Kir Royal avec bleuet

Skinny Kir Royal with blueberries is an elegant and tasty way to break the ice before your next dinner party. It’s an aperitif from France, although usually it’s made out of creme de cassis which is a smooth blackcurrant 15% liquor. This drink is one of the only wine “cocktail” out there, with sangria, of course. In Brittany, they make the kir with sparkling cider, plus for the record; the original kir drink is actually made of white wine. When sparkling wine is used, then it becomes a Kir Royal, which I believe is bit more festive. It’s mostly served in a champagne flute and to prevent the drink from mixing up and becoming a pink messy and fizzy cocktail, add the cassis syrup in the end to make a clear color separation. This makes the drink so much more appealing and sophisticated.kirpin

Kir Royal avec bleuetTo be true to myself, I’ve made the original recipe slightly different and added some dried blueberries, which would constantly go up and down to my own surprise. Also I’ve made the drink lighter and replace the strong creme de cassis by a simple blackcurrant syrup, which contains no alcohol making the drink a lighter version of the Kir Royal. So if you have a dinner party to organize, and want to impress your guests…with a fun, light and bubbly drink, this is the way to go.


Skinny Kir Royal with Blueberries

  • A cold sparkling white wine  (Champagne, Cremant, Cava, etc)
  • Blackcurrant (cassis) syrup
  • Blueberries (frozen,dried or fresh)
  1. Add a few blueberries to each glass
  2. Add the sparkling wine (full)
  3. Add about 2 tbsp of cassis syrup

Pretty simple and Simply pretty, Enjoy!

Gin TonicPink pepper Gin Tonic is your next way to start the weekend in good company. This version is a slightly spicy. In Barcelona, the gin tonic is “the drink”, if you go walk around you’ll often see in the windows, “we have 40 types of gin” or similar information. Before moving over sea, I didn’t know a thing about this popular drink, after a few years of experimenting, I’ve learned quite a few variations and this is one of them.

Gin TonicThis is no funny business here, there is an art to those G & T, and many competitions to find the best around Spain. A few things I’ve learned is, for example, not to add a full lemon wedge to the drink, because the pulp kills the bubbles. Simply rub the side and inside of the glass with a twisted peel of the lime or lemon. I took lime to make a change on this one. Also another point to the perfect gin tonic is the ice cubes, the less minerals and the more purified the water is, the better the preservation of the flavors from the gin. Also, to keep those bubbles trapped under the ice cubes, you’ll need lots of it, in this big ball glass. When the glass is filled with ice, let cool the glass for a few minutes, turn the ice cubes, then discard the water from the melted ice cubes after about 5 minutes. Gin TonicAdd to your gin, about 2 shots, from high enough to hit the ice cubes and release all it’s flavors. Then pour the pink pepper tonic on a spoon handle (pros does it this way) or close to the glass, to keep the bubbles intact. Let the drink mix by itself, or give it a tiny twirl, for 2 minutes before serving.

I saw all kinds of gin and tonics, I really enjoyed this one because it is slightly spicy, due to the tonic. You also can shake the gin directly with the pink pepper and filter it or even add it directly inside the drink.

So those were the instructions and here are the ingredients I’ve used for this version of gin tonic.

Pink Pepper Gin & Tonic

  • 2 shots of bombay sapphire
  • Pink pepper tonic water small bottle
  • Neutral water ice cubes, fill the glasse
  • The skin of a lime

Check the directions above.


Gin Tonic

Cilantro MojitoDirty Cilantro Mojito is a great alternative to the traditional one, this mojito is just as refreshing and tasty as the original. Often in recipes you’ll see mint to be substitute by cilantro or vice versa… Well, I add a bunch of cilantro leaves to use… so guess what I had to try?… a Cilantro Mojito, of course! A great discovery, and delicious one too. It gives the famous drink a second life, a great new dimension to mojito. I’m still a great mint mojito lover but this is equally good, and if you are like me, and like a little change once in awhile, this is the way. Both mint and cilantro are filled with health benefits, minerals and vitamins of all kinds, so no winner on this side.

