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.)

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Lemonade

As we near the end of August, we embrace the most classic of summer refreshers, fresh squeezed lemonade. Though it sounds so simple, very few take the time to make it the right way with the perfect proportions of lemon juice, cane sugar and spring water. To those celebrating the close of the summer, we will have fresh squeezed lemonade cocktails available all weekend long at Gigi Trattoria. You won’t believe how delicious they are! Here is one of the cocktails we are featuring, strawberry lemonade, though we’ve got a few other suggestions for you; fresh blueberry lemonade, pink lemonade, or the regular old fashioned kind. Be creative! 🙂

Strawberry Lemonade

1 1/2 ounces House Infused Strawberry Vodka
1 Ounce Strawberry Puree
1 Ounce Lemon Juice 
1/2 Ounce Simple Syrup

Comine all ingredients in shaker and fill with ice. Shake very vigorously (you need some of that water from the ice to make the “lemonade” part!) Pour into a sugar rimmed martini glass and enjoy. Delicious!

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 – Peach Green Tea

This week’s TGIF cocktail is quite a treat, though it’s not the easiest one to slap together quickly…so we’ve decided to have it available to you as a drink special all weekend long at the Trattoria! It’s many components make a truly balanced, refreshingly light and delicious libation. However, if you don’t happen to have all of these ingredients at home, just come on in to Gigi Trattoria this weekend and have us do the work for you, it would be our pleasure. You will love it!

 Peach Green Tea

2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
3 slices muddled cucumber
8-10 mint leaves
2 ounces organic peach nectar
2 ounces green tea (We use Harney & Sons)
½ ounce honey simple syrup
½ ounce lemon juice

 Muddle mint with honey simple syrup in shaker. Add cucumber, continue to muddle. Add remaining ingredients, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into ice filled Collins glass. This would also make a great punch bowl or pitcher drink if you are serving a group, it’s sure to impress. Enjoy!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Summer Berry Sangria

Summer is the time of gathering with friends, relaxing and keeping things simple. This week, we focus on a weekend favorite (making it the perfect T.G.I.F. cocktail) at Gigi Trattoria, the Summer Berry Sangria. We have simplified some of the preparation so that it’s easy to make at home. While everyone may have their own favorite sangria recipe, try this one, it is  delicious! Whip up a pitcher of Summer Berry Sangria for you and your guests, relax and enjoy!

 

1 Cup Strawberry or Mixed Berry Puree*
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
3/4 Cup Simple Syrup 
2 Cups Lemon-Lime Soda 
1.4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Berry Liquor (we used Chambourd)
1 Bottle of dark, dry Rose Wine (we use Lurra Garnacha 2011, Spain)

 Add all ingredients together into a pitcher and add ice. 

 *Should take approximately a pint of strawberries, or even better a mix of strawberries and raspberries. Rinse fruit and cut the tops off the strawberries, hull them if they are tough and not at peak ripeness. Toss berries into blender with some water, adding more water until desired puree consistency is achieved. 

**Shout out to our Adrienne Chiaramonte for whipping this up for us on her day off! 🙂

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Apricot Julep

The classic julep it a hotly contested beverage, with many preparation variations, though the basic ingredients are generally always the same; bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. We scored some beautifully sweet apricots from Rose Hill Orchards in Red Hook this week and we decided to take a twist on the classic julep and add fresh apricot.

It’s incredibly delicious. Though this isn’t the simplest drink to make, we promise you it’s worth it. The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone, but the Julep is a great sipper all summer long. 

2 ripe fresh apricots (available locally at Rose Hill Orchards)
Approximately 20 mint leaves
3 ounces Bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup (may be adjusted to preferred sweetness desired)
 

Throughly muddle 20 mint leaves (stems removed) with 1 teaspoon sugar. The granular quality of the sugar will work to break down the mint as you muddle, eventually turning it into a fragrant mash. Add quartered apricots, pits removed. Continue to muddle until apricots are broken down and integrated into the mint mash. Don’t worry about the skins, they will be strained out. Add the bourbon and simple syrup and fill the shaker with enough ice to reach the top of the liquid. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty and all components are integrated. Pack an Old Fashioned glass or Julep cup with crushed ice (almost to overflowing.) Strain drink into glass, garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw so that the fabulous fragrance can be enjoyed while sipping. A multi-sensory explosion of goodness to kick off your weekend!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Plum and Honey Spritzer

The heat of summer is already starting to settle into our bones. Flushed and sweaty, we end up with hair don’ts instead of hairdos, as the humidity wrecks havoc. Hot car seats burn our thighs as we struggle to keep our cool.  We are in definite need of a delightful and refreshing T.G.I.F. cocktail this week!

Voila – the plum and honey spritzer!

2 ripe yellow plums (available locally for your picking pleasure at Mead Orchards)

1/2 ounce honey simple syrup*
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice.
1 1/2 ounces gin (we use Hendrick’s for it’s clean and refreshing taste)
2 ounces dry sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava

Cut plums in half and remove pits and skins. In a cocktail shaker, muddle plums with honey simple syrup and lemon juice. Add gin and fill enough ice to come to top of liquid. Use your muscles to shake this one, you want to shake it hard enough to fully liquify the muddled plums. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with your favorite dry sparkling wine. Enjoy!

*Honey simple syrup is made by combining equal parts honey and very hot water. Stir until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and refrigerate. 

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chamomile Sour

We figured we needed a particularly soothing cocktail for you this week. It has seemed to be a very long and arduous week.
While you might thing a drink with bourbon is too heavy for the season, our bartender, Josh Santonja, will tell you this is perfect for those rainy days or cool nights on the patio. It is one of our drink specials at Gigi’s Trattoria right now and people love it!

Chamomile Sour

2 ounces chamomile bourbon*
1 ounce yellow chartreuse
1 ounce honey simple syrup
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 orange slice for garnish
1 maraschino cherry for garnish

 

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, cover with ice and shake vigorously. Scoop ice into rocks glass and strain cocktail over. Garnish
with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

Variations:

Serve ‘up’ in a martini glass.

Go ‘old school’ and add an egg white to the mix before shaking vigorously.

**To infuse the bourbon:
In a large glass jar with a lid, add 5 to 6 chamomile tea bags to a quart of your favorite whiskey/bourbon. Put the lid on and set aside for at least 24 and up to 48 hours. Strain and store at room temperature or chilled.
covered.