smash
Ingredients: (for 1 cocktail)
2 ounces Skyy Ginger Infusions Vodka
1/4 very ripe mango, cut into chunks, skin removed
8 fresh mint leaves
Club soda or ginger ale
Squeeze of lime
Ice

Preparation:
Add mint and mango to the bottom of a shaker and muddle, breaking down the fruit. Add the lime, vodka and ice, shake then pour into a rocks glass. Top with club soda and stir.

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There is nothing quite as tasty to start a night (if you are having cocktails and not bubbles) that a super dirty martini.
We prefer vodka, and if you have a blue cheese stuffed olive, even better. And we do like a lot of olive juice, not quite half and half, but not far from it. Super simple, and delicious, rinse the inside of a shaker with an ounce of dry vermouth, and pour out. Then add 2 ounces of your favorite vodka (but make it a quality one, as it is pretty much a plain cocktail without the enhancement of a lot of juice or mixers,) about an ounce or so of olive juice from a jar of Spanish cocktail olives and a lot of ice to a shaker and shake until very, very cold. Strain into a martini glass and serve.

20150517_160617_resizedGary has transitioned back to his running days since we have been in Hawaii (and is impressing me every day with his crazy long runs,) and at the end of the run, all he wants is a beer. We compromised on what to drink, as he would prefer a hearty wheat beer or hoppy IPA, but I just can’t take such a heavy beer in this heat, but still want a little more flavor than the traditional American light beer. Heineken fits the bill with their Heineken Light, lots of flavor without weighing you down. And, less than 100 calories.

When in Rome, try something local. Pau Vodka is made on Maui from Hawaiian pineapples. Distilled in small batches and finished with pure Hawaiian spring water to create a super clean spirit that is light, fresh and very pure. The spirit was a part of the Big Island Film Festival, held a few weeks ago at the Mauna Lani Resort, with this tasty cocktail opening the festival at the Farimont Orchid.

20150521_182208_resizedPAU Hana Delight
Ingredients: (For 1 cocktail)
2 oz. Pau Maui Vodka
Club Soda
Lime Juice
Splash of Pomegranate Juice

Preparation:
Pour Pau Maui Vodka into a glass with ice, add a splash of pomegranate juice and top off with club soda and a dash of lime juice.  Garnish with pomegranate seeds or a lime twist.

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Nothing says summer like a floral, herbal and very refreshing Gin and Tonic, with each sip transporting me to Spain where the beloved cocktail is toasted in every part of the country. One of my favorite gin producers is The London No 1 from Gonzalez Byass. Juniper, coriander, angelica, licorice, gardenia flowers and a mix of other herbs and botanicals are featured in this London distilled gin that seamlessly blends classic and modern together for a balanced spirit. Just make sure you use a quality tonic, as this spirit deserves the best.

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