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‘Muy Bueno’ & ‘Sweet Life' Food Bloggers Share Summer Cocktails with a ‘Latin Twist’

First Posted: Jul 25, 2015 05:00 AM EDT
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Vianney Rodriguez

Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack and Vianney Rodriguez(Photo : Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails/Hippocrene Books )

"SABOR" is a food & wine and lifestyle series that savors Latinos' zest for life and passion for home and family.

Have you ever indulged in a luscious Passion Fruit Caipirinha from Brazil, a fruity Borgoña from Chile, or a deceptively simple Fernet con Cola, Argentina's national drink?

Well, summer's here. What are you waiting for?

Award-winning food bloggers Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack, author of "Muy Bueno," and Vianney Rodriguez, author of "Sweet Life," are known for their Mexican and Latin-fusion recipes featuring fresh-squeezed juices and homemade mixers. They joined forces and have a solution, and it will add a 'Latin twist' and zest to your life.

The dynamic foodie and drink duo teamed up to create "Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails," a collection of Latin-inspired, signature cocktails from 18 Latin American countries and Spain in one volume. "'Latin Twist' delves into the history of each country's liquors, followed by traditional cocktails and original recipes."

Marquez-Sharpnack and Rodriguez shared their inspirations for these delicious concoctions as well as their recipes for their Mezcal Paloma, Pineapple-Basil Guarapo Cooler and Calipso.

"As foodies we love to entertain all with a Latin twist and serve a signature cocktail with every meal," Marquez-Sharpnack told Latin Post. "When we met in person we clicked automatically and knew we wanted to collaborate on some type of entertaining book and 'Latin Twist' was born."

"Latin Twist" takes cocktail aficionados all over Spain and Latin American, including: Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.

"I love to entertain and I always have a fun cocktail ready to serve to my guests when they arrive," Rodriguez added. "I soon began adding these to my blog, 'Sweet Life.' Soon after in the blogging world I met Yvette who also has a passion for creating cocktails and we knew we had to share our passion with our readers."

Given that both the food and drink lovers have Mexican and Mexican/Tejana roots, it was important for them to create cocktails that reflect their heritage.

"The Mexico chapter is definitely our largest chapter. We both love tequila so we have quite a few favorites. ... I really love a good basic beer cocktail like the chelada," said Marquez-Sharpnack.

"The margarita hands down is my favorite cocktail, refreshing, vibrant and made with fresh fruit juices, the margarita is the ultimate cocktail," Rodriguez added.

As mentioned, the Passion Fruit Caipirinha from Brazil is another favorite. Marquez-Sharpnack was introduced to the cocktail by a Brazilian friend and she says "it was love at first sip."

"It's very similar to a mojito. We've added a few tropical flavors to the classic caipirinha," she explained. "Vianney's favorite is melon with wine from Chile. It's simple with only three ingredients: white wine, honeydew melon and a touch of sugar. Perfect for summer and large gatherings."

"Latin Twist" has some cocktails that are out of the ordinary, including the Refresco de ensalada, which is "a tad interesting," Marquez-Sharpnack points out. "It has Mamey, pineapple, lettuce, apples, with citrus juices and vodka. It's a refreshing El Salvador classic."

Basically you're not "cheating" as it's "a salad that is mixed with fresh fruit juices, eaten with a spoon in the summer, but then we hit it with vodka," laughed Rodriguez.

Given that so many women gather together over cocktails to talk about relationships, work, and life -- and to seek advice (reminiscent of "Sex and the City" with Cosmos) -- what cocktail is best to drink during these moments?

"Melon with wine from Chile. It only requires a few ingredients and you can make it pitcher-style, when you with the girls you need something quick and easy. No one wants to be mixing up cocktails when there is 'chisme' (gossip) to be heard," Rodriguez admitted.

"As a 'Sex and the City' fan, I love that question and envision gals sipping sangria," added Marquez-Sharpnack. "Everyone loves a good red wine and our Spanish and Mexican sangria make the perfect drink that is crowd pleasing. Unlike a Cosmo, no one will have to shake a cocktail. Just make a large batch and self-serve."

Check out Marquez-Sharpnack and Rodriguez's delicious recipes for the Mezcal Paloma, Pineapple-Basil Guarapo Cooler and Calipso.

Mezcal Paloma

Makes 1 drink

Paloma (Spanish for "dove") is perhaps the most refreshing cocktail ever created. Sweet, sour, a little bitter, and salty, it's got all four taste groups, plus ice, bubbles, and tequila or mezcal; what's not to like? We love this refreshing Margarita with bubbles.

Coarse salt

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 cup mezcal or tequila

1/4 cup club soda

Grapefruit wedge, for garnish

Rub rim of an 8-ounce glass with a grapefruit wedge. Pour some coarse salt out onto a plate and rub the rim of the glass in the salt to coat. Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and sugar in prepared glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in mezcal, add some ice, and top off with the club soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

Pineapple-Basil Guarapo Cooler

Guarapo de piña magically turns pineapple juice into alcohol. This is a drink that you will crave, especially on a sweltering summer day. Similar to Tepache from Mexico (page 30), this cocktail is very refreshing. The tropical flavors blend beautifully with rum.

MAKES 15-20 SERVINGS

1 ripe pineapple, about 3 pounds

2 cups granulated sugar

16 cups water

1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish

2 ounces rum for each serving

Pineapple ice cubes (page 48)

To make guarapo:

Wash the pineapple completely, remove the stem and base and cut the pineapple (with skin) into 1-inch spears. Place the pineapple, sugar, and water in a large pot and bring to

a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil and cool completely. Strain and chill liquid until ready to serve.

To make guarapo cooler:

For each cooler, place 2 ounces rum and some pineapple ice cubes in a tall glass and add some of the guarapo to fill. Stir and serve garnished with a basil leaf.

MAKE AHEAD

Make Ahead: Guarapo will keep in the fridge for one week.

Pineapple Ice Cubes

MAKES 1 TRAY

1 cup pineapple, diced

Place the diced pineapple in an ice cube tray, dividing among the sections. Fill with water and freeze.

Calipso

A classic, the Calipso combines pineapple, grapefruit, and raspberry juices with white rum and maraschino liqueur. Delicious and refreshing!

MAKES 2

2 ounces white rum

1 ounce maraschino liqueur

1 ounce fresh pineapple juice

1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

1 ounce fresh raspberry juice

Raspberries and cherries, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients. Shake well and serve in chilled glasses. Garnish with raspberries and cherries.

© 2015 Latin Post. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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