I received two bottles of Cocktail Crate Mixers to try, but did not receive other compensation in connection with this post. As always, all opinions are my own.
Other than drinks made with my homemade limoncello and an occasional Campari (on the rocks or with sparkling water) , I haven’t ventured far into cocktail territory. Until now. In just the past few weeks, I’ve made a Moscow Mule, and learned how to create a Dark & Stormy and a Whiskey Sour too. I have a feeling I could begin to love cocktails.
As you might have noticed from my recipes, I love ginger in every form. Fresh, candied, powdered, and now ginger juice. I’ve done savory (stir-fries including ginger beef, asparagus with sesame seeds, ginger broccoli, and shrimp), sweet (crème brûlée with ginger, chocolate ginger ice cream sandwiches, ginger-infused madeleines, and gingersnap mini-lemon curd tarts), and a soda made with ginger, mint and agave. I even have a Pinterest board devoted to ginger recipes.
So it makes sense that the first cocktails that attracted me feature ginger. With the help of Alex Boyd and the Ginger Bee version of his company’s craft mixers, I’ve begun to explore cocktails. What fun!
I met Alex at Natural Products East Expo in September. The Expo is an amazing and often overwhelming collection of exhibitors and products held in the Baltimore Convention Center, with literally miles of booths and thousands of items to check out.
At the end of my day at the Expo, I met Alex and tried his yummy Ginger Bee mocktail. Having walked for miles inside the Convention Center and sampled way too much food, I was not easily impressed. But Alex had a good story and a delicious product, so I hung around for a bit.
Cocktail Crate is giving away a party pack of its craft mixers to a lucky reader. Entry requirements and other details are at the end of this post.
In 2012, Alex started Cocktail Crate with a Kickstarter campaign. Three years later, the company sells its non-alcoholic mixers through large chains such as Whole Foods, West Elm, and World Market, smaller more local stores, and online. Unlike some other mixers, his don’t contain extracts, corn syrup, food coloring, or juice concentrates. “For me it’s all about the real ingredients,” he says. Cocktail Crate now sells five types of mixers: Ginger Bee, Lavender Bloom, Sriracha Margarita, Grapefruit Daiquiri and Spiced Old Fashioned.
Alex has a few tips for making your holiday entertaining easier:
Serving Cocktails – Holiday Entertaining Tips
- Consider pre-batching your cocktails. This allows you as the host to spend more time with your guests. Just remind folks that the pre-batched drink contains alcohol. To fill a 750 ml bottle (roughly 25 ounces), Alex suggests using a 1-to-4 ratio of mixer to alcohol if the mixer is the Spiced Old Fashioned mixer (4 ounces of the mixer to 16 ounces of alcohol) plus 5 ounces of water or a 1-to-1 ratio (10 ounces of mixer to 10 ounces of alcohol) plus 5 ounces of water for any of the other four mixers.
- If you’re serving individual drinks with ice, remember to shake or stir vigorously. Shaking or stirring both chills and allows the ice to dilute the cocktail. Take the water of the melted ice into account when decided on proportions, but don’t be afraid of using ice for both purposes. While a fancy bar set-up is nice, a Mason or similar jar with a tight lid works fine for shaking, as do a tall glass and a long-handled spoon for stirring.
- The temperature of the liquor matters. For cocktails that include ice, keep the liquor at room temperature. If the liquor is too cold (kept in the refrigerator or freezer), the ice won’t melt.
In order to try the Ginger Bee mixer in a cocktail, I got a recipe for a Moscow Mule from Alex. It’s a simple drink served over ice ice cubes and stirred. It’s a good vehicle for the ginger taste because the alcohol in a Moscow Mule is vodka. Some experts claim they can tell the differences among various vodkas, and I have explored the question of whether filtering improves vodka. But the bottom line for me is that a smooth vodka does not have taste, goes down easy, and lets the taste of the ginger shine through.
Traditionally served in a copper mug, a Moscow Mule can also be served in a tall thin glass known as a Tom Collins glass. Although I don’t have a copper mug, much to my surprise, when I searched for a proper glass, I found a whole set of Tom Collins glasses from my late aunt, hidden away in one of my least accessible kitchen cabinets. Given this discovery, I’m anxious to get back up on my step stool and see what other treasures lie hidden in cabinets beyond my reach.
Here is the giveaway:
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