Thursday, June 13, 2024

San Miguel artist puts her ‘quarantine cocktails’ into a book

Artist Jane Dill’s fun new book, Quarantine Cocktails: 50 Cocktails in 50 Days of Quarantine in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, is exactly what the title says it is. 

“It all started when my husband and I were having a cocktail on our roof deck in early April, talking about how ‘Happy Hour’ was making a comeback all over the world during quarantine,” she recalled. “It seemed to be a fun way for us to mark each day, to delineate between daytime and nighttime, what with all the days endlessly running together.”

Dill posted photos and descriptions of those first cocktails on her Facebook page, and within a week family and friends were clamoring for her to make them into a book. It got to the point where if she hadn’t posted the day’s cocktail by 8 p.m., her phone would be beeping with folks asking what was going on.

She never intended to turn her adult beverage creations into a book; the couple’s regular Happy Hour was just “a way to keep sane.” But without her regular teaching and gallery work, Dill said, “the one thing I had in abundance was time.”

Dill began researching cocktails on the internet, and became particularly intrigued by Prohibition-era mixed drinks like the Sidecar and the Gimlet. She started making a cocktail basic, simple syrup (50/50 sugar and water, cooked down to a syrup consistency), and then infusing it with herbs, chipotle, or jalapeños to add a Mexican flavor to her drinks.

Fifty cocktail recipes inspired by the coronavirus quarantine.
Fifty cocktail recipes inspired by the coronavirus quarantine.

“We began on April 7 and ended on May 26,” she said. Her nightly posts of new cocktails were shared like wildfire. “I don’t even know how many people were enjoying cocktails with me.”

For those who may be leery of learning how to make cocktails at home, Dill has some simple advice.

“This is the antithesis of mixology bibles, fancy glassware and expensive booze,” she laughed. In fact, all of the drinks in the book are shown in the same two martini glasses, photographed on Dill’s rooftop deck in San Miguel de Allende. “We had just moved and downsized, and just didn’t have a lot of glasses. We’re very informal here!”

As an artist and calligrapher, color is important to her. Although at times she wouldn’t have the ingredients she wanted, like grenadine for a Tequila Sunrise, she figured out that blended frozen raspberries would give her the color and tart flavor she was looking for.

In the Chocohula Covfefe — a play on President Trump’s famous garble — she couldn’t find crème de cacao. On a whim, she used a Magnum chocolate ice cream bar, blending it with the other ingredients. The result was a delicious dessert cocktail, “best eaten with a spoon.”

“The idea is to improvise,” said Dill. “My philosophy of quarantine cocktails is to improvise, re-create and have fun experimenting with different spices, fruits and colors. Toss it in the blender, pour it in a nice glass and knock yourself out.”

This mocktail becomes a cocktail with the addition of vodka, rum or tequila.
This mocktail becomes a cocktail with the addition of vodka, rum or tequila.

Quarantine Cocktails: 50 Cocktails in 50 Days of Quarantine is available on Amazon as a paperback and ebook. If you’re in San Miguel, the book can also be purchased directly from the author and delivered to your door for a small fee. She’ll also ship within Mexico. Fifty percent of the profits from sales of the first 100 books go to a local non-profit, Feed the Hungry. Details can be found on Dill’s website.

All recipes make two cocktails. Feel free to leave out the alcohol for a “mocktail.”

Pina Frambuesa

  • Ice
  • ½ cup fresh pineapple, cut in chunks
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup rum, vodka or tequila

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Chocahulua Covfefe

A delicious dessert cocktail, best eaten with a spoon!

  • Ice
  • 1 cup strong coffee or espresso
  • ½ cup vodka
  • ¼ cup Kahlua
  • Half a vanilla/chocolate Magnum Bar or Dove Bar ice cream (or cocoa powder to taste)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Drunken Guayaba Slushy

Yes, you could use fresh guayabas, but a frozen bolis or paleta (popsicle) from your local tienda works just fine.

  • Ice
  • 1 cup grapefruit juice
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries
  • ¾ cup coconut water
  • 1 guayaba (guava) bolis or popsicle
  • ½ cup vodka, rum or tequila

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Friskey Whiskey

A sweet and sour, hot and boozy combo.

  • Ice
  • ½ cup Jack Daniels whiskey
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. minced jalapeños
  • Splash of orange bitters

Blend all ingredients in blender.

Janet Blaser has been a writer, editor and storyteller her entire life and feels fortunate to be able to write about great food, amazing places, fascinating people and unique events. Her first book, Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats, is available on Amazon. Contact Janet or read her blog at

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