Making a Manhattan, the PK Way (May Involve Cranberries)

It’s a special night! I’ll be making my primetime debut auditioning for The Taste, ABC’s reality show cooking competition looking for the best undiscovered cook in America. Will I get on a team? Watch and find out! In the meantime, I’ll be calming my nerves by sipping tonight’s cocktail of choice, a Manhattan. My version includes the traditional ingredients of bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters but swaps the maraschino cherries for cranberries in my own seasonal twist on the classic. Check it out!

And don’t forget to check back soon for the recipe on how I roasted up those gorgeous little Vaccinium macrocarpon(That’s nerd-speak for cranberries.)

Thanks for watching!

Cucumber Basil Sparkler: The Sweet Taste of Summer

Cucumber Basil SparklerThe calendar may read “autumn,” but the hot weather in Boston definitely says “summer.” Not to mention there are still crisp green cucumbers and sweet basil at my local farmers’ market. It just so happens that this drink is also featured in the summer menu of my new book National Geographic Foods for Health. (You can learn more about it here and buy it online here.) For all of these reasons, today is the perfect occasion to mix up a cucumber basil sparkler.

Now, if you’re new to my blog, a quick trip to the recipe page or this slideshow will quickly reveal my love of luscious libations of the alcoholic variety. Yet that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy creating tasty mocktails for those who don’t consume alcohol. (Or when it’s two o’clock in the afternoon.) You may even find that your kids enjoy this fizzy green drink, little more than homemade soda flavored with cucumber purée and lightly sweetened with basil simple syrup.

For the original story behind this recipe and the how-to, click here. Then grab a cucumber, basil, sparkling water, and lime, and you’ll be enjoying this refreshing drink in no time.

Cucumber Basil Sparkler

It really is divine, the sparkling essence of summer in a glass—and it doesn’t need alcohol to delight the palate.

But I won’t stop you from adding a shot of gin or vodka, either.

Summer Cocktails Starring Local Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs (Slide Show)

Watermelon Margarita | #pkwayA lot of articles on cocktails have been flitting across my newsfeed as we approach the first weekend of summer. The New York Times did a recent round up of their favorites, and even helps you create your own to suit your mood and occasion. (No choice of bourbon in their pull-down list, however—a definite oversight in my view.)

By this point in my food writing career I’ve shaken up a goodly number of luscious libations myself over the years based on fresh seasonal ingredients from my local farmers market. I pull them all together in today’s slide show for your viewing pleasure and drinking inspiration. From berries to herbs, vodka to tequila, I hope you find something here that you like; there’s even two non-alcoholic cocktails in there, too. The links to the drinks are at the bottom of the post, where you can find the recipe and learn the story behind each cocktail’s creation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here’s to a wonderful summer!

And cheers to you—thanks for reading!

Cocktails Get Local: Shaking Up a Watermelon Margarita (Video)

Watermelon Margarita | #pkwayNothing beats the cool crunch of biting into a juicy watermelon during the dog days of summer, its pink juices running down the sides of your mouth.

Though shaking up puréed watermelon along with tequila, fresh citrus, and a few other ingredients comes awfully close.

Here’s a handy five-minute how-to video for you, just in time for the long weekend.

In my opinion, a watermelon margarita on the rocks is quite possibly the perfect cocktail for a Mexican-themed summer party or a holiday weekend. (Or Cinco de Mayo. obviously.)

Or when you just need a little celebration all on your own.

Watermelon Margarita | PK Newby


Note. That big pot behind me? Yeah, that’s the tortilla soup, one of my favorite summer suppers made from freshly shucked corn. The recipe, with a goodly amount of detail and cooking photos, is here. Just in case you were wondering. Good match for the margarita, too.

Herb-Infused Strawberry Martini

Last year at this time I was on fire mixing up a whole slew of strawberry-inspired libations. Here’s the round-up:

Today’s girlie pink libation is a variant of last year’s tequila-based martini (“The Rachel”). But I made it for my vodka-loving husband a few days ago and it really was quite a different drink. thus deserving of its own post.


  • 5-6 strawberries, puréed (1.5 oz)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 1.5 oz triple sec
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2-1 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2-1 oz St. Germain

Shake everything together with ice and strain into a martini glass; use the lower amounts of simple syrup and St. Germain and adjust upward as desired for a sweeter drink. You’re good to go now as is; it’s delicious. But for complexity and flavor, garnish with a sprig of fresh herbs like mint, rosemary, thyme, or basil. I happened to have basil on hand through next time I would definitely use thyme or rosemary, just to keep things interesting. Whichever you use, as you sip on your drink, a subtle, herbaceous flavor will infuse the cocktail, and no special syrup is required.

Whatever your poison—vodka, tequila, bourbon, rum, or caçhaca—I’ve got you covered here at The Nutrition Doctor is At the Bar.

I mean, in the Kitchen.


