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Cocktail Hour


If you’ve been around A Sweet Spoonful for awhile, you already know a few things: 1) I like strong drinks and 2) I don’t often accept freebies or do giveaways on the site. With this next post, one of those things has changed. While I just don’t see the relevance or need for plastic batter bowls that store batter in the handle (what?!), towels specially designed to sop up red wine, or acid-resistant bud vases (hmmm)–I do see the need and relevance for vodka. So when the kind folks over at SKYY vodka wrote to me to introduce their new Ginger infused vodka, I told them to send one on over. Quickly. It’s been a tough few months.

In thinking about how I wanted to mix it, I kept thinking how great it would be to pair it with fresh lime juice and mint. I didn’t add any sweetener because, in addition to liking strong drinks, I dislike syrupy sweet ones. So if this  has a bit too much of an edge for you, add a dash of simple syrup. But honestly, I think you’ll like it. It screams outdoor patios and freshly mowed lawns. There’s a drink out there called the Moscow Mule, which is basically vodka, fresh lime juice, and a few glugs of ginger beer. My recipe is in the same family but it’s more like the Stiff Mule: we’re not messing around here. I think I’ll call it that.

Fresh limes, SKYY’s Ginger-infused vodka, mint, pretty canning jars = Happy Friday

The Stiff Mule
1.5 oz. SKYY Ginger Infused Vodka
1.5 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
Fresh mint
Ice cubes

Muddle the mint in a little glass with a pinch of sugar and a few drops of water. Then add  to the cocktail shaker along with the other ingredients, shake vigorously, and pour into glass. Garnish with a few sprigs of chopped mint.
Makes:  1 generous cocktail

*          *          *

O.k., now onto the snacks because, I don’t know about you, but when you start mixing up cocktails, there needs to be a little something to much on. My mom recently bought this incredible narrative cookbook called Screen Doors and Sweet Tea. Have you seen it? It’s written by Martha Hall Foose and in it she details her experiences living in the South and some of the traditional (and not so traditional) recipes she’s come to love from the Mississippi Delta. In all honesty, I haven’t come across a cookbook I’ve been this excited about in a very long time. So I dove right in this afternoon with recipe that looked like it’d pair well with the Stiff Mule: Martha’s Yazoo Cheese Straws. Legend has it that Mary Margaret Yerger began her cheese straw business modestly. Now, 79 years old, they pump out 3,000 pounds of straws a day. That’s a lot of cheddar, my friends. The recipe is flawless. I did make a few adaptations, mixing in a bit of white cheddar and sprinkling sesame seeds on top for a little extra crunch.

Have a great weekend. I’ll be working, but hopefully you’re doing something outside or in the kitchen or creative or new. Cheers to whatever it is you’re up to, and cheers to stiff drinks and delightfully salty snacks.

My apartment-sized food processor, your ball of dough, cookie-pressing it out…and Bingo.

Yazoo Cheese Straws
Slightly adapted from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea
Martha suggests to let the cheese come to room temperature before combining it with the butter because the dough will be much smoother. She also notes that if you don’t have a cookie press lying around, just form the dough into 2-inch round logs and chill until firm. Then slice into 1/8-inch thick disks and proceed with directions from there.

Ingredients:
1/2 pound mixed extra sharp cheddar and white cheddar, grated (at room-temperature)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. Cholula or your favorite hot sauce
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare a cookie press with the star attachment or an another narrow attachment of your choosing.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the cheese, butter, salt, pepper, and dash of hot sauce by pulsing until well blended. Then add the flour and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Press long strips of the dough 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets (I used a Silpat just to be safe).  Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges just barely begin to brown.

Remove the cheese straws and let cool completely. Break in half if you’d like (not all of the sesame seeds end up sticking). Store in an air-tight container.

Makes: 20-24 straws

  1. Posted March 27, 2010 at 8:43 am

    This drink looks amazing. I adore ginger flavored anything.

  2. Posted March 27, 2010 at 8:53 am

    I also have a no advertising policy on my blog, but if someone offered me free vodka I’m pretty sure I would make an exception as well! This sounds really good. There is a place where I grew up in Michigan that serves Moscow Mules in Copper Mugs.

  3. Posted March 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    OMG – what a great idea to use the cookie press to make straws. I love it. I will be stealing that idea next time I need to make an appetizer!

    As well the cocktails sounds great. I love ginger beer and I love vodka so I am sure I will love ginger vodka. I just found new flavored Fever-Tree tonics today, want to make a grapefruit cocktail for dinner on Sunday. Anyhow, they have a ginger tonic, sounds yum!

  4. Posted March 28, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I don’t drink but I love the straws. Will definitely be trying that idea out. Thanks!

  5. Posted March 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Yum, this looks and sounds delicious. I think free vodka is a good policy. :)

  6. RM
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 8:45 am

    one of the these will be a great “rainy day” project when I’m home with the three kids. I’ll let you figure which recipe I’ll choose.

    You really should teach a blogging class. :)

  7. Lisa
    Posted March 28, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Mmmmm! I want a drink and some cheese straws right now!

  8. Posted March 28, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    The drink sounds lovely, but I know I couldn’t have very many of them :P

    I must admit, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a cheese straw before in my life, but I’m almost always willing to try a delightfully salty snack!

  9. Posted March 29, 2010 at 6:12 am

    totally trying both of these!

  10. Posted March 29, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I have a dedicated ginger beer recipe blog and have seen the Moscow Mule mentioned many times on the net but still have not made one. Love ginger beer on its own too much !
    Just love vodka with fresh grapefruit juice. I thinks its called a Greyhound but dont quote me on that.
    Am going to try those cheese straws as I have a small catering business which specialises in finger food and they look superb. I too like to adapt recipes.
    Thanks for an interesting blog.
    Bonnie

  11. megang
    Posted March 30, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Sounds like we definitely have some free vodka fans here…glad to hear I’m not alone!

    RM (hi Rod!), Dana, Lisa, El: I know you’ll love the straws. They’re dangerous.

    And Bonnie: wow, a dedicated beer ginger blog! Amazing. I know you’ll love the straws and so funny that you mention that about grapefruit juice because I’ve been having one each night with the ginger vodka, actually. It’s a really nice combination. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Posted March 31, 2010 at 5:55 am

    Megan, you and I have much in common! Chiefly, our love of strong drinks and dislike of syrupy sweet ones. I *love* the sound of the Stiff Mule – what a brilliant use for the ginger vodka. And the cheese straws are a little bit of alright too. Yum!

    Love your blog and will be following along. Thanks for popping into Thirsty Thursday so we could meet!

  13. Posted April 4, 2010 at 6:10 am

    Nice one Megan! If someone offered me free vodka, I would have to accept too! I love your cheese straws!!!

  14. Posted April 4, 2010 at 10:15 am

    I love that picture at the top, with the drink in the jam jar. Would love to join you for one! Tough couple of months, indeed. Cheers to you!

  15. Posted April 6, 2010 at 4:37 am

    Incredible ideas and recipes. My mom’s 80th birthday is coming up and I am doing a cheese tray and bread basket… these will be in it!
    Thank you!

  16. Posted May 10, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I’ve just come across your blog, and glad I did… anyone with lovely photos and a fondness for stiff drink (especially those served in mason jars) is quickly added to my reader!

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  1. [...] my lessons learned at The Bertinet Kitchen Cookery School in Bath, and Sesame Sticks were inspired by A Sweet Spoonful. I thought a retro shrimp jellied salad recipe of mom’s would be a perfect [...]

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