Cilantro MojitoThe famous mojito cocktail was created in La Havana, Cuba. I’ve, for my part, discovered mojitos, while backpacking though central America, a few years ago, back in Panama, where they were using brown rum to make the cocktail. I’ve got baptized to brown rum mojito and could never really enjoy a white one after that, or al least not as much. I believe this drink gains so much from using a richer flavored rum, although the crystal clear mojito looks nicer, I believe the slightly dirty yellow mojito with brown rum is way tastier. That’s why I called this drink a “dirty mojito”…

There is a special instrument to bruise the cilantro leaves in the first steps, called the muddler, which help to release the flavour of mint or cilantro in this case. Be cautious with the cilantro leaves, they are way thinner and more fragile than the mint’s leaves, so it might break more easily with a pointy muddler. It happened Cilantro Mojitoin my case, although I like the extra flavour bits of cilantro, a good mojito shouldn’t be in shredded pieces. I guess I get a free pass on my few shredded pieces of cilantro, since my mojito is already called “dirty mojito”.

Going through Nicaragua, back in the days, I remember this sublime rum they would serve us everywhere, the Flor de Caña, a pure delight. Especially for mojitos, and it got a certain sweetness to it, that just goes so well with the famous drink.

Let’s get this refreshing cocktail started!

Dirty Cilantro Mojito

Makes 1 cocktail

Cilantro MojitoIngredients
  • a hand full of cilantro leaves
  • 2 tbsp of cane sugar
  • 30 ml of brown rum
  • 1 lime (1/2 in sliced, 1/2 squeezed juice)
  • Sparkling water
  • Ice cubes
  1. In a thick glass or special mojito mortar glass, bruise the cilantro into the sugar and lime juice and slices
  2. Add the rum and dissolve the sugar in it
  3. Add the sparkling water and ice cubes
  4. Stir, lightly the bottom of the drink to incorporate the sugar

Serve on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

Cilantro Mojito

Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour is a gem from Peru, this foamy lemonade cocktail contains; pisco (grape distilled beverage), limes, syrup and a foamed egg white topped with a few drop of angostura. I know the egg white can scare a few away… there is a little risk of getting sick but there isn’t any problem if you get a fresh egg and let me say: the danger is well worth it here! This drink is an upgraded lemonade for grown ups.

I’ve spend a year in Peru, where on our first night out, we were told to try this foamy and refreshing drink, their national drink. Right on the spot, I’ve felt for this drink, this is one of a kind drink with it’s super foamy texture and refreshing taste . It’s a highlight of Peru, everyone passing by, needs to try Pisco Sour.

Pisco SourJust as a little side note, I would like to let you know about the best bartender I’ve ever met, he was this shy, well composed, really professional young Peruvian working in the most beautiful “vantage looking” bar in the corner of the Plaza de Armas; he was called Billy. We would go pay him a visit every week and I’ve learned a great deal from looking at him making his magic. He would always make us his latest creations, which he was so good at developing, those cocktails were out of that world! I mean this guy was and probably still is the god of cocktail, lost in a small town in Peru! Just wanted to highlight his talent!

So let’s get back to our Pisco Sour recipe. I did mine in a blender, which makes the egg extra foamy, but this cocktail could also be made with the usual shaker and good arm muscles.

So let’s make this national cocktail of Peru!

Pisco Sour

Makes 1 portion

Pisco SourIngredients
  • 1 shot (45 ml) of pisco (grape distilled beverage)
  • 3 key limes 
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp of normal syrup or sugar (I’ve 1 tsp of stevia liquid which is a 0 calorie and all natural, plant based sugar)
  • 3-4 ice cubes 
  • 5 angostura drops
  1. Start by cutting a slice of  key lime for the finale cocktail decoration
  2. Add the lime juice, pisco, syrup, egg white and the ice cubes to the blend or shaker and mix well
  3. Discard the bigger pieaces of ice
  4. Serve in a class with a few drop of angostura

Serve immediately on a hot summer day. Enjoy!

Pisco Sour

Sangria de Hibiscus

Summer is almost here… it’s time for outdoor fun, it’s time for a refreshing Sangria! Here is a slightly different one, a healthier version from the traditional red wine sangria. It’s the Hibiscus Sangria with mango, mandarin and lime slices and Cava (sparkling wine), to make it extra bubbly!

