Low-Carb Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

pumpkinby Karen Frazier

My hubby, Jim, loves a good old fashioned. And he loves pumpkin spice stuff. This is the time of the year he starts asking me to make my low-carb pumpkin bourbon cheesecake. So why not combine the two?

Before you can make a low-carb pumpkin spice old fashioned, you first need to make low-carb pumpkin butter. It’s quick and easy in the slow cooker.

Low-Carb Pumpkin Butter

  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can organic pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup hard apple cider
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)

In a small slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cook on high for three hours – stirring every 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the lid and continue to cook on high, stirring occasionally, for an additional 30 minutes or until you achieve the desired consistency. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to one week, or freeze for up to one year.

Basic Low-Carb Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 packet stevia (or a few drops of liquid stevia)
  • 3 dashes bitters (we love using orange-flavored bitters for this)
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Splash of water
  • Ice
  1. In a short glass, combine the stevia and bitters, stirring to mix well.
  2. Add the bourbon, water, and ice. Stir gently.
  3. Garnish with an orange wedge (you can also muddle the orange with the bitters and stevia, if you wish).

Low-Carb Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

  • 1/2 packet stevia (or a few drops of liquid stevia)
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • 1 teaspoon low-carb pumpkin butter
  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • Splash of water
  • Ice
  • Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  1. In a short glass, muddle together the stevia, bitters, and pumpkin butter.
  2. Add the bourbon, water, and ice. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a fresh grating of nutmeg.

photo credit: garlandcannon Pumpkin Person via photopin (license)

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Cocktail Time: Experimenting with Low-Carb Cocktails

IMG_1582 (1)by Karen Frazier

In the wake of my visit to the Sandstone Distillery last weekend where I obtained some pretty spectacular spirits, last evening I gathered a few friends as a tasting panel and mixed up a few low-carb cocktails. I wanted to play with the flavors and see what I could come up with after really enjoying the flavor of my Orange-Bacon “New Fashioned” last weekend.

The Cocktails

Here, in the order of most successful to least successful (and trust me, they were all varying degrees of tasty) are our low-carb cocktails. Thanks to Andy Skinner, Kasci Lawrence, and my hubby Jim for acting as my guinea pigs! Each of the recipes below makes two to three cocktails unless otherwise indicated.

The Best! – Low-Carb Orange-Bacon Martini

Andy’s comment: “This is bleeping delicious.” Everyone agreed this the best of the night.

  • Juice of one orange
  • Juice of two limes
  • 2 shots Sandstone bacon whiskey (or you can try bacon-infused vodka here)
  • 1/2 to 1 shot of orange spice low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Shake to chill and strain into martini glasses. Garnish with orange slices.

In Second Place – but Still Tasty – Low-Carb Rasiltini

Raspberries, basil, anise…what’s not to like? This went down smoothly and had a wonderful flavor. Andy’s comment, “I love how the flavors keep coming long after I’m done sipping it.” He was right. It opened up on the palate endlessly, long after we’d savored our last sip.

  • 4 or 5 fresh raspberries
  • Juice of two limes
  • Juice of one orange
  • 2 shots Sandstone Distillery black gin (or try infusing gin or vodka with star anise)
  • 1/2 to 1 shot of raspberry, basil, fennel-infused low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the raspberries.
  2. Add the lime juice, orange juice, gin, syrup, and ice. Shake to chill. Strain into martini glasses. Garnish with additional raspberries.

Third Place but Yummy – Low-Carb Rosemary Lemon Drop

“Fresh and lemon-droppy,” Jim said, tipping back his glass for more. “Summery!” I noted. That’s what I was going for. “More rosemary,” Andy added, and I agree. I’ve added a touch more rosemary in this recipe than what we had last night to really infuse the flavor.

  • Juice of two lemons
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 shots Sandstone Distillery rosemary vodka (or infuse your own vodka with rosemary)
  • 1/2 to 1 shot rosemary lemon infused low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Shake to chill. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and rosemary sprig.

My Favorite – Low-Carb Jalapeño Lime Kamikaze

This was my favorite, although others felt it was a bit too spicy. To tone down the heat, I’ve adjusted the amount of jalapeños used from what I did last night. Feel free to add as much heat as you want. Leaving the seeds from the jalapeños out will adjust the heat levels.

  • Juice of two to three limes
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 2 shots vodka
  • 2 to 3 (or more depending on taste preferences) slices of fresh jalapeño
  • 1/2 to 1 shot jalapeño-infused low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice

In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Shake until chilled. Strain into old-fashioned glasses filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a twist of lime.

