Archive | Beverages

Cocktails and Mocktails using shrub syrups and fruit beverage syrups

Drinking Vinegars: Cocktails with Grapefruit and Cherry Shrubs

Drinking Vinegars have a multitude of great uses including:  turning regular boring cocktails into enhanced “craft cocktails”;  adding them to sparkling water or club soda with a squeeze of lime for a refreshing “craft mocktail”, or using them for health purposes to get yourself to drink more water (required on most of the popular diets).  Two of the newest drinking vinegars we’ve come up with at HeathGlen include the Grapefruit Cardamom Drinking Vinegar and the Spiced Cherry Drinking Vinegar, both of which are great for the holiday season ahead.  Here are a few of our favorite drink recipes to try them out with.

DIY Drinking Vinegars

If you are interested in making your own drinking vinegars, or for more general knowledge on mixology with drinking vinegars, click here to check out a detailed “how-to” post.

Now, on with the Recipes using drinking vinegars

drinking vinegars

Grapefruit Shrub Salty Dog

Recipe for Grapefruit Shrub Salty Dog

Ingredients:

Directions:

Pour coarse salt onto a small plate. Moisten the rim of your glass with a lime or grapefruit wedge. Gently dip rims into salt to coat lightly. Fill glasses with ice cubes. Pour gin (or vodka) over ice in each glass. Add Grapefruit Drinking Vinegar and bitters and stir.

Drinking vinegars

Grapefruit Shrub Spritzer (Cocktail or Mocktail)

Recipe for Grapefruit Shrub Spritzer

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice and add vodka and grapefruit shrub syrup. Stir well.  Top off the glass with club soda or sparkling water and a pinch of sea salt if desired. Garnish with grapefruit peel.
  2. For a mocktail, just forego the vodka or gin.

 

cherry drinking vinegar

Bourbon Cherry Bomb Cocktail

Recipe for Bourbon Cherry Bomb Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz bourbon (I like rye whiskey but bourbon is great also)
  • 1/2 oz. Spiced Cherry Drinking Vinegar (use 1 oz if you like sweeter drinks)
  • juice from 1/2 of a lime
  • 3-4 dashes cherry bitters (other bitters are fine also)

Directions:

Add ice to a short glass (aka highball glass).  Add bourbon or rye and the Cherry Syrup.  Cut 1/2 lime into a few wedges and squeeze into the glass.  Add 3-4 dashes bitters.  Stir.

 

*** Additional Ideas for cocktails and mocktails can be found by entering the word cocktails into the search bar for this site.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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Low Carb Cocktails – Cranberry Drinking Vinegar (Shrub)

While not a food group, cocktails are one of those things many people miss on a low carb diet (along with bread and sugar).  Alcohol itself, doesn’t pack in a lot of carbs or sugar, rather it is usually the mixers that take cocktails over the proverbial low-carb top.  With margaritas, it is generally the sweet and sour mix.  So… if you are going to imbibe over the holidays, why not try a low carb cocktail (margarita) dressed up beautifully with a Cranberry Shrub Syrup (aka drinking vinegar) instead of a sugary sweet and sour mix.  The low carb cocktail below was made with a Cranberry Hot Pepper Shrub Syrup, but you could use the Cranberry Ginger Shrub Syrup if you’re not a fan of heat. And there are more ideas for low carb cocktails at the end of the post!

low carb cocktails

Cranberry Shrub Margarita (with Cranberry Hot Pepper Syrup)

Is a Shrub Syrup really an alternative for low carb cocktails?

Well, there is sugar in a shrub syrup for sure, but it is reduced considerably compared to a simple syrup.  Shrub syrups are typically 1/3 fruit, 1/3 vinegar, and 1/3 sugar.  Simple syrups can be anywhere from 1/2 sugar upwards and they often contain artificial flavors for the fruit.  Shrub syrups (at least ours) are made from real fruit.

