Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What Number Are We On?

It's all becoming a blur.  The 9th Day of Drifunkmas took place at a Christmas Eve gathering at the Christensen's house, and I couldn't have selected a better drink for it.

Santa's Little Helper

1 oz.  Vodka
1/2 oz. Amaretto
3 oz. Cranberry Juice

It was a tremendous drink that tasted dangerously like fruit punch Kool Aid.  The ladies absolutely loved it, but I'm sure too much of it would make you see something like this when you looked across the room...

Deceptive little cocktail that could lead to real trouble in a big, fat hurry.  I'm not kidding.  Brian took one quick sip and then downed the whole thing at once.  Even one who "wasn't really drinking" and taking only a quarter of a glass at a time must have consumed the equivalent of two of them.  Here are the ratings:

Heather:  10
Jamie:  10
Judy:  11 (another rule breaker)
Deb:  10
Tracey:  10
Vicki:  10
Mike:  8.2
Brian:  9
Dirt Bag:  8

As you can tell, it seemed to be more popular with the ladies.  I highly recommend this one.

On the 10th Day of Drifunkmas, my mixology skills brought to me...

A Warm Christmas Cocktail

2 c. whole milk
1 can coconut milk
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan and whisk over medium high heat until hot and frothy.  Pour a shot of bourbon (or more, depending on your taste) in a mug.  Top with milk mixture and a dash of nutmeg.  Makes 2-3 drinks.

This was unbelievably delicious and perfect for the occasion.  My parents both raved over it, and no one had to twist my arm to have a second one.  This is a must have, and even tops the Hot Buttered Rum for an apres snow activity beverage.  Only Mike's rating fell short of a perfect ten, with a 9.2.  If you are reading this, you MUST try it.  Who cares about the calories?!?!

Day 11 will bring us the Perfect Storm Cocktail, although I feel like I should be saving this for Thursday's predicted dumping of snow.  Here is the recipe:

Perfect Storm Cocktail

1 Vanilla Bean
1/2 c. sugar
1 oz. ginger brew
1 1/2 oz. apple cider
2 oz. dark rum

Split the vanilla bean the long way, scrape out the inside (save the pod) and add it to the sugar, stirring until the sugar has specks of vanilla.  Mix ginger beer, apple cider and rum in a shaker and pour over ice in a sugar-rimmed glass.  Garnish with half of the vanilla bean pod.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Family Fun and More New Beverages

I just had the best weekend I have had in a long time, and I don't think that I've laughed that much and that hard either.  The last time we all stayed at the condo in Lake Placid, it was my brother, sister and I running around like lunatics.  It was so nice to see the tradition passed on to the next generation... I even got to see my nephew race out the sliding glass door in his underwear, roll in the snow and then dive in the jacuzzi.  Great fun indeed.

Our big, family Christmas dinner took place at Lisa G's.  We had a fabulous meal, and Lisa and her crew took great care of the eleven of us.  Before we hit the restaurant though, we indulged in the Drifunkmas drink of the night, Maple Crown Royal.  I'm going to continue to call it that even though the label clearly states "Crown Royal Maple".

We had many samplers and ratings for this one:

Dad  10
Mom  8
Scott  10
Kam  20 (she wouldn't stick to the rules)
Vicki  9.95
Mike  8.5
Lance 9.5

Lance had the best words of wisdom when he stated, "It would be good in a flask."  He's right.  Although the aroma of maple is right there, it isn't overwhelming in flavor.  It is the perfect blend of maple syrup with a punch without being sweet.  I will definitely buy this again.

I apologize for not providing a recipe in advance of tonight's drink, but it's been a bit busy.  The Bourbon Chocolate milkshake was pretty easy.

Per serving-
1 1/2 c. vanilla ice cream
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. chocolate syrup
Whipped cream for garnish

Combine ice cream, bourbon and chocolate syrup and blend until smooth.  Pour in appropriate glass and top with whipped cream.

Now I have to apologize for not providing a picture of the finished product, but if you've seen a chocolate milkshake, you've seen this.

