Ultimate Lemon Drop Martini with Fresh Raspberries

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(Becky, the Mama.)

There’s something so right about snow in the winter.  Chestnuts roasting, Jack Frost nipping, sleigh bells ringing… Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!

But when it is mid-April and barely a daffodil has bloomed in my yard, there’s not a speck of green or a bud on the tree, and you look outside expecting to hear birds singing and instead you see snow blowing… it is just plain WRONG.

I adore Colorado ¾ of the year,  but I’ve got to find a way to get outta here in Spring when my native Texas eyes long to behold green, my skin aches for the warmth of the sun, and the cook in me is ready to  fire up the grill on the patio, and mix a refreshing cocktail as Greg and I visit on the porch swing.

Yesterday,  while we were experiencing this out the patio door…

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….I decided it was time to take the weather into our own hands.  We’d simply  have to make our own sunshine. Out came a bag of fragrant lemons and my handy juicer. Then, vodka and bottle of Italian lemoncello- a gift from my thoughtful friend Lucille, upon her return from Europe. Finally, just to show off, I pulled a fresh basket of raspberries out of the fridge and plopped them on the counter too.

Now then, wasn’t it pretty? Things were looking brighter already.

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I do not like to boast, but may I just say, I make the best Lemon Drop Cocktails around?  Not too sweet, not too tart.  Plenty of real lemon flavor.  And when you float a few brilliant red raspberries in this refreshing drink, and add a lovely twist of lemon peel, really, who cares if it’s April and there’s still stubborn case of  Winter lingering outside your window?

Inside, we stayed happy and cuddled by the hearth, toasting the (eventual) coming of Spring.

Cheers!

 In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer ~ Albert Camus

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Ultimate Lemon Drop Martini with Fresh Raspberries

1 part fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 part lemoncello liqueure (It is found in most liquor stores on the liqueur aisle. It is made from vodka, sugar and the zest of lemon)

1 part vodka

twist of lemon peel slice,  and 3 fresh raspberries per glass

Ice for shaker

Sugar for rim, if desired

Pour first 3 ingredients over ice into a martini shaker.  (For a generous martini, I use about a 1/4 cup of each “part” per person.  For less Spring-deprived people, living in balmy southern climates, this will probably make  enough for two people. But if you are still living in places where you are  shoveling your driveway in mid-April, go for the generous pour.) Shake, shake, shake your winter blues out.  Rub a bit of fresh lemon juice  around the rim of a martini glass, then dip in a shallow plate of sugar to line the rim. Drop in 3 fresh raspberries and a twist of lemon peel.

* If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add a little agave nectar or simple syrup.

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Refreshing Clementine Martini & Mojito

Clementine Mojito

Oh my Darlin’ Clementines, how we’ve come to love you. Call them clementines, baby tangerines or Cuties, these sweet small oranges have won our hearts.

My firstborn grandson Nate, at age 3, once ate almost a whole bowl full of Clementines on a family beach vacation to San Clemente. We sat in awe, watching as he peeled and ate one after another, “all by himself,” and ate them with glee as we sat on the porch and watched the sea waves roll in.

I tuck Clementines into my purse on all my airplane trips now because they not only have Vitamin C, but a nice serving of fiber.

So, I figured, nutritious as they are, if one should add clementine juice to a martini, it would practically be a health drink…right?

In fact, the juice of  3 or 4 clementines and a shot or two of vodka, shaken with ice, yields a simple, lovely martini that needs no other sweetener. It is perfectly balanced as is.

But recently I tried a cocktail with St. Germains liqueur added, which is made from delicate elderberry flowers, but smells and tastes faintly of grapefruit. It was divine. Add this liqueur to the clementine and vodka, and you’ve got yourself an exotic, refreshing martini of citrus heaven.

The martini worked out so well, I took a glance at the mint already burgeoning in my herb garden this day in early April, and thought, “Hmm…. clementine mojitos! How could those not be good?”

Then my husband got our tax bill from the accountant and suddenly volunteered to taste any and all martinis and mojitos I made tonight, sacrificing for the good of this blog. Bless his heart.

Needless to say,  we are now both happy campers. The martinis? Excellent. The mojitos? Amazing.

Just in time for tax season, I bequeath you both recipes.

Becky's Clementine Martini with Elderberry

Becky’s Clementine Martini

Serves One

Ingredients:

1/4 to 1/3 c. clementine juice (3 to 4 small clementines)

3 T. vodka

1 -2  T. St. Germain’s Elderberry Liqueur (depending on how strong you want it)

2 T. organic raw sugar mixed with 1/2 t. clementine zest (for rimming glass)

Put martini glass into freezer to chill. Put clementine juice, vodka and St. Germain’s into a shaker of ice. Shake-shake-shake. In a shallow bowl mix sugar and clementine zest. Take chilled glass out of freezer, run a slice of clementine around the rim to moisten the edge,  then dip in sugar & clementine zest mixture.

Zest and organic raw sugar mixture to rim the glass

Strain martini and pour into cold sugar-zest rimmed martini glass.

Becky’s Clementine Mojito

Serves One  

Ingredients

1 T. organic raw sugar

1/2 t. clementine zest

5 to 7 mint leaves

Juice of 3 clementines

1 T fresh lime juice

3 T. rum or vodka

club soda or sparkling water to top off glass

Directions:

Into a tall glass put mint leaves, sugar and clementine zest. Muddle with stick end of a wooden spoon to bruise the mint leaves and help the sugar to dissolve and melt.  To this mixture add clementine and lime juice, rum or vodka. Stir. Add ice and top off drink with club soda or sparkling water. Stir once more and garnish, if you like, with slices of lime, clementine and a small sprig of mint.

Non-alcoholic Variation: These mojitos are perfect for your non-alcoholic guests or children if you leave out the liquor and just add a wee bit more sugar (or agave) and club soda or sparkling water.   Nice alternative to lemonade for summertime sipping.

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The Title: Refreshing Clementine Martini
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