How to Make a Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri, or how to save watermelon to enjoy it later.

How to Make a Frozen Watermelon DaiquiriSo you bought a giant watermelon, because you love watermelon and it was a good price.  Plus it is summer  – who doesn’t want to eat some watermelon.  You ate a lot of watermelon, watermelon for days, but it still isn’t gone and you are worried it is going to go bad.  What are you going to do?!  You are going to cut it up into cubes, freeze it, and make kick-ass cocktails!

Frozen Watermelon Daiquiri

  • 1½ ounces Light Rum
  • ½ Orange Liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • 1 cup watermelon, cubed & frozen
  • ice (as needed)
  • garnish with a lime wheel

You are going to need a blender.  Pour the light rum, orange liqueur, and lime juice in the blender.  I usually use a cheap light rum like Castillo Silver for mixed fruity cocktails, but for a look at some other options check out this list of the best and worst cheap rums. Add the frozen watermelon cubes and blend till smooth.  If you want it thicker, add a couple ice cubes (I usually add ½ cup at a time).  Keep adding and blending until the desired consistency is reached.  Pour into a glass and garnish with a lime wheel.  Boom, you have an amazingly flavorful and colorful summer cocktail.

I normally shy away from frozen drinks because they are often overly sweet and watered down.  The great thing about using frozen watermelon is that you don’t need to use near as much ice to make this frozen daiquiri, so you end up with a very balanced drink that is sure to become a summer favorite.  Since the watermelon is frozen, you can make this cocktail whenever you feel like it and don’t have to worry about breaking open an entire watermelon, which I find normally prevents me from using watermelon in cocktails.  When cost is a factor, you don’t want to waste anything.  This cocktail helps you use every piece of watermelon and enjoy the sweet flavor whenever you want.

Total cost per drink? ~$0.83

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Posted in Dollar Drinks, Rum

How to Make a Spicy Watermelon Margarita, or a sweet cocktail with a refreshing bite

How to Make a Spicy Watermelon MargaritaThis summer is record-breakingly hot and there are few cocktails that can kick the heat quite as effectively as a margarita.  We have looked at how to make several variations of the classic using agave syrup and blue curacao, but now it is time to add one of summertime’s other refreshing treats: the watermelon.

Disclaimer: I love watermelon and one melon can make A LOT of cocktails.  Hence you will find a plethora of cocktails using this refreshing fruit.

Spicy Watermelon Margarita

  • 1 ½ ounces 100%  Agave Tequila Blanco
  • ½ ounce Orange Liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
  • ½ ounce jalapeno-infused agave syrup
  • 1 packed cup cubed watermelon, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • garnish with a watermelon wedge
  • rim with salt and chili powder (optional)

We begin with a cocktail shaker.  Add a generous portion of ice and all the ingredients: tequila, orange liqueur, jalapeno-infused agave syrup, watermelon juice, and lime juice.  Shake well for twenty seconds and set aside briefly.  If you feel like adding a spicy rim, mix equal parts chili powder and salt on a plate.  Run the skin from the juiced lime around the rim of the glass to make it sticky, and then slowly dip and spin the glass in the chili powder and salt mixture.  Fill the glass with ice and strain the cocktail from the shaker into the glass.  Garnish with a small slice of watermelon.  Briefly admire your artistry, then enjoy!

But you may be wondering: how did you make the watermelon juice and the infused agave?  The watermelon juice is actually incredibly simple to make, and you don’t even need a juicer.  To make watermelon juice all you have to do is puree the watermelon and put it through a strainer.  You can puree watermelon in a blender, food processor, with an immersion blender, or even simply mash it with a fork, so choose whichever method is available to you.  I recommend making it fresh, as it will separate in only a few hours if left to settle.  As to the spicy  syrup, you will need the following for a batch of:

Jalapeno-Infused Agave Syrup

  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper
  • 3 ounces of water
  • 6 ounces of agave

Roughly chop the jalapeno pepper and place it seeds and all into a small saucepan with the water.  Bring to a boil for a minute and then remove from the heat.  Strain and add the agave syrup, stir vigorously till combined.  This makes a syrup that is about the sweetness of simple syrup but with a nice fiery burn.  If you really want to get crazy, you can kick up the heat with a hotter pepper like a habanero but be warned, steep them for too long and the summer heat won’t be the only thing making you sweat.