Worth Trying – Low-Carb Blackberry Thyme Martini

I think this one could still use a bit of work to perfect it, but it wasn’t without its charms. Everybody drank it all – there wasn’t any left. “It kind of tastes like bubble gum,” Kasci noted. I agree – it was a bit sweeter than I typically like a drink, but you know what? We were a few cocktails in by this time and may have missed the nuances. The size of my pours may have been off…And it was still really tasty, particularly if you’re a blackberry fan. Perhaps in the future I’d replace the black gin with vodka to have more of the blackberry and thyme flavors with less licorice.

  • 4 to 5 fresh blackberries
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one lime
  • Juice of one orange
  • 2 shots Sandstone Distillery black gin (or vodka or gin you’ve infused with star anise)
  • 1/2 to 1 shot blackberry thyme low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  • Ice
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Shake until chilled. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with additional blackberries.

Also Worth Trying – Low-Carb Lime Jalapeño and Avocado Margarita

This one was surprising….it tasted good but was unexpected. It almost had a hint of banana flavor to it – weird given there were no bananas. We used the Sandstone Distillery White Whiskey (which tastes a lot like tequila), but you could substitute tequila here. “It tastes like a fresh garden smoothie,” Kasci said. It was our last cocktail of the evening, however, so who knows how discerning our palates were at that point.

  • Crushed ice
  • Juice of 3 limes
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1 avocado, peel and pit removed
  • 1 shot lime jalapeño low-carb simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 2 shots Sandstone Distillery white whiskey (or tequila)
  • Crushed ice

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Puree until blended.

We also changed up the recipe to the Orange Maple Bacon New Fashioned I made the other day, this time using a maple-ginger infused syrup (recipe below) in place of the pure maple syrup. This made the drink low-carb and added an interesting dimension to it that was equally tasty.

IMG_1581

Andy, enjoying a cocktail and not worrying for even a second about his lab rat status.

The Low-Carb Simple Syrups

I found using these was a great way to add flavor to the drinks. I used Truvia (not the baking blend, which has sugar – the granulated kind that comes in the little plastic jar-thingie and is a combination of erythritol and stevia) as my sweetener, but you could also use erythritol, Swerve sweetener, or, if you’re seeking a more paleo approach, organic raw honey (which isn’t low-carb). Syrups will keep in the freezer indefinitely – just thaw a bit to use them, or you can refrigerate them for up to six months.

Orange Spice Infused Low-Carb Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Truvia (or another low-carb sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 one-inch strips orange zest (try not to get any of the white part, which can taste bitter)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole allspice
  • 1 whole nutmeg

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Raspberry-Basil-Fennel Infused Low-Carb Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Truvia (or other low-carb sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 raspberries, crushed
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seed

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Rosemary-Lemon Infused Low-Carb Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Truvia (or another low-carb sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 half-inch strips of lemon peel (avoid getting the white part, which can be bitter)
  • 1 sprig rosemary

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Lime-Jalapeno Infused Low-Carb Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Truvia (or another low-carb sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 half-inch strips lime peel (avoid the white part, which can be bitter)
  • 1/2 jalapeno, thinly sliced (or more or less depending on your heat preference)

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Blackberry-Thyme Infused Simple Syrup

  • 6 blackberries, crushed to release juices
  • 1/2 cup Truvia (or another low-carb sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 whole black peppercorns

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Maple-Ginger Infused Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 cup Truvia
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 6 to 10 slices ginger root

In a small saucepan on medium-high, bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring to dissolve the Truvia. Simmer for three to four minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and allow it to steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a clean container.

Infusing Your Own Spirits

I realize it may be impossible to make it to my local area to get to the Sandstone Distillery, but don’t despair. You can approximate your own versions of the liquors using botanicals and dried spices. Just infuse the spirit of your choice with the flavoring of your choice (using fresh herbs – not dried; whole spices – not ground; and citrus peels without the bitter white pith) for two to three days, shaking it up every day. Then, strain the solids away and use a funnel to put it back in the original bottle – or keep it in a well-labeled mason jar.

Cocktail Time: Maple Orange Bacon “New Fashioned”

by Karen Frazier

IMG_1571This weekend, Jim and I headed out to the Sandstone Distillery outside of Tenino, WA. We were looking for something to do on a rainy Sunday when I thought, “Hey – let’s go tour a nearby distillery.” After a little Googling, I discovered Sandstone, which had this on its website: bacon-flavored whiskey. Bacon. Whiskey. How could I not go? How?

And so, off we went to the distillery, where we were treated to a lovely tour on one of the most delicious smelling places I’ve ever been! Next, they brought out their wonderful spirits and let us taste. Along with the bacon whiskey, we tasted vodka, rosemary vodka, gin, black gin, white whiskey, garlic and chive vodka, barrel aged whiskey, and 124 proof whiskey. All were outstanding and really delicious, and I got excited thinking of all the different cocktails I could come up with.

