Tag Archives: cochineal

Lagniappe: Skål! To Ina!

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One of my favorites of her cookbooks!  I want all my cooking done ahead of time.

Skål! To Ina! I’m thinking about last week’s blog and my Swedish grandparents.  And I’m thinking again about the very funny Instagram video – done on April 1st – of Ina Garten fixing a Cosmopolitan.  If you haven’t watched it, join the almost 3 million Instagram-viewers who have enjoyed it.  I think a lot of us can really relate!

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Highly-rated Absolut Vodka comes from Southern Sweden

For today’s Lagniappe blog we want to give you the down-sized version of Ina’s enormous cocktail, as well as one which another favorite food writer/blogger, David Lebovitz, calls the “next generation” Cosmopolitan – with more sophistication” – the Jasmine cocktail.

I’m wondering why David Lebovitz considers the Jasmine Cocktail to be more sophisticated.  Would having cochineal in our cocktail add that extra-special touch?  The Jasmine forgoes cranberry juice and instead relies on a red apéritif for its color.  And the red coloring in the fancy apéritifs being made in the U.S. right now are colored with cochineal, though Italy-based Campari quit using it over a decade ago – at least for sale in the U.S.

We first got interested in cochineal after a trip to Oaxaca, where it’s still sometimes used as a dye for their lovely textiles.  Scientific American has a good analysis of these useful little insects and Wired has another “colorful” article about them.  And, thanks to David in Albuquerque– who found it online, here’s the perfect video, explaining it all.

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from the Houston Museum of Natural Science

Even though Campari and Bordiga (another fancy Italian Aperitif brand) have quit using cochineal for their U.S. sold products, St George Spirits’ Bruto Americano (recommended by David Lebovitz), Leopold Bros’ Apertivo – based in the great state of Colorado! – and our local Sonoma Prohibition Spirits’ Spritz are using this natural coloring.

But whether you pick cranberry juice, Campari, or a squished-bug-colored apéritif,  gin or vodka, or Cointreau or triple sec, one of these cocktails is sure to provide a terrific toast to the end of another day of self-isolation.  If you’re alone, be sure to join up with someone via FaceTime, Houseparty, or Zoom.  If you have a mate sheltering with you, double – or even triple 🙂 – the recipe!  Skål!

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Ina’s Cosmopolitan

Ina's Cosmopolitan

Using cranberry juice cocktail – which is sweetened – works fine, but we prefer to use unsweetened cranberry juice and add a bit of simple syrup, if sweetening is needed.  We also try to limit our cocktails to about 2 oz of liquor, rather than the 3 oz many recipes call for.

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • about 2 tsp lime juice
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau (or triple sec)
  • 3/4 oz cranberry juice (I use unsweetened)

Add the vodka, lime juice, Cointreau, and cranberry juice to a cocktail shaker.

Fill the shaker halfway with ice. Shake for 15 to 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.


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The Jasmine Cocktail with cochineal 🙂  Nice color, right?

Jasmine Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 oz gin (or substitute vodka)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz triple sec (or Cointreau)
  • 1/4 oz bitter red apéritif, such as Bruto Americano, or Campari
  • 1 wide strip lemon zest, optional

Add the gin, lemon juice, triple sec, and bitter apéritif to a cocktail shaker.

Fill the shaker halfway with ice. Shake for 15 to 20 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a strip of lemon zest, if desired.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.




Who Would Want To Be Bugged on Valentine’s Day? Probably Lots of Folks

cochineal bug

Cochineal feasting on a cactus.

Early this morning the Daily Beast published an article that was too timely and relevant to pass by, and because of my Bouverie docent credentials Ann has given me permission to take the lead on this quickie lagniappe blog.  It turns out that one of our favorite (and most attractive) aperitifs, Campari, owes (or owed) much of its beauty to a lowly bug (to be entomologically correct, insect) mentioned in yesterday’s blog – the cochineal.  And although Campari no longer contains cochineal-based dye, it still makes some gorgeous cocktails.  Here are a couple of Valentine’s Day suggestions using Campari: the bourbon-based Boulevardier, which we blogged about earlier, or the Mezcal Negroni which we are presenting here. Continue reading

I ♥

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” 


Or maybe better yet:

♪ I love you truly, truly, dear.  Life with its sorrows, life with its tears.  Fades into dreams when I feel you are near.  For I love you truly, truly, dear.”♪  (I’ll be curious what you think of this/their/his performance.  Be sure to listen! 🙂 )

And here via YouTube is the scene with Edith from All in the Family, loving Archie truly with the same song.  Lord, they were funny….but wouldn’t make it in today’s world.

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Which brings me to my Colorado College days – and singing that same song in a circle in our sorority.  We would be alerted by our president before a chapter meeting that a candle would be passed, meaning someone amongst us had just gotten pinned or engaged.  The excitement would be palpable.   We would sing – and harmonize – as The Candle was passed around once – and then on the second pass-around the lucky girl would announce her pinning by blowing out the candle – to everyone’s screams of joy.  A third go-around (better yet!) meant an engagement.

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All I wanted in my college life was to get to blow out a candle before I graduated.

It didn’t happen.

And yet now – so many years later – I have lots of loves.  Here for Valentine’s Day are 10 of them:

Continue reading

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