In the case of the Cranberry Shrub syrups, the cranberries come from Wisconsin, and are purchased from our friends at the St. Paul Farmers Market fresh off the bog each Fall.  Nothing artificial is added to our syrups.

Also, it is important to note that you don’t need to add a lot of shrub syrups to get a lot of flavor in low carb cocktails.

Oh, and as far as low carb fruits go cranberries are at the top of the list.

So, while not “no-sugar”, you can definitely make a low carb cocktail with a shrub syrup.  I wouldn’t recommend cocktails on a daily basis if you’re leading a low carb lifestyle, but if you’re a little mindful during the holidays you could certainly imbibe without a lot of damage to your progress.

For those that don’t drink alcohol, these syrups are wonderful with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime.

Recipe for Cranberry Shrub Margarita (made with Cranberry Habanero Shrub Syrup)

Yield:  1 margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. Cranberry Habanero Shrub Syrup
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. triple sec (or orange liqueur)
  • kosher salt for rimming the glass
  • Garnishes: thinly sliced limes, lime wedges or fresh cranberries

Directions:

  1. Use one of the lime wedges to moisten the rim of the glass and then dip glass rim into some kosher salt spread out on a plate.
  2. Combine the tequila, cranberry syrup, lime juice and orange liqueur in a shaker with ice.  Shake rather vigorously for about 10 seconds.
  3. Strain into low tumblers filled with ice.
low carb cocktails

Ingredients for Cranberry Shrub Margarita

More Low Carb Cocktails made with Cranberry Shrub Syrups:

 

Cheers!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

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Mocha Chile Coffee (aka Spiced Mexican Coffee) – Keto Friendly

Coffee drinks are my beverage of choice whether it be a classic Irish coffee at the restaurant, a fresh brewed medium roast coffee in the morning, or a Pumpkin Spice coffee during the fall.  I love them all, and am something of a fanatic.  So, as I was harvesting the chile peppers from our farm one cool morning, the wonderful combination of chocolate, coffee and spice in the form of a Mocha Chile Coffee (aka Spiced Mexican Coffee) became a sudden craving.  I made it low carb of course by the type of sugar substitute I added, but the chile spice is the star ingredient to get right.

mexican coffee

Mocha Chile Mexican Coffee

The Spice Mix for the Mocha Chile Coffee (aka Spiced Mexican Coffee)

We had a bumper crop of chile peppers this year and we spent all fall harvesting, drying and smoking them.  The smoked peppers are the most intriguing to me and this year they included Chipotles (smoked Jalapenos), Anchos (smoked Poblanos) and Pasilla (smoked Pasilla).

When I heard that Starbucks was offering a Chile Mocha Coffee, I rushed down to try one out, only to be sorely disappointed.  No heat!  I was anticipating a spicy, chocolaty rich coffee topped with a spicy whipped cream.  I asked the barista what was going on and they said really there was just a little spice on the top, but mostly it was a coffee mocha.  Harrumph!

So, as I was putting together the spice mixes for the holiday boxes, I used the mocha coffee as a test for how hot and how smoky to make the “hot and smoky” spice mixes that we sell individually.  I thought if the chile spice blends could stand up to the strong flavors of chocolate and coffee and still provide a smoky depth, it would work with just about anything that needed that kind of complexity.

While the smoky spice mix was great in the Mocha Chile coffee, I personally needed more heat.  Because the heat level is such an individual preference, I decided to add a packet of Thai chile spice (a pepper called Gong Bao) to the Mocha Chile Coffee spice packet.  Now you can easily up the heat level by adding another teaspoon (or two) of the spicier Gong Bao chile pepper to the Mocha Chile coffee mix.  Customizing your Mexican coffee is key and I aim to please the Scandavian palate of a true Minnesotan or that of a chile-head!

