Tag Archives: Beverages

Espresso Milkshakes

Espresso Milkshakes

I moved away from my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas, half my lifetime ago at 18. First it was to Sherman, Texas, where I went to college, and then straight to New York, where I’ve been for almost 14 years. The longest period of time I’ve spent “at home” in all those intervening years was three weeks between Christmas and a mid-January family wedding in 2017. While I will never (could never!) sever ties with the land of my birth, it’s always evident during my visits that it’s moved on just fine without me.

Espresso Milkshakes

In a lot of ways, it’s great. I don’t see the day-to-day, but I always show up to some new something. There’s excellent vintage shopping now. Magnolia is hoppin’. Many of my very favorite people (and one perfect miniature schnauzer) are there and keep me apprised of everything important. But for all the new stuff happening, old things have to change.

Espresso Milkshakes

Take the demise of my former favorite coffee shop, Four Star Coffee Bar, for instance. It was tucked into a strip mall on the west side until shortly after I moved to New York. I don’t remember exactly when it closed for good, but I do remember the last coffee I had there in August of 2007 and a whole lot of Saturday nights spent there with friends, listening to someone’s terrible ex-boyfriend play bad music and sipping espresso milkshakes. They were nothing more than shots of espresso and vanilla ice cream whirled together—basically smooth affogatos—but I think about them all the time. They’ve been on my to-make list for years! All it took was walking by the old storefront with my little sister a few weeks ago to finally get me to pull my blender off the shelf and get to it.

Now, I should say that this recipe isn’t a carbon copy of the original. For one thing, I don’t have an espresso machine, and for another, I’m basing this recipe entirely on a 14 year old memory. Still, the combination of dissolved instant espresso and vanilla ice cream is pretty dang good. These shakes are cold, smooth and creamy with plenty of espresso flavor, even if you use decaf.

Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes

I suppose you could class these up by buying/using an espresso machine to pull shots or alternatively, going to a coffee shop, getting espresso to-go, coming home, letting it cool and then blitzing it with ice cream…but that seems like a lot of work for something that can be made just as well with some stuff in a jar and warm tap water. Plus, if you make these the easy way at home, I can guarantee you won’t have to listen to anyone’s ex-boyfriend’s terrible band for even a second.

Sometimes change is a good thing.

Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes
makes 1 large or 2 small milkshakes

1 tablespoon instant espresso granules (decaf is fine)
1 tablespoon warm tap water
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
4 tablespoons milk of choice (I used whole)
whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together espresso granules and water until granules are dissolved. Combine espresso mixture, ice cream and milk in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. If needed, add more milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is reached. Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream and/or chocolate-covered espresso beans, if desired. Serve immediately.
Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes
Espresso Milkshakes

Ginger Limeade

Ginger LimeadeIt feels weird to be posting Fourth of July recipes because of literally everything, but I’m doing it anyway. I mean, none of them are red, white and blue…this year.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is a perfect summery option for this weekend or any weekend. Crisp and light with a zippy ginger finish, Ginger Limeade would be a great addition to your (socially distanced) Fourth of July. It’s simple to make and a bit more sophisticated than your average non-alcoholic summertime beverage. I love a spicy sip.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger LimeadeGinger Limeade starts with a homemade ginger simple syrup. It’s as easy as combining sugar, water and sliced fresh ginger in a 1:1:1 ratio, simmering it and letting it steep until completely cool. You can use this syrup to make homemade ginger sodas, put it in milkshakes, or liven up some iced tea.Ginger LimeadeGinger LimeadeToday we’re combining the syrup with an equal part (1 1/3 cup) of fresh lime juice and a few cups of cold water, then pouring it over ice and floating lime slices on top. Yum!Ginger LimeadeAs with most beverages, Ginger Limeade is easily customizable. I think the 1:1 ginger syrup to lime juice ratio allows both to shine, but feel free to adjust them up or down to your preference. If you want to jazz it up, use sparkling water instead of still.

Oh, and I haven’t tried it myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if you reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups, this mix would probably make for great popsicles! If you give this a shot, please let me know how it works.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade is the sort of thing you can sip during a cocktail hour, have by the pool, or pour into a large mason jar and take to the beach. Not to be Debbie Downer, but keep in mind that lime juice can burn your skin when exposed to sun. Yes, really.

