SVEDKA Debuts New Pure Infusions Sugar-Free Flavored Vodka

A Guide To Sugar-Free, Low-Carb Drinking & 5 Cocktails (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Reducing your sugar intake can be tough, especially if you’re on one of those “no fun allowed” diets.

One thing that I really miss when I’m dieting or otherwise cutting out sugar is alcohol. But the good news is that many folks can still have the occasional drink even while watching calories, sugar and/or carbs. You just have to be smart about it and make sure to save yourself a few extra calories/carbs if you know you’re going to indulge.

As they say, nothing in excess, including moderation.

If you’re strict on your sugar and carbs, you can still have the occasional drink or two, but note that doing so might slow down your results if you are dieting, since your liver will be too busy processing the booze to do much else, not to mention the added calories in each drink.

Low-carb folks, keep in mind that your alcohol tolerance is going to be significantly lower compared to carb eaters, so make sure to take it easy, and definitely don’t drive.

Dry wines (non-sweet reds like Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon and non-flavored brut champagne are best, though some whites like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc also work), non-flavored straight liquor and lite beer are acceptable as well. Here’s some more info about sugar free drink recipes:

Still, you might miss the fun of crafting delicious cocktails. If you get tired of vodka/La Croix, gin/diet tonic, and whiskey/Diet Coke, you might enjoy some of these magical low-sugar, low-carb drinks. Following are some sugar-free cocktails you would enjoy:

1. The Clyfford Still​​

This luscious coconut milk drink is absolute heaven with a few modifications: Instead of syrup, lightly smash up to a tablespoon of cardamom pods, and gently muddle them with the lime and gin. You can also add a few drops/sprinkles of your favorite sugar-free sweetener to taste. Feel free to leave out the turmeric, and if you are so inclined, you can top with coconut-flavored seltzer water (like La Croix). Absolutely delicious!

2. Extra Dirty Martini

Just keep the dry vermouth to a minimum — well under ½ ounce, ideally — and you should be fine. A good way to do this is to swirl the vermouth in the glass like so and leave it out of the mixing cup. If you order one of these out, keep an eye on the bartender and make sure they don’t load the drink up with vermouth.

3. Hot Buttered Rum

High-fat, low-carb people will love this one! This smooth, creamy, boozy drink is sort of like desserty Bulletproof coffee. In fact, this is also great in coffee too, with or without the alcohol. Note that if you’re really strict on your carb count, liquid sweetener is going to be lower carb than the powdered stuff. Just read the labels, do the math, and you’ll be all right.

4. Vodka Mojito

For some reason, fruity flavors like lime do a great job masking the “fake” flavors of non-sugar sweeteners, making this refreshing, sugar-free concoction an absolute delight and a dead ringer for the real thing.

5. Caribbean Rum Punch

Want to really shake things up? If you miss those lovely tiki drinks, this two-rum cocktail, complete with the genius additions of two different kinds of water-enhancing drops plus lime juice and sugarless soda, brings an absolutely lovely flavor. Keep in mind that dark rum sometimes has the slightest bit of sugar added to it (likely well under 2 grams of sugar per ounce), so it’s going to be low sugar and carb but not totally devoid of them.

6. Moscow Mule

This cocktail is pure magic! The secret is that sugar-free ginger syrup that gets added to diet ginger ale for a brilliant way to replicate the sugary, spicy original. This drink is also delicious with whiskey for an Irish Mule or bourbon for a Kentucky Mule, though be aware that like rum, some whiskies have trace amounts of added sugar in them, if you’re really sensitive to that stuff.

Featured Image: Pexels / Embedded Image: Wine FollyTags: buttered rum, caribbean rum, caribbean rum punch, cocktails, diet cocktails, dirty martini, drinks, gateway drinks, hot buttered rum, hot rum, keto drinks, low carb, Mojito, moscow, Moscow Mule, mule, occasional drink, Rum, skinny alcohol drinking, sugar free cocktail, sugar free drink, vodka, vodka mojito
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9 New Old-Fashioneds You Should Be Making (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Feeling elegant? I don’t know about you, but I’m in the mood for a sleek, fun cocktail that’s not only easy to make but gives my guests the false impression that I’m super classy.

Enter the old-fashioned, a simple yet classic and perfectly delicious cocktail.

It’s strong, but you can make it as sweet as you like. If you’ve never tried one, you should definitely whip one up. Here’s how to make the classic recipe.

