Spooky Sinner Cider Cocktail

This post comes courtesy of Anne Kenealy, Scissors & Sage’s number one fan and frequent behind-the-scenes editor. This isn’t her first post on the blog, although her last how-to was much more technical than the cocktail recipe that follows. She’s made this drink for many a guest, and everyone always seems to enjoy it. Make it at your next gathering, and it’ll be a crowd-pleaser!

From Anne: Every autumn around apple-picking season, this cocktail returns to our regular rotation here at the international headquarters of Scissors & Sage. Its sweet-tart zing makes it an almost irresistible tonic when the weather begins to cool, and it’s great in big batches for Halloween (hence its name) or Thanksgiving.

Non-alcoholic ginger beer has been a favorite cocktail mixer of ours since Moscow mules came back into vogue. Its snappy heat and carbonation allow it to blend well with neutral liquors like vodka and to balance stronger, smokier whiskeys. When we mixed it with fresh apple cider, the sweetness of the cider was cut by the spice of the ginger, and we knew we’d found a perfect match.

Spooky Sinner Cider Cocktail

Ingredients for two cocktails:

  • 3 oz. vodka
  • 6 oz. fresh apple cider
  • 4 oz. ginger beer (We use the non-alcoholic Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew.)
  • Two handfuls of ice
  • Two thin slices of apple (for garnish)

Add a handful of ice to a rocks glass and slip a slice of apple down the side of the glass, so that it’ll be visible when the drink is poured. Add 1.5 oz. vodka and 3 oz. apple cider. Top with 2 oz. ginger beer and stir to mix.

From Scissors & Sage 

Enjoy!

ALL PHOTOS TAKEN BY ANNE KENEALY

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Picking Favorites: Recipes for Summer

Γεια σας! That means “hello” in Greek, and is pronounced “yassas.” I also learned how to say “cheers,” “good morning/evening,” “yes/no,” a couple of dog commands (random, I know), and other nifty things to get around Greece. It was a funny thing, traveling around a country where the alphabet is fundamentally different from English. Anne quickly became good at deciphering words letter by letter to find our way around. We felt like detectives!

It’s hard to believe that our long-awaited trip to Greece has come to an end–but what a trip it was! I’m not even sure I know where to begin, and my thoughts on the whole thing aren’t fully formed yet. I’ll say this: It was incredible. Beautiful beyond belief, really, and the people we met were so hospitable and kind. Life in Greece has a different pace to it than in the U.S., and we quickly fell into its slower rhythm. The food is healthy and locally grown, and the hot sun and salt water–oh, the salt water!–were nourishment for the soul.

Now back in Philly, I am trying to hold on tightly to some of these ways of life. I write my to-do lists on smaller pieces of paper; I buy fruits and veggies from the local market; I take a break in the afternoons. These things, for now, are keeping me relaxed and mindful. Next week, I’d like to share a few photos and stories from our trip with you, as well as some travel tips that I jotted down along the way–helpful hints that I didn’t know going into our trip.

Two things on the forefront: 1) I’m featuring a fun giveaway at the end of next month. Stay tuned for how you can enter! 2) Anne and I are in the process of looking for a new apartment in Philly. We’ve been talking about finding a new home for a few months now, and we’ll be making the move in about a month! Fingers crossed we find just the right spot for us to continue growing.

As I catch up on Martha Stewart Living and Bon Appetit, I’ve been inspired by all kinds of summer recipes. I’m a little behind the eight ball from being away (i.e. I’m just now reading about “Ten fun ideas for the Fourth!”), but now I can dive into seasonal dishes. Below are some that I’d like to give a try. Enjoy!

Recipes for Summer

Corn and Fregula with Halloumi (Greek!) Cheese from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Chicken with Lemon and Thyme from Food & Wine (click here for the recipe)

Tomato Cucumber Avocado Salad from Green Valley Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Grilled Beet Baba Ghanoush from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Herbed Summer Squash Pasta Bake from Smitten Kitchen (click here for the recipe)

Iron Skillet Peach Crisp from Bon Appetit (click here for the recipe)

Grapefruit-Jalepeno Margarita from Camille Styles (click here for the recipe)

Cocktail Concocting With: Jayme Henderson

This week I am so excited to introduce a new blogging friend, Jayme Henderson. I discovered her blog a few months ago, and just can’t get enough! She is a gardener and sommelier based in Denver, Colorado. She also happens to write the wine column at the Kitchn. Her love for all-things-paired is quite evident in her own blogging and photography. I can only hope that my photographs look as wonderful as hers some day!

Last Monday, I shared a tour of my and Anne’s bar cart. Now, Jayme is here to show us how it’s done.

Blood Orange Whiskey Cocktail (Recipe below!)

Hello! My name is Jayme Henderson, and I write the blog Holly & Flora. It’s where I post original cocktails, wine-and-recipe pairings, and DIY projects. I am constantly inspired by my home garden, and my projects reflect that love. If I could spend the rest of my days surrounded by tomatoes, herbs, and flowers, trust me, I would. For now, I balance my time in the garden between working as a full-time sommelier here in Denver and writing the wine column at the Kitchn.

