Category Archives: Have a Drink

Have a Drink: Mudslide

mudslide_cocktail

Mudslides are basically alcoholic milkshakes

For those into coffee liquors like Kahlua or Bailey’s Irish Cream, the mudslide cocktail is a creamy and delicious concoction. It’s sure to be a hit with your bang this weekend. A good mudslide tastes like an alcoholic chocolate milk shake. It’s also relatively easy to throw together.

The drink is especially popular in the Virgin Islands, but it’s also popular around the United States, as well. This recipe uses a 1 1/2 fluid ounce jigger.

In a blender, combine vodka, Kahlua and Bailey’s Irish Cream. Gradually mix in chocolate syrup. Blend all ingredients until smooth. (A blender is a good option.) Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and an optional strawberry.

Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

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Have a Drink: Sangria

sangria

Sangria cocktails date back to at least the 1700s

Sangria can make for a sunny weekend diversion for those red wine lovers out there. Clearly Spanish in origin, and especially popular in Barcelona, the wine and brandy-based cocktail has become a worldwide hit. Sangria comes from the Spanish word “sangre” for blood, since wine is often connotated with blood in religious doctrine and in appearance.

Rather than sophistication as many presumptuous wine snobs prefer as they front and preen socially, this recipe is all about enjoyment and refreshment. and is not for the snooth.

Here’s some broken history on Sangria.

The term sangria dates to the 18th century. Sangria’s origins “cannot be pinpointed exactly, but early versions were popular in Spain, Greece, and England.” Sangaree, a predecessor drink to sangria that was served either hot or cold, likely originated in the Caribbean, and from there was introduced to America, where it was common beginning in the American colonial era but “largely disappeared in the United States” by the early twentieth century. Sangria as an iced drink was reintroduced to the U.S. by the late 1940s through Hispanic Americans and Spanish restaurants, and came to greater popularity with the 1964 World’s Fair in New York.

So, how do you make one of these fruity concoctions? Here’s what you’ll need and how to mix all the ingredients.

  • 1/2 chopped apple
  • 1/2 sliced orange
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup Brandy
  • 1 bottle dry Spanish red wine (Tempranillo is a good choice)
  • Ice cubes (optional)

Add apples, oranges and sugar to a large pitcher and stir. Add orange juice and brandy and stir again. Add red wine and stir, then taste and adjust flavor to suit you. Serve with or without ice. (I prefer without ice.) You can garnish with orange slices as in the photo, but I usually prefer not to.

Cheese and crackers make for one of my favorite side dishes when drinking Sangria. As always, enjoy!

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Have a Drink: Mamajuana

mamajuana

Mamajuana is a Dominican tradition

Mamajuana shots | Relampago’s Rating: Star16Star16Star16Star16StarBW16

Widely available in the Dominican Republic, if you’re elsewhere in the world you’ll likely have to special order the “aphrodisiac” Mamajuana. It’s a mixture of honey, wine, and rum which have soaked with a special type of wood inside a bottle. The taste is similar to port wine and it makes for some tasty shots. Or, it can also be drunk straight from the bottle if you enjoy being uncouth like me.

Here’s a quick history of the drink:

Mamajuana was invented as a local herbal medicine and aphrodisiac in the 1950s by Jesus Rodriguez, a native of San Juan De La Maguana. Rodriguez would commute with others in trucks to Barahona, Azua, Pedernales, and many other provinces in the Dominican Republic to collect the stems needed to create the medicinal drink. He would often use Carne De Carey (Tortuga) which was the active ingredient that made the aphrodisiac. Rodriguez eventually would be known under the moniker “Mamajuana” by many of the locals, Tatico Henriquez and other merengue típico artists such as Trio Reynoso and El Cieguito De Nagua, who were close friends of Rodriguez.

Even though it sounds like “marijuana” it has nothing to do with the recreational drug. It is rumored to have legendary aphrodisiac qualities among locals but to me that just comes from the alcohol. Everyone gets in the mood when they’re drinking.

If you’re in the Caribbean visiting or even if you have to special order it, I recommend this unique island experience when you get the chance. Oh, and to set the mood here’s a hit song highlighting some of the top destinations on Hispaniola and “drinking Mamajuana in Punta Cana.”

Cheers!

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Have a Drink: Moscow Mule

mule

The Moscow Mule actually originated in America

In spite of the name, the Russian-sounding Moscow Mule is a cocktail with American roots. Although, it does use vodka as one might expect. Almost always served in a copper mug, it is an autumn and winter favorite with its “warming” vodka and flavors.

Here’s a little history on the origin of the cocktail from the New York Herald Tribune:

The mule was born in Manhattan but “stalled” on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of “Little Moscow” was in New York’s Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise…

The Violette Family helped. Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein’s vodka division.

As Jack Morgan tells it, “We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d’oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius”. Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan’s ginger beer and the squeeze of a lemon. Ice was ordered, lemons procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five days later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule…

So how do you make one of these cocktails that has nothing to do with either Moscow or a mule? You’ll only need a few ingredients.

  • 1 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 1/2 oz. lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. ginger beer
  • 1 lime wedge
  • ice cubes

Pour vodka and lime juice into mug; add ginger beer. Stir to combine, then add ice cubes and garnish with lime. Enjoy!

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Have a Drink: Sambuca

sambuca_glass

Sambuca is an Italian liquor with a Greek name

Sambuca shots | Relampago’s Rating: Star16Star16Star16Star16Star16

Ever had a flaming shot of Sambuca? I hadn’t until I came to the Dominican Republic. There is a large and thriving community of Italian expats here, so naturally beyond awesome and authentic Italian food one also gets other side benefits of Italian culture without actually being in Italy.

Here’s a short history on the liquor:

The Greek word Sambuca was first used as the name of another elderberry liquor that was created in Civitavecchia about 130 years ago. The first commercial version of such a drink started at the end of 1800 in Civitavecchia, where Luigi Manzi sold Sambuca Manzi. In 1945, soon after the end of Second World War, commendatore Angelo Molinari started producing Sambuca Extra Molinari, which helped popularise Sambuca throughout Italy.

In some discotecas, restaurants, and bars, especially those with Italian owners or bartenders, Sambuca is a staple down here in the Caribbean. It is a shot that’s usually served on fire, with a nice blue flame lighting it up before you get lit.

In one particular discoteca I frequent, the Hungarian owner actually puts on a nice show by lighting the liquor on fire then pouring it from glass to glass before you take the shot. It’s a tasty and smooth liquor that reminds me of the taste of licorice.

If you can find a bottle, check it out this weekend. Cheers!

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