Cocktails - Italian Style. June 25 2014


Have a cocktail… it’s 5:00 somewhere!

Now that it’s summer (finally!), I’m definitely enjoying the warm weather, long sunny days, and endless possibilities of outdoor fun! And everyone knows that when you’re active, you need to stay hydrated… So let’s talk about summer cocktails!

To be honest, I’m a wine drinker. I love a nice, cold glass of Pinot Grigio… so crisp and refreshing. But every now and then, I just have to have a cocktail. Sometimes, there’s an interesting concoction at a restaurant or bar that I must try. Sometimes, I like to experiment at home. It’s fun to DSD - do something different. And that’s why I wanted to try out this very interesting-looking soda - Le Baladin Ginger (Available at La Bottega, $2.25 for 8.45 oz). Fun fact: there is no ginger in this soda. It actually has a blood orange/vanilla/spice flavour. It’s called Ginger because apparently it is named after Ginger Rogers, the dancer/actress. Hmmm! I figured if this soda is good (and it is), then how could it be bad mixed into a cocktail? And that is how my new favourite summer cocktail was born.


I am partial to gin, so that’s what I used. Don’t love it? I don’t see how you could mess this drink up with vodka or tequila. I bet prosecco would be a smashing choice too. Soooo bubbly... Also, feel free to substitute the apricot brandy with a different sweet liqueur, such as St. Germain, Peach schnapps, or Frangelico.  The recipe as listed below creates a sweet cocktail with a slight bitter finish, which I love because I don’t like syrupy-sweet drinks. But if you do, I’d go with the schnapps!

Ok, maybe this drink isn’t the thirst-quencher all the health experts have in mind. Maybe this drink isn’t what you should fill your water bottle with when you’re hiking or biking. But when you get home, after drinking water all day of course, enjoy this tasty treat on your patio. Guaranteed to ease those sore muscles! Buon Appetito!



Ginger Juice Cocktail


-1 part strawberry basil-infused gin (see easy recipe below, or just add strawberries and basil to the drink)

-2 parts apricot brandy

-1 bottle (8.45 oz) Le Baladin Ginger

-Sparkling water, to taste (I used San Pellegrino)


-Prepare the strawberry-infused gin: Combine some strawberries (to taste) with as much gin as you’re using to make the cocktail. Add a few basil leaves. Muddle (aka crush with wooden spoon) basil/strawberries into the gin. Stir and let stand in the fridge as long as you can, up to overnight (I did not plan that far in advance, so mine only soaked for about an hour. But I’m sure it would have been amazing if I had left it longer!).

-Make the cocktail: Put lots of ice into a pitcher. Add gin/strawberry/basil mixture, brandy, soda and sparkling water. Stir. Serve. Enjoy!