The bacon white whiskey is made from infusing their white whiskey with bacon from local pigs that actually are fed some of the byproducts of grain from the distillery’s whiskey making process. It is delicious with a smokey bacon flavor that’s not over the top.

The vodka is smooth and delicious. I liked it better than my standard go-to vodka, Tito’s. The rosemary vodka, especially when mixed with a little lemon, tastes like summer in a glass. The gin isn’t overpowering in its juniper flavor and is really lovely. The garlic and chive vodka, which isn’t yet for sale, was surprising and not overpowering. I think I could come up with a cocktail or two for it – or at least a few recipes where I could cook with it. The black gin has a lovely licorice finish because it is infused with star anise (hence the name black gin), and it’s very smooth. The barrel-aged whiskey tastes like a single-malt scotch, also smooth and tasty. And the white whiskey is smooth and a delicious sipper.

We came home with the bacon white whiskey (naturally), the vodka, rosemary vodka, and black gin. And now I start making cocktails. First up was the bacon white whiskey. I think it’s only available at the distillery, so if you’re not local, you may want to substitute bacon vodka or something similar. You could even infuse vodka or whiskey with a few slices of cooked bacon. If you’re a paleo dieter, the drink is sort of paleo if you include a little whiskey in your diet from time to time (raising hand – I do!).

Maple Orange Bacon “New Fashioned”

  • 1 shot Sandstone Distillery Bacon White Whiskey
  • Juice of half an orange
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • Soda water
  • Ice
  • Orange slice

In a Collins glass, combine the whiskey, orange juice, maple syrup, soda water, and ice. Garnish with the orange slice.

I’ll let you know what I come up with as I experiment with the other spirits we brought home.

 

Cocktail Time!

by Karen Frazier

vslThis may seem like an odd recipe for a blog called Recipes for My Kids. However, when I started it, my kids were children. Now they are adults, and this has been where I keep all my low-carb, gluten-free, and paleo recipes. So – I’m not suggesting that you offer this to non-adult children, I promise!

I enjoy the occasional cocktail, and one of the things that frustrates me about going out for a drink is that most cocktails have sugary mixers, use sugary liqueurs, or sneak in simple syrup which is made from, of course, sugar. While some bars do have lower carb cocktails (or you can always order a straight shot of liquor or a glass of wine), when you’re in the mood for a mixed drink on a low-carb diet, you need a go-to drink. Vodka-soda-lime is my go-to cocktail, and it’s just as easy to make at home as it is in a bar. It’s also delicious

All the ingredients are in the title, and it also serves as a tasty starter for other sugar-free, low-carb cocktails. Below, you’ll find some variations on the vodka-soda-lime theme, as well as a tasty infused vodka you can make, and the cocktail you can make from it.

Basic Vodka Soda Lime

  • 1 shot vodka
  • 3 ounces soda
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice

Combine all ingredients in a glass, squeezing the lime wedge into the glass before adding it.

Tarragon and Orange Cocktail

  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon, plus extra for garnish
  • 1 shot vodka
  • 3 ounces soda
  • 1 orange wedge
  • Ice
  1. In a cocktail shaker, crush the tarragon leaves lightly to release the aroma.
  2. Add the vodka and soda. Shake to mix well.
  3. Strain into a glass with ice. Squeeze in the orange juice and add the wedge.
  4. Garnish with a sprig of fresh tarragon.

Lime Basil Cocktail

  • 2 mint sprigs plus one for garnish
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • 1 shot vodka
  • 3 ounces soda
  • 1 lime wedge
  • Ice
  1. In a glass, crush the mint leaves using a muddler.
  2. Add the liquid stevia, vodka, soda, lime, and ice.
  3. Stir to mix.
  4. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

Caraway, Mint, and Cinnamon Infused Vodka

  • 750 mL vodka
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 3 mint sprigs
  1. Add the cinnamon, caraway, and mint to the vodka.
  2. Seal the bottle and let sit in a cool, dry place for up one month, shaking occasionally.
  3. Strain solids from the vodka and seal in a bottle.

Cinnamon, Caraway, and Mint Infused Vodka Cocktail

  • 1 shot caraway, mint, and cinnamon infused vodka
  • 1 orange wedge
  • 2 drops liquid stevia
  • 4 ounces soda
  • Ice

Combine all ingredients in a glass, squeezing the orange wedge into the glass before adding it.

 

 
photo credit: A Tonic for the Soul… via photopin (license)