But of course, if you’ve had a few of these in your day, you might be looking to branch out. Here are some delicious ways to do that!

1. Blood Orange Old-Fashioned

It’s a small change, but a bit of this dark, sweet citrus will bring your old-fashioned to a totally new level. This is a great one for those who don’t like to deviate too much from the classics but want to try something new.

2. Spicy Old-Fashioned

A hot pepper paired with some bitters, sweet maple syrup and bold anejo tequila (or mezcal if you’re in the mood). If you can’t find a Fresno chile, you can use a serrano or jalapeno — or even a habanero if you’re feeling wild. 

3. Grilled Pineapple Old-Fashioned

Make sure your pineapple is plenty sweet. (Also, if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, muddle in a bit of brown sugar.) Want to highlight the smokier side of this charred cocktail? Rinse your glass with mezcal or peaty scotch like so.

4. Apple Cider Rum Old-Fashioned

If you miss the cozy, spiced flavors of autumn, you can’t do much better than this gingery, brown sugar-laden old-fashioned that has amazing apple cider ice cubes! Here’s how to make your own ginger liqueur.

5. Gin Old-Fashioned

Gin lovers, there’s a place for you at this table too! There are a bunch of different ways to make this cocktail — whether you like it classic or sweeter — but using Genever is surely the best bet!

6. Sour Cherry Old-Fashioned

A subtle way to mix things up: Swap out your usual bright red maraschino cherries for the sour variety and add strips of lemon zest for a tart yet sweet spin on your favorite.

7. Grilled-Peach Old-Fashioned

What does every old-fashioned secretly want? A big, juicy charred peach and some fresh herbs of course!

8. Chai Honey Old-Fashioned

Chai lovers will absolutely adore how spiced this infused bourbon is. Who would have thought it was so simple to make such a fancy drink?

9. Bacon Bourbon Old-Fashioned

Everybody knows that bacon makes everything better, and this bacon fat-infused bourbon is certainly no exception! And bacon + maple + orange is always a good idea, right?

Featured Image: Sam Howzit/Flickr

Tags: cocktails, drink recipe, Old Fashioned cocktail, old fashioned recipe, Thirsty Thursday
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11 Enchanting Harry Potter Cocktails (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Accio Cocktails!

If you want to do something a little extra fun for your next cocktail night, why not mix up some boozy Harry Potter-themed potions? Here are some of our favorites harry potter cocktails that are easy enough for even Muggles to make:

1. The Goblet of Fire 

“Eternal glory! That’s what awaits the student who wins The Triwizard Tournament, but to do this that student must survive three tasks. Three extremely dangerous tasks.” – Dumbledore

And yes, you do get to light this drink on fire.

2. Polyjuice Potion

This stunningly green cocktail tastes of fizzy, sweet sherbet, but the vodka packs a serious punch — maybe even enough to make you feel like you’re someone else, if you drink enough of it.

3. The You Know Who

This bittersweet and herbaceous drink is seriously intense and darkly appealing, sort of like the most notorious evil wizard of all time.

4. Butterbeer Five Ways

From spiked to alcohol free, from bubbly to creamy, there’s something here for everyone.

5. Felix Felicis (Liquid Luck)

“If taken in excess, it causes giddiness, recklessness, and dangerous overconfidence.” – Professor Slughorn
Note: You can also make something similarly adorable with Goldschlager and cream soda, for a lighter, fizzier take if you’re feeling lucky.

6. Amortentia (Love Potion)

With sweet fruit, tart wine and a touch of the herbal, botanical flavors of gin and aperol, you’ll be completely head over heels infatuated with this one.

7. Ogden’s Olde Firewhiskey

If you’re looking to shoot or sip something that will pleasantly sear your throat like a real adult, Ogden’s is the way to go!

8. Patronus Punch

Obviously, you’ll need to serve up some chocolate frogs with this one … just in case dementors are close:

9. Chocolate Frog Jelly Shot

If you’d like a sweet yet boozy dessert to help keep the dementors at bay, this is definitely the way to go. The vodka packs a serious punch (you can also swap it out for brandy, if you’d prefer), while the Irish cream liqueur, amaretto and melted vanilla ice cream ensure that it is a ridiculously indulgent and all-around delicious treat.

10. The Golden Snitch Shooter

This sweet, thick, golden dessert of a shooter has actual gold in it! If you really want to go all-out, print out wings (here) and glue them onto your shot glasses.