Total Cost per Drink? ~$0.93

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Posted in Dollar Drinks, Liqueur, Tequila

How to Make a Watermelon Caipirinha, or the perfect cocktail to celebrate the Rio Summer Olympics

Watermelon Caipirinha

It’s been a while since I have written about a new cocktail on Broke & Thirsty, but I could think of no better time to begin writing again than the Summer Olympic Games in Rio!  To celebrate the warm days and the games, we will feature the national spirit of Brazil: Cachaca!

Watermelon Caipirinha

  • 2 ounces Cachaca
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig

This rustic cocktail couldn’t be easier to make.  In a mixing glass, add watermelon and sugar, and squeeze in the fresh lime juice.  Muddle till the watermelon reaches the consistency of a rough puree.  Small chunks are fine, they give the cocktail more character.  Pour in the cachaca and shake for 15-30 seconds.  Pour the cocktail into an old fashioned glass filled with ice and garnish with the lime wedge and mint sprig.  Serve immediately and enjoy the sweet bliss of this refreshing yet potent summer sipper.

This variation of the caipirinha (I posted about a more traditional caipirinha recipe a couple years ago) is great for a quick cocktail that is sure to please those who love fruity drinks as well as those who prefer more spirit forward cocktails.  Cachaca, a spirit made from raw sugar cane, is similar to rum (which is made from molasses) but with a very distinctive taste and aroma.  Cheap cachaca, at least in the US, can taste a lot more like gasoline than alcohol, but if you are lucky enough to know someone in Brazil you can access high quality cachaca for insanely cheap prices (think $4-6/L).  Cachaca is usually bottled young, a clear spirit best used for mixing, but can also be aged in oak for several years making for a more nuanced sipping experience.

The sweetness of this cocktail can easily be regulated by the amount of sugar added.  In season, watermelons offer beautiful natural sweetness which requires little additional sweetener.  If you like your cocktails to be really sweet or are using watermelon out of season, just add a bit more sugar to reach the perfect sweetness for you. Happy hump day everyone!

Total Cost per Drink? ~$0.63

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Posted in Cachaca, Dollar Drinks

How to Make a Agave Margarita, or keeping that New Year’s resolution with a “fit” cocktail!

The Agave Margarita CocktailDid you, like millions of others, make a resolution to get fit this year?  Or are you already a person who monitors what they eat?  Well lucky for you, just because you are being health conscious doesn’t mean there aren’t great cocktails for you – cocktails that are every bit as good or even better than their original simple syrup laden versions.  Today we are going to focus on Agave syrup and use it to make a fantastic margarita.

The Agave Margarita
  • 2 ounces Tequila Blanco
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce 1:2 agave syrup
  • garnish with lime and (optional) rim with salt

Begin by mixing the agave syrup.  To get the same amount of sweetness as you would with granulated sugar, you will actually use quite a bit less.  Combine 2 teaspoons of agave nectar with 4 teaspoons of water to reach the same sweetness and volume as standard 1:1 simple syrup.  Now the that the agave syrup has been mixed, add it along with the tequila and fresh lime juice to a shaker with a generous portion of ice.  Shake until the cocktail has been thoroughly chilled. If you want to have a salt rim on your rock glass, now is the time.  Pour some salt out onto a tray or plate, and run a lime around the rim of your glass (one of the limes you squeezed for juice will work just fine).  Once the rim has been wet, gently dip the rim of the glass in the salt, then place back upright.  I happened to have coarse rock salt laying around, so that is what I used – the additional minerals in rock salt add a touch more flavor, but any salt will work.  Carefully add fresh ice and pour in the chilled agave margarita.  Garnish with a lime wheel (I prefer to use half wheels for rock glasses) and you are ready to start the party.

