Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cocktail Hour: Pecan-Stuffed Dates & Various Drinks

Since I will be on the road for this week's Friday Cocktail Hour, I surprised Jeannene with a Wednesday Cocktail Hour. She hadn't eaten lunch and I was especially pleased to have the surprise of a tasty little hors d'oeuvre waiting for her. These dates are a southern classic and have a very old-fashioned feel. I even served them on my great-grandma Sadie's Haviland platter. I cheated on the drinks and used those funny Daily's pouches that you stick in the freezer and then smash to get a slushy drink. I had a margarita and gave Jeannene her favorite, a piƱa colada.

Anyway, to make the dates, all you have to do is pit some Medjool dates, tuck a pecan half in each one, wrap with a third of a slice of bacon, secure with a toothpick, and bake 12-15 minutes in a preheated 400 degree oven. I am a stickler for really good dates and prefer, if at all possible, to pick my own out of the bin in the produce section at the grocery. I find they are much more flavorful and infinitely better in texture than the boxed sort. It's also better to use really great bacon, like Nueske's, but I just used store brand center cut bacon and they were yummy, indeed.

This is the first time I've managed to pull off a fancy nibble, although last night, we had chips, salsa, & bean dip. Jeannene usually prefers beer, but I made a delicious cocktail with a splash of pomegranate Monin syrup, a shot of 3 Olives cake vodka, and club soda to fill, over ice, stirred, all in a highball glass.

Neither of us much liked the copycat of a Red Robin Strawberry Ecstasy I made earlier this month. It sounded good, but just wasn't. Maybe a shot of rum would have helped? It was entirely too sweet for both of us. To make one, if you want to try it:
1/2 c. orange juice                                                1 c. ice
1/3 c. pineapple juice                                           1/3 c. frozen, sweetened, sliced
1/2 oz. grenadine                                                      strawberries, thawed

Blend everything but strawberries with a couple-few pulses. The ice should not be completely crushed. Put in a highball glass and add strawberries, with any accumulated syrup. Garnish, if desired, with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.

On the other hand, I truly loved the vodka rickey I made last week. Jeannene doesn't like anything tart & stuck to her Coors Light. For my drink:
1 shot vodka
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
Fill with Sprite and club soda.
Over ice, stirred, in a highball glass.

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