Good Time Island Spiked Jell-O Mold

Chef Lili Dagan is officially giving you permission to get a little crazy with your next picnic. This Jell-O mold recipe looks cute, but don’t be fooled: it’s very strong.

alcoholic jello mold
Red, white, and very potent

This recipe is inspired by the very kooky late 90’s comedy show Strangers With Candy. The show stars Amy Sedaris (the less famous but arguably much funnier Sedaris sibling) as Jerri Blank, an adult who returns to high school for education and redemption. The show is ostensibly a morality sitcom. The lessons, however, are often misinterpreted or missed entirely by Jerri. If there’s any teaching in an episode I watched recently, Jerri misses all of it, except that everyone wants to have a good time, AKA visit Good Time Island. 

My friends and I have been (only slightly) joking about trying to get Amy Sedaris to judge a Jell-O mold competition at my favorite neighborhood watering hole for years now. Will this Jell-O mold be good enough to get us all to Good Time Island? Wish me luck.

For this mold, we aren’t using Jell-O. You heard me. Did you know you can gelatinize…anything? In honor of misinterpreting lessons, I’m adding plain knox gelatin to “hydration sports drink” for the red and blue layers, and sweetened grated coconut for the white stripe. Not feeling particularly patriotic? You can use anything in any color, just keep the ratios the same. 

Good Time Island Spiked Jell-O Mold Recipe

Note: Prep one layer at a time as each layer needs to cool thoroughly before the next layer is added. This takes anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on your fridge. When in doubt, let it cool longer.

Note: Before you begin, lightly coat your bundt pan with nonstick spray. 

Red Layer

  • 1 ½ Cup red sports drink
  • 1 Cup hulled and small-diced strawberries
  • ½ Cup tequila
  • 3 packets gelatin

White Layer

  • 1 ½ Cup grated coconut in heavy syrup (if you can’t find this, use Coco Lopez or any kind of sweetened canned coconut milk.)
  • 2 nectarines, small diced
  • ½ Cup rum
  • 3 packets gelatin

Blue Layer

  • 1 ½ Cup Blue Sports Drink
  • 1 Cup blueberries
  • ½ Cup tequila
  • 3 packets gelatin

1. Soak the strawberries in the tequila. 

2. Bring the red sports drink to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in the gelatin for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Combine the hot gelatin and the soaked berries, and then transfer into your prepared bundt pan. Move to the fridge immediately to cool completely. 

3. While your red layer cools, soak your nectarines in rum.

4. When the red layer is fully firm, bring your coconut in syrup to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in the gelatin for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined.  Combine the hot gelatin and the boozy nectarines, and then pour on top of the red layer. Move to the fridge immediately to cool completely. 

5. While your coconut layer cools, soak your blueberries in tequila. 

6. When the coconut layer is fully firm, bring your blue sports drink to a boil. Stir in the gelatin for about 1 minute, until thoroughly combined. Pour the hot gelatin over the boozy nectarines, and then on top of the red layer. Move to the fridge immediately to cool completely. 

7. When you are ready to serve, fill a large bowl with a few inches of warm water. Place the mold in the water for about 2 minutes, until the sides begin to release from the pan. Flip on to a plate and jiggle until it releases onto the plate. Serve immediately in slices or any format desired.

A Wine Spritzer for Every Summer Occasion

wine spritzer
Doesn’t that look refreshing?

Oh, to be lounging in the sun drinking cocktails. For long summer days, a wine spritzer is pretty much the perfect drink. It’s light and refreshing, and crucially, it’s low-alcohol. That makes it ideal for drawn out afternoon picnics or barbecues where the laid back atmosphere might call for more than one drink. At its core, a wine spritzer is just wine and seltzer, and even this simple version is delicious. Of course, there are countless more elaborate variations to try, including the trendy Italian aperitivo, the Aperol spritz. Our version incorporates summer berries for a light floral sweetness. The optional liquor brings in additional complexity and depth. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of BA white wine (500ml)
  • 4 oz. strawberries, sliced
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 500 ml seltzer water 
  • 4 oz liquor, (optional)  Options include: sweet or dry vermouth, Campari, Aperol, Kirsch, Lillet, Maraschino Liqueur, or Triple Sec

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher.
  2. If desired, add your 4 oz liquor for additional herbal flavor and complexity. 
  3. When ready to serve, pour mixture over glasses of ice. Fill half-way and finish by topping with seltzer water.
wine spritzer wine pairing
Pairing made easy

Ready to try making a spritzer at home? Order a summer sampler of Blue Apron white wine.