It was tasty.  Definitely would be served best as we had it, as a dessert drink.  Mike rated it a 7.5, and I give it an 8.  It is very sweet, but very good.  Tomorrow is Santa's Helper, and here's the recipe:

Santa's Helper

1 oz. Vodka
1/2 oz. Amaretto
3 oz. Cranberry Juice

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.  Garnish with a gumdrop.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Drifunkmas Hits the Road

Day 6 of Drifunkmas 2012 hit Lake Placid tonight as we enjoyed the first of two nights with Mom and Dad at their timeshare.  Tonight's drink was Holiday Sangria, and boy oh boy was it good.  The recipe called for "a bottle of ginger ale", but it didn't specify what size bottle.  Mom and I had to do a little research, but we finally figured out that it was supposed to be a two litre bottle.  We decided that it would dilute the wine too much, so we went with 2/3 of the 2 litre bottle.  After garnishing the beverage with a slice of star fruit, Mom and I took our first sip.

Hot diggity, it was delicious.  Here are the ratings...

Mom:  10
Dad:  8
Kam:  8.85
Mike:  7.9
Lance:  8
Scott (the non-wine drinker):  10
Vicki:  9.5

Overall, I think the success of this beverage is obvious.  It isn't too sweet, and the nutmeg really mellows out the wine.

Drink #7 is Maple Crown Royal.  I'd serve up the recipe here, but there isn't one.  It's just Maple Crown Royal over ice.  I was ready for something easy.  Some of these are a lot of work.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Is it Vacation Yet?

I am tired.  Very tired.  Although routine has been thrown COMPLETELY out the window in all three educational settings that I am privileged enough to work in, I have really tried to stay focused.  It has been an epic failure.  Oh well.

It's going to be a big weekend for the Tuller family (that would be my side, by the way).  My parents decided to hang in the timeshare that they own this week in Lake Placid, and we're all staying with them.  That could lead to trouble.  I'm getting ahead of myself though, because we had to enjoy tonight's drink before I could even think about prepping for tomorrow night's drink.

I don't know what I called it before, but right now I'm calling it the Generic Bailey's Pseudo Chocolate Vodka Martini.  Yep.  Deal with it.  So here's what I did...

I filled the shaker about half way with ice.  I poured a fourteen count of vodka and did the same with Merry's Irish Liquour.  Then I squirted a bunch of Hershey's Syrup in it.  I shook the heck out of it and divided it equally between two martini glasses.  It was good.  When we finished the first round, we made a second.  No lie.  Mike rates it an 8.1 (what kind of number is THAT?) and I give it a solid 9.  It was smooth.  It was familiar.  It was tasty.

It wasn't long after we had downed our second experience with Drifunkmas #5 that I had to shift my focus to drink #6...the halfway point.

Holiday Sangria

Simmer 2 bottles of Merlot, one cup of sugar, one tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and 1/2 tsp. ground cloves for 10 minutes.  While cooling, add one sliced apple and three cinnamon sticks.  Let cool.

Once cool, add 1/2 bag cranberries, two sliced star fruits and two sliced tangerines.  Let sit for 24 hours.    Add one bottle of ginger ale.  Serve over ice with plenty of star fruit/cranberry garnish.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

If You're Looking for a Good Time, You Might Want to Try This

I have always wanted to try Hot Buttered Rum.  The name itself implies alcohol infused buttery goodness.  How could you go wrong with that?  When I found this recipe on Pinterest (can you believe it?), I had to include it in the 12 Days of Drifunkmas.  After serving a stellar version of breakfast for dinner (including tater tot crown home fries ), I began whipping up the Buttered Rum Mixture.  Think about it... 2 cups of brown sugar, two sticks of butter, two cups of melted vanilla ice cream and some spices.  Wow.  Could you spread that on a stack of pancakes for me please?  What?  I should combine that with a healthy "splash" of dark rum and some hot water and just drink it?  Well now we're talking.

