Mixing Margaritas

watermelon margarita

Margaritas are my favorite summer cocktail. There seems to be an explosion of flavored margaritas that take a basic lime margarita recipe and put a spin on it. I have been mixing a few, and while none have lived up to the success of the Cherry Margarita, they come close. Over the 4th of July weekend, we served a watermelon margarita (on leftover May Day coasters). I made them ahead of time and stored them in a giant Mason jar. The jar needed a little shake to mix the cocktail before each serving because the watermelon separates a little while sitting. Aside from that, the overall verdict is that the drink is very tasty.

Ingredients

  • 1 c. simple syrup
  • 2 c. watermelon cubes (or enough to fill the blender)
  • 1/2 c. fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 c. tequila
  • 1/4 triple sec
  • crushed ice
  • lime wedges for garnish

watermelon margarita blender

Directions

  • In a blender, puree watermelon until liquified. Pour watermelon juice through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher– or Mason jar. Push on the solid watermelon parts with a spatula to get all of the watermelon juice into the pitcher. Discard the “solid” watermelon stuff. You should have about 1 c. watermelon juice.
  • Add simple syrup, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec to the watermelon juice and stir.
  • Serve over crushed ice with a lime wedge.

watermelong margarita juices

Notes

  • To make simple syrup, Put equal parts water and sugar in a pot and heat on the stove until sugar is dissolved. Swirl the mixture a few times while heating. Remove from heat and let cool. If you only need a few cocktails, mix 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. If you are mixing cocktails for a large group, double or triple. Leftover simple syrup can be kept in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for a long time.
  • To make any fruit flavored margarita, mix equal parts fresh fruit juice, simple syrup, and liquor (like 1 cup of each).  Add half the measurement of fresh lime juice (or to taste). Serve over crushed ice or blend with ice to make a frozen version.

watermelon margarita closeMargaritas travel well. Look what TheSwimFriend brought to our final swim meet last night! What are other good “To Go” cocktails in hot, humid, muggy  weather?

margaritas to go

Blue Cheese Dip

columbine dip chips

I got a text earlier this week from my neighbor, Miss Jackie, suggesting we order pizza and have snacks Saturday night in the front yard while the kids rode bikes, played Ghosts in the Graveyard, and ran around. Easy enough– we love casual summer get togethers. Who knew there would be a pop-up thunderstorm at 5:00? The whole group ended up in my kitchen and playroom, and I drank margaritas. I made a blue cheese Columbine dip that works really well as a topping for hamburgers too, so we cancelled the pizza idea and grilled burgers.

The original recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, Colorado Collage. Sewing Sister thinks we should add crumbled bacon to the top to make it even more delicious.

 Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 t. crushed garlic
  • 1 t. dry mustard
  • 1/4 t. ground black pepper
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley

Directions

  • Pour crumbled blue cheese in a 9-inch pie pan or similar sized dish (I used a quiche dish).

columbine dip blue cheese

  • In a food processor, combine onion, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, mustard, and pepper. Pulse to blend.

columbine dip dressing

  • Pour the dressing evenly over the blue cheese.

columbine dip pouring dressing

  • Sprinkle with parsley.

columbine dip finished

  • Let stand 2+ hours at room temperature.
  • Serve with blue corn tortilla chips, pita chips, or little toasted bread triangles.

Notes

  • Add a scoop to the top of a freshly grilled hamburger to make a blue cheese burger.

columbine dip close

Christmas Cocktail

cranberry margarita poured

Margaritas are my favorite cocktail, and I will try about any version of the classic concoction. We had a bag of fresh cranberries that had been hanging around the refrigerator since Thanksgiving (did I just admit that outloud?), and I knew we wouldn’t use them for anything else, so I gave this cranberry margarita recipe a spin on Christmas Eve.

cranberry jam

Cranberry Jam Ingredients

  • 3/4 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 t. finely grated orange zest
  • 2 T. fresh orange juice

Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and 1/4 c. water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy (30 to 40 minutes). Mix in orange zest. Let cool. The jam can be made a few days ahead. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Cranberry Margarita Ingredients (makes 4)

  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 t. each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg
  • 4 T. cranberry jam (see above)
  • 2 oz. fresh lime juice (and a few wedges)
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. tequila

cranberry margarita rimmed

Directions

  • Mix sugar and spices on a small plate. Rub rims of cocktail glasses with a lime wedge. Dip the glass edge into the sugar mixture. Fill glasses with crushed ice.
  • For 1 cocktail, combine 1/2 oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1 1/2 oz. tequila, and 1 T. cranberry jam in a shaker. Add ice. Cover shaker and shake contents. Strain into prepared cocktail glass.

