T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Pomegranate Ginger Cosmo

Saturday is the first official day of fall, so we thought we would dive right in with one of the festive recipes on our new, delicious, fall cocktail menu. Voila – the Pomegranate Ginger Cosmo!

Pomagranate Ginger Cosmo

1 1/2 oz pomegranate tea infused vodka*
1 1/2 oz ginger syrup**
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 oz pomegranate juice

*We use Harney & Sons pomegranate oolong tea bags to infuse vodka (about 3 bags per quart of vodka.)  You are good to go after about four hours of infusion.

** Make ginger syrup with raw sugar, water and fresh ginger. Boil for about 20 minutes. 

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into martini glass, garnish with lime, and enjoy. Hello fall!

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Watermelon Ginger Margarita

Well, it’s September; the kids are back in school, nights are cooler and the days have been more mild here in the Hudson Valley. But, it is still summer! We’re not quite ready to let it go, and scored some beautiful watermelons from Mead Orchards this week. In celebration of the last weeks of summer and the coming of fall, we’ve put together an absolutely delicious cocktail that celebrates both. The fresh watermelon juice is great even on it’s own, but we’ve added some warmth with a house made ginger simple syrup and assembled an unconventional margarita that won rave reviews at the Trattoria over the week. In fact, the term “luscious” was used. 🙂 People loved it so much, we will have it available for you again this weekend, so stop in and enjoy one!

Watermelon Ginger Margarita
2 oz. Fresh Watermelon Juice (we made ours with a centrifugal juicer, but you can also use a muddle and strain method)
1 oz. Ginger Simple Syrup*
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
2 oz. Blanco Tequila
1 oz. Cointreau
While we made our Ginger Simple Syrup with Sugar in the Raw to add extra depth, you can opt to use regular granular sugar or the following:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Cups Granular Sugar
3 Cups Water
2 Cups peeled, sliced fresh ginger
Add all ingredients to pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a low boil and let cook for 25-30 minutes. The syrup should be sweet and spicy. This will make more than you will need for one drink, but it can be used in many more recipes. If you would like to keep this in the fridge to use over a few weeks, in order to avoid spoilage, once the syrup has cooled add 1/4 cup clear alcohol (vodka works well as it is a neutral spirit.)

Watermelon-Fennel Salad

This is a great end of summer salad. It provides a refreshing contrast of flavors and textures – crunchy sweet watermelon and fennel; salty, creamy feta; and ever so slightly bitter greens. It is perfect with grilled or seared fish or chicken, or simply on its own as simple first course. Don’t be afraid to add or substitute. Experiment!

Makes 4 servings

2 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼  red onion,very thinly sliced
¼ fennel bulb,thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup crumbled Farm feta
4 cups baby greens

In a mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, onion, fennel, mint, jalapeno, lime juice and zest and grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, mound about 1 cup of baby greens on each plate; divide the watermelon-fennel salad over the greens. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the salad.

Serving suggestions: Serve the watermelon-feta mixture chilled on its own or over baby greens.

Variations:

* Mix it up using a combination of yellow and red watermelon.
* Substitute any young soft cheese, such as goat cheese, for the feta.

Nutrition: Watermelon gets its vibrant color from lycopene, the same potent antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chili Cantelupo

It’s August and we are finally getting to enjoy ripe, sun-soaked cantaloupe…wonderful on it’s own but known for being highly versatile (think of the classic cantaloupe and prosciutto combination.) It’s so highly versatile, that it takes well to other many herbs and spices. This week, to highlight this delicious fruit, we’ve put together a drink that is refreshing and has a nice kick of spice to liven things up.

To add a Mediterranean twist, we’ve taken the name from Cantelupo in Italy!

5 chunks cantaloupe (about 1 inch squares)
5 Basil Leaves
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz Lime Juice
2 oz Chili Vodka*

Muddle together cantaloupe, basil leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Chili Vodka. Fill with ice and shake vigorously, strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with a sprig of basil. This drink is at once lightly sweet, spicy and absolutely refreshing. “Possibly problematically too good” as one of our taste testers put it. Enjoy!

* At Gigi Trattoria we make our own house infused toasted peppercorn & chili vodka, you can experiment by making your own, or pick up the ready-made version at your local liquor store.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blueberry Cosmo

Ahhh, another day, another dollar. At least the day is Friday, and for many, payday is around the corner. Cause for celebration, we say! As we are wont to do, we try to take advantage of what is wonderful and local…blueberries. The season has just kicked in. For your enjoyable consumption, the blueberry cosmopolitan. It is too beautiful and delicious to be denied. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1/3 cup seasonal blueberries (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or refined sugar)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice.
1 1/2 ounces vodka (we use Tito’s)
1/2 ounce triple sec 

In  cocktail shaker, muddle blueberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lime juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full blueberry flavor. Add vodka and triple sec, and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Enjoy!

Hellloooooo Friday!

Lookiing for more blueberry cocktail recipes? Here’s another we provided to Lindsay Pietroluongo for her great blog,  “Lindsay on the Rocks”  for a blueberry margarita. There are no losers in this equation! Enjoy!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Spring Fling

We have all spent the last few days melting, sweating, trying to stay hydrated, and hoping for a break in the heat. For this week’s T.G.I.F. cocktail, we knew we needed something beautiful, chilly, and refreshing. Voila – the Spring Fling! Our head bartender, Lisa Butenhoff hooks us up, yet again!

 

Spring Fling

1 1/2  to 2 ounces Figenza Fig Vodka
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces blood orange juice

 Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lime. Enjoy!

 This is one of our drink specials right now at Gigi Trattoria, and one of the most popular at that! Beat the heat and stop in and order one!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.

Cool Sauce for a Hot Night

Gigi HV is very proud to be a sponsor of the Hudson Valley Engagement  cocktail party happening this weekend. The event, benefiting the Empire State Pride Agenda, will be taking place at the beautiful home of Harlan Bratcher and Toby Usnik in Upper Red Hook.

We’re even bringing our “Stuff It” truck to the benefit!  The “Stuff It” truck is mobile goodness in the form of a food truck. We load it up with healthy and delicious local ingredients and let you create your own perfect, customized “stuffed” pita sandwich.

You pick your pita, your protein, your sauce,  your veggies and you enjoy!

One of the favorite sauces to drizzle over your “Stuff it” pita is always our “Cool Avocado” sauce. It is actually a variation on a dressing I created for the Just Salad Chain.  I thought I would share the recipe with you. It is not only great on sandwiches. Toss it with fresh local salad greens or use to garnish or sauce seafood off the grill.

Enjoy!

-Laura

 

Cool Avocado Sauce:

Makes 2 cups

2 ripe California avocados (each about 1/2 pound)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, or to taste
½ small red onion, roughly chopped
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp. low-fat mayonnasie
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
Tabasco to taste
1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne (depending on desired heat)
small handful of cilantro or Italian parsley leaves
1/2 cup water, less if needed
Salt to season

Peel and pit the avocados, then cut into large pieces. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except for the water and salt. Pulse to combine. Add half of the water. With the motor running, add just enough additional water to achieve creamy “drizzle” consistency. Season with salt. Chill and serve.