This year I wanted to do something a little different for Mother’s Day brunch. The food always includes some new dishes but after many (many) years of mimosas, it was starting to feel like a beverage rut. So this year I am making Creamsicle Martinis.
The inspiration behind this shakeup comes from Nielsen-Massey, premier producer of fine vanilla products. They sent me a jar of vanilla paste to promote using vanilla in cocktails. Truthfully, I’d use vanilla in just about anything! And since Nielsen-Massey is so well regarded, I knew I’d be getting started right.
Did you know that vanilla comes in variety of forms? Most people are aware of vanilla extract and vanilla beans but vanilla paste and vanilla powder are a couple of other options. A year ago I started cooking with vanilla beans and love the pure flavor and lovely dots of tiny black beans they add to a dish. But sometimes, I would feel lazy and just go back to the extract–which alas is easier. But since this vanilla paste has an amazing vanilla flavor and beautiful flecks of seeds, it is like a “best of both worlds” option.
The other advantage of a vanilla paste or powder over extract is that the flavor is better preserved during heavy cooking. Do you have any recipes that direct you to add the vanilla in when the cooking is complete? This is to keep the flavor at its peak since some of the flavor can actually evaporate in extract form. But the problem is always remembering to add it in. For my sea foam candy/divinity recipe, I am so intent on watching the temperature, I probably forget to add the vanilla 75% of the time. This paste is going in to my next batch right at the beginning! Still confused? Nielsen-Massey has a handy chart with advice.
I had a lot of fun developing a Creamsicle Martini. Since I was hoping to avoid the cloudiness of cream, I went with a whipped cream flavored vodka that I’m pretty sure will go into some awesome chocolate martinis this summer! I don’t know how the family is going to react to the brunch drink changeover yet, but I can tell you my husband was pretty happy to help with product testing. And, truthfully, I’ve never seen anyone get upset about being served fancy martinis.
I decided to rim the glass with some sugar mixed with a little vanilla paste. The paste was a little sticky for this, so next time I’d like to try it with vanilla powder–shopping time! Food blogging is just so tough sometimes…
And now for the giveaway… This giveaway is for a 4 oz. bottle of vanilla paste. It is sponsored by Nielsen-Massey and open to US residents. It closes at midnight CST May 24, 2015. To enter, leave a comment telling me what you would like to make with this. For a second entry, follow Art of Natural Living on Facebook and leave a second comment (or let me know if you are already a Facebook follower). The winner will be picked randomly, contacted by email and have 24 hours to get back to me with address and any other needed information or a new winner will be chosen.
- 1 ½ oz whipped cream vodka
- ½ oz cointreau (see note)
- ¼ t vanilla paste
- 2 oz orange juice
- sugar for the rim (optional)
- Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake until well blended.
- Strain into martini glass and serve.
- No cointreau? Raise the vodka to 2 oz and add a bit more orange juice.
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