Debi Shaw - Cooking for dinner parties
Cocktails anyone?

Enjoying a cocktail before dinner with light hors d’ouvres can be a great way to get everyone socializing before dinner. I like to choose one special cocktail that complements the flavors in the menu I will be serving. Remember, this is “cocktail hour” not a cocktail party, so enjoy a drink or two before heading to the dining room to complete your evening with friends at the table.

Here are some of my favorite cocktail recipes, with crisp, clean flavors. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Pomegranate Cocktail
6 ounces premium vodka
2 ounces seltzer
4 ounces Triple Sec
4 ounces pomegranate juice
2 lemons, juiced
1 pomegranate, seeded

Combine vodka, seltzer, Triple Sec, pomegranate juice and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker over ice; shake. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass; garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Makes 4 drinks

Lemongrass Martini
1 750 ml bottle premium vodka
3 stalks lemongrass, coarsely chopped
2-3 whole cloves
Rose’s sweetened lime juice

Place coarsely chopped lemongrass and cloves into vodka; infuse over night. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour equal parts of infused vodka and lime juice over ice; shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glasses.

Makes 10+ drinks

Mango Ginger Martini
4 thin slices peeled fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon sugar
6 ounces tequila
6 ounces mango nectar
2 ounces fresh lime juice
1 ounce Triple Sec

In a cocktail shaker, muddle ginger root and sugar together. Add tequila, mango nectar, lime juice, Triple Sec and ice; shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glass.

Makes 4 drinks

Pear and Basil Margarita
6 ounces Patron Tequila
2 ounces Cointreau
2 ounces fresh lime juice
6 ounces pear juice
8 large basil leaves

Additional basil leaves for garnish.

Place basil in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients; shake vigorously. Strain into an ice filled glass and garnish with a basil leaf.

Makes 4 drinks

Mojito
1 1⁄2 teaspoons powdered sugar
2 ounces fresh lime juice
3 ounces light rum
3 leaves fresh mint
3 ounces club soda

Additional mint and fresh raspberries for garnish.

Place mint leaves in a tall glass. Add sugar and lime juice; muddle mixture together until sugar dissolves. Add rum and ice; stirring to combine. Top with Club soda and garnish with fresh mint and raspberries.

Makes 1 drink