Chef Talk: Beat the Winter Blues With Booze

Stephanie Webster

When asked to share a recipe with our CTbites readers, Jennifer Balin of Sugar & Olives went right for the drink. If you have been to an event at her great retail/party space you already know that she mixes a mean cocktail loaded with organic infusions and flavorful syrups.

Here are two cocktail recipes you can try at home, including directions for her wonderful ginger syrup.

Whip up one of these "Sugar & Olives Martinis" or "Bourbon Marries Ginger" drinks on a cold winter's night (when you aren't carpooling) and you'll barely feel the cold.  



1 part Dolin Vermouth Blanc

1 part Triple Eight Vanilla Vodka

splash of fresh lime juice



3/4 cup perrier

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup ginger syrup (recipe below)

garnish of lime


ginger syrup:

2-3 inches of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into bits

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup sugar


To make the ginger syrup: Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottom sauce pan, then simmer on low until the sugar blends in. Now add the ginger bits (bits should be the size of a pencil eraser—they don't have to be uniform.) Boil on low for 8 to 10 minutes and then turn off the heat and let the syrup cool. Pour the cooled liquid into a squeeze bottle and reserve the ginger bits. The bits can be mixed with table sugar and set on a plate to dry overnight—this crystalized ginger will last a month covered at room temperature. 

For the cocktail use a shaker and add ice. Start with the seltzer then add the syrup and then the bourbon. Shake well and pour directly into a small glass; garnish with a lime slice.  You may want to add more seltzer; taste and decide.

You can make simple infused syrups in many flavors using the recipe above. Some suggestions that are easy to make include:

mint simple syrup, orange simple syrup, peppercorn simple syrup, and cranberry simple syrup.