Chill out with a Glass of Sangria

sangria recipe
Tall, dark, and fruity

Sangria is a cocktail made of guidelines, not rules. In Spain, every restaurant has their own house version, and no two recipes are alike. If you have any assortment of herbs and fruits on hand, you can make sangria. It’s so flexible that it can be made with either white or red wine. No matter what your taste preferences are, this is the perfect drink to help you slow things down a bit. If you’re not sure where to start, try out the red and white sangria recipes below. Pour a glass and honor the Spanish traditions of snacking on assorted salty foods, lingering around the table, and indulging in a little siesta. 

Mint-Berry Red Wine Sangria 

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 3 oz raspberries
  • 3 oz blackberries
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 bottle Blue Apron red wine (500ml)
  • Optional: 2 oz brown spirit of choice, such as brandy, whiskey, or rum
  • seltzer 

Method: 

  1. In a jar or pitcher, combine the raspberries, blackberries, mint leaves (tearing before adding), sugar, and sliced lemon. Muddle for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the wine and stir to combine. Stir in the brown spirit of your choice (if using).
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 
  4. To serve, fill a glass with ice. Fill the glass ⅔ of the way up with the sangria. Top with the seltzer. If desired, garnish with a spoonful of the muddled fruit and mint from the pitcher. Enjoy!

Peach-Basil White Wine Sangria Recipe: 

Serves 4 

Ingredients:

  • 1 peach, sliced
  • 6-8 basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced  
  • 1 bottle Blue Apron white wine (500 ml)
  • Optional: 2 oz spirit, such as vodka, tequila, or gin 
  • seltzer

Method: 

  1. In a jar or pitcher, combine the sliced peach, basil leaves (tearing before adding), honey, and sliced lime. Muddle for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the wine and stir to combine. Stir in the spirit of your choice (if using) for a stronger, less sweet sangria. 
  3. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. To serve, fill a glass with ice. Fill the glass ⅔ of the way up with the sangria. Top with seltzer. If desired, garnish with a spoonful of muddled fruit and basil from the pitcher. Enjoy!
Wine choices made easy

Ready to try making a glass of your own? Order the sangria sampler pack from Blue Apron.

This Rum-Soaked Pineapple Cocktail is an Elegant Alternative to the Vodka Melon

Chef Lili Dagan is officially giving you permission to get a little crazy with your fruit bowl, and she’s giving you the pineapple cocktail recipe to help you do it.

This is a pineapple cocktail
It’s stronger than it looks

What might happen if that pineapple in your fruit bowl got bored? Would it get up in the middle of the night to have a drink? Would it make friends with a coconut? Would it cozy up to the rum, or is tequila more it’s speed? Would they all overindulge and fall asleep in a big puddle? These are the questions I ask myself awake at night, mulling over my next whole fruit cocktail.

I’m calling this pineapple cocktail the Pina Borracho. Think of it as an elevated alternative to the tried and true college method of draining an entire bottle of vodka into a watermelon. It’s just as fun, but slightly more refined. 

Pina Borracho, or “The Drunken Pineapple

Serves: I won’t lie, I ate the whole thing myself. I’d suggest sharing with a friend for good measure. 

Share with a friend

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole pineapple
  • Juice of one lime
  • 5 oz rum
  • 1 Tb Turbinado sugar
  • 1 5.4 oz can coconut cream

For garnish:

  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • Handful of coconut Chips
  • Zest of one lime

1. In a large bowl, mix together the coconut cream, lime juice, rum, and turbinado sugar. 

2. Trim 3-4 inches off of the fronds of your pineapple. Quarter the pineapple lengthwise, and carve around the skin to release the inner fruit in each section. Wrap the pineapple skin boats and refrigerate them. You’ll use these tomorrow. 

pineapples ready for cocktail
Cored and prepped

3. Core your pineapple and cut the flesh into ¼ inch triangles and place in the coconut rum mixture. Stir gently to ensure even coverage. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

4. After 24 hours, remove the pineapple from the marinade. Assemble the pineapple triangles in the pineapple boats. Garnish with fresh mint leaves, coconut chips, and lime zest. Spoon any extra coconut marinade over the pineapple. Enjoy responsibly. It’s stronger than you think!

