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Cocktail hour is here!

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Written by foodie pam   
Friday, 26 June 2009
List of viewable recipes from "Sips & Apps" by Kathy Casey

ImageI enjoy cocktails, and with each newly published cocktail book I hope to find new exciting drinks to try out.  Unfortunately, those new drinks are often very elaborate to make - as much as I like to cook I'm not really interested in spending hours preparing a cocktail so I can relax!   

I was pleasantly surprised to find the cocktail recipes in Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey were not overly complicated while still using some neat flavor enhancing ingredients such as jalapeño, thyme, pears, and beets to create new and exiting drinks.  That's because Kathy Casey uses the ingredients raw rather than cooked or processed.  In fact many of her drink recipes only add a small step of cutting the non-liquid components so the overall task of making the drink isn't much longer than without the added ingredient.  Lots of the cocktail recipes appealed to me.  For the fall I can't wait to make the Pear Thyme Fizz, but for a nice summertime cocktail the Strawberry Shag (recipe below) is my pick.

ImageWhile I remain firm that I don't want to cook in order to make a cocktail I am making an exception for Kathy's Ginger Sake Cocktail "Sushi".  This is a cocktail you eat rather than drink. It looks like a bit of sushi and functions more like an appetizer than a drink (which is why I'm ok with bending my no cooking rule).   It's made from gelatin with a hefty dose of vodka that forms a square and sits atop a cucumber slice.  You won't want to serve too many to your guests, but then again you won't need too since after one look (and bite) they'll be impressed.

Last but not least, Sips & Apps has some great appetizers.  You see, Kathy Casey is a chef and mixologist who used both those skills to create this fun book.  In the first half of the book she focuses on the cocktails and the second half appetizers.  To link the two together, she refers to suitable appetizers for many of the cocktails - what better way to create a cocktail party than with paired appetizers and cocktails!  For example, the Pear Thyme Fizz is paired with the Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola.  Others include the Douglas Fir Sparkletini paired with D'Lish Peppadew Peppers (goat cheese stuffed peppers) or Red Square Martine paired with Mini Scallion Biscuits with Smoked Salmon Spread & Pickled Onions.  All of which makes Sips & Apps both a great cocktail recipe book and a great cocktail party book!

Strawberry Shag

From Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey, Chronicle Books 2009

Fresh basil lends a fun flavor note to the classic combination of strawberries and lemonade. Soda water introduces a lively sparkle.

Makes 1 drink

  • 1 to 2 large sprigs fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup Sugared Strawberries, with juice (recipe follows)
  • 1 1/2 ounces vodka
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 ounces chilled soda water

For garnishing

  • Fresh strawberry
  • Small basil leaf

In a cocktail shaker, press the basil and strawberries together with a muddler to release the basil's flavor. Fill the shaker with ice. Measure in the vodka and lemon juice. Cap and shake vigorously. Pour into a large glass, top with soda water, and stir. Garnish with a strawberry and basil leaf.

Sugared Strawberries

From Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey, Chronicle Books 2009

Makes enough for about 6 drinks

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Mix the ingredients and let sit for 15 minutes before using.

Ginger Sake Cocktail "Sushi"

From Sips & Apps by Kathy Casey, Chronicle Books 2009

Makes 25 to 30

These sophisticated little "hip sips" can be eaten in one bite, like sushi.  They're super-fun to pass at a party along with appetizers.  Just don't eat too many - they're quite potent!

  • 3 (1/4-ounce) packets Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 6 ounces sake
  • 10 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon very finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 12 ounces vodka
  • 6 ounces fresh lime juice

For garnishing

  • 25 to 30 thin slices cucumber
  • Edible gold flakes
  • Tiny-julienne candied ginger (optional)

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the sake and let soak for 5 minutes to bloom the gelatin.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the simple syrup and ginger just to a boil.  Remove from the heat.  Add the gelatin and sake mixture, and stir to completely dissolve the gelatin.  Stir in the vodka and lime juice.

Carefully pour the mixture into a plastic wrap-lined 8-inch-square glass baking dish.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap, not touching the liquid surface, and refrigerate until the gelatin is completely set, preferably overnight.

To serve, unmold the gelatin onto a parchment- or wax paper-lined baking sheet.  Remove the plastic wrap and cut gelatin into desired shapes.  (I like to use a 1-inch round cutter or to cut the gelatin into squares.)  Serve each piece on a slice of cucumber, and top with a tiny sprinkle of gold and/or ginger, if using.

About Sips & Apps

ImageWhen it comes to cocktails and appetizers chef Kathy Casey is an expert at balancing flavors and textures. Sips & Apps has 100 recipes that include not only classics like the Martini and Manhattan but also creative new concoctions like the Douglas Fir Sparkletini and the Blue Thai Mojito. Appetizers include simple finger foods like Roasted Pear Crostini with Gorgonzola and ChaCha Cashews and more substantial treats like Asian Shrimp Cakes with Sweet Chili Sauce. Lots of info on stocking a home bar and plenty of techniques and extras (like a nifty double ribbon marker labeled "sips" and "apps") make it easy to match up the right sip with the right app.

Available at Amazon.com

Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 26 June 2009 )
jazdewills (Registered) 2009-06-26 09:35:06

In the recipe for the Ginger Sake Cocktail "Sushi", vodka is listed as an ingredient but is nowhere in the directions. Is this an error on this website, or in the cookbook itself?
pam (Publisher) 2009-06-26 10:36:04

jazdewillis - Thanks for pointing our mistake out. The book is correct. The vodka gets added with the lime juice just after the gelatin is dissolved. I've corrected the recipe in the post....
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