Drinks

Pomegranate Clementine Kidtini

By Lisa

We have continued our tradition of kidtinis on these winter weekends, even though MadMen is no longer sustaining us.  The kids love them, and think their dad is famous because if you Google “kidtini drinks” the first hits are the recipes on this site:  The 7Up Kidtini, the Pomegranate Kidtini, and the one that started it all.    One of the latest was also one of the simplest and prettiest, and followed the basic rules of not-too-sweet, seasonal goodness for kids.

Pomegranate Clementine Kidtini

For each drink, pour into a durable martini glass:

  • Pomegranite soda or Seltzer + splash of pomegranite juice
  • A thin slice of clementine, floated on top

It’s true that these drinks are more style than substance, not unlike Esme Squalor’s Aqueous Martini (very, very cold water, served in a fancy glass, with an olive), but at our house, like those self-same villanous drinks, they continue to be very, very in.

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Milk Punch

by Lisa

One of our favorite holiday traditions is Milk Punch. While the boys in the family could survive on Egg Nog and pumpkin pie from Thanksgiving until New Year, the girls here prefer Milk Punch, which is actually a traditional New Orleans drink.  We are not in the least bit southern, but more than a decade ago, the recipe I found in Food and Wine proved too good to resist, and I’ve been making it every year since.

Be warned:  this drink packs a punch.

If you serve it at a party, which we always do, make sure there are designated drivers. But, the beauty of it is that you can whip up a batch sans bourbon for the kids. They’ll love it.  It’s pretty and it smells delicious.

Generally , we have a pitcher of the real stuff and pitcher sans alcohol in the refrigerator in the week leading up to Christmas. If 2 batches seems excessive (but it isn’t because it is that good), you can keep a pitcher without alcohol and add the bourbon to taste as your pour your nightly glass.

We’re glad here for the rain. We need it, and it’s a good excuse to cozy up to the fire with a glass of pure joy.

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Bourbon Milk Punch

  • 4 oz. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons bourbon (use what you like to drink)
  • Fresh grated nutmeg for serving

In a bowl, whisk vanilla and sugar. Slowly whisk in cream, milk, bourbon.  Chill for several hours. Serve with a grating of fresh nutmeg

MadKids

By Lisa

It’s no secret that my husband and I are shameless fans of MadMen, and I’ve written about the cocktails we enjoy on our own and and with our kids. For that matter,  Caroline and her kids are also fans of a little mixology in the home.

But over the last weeks, the Kidtini has become something of a weekend ritual for our kids, and when I tasked Kory with creating one for dinner last weekend, he went straight to Google for a new recipe and guess what he found…? Learning to Eat.   As Finley put it, “You know Dad is kind of famous. Because he was the first one to invent the Kidtini.  It’s on the computer.”

Now, this is probably not true, but we are building a stash of recipes for fun, aesthetically pleasing kid drinks.  Right now, they’re largely variations on bubbly water + syrups + fresh fruit, like the recent hit:  Pomegranate Kidtinis.  And garnish, because garnish is important for kids:

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When I point out that some people think Kidtinis might encourage kids to favor alcohol too young, Kory scoffed and said, “I think it’s great that we’re encouraging the kids to eat/drink something that isn’t junk.”

To which  I replied, “Um, Kidtinis are basically soda.”

To which he replied, “I mean they’re not a can of cook or a bag of cheetos. They sit down with us and really appreciate what they’re getting.”

To which I had to concede. The point of making a Kidtinis is social.  The point is getting your kids to sit down with you and chat about their day over something really pretty and delicious. The point is getting your kids to appreciate what is made for them, and how its made. It’s also creative, and they can get involved, too.

We don’t think we’re one step away from keeping the bottle of scotch in the cabinet by the door for Don, er Kory, to grab on his way home from the office, but we do like to bring some of the aesthetic pleasure of the show to our own home in a fun way.

And in that spirit, here are two more for you and your own MadKids.

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Kidtini #2: Homemade 7up

This is basically homemade 7 up, but tastier.

