I’ve been pondering the issue of drinks for a while now and each time I start to think of something, food takes over. On my day off, I decided to experiment with alcohol. After all, I cook with alcohol, mixing drinks should be up my alley. Er, not exactly. I don’t drink, I don’t even like the stuff. My friends know me as the dedicated party pooper. The fascination with alcohol is lost on me, neither do I judge people who indulge. As long as you don’t do something stupid like get behind the wheel of a car, or go all shit faced (pardon my French) like a teenager, indulge away. In moderation, alcohol is not an issue. Except for religious reasons of course. So as not to be anti social, I consider wine my happy medium and I stick to white. I have a preference for white wine, as my taste buds consider it the lesser of two evils, when compared with Red. Alas, this was my untrained or un exposed palate talking. I attended this chic work do in The City weeks ago; a wine and networking event. I got the invitation quite by coincidence, and it was a chance to dress up. I donned the proverbial little black dress, studded pumps and this gal was ready to mingle with very important people in the field of IT and Business. I had a fabulous time except all the cute guys were married. Lol
Amidst the great food, conversation and ambience, was great wine. Rich people’s wine to be specific. Lol. I took the first sip of sparkling wine that was handed to me by a waiter and I thought, goodness me, I LOVE this. Sip two, er, I love more, sip 3, where is that waiter, gosh this is good. There were an array of wines, each one better than the last except one which tasted like feet. Lol. The event was hosted by Justin sth, I’ll go look for his surname. He is a celebrity wine expert, and in between presentations, he enlightened us about the origins of the wines on our table, how it is made, its history, bla bla bla. Towards the end of the evening, Justin set out a competition to select The Chief Wine Officer. Taste the wine, and guess its origins. Each table was competing against the others. We all took a sip and there were murmurs across the room and people contemplating. I raised my hand and said Australia. You should have seen the stunned look on his face. I probably don’t fit the stereotype of wine connoisseurs. Lol. He’s hosted many of these events, and he said that hadn’t happened before. He asked, how did you know? Well my favourite Chardonnay is from Australia; Banrock Station. Er, I couldn’t mention the name, because it is a really cheap brand. I just said, I love Australian Whites, and he said Bravo you’ve got excellent taste.
The next wine came along, another white and BOOM, I got it again. France, which ended up being the famous and distinguished Châteauneuf-du-Pape which I know of, but had never tasted before. Funny how I guessed the region right. At this point people at my table started looking at me. It didn’t help that I was the only black female in the room. Lol. Now, it was time for the Reds, which I had stayed away from because I dislike red wine, or I thought I did, but I loved the selection Justin served. I’m back to rich people’s wine again. Lol. At this point, it was down to three tables left in the competition. The first glass, I guessed with the rest that it was from one of the old wine regions (France, Italy, Spain). I knew it wasn’t French because it was too fruity. I guessed Italy, only to be told it was a Rioja from Spain. Oh well, I lost. For the last glass, he said it was from the new wine region (South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and the likes). I was out of the competition by now, but I tasted it and I said Chile or Argentina, cos the taste was familiar. Those uppity friends of mine, who tell me to stop disgracing them in public and drink for goodness sake. That knowledge helped cos I have strong taste memories.
So, my experience at that event, has kinda changed my attitude to wine. If you are an expert with wine, share your knowledge with me please. I need to refine my palate. Wine apparently agrees with me, okay, okay, the top shelf variety. Lol. One thing I took away from the event was, I need to experiment more with alcohol. After all, I cook and bake with it. I looked into the cupboard and these 4 jumped at me – Grand Marnier, Coffee liqueur, Baileys and Port. Ask me what I am doing, having these at home? Friends. Lol.
With no experience with making cocktails, I decided not to buy anything, but work with what I had at home. Armed with the basics of lime, lemon, orange juice and my trusty blender, I decided to try out a few drink combinations. If you have cocktail combinations you try at home, please share.
Dooney’s Triple C (Coconut Coffeeport Cocktail)
The combo of coffee liqueur and port is common in many alcohol based desserts. The addition of coconut cream and a dash of coconut water was amazeballs.
Coconut cream – from 1 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup coffee liqueur – you can use Soiree or Tia Maria
1/3 cup of Port
1/2 cup of coconut milk – the liquid base left after sieving out the cream
Crushed Ice cubes
1. For the full cocktail experience, just like you have in bars, rub a wedge of lemon over the entire rim and dip this into a plate of desiccated coconut. The smell of the citrus will hit your nose first, before you take a sip.
Place your martini glass in the freezer for a few minutes to get it frosty.
2. Add all of the above to a blender, and whizz till all the ice cubes have been crushed. This will give you a a white and frothy mixture.
3. Take the martini glass out of the freezer, it should be frosty by now
Pour in the mixture from the blender, and garnish with a slice of lemon, and that’s your, lets say $10 cocktail in a bar or club. Lol
Dooney’s Double Berry Tipsy Smoothie
What works better than strawberries and raspberries? My alcohol inspiration came from Strawberries and cream, so I decided to add Baileys Irish cream and it was sweet, creamy, tangy, sour and all round fabulous. This is what you will term a tipsy smoothie, which is club speak for a smoothie with alcohol in it.
5 large strawberries
1/2 cup of Baileys
Crushed Ice cubes
Sugar – optional
1. Simply add all into a blender, and whizz till the ice cubes have been completely crushed and you have a frothy smoothie.
Pour into a hi-ball glass, drop in 2 raspberries and garnish with 2 strawberries
……….you don’t even need a party. You can treat yourself or significant other to a tipsy smoothie and crackers after a long day at work.
To really treat you guests, serve with a slice of Chocolate marble cake
The inspiration for this was easy peasy. I wanted a citrus fiesta, that will fizz and pack a punch. So, I combined two citrus fruits, a fizzy drink and a fruity liqueur.
1 orange – extract the juice
1 lime – extract the juice
1/2 cup of Grand Marnier – orange liqueur. you can also use Cointreau
1 can of Sprite
Crushed Ice cubes
1. Combine all in a blender and whizz till the ice cubes have been completely crushed. Pour into a tall glass and add a slice of lime and orange.
So, here are my Party Drinks Trifecta. I am not ready to be a bar woman yet, but I will be experimenting more with alcohol now. There are thousands of possibilities.
Dooney’s Trendy Nigerian Bar is open for business. What do you guys think? Won’t it be great if we had a trendy upscale bar (not club, please), those posh bars you have in major cities with good finger food served all posh, imagine fancy suya, nkwobi, peppered meat, asun, spring rolls, samsosa’s abacha, chopped salad, in a pretty environment with great music, conversation and cocktails. Have I painted a picture in your head now? I know many of us would have gone to such places on dates, to hang out with friends or colleagues after work. Now, imagine something with a Nigerian flair to it. Sigh, sigh, back to dreaming and strategising. Lol