Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake Boozy Shake

It's time again for a monthly collaborative post.  If you've been following any of our recent blog posts, you have heard me mention Nathan Hubble of followthatfork.com, a talented food stylist. photographer and food blogger. This month the idea was to create a monster-piece (pardon the terrible pun) for Valentine's Day. Admittedly I missed posting before Valentine's Day, but creating and  sharing a boozy monster milkshake with your love works any day of the year.

Before this post, I had no idea that Monster milkshakes were a thing. I mean I knew about the loaded Bloody Mary's that have been all over my instagram feed, like the 'Graffiti Dirty Bird' created by Graffiti Social Kitchen, but I had no idea that the trend to add as many garnishes as you possibly can to your drink had spread to milkshakes. Nathan, very excited about this project, suggested that we each come up with our own version of a boozy monster milkshake. The rules: we both had to use Molly's 'Summer Crop' mixer, a locally made cocktail mixer full of fresh strawberries, rhubarb and a hint of basil), booze of our choice and as much stuff as we could possibly fit into our drinking vessel.

Nathan and I each approached this assignment with different inspirations and we each took a photo of our shake. You HAVE to check out Nathan's version of the Monster Shake which he named, 'Brandy & Brown Butter Strawberry Shake'. Not only is his recipe delicious and fancy, his Monster shake photo is gorgeous!  *Words highlighted in gold are links to a different page or website* 

Taking my inspiration from Strawberry Shortcake which reminds me of summer and the cute little red-headed doll from the 80's, I chose to use local ingredients such as Mitchell's Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream, Molly's Summer Crop Cocktail mixer which is full of fresh strawberries, rhubarb and hints of basil To make the shake boozy, I used Flor De Cana Silver Rum. My garnish choices were crumbled shortbread cookies, crushed pretzels (love the salty & sweet together). chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped strawberries and whipped cream. I topped it all with a homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce using Molly's Summer crop and fresh chopped strawberries. The addition of Molly's Summer Crop adds a lovely tartness that compliments the rum and sweetness of the ice cream. 

Strawberry Shortcake Boozy Shake

1 pint (or 2 cups) Strawberry Ice cream

1 ½ oz Molly’s Crafted 'Summer Crop' Cocktail Mixer

2 oz Silver rum

Garnishes* (a slice of cheesecake, cookies, m&m’s… let your imagination run wild)

Strawberry rhubarb sauce **Recipe below

Start by gathering all of your supplies, get all of your garnishes ready for easily assembly.

Dip your strawberries and pretzels and refrigerate.

In a blender, add rum and summer crop mixer, then add your ice cream blend together and Voila! Boozy shake! But wait you’re not done yet! Pour shake into a cute mason jar and add your assortment of garnishes. Top it all off with some whipped cream and the strawberry rhubarb sauce. 

If you find that your shake is too thin, add a bit more ice cream, too thick? add a bit more booze ;)

*Garnishes I used: crumbled shortbread cookies, crushed salty pretzels, chocolate dipped pretzels, chocolate dipped strawberries, whipped cream and homemade strawberry rhubarb sauce. 

**Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce: 1/4 cup Molly’s Summer Crop + ¼ cup finely chopped strawberries: heat up over medium low heat, stirring occasionally. It’s ready once it starts to thicken up a bit. Refrigerate until cool.

Don't let that leftover Molly's Summer Crop go to waste! Mix up one of her signature drinks:

Mason Jar Margarita

 5 oz Molly's Summer Crop

2 1/2 oz lime juice

1 1/2 oz agave syrup (or simple syrup) 

water

Add ice and ingredients to mason jar, top with a little water close lid and shake!

Serve over ice. 

 

We'd love to see your Monster Boozy Shake creation! Tag us on social media

Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcle 

Nathan from Follow that Fork @nhubble

 

 

 

 

Pop! Fizz! Clink!

The New Year is a few days away and no doubt the sound of champagne corks will soon be popping all around us.  After all, what better way to ring in the New Year than with New Year's Rocking Eve playing in the background, friends gathered together laughing,  noisemakers in hand and the thrilling *POP!* of Champagne corks, while counting down the last few seconds of 2016? 

It's funny how Champagne on it's own feels indulgent, like something we should only be opening for celebrations such as engagements, weddings, promotions, graduations, New Year's and the like.