  • Torani Lime syrup
  • Torani Lemon syrup
  • Bubbly water
  • Lemon and lime triangles to garnish

Mix equal parts of the lemon and lime syrup, or balance the flavors to your taste.  Fill a glass with ice, then bubbly water, then as much syrup as you want your kids to have.  Spear one lemon and one lime triangle on a party-colored toothpick and balance on the rim of the glass.

Kidtini #3: Ghastly Shirley Temple

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    Bubbly water
  • Torani Cherry syrup or Grenadine
  • Crushed ice
  • Frozen Blueberries
  • Lime triangles and circles for garnish

Special equipment: Ice cream scoop

This was a Halloween inspired drink that Kory whipped up last weekend.  He simply made a Shirley Temple with  bubbly water and the syrup/grenadine, garnished with lime, and made the “eyeball” by crushing ice in the blender, molding it with an ice cream scoop and sticking a blueberry in it.

And yes: I know it looks like a boob.  It didn’t so much in real life.  The kids thought it was creepy in the good, ghoulish way, not the OMG-there’s-a-naked-boob-in-my-drink way.  They also call our cat by its diminutive name in the most innocent way possible.  Their minds are still pure.


Peel Me a Pomegranate

By Lisa

The title of this post is a blatant homage to Nina Finci’s,  as yet unpublished memoir Peel Me a Pomegranate about emigrating from Croatia to America age 15, shortly before the Yugoslav war changed her family life forever.  Check out her blog(s).   As for the pomegranate, in one section of her memoir, she writes a lovely story about how her mother peeled her and her brother pomegranates and sprinkled them with sugar for an afterschool snack.   It’s true that we’d been eating pomegranates in my house long before I read Nina’s story, but there was something about the description of her mother, steadfastly peeling the tough fruit, her hands stained red, and setting out the bowls of ruby seeds for them that was utterly moving, and made me think I had never really had a pomegranate–not like she had.  Nina’s story is about eating something delicious and rare and beautiful and oddly satisfying, of course, but it’s also about bringing the family together, and a home she lost, and a mother who nurtured her children in many ways. The pomegranate is a prism into the rich, complicated family life, what is lost and gained over a lifetime.

So now, everytime we eat pomegranates, I think of Nina & her story and how she is probably peeling pomegranates now for her own daughter, and it makes me feel connected to the world.

Finn, on the other hand, just thinks they’re fun and addictive to eat.   And since I’m not above playing with your food as a morning activity, occasionally, we like to peel a whole bunch of pomegranates all at once and keep a jar of the seeds in the refrigerator for a quick snack or garnish for salads, kidtinis, or cocktails.  On the one hand, it’s not a bad small motor skill activity.  But he’s also helping in the kitchen, learning where the fruit comes from and how it’s eaten, and he gets to see different colors and sample the different flavors of the different varieties.

We peel the fruit in a bowl of water. The edible seeds sink and the membrane and rind float, so you can just scoop them off and discard or compost.

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Finn peeling

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Sifting pomegranate seeds. Just because.

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The activity degenerates as Finn tries to figure out how many seeds he can fit in his mouth.

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The seeds make it to the bowl…

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Finn eats a pomegranate like a human being.

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Pomegranate Kidtini

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Pomegranate Saketini

Pomegranate Kidtini

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Roses lime juice
  • Bubbly water
  • Ice

Fill a goblet or similar glass with ice and a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds. Top with bubbly water and a splash of Roses Lime Juice, to taste. The bubbly makes the seeds float, and the kids can carefully scoop them out with a spoon.

Pomegranate Saketini

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • 2.5 ounces dry sake
  • 1-ounce vodka
  • Chipped ice
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch rounds, for garnish

Muddle the pomegranate seeds, then combine with sake and vodka in a cocktail shaker with the chipped ice and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with more pomegrante seeds.   **In the picture above, we just added the seeds as a garnish to the regular saketine, but they sank. (No bubbly water….)  Later on, I crushed the seeds in my glass to release the juice, which was delicious, thus the suggestion to muddle the seeds first.

