Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!

Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail

Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail

Iced coffee was invented for days like this. Days when the heat brings beads of sweat the moment you walk out the door, and the humidity increases the volume of your hair ten-fold (a la Monica Geller). Days when a glass of iced water just won’t cut it. You need the afternoon pick-me-up that only coffee can provide...and some days, that iced coffee begs for a shot of brandy and a splash of milk. 

I posted this Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail a couple months ago on Instagram, but it bears repeating on the blog. It’s the perfect way to cap off a hot summer day. Cheers!

Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail
Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail

Cold Brew + Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 cocktail

2 ounces cold brew coffee (such as FreshGround's Black Ice Brew)
2 ounces brandy
2 ounces whole milk (or cream)
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom for topping

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker along with a handful of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass.

Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder, nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom. Enjoy!

Spiced Glogg Muffins

Did you make glogg yet? I hope you did...but if not, there's still plenty of winter left to enjoy it! And if you're thinking that all those raisins and almonds will go to waste after they've soaked in the brandy, wine and port, have no fear! They're perfect in breakfast treats like scones, quick breads and muffins. (In case you missed it, click here for the glogg recipe I'm referring to.)

After I make glogg, I strain out the spices, almonds, raisins and other mix-ins. If I'm not ready to do anything with them yet, I throw it all in a zip top bag and stick it in the fridge or freezer (although it's all been soaked in alcohol long enough that there's probably not much chance of anything going bad). When I'm ready to bake, I spread all the mix-ins out on a cookie sheet and quickly pick out the stuff I don't want - like cinnamon sticks, chunks of ginger and pieces of orange peel. I'm basically looking to hold onto the raisins and almonds, which eventually find their way into these Spiced Glogg Muffins.

If you're not much of a glogg drinker, you can take a handful of raisins and blanched almonds and soak them in brandy, wine or port for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Then, just strain out the alcohol when you're ready to bake...and try not to snack too much on the boozy fruit and nuts before they make it into the batter!

Spiced Glogg Muffins
Yields 12 regular-sized muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
1 egg
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup of glogg-soaked almonds and raisins*

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a regular sized muffin tin, or use paper muffin cups.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, egg and butter.

Slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Gently stir in the glogg-soaked almonds and raisins until full incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly in the prepared muffin tin. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

*You can substitute the glogg-soaked almonds and raisins for other mix-ins like dark chocolate chunks, dried cranberries or chopped walnuts.

Glogg [Scandinavian Mulled Wine]

Glogg (kinda pronounced glooog) is a Scandinavian mulled wine. If there ever was a quintessential winter drink, this is it. It's the ultimate “cold weather, cozy up to the fire, pour a glass (or two), stay up late and enjoy good company” beverage. It's sweet with a bit of spice and warms you from the inside out. I'm convinced that Scandinavians are able to survive the long, cold, dark winters because of glogg. I've personally found Chicago weather more bearable when I have a mugful in hand. 

There are a myriad of recipes out there for glogg, but the typical ingredients are red wine, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, orange, raisins, almonds and sugar. There's some variation on the alcohols used, but my personal preference is to use a combination of red wine, port and brandy. I also prefer to make glogg a little less sweet, so the recipe below calls for about half the sugar of other versions I've seen. If you've got a sweet tooth, feel free to increase the amount of sugar in the recipe. 

(And as an added glogg bonus, you can make muffins, scones or baked goods with the wine and brandy soaked raisins and almonds! More on that coming to the blog soon!)

Makes about 2 quarts
Adapted from Craig Goldwyn

1 bottle (750 mL) red wine
1 bottle (750 mL) port
2 cups brandy
2 cinnamon sticks
6-8 cardamom pods
10 whole cloves
1 orange, peels of zest and juice
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, quartered
1/2 cup light brown sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter drink)
Orange slices for garnish

Pour wine and port in a large pot. Add cinnamon, the seeds from the cardamom pods, cloves, orange peel and juice, raisins, almonds and ginger. Warm gently over low heat, being sure not to boil.

Mix the sugar and the brandy in a separate pot. Warm over low heat, melting the sugar and allowing it to caramelize and become slightly syrupy.

Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, add the sugar/brandy mixture to pot with the wine and spices. Cover the pot and let the mixture mull over very low heat for 1 to 2 hours. Once the glogg has mulled, strain out the spice and fruit ingredients.*

Pour the glogg into mugs and garnish with a slice of orange. Glogg can also be stored in tightly sealed bottles for a couple months. I pour the glogg back into the wine bottles I used in the recipe, and then seal with a vacuum cork. Simply rewarm before serving. 

*Don't throw out the fruit and almonds! You can use them in muffins, scones or other quick breads.