Last night my family had the pleasure of hosting an Asian New Year celebration. My friend Holly, of 504 Main, made homemade fortune cookies containing a collection of thought provoking fortunes, with a few snarky ones thrown in for good measure! My friend Geri brought a wonderful salad loaded with fresh chicken, baby greens, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds and crispy noodles.
I made a "red envelope" for each child using some colorful origami paper (free template and download HERE), enclosed a few coins, and handed them out at the end of the evening.
For the occasion I wanted to serve a cocktail to fit the theme, and came across a few recipes for a drink called a Red Lotus. The recipes I found online for a Red Lotus called for Lychee Liquor. I didn't have the time, or even the desire to spend the day hunting down this specialty liquor, and opted instead to create my own version of the drink that would be delicious both with and without alcohol, and using ingredients found in my local grocery store. The resulting concoction I dubbed "The Red Lotus Martini". The nice thing about this cocktail is that it is not cloyingly sweet. The passion fruit adds a tropical element and some tang, and the lychee fruit and juice adds subtle floral and grapefruit notes.
Red Lotus Punch
(makes one large pitcher)
64 oz. Cranberry Cocktail
1 15 oz. can Lychee Fruit (found in the Asian food section of most markets)
1 1/4 cups Passion Fruit Juice
1/3 cup Grenadine (good quality pomegranate based, rather than high fructose based)
Put all ingredients in a large pitcher, including the fruit & juice from the can of Lychees. Rest in the refrigerator for several hours before serving, to allow time for the flavors to marry.
What is a Lychee?
" Most Americans are only familiar with lychee as an item on the dessert menu at Chinese restaurants. Often erroneously called 'lychee nuts', the fruit is indigenous to China and popular for snacking or desserts. On the tree, the lychee is protected by a bumpy, leathery rind that is inedible. This rind easily comes away from the juicy flesh of the fruit, which is translucent and a pearly white color. It is sweet and crispy, and wonderful to eat fresh. " (source: WiseGeek)
This is an 11 oz. can.
Use the 15oz. for the recipe above
Red Lotus Martini
makes 2 martinis
Slice of lemon & red sugar for garnish
Handful of ice
8 oz. Red Lotus Punch
2 oz. Vodka
1 Lychee fruit on a decorative pick for garnish
Prepare two martini glasses by rubbing the rims with the lemon slice. Then, dunk rim in a shallow dish filled with the red sugar.
In a cocktail shaker, put ice, punch, and vodka. Cover and shake. Pour in to prepared martini glasses and garnish with one of the lychees from the punch and a decorative pick.
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