It's time for another Marx Foods challenge. This time around, it's a Cocktail / Mocktail Challenge for which we need to use at least one of the offered ingredients in each drink. To say that I was unprepared for this particular challenge would be a HUGE understatement. Firstly, I may enjoy trying new cocktails, but I have really never been the mixologist myself. Secondly, I just moved, so I am completely upside down right now and still haven't unpacked/found a lot of my kitchen toys, and I'm completely burnt out. What initially drew me to the challenge was the prospect of scoring a new sample of Fennel Pollen. LOVE Love love that stuff!! I hadn't planned to use it in either beverage, wanting to hang onto it for as long as possible, but I had a change of heart.
While I was packing, I got to the box of goodies supplied by Marx Foods for the challenge ...
- Fennel Pollen
- Dill Pollen
- Long Pepper
- Saffron Threads
- Dried Pineapple
- Juniper Berries
... and realized that the packet fennel pollen was sitting atop the dried pineapple, and the commingled aromas were intoxicating to me. That settled that - I would have to use pineapple and fennel pollen in my mocktail.
As for my cocktail, when I originally heard what the ingredients would be, it was the juniper berries that stood out. For some reason, my stream-of-consciousness translated juniper to whipper ... whippersnapper ... nip = tiny bottles of booze ... snap = gingersnaps ... ginger and juniper berries = Juniper-snapper.
Two days later, I was wandering around on Pinterest and saw this Pin, so I decided that was kismet and went with my whipper-snapper idea. That is very true by the way. You can still slam a door, but you can't slam a phone down anymore - at least not if you still want to be able to use the phone.
Good thing it didn't occur to me until just now that a whip is also licorice, or I might have had a crazy ouzo drink instead. ;')
2 c Apple Juice
20 Juniper Berries
Pinch Saffron Threads
2 oz Ginger Brandy
In a small saucepan, lightly crush the berries with the back of a wooden spoon, then add the apple juice, a pinch of saffron threads, and some freshly-ground long pepper (I used a nutmeg grater) for some bite. Bring the mixture up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until reduced by about half. Remove from heat and let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer or a coffee filter.
Muddle a slice of fresh ginger with some ice in the bottom of your glass, pour over the apple juice mixture, then top with two ounces of ginger brandy. Give it a stir and garnish with a few additional berries and fresh ginger. And yes, I went there! I put a crazy straw in a Waterford Crystal glass! :=)
I really enjoyed this cocktail. As a matter of fact, I'm enjoying another one right now! I was afraid the brandy would be very harsh to me, but not at all. The word I would use to best describe this drink is Fall, so I guess this challenge came at the perfect time of year. If I could turn it into a candle, I would love to walk into the kitchen and smell what this drink tastes like. It has that slightly piney flavor from the berries, just the right amount of sweet from the juice, and a light bite from the long pepper and ginger.
(Name this drink ... please!!)
1/2 Fresh Pineapple
6 oz Organic Pear Baby Food
1/2 t Fennel Pollen
Lime Sparkling Water
1 Dried Pineapple Ring
Peel and dice half of your pineapple, removing the core if it's too firm. Blend (juice if you've got a juicer) the pineapple with the fennel pollen. Mmmm, smells good already! Add the pear and pulse again. If you want to and/or have the time, you can certainly strain the mixture. I chose not to.
Half fill a glass with the fruit mixture, over ice, then top it off with the lime water to thin it, and garnish with additional pineapple. In this case, I had dried pineapple rings on hand, so I used one of those.
I got kind of a chuckle out of the head the lime water created at the top. I waited a few minutes for it to go down, but that wasn't gonna happen. This one was curiously good in that it was refreshing, but the flavor was not AT ALL what I was expecting. It almost hinted at root beer??? I would definitely try this one again, but I'm thinking I didn't need the pear, or at least not as much. It just happened to catch my eye while shopping one day (before I had decided what I was going to do), so I thought it would be a nice neutral base for a mocktail.
So, what the heck would you call this one? I couldn't come up with anything, and since it had baby food in it, I went with the Pineapple Baby for now, but if you've got a better idea, I'd love to hear it ...
As always, a HUGE thanks to the folks at Marx Foods for the challenge and the goodies that came with it.