italian lemon slush

italian lemon slush cocktail

I can’t imagine there’s anything I wouldn’t love about the city of Venice. Since I haven’t been there yet I remain a vicarious traveler; picturing a sepia-colored city like no other, floating over an ancient network of canals, all those mysterious alleyways winding through a landscape of crumbling palaces.

Twenty-seven summers ago my best friend took off in the direction of Europe, with no real itinerary or return date. I’d planned up until the last minute to go with her, saving all my waitressing cash in a box under my mattress, but drama overrode – it became suddenly necessary that I break up with my then-boyfriend and find a new apartment. How unromantic!

lemon peel syrup for italian slush

Everything worked out fine in the end, but missing that adventure was my regret. In the middle of her travels, my friend called me from Venice; she was running out of money but still hoping I’d change my mind and meet her there in Italy.

I felt a tiny bit jealous that she was in a place I’d only ever dreamed about seeing, until she described the harrowing time she was having there; getting off the train alone in the middle of the night, finding the Piazza San Marco teeming with rats and also a few human ones intent on stealing her backpack and who knows what else.

It can happen in any city anywhere, but somehow, knowing it was less than paradise at that moment in Venice made it a little easier to accept what I was missing.
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strawberry and prosecco rossini

strawberry and prosecco rossini cocktail

My favorite sentences start with three little words: Pop the Cork.

Along with the words, the actual sound of a cork emerging from a bottle with a pop, bang or that slow phssssstt indicating the energized presence of fizzy bubbles, has the power to lift my spirits in the blink of an eye. Like magic.

It’s one of the purest sounds of celebration that I know, and such a simple thing, really.

strawberries_rossini strawberries_rossini

This bubbly concoction is much like the strawberry version of a Bellini – a Rossini. Its pretty pink color and fresh strawberry essence make it seem like just the thing you’d want to drink for lunch, brunch or while watching the sun going down somewhere.

strawberry prosecco rossini cocktail

strawberry and prosecco rossini

Yield: 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

  1. 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 1 tablespoon strawberry flavored liqueur or vodka (optional)
  4. 1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1 750-ml bottle Prosecco, chilled

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, liqueur and lemon juice in a blender until very smooth.
  2. Pour through a fine strainer set over a container with a pouring spout.
  3. Pour the puree into glass flutes to fill by 1/3 ; slowly pour Prosecco over the puree; stir gently.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/05/strawberry-and-prosecco-rossini/

rosemary no. 3 – blood orange negroni

rosemary negroni cocktail
I traveled to Chicago late last fall with a few of my best-est girlfriends. It’s an annual trip, filled with drinks, shopping, drinks, eating and more shopping – fun, right?

This year, the most memorable dining and drinking experience for me (aside from a-mazing tacos and margeritas at Big Star) was at the restaurant Balena. The food is just the kind I’m always hungry for; simple, rustic Italian with a fresh, seasonal slant.

Seriously, everything on the menu is something you want to eat, which makes it hard to choose. I’m glad there were enough of us that we were able to order a table full of things to share. But let me back up a little.

rosemary blood orange negroni

Before we got down to enjoying delicious food, we had a short wait at the very crowded bar, where I had a drink I’ve been craving ever since. The entire cocktail selection has a flavor profile of Italian bitters; flavored with components like Campari and Amaro.

I ordered the Rosemary no.2 – Campari, Aperol, fresh sour mix, egg white and a flaming rosemary sprig for a garnish. It was a perfect combination of sweet-sour-bitter, and the lofty egg white foam on top was better than whipped cream.

I was in the mood to try to recreate the drink last weekend and did a little research. I found this video of Debbi Peek, the Mixologist who created the cocktail program at Balena, demoing the Rosemary no.2 along with a few other drinks, which gave me a good place to start. I got to work improvising, and came up with a pretty close approximation, which I thought appropriate to name the Rosemary no.3.

I made the drink a Negroni by adding some gin and vermouth, muddled the rosemary rather than set it on fire, and used fresh blood orange and lemon juice with some sugar to replace the fresh sour mix they use at the bar.

However, my egg white foam wasn’t nearly as impressive as the one topping my original drink; I think my mixologist muscles need a bit more work. I settled on whisking the egg white until thick and foamy before adding it to the shaker. I almost pulled out my cream whipper for the job, which would make more sense if I were making a batch of drinks for friends

rosemary blood orange negroni

For more on perfecting egg white cocktail foam, I liked this tutorial by Jamie Boudreau.

Also, Not Martha has a method to achieve a seriously beautiful egg white cocktail foam on a classic Ramos gin fizz..

rosemary no. 3 – blood orange negroni

Yield: one drink

Ingredients

  1. 1 egg white
  2. 1 sprig rosemary, plus more for garnish
  3. 1 thin slice blood orange or juice orange
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. ½ teaspoon superfine sugar
  6. Juice of 1 blood orange or juice orange
  7. 2 ounces Aperol or Campari
  8. 2 ounces gin
  9. 1 ounce sweet vermouth

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until very it turns very foamy and opaque.
  2. Muddle the rosemary, blood orange, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker to crush and release their fragrance.
  3. Add crushed ice to the shaker along with the egg white and the rest of the ingredients; cover and shake vigorously for up to 5 minutes – or as long as your arm can take.
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass; garnish with a rosemary sprig.
http://familystylefood.com/2013/02/rosemary-no-3-blood-orange-negroni/