11. Pumpkin Juice Cocktail

If you love apple cider, this is the perfect drink for you! Note: If you’re not into vodka, whiskey or brandy would also be quite tasty here.

Featured Photo Credit: Simply PotterTags: cocktail recipes, cocktails, Harry Potter, Harry Potter cocktails, themed cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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My Kitchen Rules: Pancake Bacon Dippers And Bourbon Jam Cocktail

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By Cooking Panda

Pancake Bacon Dippers

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 slices bacon, cooked
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, add flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Whisk.
  2. Add eggs, melted butter and milk to dry ingredients. Whisk until fully combined. Pour batter into a squeeze bottle for easy pouring. You can also use a ziplock bag with one edge cut off or a piping bag.
  3. Heat skillet or griddle over medium-heat and grease with cooking spray or butter. Squeeze out batter into thick lines, making sure it’s about the length of your cooked bacon. Place one piece of bacon on each pancake, and cover with more batter.
  4. Cook first side until edges start to bubble and brown, then flip. About 2 minutes per side.
  5. Serve with warm maple syrup and enjoy!

Bourbon Jam Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tablespoon blackberry jam
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 ounces Bourbon
  • Club soda

Directions

  1. Combine blackberry jam, agave, lemon juice and bourbon in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  2. Strain over ice and top with club soda. Garnish with lemon wedge, serve and enjoy!
Tags: bacon, Bourbon, breakfast, brunch, cocktails, My Kitchen Rules, pancakes, recipes
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Foursquare Will Help You Cope With Election Day

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By Cooking Panda

In case you didn’t realize, Election Day is November 8, and it’s approaching fast. Whether you’re on one side or the other, you’re probably feeling pretty anxious about the outcome.

The best thing to do after voting is probably to stop and grab a drink. We’ll most likely all need one, and according to Huffington Post, Foursquare has us covered. The company has developed a map, from which you can enter your home address and then the map reveals all of the nearest bars. This should come in handy when you’re just too anxious to watch polling results and you need to take the edge off.

Currently, some states aren’t on the map yet, but don’t fret if this affects you. States such as Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire will be added once the polling data has been collected. You can count on Foursquare.

If you’re not sure about the company’s accuracy, you need only know that Foursquare, according to Wersm (We are Social Media), is “the number one social geo-localization service and as such it maintains a database of over 60 million venues.”

It works similarly to other crowd-sourced data sets, like Quora, Stack Overflow and Amazon in the way that it assigns “superusers” based on their actions and tenure on the app. This means that just as superusers are rewarded, malicious users are punished by the company. Because of the algorithms in place and the user accountability system, Foursquare’s “database is probably one of the most accurate crowd-sourced way[s] to locate any business in the world.”

Wow, that’s impressive. It also means that you can trust Foursquare to know your polling place and accurately provide you with that information. Once you’ve got that down, you can also count on the app to point out all nearby watering hole locations accurately. That should help you cope with the rest of your Election Day 2016, which will undoubtedly be a very bad day for about half of the United States’ population, whichever way it goes.

You better believe I’ll be doing my due diligence and researching where I’ll be going.

Sources: Huffington Post, Wersm / Photo credit: Buffalo Wild Wings/Instagram

Tags: bars, Beer, cocktails
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Frighten Your Guests With These 10 Spooky Cocktails

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By Cooking Panda

Get into the Halloween spirit with some spooky seasonal cocktails!

If you’re throwing a party for the Oct. 31 festivities, now is the right time to start experimenting and perfecting your cocktail menu to avoid any last-minute scrambling.

If you aren’t throwing a party, we can’t really help you think of an excuse, but we still think you should try these visually stunning and mouthwateringly delicious drinks this Thirsty Thursday. Cheers!

1. The Blackbeard

This rich, chocolaty cocktail is truly unique! If you aren’t crazy about adding in a couple drops of squid ink for the dark color, you can always use food coloring — or just leave it out, if you’re the kind of person who hates having fun.

2. Brain Cocktail

Mix peach schnapps, Irish cream (like Bailey’s) and grenadine, and you’ll end up with this sweet but creepy concoction. Similarly, you can add blue curacao for the better-known Alien Brain Hemorrhage shot (recipe here).

3. Polyjuice Potion

This creamy lime fizz will help you channel the spirit of whomever you want to be for Halloween. If you’re scared the potion will turn you into a cat, there are a few other Harry Potter-themed drinks under that recipe which you might like.