For a good cheap tequila blanco,  I highly recommend San Matias Legado.  It is by far the smoothest tequila I have found under $20/fifth and it only costs around $12!  If you want to go a bit more upscale, Espolón is a fantastic tequila in the $20-25/fifth range.  Both of these tequilas are 100% blue agave – the mark of any spirit worthy of being called tequila.  But wait, did I just say AGAVE?!  That’s right, the spirit that you love to hate is distilled from the agave plant, the same plant whose sap is used to make agave nectar.   So not only can agave nectar be healthier than cane sugar but it also naturally pairs well with tequila. Agave nectar packs around 60 calories per tablespoon, and although the same amount of sugar only contains 40 calories, agave syrup is so much sweeter that only 1/3 the amount is required.  It is also low on the glycemic index and the resulting sugar surge will be considerably less than with granulated sugar.  So get yourself some agave nectar and start experimenting!  There are a world of new cocktails that this sweetener will be a part of.

Total cost per drink? ~$0.99

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Posted in Dollar Drinks, Tequila

How to Make the Airmail Cocktail, or celebrating the state of US-Cuba relations

The Airmail CocktailThe news of improved relations between the USA and Cuba was one of the best and most unexpected presents I got this holiday season.  As a fan of both rum and cigars, the idea that getting Cuban products in the states would soon be legally possible was cause indeed for celebration.  And what better way to celebrate than with a signature cocktail from when Bacardi was a great rum?  Back when it was Cuban!

The Airmail
  • 2 ounces Gold (Cuban) Rum
  • 5 ounces Sparkling Wine
  • 1 ounce 1:1 honey syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • garnish with a lime wedge

Begin by shaking the gold rum, honey syrup, and lime juice with ice until the shaker is frosty.  Choose your glass (a collins glass is recommended) and pour the mixture unstrained into the glass.  Then top off with 5 ounces of your favorite sparkling wine and garnish with a lime wedge.  It’s that simple, you’ve got Airmail!  Far faster than the postal service has ever delivered any letter.  For the gold rum, still not being able use Cuban rum legally, I have found that both Bacardi 8 Años and Appleton Estate work quite well.  At a lower price point, Castillo or Cruzan gold rum will also do the trick, albeit with a bit less flavor and flourish.  The honey you choose is of paramount importance – too strong and that is all you will taste in the cocktail, too light and you might as well not add it at all.  I would recommend going with a floral honey to compliment and counterbalance the citrus.  As for the sparkling wine, Chandon Brut Classic is an excellent choice, as are many proseccos and cavas.  Save the true champagne and its hefty price tag for toasts – in most cases you are going to be paying a premium just for the label and when not, the flavors are best experienced standing on their own.

This cocktail became famous from its appearance in early pamphlets advertising Bacardi and at its heart is a classed up version of a daiquiri, subbing in honey syrup for simple syrup and adding sparkling wine for a bit of fizz.  The exact origin of the cocktail is a mystery as it may have been invented by Bacardi for their advertising campaign or have been a special cocktail produced at one of Havanas many fine bars.  Either way, it is a delicious drink for any season and the sparkling wine will make you feel like celebrating!

 

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Posted in Rum, Sparkling Wine

How to Make the Set the New Year on Fire Cocktail, or getting this blog rolling with pyrotechnics!

The Set the New Year on Fire CocktailIt’s been a while since this blog has been active and with new years and it’s resolutions set, it is time to change that.  I stumbled across this great cocktail a couple days ago on liquor.com, and it seems like a great way to get back to crafting cocktails.  Afterall, what is more exciting than mixing booze with fire?  Especially when it adds a great flavor to your drink!

