Even as the summer feels like it’s winding down, it is hot as heck outside here in Atlanta. The Friday night cocktails have to still be something cool and refreshing. This week, I’ll pour a mix of Campari, vodka and Ruby Red grapefruit juice – the Ruby Red Martini. My friend Megan makes Ruby Reds, which she pours over ice in a highball, at many of her get togethers and I really love them. Since I can’t find her recipe, I’m improvising tonight and turning her highball cocktail ingredients into a martini.
Campari – embrace the bitterness
Campari is a bitter Italian liqueur, served as an aperitif and featured classically in the Negroni or with a little soda. It has a beautiful deep red color. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to love the bitterness of Campari. It’s a grown-up liquor for grown-up tastes. It’s meant to be sipped and savored on a hot day.
Although the ingredients of Campari are a trade secret, it has strong citrus and herbal overtones. This makes it pair well with grapefruit and lime.
Ruby Red Martini ingredients – Campari, vodka and Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
Ruby Red Martini
1 1/2 oz. Campari
1 oz. vodka – you can use Ruby Red vodka for a more intense grapefruit flavor
2 oz. fresh-squeezed Ruby Red grapefruit juice
Pour all the ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain the cocktail into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an lime twist. Cheers!
Ruby Red Martini cocktail with Campari, vodka and Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
We’re in the middle of March Madness fever, and this year, I’m particularly excited because my team, the Tennessee Volunteers, has made it to the Sweet 16 round!. They play tonight, and because the Vols are known as the Big Orange, I need an appropriately orange-colored cocktail to celebrate. A quick look at my bar and the bottle of bright orange Aperol popped out at me. I wanted to find an Aperol cocktail that wasn’t an Aperol Spritz, so looking online, I found one that was originally from the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. It combined Aperel, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, vodka and fresh lemon juice to make a bright, refreshing mix – The Mr. 404 Cocktail.
Mid-winter brings a more monotonous selection in the produce aisle but a bounteous variety in the citrus section. While the fresh berries and melons of summer have faded into memory, the market is piled high with oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes. Even though varieties of the fruit can be found throughout the year, some citrus is only available in the winter – blood orange, pommelos, Meyer lemons and tangerines. It’s the perfect time of year to add these bright flavors to a cocktail. This week, I’m making a Tangerine Drop Martini.
Happy Summer Solstice! Today is the first day of summer and it calls for a cocktail that will be great for those hot days spent with friends by the pool. A Watermelon Vodka cooler, perhaps?
Maybe when you were younger, in college say, did you ever take a watermelon, cut a hole in the top, then proceed to upturn a whole bottle of vodka into that hole? Once that bottle of vodka had emptied itself into the watermelon, you plugged it back up then put it in the fridge for a couple of days. When your 20 or 30 friends showed up at your pool a few day later, everyone got to enjoy slices of boozy, cold fruit. Because it was so fruity and refreshing, those slices went down fast and lethal. Now that I’m a grown woman, I like to think that I have moved beyond those years and can drink with a little bit more sophistication. Now, I blend the watermelon and vodka and put it in a glass. See the difference?
Entertaining friends for the season premiere of “Mad Men” sent me looking for retro cocktails of the 1950’s and 1960’s to serve. Looking through cocktail guides from that time, one drink that kept popping up was The Moscow Mule. A snappy blend of vodka, lime juice and ginger beer always served in a copper mug, it’s not really a cocktail that you see much of anymore. But during Don Draper’s time, it was very popular.