Many of us who are trying to lose weight and get healthy often associate drinking alcoholic beverages in general as bad for our health. However, when you stick to moderate amounts of booze (generally considered a glass or two daily), beer actually can provide many health benefits. From protecting against type 2 diabetes to helping with a person’s stress and blood pressure, there are many surprising health benefits to beer. So go down to your local brewery and indulge in a pint of your favorite ale, because here are just a few health benefits that beer provides. [Read more…]
Centuries old health claims once named vodka the “elixir of life”, but current health studies indicate that this may be a bit of a stretch. Alcohol may play some role in aiding heart health and reducing diabetes risk, but even in those cases the studies aren’t calling for an evening of vodka shots. Rather, when it comes to overall health, the value of alcohol tends to slant to favor wine. And like almost every other piece of medical advice, any proven relationship between alcohol and health depends on a relationship of moderation. [Read more…]
You may not see a plate of food sitting on a table in an art gallery like Park West Gallery, but cooking is an art. The culinary arts are so named but it takes an artistic ability to create the perfect plate. It isn’t just about cooking though, there is more to it than the mere making of a meal.
The Art That Goes Into Creating Food
Just like you blend the perfect color of paint from two or more paint colors, you also blend the perfect ingredients to create a great meal. Some dishes take extra delicate care, like making bread with yeast that needs a specific water temperature. Combining exact measurements isn’t always the key to the perfect dish though. [Read more…]
The term, “wine cellar” has more meaning for maintaining the beverage than simply because it’s an out of the way location to safely store bottles. The cellar was traditionally the ideal location to store wine for two very important reasons: protection from sunlight and steady cool temperatures. In today’s society, it’s possible to create ideal temperatures and climates almost anywhere. This promotes an optimum experience when you first uncork that vintage bottle. [Read more…]
The perfect barbecue is all about good food, good beer, and good friends. As far as good friends go, that’s up to you, but we can help with the food and drinks. Read on for some tips on just what to eat and drink at a barbecue. [Read more…]
Living in the city means that you have to keep up with the fast paced lifestyle most people have, which is the reason why once in a while we take a break to get away from it all. This quick and easy cocktail recipe reminds me of just that. Each refreshing sip transports me to a relaxing getaway. It is a perfect cooler for a warm night or a fun drink for afternoon barbecues.
For this recipe we used coconut flavored rum since it is readily available, but if you have fresh coconuts available, you can add coconut juice and meat to this drink and use white rum instead.
4 cups chopped fresh or frozen strawberries
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups ice cubes
2 cups coconut-flavored rum
Fresh coconut for garnish
Fresh strawberries for garnish
Place the strawberries, lemon juice and sugar in a blender. Blend it for one minute or until it is smooth. Add the ice cubes and rum and blend it for another 1-2 minutes or until the ice is crushed. Adjust the taste and place more rum if desired. Transfer the drink to a large pitcher or into individual glasses. Garnish with fresh coconuts and strawberries before serving.
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Have you ever heard of tequila shots with tabasco sauce? Apparently some people like taking alcoholic drinks to the next level, which is why I decided to choose a recipe that would serve the same purpose only that its taste is a bit lighter. The hot chili flakes is an interesting contrast to the mint leaves, making this refreshing drink unforgettable.
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
2 egg whites
16 fresh mint sprigs
2/3 cup lime cordial
2 limes, coarsely chopped
24 ice cubes
320ml white rum
Soda water or lemon flavored soda, for serving
Ground the chili flakes and sugar in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Transfer the ground mixture to a plate and set aside.
Whisk the egg whites in a medium sized bowl until it begins to froth. Turn the glasses upside down and dip it into the egg whites and then place the coated rims into the sugar and chili mixture to rim the glasses. Repeat this with the remaining glasses.
Crush the ice using a rolling pin and place equal parts of mint, lime, cordial and ice in the serving glasses. Pour some rum and soda water into them. Slightly mix. Serve immediately.
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“There are only two absolutes in life: friends and vodka. And the best times usually involve both” – Unknown
For those who don’t know, yesterday (October 4th) was National Vodka Day. This famous drink is considered as the national drink of Russia, Poland, Sweden, Finland and many other countries. Its popularity has spread across the globe and it is now the widely consumed hard liquor in the United States because its neutral taste allows it be mixed with different drinks such as juices, sodas and even energy drinks to name a few. Moreover, it is also very interesting to know that despite its intoxicating tendencies, the smell does not stick to your breath.
