Once a week I’m going to highlight a particular cocktail recipe here that I’ve either encountered, created, adapted, or was suggested to me.  Some are from my deep bag of tricks I have faithfully used over the years.  Some are new entries who must prove their worth.  Some just sound like fun.

I’ve had them.  We’ve all had them.  Those days when no regular cocktail will do.  Days when we need something edgy, exotic, showy… or we need something simple, clean, refined.  We may need something sophisticated or something boisterous.  But we need a serious drink on a day when regular drinks don’t cut it.

I’ve earned an arsenal of recipes for food and for drinks over the years, and one usually sees me through the other.  I have often made my most killer meals patiently working over a stove with a chilled drink in a sweaty glass, or concocted a nerve-damaging adult beverage to pair with a decadently delicious food.

Nowadays I don’t drink like I used too… and that is a good thing.  A good thing.  A goooooood thing…  But I still enjoy a well made cocktail.  I’m not a bartender or a mixologist or anything like that.  I just like to experiment with recipes, be they food or drink.

Saturday I spent a long and hot day at the 82nd Dogwood Festival in Atlanta.  Lots of walking around looking at art and sculptures, talking to vendors, and enjoying a VIP Platinum pass to the Backyard Bites and Brews.  There was a lot of great samples and ATL-based brewers to try.  And you just don’t get out of the Dogwood Festival without some fresh squeezed lemonade, roasted corn on the cob, and food truck fare.  Combine that with temps into the 80’s and when I finally got back to the house its was time to sip on something clean, sweet, and crisp.

Naturally, given the occasion, I opted for The Dogwood.  The recipe is from Southern Living, and it is a perfect springtime drink.  I’ve made a couple of adjustments to the recipe to meet my personal tastes, but the original recipe is a perfectly cooling beverage with a citrus kick.  It has a palate-cleansing quality to it, and the elderflower and rosemary give it both a floral smell and taste.

Chef Jack’s Dogwood Cocktail:

  • 2 oz red grapefruit juice – Fresh squeezed if you can get it.  (Southern Living’s recipe calls for white grapefruit juice but I feel I get just as sharp a bite after I add the citric acid.)
  • 2 oz vodka – I’m currently in love with the the clean flavor of Reyka Icelandic vodka
  • 1 oz elderflower liqueur
  • .5 oz lemon liqueur – I’ve almost always got some homemade lemoncello around
  • 1/8 tspn citric acid – I’ve almost always got some of that around, too.  (You can use straight lemon juice in place of citric acid)
  • Ice cubes
  • A rosemary sprig and a lemon slice for garnish
  1. Combine red grapefruit juice, vodka, elderflower liqueur, lemon liqueur, and citric acid into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  2. Put the top on and shake well to about 30 seconds to chill and mix the ingredients.
  3. Use the cocktail strainer and strain into an 8 – 12 oz glass filled with ice cubes or ice globes.
  4. Garnish with the lemon and rosemary and sip genteelly on the front porch swing, by the pool, or swaying in the hammock.

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