Elderflower liqueur makes a lovely cocktail

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This week I discovered elderflower liqueur. Over the years, I’ve seen it mentioned in cookbooks or called for in drink recipes, but I’d never picked up any to try. I decided it was time to see what all the fuss was about.

I picked up a bottle of St-Germain, a brand of elderflower liqueur, which came with a small tag that included a recipe for its signature cocktail. I figured that was a good starting point. The liqueur itself is a slightly sweet, mellow alcohol. The St-Germain Cocktail was a bit sweet and a bit fizzy, without being too strong. It was a pretty light, refreshing drink fit for a hot day. Since I enjoyed that one so much, I decided to browse the St-Germain website to see if they had any other recipes. They have a few dozen, so I chose two others to try. I settled on The Gentleman, because I have cognac in the cupboard that I use for baking, and the Traditional Elderfashioned, because I keep a bottle of whiskey and bitters on hand. The Gentleman was sweeter and richer than the St-Germain Cocktail, but was also good. The Traditional Elderfashioned was stronger than both, and I enjoyed it as well.

So far, I’m three-for-three on drinks that use elderflower liqueur. They’re listed below in order from weakest to strongest. Next I’ll have to see what I can bake with the liqueur. Cheers!

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The St-Germain Cocktail

2 parts Brut Champagne or Dry Sparkling Wine
1 1/2 parts St-Germain
2 parts club soda

Stir ingredients in a tall ice-filled Collins glass, mixing completely.

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The Gentleman
1 part Spanish brandy or cognac
3/4 part St-Germain
1 cube brown sugar
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Top with Brut Rosé Champagne or Brut Sparkling Wine

Cover a brown sugar cube with Angostura bitters at the bottom of a Champagne flute and add brandy and St-Germain. Top with Champagne and garnish with a lemon twist.

3elderflower081813Traditional Elderfashioned
2 parts bourbon or straight rye whiskey
1/2 part St-Germain
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir ingredients in an old fashioned glass, add ice and stir again. Add an orange twist.

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Cooling down with homemade ice cream

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The recent hot weather in Tahoe has made me reluctant to turn on my oven. When temperatures hover near 90 degrees, I don’t want to do much of anything.

My best friend recently gave me his old Cuisinart Automatic Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker, so last night I decided to turn it on and see how it went. I looked up the manual for the model online and downloaded it to figure out how the machine worked. Included in the manual were some basic ice cream recipes.

When I first decided to make the ice cream, I thought starting simple with a vanilla bean ice cream would be the way to go. Then I discovered I had some apricots that were just about to go bad. I also had almonds in my baking supplies cupboard. I used the manual’s recipe for strawberry ice cream as a guideline and improvised using the ingredients I had.

I didn’t have enough eggs to make any of the premium ice cream recipes, so the texture was more like that of frozen yogurt. The flavor was perfect. Next time I’ll make the higher-quality recipe for the firmer ice cream texture.

I stored some of my ice cream in plastic tupperware and turned the rest into popsicles. I think I might prefer this as a popsicle — it tasted like an apricot-almond creamsicle. While the tupperware is not ideal, it helps prevent freezer burn for a little while. I may invest in an ice cream-specific freezer container, because this definitely won’t be my last batch of homemade ice cream.

2ApricotAlmondIceCreamIngredients
6 ripe, soft apricots, mashed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups soy milk or whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped finely
2 drops amaretto oil
1/4 teaspoon cognac

In a small bowl, combine the apricots with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the sugar; stir gently and allow to sit for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a whisk to combine the milk and granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the heavy cream, amaretto oil and cognac, plus any accumulated juices from the apricot mixture.

Stir the almonds into the rest of the apricot mixture and set aside.

Turn the machine on, pour mixture into freezer bowl through ingredient spout and let mix until thickened, about 25-30 minutes. Add the apricot-almond mixture during the last 5 minutes of freezing.