We were fortunate enough to have our good friends Brian and Heather Christensen (that's "-ensen", not  "-ianson".  Get it right already.  Geesh).  Although Heather appeared enthusiastic about the dark rum based concoction, Brian, as you can see, was a little more hesitant.  I must admit that I was a little over zealous with the nutmeg and cinnamon garnish, but after adding a touch more of the buttered rum mixture, we had a pretty good balance.  Here are the ratings:

Mike:  8 "as a holiday drink"
Brian:  6 (but a 7 after more mix, or maybe rum, was added)
Heather:  8.5
Vicki:  8.5

This is definitely a cold weather drink, and I could imagine enjoying this after any winter experience, including a quick jaunt to the mail box.  The beauty of this beverage is the fact that the recipe makes a significant amount of Buttered Rum Mix, which can be frozen and enjoyed AS NEEDED.  For that reason alone, I'm very happy that I made this artery clogging beverage.

Tomorrow brings us to Drifunkmas 2012's Day #5.

 Vodka Irish Chocolate Martini-I have to admit that this is my own modified version of a drink that I found on the internet that involved really expensive ingredients, but here it is...

Merrys Irish Cream Liquour
Chocolate Syrup

Throw the desired amounts together in a shaker with ice and strain into a martini glass.

I'm thinking this is basically a  Black Russian laced with chocolate.  Twist my arm.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cherry Beer Margarita

As I had hoped, it was a tasty concoction.  
The Cherry Beer Margarita is equal parts (12 oz.) of Cherry 7-up, Frozen Limeade, Beer and Tequila.  

I decided to add a little color with a splash of cherry juice and garnished it with two cherries.  

This is an extremely easy drink to make and its ingredients aren't far out of reach.  Not like the Blue Curacao that I bought last year... anyone want to take bets on how long that will be in my pantry?  
This would be a fantastic summer drink, but I wouldn't turn it down in mid-January either.  Mike rated it an 8 and I give it an enthusiastic 8.5.  We had some visitors after the preliminary tasting who gave it a 7 and a 9.  

Tomorrow's drink definitely involves some cooking...

Hot Buttered Rum

1 oz. Dark Rum
1/2 c. boiling water
1 Tbsp. Buttered Rum Mix

Combine ingredients in glass mug and stir.  Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Buttered Rum Mix
2 c. brown sugar
2 sticks softened butter
2 c. melted vanilla ice cream
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg

Use a food processor to combine buttered rum mix ingredients.  This may be frozen if not using all of it immediately.

I have always wanted to try hot buttered rum, and am looking forward to it as an after dinner cocktail tomorrow night.  Cheers!!  

Monday, December 17, 2012

Days One and Two

I have some serious catching up to do.  I admit it.  Mike finally arrived after missing one connector flight and a sketchy drive up the Northway last night.  It was so good to see him.  Knowing full well that he would be completely exhausted, I served up The Tampopo as quickly as possible.  It was a very simple cocktail to make, but Mike and I decided that it would have benefitted from a little extra effort.  Mike gave it a 7.5 out of 10, whereas I gave it an 8.  We decided that some flare would have been a good addition.  Perhaps that apple slice garnish or even some fresh, finely grated ginger sprinkled on top.  It just needed something.

That brings us to tonight.  Day Two's drink, as stated previously, was the Red Rooster.  This was a slushy combination of orange juice concentrate, cranberry juice and vodka.  This was a very tart beverage, and one that made me regret not taking anything to prevent heartburn before trying it out.  Mike and I both rated it a 6, which is disappointing, because the recipe makes two quarts.  There is a way to fix it though...either add more vodka or water it down somehow.  It just seems as though the acidity of the orange juice concentrate took over the whole experience.

I have to say that I'm pretty psyched for tomorrow's drink, Cherry Beer Margarita.  This beverage looks vaguely similar to one that we have tried before, and it was good.  I'm feeling pretty positive about this one.  Here it is...

1 12 oz. can frozen limeade concentrate
12 oz. cherry flavored soda
12 oz. can/bottle beer
12 oz. tequila

Place all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir gently.  Serve over ice.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

More Prep

I was a busy lady yesterday shopping for all of the materials that I will be needing to complete my mission.  This is the first time that I have planned out every drink and purchased everything I need in advance.  I must say that it certainly does take the pressure off.