Vodka is made of ethanol, water and other ingredients such as potatoes, beets, molasses, sugar cane, grains and fruits. These ingredients are fermented and then it goes through multiple distillation processes to remove impurities. The procedures may differ depending on the brewery, but charcoal is the most common filter as it removes unpleasant tastes and harmful chemicals. Nowadays brewers prefer to create pure vodka instead of masking the impurities with various flavors.
This drink has a magical power. It strengthens the weak, and revives those who have fainted. Those tired after work and physical activity can return their life forces by this drink much sooner than by nourishment. … It works as a diuretic, an appetizer, an antitoxin..
— Carolus Linnaeus, Vodka in the Hands of a Philosopher
Beyond being an alcoholic beverage, vodka has other uses. It was once marketed for medicinal purposes and called aqua vitae or “water of life”. This started when alchemists from the medieval ages experimented with minerals and different kinds of produce to find an elixir that will grant eternal youth.
Back in the 17th century they believed that this magical drink gave them strength, energy, vitality and happiness (which are all side effects of being drunk as we all know). The Absolut vodka website says that “it was a medicine that cured everything from colic to plague”. It served as an antiseptic, anesthetic and antibiotic too. Vodka was used to clean wounds and given to patients before and after surgical procedures.
Nowadays vodka is often taken as a drink or used for cooking. Surprisingly, it also has household uses. It can be used as a multi-purpose cleaner for removing odors, stains, fighting molds and mildew. I would suggest that you use the cheap type of course. I don’t think you’d enjoy using Belvedere, Absolut or Grey Goose to scrub your floors right?
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I personally use vodka for cooking especially when I prepare seafood, since it removes the “fishy” taste thus making the food more aromatic. Family and friends often call these dishes “drunken seafood”. Vodka penne or spicy sausage and penne pasta are the most common recipes that use this ingredient, but there are others such as vodka lemon chicken and even vodka tiramisu.
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As we all know alcoholic beverages should be consumed in moderation because too much can lead to accidents or health problems. With this in mind, let us toast to this brilliant crystal clear drink that has given us great drinks, great food and great times despite the hangovers. What a good excuse to celebrate and have a martini or my favorite, vodka cranberry. Cheers to drinking, cooking and eating with vodka today!
This refreshing drink is perfect for hot days. Feel free to add as much fruit as you like. It is also a good idea to include some cucumber slices to make it more refreshing than it already is. Apple cider or light sparkling wine instead of soda water is another option. I would definitely suggest fruity flavors like zinfandel, as it can make this drink more interesting.
1 cup powdered pink lemonade
4 cups cold water
1 apple, sliced
1 orange, sliced into rings
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 cans soda water
Combine the powdered lemonade and water in a large pitcher. Mix well until the powder is dissolved. Add the sliced oranges and apples. Stir in the mint leaves. Lastly, pour in the soda water. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to let the flavors set. Add ice cubes and serve.
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Well, summer must be just about out the door now as all this rain hasn’t stopped for the past few days. Good bye summer sun and hello rain puddles! I have only hit the beach once this season and that certainly sounds kinda sad being a local in an archipelago that has 7,100 islands to get lost in. Island girl stuck in the city in the heat of the summer season. So much for getting a tan in those new bikinis I just bought. Ha! Well, I can always sit out in my garden in my two piece-kinis and sun myself out starfished on my lawn, eh? I always did that too , but this year, it seemed each day was a little too rushed for me to even take the time to just sit out and tan myself in my garden.
Funny thing is, when I used to do that … my neighbours always have this sudden urge to clean their second floor windows, patch their leaky roof , trim their tress and pick off fruit from their tall trees. What is that all about , yeah? Haha … oh well.
Seriously though, I was thinking of buying a sun lounge chair to put in my garden . It seems like a perfect garden fixture but I would feel bad leaving it out on its own to face the sun and rain if it was lined with cushies. Just me and a big floppy straw hat laid on the lounge sun chair sipping margaritas!
Oooh, did I just say Margaritas? I did , I certainly did. I have a love hate relationship with margaritas. I love ‘em at night but totally hate them in the morning!
How lovely it would be to be able to mix your own margarita at home and just pretend to run off to the beach and be chillin like a margarita villain. Oh , but you could !
There is always a simple way around these essential summer cocktails. Let me show you how it’s done and you can bring this frozen fruity indulgence with you whenever you feel like a drink to quench that summer thirst.
Easy Frozen Ritas
2 quarts ice cubes
1 (12 fluid ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate
12 fluid ounces tequila (measure with empty limeade can)
1/4 cup Cointreau
margarita or kosher salt for the rims
lime slices cut in half
1. Working in 2 batches, place 1 quart ice cubes in a blender. Add 1/2 can limeade, 6 ounces tequila and 2 tablespoons Cointreau. Blend at highest speed until drink is almost smooth. Pour into a pitcher and repeat with remaining ingredients. Store in the freezer.
