acocktaillife.com https://acocktaillife.com All about cocktails Tue, 05 Jan 2021 14:25:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.6 https://acocktaillife.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cropped-Site-icon-3-32x32.png acocktaillife.com https://acocktaillife.com 32 32 At What Temperature Does Wine Freeze? https://acocktaillife.com/wine/does-wine-freeze https://acocktaillife.com/wine/does-wine-freeze#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2021 18:06:58 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1954 If you’re looking for an effective way to save wine that hasn’t been finished, it’s perfectly possible to freeze it. In fact, many professional chefs and cooks recommend this as a way of keeping small amounts ready for use in dishes. Interestingly, wine still tastes quite fresh once it has been frozen then thawed, and […]

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If you’re looking for an effective way to save wine that hasn’t been finished, it’s perfectly possible to freeze it. In fact, many professional chefs and cooks recommend this as a way of keeping small amounts ready for use in dishes.

Interestingly, wine still tastes quite fresh once it has been frozen then thawed, and if you’re keen to deglaze your pans but don’t want to open a fresh bottle solely for that purpose, a couple of wine ice cubes represent the ideal solution.

What to Consider When Freezing Wine?

bottles in ice

There are, however, a couple of things to bear in mind when you choose to freeze leftover wine. The first is that, just like water (since wine is made up mostly of water), wine expands when it freezes. That means that if you pop an entire unopened bottle in your freezer, the wine will expand and take up all of the space in the bottle fairly rapidly.

This will present a problem since it will push out the cork, leak around the cork, result in the bottle cracking due to the excess pressure or, indeed, all of those things mentioned above. For this reason, you should always put wine into a different container when freezing it, which allows sufficient space to accommodate the expansion that will inevitably occur.

Secondly, once the wine has thawed, you may notice that tartrate crystals will have formed. These are harmless, so they won’t cause you any problems, but they typically form whenever wines are subjected to extremely cold temperatures.

If you’re freezing a sparkling wine, you should also be aware that it will probably lose all of its carbonation during the freezing process.

Which Temperature is Best for Freezing Wine?

The temperature at which you should freeze wine for the best results will depend on how high the wine’s alcohol content is. However, you’ll find that the majority of wines freeze at around 15 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 to -6 degrees Celsius). It also needs to remain at that temperature for some time before it will freeze solid.

As a rule, the higher the alcohol content of the wine, the lower its freezing point will be. Most wines have an alcohol content of around 12.5%, and this means that, on average, wine’s freezing temperature comes in at about 22.5 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 Celsius). This isn’t a precise figure, though, since some of wine’s non-alcoholic compounds and sulfites may impact on its freezing point.

Can Wine Be Spoiled During Freezing?

freezing wine

Sometimes, wine may be spoiled in the freezing process if care isn’t taken to prevent freezer burn. If wine hasn’t been transferred into a suitable container to allow for expansion before freezing, it can be exposed for too long to the freezing air, and this can cause it to start dehydrating.

Frozen wine may lose some water content via dehydration if it’s kept in very cold temperatures for excess periods. If you want to age your wine, you shouldn’t do it in a freezer since, over time, the aroma and flavor profile become flattened and altered.

The tannins and alcohol in the wine can also make it taste vinegary after excess time in a freezer, and this can render it unsuitable even for cooking. 

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What U.S. State Name is Featured on Labels of Jim Beam Whiskey? https://acocktaillife.com/whiskey/us-state-on-the-label-of-jim-beam https://acocktaillife.com/whiskey/us-state-on-the-label-of-jim-beam#respond Sat, 02 Jan 2021 13:29:00 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1949 The Jim Beam whiskey brand is one of the best-known American brands of bourbon whiskey. It has the name of a U.S. state printed on its bottle, and this is the name of the state in which it is produced – Kentucky. The Jim Beam brand is made in the city of Clermont in Kentucky. […]

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The Jim Beam whiskey brand is one of the best-known American brands of bourbon whiskey. It has the name of a U.S. state printed on its bottle, and this is the name of the state in which it is produced – Kentucky.

The Jim Beam brand is made in the city of Clermont in Kentucky. Made by Beam Suntory, it is one of the world’s top-selling bourbon brands, and it has a long and illustrious heritage. The Beam family have been part of the whiskey production industry since 1795, but the name of the brand didn’t become “Jim Beam” until 1943. The name change came about to honor James B. Beam, the man who was responsible for rebuilding the business when Prohibition came to an end.

