Additions to my Rumtopf — White Nectarines

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I did my first addition to my rumtopf this weekend. I had intended to wait until DB and I hung out again, but I had some white nectarines that were too perfectly ripe to resist. They were calling out to be soaked in the rum-filled crock of goodness. So I diced them up, stirred in some sugar and left them to sit for about thirty minutes. Then I added them to the strawberry and rum mixture — which is really smelling fantastic! I can’t wait until December when I finally get to try it. Until then, I’ll be on the prowl for more juicy ripe fruit to throw in.

Have you started your own rumtopf yet? You probably should — it’s not too late!

Check out this post for details on how to do it.

How cute is my little blue duck crock?

The color from the strawberries has really leached into the rum

On Rum and Friendship…

People have many different ways of defining friendship. Just look around on Pinterest if you don’t believe me — you’ll find a ton of various posts about how to determine if someone qualifies to be a best friend or not. One of my favorites is “A friend will help you move. A best friend will help you move a body.” While I haven’t — and hopefully won’t — ever need to move a body, I still appreciate the sentiment.

After this weekend, I have developed my own definition, more tailored to my own life. “A friend will let you come over and pick a few pounds of strawberries out of his garden. A very good friend will give you rum to soak them in.”

And my friend DB is a very good friend indeed.

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Adventures in Booze: Making an Effervescent Martini

Not too long ago my husband and I attended a special dinner at KitchenCru, a community kitchen in Portland. One of our six courses came paired with a cocktail that has been on my mind ever since. The bartender made a martini using sake instead of vermouth. It blew me away.

I have never really been a martini drinker, but the floral notes of the sake made this one intriguingly unique. Last weekend, we decided to recreate the cocktail at home, even buying the same brand of sake, but thought we’d give it our own spin using a twist of Meyer lemon. Oh yeah, and by making it bubbly!

You might be asking, isn’t adding club soda to a martini diluting its integrity? The answer to that is the Perlini, the most recent secret weapon in our kitchen arsenal. There’s way more to this thing than I have time to write, but it makes for an interesting read if you’re curious.

As a fun side note, I actually met the man, Evan Wallace, who invented the Perlini while drinking cocktails in a Seattle bar called the Zig Zag. We had an excellent conversation about the time he once ate lion. That hilarious interaction plus the fabulous cocktails I drank a different time at his bar, the now-defunct Vessel where they actually used a commercial-grade Perlini machine, made me seriously consider the possibilities of owning one myself. And since I had a lack of better ideas this last December, I decided to buy the home version for my husband for his Christmas gift — and what a gift it’s been!

First off, it looks badass. Just look at the case it comes in! Every time we open it, I feel like James Bond. It’s got a row of CO2 cartridges (all labeled with the Perlini name), plus a shaker and a whole slew of other instruments, including a flash drive instruction manual. The curved gadget is a hand-held pressurizer — you screw in the cartridges and use it to filter the CO2 into the shaker.

So how exactly does this sucker work?

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Hello Rumballs!

So I’ve been obsessing over Pinterest for quite some time now and the thing that gets me into trouble is that I keep adding to my already growing pile of recipes I want to try out. Luckily I have been wanting to make some rumballs and when I saw this recipe by Martha I knew it would be the one to make this year.

Let me preface this by saying that I’m not even a huge dark rum fan. In fact, I’ll share a relatively pathetic story about what a wuss I am when it comes to actually appreciating the taste of hard liquor. On my 21st birthday I ordered a rum and Coke and it was SO ridiculously strong (probably the bartender’s gift for finally being legal) that I had to send my friend Oliver Lucky to get a couple of glasses of Coke so we could “water” it down. And even after that it was still so strong we had to hold our breath and just chug until it was gone. Oh, college. Good times.

Lest you think less of me, I’ve become better in this regard — though at heart I remain much more of a beer and wine girl (emphasis on beer). But something about the holidays always makes me think of liquor. So I roll with it. I had the necessary dark rum (from a trip to the Caribbean) and I decided to add some other flavors in for fun.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Please don’t judge me for the cake vodka. I saw it in a liquor store and I just had to have it — plastic bottle and all. And let me tell you, it makes a mean vanilla vodka milkshake. Yum!

Anyways, the recipe has you make a batch of brownies. My first thought was: sure, sounds great! My second thought was: hmm, I have a box of brownie mix in the cupboard. My third thought was: just follow the damn recipe. So I did. The brownies were also very easy to make and only bake for about 10-15 minutes so there really is no reason to bother with a mix.

After they were done baking, I let them sit overnight to harden up a bit. Then I played mad scientist with the liquor combinations which was pretty fun and very messy. Now Martha’s recipe says you can eat the rumballs after a couple of hours, but I believe in letting them sit in the fridge for a while to think things over. Plus the reviews said that after 2 days the texture became fudgy, which sounded pretty awesome to me.

So here are my lovely little balls:

Naked rumballs

Vanilla Rumballs dusted in powdered sugar

Grand Marnier & Dark Rum Balls

Cake Vodka & Dark Rumballs (with edible glitter sprinkles!)

Peppermint schnapps & Dark Rum Balls

Loving my new sanding sugars!

I’ll keep you posted on how they taste in a few days…

*Update on rum goodness!