I’ve seen a recipe not long ago of “agua de Jamaica”, a simple juice made of infusing hibiscus leaves and sugar then cool it. The picture looked so yummy, and I thought, those flower are so pretty… they must taste pretty good too. Well, I found some hibiscus leaves in the market, tried as a simple tea… without any sugar… wasn’t tasty like they looked…  I was shocked by how unpleasant taste that infusion had… then I had little stevia (natural sugar)  and cooled it overnight. Wow the difference it make with a bit of sugar sometimes… It went from 0 to hero drink!

Sangria de HibiscusHibiscus leaves have many health benefits, it help control your blood pressure, by lowering the LDL and increase the HDL which means; it helps your heart stay strong. Also, it’s used in many diets because of its great properties of helping to keep the weight off, it’s a good inflammatory and diuretic, even help to increase your man’s libido, etc.  End of story: it’ s a magic flower! We should all get to know better “hibiscus” in other words. So this is my number one, healthier factor in this Sangria and also, I add instead of red wine a “Cava” sparkling wine (Spain but could be any Sparkling wine) which cuts the amount of calories.

The sangria preparation isn’t one easy one, if you do it the right way… It takes a maceration time of your fruits first, which means you’ll have to plan to make it ahead. Back in college, living with 4 roommates, I use to make a big Sangria every year to celebrate the beginning of summer. Which is a big deal in Canada… I would do it in a big salad bowl with lots of fruits like oranges, lemon, peaches etc. Now that, I am living in Sangria land… I have to keep the tradition going. This year, it’s the year of the “Healthy Hibiscus Sangria” version and it’s delicious!

Let’s summer start!

Hibiscus Sangria with mango, orange and lime

Make a big punch bowl (1 1/2 litre)

Sangria de HibiscusIngredients
  • 1 bottle of Cava (or sparkling wine of your choice)
  • 600ml + (100ml for ice cubes) of infused hibiscus leaves water (Add like 6 tbsp of leaves to make 700ml)
  • 3 tbsp sugar (or 2 tbsp of stevia for healthier result)
  • 1 mango sliced
  • 2 mandarins slices
  • 2 limes slices
  • 4 tbsp of Grand Marnier (or Triple Sec, Cointreau or Curacao)
  • *optional extra sparkling water if you like it bubbly
  1. Infuse the hibiscus leaves for 5 minutes and add the sugar while it’s still hot
  2. Cool the infusion (Make some ice cubes with 100ml of the infusion)
  3. Wash and cut into slices all the fruits
  4. Add the fruits to the hibiscus infusion, cover and refrigerate for 12-24 hours
  5. Add the Grand-Marnier, the cold Cava (sparkling wine) and ice cubes to the cold infusion
  6. Mix and serve

Serve with the hibiscus ice cubes and a few pieces of fruits! Enjoy!

Bloody Mary

For those last days of cold, before the heat comes, just a little hot Bloody Mary drink will warm you up! Those are so delicious and different then most cocktails, it’s a bit of everything; spice, veggies, vodka… Back in Canada, where I’m from, they do drink a version with Clamato juice (mildly spicy clam broth and tomato juice) instead of simple tomato juice, they call it Bloody Caesar. Since Clamato isn’t easy to find in  Europe… maybe in latin american Bloody Marystores… I have to use tomato juice, and spice it up. Also add to import a few thing from Canada to make it, like the celery salt, which I think is an important element to this drink. Obviously, living in Spain, I add a little ingredient called “Salsa Espinaler” which is basically a vinegar and paprika sauce instead of the Worcestershire sauce.

The origin of the drink isn’t clear, but a parisian bar owner, from 1921, claimed it was his idea… The bloody Mary in the USA is often drank with ice cubes, while in Canada and France, they omit the ice cubes. You decide.

So here is the recipe for this spicy Bloody Mary.

Bloody Mary

Makes 1 portion

  • 50ml (1 shot) vodka
  • 250ml tomato juice
  • pinch of celery salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire (or salsa Espinaler)
  • 8 drops of tabasco
  • a squeeze of lime *optional
  • a celery stalk
  1. Add all the ingredients to a glass of your choice
  2. Mix it up with the celery stalk

Serve before a meal, it’s a good appetizer. Enjoy!