Jim Beam Whiskey

The origins of the brand go back to Germany when the Bohm family emigrated to America and settled in the state of Kentucky in the late 1700s. Eventually, they changed the way they spelled their surname to Beam – the name associated with the brand to this day.

The first Beam to be involved with whiskey making was Johannes Beam which started making whiskey in a style which later became known as bourbon. The first barrels of his corn whiskey were sold in about 1795 under the name “Old Jake Beam Sour Mash”.

His son, David, took over production of the bourbon in 1820 and moved his father’s distillery to Nelson County, capitalizing on the Industrial Revolution and the development of the railroad. The company began bottling their whiskey in 1880 (before this time, customers brought jugs with them to the distillery).

It was at this time that the brand name changed again, this time to “Old Tub”. In the 1930s, the distillery was rebuilt in Clermont, Kentucky, where it is still located today, and in 1935, the James B Beam Distilling Company was established.

The name became “Jim Beam” in 1943 The company was bought in 1945 by a spirits merchant from Chicago called Harry Blum, and in 1968, it was bought once more, this time by American Brands. Finally, in 2014, the brand was purchased by a Japanese group made up of distillers and brewers best-known for manufacturing the first-ever Japanese whiskey – Suntory Holdings Ltd.

The result is a combined company called Beam Suntory. Nevertheless, the whiskey is still strongly associated with Kentucky and, indeed, the state has become synonymous with bourbon.

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Which Beer Shares Its Name with the River That Runs Through Amsterdam? https://acocktaillife.com/beer/amstel-beer https://acocktaillife.com/beer/amstel-beer#respond Mon, 28 Dec 2020 12:54:21 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1942 There is a Dutch beer which shares its name with a river which runs through The Netherlands’ capital city, Amsterdam – so, what is it called? This brand is known as Amstel, and it takes its name from the river due to the fact that the brewery that makes it was located on its riverbanks […]

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There is a Dutch beer which shares its name with a river which runs through The Netherlands’ capital city, Amsterdam – so, what is it called?

This brand is known as Amstel, and it takes its name from the river due to the fact that the brewery that makes it was located on its riverbanks when it was established in 1870 and the river’s clean water was used for making the beer.

Amstel Beer

Water was diverted by the brewery to its factory where it was used for chilling its stock. During the winter, ice was also taken from the river so it could be used for refrigerating the products. The river ice was crushed before being put in insulated cellars containing Amstel beer.

Originally established in 1870 by Charles Antoine de Pesters, Willem Eduard Uhlenbroek and Johannes Hendrikus van Marwijk Kooy, the Amstel brewery produced its very first brew in 1871 and delivered its first products to clients in 1872.

When it was first set up, the brewery could produce only 10,000 hectoliters per year, and the beer that it produced was primarily consumed in the capital city of Amsterdam itself. It wasn’t until the railway network began to expand in The Netherlands that Amstel beer began to reach the rest of the country and, by 1883, the brewery’s products were being exported to the Dutch East Indies and Great Britain.

Demand was so high for exports that a specialist bottling plant was constructed in 1884 where beers produced specifically for overseas markets were pasteurized before being packed in metal kegs.

By the mid-1910s, Amstel production had increased exponentially to 20 times its original capacity, and by 1926, Amstel beer represented a third of all beer exports from The Netherlands.

1968 saw the brand being purchased by another well-known alcoholic drinks brand – Heineken International. Within four years, the original Amsterdam Amstel Brewery had been closed down with production being relocated to Zoeterwoude where Heineken’s main plant is located.

Today, a number of beers are sold by Heineken under the Amstel brand name. Amstel Lager is one of the most popular which uses light pilsner malt with a little dark malt in its manufacturing. This lager is sold in no less than 75 countries worldwide.

Another popular option is Amstel Light which is a lower alcohol beer. It contains different ABV levels depending on the country in which it is being sold – 4.0% ABV in Mexico, 4.1% ABV in the UK, 2.5% ABV in New Zealand and 3.5% ABV in the Netherlands and the USA.

A darker 5% ABV lager available from this brand is Amstel 1870, while Amstel Free has only around 1% ABV and Amstel Zero contains, as you might imagine, no alcohol.

The Amstel brand also sells Amstel Radler, a shandy which contains only 2% alcohol, in many countries. This beverage contains a mix of lager and lemonade and is a popular addition to the brand’s collection.

