Tag Archives: knob creek

Lavender Vanilla Bourbon Cocktail

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It’s not hard to love lavender, with its sweet scent and beautiful soft purple blossoms. We have a huge more-or-less overgrowing lavender bush in our front yard. In June and early July, it’s bustling with bees and the fragrance is intoxicating. As we live right downtown in Ashland, there’s a lot of foot traffic along the sidewalk in front of our home. This particular overgrown, wildly reaching lavender beckons folks to pick a sprig here and there. One new experience this year that our lavender apparently instilled as I looked on from our front porch, included two grown women who stretched their arms wide, crouched to their knees, and took in a full frontal brushing from our [poor] sweet smelling lavender bush. It was very dramatic (although I suppose living in a town known for its nearly year-round Shakespeare Festival, that isn’t entirely surprising).

That aside, one other thing I was excited to learn about lavender not too long ago, was the culinary purposes it could provide. Lavender ice cream was my introduction and it was thoroughly delightful. Fragrant, floral, sweet. Perfect in a creamy ice cream. Most recently I saw a honey simple syrup that had included lavender steeped in it and instantly my mind went to cocktail hour. While I tend to prefer a drink that isn’t overly sweet, the balance of the following syrup and the rich warmth of bourbon works nicely. This is a great drink for the end of the week (or whenever you prefer) and the recipe is easy to double, or triple, if you’re preparing drinks for someone other than yourself (or merely find yourself really thirsty).

Cheers!

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Lavender Vanilla Bourbon Cocktail

Yields one drink, for one lady or sir. Easily doubled.

Ingredients:

For the honey lavender vanilla simple syrup:
1 cup water
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 tablespoons culinary grade lavender

For the cocktail:
1 ounce of the above simple syrup
2-3 ounces of good quality bourbon (Knob Creek is my preferred)
1/2 a lime, squeezed
4 ounces ginger ale
ice and slice of lime for serving

Directions:

Make your simple syrup:
In a small pot, combine the water, honey, and sugar. Stir over medium-high heat until the honey and sugar completely disintegrates. Add the vanilla bean (scraped insides and the pod as well) and lavender, stirring to submerge them into the liquid. Bring to a low boil for 10-15 minutes, then cover and remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup, removing the vanilla bean pod and the lavender. Keep refrigerated in a covered bottle for up to a week.

Cocktail time!
In a highball glass, or your preferred glass, fill with ice. Add the simple syrup, bourbon, lime juice, and ginger ale. Stir until well combined. Add a slice of lime for garnish and drink IMMEDIATELY ;)

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Fudgy Bourbon Brownies

I’ve got to admit, I like my booze. I also like my dessert. Not in an excessive, over-the-top, drunkard, gluttonous sort of way. But… thoroughly. I try to make a point of creating desserts no more than once a week, though not always successfully. When we’ve got company for dinner, inevitably I wind up making something sweet to finish the meal. I’m not sure where these brownies came from. I didn’t intend on bourbon in my chocolate. In fact, I’d planned on “Mexican spice brownies,” featuring Mexican chocolate and the ceylon cinnamon I use in my homemade horchata. But after an already long day and facing cooking a full dinner for 8 people, I opened up the cabinet housing our liquor and discovered a bottle of Knob Creek bourbon. After realizing I’d also forgotten to pick up my Mexican chocolate at the grocery store, I poured a shot, then proceeded with curiosity into my planned brownie recipe.

The following resulted with happy, tasty, fudgy results. The only time I remember being able to taste the booze in my dessert was at an Italian restaurant when I was 18, where I’d ordered the tiramisu and distinctly remember the heavy flavor of alcohol and espresso. It was delicious and not just because I was underage for consuming alcohol on its own. I was worried that the bourbon in these brownies wouldn’t hold up to the chocolate, but as it turned out, there was no reason to worry. They were more than slightly bourbon-flavored, without being overwhelming. I suggest using a good quality bourbon though, since you can actually taste the alcohol.

 

 

Fudgy Bourbon Brownies

yields one 9 x 13″ pan of brownies


Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ tsp. ground ceylon cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
pinch of fresh nutmeg
1/3 cup good quality bourbon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9 x 13” pan with parchment paper so it hangs over at least two sides by an inch or two. Lightly brush with oil.

In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Whisk in the sugars, stirring until fully incorporated. Remove the pot from the heat, then quickly whisk in the eggs (work fast so they don’t cook – nothing worse than scrambled egg brownies!) and  vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet, stirring just until incorporated. Stir in the bourbon then pour the batter in your prepared baking pan. Bang the pan on your counter a couple times to let some of the air bubbles escape. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of your brownies comes out clean or with few crumbs attached.

Allow the brownies to cool for about 15 minutes, then run a knife on the sides touching the pan, pull out by the parchment paper overhang and place on a cooling rack. Either cool to room temperature or if impatience gets the better of you, cut and serve while warm! :)