I guess I just like to live on the edge.Ginger Limeade

Ginger Limeade
makes about 6 cups

Ginger Syrup:
1 5-7-inch piece fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water

For Limeade:
1 batch ginger syrup
1 1/3 cups fresh lime juice
3-4 cups cold water

For serving:
ice
lime slices or wedges

On a cutting board, scrape the edge of a spoon across the ginger to peel. Discard peelings. Slice ginger as thinly as possible—you should have about 1 cup slices.

Combine ginger, sugar and water in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-low and then let cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Cool the syrup with the ginger pieces. Once cool, strain ginger pieces out, pressing them to remove as much syrup as possible. You should have 1 1/4-1 1/3 cup ginger syrup. Discard ginger pieces or use for another purpose.

Make limeade. Combine ginger syrup and lime juice in the bottom of a large pitcher. Stir together, then add 3 cups of cold water. Stir again, taste, and add more water if desired.

Add ice cubes to a few glasses. Pour ginger limeade over ice and garnish with lime slices or wedges, if desired.

Ginger limeade is best the day it’s made, but keeps in the refrigerator for a few days.Ginger LimeadeGinger Limeade

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hello! I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. I’m still in D.C., but am looking forward to getting back to NYC to put my Christmas tree up and really get into the swing of holiday baking—look out for my first Christmas cookies of the season next Wednesday!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Today’s recipe is hardly a recipe at all. When I was visiting my friend, Tad, in San Francisco last month, we stopped for an ice cream cone at The Castro Fountain. While I was waiting for my order, I spotted a sign for Hot Butterscotch. I initially assumed they meant the sauce, but on further inspection, I saw it was a beverage akin to Hot Chocolate. But, you know, with butterscotch. I decided then and there that I would figure out a Hot Butterscotch recipe by Thanksgiving, and lo and behold, here it is. Rocket science, this is not, but those Castro Fountain guys are on to something!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Simply whisk a cup of butterscotch and some vanilla into a quart of whole milk. Heat that to a simmer, divide it among a few mugs, and top ‘em off with whipped cream, marshmallows and a drizzle of butterscotch. That’s it!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}Hot Butterscotch is creamy and comforting with plenty of buttery brown sugar and vanilla flavor. I like it as written, but if you want something a little more decadent, feel free to swap half & half or heavy cream for some of the milk.Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}No matter how you mix it up, this is the perfect low-maintenance treat to make this Thanksgiving weekend. You could even give jars of homemade butterscotch as food gifts and attach a label with the recipe. But then again, I may be getting ahead of myself.

Have a great weekend, y’all!Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}
makes 4-6 servings

1 cup prepared butterscotch sauce
1 quart whole milk (or a mix of whole milk and half & half or heavy cream)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For serving:
whipped cream
miniature marshmallows
butterscotch sauce, for drizzling

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine butterscotch, whole milk, and vanilla. Set over medium heat. Continue to whisk near-constantly (to prevent scorching) until mixture is steaming and bubbles are forming at the edges. Do not boil. Remove from heat.

Ladle mixture into mugs. Top with whipped cream, miniature marshmallows, and/or a drizzle of butterscotch sauce, if desired. Serve immediately.Hot Butterscotch {Seasonal Beverage}

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis post really couldn’t come at a better time: New York weather has officially crossed over into the “totally disgusting” zone. Blazing hot, humid AF—you get the picture. There will be no baking in my Brooklyn kitchen until Monday, at the very least.

I love my apartment—love it!—but its one major drawback is that the kitchen is both windowless and un-air-conditioned. There is no amount or configuration of tiny Costco tower fans that can counteract the all-consuming heat of a 350F oven on a sticky 99F NYC day. Believe me, I’ve tried them all.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesSo, let’s skip the oven this weekend and make milkshakes instead. Caramelized Banana Milkshakes, to be specific.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana MilkshakesSure, they require five minutes of stove time to caramelize the bananas, but that small amount of cooking will be totally worth it when you’re blitzing up frosty, brown sugar & banana milkshakes.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesWe’re talking pure banana flavor here, unencumbered by cinnamon or anything else. You may, of course, add a pinch of whatever you like, but don’t go too crazy. Simplicity is the name of the game.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesThis recipe is a breeze: three steps, four ingredients (six, if you count the recommended whipped cream and drizzle of caramel or butterscotch). The hardest part is waiting for the bananas to cool so that they don’t melt your ice cream. After that, it’s just a blitz in the blender and deciding which of your dwindling stash of paper straws you’re going to use today.