Cocktails

by Lisa

When we got married, a good friend, who had more foresight than we knew at the time, gave us as a shower gift a lovely glass cocktail pitcher and two martini glasses.  Over the years, it saw some use, but never on a regular basis. We drank plenty of cocktails, but I just didn’t make a habit of bothering to use the pitcher to mix and serve, etc. etc. Then, my husband got me hooked on MadMen, and I remembered the pitcher. Most of our glassware had broken, too, so I made a trip to Ikea because I decided that I absolutely had to have new high ball and low ball glasses.

As in Caroline’s home, we’ve pretty much always honored cocktail hour. We buy Prosecco by the case in summer, and always have a couple of bottles on hand for guests, but we also enjoy a range of mixed drinks, depending on the season and the menu.  And we also let our kids join in and frequently give them kid cocktails, which we serve in little flutes or the new glasses or the cool goblets which handle everything from everyday wine to more complicated mixed drinks. Generally, these involve a mixture of, say, bubbly water, Torani syrup, fruit juice, Italian sodas, and a fancy garnish.  We  don’t think we’re encouraging our kids to drink alcohol but we do think that we’re encouraging a social hour that involves something special and delicious and pretty.  They know we drink alcohol and they don’t. They know that our cocktails and their soda (an infrequent treat) are something special.  I like to think we’re encouraging a kind of ceremony, a winding-down time, a time for conversation, a pause in the day before dinner, a little refreshment to get us through the end of the day with some pleasure and a maybe a little grace. We eat padrones, or caper berries, or almonds, or olives, or edamame and wasabi peas…or nothing…whatever I have.

But while the imbibing hasn’t really changed over the years (if anything, we probably drink less now than we did years ago), the aesthetics of it has, and this is due entirely to the MadMen spree I went on last spring and my friend’s gift. I took the pitcher out of the cabinet and started using it, a lot, and it really did change my life.  When we were home on the weekends, out would come the pitcher and one of us would mix the cocktails, and I’d finish dinner, or we’d sit on our deck and while it really was the same as always, it was different. Nicer.  More elegant. It made us stop and pay a little bit of attention to each other, which is important when you have children and busy work schedules and lawns to mow and a two-story playhouse to build in the back yard.

This weekend, I made shaking beef for dinner and was looking for a cocktail to precede it.   I had a bottle of sake, but I wanted a martini, and a quick google turned up several versions of the saketini, but we chose Bobby Flay’s because the greater sake to vodka version was more appealing.  We used a lemon cucumber from the garden for garnish, and its flavor infused the drink in a deliciously cool and lemony way.   It was pretty and perfect ice cold drink, and I can’t wait for an excuse to have another one.

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Then Kory wondered what a kids martini would look like.  What is left, after all, when you take out the sake and vodka?  He shrugged, pulled out two more martini glasses, and mixed away.  He added bubbly water, a little lemon torani syrup, and a pretty garnish.

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May I repeat? He’s good with the garnish.

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The kids gaped when they saw the drinks.  “Whose is this?” Ella wanted to know.  “FOR ME?!” Finn exclaimed. They were all wide-mouthed smiles, and Ella professed, “This is the Best. Kid’s. Cocktail. Ever.”  But the thing is, it wasn’t anything she hadn’t had before, sans fancy glass and fancy garnish.   It was just much, much prettier. And that made all the difference.

My father has always said, all things in moderation, and I believe him.  So Caroline and I are pledging to you a moderate number of cocktail-inspired posts over the coming weeks. For your own MadMen viewing pleasure.  And beyond.

Bobby Flay’s Saketini

  • 2.5 ounces dry sake
  • 1-ounce vodka
  • Chipped ice
  • 1 Japanese cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch rounds, for garnish

Combine sake and vodka in a cocktail shaker with the chipped ice and shake well. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of Japanese cucumber.

Kory’s Kidtini #1

  • Soda Water
  • Lemon Torani syrup
  • Lime rounds and maraschino cherries for garnish
  • Inexpensive Martini glasses

Chill soda water, then fill glasses 2/3 full with it.  Add syrup to taste.  Put one lime and one cherry on a party-colored toothpick for garnish.