balls vodka drinks

Weekend Libations: Pineapple Mint & Balls Vodka

Saturday, June 13, 2015 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

Yea, you read that right - this weekend libations column comes to you courtesy of Balls Vodka. Yep, they went there. A brand with such a badass name made me think the product was going to be just a harsh. Boy, was I wrong. It's a smooth style vodka that has a hint of vanilla in it. Yes, really! I know, I tasted it too.

Usually, when it comes to my experience with Vodka, I think of all the crazy amazing Russian and Polish weddings I've been to. The vodka was good, the vodka was strong, but the vodka tasted like burning snake poison going down my throat. Nope, not Balls. Makes sense that they'd put a swaggerlicious pinup babe on the front of the bottle. Nope, not to deter you from the taste, but rather to hint at the sweetness that is inside. Take my pun for what you will.

Balls vodka is American-made vodka, distilled four times and bottled in New York. Not only is this bottle a fierce 80-proof, but fun for everyone as it’s corn-fed. That means its perfect for all your gluten free friends and yes, it's only 100 calories. So, not too shabby. It's a smooth liquor and is an amazing base for a summer cocktail. So, to celebrate the Chicago summer and my Caribbean roots, I thought I would serve up a Pineapple Mint Vodka recipe.

The vodka with a hint of vanilla, mixed with the sweet citrus pineapple and topped off with mint is an amazingly refreshing summer cocktail to sip poolside or even at a rooftop BBQ. I may have the Chicago hi-rises in my eyesight as I'm enjoying this tasty number, but when I close my eyes I can feel that Puerto Rico ocean breeze and see those palm trees. Be warned though, when it tastes like your drinking juice, you may end up drinking more than you planned. So, keep a glass of water nearby and make sure to eat if your out in the sun!

Here is the recipe - yields about 6 cocktails

1 small pineapple OR (canned/precut pineapple if nobody got time to cut a pineapple)
4 sprigs mint
3 limes, quartered
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups vodka
2 limes, juiced
1 Liter of Schwepps (seltzer water)
Crushed Ice
Mint and pineapple for garnish

Core and trim the pineapple. Cut 3 thin slices, then cut them in half and save them for your garnish. Cut the rest into chunks. Blend them in your blender for a few minutes until frothy and smooth and then strain to remove any lumps. 1 small pineapple should give you about 2 cups of juice. As mentioned above, if you don't have access to fresh pineapple, canned or pre-cut will do just fine. Less work for you. Work smarter, not harder.

In a wide-mouthed pitcher or a mixing bowl, muddle the mint and quartered limes with sugar. All you want to do is  break up limes and mint and dissolve the sugar into a pulp. If you don't have an actual muddler, just use a spoon.  Add 2 cups of fresh pineapple juice, juice of 2 more limes, and the vodka.

To add some class, fill some lowball glasses with ice. Fill the glass about halfway with your vodka-lime-pineapple juice and then fill the rest with seltzer. Make the drink pretty with a slice of pineapple and a few extra mint leaves. Give it a taste and add additional vodka if necessary.

Enjoy responsibly!!
Jen Lezan - Editor in Chief

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