 

DIY Spiced Mexican Coffee or Ready-Made

Of course you can make your own mix of chocolate, sweetener, chile pepper, cinnamon and coffee, but if you want both the convenience of a ready-made packet and the freshest chile peppers you’ve ever laid lip to, then try our mix.  Just add your choice of sweetener (Truvia is a good one for low carb or keto lifestyles), some fresh coffee, and some heavy cream (whipped or not whipped, they’re both dynamite).

If you want to try our mix, add 1 tsp spice mix, 1-2 tsp sugar or Truvia to a cup of freshly brewed coffee.  Taste and adjust the heat level by adding more hot spice from the Thai chile pepper packet included separately.  Add some cream and you’re good to go.

Of course, this coffee can always be enhanced with a shot of brandy on cold winter nights!

DIY or HeathGlen’s mix…you can’t go wrong.  Just avoid the Starbucks version if you want anything more than a mocha coffee.

Here are the ingredients of our mix. 

Ingredients: 100% natural unsweetened cocao, organic smoked Poblanos (Anchos), Thai chiles Gong Bao), Cinnamon

You can order a packet of our hot and smoky spice mix online or pick up some spice mixes individually at several of the winter farmers’ markets.  The best way to keep in touch on the farmers markets and event locations and times is to sign up for our weekly newsletter either on the sidebar of this blog or at our website.

Other uses for the chile spice beyond the coffee

If the Gong Bao chile spice addition to your coffee takes it over the heat limit for you, there are plenty of other dishes where a pinch of this flavorable hot pepper spice is welcomed.  Think stews, chiles, skillet dinners, eggs, etc.  A little goes a long ways!

Cheers!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250 client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Alcohol and a Low Carb Diet

Grasshopper Cocktail

Grasshopper Cocktail

Summary of various types of alcohol as it relates to a Low Carb Diet

(this is curated information from a variety of sources around the internet)

SPIRITS

Although alcohol is often lumped in with carbohydrate, it acts differently in the body. For one thing, when there is alcohol in the body, its calories are used first for energy, before carbohydrate or fat.

It can also have some unpredictable effects on blood sugar. This is because when alcohol is present, the liver goes to work on it immediately. The liver’s job is to get rid of toxins in the body, and alcohol is like a poison in that way. While the liver is working on breaking down the alcohol, it isn’t doing its other jobs as well, including regulating the amount of glucose in the blood. So blood glucose can drop quickly. To minimize this, don’t drink on an empty stomach, and limit alcohol to two drinks per day for a man, or one drink for a woman. (A drink is 12-ounce beer, 4-ounce wine, or a jigger of distilled alcohol.)

BEER

There is some confusion about maltose in beer because of things written in some low-carb diet books. Although the malted barley used to make beer produces maltose, a sugar that has a glycemic index higher than glucose, the fermentation process uses up all the maltose in the beer while it is being brewed. The USDA database shows that there is no maltose in beer. However, there is carbohydrate in beer that should be counted as you would count any other carb. The amount varies depending upon the brand of beer. Regular beer averages about 12 grams of carbohydrate per 12 oz can or serving.

Light beer isn’t necessarily low-carb beer -– some light beer has almost as much carbohydrate as regular beer. Most, though, is in the range of 3 to 7 grams of carbohydrate per serving. Read each label when deciding.

Ale generally has somewhat less carbohydrate than regular beer (5-9 grams per serving), whereas stout is the worst kind of beer you can drink on a low-carb diet –- it has around 20 grams of carb per 12-oz serving.

WINE:

Basically a 3.5 oz glass of wine, red or white, has around 91 g of water, 9.6 g of alcohol, 73 calories and 1.2 g of “carbohydrates by difference”. There aren’t actually ANY carbohydrates in wine, but that ‘leftover’ amount is the glyerine in the wine that sort of acts like a carbohydrate. It just doesn’t raise the blood sugar.
Wines have very FEW carbs in them at all, and the calories in wine come from the alcohol. The end result is that the wine which is higher in alcohol is the one that will be higher in “carb equivalents”.

