Pisco sours are my current go-to, favorite cocktail. I had one at Camino a couple years ago and have been hooked ever since.
Pisco sours are one of those drinks that seems pretty fancy to serve at home, but it’s actually really easy to make. Also, it has a raw egg white in it so, A. it’s healthy (right? Egg white = protein, so it’s basically a health food.) B. please make sure to use quality eggs (none of those 4 dozen for $1, ok?) and C. if you’re serving this to guests, make sure they’re cool with the raw factor.
Here’s what you’ll need, equipment-wise:
makes one cocktail (but feel free to double, triple…)
- 1 egg white (separated from 1 large egg)
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (regular or key limes are fine)
- 3/4 – 1 oz simple syrup*
- 1 1/2 oz pisco
- bitters (Angostura is traditional, but I prefer Peychauds for these)
- Optional first step: add egg white to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.**
- Add lime juice, simple syrup, pisco, and ice to cocktail shaker. Seal and shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and add a few drops of bitters to the top to garnish.
*Simple Syrup notes:
– Recipe: add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is fully dissolved. Store in airtight container (I keep mine in a mason jar) in the fridge.
– Measurements: the traditional recipe calls for 1 oz simple syrup. I like my cocktail a little less sweet, so I add about 3/4 oz. You can play around with yours until you get yours to your own desired sweetness.
**On the optional first step: I’ve made the cocktail with this step and without it (just adding everything to the shaker together and then shaking the heck out of it). I’ve noticed that it adds a bit more foam to shake the egg white first, but it isn’t strictly necessary.
Y’all know I have an intense love for coffee. (If you don’t — hi, I’m Chelsea, it’s nice to meet you.) While I normally just opt for straight brewed coffee, sometimes it’s nice to liven things up a bit (y’know, like with sugar. And chocolate.)
I, honestly, love a mocha. I mean coffee + chocolate? What’s not to like? However, I find that ordering a mocha at many coffeehouses tends to be like OMGCHOCOLATE&SUGAR!! +
coffee. I mean, I love a hot chocolate on occasion; but if I want a mocha, I want it to be a nice balance of chocolate and coffee (with an emphasis on the coffee). Because of this, I like to make mochas at home. Stovetop mochas = you control the coffee/chocolate ratio. That’s right my friend, you are the master of this combination. You can even require that people refer to you as “your Excellency” when you make these. (*Note: I mean, you can require it… but whether that actually happens…)
So with that, Mocha Masters, let’s get started.
First — a little note about the coffee in these: I like to use espresso in my mochas, because it’s both traditional and delicious. While I do own a Nespresso, I like to use my Bialetti stovetop espresso maker ↑ for these. If you don’t own an espresso maker, you can always make your own double-strength coffee and just use that. (I would use 4 tbsp. fresh, finely ground coffee — ideally an espresso roast — per 1 cup of water. You’ll only need about 1 cup for these.)
- finely ground espresso (about 4 tbsp)
- chocolate of your choice (about 4 tbsp) — I use semi-sweet chocolate chips, usually
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1-2 tsp. sugar
- 3-4 cups milk (again, your choice — I did a 50/50 mix of nonfat and half and half)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Prepare your espresso by filling the bottom of your espresso maker with fresh, cold water up to the bolt. Place grounds into the basket until full, then lightly tamp down. Screw the top on the espresso maker tightly, then set over high heat and let it come to a boil.
- Place chocolate, salt, sugar and about 1/4 of the milk into a small pot over medium heat. Heat until small bubbles start to appear on the sides of the milk, then stir or whisk constantly until milk is heated and chocolate is fully melted and dissolved (about 2 min). Add remaining milk and heat until just warmed through (about 3 min). Turn off heat and whisk in vanilla extract.
- When espresso is done (all the water has boiled through the top of your espresso maker), pour the espresso into the milk mixture and stir to combine.
- Pour into cups and top with whipped cream if you’re feeling fancy.
This recipe is really easy to customize, so play around with it until you get the flavors the way you like them. Some people will like more or less chocolate, more or less sugar, different milk (to make it dairy-free use soy, hemp, almond, or rice milk), etc. You can also play around with the extracts — adding about 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract would be fun for the holidays. Or maybe serve it with a cinnamon stick to make it more of a Mexican chocolate mocha. You could even add a dash of cayenne if you wanted to get real crazy. Do what you want — you are the mocha master!