Want to try another whole fruit cocktail? Check out Chef Lili’s melon margarita.

Cheer up with a Cantaloupe Mint Margarita

Do you think of cantaloupe as a filler fruit? Think again. In Chef Lili Dagan’s latest cocktail, cantaloupe becomes the life of the party. 

cantaloupe margarita
An all-natural tiki bowl

Somehow, this margarita is more than the sum of its parts. If you have a blender, the whole thing only takes a few minutes to make (ok, there’s some freezing time involved, but that just takes a little planning). At the end, you’re rewarded with a drink that’s not only refreshing, it’s downright festive.

Recipe: Cantaloupe Mint Margarita 

  • Makes 1-2 servings, depending on what kind of day you’re having
  • 1 whole cantaloupe
  • 2 springs mint, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oz tequila blanco
  • 1 oz Curaçao triple sec
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice 
  • Lime wheels, spicy salt, and mint for garnish

1. Make your cantaloupe ice cubes. Locate the stem of the cantaloupe, and imagine a line going through the cantaloupe starting at the stem. Cut perpendicular to that line. Once cut, your melon will form two bowl-shaped halves. Scoop out and discard the seeds of both halves. 

2. Use a melon baller or other spoon (if you don’t have a melon baller, a tablespoon will work well) to scoop your melon half into balls. Lay on a sheet pan. Make sure the balls don’t overlap, or they will stick. Lay sheet pan flat to freeze for at least 1 hour. 

cut cantaloupe
Cut across width-wise

3. Take the remaining melon half and scoop out the flesh. Blend with leaves from 2  sprigs of mint. Reserve the rind of the melon, intact. 

4. Place 1 tablespoon of spiced salt on a plate and roll the edge of the reserved melon rind through it. As you roll, salt should stick to the rind and form a salted rim. If it does not stick, lightly dampen the edge of the rind and try again. 

5. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add 8 oz of cantaloupe juice, 2 oz tequila blanco, 1 oz Curaçao triple sec, 1 oz fresh lime juice. Strain into the reserved melon half. Gently add your frozen cantaloupe ice cubes, some lime wheels, and a sprig of mint.

Cantaloupe margarita
Cheers

Your New Favorite Cocktail Recipe Uses a Whole Pineapple

Chef Lili Dagan knows the antidote to quarantine gloom is a tropical drink. Here’s her recipe for a bright and frothy cocktail we’re calling el Gajes del Oficio, or “the occupational hazard.”

Cocktail recipe: pineapple
Tropical, fresh, delightful

I live in Bushwick, right down the street from a place called Tulicingo Deli Grocery. I can always count on them to have super cheap and extremely ripe fruit. While out shopping the other day, I passed by a bin of pineapples so fragrant that I couldn’t help but buy one. As the weather starts to warm up, all I want to do is sit outside and sip on a tropical drink. I can’t go to a bar right now, but here’s what I came up with instead. 

This cocktail is sort of the lovechild of my three favorite patio drinks: a mezcal negroni, a piña colada, and an Aperol spritz. It’s a little labor intensive, but I promise it’s worth it (and hey, we have the time). Can’t find fresh pineapple? I suppose canned will do. 

Cocktail recipe: el Gajes del Oficio 

  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 limes 
  • 1 oz Aperol 
  • 2 oz mezcal or Tequila 
  • 1 jalapeño 
  • Spiced salt, for the rim (we used Tajin)
  1. Peel, core, and dice your pineapple. Save the skins!
  2. Make some pineapple water. Transfer the reserved skins to a stockpot with a knob of fresh ginger and 4 cloves of smashed garlic. Bring to a boil and then simmer on medium heat for 40 minutes. Simmer for 40 minutes, then strain and let cool. 
  3. While the pineapple water cools, blend the pineapple and strain it through a fine mesh sieve. 
  4. To assemble, gather a cocktail shaker, a glass, some ice cubes, limes, a citrus juicer, Aperol, mezcal (tequila would work too),  and some spicy salt. 
  5. Salt the rim of your glass and prepare your garnishes (I used a wheel of lime, you could add a jalapeño wheel if you’re feeling spicy!) and plop a few ice cubes in there. 
  6. Add a few ice cubes into your shaker, 2 oz of pineapple juice, 2 oz of pineapple water, 2 oz of Mezcal, 1 oz of Aperol, juice of half a lime, 3 slices of jalapeño and then shake it.
  7. Strain into your prepared glass and garnish with a wheel of lime. Enjoy!