Set the New Year on Fire
  • 2 ounces Scotch
  • 1/2 ounce Campari
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce 1:1 demerara simple syrup
  • 6 mint leaves
  • garnish with a flaming lime

Begin by gently muddling the mint with the fresh lime juice (set the squeezed lime halves aside) and demerara simple syrup.  You don’t want to muddle too much, just enough to agitate the mint and get it to release it’s flavor while still leaving the leaves largely intact.  This cocktail uses a collins glass, but depending on the dimensions, you may have to muddle your mint in a mixing glass.  Once muddling has been completed, add the mixture (mint leaves and all) to the collins glass and pour in 2 ounces of Scotch.  Then add a generous portion of crushed ice and float half an ounce of Campari.  Top of the glass with a bit more crushed ice.  Now comes the fun part.  Remember that half a squeezed lime you set aside?  It is time to put it to use!  Gently place the lime atop the cocktail so that it makes a little bowl.  In this bowl, you are going to place a single sugar cube.  Gently drip Bacardi 151, or some other high proof rum or alcohol, on to the sugar until it is saturated.  Now strike a match and carefully light the garnish on fire!  Let it burn for a bit while you admire your creation and the flavors of the burning lime seep down into the drink.  Just don’t forget to blow out the garnish before you attempt to sip your cocktail.

The toughest part of making any cocktail that uses scotch as its base is finding a scotch with good flavor and a decent price tag.  There are plenty of good scotches on the market these days and even more cheap scotches, but there is very little overlap between these two groups.  Scotches can be very subjective in their tastes – when drinking a scotch neat I favor the strong smokey peat of Islays, but many find them to be off-putting and they certainly overpower the flavors of other ingredients in a cocktail.  For a mixed scotch drink, you generally want to use something milder, with at most a touch of smoke, like a single malt Speyside.  If you want to make it even more affordable, consider using a blended scotch in cocktails.  Even young blended scotches can be quite smooth and offer the “scotch” flavor profile at a much lower price.  For this cocktail I used a very cheap blended scotch called Black & White.  It could be improved upon with a better scotch, but at under $25/handle, it is hard to beat the price tag.  Black & White offers that distinct “scotch” profile that you want for a mixing scotch without the grainy aftertaste so many other cheap scotches are accompanied by.  Feel free to comment with your favorite affordable scotches and enjoy this pyrotechnic cocktail!

Total cost per drink? ~$1.79

 

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Posted in Aperitif, Cheap Cocktails, Scotch

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge starring Patrick Stewart and Chivas Regal

The ALS ice bucket challenge has blown up on social media this summer and every day celebrities and us common folk have been posting thousands of videos taking up the challenge.  In a recent entry, Patrick Stewart has set the standard in perhaps the classiest ice bucket challenge to date.  Yes there is an ice bucket, yes there is a donation to ALS, but in place of drenching himself with freezing water, Stewart has chosen to salute the cause with a generous pour of Chivas Regal.

Patrick Stewart_ALS Challenge_Chivas Regal

 

An excellent choice for such a cause, Chivas Regal is a blended 12 year old scotch that we can all afford to enjoy.  At $25 per fifth, I have found Chivas Regal always fits the bill when I want to sip on a simple smooth scotch.  It may not have the peaty complexity of Laphroaig 18, but I can enjoy it considerably more often given its price tag and smooth character.  I salute you Patrick Stewart and raise my own glass in support of a worthy cause!

Original Video:

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Posted in Scotch

How to Make the Cantaloupe Basil Cooler, or celebrating National Tequila Day with style

How to Make the Cantaloupe Basil Cooler tequilaHappy National Tequila Day!  Today I wanted to bring you something a little bit different to celebrate.  You won’t find this drink anywhere else – it is a Broke and Thirsty original.  I was sipping on some tequila and eating some cantaloupe with dinner and it seemed like the two pair surprisingly well together.  So a little bit of experimentation later and this delicate summer cocktail is the result.  Without further ado, the Cantaloupe Basil Cooler.