Notes

  • To make all 4 servings at one time, prepare 4 glasses with the sugared rims. Combine all drink ingredients in a small pitcher, add ice, and stir until chilled. Strain the mixed ingredients into another container and keep chilled until ready to serve– or strain straight into the cocktail glasses.
  • You can experiment with the spiced sugar. Try Chinese 5-spice powder or pumpkin spice instead of the spices listed above. I did not follow the amounts exactly but gave a few shakes of each into the sugar.

cranberry margarita

4th of July Cocktail

cherry margarita

Since I will need a cocktail for our 4th of July block party, I wanted to focus on a cocktail that has a red, white, or blue theme for this weekend’s new drink. Last night I tested cherry margaritas. I mentioned last week that I like tart drinks better and this one is almost perfect. Even if it did not taste that great (which it does), the color is so vibrant that people assume it is going to be delicious.

Ingredients

  • cherries (you need 15-20 for one batch)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 c. (plus a splash) of tequila
  • 1/4 c. (plus a splash) of triple sec
  • lime wedges for garnish

blending cherry margaritas

Directions

  • Make a simple syrup by adding 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a pot on the stovetop at medium heat. Do not stir, but swirl sugar water occasionally while the pot is on the stove. Remove from heat once the sugar dissolves.
  • Pit ~15 cherries and put them in a blender. You can do more or less cherries depending on your taste. Add tequila, triple sec, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1/2 cup cooled simple syrup to the blender.
  • Blend ~20 seconds until the cherries are ground up. It will look like a dull color, but as soon as you start blending, it turns this really bright pinky red color.
  • Pour the mixture through a fine sieve into a pitcher. Press the mixture around the sieve with a spatula to get as much liquid through as possible.
  • Serve margarita over ice with a wedge of lime for garnish.
  • Makes ~4 servings

cherry margarita

In Other News

A dear friend of TheRoomMom e-mailed the picture below to me. She served the Watermelon Vodka Slushie in this totally awesome watermelon keg. She said she had a few leakage problems. She picked up two more foam circles a little larger than the lock nuts to try to prevent leaking next time. My friend is visiting in a few weeks, and I will get a full report, but the materials list is below if you want to use the picture and the list to give it a try.

Materials

  • Hose Bibb, quarter turn (that’s the tap)
  • Faucet Lock Nuts (those black circles)
  • Brass Pipe Nipple 1/2″ (the piece with threads on both ends)
  • Coupling 1/2″ (what looks like a hex nut)

watermelon keg

Pizza! Pizza!

What do you do when it is raining, and your husband is home for three days for a stay-cation? You make pizza from scratch with your children and consider going to therapy. If you are brave enough to undertake this little activity, I highly recommend including margaritas. I am including the Pizza and Margarita Recipes here.

As a teacher, I am obligated to tell you all of the good things that happen when you cook with your children.

  1. Math Skills: They are all built into the recipe– adding, dividing, fractions, measuring, time…
  2. Reading Skills: Often recipes have pictures with them, so it is easy for beginning readers to follow along. For older children, recipes introduce kids to technical writing (writing that provides instructions about how to do something). Recipes also include great sequencing words like first, next, then, and after. These are good words to know for paragraph writing.
  3. Science Skills: You get to activate yeast and then watch dough rise.
  4. Following Directions: This one is my favorite. You have to follow directions in the right order, so the recipe will work. You cannot skip from #1 to #5 just because you feel like it.

   

As a mom, I am obligated to tell you all of the sucky things that happen when you cook with your children.

  1. Grocery Store: You might have to make an extra trip to the grocery store for unusual ingredients like yeast. Or even a second extra trip to the grocery store for not so unusual ingredients like all-purpose flour because your husband decided to make “Dad Pancakes” for breakfast that morning to kick off his stay-cation.
  2. Time: It takes a lot of extra time. If the recipe says you can make the item in 45 minutes, double the time (then add 30 minutes).
  3. Space: If the recipe says to clear a space on the counter, clear 3. If it says you will need one bowl, plan for two.
  4. Mess: It is messy, and you get to clean up. On a happy note, I did not have to mop the floor because the dog licked up all of the flour and dough that fell to the ground.

I have to admit, homemade pizza crust is far superior to a Boboli crust, but you can always have a pizza night using pre-made crust and sauce. It would reduce your mom stress levels and still provide valuable family time. We have also made ice cream from scratch at our house (I usually leave my husband in the kitchen for that– I just can’t watch).  I recently started making pasta from scratch, and my children love cranking the pasta machine, although, I usually have a margarita on hand for that too. Do you have any kitchen adventures from your house you can share, and if so, is alcohol required?

Toppings: mozzarella cheese

Toppings: mozzarella cheese, Colby Jack cheese, sausage, fresh basil and thyme

Toppings: mozzarella cheese, red pepper slices, sauteed red onions, chicken, fresh rosemary

Toppings: Colby Jack cheese, chicken tossed in wing sauce, sauteed red onions, red pepper slices (drizzle with blue cheese dressing before serving)