A fountain of drink ideas



The Blender Bible

By Andrew Chase and Nicole Young

Robert Rose / 2005 / $19.95

Put the Cuisinart away; you won't be needing it. Andrew Chase and Nicole Young, authors of The Blender Bible, say the blender, not the food processor, is ideal for making recipes ranging from dips and dessert soups to smoothies and baby food.

Chase and Young emphasize that the blender isn't just for behind-the-bar use, but they still devote a section of the book to mixed drinks. Along with the expected coladas and daiquiris, The Blender Bible offers other delicious-sounding mixtures, including a Strawberry Pepper Martini that had quite a kick, thanks to peppercorns and vodka. Frozen strawberries made it too icy; fresh strawberries might be a better choice.

The Sapphire Fizz was pretty and bright but could use more fruity flavor. The blend of egg white (we used pasteurized liquid egg white), lemon juice, powdered sugar, gin, blue curacao and ice is topped with tonic water, creating the fizz.

The Guinness Punch was delicious. It tastes more like a chai milkshake than stout, just as the authors say. We used more than the suggested "pinches" of nutmeg, cinnamon and cocoa powder, which added more flavor. But drink quickly. If warm, the brew tastes like melted ice cream.

Washing the blender is the most time-consuming step in each recipe. So drink up.


By Colleen Mullaney

Chronicle Books / 2005 / $14.95

Author Colleen Mullaney says punch is no longer passe. The once-popular party staple is enjoying a resurgence, she says, because people want to entertain, but they're short on time. Punch can be made ahead of time, and guests serve themselves.

This collection of more than 30 alcoholic and virgin punches is accompanied by enticing color photos. Mullaney offers preparation suggestions and tips on glasses and garnishes -- including ice cubes made with fruit and flowers. Recipes can be cut in half or reduced further.

Creative concoctions accompany such "old staples" as a Bloody Mary Bowl and Sassy Sangria. A punch ideal for crisp fall nights is the warm Mulled Cider -- which can be made with or without bourbon.

Cocktails 2005

Edited by Kate Krader

Food & Wine Books / 2005 / $14.95

Food & Wine's Cocktails 2005 is both a bartender's companion and a guide to hot nightspots. The book kicks off with a "Cocktail Clinic," which includes a simple syrup recipe and a handy chart that converts ounces to tablespoon and cup measures.

More than 200 drinks are listed in Cocktails 2005. Each cocktail is linked to the bar or restaurant from which it came, and the drinks are organized by alcohol type. Baltimore's contributions are Pazo's citrusy Grappatini and the gin- and triple-sec-based Green Light from the Brass Elephant's Tusk Lounge. Nonalcoholic suggestions and dessert drinks such as the S'moretini are included, but the focus here is on hard alcohol and lots of it.


Guinness Punch

1 serving

1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk

pinch ground nutmeg

pinch ground cinnamon

pinch unsweetened cocoa powder (optional)

1 cup stout (such as Guinness)

In blender, on high speed, blend condensed milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa, if using, and stout until smooth and well-combined. Pour into a chilled glass.

Per serving: 351 calories; 7 grams protein; 7 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 51 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams fiber; 26 milligrams cholesterol; 101 milligrams sodium

From "The Blender Bible"

Mulled Cider

Serves 10

10 cups apple cider

5 cinnamon sticks, plus more for garnishing glasses (optional)

about 40 whole cloves (divided use)

12 orange slices (divided use)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 small apples

In a large saucepan, combine the cider, cinnamon sticks, 10 of the cloves, 6 of the orange slices, the ginger and the nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, stud the apples with the remaining cloves. Strain the spiced cider into the serving bowl. Garnish with the clove-studded apples and remaining orange slices and serve. Tuck fresh cinnamon sticks into individual glasses, if you like.

Variation: Add 2 cups of bourbon just before serving.

Per serving: 122 calories; 0 grams protein; 0 grams fat; 0 grams saturated fat; 30 grams carbohydrate; 0 grams fiber; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 25 milligrams sodium

From "Punch"

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