Rum-Topped Ginger Beer Float

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Waste Not, Want Not: Rum-Topped Ginger Beer Float! I gotta tell you, there are some fantastic-tasting nonalcoholic ginger beers on the market right now. One of my absolute favorites is made with organic agave and extracts of chili pepper, coriander, cardamom, lime, and orange. Don’t get me wrong, ginger is still the star attraction. These flavors go extremely well in a Mexican Mule with chile pepper-infused tequila. But that’s another story. I went with a much lighter version of ginger beer for a refreshingly light twist on an old favorite. Granted, with a dark rum floater, it definitely has a boozy punch. Obviously, this is an adult beverage and should not be served to anyone under the age of 21.

RUM-TOPPED GINGER BEER FLOAT

Ingredients:

3 scoops vanilla bean ice cream

6.8-ounce bottle ginger beer, chilled

1.5 ounce spiced dark rum

Lime wedge, for garnish

Instructions:

Place ice cream in a glass or mason jar. Slowly pour ginger beer over ice cream. Squeeze a touch of lime juice into the glass. Top with a spiced dark rum floater. Garnish with lime wedge. Serve with a spoon. Cheers!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Vietnamese Iced Coffee! It isn’t often I feature a beverage, but I realized from time to time you may have the desire to try something different there as well. Years ago my friend, Yen, shared her family recipe for incredible Vietnamese iced coffee. She went one step further and supplied me with everything I would need to make it, including the single serving Vietnamese coffee filter set. The results were glorious!

VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons dark roast ground coffee (preferably Trung Nguyen Premium Blend and Café Du Monde Coffee with Chicory*)

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

Bring the water to a boil. Remove the top screen from filter. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons Vietnamese coffee grounds plus 1/2 tablespoon coffee with chicory. Screw on top screen. Place filter over a heatproof glass measuring cup. Begin with a splash of boiling water into the filter. Coffee grounds will bloom. As the coffee begins to drip through, fill boiling water to top of filter. Place lid on filter and let coffee drip for 4 minutes. If the dripping stops, gently loosen screw to relieve pressure. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour over ice and serve.

* I receive no recompense for mentioning Trung Nguyen Premium Blend and Café Du Monde Coffee with Chicory.

Icy Limoncello Slushie

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Fab Foodstuff: Icy Limoncello Slushie! Talk about refreshing. Imagine yourself strolling along the Amalfi Coast of southern Italy. Pause a moment near the rugged shoreline to allow the cool breezes to caress your skin. Admire the sheer cliffs where coastal roads hug towering rock formations. Pay attention to the landscaped vineyards and lemon groves winding down the slope that practically appear to plunge into the sea. This is home to Limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur produced in the region. It is enjoyed as an aperitif or a digestive around evening mealtime, due to its pleasing effect on the palate. What better time to gratify your taste buds.

ICY LIMONCELLO SLUSHIE

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon lemon zest

3 cups ice cubes

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup Limoncello liqueur

Lemon and Limes, for garnish

Instructions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar and water. Heat 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Add lemon zest. Allow mixture to cool for 30 minutes. Strain sugar mixture, using a sieve to remove solids. Pour simple syrup into a blender. Add ice cubes, lemon juice, and Limoncello liqueur. Process until smooth and ice chunks no longer remain. Pour slushie into glasses. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter X

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: X-tra Thick Mango Crush! Is it fresh fruit? Is it ice cream? Or is it a sparkling Italian beverage? Surprise! It’s all three. The intensity of this mid-day treat is so refreshing and thirst quenching, you’ll find yourself asking, “Is it a delightful dessert or a tangy beverage?” My thoughts? I don’t need a reason to enjoy the citrusy intense flavors. After all, it’s Yumolicious and anything is possible!

X-TRA THICK MANGO CRUSH

Ingredients:

2 medium mangoes, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream, very icy cold

1 11.15-ounce can of San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage

Directions:

Combine the ripe fresh fruit and sugar in a food processor or blender. Process on “Pulse” until the fruit is roughly chopped. With the processor running, slowly add the heavy cream until fully mixed. Transfer fruit ice cream to a plastic storage container with lid. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until firm. To serve, use a melon ball scoop to fill a tall glass. Slowly pour the sparkling blood orange beverage over all, being careful not to foam over. Garnish with toasted coconut.

