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Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Blackberry-Mint Water

Posted by booksncooks on May 15, 2011

I’m loving that spring is finally here. I’ve been outside in the sun as much as possible after rain almost every day in April (or at least it felt like almost every day!). While I’m not training for the Susan G Komen walk this year, I’ve still kept up my good habits, walking 2-3 times a week outside instead of being cooped up in the gym. I love that there are more fresh fruits and veggies available, particularly the recent arrival of summer berries. When this month’s issue of Fine Cooking arrived featuring a Blackberry-Sage water, I knew that I would be making it for the weekend’s BBQ with friends.

The water is not what one would expect. The color was vibrant purple, instead of just slightly colored. The water isn’t super-sweet, more minty than anything, but incredibly refreshing. This drink is a staple that I’ll be keeping around the house and adapting throughout the summer.

Blackberry-Mint Water

Adapted from Ellie Krieger in Fine Cooking No. 111 (p. 37)

Yields 1 pitcher


  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 15+ mint leaves*
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 7 c. cold water, divided

* May substitute sage leaves in place of mint

With a mortar and pestle, crush mint and sugar to release juices and flavor in mint leaves. Pour boiling water over mint and sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries with 2 c. cold water.

With a strainer set over a large bowl or serving pitcher, strain sugar-mint water and blackberry water into pitcher, stirring and pressing solids to release remaining juices. Top with 5 c. water.

Chill & serve.

Posted in Drinks, Fine Cooking | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Amaretto Sour with Prosecco

Posted by booksncooks on April 8, 2011

I haven’t had much amaretto – none in drinks, only in the buttercream frosting of an almond-raspberry cake (recipe next week!). I was pleasantly surprised by this cocktail. With the Prosecco, it isn’t as I imagine a straight-up Amaretto Sour to be.

The original recipe reflects enough for one drink. The quantities in parentheses reflect enough for 4-5 servings, which would use up the whole bottle of Prosecco.

Amaretto Sour with Prosecco

Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis


  • 2 Tbs. simple syrup (or 1/2 c.)
  • 3/4 c. Prosecco (or 1 whole bottle, 750 ml)
  • 2 Tbs. amaretto (or 1/2 c.)
  • 1 lemon (2)
  • 1 lime (for rimming)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1/4 c. sugar (for rimming)

Simple syrup is made by combining 1 part water and 1 part sugar and boiling until sugar is dissolved. To make enough for 1/2 c. simple syrup, use 3/4 c. of each water and sugar. Set aside to cool.

Prepare the Glasses: Zest lemon and lime. Combine with sugar in a flat dish. In another small bowl, juice the lemon and set aside. Cut the lemon into wedges and rub around the rims of the glasses. Lightly press rim into sugar, fill with ice, and set aside.

Make the Drink: In a pitcher, combine Prosecco, amaretto, splash of lemon juice (use all of it if making the 4 servings), and simple syrup. Stir & serve.

Garnish with a slice of lemon and/or lime, if desired.

Posted in Drinks, Giada | 2 Comments »

Pomegranate Cosmos

Posted by booksncooks on April 24, 2010

One of my favorite things about visiting my parents is how Mom and I always end up with a drink in hand. Lately it’s been French Martinis, but this weekend, we tried a new recipe from the cookbook I gave her earlier this month (a thank you for hours of painting and yard work at our house). These cosmos were wonderfully sweet. Make sure you throw them in the shaker before serving – we didn’t and they were seriously strong. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Cosmos

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa‘s Back to Basics

Yields 6 drinks


  • 2 c. good quality vodka
  • 1 c. Grand Marnier, Contreau or other organe liquor
  • 1 c. cranberry juice
  • 1/2 c. pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 c. fresh lime juice (from about 3 limes)
  • lime peals, for garnish

Combine all ingredients except lime peals in a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, fill a shaker with ice and add cosmos. Shake until chilled and serve, garnished with lime.

Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Drinks, Food Network | Leave a Comment »

Product Review: Boxed Wines

Posted by booksncooks on December 8, 2009

A couple years ago, I had read an article in Fine Cooking on boxed wines. Back then, I wasn’t a big wine drinker, but I knew that boxed wine didn’t have a great reputation. I decided to try it anyway – Fine Cooking had never steered me wrong; I didn’t drink or cook with wine often enough so wanted something that would keep for a while; and you can’t beat the price (most are under $20 for the equivalent of 4 regular 750 ml bottles).

I’ve only tried one of boxed wines recommended in FC and in a later issue of Food Network Magazine, not because I don’t want to, but because I haven’t been able to find all the brands or I forgot which ones were recommended. However, I wanted to share this list with you anyway.

If you’ve tried any of these, please leave a comment – both myself and future readers will thank you for your input! =)

Recommended White Wines:

Banrock Station Chardonnay, from Australia

Black Box Chardonnay, from Napa Valley

I have tried the chardonnay, pinot grigio, and shiraz and have enjoyed them all, although the pinot grigio is my favorite, with a nice light flavor.

DTour Chardonnay

Wine Block Chardonnay

Angel Juice Pinot Grigio

Also tried Bota Box Pinot Grigio (Dec. 2009) – it’s a sweeter pinot but still very good.

Recommended Red Wines:

Hardys Stamp of Australia Merlot

Delicator Shiraz, from California

Black Box Cabernet Sauvignon, from Paso Robles

I have tried the chardonnay, pinot grigio, and shiraz and have enjoyed them all, so I would recommend giving the cabernet sauvigon a shot (sadly shiraz is the only red wine I drink!)

Wine Block Cabernet Sauvignon

Banrock Station Merlot, from Australia

Boho Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon

Pinot Evil

Oct. 2010 Update: Since wring this, I have also tried various wines from Bota Box and Fish Eye Wine. Would recommend both.

Sources: Fine Cooking No. 79 (July 2006, p. 34-35)

Food Network Magazine (Nov/Dec 2008)

Photos compliments of Black Box and the Block Wines.

Posted in Drinks, Fine Cooking, Food Network, Food-Related: Books, Movies & Product Reviews | Leave a Comment »

Cardamom White Hot Cocoa

Posted by booksncooks on November 19, 2009

I saw a recipe for a Cardamon-Clove White Cocoa in a new cookbook I was given, Williams Sonoma’s Cooking for Friends (p. 235).  I have only had cardamom once, in a cranberry pear tart, and really enjoyed the flavoring and wanted to try it out again.

This recipe was inspired by that in the WS cookbook, but has been simplified so that it could be a quick afternoon snack on a cold day. It’s got a great, light flavor of the cardamon and white chocolate. Enjoy!

Cardamom White Hot Cocoa

Serves 1


  • 2 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • a heaping 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom, plus some for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat milk and cardamon until hot and almost simmering. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate  and whisk until chocolate has melted.

Pour into a mug.  Serve hot with a sprinkle of cardamon on top.

Posted in Drinks, Winter Holidays | 1 Comment »