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How Many Grapes are in a Bottle of Wine? https://acocktaillife.com/wine/how-many-grapes-in-a-bottle-of-wine https://acocktaillife.com/wine/how-many-grapes-in-a-bottle-of-wine#respond Sat, 26 Dec 2020 09:37:01 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1927 One of the most commonly asked questions in any tasting room in a winery is how many grapes are used to make a single bottle of wine. As you might imagine, there’s no single answer to this question, but you may still want to try the math to get a rough estimate. All grape varieties […]

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One of the most commonly asked questions in any tasting room in a winery is how many grapes are used to make a single bottle of wine. As you might imagine, there’s no single answer to this question, but you may still want to try the math to get a rough estimate.

All grape varieties have their variables, and of course, different planting locations and soil types are also added into the equation which causes differences in the number of grapes needed to produce your favourite tipple.

Not only that, but the number of grapes found on each cluster varies too depending on which type of grape is being used. There is, however, a simple way of estimating the number of grapes required to make the average bottle of wine.

On the average cluster of grapes, you’ll find around 70 – 100 individual grapes. If we’re going to come up with the simplest estimate, we’ll say there’s 100. Now, the average grapevine produces around 40 clusters of grapes.

Grape growers work on the principle that a standard vine can produce about ten bottles of wine. Therefore:

40 clusters of grapes x 100 grapes in a cluster = 4000 grapes in 10 bottles. This figure equates to 400 grapes in a single bottle.

While this may be a simple figure, it isn’t the kind of math that winemakers and growers can use to determine their production over the course of a year.

In order to do this, they use gallons and tons. Therefore, there is a different way of estimating a yield which uses math which directly affects the quality of the wine.

A significant factor that determines the quality of wine is the vineyard’s yield, determined in terms of tons per acre. In part, this is determined by the type of grape that is grown, but primarily, it is determined by the grower themselves.

The grower prunes the vines in such a way as to determine the amount of fruit they will produce. As a rule, a lower yield will equate to higher quality.

Why Does a Lower Yield Mean Higher Quality?

The answer to this is that, when a lower yield is produced, all of the vine’s energy (and, therefore, all of its aromatic compounds and flavor) go into fewer grapes. A higher yield means less flavor.

How Does This Look in Practice?

Grapes in a bottle of wine

Imagine we’re getting 3 tons of grapes from a single acre – a level which the majority of luxury winemakers will be comfortable with. On average, 1 ton of grapes yields 160 gallons.

Of course, there are some qualifications which will apply, for example, the grape variety, how good the growing year has been, and how hard the grapes were pressed, but in general, a 750ml bottle will hold around 0.2 gallons.

With this in mind, 1 ton of grapes will produce around 800 bottles, and this means a single bottle contains around 2.5lbs of grapes. So, how much will a single grape weigh?

Cluster weights tend to range from ¼ lb – ½ lb. If we take the weight of a single cluster as ½ lb, around 5 clusters are required to make a bottle. Now, if you recall the math we worked out earlier, each cluster has around 100 grapes. Therefore, this method estimates that there are around 500 grapes in a bottle.

All of this working out means that a single bottle of your favorite wine will contain around 400 – 500 grapes. So, now you know!

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Does Champagne Freeze: How to Chill Champagne Fast? https://acocktaillife.com/champagne/does-champagne-freeze https://acocktaillife.com/champagne/does-champagne-freeze#respond Wed, 23 Dec 2020 16:28:43 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1913 Most people have put a bottle of champagne into their freezer then forgotten all about it until the following day when they worry that they’ve ruined their bubbly.  However, there’s no need to panic since it’s perfectly possible to thaw and drink frozen champagne as long as you follow some simple steps. Like other types […]

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Most people have put a bottle of champagne into their freezer then forgotten all about it until the following day when they worry that they’ve ruined their bubbly. 

However, there’s no need to panic since it’s perfectly possible to thaw and drink frozen champagne as long as you follow some simple steps.

Is Champagne Safe to Drink When Frozen then Thawed?

Is Champagne Safe to Drink When Frozen then Thawed

Like other types of wine and most other alcoholic beverages, champagne will freeze when left for excessive periods of time in a home freezer.

Most wines have a freezing point of 15 – 20 degrees Fahrenheit (or -9 to -6 degrees Celsius), and most home freezers are set to -18 degrees Celsius or 0 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety purposes.

Therefore, if you leave champagne in your freezer for long enough, it will either go slushy or perhaps turn into a solid block.

While it isn’t ideal, so long as the bottle remains intact, champagne that has been frozen will be safe to drink after it has been thawed.

Crystals may fall out of the wine, but these are safe for human consumption as they’re tartaric acid crystals – identical to cream of tartar which is used when whipping egg whites into meringue.

Does Freezing Ruin Champagne?