I was completely flattered when Victoria asked me to create a cocktail and guest post here at Scissors & Sage. I immediately felt right at home when I discovered her blog. I always look forward to her interesting and well-written tutorials. Many thanks, Victoria!

I eagerly anticipate the onset of citrus season. Not only are the bright, delicious fruits a refreshing respite in the dead of winter, but they also remind me of my grandfather. He was a second-generation citrus grower in Florida, my home state, so the aroma of oranges transports me back home. It was only natural for me to create an orange cocktail.

This particular cocktail’s flavor profile is balanced between being slightly sweet and a little bitter. The finish is refreshing and savory, with notes of baking spices. That’s definitely the somm coming out in me with those descriptors! I chose Tin Cup Whiskey as the base spirit. It’s a Colorado whiskey with a bourbon-style profile, complemented by a spicy, peppery kick. Vodka, gin, and sparkling wine all pair well with blood orange juice, but swapping them out for whiskey provides a richer and more savory flavor.

The other key ingredient I added is Amaro Nonino Quintessentia. What exactly is an amaro? An amaro is a bitter-sweet, herbaceous Italian digestif, a liqueur usually consumed after a meal. Nonino is especially enjoyable. Unlike other styles of amaro, which can be intensely herbaceous and even medicinal, Nonino is balanced and has slightly bitter notes of burnt orange and spices. I like to enjoy a skosh of it after a rich meal. It is one of those sipping spirits that warms the soul and makes you slow down. And it’s a killer addition to a whiskey-based cocktail.

Thanks again, Victoria, for letting me drop in and share a cocktail here! And cheers to enjoying citrus season, surviving the chill, and having the patience for spring’s arrival!

Haven’t gotten enough of Jayme? Find her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

Blood Orange Whiskey Cocktail (Serves One)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces whiskey or bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 2 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about two blood oranges)
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon)
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 2-3 dashes orange bitters
  • Sprig of thyme

Juice the citrus and set aside. Then, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whiskey, amaro, blood orange juice, lemon juice, agave nectar, and bitters. Shake until nicely chilled. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice. Finally, squeeze the thyme sprig a few times to release its aroma and garnish!

Notes:

  • This recipe can be easily doubled, and tastes great served up shaken and strained.
  • If you have trouble finding blood oranges, navels or other types can be substituted.
  • Depending upon the sweetness of the blood oranges, increase or decrease the amount of agave nectar, to taste.

All photos taken by Jayme Henderson

Bar Cart Tour

Since Anne and I moved into our apartment in Philly two and a half years ago, we’ve made an effort to put together a small bar cart with some essential components for making cocktails. It’s been an ongoing project, and has really evolved over the past few years. We’ve received some bar cart items as gifts and others we’ve purchased together. Today I’d like to take you on a tour of our little bar! Have you ever put together a bar cart? What are some of your go-to items?

The inspiration for this bar came when we first saw the cart in IKEA. (You can find if for sale online here.) I love that it sits on four casters, and can fit just about anywhere. For now, it works perfectly next to our sofa. Below you’ll see how we’ve divided the three levels into loose categories.

Spirits, Liqueurs, & Bitters

Spirits:

  • Clyde May’s Alabama-Style Whiskey
  • Journeyman Distillery’s Red Arrow Vodka (pure Michigan!)
  • Camarena 100% Agave Tequila

Liqueurs:

  • Triple Sec
  • Peach-Flavored Brandy (delicious in sangria)

Bitters:

  • Dram’s Citrus Medica
  • Bittermilk No. 4: New Orleans-Style Old Fashioned Rouge

This limited selection allows us to enjoy whiskey sours, Moscow mules, greyhounds, and margaritas, to name a few go-tos.

Tools & Books

Tools:

  • Shaker
  • Strainer
  • Jigger
  • Muddler
  • Stirrer, fork, garnish knife
  • Bottle and wine openers
  • Citrus juicer
  • Decorative straws

Books:

Glassware & Mugs

The bottom shelf holds a few different types of drinking vessels for various drinks. We use stemmed wine glasses, stemless flutes, and rocks glasses for almost all of our drinks — and we recently welcomed two copper Moscow mule mugs into our collection. They’re settling in quite nicely!

In The Kitchen

We keep a lot of bar items in the refrigerator, too!  Citrus, cherries, olives, seltzer, and ginger beer are great ingredients and garnishes for many a cocktail.

We love using this cart for hosting our friends and family. It undergoes changes as we learn more about cocktails and become inspired by drinks we enjoy out. While the supplies for a bar cart are somewhat limitless, we have found that our cart is a perfect mixture of essential and supplementary ingredients.

Next week, I am excited to host another guest blogger on Scissors & Sage. I won’t spoil it, but she is going to be sharing a delicious cocktail recipe with us! Cheers to a happy week!