Now that I’m sure y’all are gung-ho to have your very own date nights at home, I thought I’d post some recipes and/or links to a few ideas for the various parts of the evening.
Part 1: Cocktails
Let’s get liquored up.
- Mixed Citrus Margaritas
- Skinny Mojitos: in a highball glass, muddle together the juice of 1/2 a lime + 1 tsp sugar + a few mint leaves. Add 1 shot vodka (or gin, or rum) and ice. Top with sparkling water.
- The Cuke: in a pitcher, combine and muddle 1 English cucumber, sliced + 3 limes, sliced + juice of 2 limes + 1/2 cup sugar + big bunch of mint. Add 2 cups gin, then let sit for at least 30 minutes. When ready to serve, pour over ice and top with sparkling water.
- Blended Strawberry Lemonade Margaritas: in a blender, combine 1 3/4 cups lemonade + 1/2 bag frozen strawberries + 1 cup tequila (silver recommended) + juice of 1 lime + small bunch of mint + squeeze of agave (optional). Blend and serve.
- Vodka Lemon Sparkler: to make sparkling lemonade, combine 1 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice + 1/4 cup sugar + 5 cups sparkling water. Add 1 shot vodka to a glass with ice, top with lemonade and serve.
I love going out to dinner. It’s probably one of my most favorite things to do ever, actually. I love having KC take me out to some fancy joint where you generally have to wait an hour or more for a table (more time for cocktails!) I mean, I’ll down a $10 cocktail like it’s going out of style, and then spend 2.5 hours lingering over dinner and deciding whether or not I could possibly fit a coffee and dessert into an already-full belly. (Spoiler alert: I can.)
But, even with only two people eating, that’s quite the pricey evening. So, what’s a girl to do? Cancel date night? Opt for Fresh Choice over Camino? Nay nay.
Rather than sacrificing romance (or my taste buds), I decided to have date night at home last Friday. I’m sure I don’t really need to explain what that means, but I’m going to anyway. Because it’s my blog and I can do what I want on here.
Our date night was:
A clean house
Getting dressed up
Flowers from KC
A homemade meal
And fancy booze
Surprisingly, staying in was just as fun and romancey as going out usually is. You should try it! Here are my tips:
- Get your place cleaned up (you want to feel like you’re escaping, and not be distracted by the pile of laundry that’s been sitting on the floor since Tuesday)
- Treat it like you’re going out — get dressed up (really dressed up! Fancy shoes! Lipstick!)
- If you don’t think your honey is going to show up with flowers, ask him to pick up dessert on his way home
- Put on music, dim the lights
- Splurge on drinks (you’d spend way more if you were boozing it up at a restaurant, so feel free to get a nice bottle of champagne, spring for the bottle of red you’ve been eying, or get fancy and make your own cocktails)
- Set the table with your nicest dishes, complete with stemware
- Make something delicious, but not too time-intensive (you probably won’t feel very romantic if you’re spending 3 hours dicing, chopping, and sweating in the kitchen)
I like to have KC pour drinks and hang out in the kitchen with me while I prep dinner — it’s almost as fun as waiting for a table at the bar, with a cocktail in-hand. Almost. 😉
A quick post to start off your Valentine’s week. This drink pairs perfectly with the recipe I’ll be posting later this week — a hot and spicy (not to mention easy) meal for you and your valentine. Yum!
Mixed Citrus Margaritas
makes 4 cocktails
- 1/2 cup tequila (I recommend using a silver tequila in these — I like Milagro)
- 1/2 cup triplesec or cointreau
- 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (plus extra lime wedges for serving)
- juice of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 orange (or other citrus of your choice — tangerine or 1/2 a grapefruit would be delish)
- 1-2 cups ice (add 1 cup for an “on the rocks” margarita, add more for “blended”)
- Optional: salt to rim the edge of your glasses
- Combine all ingredients in a blender, then blend to your desired consistency.
- Take a lime wedge and use it rim the edge of your cocktail glasses, then dip the edge into salt to create a salted rim (if desired).
- Pour margarita into a cocktail glass over ice, garnish with a lime wedge.
These margaritas are great because they’re fresh and citrusy, as opposed to thick and sugary (as I often find restaurant margaritas to be — blech). And no added sugar means you can have as many as you want!
Let’s get schnockered and make out.