Snow days are the best blogging days. As I write this, snow falls from the sky. It reminds me of a river current but instead of flowing perpendicularly, the current runs parallel. Moving water in all forms are similar in some ways, I guess. As soon as I finish writing this, I’ll be outside shoveling the 6+ inches, so I’ll enjoy the coziness while I can.
Deep in the throws of winter, when it’s dark and cold, I imagine myself in Hawaii. Having visited a number of times to get breaks from Fairbanks’ winter grip, I now fantasize about warm water, hot sand, cocktail umbrellas, and chunks of pineapple adorning beautiful drinks when I’m cooped up in December. Not surprisingly, my favorite of those cocktails is a Mai Tai. Forget the bottled mix. I’m talking a legitimate boozy, fresh-fruity, frigid cocktail, preferably purchased for an obscene amount of money at a tiki bar on a remote beach. Those do exist. On the Big Island.
Several weeks ago, I received a couple cocktail mixes in the mail from Stirrings for this year’s Blogger Recipe Challenge. The challenge: create a holiday cocktail. I’m usually not a huge fan of bottled mixes because they taste like bad fruit candy between the added artificial flavors and loads of sugar. Stirrings mixes are the opposite–they’re made with real fruit juice and they’re not cloyingly sweet. And their mixes present beautifully. See for yourself on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.
My new favorite, the Blood Orange Martini Mixer, was a perfect base for my winter escape to Hawaii and the creation of the….are you ready? The Mele Kalikimai Tai. I’m so proud of this title, I created a meme for it.
I tested several iterations of this cocktail and I finally got it right with rosemary and blood orange infused rum. I don’t regularly infuse hard alcohol but I’m going to start because infused booze is really flavorful, my friends. Almost flavorful enough for me to drink it straight. Almost.
I still can’t drink straight alcohol without making a face.
To infuse any booze, put any fruits, veggies, or herbs in a clean, glass jar. Cover with alcohol of your choice. Screw on the lid and give it a little shake. Let sit for 3-5 days, tasting until it’s where you want it. Here are some fun suggestions!
In a cocktail shaker, I added the infused rum, white rum, Stirrings Blood Orange Martini mix, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, orange bitters, and a good amount of crushed ice.
Once shaken, I added the booze to a glass with a rosemary-sugar rim and garnished with a raspberry-rosemary skewer, a slice of blood orange, and a generous pineapple chunk. This cocktail tastes like a tropical holiday, and there certainly is a lot to love about that!
- For the Infused Rum
- 1 blood orange, sliced into ½ inch slices
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 pint size mason jar
- White or gold rum
- For the Cocktail
- 2 ounces Rosemary-Blood Orange Infused Rum
- 1 ounce white rum
- 3 ounces Stirring Blood Orange Martini Mix
- 1 ounce pineapple juice
- Juice from ½ lime
- 4 drops of orange bitters
- 1 drop of almond extract
- For the Sugar-Rosemary Rim
- 2 tsp. organic sugar
- 1 tsp. finely chopped rosemary
- Garnishes: raspberries, sliced pineapple, sliced blood orange, and rosemary skewers
- To infuse the rum: place sliced blood orange and rosemary sprigs in the mason jar. Cover with gold rum. Place lid on jar and give it a little shake. Let sit for 3-5 days or until it tastes good to you.
- For the cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, add infused rum, white rum, Stirrings Blood Orange mix, pineapple and lime juices, bitters, almond extract, and ½ scoop crushed ice. Place the lid on the shaker and shake for 15-20 seconds.
- Prepare the rosemary-sugar mixture by blending the rosemary and sugar. Using the back of a large chef's or santoku knife, run blade over rosemary and sugar until well mixed. It's okay if the sugar turns a little green. All the more festive. place sugar mixture on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
- Take a highball glass and run a piece of pineapple or citrus flesh around the rim. Flip the glass upside down, rotating to cover in the rosemary-sugar. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Strain cocktail (no need to use the ice in the shaker) into the filled glass. Garnish with fresh pineapple, oranges, raspberries, and rosemary skewers.
Before I go, from my family to yours, Mele Kalikimaka or Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Wondering where to find Stirrings Mixers? Head on over to their website or if you’re local to Maine, find them at Maine Beer & Beverage and Hannaford’s.