2.To salt the margarita glasses, pour a single layer of salt on a salad plate. Moisten each glass rim with lime; dip each rim in the salt. Pour margaritas into each glass; garnish with lime. Serve immediately.
Pitcher-Perfect Margarita Recipe
For the margarita:
8 cups cold water
1 liter 100 percent agave tequila , chilled
2 (12-ounce) cans frozen limeade , thawed in the refrigerator
4 ounces frozen concentrated orange juice (1/2 cup), thawed
1/4 cup bottled lime juice
4 medium limes , each cut into 6 wedges
Rich Simple Syrup (optional)
1.For the margarita:
2.Place all the ingredients in a large pitcher or container (at least 1-gallon capacity) and stir to evenly combine. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Stir before serving.
4.Serve the mixed margarita up or over ice in a chilled margarita glass with a lime wedge.
5.Alternatively, to serve over ice with salt, fill a small, shallow dish with simple syrup and a second small, shallow dish with salt. Dip the rim of a glass in the simple syrup, then in the salt. (If you don’t have simple syrup, rub a lime wedge on the rim to moisten.) Add ice and top with the mixed margarita. Serve with a lime wedge.
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It’s been scorching hot these past few days. So I’ve been drinking a lot of refreshing drinks. Apart from those drinks you can buy in the supermarket, this recipe is surely on top of my list. It is easy to make and definitely good. You can even prepare a batch for storing in the fridge. It is also a great cooler for parties and barbecues.
1/4 cup shredded mint
3 peppermint teabags
2 cups boiling water
1L chilled clear apple juice (sweetened or unsweetened)
1 apple, chopped
Divide the mint leaves in an ice tray and fill it with water. Freeze it for 2 hours or until frozen.
Let the peppermint tea bags steep in a jug with boiling water. Let it stand for 10 minutes. After, remove the tea bags and refrigerate the tea for an hour or until it is chilled.
Combine the chilled peppermint tea and apple juice in a pitcher or pour them into individual glasses. Add the mint ice cubes and chopped apples. Serve chilled.
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After a Friday night of epic rampage, I have often wondered why my hangovers last for 2 days now. I must be getting old. Ha! It escapes me as to how I have managed to survive my party days just a few years ago when I can be drunk, hung over and still go to work all in the same day. Gone are those days now as I hurt like an old hag for 2 days even on just a few cocktails … then again, I usually end up mixing my drinks and forget to water down. So, heh … I only have myself to blame for my suffering.
Most times I just chug on Gatorade and pop a headache pill before I hit the sack when I get home from a long night and sometimes it does help, but I still feel awful for a while. When I was living in Canada, my ex always had some clamato juice on stand-by for those lovely hangovers from hell. I’ve never heard of such a concoction prior to living in the Great White North, but clamato juice is the main ingredient to a Bloody Caesar cocktail which is solely Canadian in origin. It is such a popular drink in Calgary that even the Mayor declared May 19, 2009 as Caesar Day.
Clamato is a mix of clam and tomato juice, manufactured independently by the Mott’s company. This drink is almost totally unheard of in the US, except for bars found along the Canadian border. It is similar to a Bloody Mary, except for the clamato which makes it a Bloody Caesar. It’s a pretty tasty and refreshing cocktail on a hot summer day, but it is also a popular cure for hangovers. Studies have also shown that drinking a Caesar together with an aspirin may help protect one’s stomach from aspirin damage.
What exactly you may wonder is in a Bloody Caesar that made it phenomenal in Canada? The simplest way to remember how to make this drink is to apply the “ one-two-three-four” rule. Let’s break that down to: 1- 1.5 oz of vodka , 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce, 3 dashes of salt and pepper, 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce and finished with 4-6 oz of clamato juice and a lot of ice. It is served in a glass rimmed with celery salt and garnished with a celery stalk and lime. Believe me, I have gotten hooked on this cocktail for years it’s just sad I can’t find clamato in this here country I am living in. Another popular drink in Calgary made with the same clamato mix is the Calgary Red eye. This is often my drink when the men are hangin’ out at home and drinking beer as I can’t really handle much beer. It is basically the same cocktail except that beer replaces vodka and is best served in a fruit jar or flask.
Truth be told, I often miss that laid back life. Living out in a sweet log cabin nestled in the quaint ski town of Canmore, Alberta. That time in my life has made so much difference as to who I am today. I don’t know how on earth I ever found my way over to the opposite side of the globe but looking back on it, I say serendipity had much to do with my Great White North adventure. I went to Canada to find myself and heal my broken soul after getting out of a traumatic 2 year marriage fail. And sure enough, I found my heart, my soul, my light and my joy. The Canadian Rockies holds a special place in my life as half my heart belongs to a wee Canadian boy.
