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X-Planations: Westchester Chef Peter X. Kelly Stirs Up Cocktails

The Bill cocktail.
The Bill cocktail. Photo Credit: Peter X. Kelly

YONKERS, N.Y. -- If you haven’t noticed we are in the throes of a cocktail renaissance. It started about 10 years ago and it continues to grow.

Certainly the "Mad Men" series has had an impact but "Sex and the City" probably was the kick-start. Seeing attractive women sipping colorful cocktails in beautiful settings must have inspired a new generation of cocktail enthusiasts.

However, it’s not necessary to head to the hottest club or restaurant to partake in this “Cocktail Culture."  Enjoying a well-made libation in the comfort of your own home with someone you truly care about rather than the anonymous person sitting next to you at the swanky lounge can be much more satisfying.

About two years ago I released what I believe is the best vodka being made in the world today. The vodka is made in Europe in the tiny country of Slovenia and this spirit makes truly wonderful cocktails. When I started the project of creating the recipe that would become Slovenia Vodka I put a small tasting panel together which included Bill Murray and Mikhail Baryshnikov. Both Bill and Mikhail love a well-made spirit and both have their favorites however Slovenia Vodka became their cocktail of choice because of its purity.

I still prefer my Slovenia Vodka straight from the freezer served in a small glass with just a twist of lime.

Here are a couple of terrific cocktails you can make at home for any festive event:

The Peter (Orange Love)

  • 3 ounces chilled Slovenia vodka
  • 3 ounces Pellegrino Blood Orange soda
  • Orange peel

Pour 3 oounces Slovenia Vodka into a martini glass or high ball. Top with soda and add a twist of orange.

The Mikhail (Ginger & Meyer Lemon Martini)

  • Slovenia vodka, Ginger & Meyer lemon syrup
  • 2 oounces Slovenia vodka
  • ½ oounces Triple-Sec
  • 1 ounce Ginger & Meyer Lemon Syrup
  • 1 lemon twist (for garnish)

Assemble all ingredients into glass shaker. shake over ice; strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

The Bill (Peach/Blackberry Punch)

  • 2 ounces Slovenia vodka
  • ½ ounce blackberry brandy
  • 1 ounce Peach Puree
  • 1 dash fresh lemon  juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Blackberries

Fill shaker glass with ice; pour vodka, peach puree, blackberry brandy into shaker glass and stir with cocktail spoon; pour into rocks glass. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with fresh blackberries.

Next Week: "My Favorite Restaurants"

This column is a continuing series by Chef Peter X. Kelly of Xaviars Restaurant Group which runs every Thursday. Go here for last week's story.

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