See Red: The ultimate mulled-wine recipe for holiday gatherings

Mulled wine is the perfect set-it-and-forget-it elixir for holiday parties. You can tweak any recipe as you see fit, but don’t use your Blue Apron reds! Mulled wine was first created centuries ago to make spoiled wine drinkable, but modern wines are of much higher quality and last longer. So shop for a simple, cheap-and-cheerful red that could use some spicing up. You’ll have a delicious, winter-warming drink for everyone to enjoy by the fire!

BlogAsset_DecemberWine

Mulled Wine

INGREDIENTS

2 750ml bottles of fruity red wine
2 oranges
2 lemons
10 whole cloves
2 star anise pods (optional)
5 cardamom pods (optional)
5 Tbs granulated brown sugar
1/2 Cup water
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 Cup of Port
Two shots of Bourbon (optional)
Cheesecloth

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Make a small pouch with the cheesecloth. Put the cloves, anise and cardamom pods inside and tie it tight with string. Zest the lemons and oranges using a vegetable peeler, pulling off wide strips. Cut the fruit into 1/4 wedges.

Put a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, zest and spice pouch. Heat to a simmer until the sugar is dissolved, then turn the heat to low and wait until the water volume is reduced by half.

Add all remaining ingredients, and squeeze the juice of the fruit wedges into the pot before adding them. Leave until heated through, about 20 minutes. Don’t let the mixture boil. Serve warm and garnish each serving with a new cinnamon stick.

Sign up for Blue Apron Wine and save on your first order!  Click here.

The Orange-Ade Shandy for Summer

Drink Tray Orangeade

Hello summer! We’ve got our sunglasses on, our SPF ready, and if we’re not on the beach or at the pool, we’re certainly dreaming of it. To keep cool, we created a seriously refreshing summer cocktail that fits right into our summer day(dream)s: the Orange-Ade Shandy!

Claire, our Test Kitchen Manager, grew up in the south of France, and her very first drink was half beer and half lemonade, also known as a shandy (we’ll reserve comment as to how old she was when she had this first drink.)  Eventually the ratio of this gateway drink shifted, and what was once a half-and-half turned into a beer topped with a dash of cold lemonade.

No matter the ratio, a shandy is a great hot weather cocktail, and Claire still drinks and serves them all summer long on her back patio in Brooklyn.

Orangeade tray side

We wanted to try a new twist on this summer classic, and since a lot of wheat beers are served with an orange wedge, we concocted a recipe using homemade orangeade instead of lemonade to brighten up our drinks.  And, thus, our search for the perfect summer cocktail ended, with a shandy recipe fit for beach days, pool days and even Father’s Day!

Orange-Ade Shandy

INGREDIENTS
5 Oranges
2 Lemons
Wheat Beer (such as Blue Moon)
½ Cup Sugar

Make the Simple Syrup:

In a small saucepan, combine ½ cup water and ½ cup sugar. Heat to a simmer on medium-low, stirring frequently until all of the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Make the Orange-Ade:

In a large pitcher, combine the juice of 4 oranges and 2 lemonsthe cooled simple syrup4 cups water and ice. Stir thoroughly to combine.

Orangeade Oranges

Mix Your Drink:

In a chilled pint glass, pour all but a bit of a wheat beer (such as Blue Moon) and top with orange-ade. Garnish with an orange wheel.

Shandy Finished Cocktail Spotlight

Simple as that! Now, you have a delicious and refreshing 4-ingredient cocktail to cool you down this summer. Orange you glad you have this recipe in your back pocket?

Cheers to staying cool this summer, chefs!

Strawberry-Lemonade Cocktail with Flower Ice Cubes

Strawberry Cocktail Lead

We’re cheers-ing to spring with our favorite festive, seasonal cocktail. This take on strawberry-lemonade features three DIY components – homemade strawberry jam, pink simple syrup, and flower ice cubes – that are all delicious and beautiful on their own, but even better when served together (especially when you add vodka!)  We’re sharing the recipe for each component below so you can make this refreshing drink right in your own kitchen.

Short on time? We have a trick or two up our sleeves, so stay-tuned to the end to see a few ways to shortcut the recipe.