When champagne is frozen, though, it won’t be exactly the same when it is thawed out. Firstly, champagne is supposed to be sparkling but, most often, thawed champagne won’t be anywhere near as carbonated when it is opened.

Also, the cold in your freezer may damage some of the champagne’s delicate notes which will become more oxidized and bitter, causing the floral and fruity notes to fade.

It’s true to say that champagne is a beverage that is extremely chemically sophisticated. The extreme cold won’t just alter the stability of tartrate, but it can also affect protein stability too.

For this reason, most reputable Champagne houses and wine merchants won’t ship wine in the winter, particularly if it’s being sent to a recipient living in an equally cold climate.

Is There a Better Way to Chill Champagne than in My Freezer?

how to cool champagne

Putting champagne into the freezer isn’t even the quickest way of getting the beverage to the ideal serving temperature.

You want to serve champagne at around 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit as if it gets any colder, its flavors become difficult to taste. If you put champagne in your freezer, it takes around 15 minutes for it to reach that temperature.

Conversely, if you pop the bottle into a saltwater ice bath, it will take under ten minutes to cool champagne to its ideal temperature thanks to cold water’s thermal conductivity.

For this reason, service professionals prefer to use this method when they’re serving dinner in restaurants.

Not only is it a quicker way to get champagne to its perfect serving temperature, but it also eliminates the risk of the beverage becoming too cold and destroying its flavors.

It also prevents the problems associated with freezing champagne for extended periods of time. 

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Tiramisu Martini https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/tiramisu-martini https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/tiramisu-martini#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:48:44 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1874 It’s a good day when free ice cream shows up in the mail, wouldn’t you say? What happened was that the nice folks at Breyers contacted me to let me know about a new line of Gelato Indulgences coming out this month. They said there would be Vanilla Caramel, Raspberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate […]

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Tiramisu Martini

It’s a good day when free ice cream shows up in the mail, wouldn’t you say? What happened was that the nice folks at Breyers contacted me to let me know about a new line of Gelato Indulgences coming out this month. They said there would be Vanilla Caramel, Raspberry Cheesecake, Tiramisu and Triple Chocolate and I said “yum.” Then they offered to send me some to sample, if that was OK with me. Um…yeah…sure. I mean, if you insist.

So, a few days ago, Brian and I found ourselves unpacking an ice cold shipment and digging in. Just purely for research purposes, of course. We kept coming back to the tiramisu flavor over and over because it really does taste like the classic Italian dessert. Not too sweet and with plenty of that coffee, cocoa powder flavor that’s typical of tiramisu.

Naturally we could have just eaten the whole thing as it was but it just seemed the perfect base for a cocktail. Some vodka, a touch of coffee liqueur and we had tiramisu in a glass. Cheers!

Per Serving:
2 oz. Tiramisu flavored gelato
1 1/2 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Coffee liqueur
2 oz. Half & half or cream
Sprinkling of cocoa powder for garnish

Add the gelato, vodka, coffee liqueur and half & half to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake well. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.

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Lemon Meringue Martini https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/lemon-meringue-martini https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/lemon-meringue-martini#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:45:01 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1871 This drink dates back to when we finally broke down and bought our first bottle of whipped vodka. We scoffed at first but suddenly all these vodka brands were getting themselves whipped and fluffed and we couldn’t fight it off anymore. So when we were browsing around the liquor store (yes, we are the kind […]

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Lemon Meringue Martini

This drink dates back to when we finally broke down and bought our first bottle of whipped vodka. We scoffed at first but suddenly all these vodka brands were getting themselves whipped and fluffed and we couldn’t fight it off anymore. So when we were browsing around the liquor store (yes, we are the kind of people who browse in liquor stores) one of those bottles went into our basket. Back home we approached it with some doubt as to whether it would taste sweet or artificial but, it was good. Really good.

Since then, our whipped, fluffed and flavored collection has grown to…um…considerably larger proportions. And that’s meant reinventing some of our older cocktail creations. Because these vodkas are both sweeter and lower in alcohol than traditional vodkas, we’ve re-calibrated some older recipes as well as played around with new ones.

This lemony delight is actually a good example of how much different the whipped vodka is because an ounce of lemon juice to two ounces of vodka should be sour as hell. But this drink is in perfect sweet and sour balance. It’s in perfect yummy balance, too. Cheers!

Per Serving:
2 oz. Whipped vodka
1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Simple syrup
1 oz. Cream or half & half
1 oz. Whipped cream topping

Add the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and cream to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the whipped cream topping and a bit of lemon zest, if desired.