But what about toasting the weekend?  Time with friends and family, or just because boozy brunch sounds delightful?  The good news is that nowadays, there are many affordable Proseccos, Cavas and Sparkling wines that can be enjoyed year round in many different ways and for many different reasons.

"Too Much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right."

 - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Now that drinking more champagne is on your New Year's resolution list here are a few ways to enjoy a bottle of bubbly (or two), while saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to all the wonderful possibilities of 2017 (like drinking more champagne ;)

If you're looking for an elegant cocktail to add to your holiday table and impress your guests. The French 75 is perfect! Today we'll share a twist on the French 75 that adds a holiday flair with a hint of crisp pear and fragrant rosemary. 

Pear Rosemary French 75

*makes 2*

2 oz gin

1.5 oz Root 23 Pear Rosemary Simple Syrup

1 oz fresh lemon juice

6 oz Champagne or sparkling wine

Pear for garnish 

Add first three ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake until chilled. Strain into champagne flute or coupe. Top of with champagne, garnish with pear star, raise your glass and enjoy! 

Variation: Not a gin fan? No problem, swap gin for vodka and voila! You've got yourself a tasty and fancy Champagne mixed drink tailored for you or your guests taste. 

For a beautiful compliment to your Fancy schmancy Pear Rosemary Champagne cocktail, check out these stunning and delicious Mulled Wine Poached Pears made by Food Stylist and blogger,  Nathan Hubble of Followthatfork.com. Using red wine, pears and Dram Apothecary Magic Mulled spices (available at Happy Hour Collection for a limited time).

 'Royale Sparkler' Champagne Cocktail as seen on New Day Cleveland

'Royale Sparkler' Champagne Cocktail as seen on New Day Cleveland

For quick, easy and elegant entertaining this Holiday season consider mixing up a

'Royale Sparkler'

- A spin on the Kir Royale made with Cassis Berry Shrub - 

4 1/2 oz Prosecco (or sparkling wine)

1/2 oz Hudson Standard Cassis Berry Shrub

2-3 dashes Dram Apothecary Wild Mountain Sage Bitters

Fresh Rosemary Sprig for garnish

In a Chilled Champagne flute, add Prosecco first, then add Cassis Berry Shrub. 

Add your bitters, and rosemary sprig. Give a light stir with the rosemary and impress your guests with this lovely Crafted Champagne Cocktail! Here's a toast to a wonderful holiday season and and even better New Year! Cheers! 

**If you don't have Prosecco on hand, you can easily follow the recipe above and substitute the Prosecco for 1 1/2 oz vodka and 2 oz sparkling water. 

Here's the alternate recipe,  Fill Shaker with ice, add Cassis Berry Shrub and vodka. Shake until chilled (approx 15-20 seconds), strain into a rocks glass filled with ice (we prefer an ice ball for slower dilution), add seltzer/sparkling water and bitters. Serve & enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Mule

The holidays are rapidly approaching and that means gathering together with family and friends to celebrate the season and exchange gifts. Below you'll find an easy to make and easy to drink cocktail using some of our favorite holiday flavors. The Pickett's Medium Ginger Beer syrup adds a ginger kick balanced with citrus and sweet notes. The syrup stores in your fridge until you next use it and when mixed it makes up to 96 fl oz.  Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters are full of the warm flavors of cinnamon and allspice. These pair with the spice of the ginger beer syrup mingle with the cranberry and orange for a refreshing and balanced cocktail

 photography by Nathan Hubble (  followthatfork.com  )

photography by Nathan Hubble ( followthatfork.com )

Cranberry Orange Mule

2 oz Vodka -we used locally made Red E Vodka

1 oz Picketts Ginger Beer Syrup (available in medium or hot n spicy)

1 1/2 oz Fresh Orange Juice

1 oz 100% Cranberry juice

2 droppers full (approx 15-20 drops) of Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters

seltzer water 

ice

orange wheel for garnish

In Ice filled cocktail shaker, add vodka, Pickett's ginger beer syrup, OJ, cranberry juice and Tiki bitters. Shake. Pour into Solid copper mug, top with seltzer water (approx 3 oz), garnish with orange wheel. Enjoy!

For 4 guests: 8 oz vodka, 4 oz ginger beer syrup, 6 oz OJ, 4 oz cranberry juice, 8 droppers full of Tiki bitters

variations:

-swap out the vodka for bourbon (my favorite way to drink a mule!) 