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There’s nothing like a sunny day in your backyard with the barbecue pit smokin’, a floppy hat, some good tunes and a nice tall ice cold cocktail. If you’ve got a pool to go with it, then aren’t you just a lucky soul… if you don’t, there’s always that good ole reliable garden hose to cool off with.
Of course that ice filled cooling box would never be the same without your favourite beer brew to go with those tasty baby back ribs. Then again, why not take a beer break once in a while and mix up a tasty, fruity cocktail that reminds you of tropical sunny days in Tijuana. Go full on Ole’ with a pitcher of Sangria!
What exactly makes up this fruity punch that’s quite a popular drink in many Spanish/Latin countries?
The base of this drink is typically just your average inexpensive red wine. It is sweetened by simple syrup, honey or orange juice. Chopped fruit is added together with a touch of your choice of alcoholic spirit and mixed in with a lot of crushed ice in a jug or pitcher or a fancy looking carafe. You can get creative and just take the basics of this recipe and go from there. Take it a notch up. Sangria doesn’t necessarily have to be red. Make a rather pink sangria, or an orange and even go all the way and with a green sangria. The possibilities are endless!
So if you’re up for something different on your next barby, try this White Sangria for a bit of a twist on this lovely fun drink.
White Party Sangria
• 1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz) water
• 1 small bunch fresh mint
• 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) sugar
• 3 cinnamon sticks
• 3 1/4 cups (26 fl. oz) dry white wine
• 2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
• 2 small pears, cut into chunks
• 2 medium oranges, sliced crosswise
• 2 small lemons, sliced crosswise
• 3 cups (24 fl. oz) sparkling apple cider
• Mint leaves, to garnish (optional
Combine the water, mint leaves, sugar, and cinnamon in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once the mixture has cooled to room temperature, remove and discard the mint and cinnamon sticks.
Transfer the remaining mixture to a large serving bowl.
Add the wine, peaches, pears, and the orange and lemon slices to the serving bowl. Mix well, and refrigerate overnight. Immediately before serving, mix in the sparkling apple cider and lemon juice ice cubes.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves, if desired.
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Affogato is an Italian dessert that is made of ice cream and coffee. There are variations that also use Amaretto or other liqueurs and sometimes toppings like nuts. It is easy to prepare but extremely delicious. Here’s a recipe based on Giada de Laurentiis, but with a twist.
1/3 cup cold whipping cream
1/2 cup boiling water
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 cup Kahlua or hazelnut liqueur
1 pint vanilla ice cream or gelato
Refrigerate the whipped cream
Combine the water and espresso powder in a cup or heatproof glass. Mix well.
Place the ice cream in a bowl and beat it using an electric mixer until it is soft and soft peaks form.
Scoop the ice cream to separate glasses or bowls. Pour one shot of espresso and half a shot of Kahlua or hazelnut liqueur on each glass. Top it with whipped cream and garnish with nuts or chocolate bits if desired. Serve immediately.
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Bubble tea is a refreshing and healthy drink that everyone can enjoy. It comes in different flavors, but nothing beats this simple recipe that uses tea. Enjoy!
2 English breakfast tea bags
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup tapioca
1 cup milk
1 cup ice cubes
Soak the teabags in a heatproof pitcher or jug. Add the sugar and mix well until it is dissolved. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes to let the flavor infuse. After, remove the tea bags and place the pitcher in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Pour 1.5 liters of water in a heavy pot over high heat. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat the medium Add the tapioca. Cook it for 30-45 minutes or until the tapioca is tender and transparent. Stir occasionally. Drain and rinse the tapioca with cold running water. Transfer to a large pitcher or jug.
Combine the tea and tapioca in a large pitcher. Stir well.
Pour into individual glasses with ice. Serve immediately.
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Watermelons are delicious fruits that contain vitamin C and beta carotene. This fruit contains a lot of water that is why it is refreshing when chilled or taken as a fruit shake. The rind is normally discarded, but in China it is eaten pickled, stewed and stir-fried.
500g watermelon, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup white rum
1/4 cup triple sec liqueur
1 teaspoon grenadine
Combine the watermelon, pineapple juice, rum, triple sec, grenadine and crushed ice in a blender. Blend it for 2-3 minutes or until it is smooth. Add more grenadine if desired.
Pour the watermelon mai tai into individual glasses and garnish them with sliced watermelon. Serve immediately.
