I’m not sure whether this is Pinterest-worthy or a candidate for PinterestSuperFail, but I had fun with the self-imposed challenge of @CairnRodrigues!" href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23blogcrawl&src=typd" target="_blank">#blogcrawl: To invent a new drink, imbibe it, write a short story while tipsy, then share the recipe (with obligatory pics, of course!) with all my social media peeps. The original idea, of course, was simply to have a “happy hour” on Twitter, then go blog drunk. Laugh about the results, later.
But if I’m going to run around Social Media with a lampshade on my head, I’m going to do it in classic, overachiever style. I already have plans in the works for a #blogcrawl Recipe Book.
But what to make? Truth is, I don’t drink much – and I’m not very creative when I do. I’ll resort to single malt simply because I can’t remember the name of the last creatively interesting drink I enjoyed. Scotch is simple. Martinis used to be simple. “Just hit me in the brain with some Bacardi 151, neat, so I stop caring how boring my drink choices are.” And why is it that places having sixty-two different Martinis on the drink menu always come so fast to take your drink order? I never get past #32, and I’m still wary of Lychee fruit.
But I had time (two whole days, in fact) to come up with my own “signature drink” to debut. The original idea was inspired by these Strawberry Margarita Jell-O Shots. Aren’t they adorable? I’ve never actually had a Jell-O shot, and the truth is, I’m not a big fan of Jell-O. Especially the classic flavors, like green, yellow, and red. They conjure up images of shredded carrots and crimes against canned fruit cocktail. I considered the paint-by-numbers approach, but I don’t like tequila so I decided to create something completely new and original.
Suddenly, an image of tiny little Gummi bears frolicking in Jell-O shot “hot tubs” popped into my brain. I pictured them with little paper umbrellas. But what to use for the hot tubs? I had a huge bowl full of small Granny Smith apples, so that seemed an obvious choice. I began to build a cocktail around apples and rum. I cored some apples, stuck them into a container filled with light rum, and stuck it in the freezer. I wasn’t quite sure what the plan was, but I was sure that was a good start. A few hours later, we got back from dinner and I learned that rum and freezing does not prevent apples from turning brown.
I was pretty sure those were some damned good apples, but they now lacked visual appeal.
I woke up Saturday morning with a new plan: plums. Last week, Costco had huge boxes of gorgeous plums. At 6:00AM, I was online, mentally trying various combinations of ingredients that would both taste good and give a good buzz. Plum wine and sake, most likely, but that didn’t pique the creative side of my brain. A search for “flavors that go well with plum” yielded a link to Nouveau Raw and sent me down the rabbit hole of “flavor profiles.” I decided that almonds and honey sounded good. Especially for bears, frolicking in plums. I wondered if almond Jell-O would be gross, so I Googled it and found Summer Asian Desserts: Almond Jello. I’m pretty sure I’ve had that at Chinese and Thai buffets, and it’s not entirely gross (but there we go with the canned fruit cocktail again!).
With Cairn advising me – practically begging me – to ditch the almond extract and use something more subtle and natural, I adapted the recipe and went out to shop for the ingredients. Wouldn’t you know it? No one in town seems to have fresh plums this weekend! Best laid plans… I went home with a few overripe organic peaches and apricots, and a couple of barely ripe organic pears. I was determined to stick to the plan, because the more I thought about the subtle almond, milk, and honey flavors, the more I liked the idea. My husband found better, fresher apricots at Costco – and added his vote in favor of them.
The more I thought about this lovely concoction, the less I was liking the Gummi bears. Size-wise, they were just about perfect. But I wanted something more in keeping with this “flavor profile” and I began to toy with the idea of marzipan bears. I found a good tutorial from Odense on how to make a marzipan bear, and I started to think this plan might actually work. Never mind that I wanted a whole bunch of bears and didn’t want to use an entire tube of marzipan to make one…
So, here’s the final recipe:
- 1 packet Knox gelatin
- 1/3 c. honey
- 1/2 c. cold almond milk (orginal, unsweetened)
- 1 c. honey whiskey or bourbon
- 2 shots Amaretto
- 1/2 c. water
- Odense marzipan (one package yields about six bears)
- Food coloring gel or paste
- Egg white powder (didn’t end up needing it, but in case a bear’s head falls off, you could use this, mixed with water, as “edible glue” or you could just moisten the marzipan with a dab of water)
- Wash, cut, and empty fruit halves with a melon baller, reserving the innards and being careful not to poke holes in the skin of the fruit. Set into container (Pyrex lasagna pan will do).
- Bring water to a boil. When it is ready, pour into a mixing bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it.
- Let sit for a minute, then stir the mixture until all the gelatin is dissolved (no lumps!). Hint: set the bowl over low heat to keep it hot enough to melt all the gelatin.
- Add honey. Stir until dissolved.
- Add cold almond milk, whiskey, and Amaretto.
- Carefully ladle liquid mixture into apricot halves (I’m pretty sure peach halves, plum halves, and the bottom half of pears would also be awesome).
- Refrigerate until firm (will not be hard, like Jigglers).
- Cover a cutting board with parchment paper, grab your marzipan and food coloring, watch how to make a marzipan bear, and channel your inner six year old.
The roses were a nice touch, I thought. That’s actually when it became “Ladies’ Night,” and not just Weekend with the Boozy Bears. Notice how much redder their noses are than the nice one made by the Odense marzipan lady? That’s because they helped me test out my recipe a time or three.
It takes longer than it ought to to make one of these little guys, and I’m pretty sure I handled more bear balls than any normal woman should. Please, nobody mention the disturbing resemblance a few of these guys bear to, well…that other famous Internet bear. I tried.
Also, I couldn’t find any little paper umbrellas, so I made them out of lemon rinds. And colored part of the Jell-O blue, thinking that might better simulate water. Couldn’t bring myself to do that to the apricots; the natural caramel-colored Jell-O shots seemed more appealing, there.
The final result was, in the words of Chris Ford, “festive and frightening at the same time.” Bonus: I used the rum-soaked, frozen apples and innards from all the apricots and other “test fruits” to make what I dubbed “WTF Fruit Punch.” So named because I told everyone, “Don’t ask me for the recipe – I don’t know WTF is in it!” In addition to light rum, there was a little splash of Amaretto. Just use your imagination, because after a glass or two, you won’t care WTF is in it, either.
Fun, festive, and weird as this was, I think the drink (sans Jell-O, cast, and crew) is quite good:
Almond Milk & Honey Whiskey
- 1/2 honey
- 1/2 Amaretto
- 1 honey whiskey/bourbon
- 1 chilled almond milk
Shake and serve, with or without ice, preferably with little marzipan bears on the side.
Writing prompt: Create a “signature drink” for the next #blogcrawl. What’s the backstory?
Now that we’ve got the creative juices flowing, try drinking one or two of these, then write for thirty minutes. Share the results and tag it #blogcrawl, then leave a link in the comments and I’ll update the post with yours (provided it’s not rated above an R – this is a somewhat family-friendly blog, after all!)
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