Entourage Elixir ~ A Tequila Cocktail

Happy National Tequila Day!
entourage exlixir-1

I created this tequila and bitter lemon drink right after seeing the Entourage Movie. If you saw it, then you’ll know why tequila was on my  brain. As soon as I walked in the door, I went over to my liquor cabinet, pulled out the Tequila Avión Reposado (that’s my fav, and looks like I need to buy more!), then rummaged around the “mixer” compartment in my fridge –better known to most people as the crisper bin, but alas mine has never seen even a leaf of a vegetable, just lots of stuff to mix with booze!–and found a bitter lemon mixer. Viola, my Entourage Elixir was born. Talk about the power of suggestion huh!

If you aren’t familiar with the Entourage tie-in, read the full story here. But here’s a quick explanation: the original Entourage series on HBO® first introduced the Tequila Avión brand to the masses here in the U.S. through an on-going storyline with one of the characters. Most people thought it was just a made up brand for the series. They had no idea it was a real Tequila. Once people realized they could buy it….well, the rest is history. And movie spoiler alert: we learn it’s ultimately how Turtle made his millions. Zoing!
tequila avion reposado | whiskandmuddler.com
tequila avion reposado | whiskandmuddler.com

My choice for the mixer– no brainer- had to be FeverTreeI love their brand of tonics and mixers. I typically use their Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon. They’re truly a cut above the rest. Can’t wait to try their new Elderflower tonic water too! What I like about either of their lemon bottlings is the bitterness is mixed in with just a touch of sweetness. They both have the undeniable flavor of true British bitter lemon soda. And bubbles add a nice touch to any cocktail right!
fevertree and san pellegrino mixers | whiskandmuddler.com
fevertree and san pellegrino mixers | whiskandmuddler.com
entourage exlixir | whiskandmuddler.com

If you really want to get into the spirit of today (ha, pun totally intended), then enjoy this sip with my Margarita Shrimp Tacos. Cheers to the conclusion of a great show and all-things Tequila.  Salud!


Entourage Elixir
yields one serving |  Entourage Elixir- A Tequila Cocktail PDF

3 ounces Tequila
half bottle (3.5 ounces) FeverTree Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon Mixer
juice of one lemon and one lime
lemon or lime slice to garnish

Combine tequila and citrus juices in a shaker over ice. Shake well. Pour into tumbler glass over ice. Top with lemon mixer. Garnish with citrus slice.


Notes:
If you can’t find FeverTree Bitter Lemon or Sparkling Lemon, use any bitter citrus soda like San Pellegrino Pompelmo (grapefruit)….or a brand you like. For the Tequila, I used Reposado (my favorite) but a Blanco/Silver or Añejo works fine too. Just make sure it’s the good stuff!
*not a sponsored post*

Pretty Ice + Floral Tea = Heavenly Iced Tea

The start of summer is almost here.
Heavenly Iced Tea
Won’t be long now! With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday officially marking the beginning of sun-drenched, lazy afternoons on a beach, river, or  lounge-chair in your own backyard, we’re going to need a refreshing (and pretty) beverage to keep the summer vibes chillin’ all season long. My inspiration for this Heavenly Iced Tea came from two places. First, from all the gorgeous designer ice cube creations I’m seeing on the blogs and Pinterest right now. Simply stunning. Fruits, herbs, edible flowers, you name it. Fun and practical. And second, I found a new (and delicious) range of artisan teas produced right here in Santa Rosa. I came across Tea & Trumpets at a Wool Festival out in Valley Ford/West Sonoma County this past weekend. Bought a few of their sample sizes,  and found one that is perfect for making iced tea.
Tea & Trumpets Hawaiian Breeze Tea
Tea & Trumpet teas
ice cube board pinterest whiskandmuddlerFirst, let’s talk about all these brilliant ice cubes. So imaginative. Like the dainty little petals from Le Zoe Musings, the deep crimson hues in these from Half Baked Harvest, fruit-filled ones from 100 Layer Cake, fragrant herbal cubes from Sweet Little Dish, or celebrate any patriotic holiday with these festive red, white and blue swizzle cubes from Momtastic. Heck, make a giant ice cube-bowl for your tea and serve a crowd. Like this flowery-one from Intimate Weddings.  Oooh, what about these layered ones from The View From Great Island–so cool! The list goes on and on. I’ve even started a Pinterest board solely dedicated to my decorator-ice-cube obsession.