If you’re a teetotaler (but then why are you reading this post?), you might enjoy my couldn’t-be-easier easy wild berry sun tea that I drink all summer long, any time of day.

Strawberry Cocktails Go Brazilian: Meet the Caipirinha

I tried a caipirinha for the first time many years ago when visiting Brazil, and appropriately so given it’s the country’s national cocktail. The drink is similar to the mojito, minus the mint. As well, the recipe uses cachaça, Brazil’s most popular liquor, in lieu of rum; both are made from sugar cane.

The basic caipirinha does not include strawberries, of course, so feel free to omit if you’re not into it. But I love my fruity concoctions and made this tasty cocktail to celebrate the arrival of strawberry season to Boston.

So grab your mortar and pestle and let’s get mixing!

Ingredients and Instructions

  • 1 lime, cut into eighths
  • 2 tsp superfine sugar
  • 2 oz cachaça
  • 1/2 oz St. Germain (optional)
  • 1-2 oz strawberries, puréed or finely mashed

Muddle the lime and sugar together until the fruit is crushed and the sugar is dissolved. Shake all ingredients together and pour into a rocks glass. Note that if you make a basic, non-berry caipirinha, you can muddle the limes and sugar at the bottom of the glass, add the remaining ingredients, mix with a spoon, and avoid a few dishes. But I find it’s easier to bring the ingredients together by breaking out my martini shaker.

Also, I like shaking cocktails.

Happy Friday!

Pomegranate Margarita Martini

Who said margaritas were just for summer?  

I adore avocados and always have them on hand, but a prominent display at the store last week led me to buy several more than usual. Add in a long work week and my love of margaritas and guacamole (video recipe here) and, next thing you know, I’ve thrown together an impromptu holiday happy hour for two, South-of-the-Border style.

So, if you’re looking for a festive cocktail to celebrate the holidays but aren’t a fan of the bubbly, this may be the drink for you. It’s a variation on two of my classics, The Holiday Diva (a pomegranate martini) and a blackberry margarita martini (“margatini”). Follow the same recipe as The Diva, substituting tequila for the bourbon, and you’re set to enjoy the season, Mexican style.

Because, for some people, nothing says “Happy Holidays!” like tequila.

Or something.

Pomegranate Margarita Martini

Pomegranate Champagne Cocktail: Here’s to You!

Just a short note to say “Happy Holidays!” to my readers. I am so grateful to you for reading, both in general and especially during this past month when I’ve been posting more frequently than usual to meet my year-end goals. (That’s also my way of saying I may also write a lot during these final days of the year if I can drag myself away from the family fun happening with my niece and nephew.)

I toast you with this pink pomegranate champagne cocktail. Just add a bit of pomegranate liqueur (or juice) to champagne and garnish with a few seeds for a tasty, pretty libation. It’s the perfect drink to celebrate the season as well as those around you who add so much to your lives.

Thank you.

Cucumber Basil Gimlet and its Teetotaler Cousin

It’s the end of August and the beginning of Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer. My Farm to Fork class at Harvard starts on Tuesday and I’m currently contemplating getting a treadmill desk for my home office. My horrid back injury consumed half my summer but is finally becoming a distant memory: I’m back to running and am starting to think about the 2013 Boston Marathon. Autumn is on the horizon and my schedule is filling with cooking demos, lectures, television interviews, and local food events. And let’s not forget the beginning of the 2012-2013 artistic season, including my own company’s epic 15th anniversary. September is a wonderful month in New England, and lots of exciting projects await.

So what does all of that have to do with today’s post, you ask?

Nothing, nothing at all. Just saying.

Even so, it’s been enough time since my last cocktail post and today seems the right occasion, beginning of the holiday weekend and all. Honestly, I tend to prefer fruit-based cocktails, like my all-time favorite raspberry gimlet or blackberry margatini. However, I had some crisp farmers’ market cucumbers and basil simple syrup in the fridge, so I decided to venture into the world of vegetable-based cocktails. And, when I had leftover purée, I created my first ever mocktail to give my teetotaling friends something fun to make, too. Here’s the recipe.

Create a fresh cucumber and lime purée. Roughly chop one cuke and squeeze the juice from one lime into the bowl, or more if you prefer a tarter drink. (Note: I pretty much never peel produce to retain the fiber and texture and reduce food waste.) Use a hand blender to create a smooth mixture. For some body, use the mixture as is. For a pulpless drink, strain before using.

For the cocktail, shake 1 oz purée with 1/2 oz basil simple syrup and 1-2 oz gin—how strong do you like your drinks?—and strain into a martini glass. You could use simple syrup sans basil if you prefer; non-gin drinkers could substitute vodka. I’ve seen recipes that use St. Germain or top with prosecco or soda, but I kept my version classic, which was delicious and bright.

For the mocktail, pour 1 oz of the mixture into a tall rocks glass and top with sparkling water of your choice: lime seltzer is a natural fit, which I selected. Stir and taste. For a sweeter version with more flavor, add 1/2 oz basil simple syrup.