4. The Weeping Woman

A little properly handled dry ice will make any drink festive, but how can you pass up on this lovely version of a Pisco sour?

5. Dark and Stormy Death Punch

You can float these edible eyeballs in pretty much any cocktail you want — just make sure the tangy tartness of lychee complements your drink of choice.

6. Eyeball Highball

If you have your sights set on martinis and other dry drinks, consider going the radish-and-olive-eyeball route.

7. Bloody Orange Cocktail

This drink had us at “raspberry syrup” and “syringe,” but you can probably use grenadine to keep things simple.

8. Candy Corn Jell-O Shots

Candy corn haters, don’t worry — these adorable Jell-O shots taste just like orange creamsicles, except that they may get you hammered.

9. Goblin Mimosas

With black vodka and orange juice, this drink is really more of a screwdriver, but it looks so cute in a champagne flute with those little blueberry eyeballs, so we’ll give it a pass.

10. Werewolves of London

Feeling really adventurous? Channel your inner vampire and get your hands on some fresh pig’s blood. (Make sure it’s fresh and safe to drink raw.) Honestly, it sounds pretty tasty, with Pimm’s, pineapple juice and a splash of coconut syrup to sweeten and freshen up the savory flavor.

Featured Photo Credit: Sam Henderson/HGTV

Tags: cocktails, Halloween cocktail, Halloween drinks, Halloween party, Thirsty Thursday
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You Won’t Believe It, But This Orangutan Can Mix Cocktails (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

Naong, an orangutan at a Swedish zoo, has helped scientists make a new discovery: Humans aren’t the only species who can forecast whether something will taste good or bad. It was believed before this finding that only humans could predict good and bad flavor combinations, but Naong has showcased drink-mixing skills proving otherwise.

According to New Scientist, Naong was given three different juices: cherry, rhubarb and lemon, and also apple cider vinegar, to taste and mixed as he pleased. He tried every possible pairing and learned that he hated vinegar (no surprise there), wasn’t too crazy about lemon, but loved cherry. His ability to coordinate flavors goes to show he could be quite a skilled bartender.

Interestingly, when cocktail mixtures he hadn’t tasted before were placed in front of him, he consistently chose those including flavors he already knew he liked. As Munchies reports, this is considered “affective forecasting,” and it makes sense.

Swedish scientist Gabriela-Alina Sauciuc claims that this ability is evolutionarily helpful because “having to make trial-and-error choices for every new experience — without considering related foreknowledge — could be risky and costly.”

We think it’s also helpful for mixing drink cocktails!

Sources: New Scientist, Munchies / Photo credit: Thomas Persson via New Scientist

Tags: Bartending, cocktails, Orangutan
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Unwind And Relax With These 11 Summery Blueberry Cocktails

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By Cooking Panda

Blueberry season is upon us! In honor of National Blueberry Month, we thought that we’d take full advantage of sales on the sweet superfruit and stock up. What better way to unwind than with a refreshing, slightly-sweet, antioxidant-rich cocktail?

1. Lemon, Lime and Blue Caipirinha

If you love refreshing, fizzy cocktails, you’ll love this Caipirinha with fresh blueberries muddled right in.

2. Beauregarde’s Breakfast

Bourbon and blueberry preserves are an unexpected match made in heaven. You have to try this!

3. Very Berry Cosmo

Blueberry vodka works great in a Cosmopolitan, although any berry or citrus vodka will go great, too. If you want to go full blueberry, you can use blueberry juice in place of cranberry for an even sweeter treat.

4. Blueberry Jam and Prosecco Cocktail

Sweet, tart, herbal and refreshing.

5. Blueberry Martini Recipe

If you like sweet martinis, this blueberry-mango juice one will be right up your alley.

6. French Quarter Smash

What goes best with moonshine and brandy? Blueberry preserves and mint, of course!

7. Blueberry Smash

If you prefer using fresh blueberries to preserves but love the berry-mint combination, this vodka and St. Germain drink might be more up your alley.

8. Blueberry Margarita

We love our margaritas, and it’s always great to try a new spin on them. The fresh blueberries and orange bitters really elevate this drink.

9. Spicy Pineapple Blueberry Margarita

Want something with a little more of a kick? Try this smoky-sweet version with pineapple juice and chipotle.

10. Blueberry Rum Smash

Simple. Light. Delicious.

11. Blueberry Peach Mojito

Peach preserves and blueberry syrup take the already-delicious mojito to a new level of deliciousness. Perfect for a hot summer day.