Now the star of the beverage—-the tea. All of the teas made by Tea & Trumpets are sold as loose leaf. According to the owner Mark– “the best, whole leaves are used for loose leaf tea. Generally, the leftover smaller tea pieces are used in bagged tea. Yes, bagged tea will brew more quickly, but can often lack the subtlety and full flavor of larger loose leaf teas”. Plus there’s something so relaxing, almost meditative, about brewing loose tea. The entire ritual of choosing a tea flavor, pulling out your favorite teapot, waiting for the kettle to boil, (allowing you a much deserved 2-3 minutes of complete zone-out time), another few minutes of what seems like endless waiting until the hot, aromatic elixir fills the senses with calm and pure enjoyment. The whole process forces you to slow down and take some time out of a very busy day to enjoy the simple things in life.

From the tea assortment, I chose the Hawaiian Breeze– a premium black tea with tropical notes from hibiscus, calendula, and corn flowers- to make one set of cubes. For the other set, I used pink lemons. These cubes are really quite easy to make, and you can let your imagination run wild. Make a whole bunch of cubes at once, with all sorts of fruits and herbs. Once they’re all frozen, pop into freezer zip-bags and take out just what you need for your summer teas and cocktails. Tip: you can buy ice cube trays at a dollar store in every color imaginable. You generally get two trays to the pack, so go crazy and fill your freezer with a dazzling array of designer ice!  Right, let’s get started!
pink lemon ice cubes
hawaiian breeze tea ice cubes

pink lemons
pink lemons
pink lemons sliced in ice cube tray
pink lemons in ice cube tray
pink lemon
lemon juice & pink lemons
pink lemon slices with lemon juice
For the Pink Lemon cubes: I simply cut the lemon into round slices, then in half again to get the wedge. Line an ice cube tray with one slice and fill with freshly squeezed lemon juice. I used a combination of pink lemon juice and eureka lemon juice- two cups in total. Pink lemons are gorgeous & fragrant, but also a bit pricey. So I opted to mix a bit of both juices together. The pink lemon is really for show anyway.

For Hawaiian Breeze Tea cubes: line each slot with a small pinch of loose tea leaves from whatever tea your brewing. Make the tea according to your taste and allow it to cool slightly before pouring into the molds. You’ll need two cups in total. Be sure to strain all the tea leaves from the teapot out before pouring into the mold. Otherwise there will be too many tea leaves in the final cubes, which is not so fun to chew on when drinking the beverage. (I brewed mine in a 2-cup measuring cup (shown below), then strained it into another measuring cup for ease of pouring (not pictured)). Pop tray into the freezer overnight and away you go!
Tea & Trumpets's Raspberry Black Tea
Tea & Trumpet's Raspberry Black Tea
raspberry ice tea cubes
pink lemon ice cubes
hawaiian breeze tea ice cubes


Heavenly Iced Tea
yields 2 servings | printable version

I don’t like my tea ‘sweet’, so I opted for the minty flavor of the simple syrup to round out the floral & citrus notes of the tea. Serve cold, with lots of pretty ice cubes and a fancy straw!

2 cups prepared black or herbal tea
4 tablespoons Mint Simple Syrup (see notes)
2-3 fruit, herb or floral-infused ice cubes per glass

Brew tea according to your taste. Chill. Before serving, add Mint Simple Syrup and pour over ice. Enjoy with lemon slices or fresh mint.
Heavenly Iced Tea 2


Notes:
You can find Tea & Trumpets at the West End Farmer’s Market in the historic west end of Santa Rosa on Sundays from 9:30am-2pm; open mid-March through mid-December. Or visit their website: www.tea-and-trumpets.com. p.s. this is not a sponsored post; I just happen to love their tea!

Mint Simple Syrup: combine 1 cup sugar and 2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan, along with a large bunch of fresh mint. Adjust the amount of mint to your taste. Allow sugar to dissolve and then cool syrup in the pan with mint leaves for 2-3 hours. This will allow the mint to fully infuse into the syrup. Strain into a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to 3-4 weeks.

Lemon juice and tea don’t fully harden in the trays like water does. So I opted to pop out the cubes (once they were frozen) onto a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper to re-freeze them individually for a couple hours. This helps to really set them. I store mine in a freezer-safe plastic storage container. Viola!

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