Cocktail O’Clock: Tequila + Balsamic

Who says tequila is made for margaritas only? This sweet and savory summer cocktail mixes the hard stuff with fresh strawberries, basil, lime juice and — for an extra foodie touch — balsamic vinegar. We approve.

Corzo Italian Sipper

1 ¼ oz. Corzo Silver
2 strawberries
1 sprigs of fresh basil
4 drops of balsamic
1 oz. Fresh lime juice
2 oz. distilled water
2 packets of Splenda or similar or 1 oz Agave Nectar

Serve over the rocks in an 8 oz. glass

Method: In a mixing glass muddle fresh strawberries and basil, add the rest of the ingredients with ice, shake 20 times and serve in a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a fresh spring of basil.

Find more summer-y cocktail ideas in Endless Cocktails.

Cocktail O’Clock: The Tranquilo

Today’s Cocktail O’Clock comes from Firefly in D.C., which somehow fits everything we like about summertime drinking — tequila, grapefruit juice, fresh mint, lime — into one cocktail. Even though we just recently hated on jars, the Tranquilo is one summer cocktail we’d take for a spin.

5 mint leaves, muddled
3 parts fresh grapefruit juice
2 parts Herradura Reposado tequila
1 part Cointreau
1 squeeze of lime juice

Shake and serve in a mason jar, garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of grapefruit.

Find more summer cocktail ideas in Endless Cocktails.

(Photo: Dakota Fine)

Endless Poptails: Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour

We ESers like our whiskey combinations and we’re betting you will too. Never mindful of the rules, this week we created a blasphemous bartending nightmare by skipping the shaker for some rotating blades. Yep, everything is headed for the blender including the whiskey. Um, please muffle all outraged screams until you have tried this. Along with the whiskey are some sweet cherries, tart apples and a lime to create a popsicle that will assist you with obtaining your daily fruit serving.

So while we may not be rule-minded we’re a thoughtful bunch and giving you two options for your whiskey. Sip it in a whiskey cocktail or get a lick of it in these Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour Poptails. Of course we recommend you try both.

Cherry Apple Whiskey Sour Poptails

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Endless Poptails: Cucumber Honeydew Margarita Popsicles

Grab some popsicle sticks, get the tequila and leave the drunk dialing to others. We’re turning our tequila shots into a frozen Honeydew Cucumber Margarita.

But before your fingers start strumming your keyboard with inquiries as to whether or not the alcohol portions are strong enough, let us save you time and say, maybe it is, but then again maybe not. Luckily poptails are highly adaptable. Your palate, your preference — pour and mix your poptail to suit your taste. Just remember there’s a reason alcohol won’t freeze alone. Stiff drinks are meant to be consumed by the glass, not by the bite. Our proportions here err on the side of tasty over tequila-y.

Next time you’re tasked with bringing something to a party, let us suggest a tequila’d poptail that won’t leave you fearfully scrolling through your call history the next morning.

Honeydew Cucumber Margarita Popsicle


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Sunday Brunch Cocktail On a Stick

You know what goes with brunch besides buffet-size food portions that can break your zipper? Cocktails. Really, what other day of the week can you order a drink at 10am and not worry that your sunburnt nose will be suspiciously given a once over as an indication of a pickled over-indulger? I mean, who decided drinks at 10am on a Sunday is totally acceptable but asking for a drinking at 10am on a Tuesday is not.

So as a workaround I’ve combined a traditional Sunday brunch cocktail with an everyday, any time of the week treat: a cocktail popsicle.

That’s right, what you are looking at is a Kir Royale-inspired Popsicle. Since I couldn’t stand to freeze good champagne, and cheap champagne — well, sucks —  I used Prosecco instead and muddled some fresh blackberries, with a splash of lime, a bit of zest and some crème de cassis.

Lick your drinks away, my friends!

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A Fruit Unlike Any Other: Avocado Milkshake

The longer you think about the avocado, the stranger it becomes.  What is it, exactly, and how did we become so accustomed to its buttery moon-face mashed up into everything from dip to ice cream?  The Oxford Companion to Food begins its definition of avocado as “Persea americana, a fruit unlike any other.”  Almost as if the dictionary writer could find no better words of description.

Visually, it’s a puzzle:  the exterior as lumpy and black as a dinosaur egg, with an inner chamber of pale green grading towards yellow.  Its pit is like polished wood, or as Fernandez de Oviedo described in 1526, “like a peeled chestnut,” resting in a hollow more perfect than any spoon could scoop out.

Before we go any further, let me discuss the real reason why I so recently became interested in avocados.  Do you ever find yourself thinking about words?  “Avocado” is a rather beautiful word — the regularly spaced consonants and internal assonance give it a vague symmetry — and I began wondering where the name comes from.  The Jamaicans call it alligator pear, English sailors called it “midshipman’s butter,” but in which language is such a pleasant name found indigenously?  As it turns, out, avocado is a derivative of ahuacatl, which happens to be the Aztec word for testicle.  The avocado grows in pairs, dangling from the tree so suggestively that even the Aztecs noticed, pausing long enough from their daily blood sacrifice to chuckle to themselves and bestow the avocado with its legacy.   With that in mind, the Oxford’s definition “a fruit unlike any other” develops an entirely new meaning.

In the seventeenth century, W. Hughes, physician to King Charles II of England wrote home from Jamaica about the avocado, “It nourisheth and strengtheneth the body, corroborating the spirits and procuring lust exceedingly.”  In the puritan colonies, to eat an avocado in public was to be labeled as a slut.  Naturally, when American farmers in the early 1900s were looking to boost their avocado sales, they decided upon an ad campaign specifically denying its aphrodisiac qualities.

These days, the avocado is hardly provocative.  In my mind it conjures up Mad Men era housewives and jello molds: tidy cold slices fanned atop iceberg lettuce like a slimy flower.  I wanted to liberate the avocado, find a recipe to showcase the fruit in all its delicate, voluptuous glory.  Milkshakes seemed like the way to go.


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Top 9 Foods Found Only at SoCal Farmers’ Markets (and Not in DC)

While I didn’t catch a glimpse of an avocado orchard, or even an avocado tree, I did find a farmers market, Local Harvest at Marine Stadium, on my last day in Long Beach, California. The first stall displayed all fruits and vegetables that I easily find at my neighborhood far mar: zucchini and onions and peaches.

photo (19)


But then I looked to my left and saw jujubes. The vendor had a sign proclaiming unattainable health benefits (cancer prevention, Zen-filled life). I bought a half pound. Frankly, though, jujubes may grant me 109 years on earth, but they still taste like blah. Total blah. At first I thought they were dried chilies but then I thought, hey, a sickly sweet candy is named after the dried fruit so it must be sweet. ERRRR. <buzzer sounds> It tastes like absolutely nothing.


What a radical notion. Citrus fruit is not only in white cartons marked with styles of “some pulp,” but apparently grow on trees. In California.

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Dragon Fruit

Total alien fruit. Was this the punk rock cousin of an artichoke with its round shape and spiky leaves? No. It’s a beautiful fuchsia-fleshed fruit. The color, however, is more exciting than the taste.


There are some edibles out there that I have zero concept of how they grow. Nuts are one of them. Fresh almonds from the farmers market are particularly nutty and do have more flavor than their encased-in-bulk-bins selves.

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