Although I have not yet had the pleasure of enjoying today's cocktail, I am busying myself waiting for Mike's return by preparing for tomorrow's beverage.  I had originally labeled this one as a vodka slushy, but I have since discovered that the real name is "Red Rooster".  It is necessary to prep for this one due to the fact that it needs to be frozen.  I give you day two's "Red Rooster"...

1 1/2 quarts cranberry juice cocktail
1 6 oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate
2 cups vodka

Combine all of the ingredients in a large plastic container.  Freeze for several hours.  It will not freeze solid, but will take on a slushy consistency.

Good luck!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Drifunkmas Preparations

The time has come, once again, for the 12 Days of Drifunkmas. Oh how I love this time of year! This year though, I would love for others to join in on the fun. The following is a list of the twelve drinks of Drifunkmas with the base liquor for anyone wishing to experience them right along with us. It all begins on the evening of Mike's return, Sunday, December 16th.
 Day 1: The Tampopo (Bourbon)
 Day 2: Vodka Slushies (Vodka)
 Day 3: Cherry Beer Margarita (Tequila)
 Day 4: Hot Buttered Rum (Rum)
 Day 5: Vodka Irish Chocolate Martini (Merry's Irish Cream, Vodka)
 Day 6: Holiday Sangria (Merlot)
 Day 7: Maple Crown Royal
 Day 8: Bourbon Chocolate Milkshake (Bourbon)
 Day 9: Santa's Helper (Vodka, Amaretto)
 Day 10: Warm Christmas Cocktail (Bourbon)
 Day 11: Perfect Storm (Dark Rum)
 Day 12: Eggnog Jello Shots (Bourbon, Rum or Vodka)

Gosh. Just looking at that list makes me thirsty. How is it that I'm writing this without a cocktail in my hand? There will be soon enough, but gosh darn it, there's still work to be done! I have Drifunkmas to plan for! If you think you might want to join us on this fantastic adventure, a list of the necessary ingredients follows. I highly recommend buying it from Dale and Joe, the kind proprietors of Adirondack Mountain Spirits.

Alcohol: Bourbon, Vodka, Tequila, Dark Rum, Merrys Irish Cream Liquour, Merlot, Maple Crown Royal, Amaretto
Mixers: Apple Cider, Ginger Beer, Cranberry juice, Orange Juice Concentrate, Frozen Limeade, Cherry 7up, Beer, Brown Sugar, Butter, Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Syrup, Gingerale, Sugar, Milk, Coconut Milk, Brown Sugar, Unflavored Gelatin Powder, Sweetened Condensed Milk
You're also going to need: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Oranges, Cranberries, Vanilla Bean

I realize that this may seem overwhelming, but in our house we actually have many of these liquors already. The fun part will be getting all the mixers and other goodies that are needed.

In anticipation of December 16th, the first of twelve fun-filled nights, I give you the following recipe for the Tampopo:

Mix apple cider, ginger beer and bourbon in a 2:2:1 ratio. Pour over ice and garnish with an apple slice if desired.

 The first one is pretty simple, but don't you worry. It will get more complicated along the way.  Happy Drifunkmas, everyone!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Words of Wisdom Regarding "The Ladies"

I just read this and felt the need to share. I'm turning 46 in February. If you aren't in your forties yet, it's definitely a decade to look forward to. 40's rock!

Andy Rooney on Women Over Forty
By: Veronica Kavanagh (View Profile)
Andy Rooney says:

As I grow in age, I value women who are over forty most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over forty will never wake you in the middle of the night to ask, “What are you thinking?” She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over forty doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do. And, it’s usually something more interesting.

A woman over forty knows herself well enough to be assured in who she is, what she is, what she wants and from whom. Few women past the age of forty give a hoot what you might think about her or what she’s doing.

Women over forty are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you, if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

A woman over forty has the self-assurance to introduce you to her women friends. A younger woman with a man will often ignore even her best friend because she doesn’t trust the guy with other women. Women over forty couldn’t care less if you’re attracted to her friends because she knows her friends won’t betray her.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over forty. They always know.