-not a cranberry fan? eliminate the OJ and cranberry and substitute apple cider.

 

Why add bitters? Bitters are potent flavor enhancers, Adding bitters is a lot like adding herbs and spices when you're cooking. A recipe may be good on it's own but becomes great with the addition of flavors that compliment the ingredients. 

A few dashes of drops add wonderful flavors and balance the cocktail. The sweetness from the oj, cranberry juice and ginger beer syrup is brought down a bit by the addition of bitters making it an even easier cocktail to sip on and enjoy.

 Bittermens Elemakule Tiki bitters are a great addition to this particular cocktail because of how nicely the cinnamon and allspice compliment the ginger and orange. 

 

As always, feel free to stop in the shop and ask to sample bitters. We're always happy to help you discover new ways to use cocktail ingredients and suggest new cocktails to try making at home. 

 

 

Celebrate Fall with Caramel Apple Goodness!

 

It's that time of year again, the leaves are showing off their brilliant colors against a cool fall sky and crisp chill is in the air.  That means the season for cozy sweaters, apple picking and little goblins knocking on doors begging for treats is here! To warm you up this fall, Nathan Hubble from Followthatfork.com and Marie (Me)  from Happy Hour Collection have partnered up to bring you some warm, caramel apple treats!

Our goal was to capture the essence of fall in a cocktail, buttery caramel and apple flavors partner with the smoky smell of oak leaves in this version of a hot buttered rum. A warm and cozy autumn sipper great for warming you and your friends as you pass out candy to the neighborhood kiddos (cause we all know that's not coffee in that travelling mug). Pair it with fresh warm Caramel Apple Cider Bread and you've got the perfect start to a Halloween or fall get together!

Fall is in the Air  

- Caramel Apple Buttered Cocktail-

   (makes 4)

   1/2 stick butter

   1 tsp cinnamon    

   1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (opt)

   2 cups water

   1 cup Tom's Foolery Apple Jack (or dark /aged rum if you prefer)

   1/4 cup caramel sauce *recipe to follow*

   4 dashes Bar Keep Apple bitters per drink

  Oak leaf garnish (optional)

     Add water, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg to a small pot and cook on medium low heat, whisking occasionally.  When mixture reaches a simmer, add the caramel and cook just a minute longer.

In four cocktail glasses or Irish mugs, add 1/4 cup Tom's Foolery Apple Jack and four dashes of Bar Keep Baked Apple bitters, top each glass with a portion of your hot buttered caramel mix. Pair with Caramel Apple Cider bread and Enjoy with friends!

*For the oak leaf garnish, make a tiny cut in the leaf and add to rim of glass. Light the oak leaf and blow out just before serving. Besides looking cool,  this adds just a whisper of fall leaves aroma as you take your first couple of sips. To add a little more smoke to your cocktail, rinse your glass with a smoky scotch or mezcal before adding any of the other ingredients.  

Variation: Nathan prefers to add the booze to the heated mixture on the stove top and cook just a little bit of the alcohol off, giving it a deeper caramel flavor. 

 

Caramel Sauce

contributed by Nathan, Followthatfork.com

   1 cup sugar

   1/4 cup water

   1 TBs light corn syrup

   2 TBS butter

   1/2 cup heavy cream

   1/4 tsp salt (optional)

 

   Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Swirl the pan, but DO NOT stir.  The corn syrup will help keep the caramel smooth, but isn't necessary for those who would rather avoid it. While the mixture boils, carefully brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. As soon as the sugar is dark amber color (about 10-12 minutes), REMOVE from heat and whisk in the heavy cream. This will make the mixture bubble and seize up, at first you might think you ruined your caramel  but never fear keep on whisking and it'll turn into a beautiful creamy caramel sauce. Whisk in the butter, add salt if desired. Pour into bottle or mason jar to store. Use to make Caramel Apple Cider Bread, cocktails, over ice cream or make an extra batch and give to a friend for the holidays. 

*Helpful hints:

-Resist the urge to stir the sugar and water. Stirring causes the caramel to crystallize, a gentle swirl of the pan is sufficient.  

-Keep a close eye on the sugar and water mixture as it starts to caramelize. It can go from a beautiful deep amber to burnt real quick. 

 

Follow us on instagram for more cocktail and food inspiration! 

Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcle

and Follow That Fork @nhubble