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The Maple Leaf https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/the-maple-leaf https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/the-maple-leaf#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:29:30 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1868 If you’re not a bourbon drinker or don’t have much experience with it, I can tell you that this is the cocktail that made me a fan. It was on the specialty drinks menu at a great local restaurant a few years ago and it was just odd enough to be compelling. It never occurred […]

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The Maple Leaf

If you’re not a bourbon drinker or don’t have much experience with it, I can tell you that this is the cocktail that made me a fan. It was on the specialty drinks menu at a great local restaurant a few years ago and it was just odd enough to be compelling.

It never occurred to me, before this, that a savory herb like thyme could so enhance a drink. And I worried that the maple syrup would be, well, syrupy. But all fears were completely unfounded.

All the flavors work in perfect harmony and are now ingredients I frequently use in other drinks as well. But this is the one that started it all. And that side of crispy bacon is the perfect snack to go with it. Maple bacon would be even better. Cheers!

Per Serving:
2 1/2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Maple syrup
1 oz. Lemon juice
1 Dash of Angostura Bitters
2 Sprigs fresh Thyme

Combine the bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, bitters and the leaves from the thyme sprigs in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the thyme a bit, fill with ice and shake well. You can serve this straight up or on the rocks to tame down the strength a bit.

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Bourbon, Apple and Ginger Sour https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/bourbon-apple-and-ginger-sour https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/bourbon-apple-and-ginger-sour#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:27:33 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1865 I was doing a new year’s cleaning around here and that included the dreaded refrigerator clear out. Fortunately there was no year-old Chinese food container hiding anywhere but I did get a chance to take stock of all my various cocktail potions. Some older ones had to go but it wasn’t that long ago that […]

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Bourbon, Apple and Ginger SourI was doing a new year’s cleaning around here and that included the dreaded refrigerator clear out. Fortunately there was no year-old Chinese food container hiding anywhere but I did get a chance to take stock of all my various cocktail potions. Some older ones had to go but it wasn’t that long ago that I made a beautiful ginger syrup and it was just begging to be used again.

I’ve poached pears with it and then made pear cocktails with it but I hadn’t tried it with bourbon yet.

Fortunately, I’ve now remedied that mistake because the two go together quite well. A touch of apple juice to balance out the lemon, since I was technically making a sour, and the result was a beautiful balance. Cheers!

Per Serving:
1 1/2 oz. Bourbon
1 oz. Apple juice
1/2 oz. Lemon juice
1/2 oz. Ginger syrup (recipe follows)
Dash of Angostura bitters

Ginger Syrup:
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Water
2 Hands fresh ginger, sliced
Tiny pinch of salt

To make the syrup, combine the sugar, water, sliced ginger and salt in a pot on medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and remove from the heat. Let the pot sit, off the heat, for a couple of hours or until completely cool. Strain, pour into a bottle and keep in the fridge.

Add the bourbon, apple juice, lemon juice, ginger syrup and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, shake well and pour into a rocks glass. Serve straight up or over ice for a slower sipper. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, if desired.

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Frozen Apricot Daiquiri https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/frozen-apricot-daiquiri https://acocktaillife.com/cocktails/frozen-apricot-daiquiri#respond Fri, 16 Oct 2020 10:23:35 +0000 https://acocktaillife.com/?p=1862 I love farmers markets and big displays of fresh produce and it’s one of the many reasons to love summer. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of bags of frozen fruit in my freezer. Those are perfect for smoothies and frozen cocktails. But they don’t have the ability, while I’m wandering through the fruit […]

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frozen apricot daiquiri

I love farmers markets and big displays of fresh produce and it’s one of the many reasons to love summer. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of bags of frozen fruit in my freezer. Those are perfect for smoothies and frozen cocktails. But they don’t have the ability, while I’m wandering through the fruit stalls, to grab me with their fresh aroma and demand to be purchased.

Since our weather is now firmly in the 80’s, I figured it was time to break out the blender for some frozen daiquiris and strawberry was choice. Until I got to the market, that is, and a display of perfectly ripe apricots demanded my attention.

Oh, I bought the strawberries anyway, to snack on, but it was the lovely apricots that flavored this tall, cool drink. Cheers!

For 2 Servings:
4 oz. Rum
3 oz. Lime juice
3 oz. Simple syrup
5 Sprigs of mint
6 Apricots, pitted
Pinch of sea salt

Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, mint, apricots and sea salt to a blender and puree until smooth. Fill the blender with ice and puree until all the ice has been broken up and the drink is smooth and thick. Pour into chilled daiquiri glasses and garnish with a sprig of mint, if desired.

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