Oh, and parking yourself directly in front of your air conditioner until the heatwave is over, but you already knew that.Caramelized Banana Milkshakes

Caramelized Banana Milkshakes
makes about 2-3 small milkshakes

3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream

For Garnish (optional):
caramel or butterscotch sauce
whipped cream

Peel bananas and slice into 1-inch chunks.

Combine butter and brown sugar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until butter is melted and pan is hot. Carefully add banana slices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.

Combine bananas and ice cream in a high-powered blender. Blitz until smooth. Pour into glasses and garnish with caramel/butterscotch sauce and/or whipped cream, if desired. Serve immediately.Caramelized Banana MilkshakesCaramelized Banana Milkshakes

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYour eyes are not deceiving you. I’m posting a cold beverage on a sub-30F day here in NYC. If you think I’ve lost my mind, you’re late to the party—I’ve been known to make ice cream in February.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasThe truth is that a small miracle occurred a couple of weeks ago when I managed to find better-than-decent ruby red grapefruit for a third time this winter, something that’s virtually unheard of in New York. I’m lucky to find quality grapefruit once per year (see here, here, and here), so three times is just…well, it’s making my inner Texan very happy. I try to keep that part of myself under control, but it’s very difficult around good South Texas citrus (and enchiladas), so here we are.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas are exactly what I want in these last weeks of winter. They’re a fruity, bright, seasonal, sippable reminder that there will soon be a day when I can leave my coat at home. If you’ve never heard of an agua fresca, it’s just a combination of fresh fruit, sugar, and water. I made a Spicy Mango version last summer that’ll knock your socks off, and I’m excited to be adding a wintry version to my repertoire today ❤ Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAs their name states, these aguas frescas are made with fresh-squeezed grapefruit and lime juices. They’re mixed together in a pitcher (or a big measuring cup, if you’re me) and sweetened to taste with a little simple syrup. I don’t care for super-sweet beverages in general, so I tend to limit the syrup to 1/3 cup for the entire batch, but feel free to sweeten to your heart’s content.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYou’ll also need simple syrup for salting the rims of your glasses. Salt is totally dreamy with both grapefruit and lime, so this is one lily worth gilding. Just dip the rim of each glass into a dish of simple syrup and then into salt. Voila! A salted rim 🙂 I used regular Kosher salt here, but anything slightly coarse will do.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAdd a few ice cubes to each of your salt-rimmed glasses and then fill them 3/4 full of the juice mixture. Most aguas frescas are blended with regular cold water, but I like to top these off with a little sparkling water. I use Topo Chico and love the subtle fizz it provides.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasAren’t these fun?! I love their bright color and fresh, tangy flavor, and those salted rims, of course. They remind me a lot of a Salty Dog cocktail (aka grapefruit + vodka/white tequila + salt), but without the booze. I may or may not have taken to calling these Salty Schnauzers 🙂 Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasYou may, of course, add liquor to the mix, but as someone who doesn’t drink anymore, I’m always thrilled when there’s an alcohol-free option that isn’t soda, juice, or plain seltzer. I may be sober, but that doesn’t mean I only drink boring drinks.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasNope. I don’t do boring.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas

Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas
makes about 6 servings

2 1/2 cups fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (about 3 large grapefruits)
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2-3 large, juicy limes)
1/3-1/2 cup simple syrup* (method in recipe notes)
ice
12 ounces sparkling water (I like Topo Chico)

For the salted rims:
1/4 cup Kosher or other coarse salt
1/4 cup simple syrup

In a pitcher or large (4+ cup) liquid measuring cup, stir together grapefruit and lime juices and simple syrup. Set aside.

Salt the rims of the glasses. Put simple syrup in a wide, shallow bowl. Make a bed of salt on a small plate. Working with one small glass at a time, dip the rim of each glass into the simple syrup and then into the salt. Repeat with remaining five glasses.

Place a few ice cubes in each glass. Fill 3/4 full with juice mixture and top each with a little sparkling water. Drinks will fizz (but not overflow) when mixture hits the salt rim. Serve immediately.

Aguas frescas will separate slowly as they sit; counteract this with a light stir. Any leftover juice mixture will keep covered in the refrigerator for a day or so.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before using. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator.Sparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas FrescasSparkling Grapefruit-Lime Aguas Frescas