A woman over forty looks good wearing bright red lipstick. This is not true of younger women. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over forty is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one! You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over forty for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed hot woman of forty-plus, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some twenty-two-year-old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,” here’s an update for you. Now 80 percent of women are against marriage, why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig, just to get a little sausage.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I am THAT driver.

I do not, and will never, deny the fact that I am a very paranoid driver and passenger when road conditions are questionable. Combine that with a daily commute from Au Sable Forks to Lake Placid, and you have a sad situation. Add the fact that I was a passenger in the car that did this...

...and you have a person that often needs to ride shotgun with her eyes closed if the roads are bad.

The last few days of driving have been quite challenging for me. Last Friday we had slush dropping from the sky most of the day followed by flash freezing. Tuesday was rain, sleet and freezing rain, and Wednesday morning was the day of widespread black ice according to NCPR. No problem. I'll just drive slowly. That's the safest way to drive, right? It took me one hour and 15 minutes to get home from Lake Placid on Friday, and I'm not embarrassed by that in the least. I figure that for every driver behind me that was swearing at me there was one that was singing my praises for driving at such a safe speed.

What's my problem? It's the brainless twits who think that they're invincible and feel the need to ride my ass! Here's my message to those folks... BACK OFF! Put on some good tunes, sit back and enjoy the ride. I'll see you at the stop light near Robo because chances are, you're going to get stuck behind some other person who is as paranoid as I am.

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Goal Mastered Yet Again

Let me start out with a big HAPPY NEW YEAR! Last night was a very calm, enjoyable one for us. I'm getting ahead of myself though....

Drifunkmas 2011 came to a close on December 29th. We tested 12 different drinks over 12 days. I have to give a big shout out to my good friend Carol. She was the one who challenged me with this glorious task last year. I miss Carol. She fell victim to budget cuts at our school last year and her daily wit and perspective is greatly missed. Mike and I will continue to celebrate Drifunkmas yearly in her honor. Arrrrrrrrh!!
Carol recognizes the importance of Drifunkmas and made a donation of Goldschlager and Three Olives Triple Shot Espresso Vodka for one of the nights. We decided to save it for night #12. Carol is a huge Packers fan, whereas the Kirchner household just loves the Steelers. Do you see where I'm going here? Packers? Steelers? Superbowl? To make matters even more interesting, Carol's family decided that she needed to own stock in the Green Bay Packers. That's what she got for Christmas! Since the Steelers don't sell stock in the team, we decided drinking was the best we could do in support of our team.

Black and Gold Martini

2 oz. Three Olives Triple Shot Espresso Vodka
1/2 oz. Goldschlager

Add to shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into martini glasses.

I must admit that we totally made this one up. Upon first taste, I was quite pleased with the flavor. Mike appeared to be as well, although he said that less Goldschlager would have been better. After a few sips it started to get a little syrupy. Towards the end it was a downright challenge to finish it. This definitely should have been a shot. As I said, upon first taste I was pleased with the flavor. It definitely would have been beneficial to enjoy a quick, spicy taste of this rather than a slow, syrupy one. We decided that each of the liquors would be better without any additives. Mike struggled to finish his and only rated it a 4. I gave it a 6, but as a shot I would probably give it an 8.

With the 12 Days of Drifunkmas over, it was time to return to our tried and true drinks. Mike with his "No Fashion" and me with my slightly dirty vodka martini.

That brings us to New Year's Eve. We were fortunate enough to be invited to Dave and Jean's for dinner with the crew from Big Boss Sausage for macaroni and cheese and chili. We just love going to Dave and Jean's. They are totally set up for entertaining, and they have a great knack for making people feel right at home. As usual, there was a ton of food and a roaring campfire. It was extremely relaxing and fun, but we ate wayyyyy too much!

It certainly looks as though my Individualized Entertainment Plan continues to be working for me. I don't think that there is any need to increase my level of services at this time. Happy New Year!