So you could say that a wine of 14% gives you 2 carbs and a wine of maybe 10% gives you 1 carb. The net result is that a glass of wine gives you “under 2g of “carb-like substances”.

The Atkins diet has reversed their recommendations on no wine, and it might not be long before they fully endorse wine drinking as a non-carb-counting activity, because of how it raises your HDL and lowers your blood sugar levels. Both of these would be quite important to a diet that’s high in fat, and wants to keep even blood sugar levels!

 

Smoked Tomato Shrub Syrup: 3 Drink Recipes

Smoky Tomato Shrub Bloody Mary

Smoky Tomato Shrub Bloody Mary

Last year I smoked much of September’s heirloom tomato harvest, then froze them in freezer bags and used them in stews, sauces, and soups throughout the winter and spring.  This year I’m smoking the tomatoes again, but instead of freezing, I’m preserving them as “Shrub Syrups”  and using them in drinks, sauces, stews, etc., as well as selling them at the farmers’ markets.

Basic Explanation of a Shrub Syrup:

In case you’re new to this site, here’s a brief explanation of what a  “shrub syrup” is:  Basically it is a concentrated syrup made of fruit, sugar and vinegar.  There are various methods of extracting the juice from the fruit (i.e., cold shrubbing vs. hot shrubbing), and various ratios of fruit juice to sugar to vinegar.   I will explain the different methods for making shrub syrups in future videos, but one method is illustrated in this previous post:

(click here to see a previous post on making a blueberry shrub).

Popular Uses of a Shrub Syrup:

Although shrub syrups can be used as vinaigrettes, marinades and sauce additions, the original (and most common) way to use them is in drinks.  The fruit and sugar take the pungent edge off of the vinegar and the vinegar enhances the sweetness of the fruit syrup, resulting in a really refreshing drink.  Recently there has been a revival of shrub-based drinks, especially in the cocktail world.  Shrub syrups can take cocktails to new levels, adding depth and complexity to a drink, especially when bitters are added in.

For non-imbibers, the popularity of the sodastream as a replacement for sweet carbonated beverages (i.e., pop) is the perfect foil for shrub syrups.   No sodasteam?  Just add a few tablespoons of shrub syrups to any kind of fizzy water (club soda, sparkling water, tonic water, etc.) and you have a really nice way to get that much-needed water into your dehydrated body.  Make it as sweet as you want and control the calorie count yourself  instead of the soda companies controlling it for you.

Behind the Scenes at HeathGlen Farm with our Tomatoes

If you are interested in meeting the HeathGlen Team and seeing some of the ways we use heirloom tomatoes, watch the final video on this post (The Bloody Mary Video).  Skip to 1:00 if you just want the how-to.

Using the Smoked Tomato Shrub Syrup in Cocktails:  3 Ways

The Smoky Tomato Martini

(See the 15-sec Video here)

In a shaker of ice, combine:

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz tomato shrub syrup
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes plum bitters

Shake ingredients and strain into martini glass.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls.

 

The Smoky Tomato Daquiri

(Recipe only – click here to see video on youtube)

Tomato & Smoked Cherry Shrub Daiquiri

Tomato & Smoked Cherry Shrub Daiquiri

  • 1 oz. Citron vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Effen Black Cherry Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Smoked Cherry Shrub Syrup
  • 1 oz  Tomato Shrub Syrup
  • 2 dashes cherry bitters
  • 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice

In a shaker of ice add all of the above ingredients, shake and strain into glass.  Garnish with a lime wheel.

 

The Smoky Tomato Bloody Mary (and a look at HeathGlen)

**Note:  The beginning of this video is a behind the scenes look at HeathGlen’s Farm.  If you want to go straight to the “how-to” on the Bloody Mary, skip to 1:00.

Hope you enjoy the videos!  If so, please SUBSCRIBE to our channel by clicking here.

 

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