We’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo, the day in 1862 when our Mexican friends beat the French in the Battle of Puebla, with what else? Margaritas! Cindy B., all-around cool chick and mixologist extraordinaire from NYC’s Tao Restaurant is here to share her easy and delicious margarita recipe. So mix up a few and take your friends up to the rooftop. It’s time for alfresco cocktails! All you’ll need is: your favorite tequila, orange liqueur, rose’s lime juice, limes, and if you’re feeling decadent, some St. Germain.
Enjoy and Happy Cinco!
I was on a mission to find “Latinized” versions of holiday drinks, like the egg nog and mulled cider that now abound in outdoor market around the city. And I found them. In the December issue of the Food Network magazine, a handy guide perfect for adding to your off-line recipe collection featured how-to’s for Hot Dulce de Leche, Mexican Hot Chocolate and Coconut Nog, as well as festive concoctions perfect for warming us up from the inside out (ei. maple chai) and getting us into the spirit with a little bubbly (ei. kir royale).
But this week, as I read through Melissa Clark’s rediscovery of eggnog in the New York Times, I remembered the holiday traditions of my life back home. Along with an arduous fruit cake production that would tie up the kitchen for days, Mom would always be ready to prepare her own decadent interpretation of one of her favorite drinks, the Brandy Alexander. She whipped up this creamy elixir every time she was ready to entertain (which was almost daily). With exuberant gusto she combined condensed milk, evaporated milk, white rum and crème de cacao, blended it with ice and poured the frosty mixture into delicate rose-colored goblets, topping each glass with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The result was a dreamy, creamy drink that is (almost) worthy of replacing dessert. As Feist best puts it in her song, this drink definitely “goes down easy”.
This holiday I invite you to make a batch, bottle it up and give it away as homemade gifts. Or keep it, invite your favorite people over for a drink and celebrate how sweet life can be.
Cora’s Brandy Alexander
1 ½ cans of condensed milk
2 ½ cans of evaporated milk
1 can of white rum
1 can of crème de cacao (or your favorite chocolate liqueur)
powdered cinnamon and/or cinnamon stick
note: use one of the empty cans to measure the rum and liqueur
Whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Blend with ice or mix in a cocktail shaker. You can also serve without the ice. Top with cinnamon. Enjoy!
Did you know that there are soft drinks produced all over Latin America, and that you can get a taste of a country’s local flavor just by flipping open one of these bottles? In the Dominican Republic, for example, two of the most popular drinks are Merengue and Refresco Rojo, and are available at Dominican restaurants and bodegas around NYC. In Peru, the local palate lusts for Inca Cola, Cola Real and Chicha Morada. I know, I know, when the temperature starts to drop, it’s more fitting to talk about chocolate caliente and atole? But even though the city seems to have changed from green to fall yellow overnight, my memories of summer are still alive.
I was walking to work one day when I stepped into my corner deli to pick up a bottle of water and some flowers for the week. As I paced through the store browsing the cold drinks stocking the fridge something surprised me. An entire shelf was stocked with a line of the quintessential Mexican soft drink Jarritos. Captivated by the bejeweled bottles, I stared at the luminous rainbow of flavors: tamarind, pineapple, jamaica, mandarin, grapefruit, lime.
Not long ago, lime soda became my summer drink of choice. Along with boogie boarding Saturdays. G and I would wake up, pack PBJ’s and rush out of the house to squeeze every moment of our long warm days, returning time and time again to our favorite spot on the Jersey Shore. After an invigorating day of playing with the waves, we would drive home when the last hint of light covered the sky, picking up burritos at our favorite tex-mex joint in Hell’s Kitchen. With salt on my skin and leftover sand between my toes, I would order a bottle of the lime green, psychedelic-looking soda, straight out of the pages of Dr. Seuss.