Strawberry-Lemonade Cocktail with Flower Ice Cubes

Strawberry Cocktail Set Up

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
6 Oz. Strawberries
1 Cup Sugar
½ lemon
8 Oz. Vodka
1 Cup Sugar
4 Lemons
2 Cans Soda Water
Edible Flowers
Salt

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT

1 Cocktail shaker (or Mason Jar)
1 Ice Cube Tray

RECIPE

Make the Flower Ice Cubes:

In a large ice cube tray, insert 1 edible flower per space and top with hot tap water. Transfer to the freezer and freeze overnight. (Believe it or not, hot water freezes faster—weird, right?—so it yields quicker ice cubes that are more clear!)

Make the Strawberry Jam:
In a medium pot, combine 6 Oz. cored and chopped strawberries, 1/3 cup sugar, the juice of 1/2 lemon and one pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes, or until thickened and syrupy. Transfer the strawberry jam to a plate and spread out with a rubber spatula to cool. Transfer to a jar and store in refrigerator until cocktail hour.

Make the Simple Syrup:

In the same pot used to make the strawberry jam, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jar and store in the refrigerator until cocktail hour.

Mix Your Drink

In a tall glass, add 1 tablespoon homemade strawberry jam and top with several ice cubes. In a shaker filled with regular ice, combine 1 teaspoon homemade strawberry jam2 Oz. Vodka1 Oz. fresh lemon juice and 1/2 Oz. simple syrup. Shake until the shaker is too cold to handle. Strain into the tall glass and top off with as much soda water as you’d like.

Cheers, chefs!

Strawberry Cocktail Icecubes Final

Strawberry Cocktail Icecubes

Strawberry Cocktail Jam

Strawberry Jam Cocktail

Short on time? Try these tricks for a quicker strawberry-lemonade experience 

1. Pick up a jar of strawberry jam at your local market. The fewer the ingredients, the better! While we prefer homemade, we don’t always have the time.

2.  Boil water for your flower ice cubes. When it has cooled enough so that it will not to melt the plastic, add it to your ice cube tray. Submerge the flowers with a spoon. Put the tray in the freezer.

3. Don’t have time to hunt down edible flowers? You can use herbs or a bouquet of regular flowers as it is unlikely that your ice cube will melt all the way through. Just make sure to thoroughly wash everything before putting it in the ice cube tray.

Beyond Dinner: Five-Ingredient Coffee Granita

When was the last time you ate a slushie? Whether or not this happened on a recent occasion, we think you’ll love our classy homemade version of this icy, satisfying dessert that’s almost like sorbet but much easier and more forgiving to make. In other words, you don’t need any special tools at all. Namely, an ice cream maker.

All you do need to start are four ingredients: hot coffee, sugar, Kahlua, and vanilla extract. If you like, pick up some cream to whip for garnish, too.

Combine all the ingredients and stir together in a shallow pan that can go in the freezer.

The sugar will dissolve easily as you whisk, since the coffee is hot. Once dissolved, put the whole pan in the freezer.

Freeze for an hour, then pull out the pan. The coffee will have begun to turn to ice, but it shouldn’t be completely solid. Use a fork to scrape up the ice, turning the block into ice crystals.

Repeat this process at 30-minute intervals, raking the fork through each time. When the pan is completely frozen and granular, your granita is ready to eat. (You can leave it in the freezer at this point, too.) The texture might remind you of a sno-cone.

Spoon the granita into ramekins or wine glasses, then top with whipped cream and some chocolate shavings or chopped-up coffee beans.

Read on for the full recipe…Continue reading “Beyond Dinner: Five-Ingredient Coffee Granita”

Beyond Dinner: Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail

Although we traditionally whip out the Champagne and accompanying cocktails around new year’s, we’re putting sparkling wine back in the spotlight during award season.

To make the most of the short season of the beautiful blood orange, we juice 8 of the fruits, then reduce their sap to a syrup in a technique borrowed from this recipeThat all-natural syrup adds both flavor and an incredible pink-orange hue to the cocktails.

Though blood oranges really make this drink, you can substitute in any kind of orange as needed. You’ll just want to adjust the added sugar to taste at the end, depending on how sweet or sour your oranges are.

Cheers!

Continue reading “Beyond Dinner: Blood Orange Champagne Cocktail”