As I said, this was the first time I made a veggie cocktail, and I found it a nice change from my usual fruity-slash-girlie concoctions. Honestly, though, I was way more excited by the mocktail. Something a bit different than my usual sun tea, I adored this refreshing drink and it’s the mocktail I’ll likely serve next time I entertain. Essentially, it’s an elegant homemade soda with only a tiny amount of added sugar from the simple syrup, which could easily be omitted if you like.

Cocktail Confession

Sure, it’s Friday at the time of this writing, but I actually mixed up this drink Monday past on a whim. Yes, I confess, it was a Monday that called for a martini. Er, gimlet.

I then sat down in the dining room to watch the sunset and placed my drink on a makeshift coaster, Bon Appétit magazine. Took a photo, tweeted it, and next thing you know, the editor-in-chief retweets it, as do a few of his followers. Eeek. Had I anticipated that, I would have taken a nicer photo where I hadn’t already drunk a few sips. Minus my fingerprints all over the glass.

Ah, well. Call me, Adam!

Summer Sangria with Stone Fruit, Berries, and Mint

Looking for the perfect libation for a sultry summer evening? Whether or not served with traditional Spanish tapas, sangria is a light summertime drink that takes advantage of farmers’ market flora. Made with either white or red wine, it celebrates fruit in a way that few other alcoholic drinks do. While I generally prefer red wine sangria to white wine, they’re both delicious and the white wine variant works particularly well in the summer, allowing the pretty colors and lovely flavors of the fruit and herbs to shine.

Summertime Sangria

  • 1 bottle white wine
  • 2 oz triple sec or other orange liqueur
  • 2 oz apricot brandy
  • 1 oz St. Germain (optional)
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blackberries, halved
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • Seltzer or sparkling water (optional)
  • Mint sprigs (garnish)

Chop the peaches and cut the blackberries in half if they are especially large, if you like. Slice the lemon. Place all fruits at the bottom of a pitcher, pour in the all of the alcoholic liquids, and stir gently. Ideally, you will refrigerate the mixture for a few hours to let the flavors come together. To serve, pour over ice and top with ~1 oz of seltzer if desired. Garnish the glass with a lemon slice, mint sprig, and whole blackberry.

Mixologist’s Notes

There are so many recipes for sangria out there from which to choose, and each will yield a slightly different result.  Below are a few things to consider if you’re looking around your liquor cabinet and fruit offerings to make it at home.

Selecting Wine. The bottle of wine you use makes a difference. The traditional wine is a Spanish dry white. I actually used French last night only because that’s what I had around; worked just fine. A dry, crisp Sauvingnon blanc also works quite nicely here. Really, any basic table white could work as long as it’s fairly well balanced and on the dry side. What you don’t want is a big oaky chardonnay or an unusual varietal like, say, reisling, gewürztraminer, or anything like that.

Choosing Mixers. The mixers in my recipe are selected to create a lively sangria, rather than a white wine spritzer or white wine-cum-fruit juice drink concoction. In my view, the key is to choose liqueurs that compliment – not overpower – the color and flavors of the wine. For example, whereas I use triple sec in both my white and red wine sangria recipes, I use apricot brandy in the white version and blackberry brandy (or some such) in the red: blackberry brandy would add delicious flavor to the white wine version, but it’s a stronger flavor that will turn the sangria a bit too pink for my taste, whereas the apricot keeps it on the white(r) side and also pairs well with the stone fruit (e.g., peaches). Note: Many sangria recipes call for sugar, but I get my sweetness from the mixers and fruit. If your fruit turns out being less juicy and/or you find yourself puckering later you can always add a bit of super fine sugar or agave nectar but try it my way first.

Fruit Notes. I selected this particular mix for its gorgeous balance of colors, flavor, and texture; it was also what was in season and at the market here in New England. (Not including the lemon, of course.) I’ve used raspberries in the past as well as other stone fruits such as apricots and plums; all are fabulous. I’d use the same fruit mix here in a summer red wine sangria (and use blackberry brandy as aforementioned), by the way, while keeping the some of the more traditional fruits for wintertime (e.g., oranges, apples).

Garnish and Serve. Spoon some fruit into the bottom of the glass then pour the sangria over ice. Top it with a bit of seltzer if desired to add lightness and effervescence. I find the seltzer step optional and do it only when the whim strikes. If you’ve never made sangria before, I recommend tasting it before adding seltzer, which will dilute the flavors and really isn’t necessary. That said, it adds a bit of bubbly that can sometimes be nice. (Don’t add it along with the other liquids then put in the fridge as it will go flat; you need to add it to each glass individually right before serving.) A mint sprig adds a bright herbal note and balances the sweetness. I wouldn’t necessarily add it to the whole mixture before refrigerating, as it’s not a traditional ingredient and could overpower the other flavors. But, hey, it was 90-plus degrees last night, and I thought it worked well. (I’d never done it before, actually.)

Looks pretty, too.