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Jell-o Shots With Sugared Cranberries 

Eating My Way Through the Holidays! Special Edition: Jell-O Shots With Sugared Cranberries! The holidays ring in the cheer with festive activities, enticing food, and snappy beverages. Make things awesome with dressed up Jell-O shots that cap off any occasion. Not only do they have an elegant look, but they satisfy the sweet tooth as a miniature dessert. By creating a garnish of fresh fruit with the sugared cranberries, it’s a classy finish with a gourmet twist! 
JELL-O SHOTS WITH SUGARED CRANBERRIES 
For Make-Ahead Sugared Cranberries:

2 cups sugar, divided

1/2 cup filtered water

12-ounce bag fresh cranberries 

1 cinnamon stick

1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup filtered water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, about 3-5 minutes. Add cranberries. To prevent cranberries from bursting, do not boil. Stir until well coated. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cranberries to a wire rack. Let dry for one hour. Working in batches, roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight. Store in airtight container. 
Ingredients for Jell-o Shots:

3-ounce package raspberry gelatin 

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup amaretto liqueur 

1/2 cup ice water

Sugared cranberries Rosemary sprigs
Instructions:

Empty contents of raspberry gelatin packet into a mixing bowl. Add boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add iced water and amaretto liqueur and iced water. Stir well. Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate until set, 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with sugared cranberries and rosemary sprigs just before serving. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter V

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Vietnamese Iced Coffee! It isn’t often I feature a beverage, but I realized from time to time you may have the desire to try something different there as well. Years ago my friend, Yen, shared her family recipe for incredible Vietnamese iced coffee. She went one step further and supplied me with everything I would need to make it, including the single serving Vietnamese coffee filter set. The results were glorious!
VIETNAMESE ICED COFFEE
Ingredients:

2 tablespoons dark roast ground coffee (preferably Trung Nguyen Premium Blend and Café Du Monde Coffee with Chicory*)

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
Instructions:

Bring the water to a boil. Remove the top screen from filter. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons Vietnamese coffee grounds plus 1/2 tablespoon coffee with chicory. Screw on top screen. Place filter over a heatproof glass measuring cup. Begin with a splash of boiling water into the filter. Coffee grounds will bloom. As the coffee begins to drip through, fill boiling water to top of filter. Place lid on filter and let coffee drip for 4 minutes. If the dripping stops, gently loosen screw to relieve pressure. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour over ice and serve. 
* I receive no recompense for mentioning Trung Nguyen Premium Blend and Café Du Monde Coffee with Chicory. 

Bloody Mary, Virgin or Not

The world’s most complex cocktail, the Bloody Mary, seems to be a favorite no matter how you serve it up. Get creative. Go spicy. Check out the ingredients in your refrigerator for a “conversation starter” at your next informal gathering. Anything goes! Don’t forget to season the rim of the glass with a smoked sea salt for extra flavor. Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar creates a hands-on experience everyone is sure to remember. This little number is the specialty of the house at Fat Tuna Grill and Oyster Bar in Williamsburg, Virginia. Gotta love the ultimate shrimp cocktail garnish!

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter X

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: X-tra Thick Mango Crush! Is it fresh fruit? Is it ice cream? Or is it a sparkling Italian beverage? Surprise! It’s all three. The intensity of this mid-summer treat is so refreshing and thirst quenching, you’ll find yourself asking, “Is it a delightful dessert or a tangy beverage?” My thoughts? I don’t need a reason to enjoy the citrusy intense flavors. After all, it’s summer and anything is possible!
X-TRA THICK MANGO CRUSH
Ingredients:

2 medium mangoes, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup powdered sugar 

1/2 cup heavy cream, very icy cold

1 11.15-ounce can of San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa Blood Orange Sparkling Beverage
Directions:

Combine the ripe fresh fruit and sugar in a food processor or blender. Process on “Pulse” until the fruit is roughly chopped. With the processor running, slowly add the heavy cream until fully mixed. Transfer fruit ice cream to a plastic storage container with lid. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until firm. To serve, use a melon ball scoop to fill a tall glass. Slowly pour the sparkling blood orange beverage over all, being careful not to foam over. Garnish with toasted coconut.