Featured Photo Credit: Matt Taylor-Gross/Saveur

Tags: blueberry, cocktail recipes, cocktails, Summer drinks, Thirsty Thursday
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Orange Creamsicle JELL-O Shots

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By Cooking Panda

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Avengers Drinks

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By Cooking Panda

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8 Stupendously Refreshing Champagne Cocktails

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By Cooking Panda

Sometimes you just need something bright, crisp and bubbly – and let’s face it, champagne is virtually never a bad choice when you’re drinking. In honor of Thirsty Thursday, we have some super refreshing, super delicious champagne cocktails you can make that will really delight you.

1. Champagne cocktail

Simply called the Champagne Cocktail, this is a classic. Bitters and sugar with a lemon twist really amp up the flavor and give champagne a completely new feel. You are more than welcome to float a tablespoon or so of good cognac on top!

2. Mimosa

Ah yes, the breakfast of champions. Consider adding Grenadine, Grand Marnier, or orange bitters for an exciting pop of flavor.

Similarly, you have the Bellini – Prosecco with peach puree – and the poinsettia – champagne with cranberry. The moral of the story? Mix champagne with fruit juice (grapefruit, anyone?) to your heart’s content. Want to know more about making the perfect mimosa? The link above has everything you want to know and more.

3. Death in the Afternoon

This wonderfully named drink was supposedly invented by Ernest Hemingway. His instructions say to drink three to five in one sitting, although we won’t judge you if you don’t heed his advice. Pretty tasty though.

4. Air Mail

airmail cocktail recipe

It seems that you can put rum, lime juice and honey in just about anything and it will taste good. Champagne is no exception.

5. French 75

You might have had this classic before at really fancy prohibition-style bars. Good news – it’s easy to make at home!

6. Black Velvet

Yes, you can absolutely mix beer and champagne, and it’s delicious and refreshing. You’ll want to use Guinness or a similar dry stout for the best flavor and texture combo.

7. Barbotage

Cognac (regular brandy works fine too) and Grand Marnier is a brilliant addition to your champagne glass – give it a try!

8. Atomic Cocktail

You might not think it, but vodka, brandy and sherry are great with Brut champagne. This is a great drink if you want something a little stronger, as it can really sneak up on you. Remember to keep the flavors balanced – if you use a sweeter brandy, go for a drier sherry and vice versa. Or, you know, whatever you have lying around.

Tags: Champagne, cocktails, Thirsty Thursday
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13 Food And Drink Recipes For The Perfect Game Of Thrones Party

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By Cooking Panda

Want to throw the best Game of Thrones party in all the seven kingdoms? You’re in luck. We put together some of our favorite food and drink recipes fit for the rightful ruler of the Iron Throne.

Enjoy the festivities!

Here’s what you should make to be prepared for Sunday’s premier:

1. Ned Stark’s Head Cake Pops

The resemblance is uncanny!

2. The Hound’s Roasted Chicken

We bet he’d kill for one of these.

3. Tyrell’s Apple Rose Tart

You can make this cheesecake-apple tart even faster than Margaery’s first marriage ended.

4. Cersei’s Baked Apples

Fool your guests into thinking that you spent hours on this quick, simple dessert that wouldn’t be out of place in King’s Landing.

5. Salt Bread (Pan De Sal)

Guests in Westeros are guaranteed bread, salt and safe passage. Why not offer your guests some pan de sal as a good faith promise that you won’t murder them at dinner?

6. Portable Chicken Pot Pie

Take a few to munch on while you’re traveling on the Kingsroad.

7. Baratheon Boar Ribs with Apple

This is truly a dish fit for a king after a long day of hunting and debauchery.

8. Dragon Egg Cookies

Targaryen-approved.

9. Mulled Wine

Winter is coming, and it’s important to stay warm.

Bonus points if you can find mead or medieval-style ale, but if you can’t or want something a little more fun, here are more cool cocktails you should try:

10. Valar Morgulis

All men must die, but this absinthe-laced drink might just show you the meaning of life.

11. White Walker

This drink could wake the dead…

12. Hot Blooded

You can make this hotter than the seven hells if you want it fit for a Targaryen.

13. House Stark Martini

Put on your warmest firs, because this frozen gin and tonic will make you feel like you’re at Castle Black.

Photo Credit: notyourmommascookie, Evan Swigart/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: cocktails, Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones recipe, Ned Stark cake pops, TV party
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