The Cantaloupe Basil Cooler
  • 2 ounces Reposado Tequila
  • 3 ounces cantaloupe juice
  • 3 thai basil leaves
  • fill with club soda
  • garnish with a sprig of thai basil

To begin, you are going to have to make some cantaloupe juice.  Although you can find cantaloupe juice pre-bottled, in the summer when the melon is fresh, it is far better to juice it yourself.  It is as simple as taking a citrus juicer, adding a couple of chunks of cantaloupe, and squeezing.  It’ll take between an eighth and a quarter of the cantaloupe to get 3 ounces of juice. Pour the cantaloupe juice and tequila into an empty shaker.  Add the thai basil leaves and muddle.  Once you are satisfied with your muddling, add ice and shake.  Pour into an old fashioned glass on the rocks, top off with club soda, and garnish with a sprig of thai basil.

Enjoy!

Total cost per drink? ~$1.46

 

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Posted in Cheap Cocktails, Tequila

How to Make the Scorpion, or a tiki cocktail with a helluva sting

How to Make the Scorpion Tiki CocktailOkay, I get it.  Normally strong cocktails have a bite, not a sting.  But this one is called the scorpion, so did you really expect me to pass that up?  The scorpion is a veteran heavyweight of the tiki world (with almost two standard drinks of alcohol!) and its history is legendary.  But before we get to the complicated discussion of origin stories, let’s learn how to make a simple version of the cocktail.

The Scorpion
  • 0.75 ounces Dark Rum
  • 0.75 ounces Light Rum
  • 0.75 ounces Brandy
  • 0.25 ounces Orange Liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
  • 1.5 ounces of orange juice
  • 0.5 ounces of lime juice
  • garnish with a citrus wedge

Start by adding ice to your shaker and squeezing in the juice of the lime and orange.  The fresh citrus really make this cocktail pop but if you don’t have any fresh citrus ready, bottled lime and orange juice will do the trick.  Once the citrus juices have been added, continue to add in the spirits.  Then shake shake shake.  Once you have the cocktail all mixed up, pour it into a highball glass filled with ice.  Garnish with a citrus wedge and it is as simple as that. You’ve got yourself a wonderful scorpion.

Now for the history.  There are more “authentic” versions of the scorpion than any other tiki cocktail – a feat that is impressive as many tiki cocktails have at least half a dozen variants.  What is known of the scorpion’s origins is that it was first created in the 1930s in Honolulu, Hawaii at a bar called The Hut.  An unknown bartender mixed rums, citrus juice, orgeat syrup and brandy over ice and after garnishing with an orange, presented it as the “Scorpion” to his almost certainly inebriated guests.  From there, tiki legend Victor “Trader Vic” Bergeron picked up the drink, dubbed it the “Scorpion Bowl” and elevated to the status of a great tiki cocktail along with the likes of the Mai Tai and Fog Cutter.  Trader Vic himself published three different variants of the Scorpion Bowl, which was served to groups of eager drinkers in an ornate vessel with legs that looked like topless Tahitian women and a gardenia floating serenely on top.  The drink was then shared through the use of several straws.

The scorpion quickly grew popular and as it spread many bartenders put their own spin on the cocktail.  The variant in this post is the simplest and cheapest to make and although it lacks the orgeat syrup than many would say is required to make this cocktail “authentic” serves quite well to get the right flavor profile.  We will dabble in other variants of the scorpion later, once we have explored some of the other great tiki cocktails.  Until next time on Tiki Monday, sit back, relax, and enjoy the power of the scorpion and remember that the week is just getting started.

Total cost per drink? ~$1.12

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Posted in Brandy, Cheap Cocktails, Rum, Tiki Mondays
Nick McAfee
Nick McAfee is a student of Princeton University and is passionate about mixology. As a student with a low monthly income, he has developed ways to create simple cocktails with complex flavors from inexpensive ingredients. Learn more about Nick and Broke & Thirsty.
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