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Raspberries have antioxidants and they are rich in vitamin C and Vitamin B 1-3. They also contain folic acid, magnesium and many more.
This is a refreshing drink you can have on a hot day. Lemonade is a common drink, but feel free to mix it with other fruits to make interesting concoctions.
1/2 lb. fresh raspberries
6 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon lime juice
12 ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage
1 cup crushed ice
1 cup fresh raspberries
18 Mint leaves
Place the raspberries in a pot and pour in 3 cups of water. Make sure that the water covers the raspberries. Add more if 3 cups is not enough. Bring it to a boil. After, lower the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the berries are soft. Drain the berries and set aside 1/4 of the water. Put the berries in a strainer and mash them, place the juice in a small saucepan. Include the meat, but discard the skin. Pour in part of the reserved water. Add the sugar. Mix well and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer it for 5 minutes or until it is thick. Let it cool.
In a pitcher, combine 2 cups of raspberry concentrate, 3 cups of water, sugar, lime juice, lemon-lime beverage. Stir well. Add the ice. Pour into individual glasses and garnish with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.
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I recently discovered that having fresh fruits for breakfast on an empty stomach reduced my cravings during the day. Since then, I usually have fruit shakes or eat fresh fruit in the morning and then I would eat delicious breakfast meals for brunch.
Here’s a healthy and filling recipe that is perfect for people on the go or who are not fond of breakfast. I am a big fan of almond and soy milk, so you can use that instead of low fat milk. The tofu can make the drink quite heavy and provide protein, but there is still room for other ingredients that contain fiber like oatmeal.
For those who do not like the taste of tofu, there is no need to worry. You can barely taste the tofu because the coffee masks it.
1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
1/2 cup silken tofu
1 ripe banana (frozen)
1-2 tablespoons sugar or 1 pack sweetener
2 teaspoons instant coffee powder, preferably espresso
2 ice cubes
Ground cinnamon, (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Add more sugar if desired.
Pour it into a cup and sprinkle some cinnamon. You may also garnish it with fresh banana.
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I personally like Jamie Oliver’s style and how simple he talks about cooking. He always makes use of fruits or ingredients that are in season. For this month of love, he chose pomegranates. It is a berry that has the qualities of a citrus fruit as well. So here are some cocktail recipes you can prepare for your loved ones and friends this coming Valentine’s Day.
It is very easy to prepare and the pomegranate gives off a burst of flavor in your mouth. Just make sure you have enough shot glasses for everyone.
Buy a bottle of gin and freeze it.
Next, peel the pomegranates and remove the arils or the purple “capsule like” pulp. Place them in a bowl and refrigerate. It is good to have them ready just in case you want more shots.
After your meal, place some pomegranate in individual shot glasses and fill it up with frozen gin.
Take a shot and enjoy!
Wicked Champagne Cocktail
This recipe makes regular champagne or sparkling wine more interesting. Cheers!
3 or 4 pomegranates
1 bottle of champagne or Prosecco
Caster sugar (optional)
Cut the pomegranates in half and remove the arils. You can also use a spoon to get them out by scooping or by smacking the rind side with a spoon while holding it over a bowl. Once you have the juicy pulp, puree it in a blender or food processor for 5-10 seconds. After, let it pass through a sieve and discard the solid pieces. Taste the pomegranate juice and add sugar if desired.
Pour around 5 mm or 1/4 of a champagne glass with pomegranate juice and then add some wine. Serve immediately.
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Since Valentines is coming up. It would be good to whip up some delicious cocktails for your loved ones. Here are some cocktail recipes you can try. Enjoy!
Sinful Chocolate Martini
1/2 oz Vanilla vodka
1/2 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz Baileys Irish Cream
1/2 oz dark Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 oz Half & Half
Rim the martini glass with powdered chocolate.
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well.
Strain and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
Death by Chocolate Martini
2 scoops Cocolate ice cream
1 oz Chocolate syrup
1 oz Baileys Irish Cream
1 oz Coffee liqueur
1 oz dark Crème de Cacao
1 oz Vodka
Whipped cream for topping
Combine the ice cream, chocolate syrup, chocolate liqueur, Baileys, creme de cacao and vodka in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a stemmed glass or a martini glass. Place a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with a cherry before serving.
Raspberry Chocolate Martini
1/2 oz Raspberry vodka
1/2 oz Kahlua
1/2 oz Creme de Cacao
1/2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
Rim martini glasses with chocolate powder and drizzle chocolate syrup inside it.
Pour in the vodka, Kahlua, Creme de Cacao, chocolate liqueur into a shaker with ice. Shake well.
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