Citrus Meets Tropical Fruit

Beyond Cozy

Now that it is officially Spring I have been craving citrus such as lemons sprinkled with a touch of salt, frozen mangos in vanilla ice cream, and juicy candied kumquats. The idea for this cocktail came from my cravings and let me assure you, it begins with the engagement of ‘Citrus Meets Tropical Fruit’.

A proper engagement starts with the proposal of Saint Germain’s citrus and topical fruit. The best man Don Julio Reposado steps up exuding lush pear and apple notes. Pampero Blanco as a bridesmaid brings soft hints of vanilla and toffee. The finishing touches are put into place with kumquat juice, mango, and fresh squeezed lemon, making this cocktail ready to celebrate.

  • 1 oz Don Julio Reposado
  • .75 Pampero Blanco Rum
  • .75 Saint Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 2.5 oz Kumquat-Lemongrass Syrup
  • .5 oz Meyer lemon juice
  • kumquats, halved for garnish

Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well, fine strain into a chilled rocks glass with ice. Garnish with kumquats.

Kumquat-Lemongrass Syrup

  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 3/4 cup kumquats, halved
  • 1 half a small mango puree about 1/3 cup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup clover honey

Trim ends of lemongrass and chop it into one inch pieces. Place lemongrass in a pint glass and lightly muddle to release the juices. Cut kumquats in half. Squeeze the juice out of all of them and place them into a saucepan. Add all other ingredients, cover, bring to a boil and let simmer for half an hour. Let cool completely, fine strain into an airtight container.

South of the Hi’ Way

I came up with this sherry-sangria cocktail on a road trip to spring training in Arizona. When I arrived in Scottsdale I was able to make this for my players and they loved it.

My road trip started out just like this cocktail, sweet fresh clean air, top down on the jeep wrangler going through the almond orchards heading south east down California’s central valley. Have you ever smelled an almond orchard in March? Well let me describe it to you, one deep breath is like a bouquet of flowers, light citrus notes blended with a suggestion of pepper. That reminded me of the beautiful bottle of Don Julio Reposado I had resting in the back seat. Next I drove though fields with perfect rows of emrend green leafy trees full of ripe oranges nesseled under the branches, almost begging for me to pull over and pick. My mind couldn’t help but wander to Benidictine with its wonderful spicy orange undertones.  I pulled over at a fruit stand to stretch my legs only to find the first peaches of season and homemade spiced nuts. This got me thinking, I liked the idea of Don Julio Reposado with Benedictine but by adding Lustau Sherry into the line up with it’s notes of brown sugar, peach, mixed nuts and honey a solid tasting profile began to warm up. Calling peach infused Hakushika Sake out of the bullpin, layered with juicy pears and peaches fufilled my other craving. By the time I arrived in Scottsdale I had stopped at a few other fruit stands and picked up apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and clementines that would allow their natural juices to work as a team to brighten up the cockatil. It was a sweet journey, ‘South of the Hi’Way’ is a delicious cocktail that ended with a night full of memories I will always savor.

  • 750 ml Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 cup Benedictine Liqueur
  • 1/2 cup Peach Infused Hakushika Sake
  • 1/2 cup Lustau Sherry Dry Amontillado Los Acros
  •  Apricots, Peaches, Nectarines, Plums, Clementine oranges cut into 1/4 inch wedges

Combine all ingredients into a punch bowl and stir. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Serve over ice cubes and garnish with fruit.

Peach Infused Hakushika Sake

  • 2 ripe juicy clingstone yellow peaches
  • 1 750 bottle of Hakushika Sake

Cut peaches into eighths removing the pits but not the skins. Place them into a large glass pitches. Pour bottle of Hakushika Sake over the top of them and let sit for 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Strain out peaches with a cheese cloth and sake into another airtight container. Sake will keep for seven days in the refrigerator.



I am don’t have much of a sweet tooth. In fact I have decided when I get married I don’t want a big, fancy cake filled with over the top sugary frosting. I just want an incredible selection of wine, scotch and tequila for people to choose from. I don’t dance unless I have had at least one drink, and I am sure I am not the only one, with any luck everyone will be dancing.

I feel the same about my cocktails. Making a base cocktail, with the option of a garnish to make the cocktail sweeter, guarantees everyone is always happy. I placed two of the Strawberry-Black Pepper garnishes in each drink but left extras on the bar in a glass so people had the option of making their Corazonsito a little sweeter.

  • 2 oz Don Julio Reposado
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 3/4 fresh squeezed red grapefruit juice
  • Strawberry-Black Pepper garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish into a shaker with ice. Shake well. Fine strain into a chilled Riedel Ouverture glass. Place two Strawberry-Black Pepper garnish’s inside of the glass with a grapefruit twist. Enjoy.

Strawberry-Black Pepper Garnish

  • one pound fresh strawberriesP1140496edited
  • half a pound fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom

Pre-heat convection over to 225 degrees.  Blend strawberries and raspberries until very smooth. Line two rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper. Pour puree onto cookie sheets and spread evenly with a spatula. Grind pepper and cardamom evenly over the puree. Place the trays in the oven and let cook for an hour. Remove baking sheets. Using scissors cut one-fourth inch by five-inch strips. Roll strips over a chopstick and put them back into the oven for twenty more minutes. Remove the trays from the oven. Let cool completely.


I recently served Corazonsito’s at a cocktail party. I needed something a little more bold, for the men in my life so I embellished a classic Tanqueray and Tonic. Try the same garnish recipe but leave out the spices then replace the berries with kiwi’s and lime. Cut the garnish into a rounds that will fit into the bottom of a rocks glass. Place the round in the bottom of  the glass. Then make a classic Tanqueray and Tonic. Kiwi T & T’s? Absolute bliss.