Summer White Sangria


Summer White Sangria

Need:

1 bottle of Grüner Vetliner

1 bottle Sparkeling Apple cider

1 cup White Rum 

1/4 cup Triple Sec

1 1/2 cup Blueberrys

1 1/2 cup Strawberries 

Soda water for topping 

Mix this all together in a larger container and let chill for 2 hours. 

Ladle out over ice and top with a splash of soda water! 

Enjoy

Bourbon Vanilla Milkshakes with Cowboy Bark🌿

 Boozy milkshakes! How is this not a good idea for any sunny Summer weekends, holiday, treat day?!! 

I found the Cowboy Bark at Trader Joes. I poured in 1 1/2 ounces of whiskey but, dark rum would work just fine. Add your ice cream and two or three chunks of bark. Whip cream, chocolate, garnish…enjoy! 

There’s a brew making a pretty big splash lately and, it’s not a beer baby! 

Have you been wondering about this whole cold brew coffe trend? I have and I generally, along with most of you, need caffeine in my day. I picked up a few to see what all the hype was about exactly. I wanted to know. 

What is Cold Brew Coffee? 

Cold brew, or cold water extract, refers to the process of steeping coffee grounds in room temperature or cold water for an extended period. Cold brew coffee is not to be confused with iced coffee, which generally refers to coffee that is brewed hot and then chilled by pouring over or adding ice, though iced coffee can refer to cold brew coffee served on ice.

Now I needed to know. What does cold brew coffee taste like? 

I grabbed a few at the local Met Market including the “everywhere” Stumptown Cold Brew original, the dairy free coconut version from Stumptown as well, High Brew from California and Tony’s Organic chocolate from Smith Brothers Farm. 
The Tonys was creamy, something like chocolate milk with a coffee kick. Same goes for the Stumptown coconut, creamy sweet coffee goodness. I love coconut, and don’t mind the ‘non-dairy’. The High Brew was salted caramel flavor…come on, yes! It was a little more intense and I didn’t get a full grip on the salted caramel flavor. It was a booster for sure though. The Stumptown original packed the most coffee punch, watch out, you can go too far!! All interesting, all pretty darn tasty. I feel like I have fulfilled my curiosity once and for all. And, found a few local companies in the process. 

So, after all this I wondered maybe like you too, can I make my own. Yes, yes you can. If you don’t want to drop thefough all the time and just simply have it on hand it’s fairly painless to try. Here’s the scoop…

Making your own Cold Brew…

Take one cup of beans and grind them. Go for a medium to large grind preferably.  Fresh is best but, store bought works too.

Next: Just add water and stir

Place the grounds in a large mason jar 40 ounces or larger jar or pitcher with airtight lid, and add 4 cups cool water. I have my canning jars lying around for this, easy peesy. Try to use filtered water if possible! And give it a good stir. Make sure and mix the two together well…

Finally: Put the lid on and sit it somewhere out of direct light/sun. And there it will sit at least 6 but, up to 12 hours.

Strain, a French press work great or mesh or fine strainer. You can pour over ice and add cream and simple as that you have made a coffee concentrate. It packs a punch. So, watch out! But, delicious for Summer and I think could be added to all sorts of recipes from baking to drinks! 

That’s it. I feel more knowledgeable and hopefully I have upped your coffee game too. I wanna hear what you think when you try these or making your own! Let me know. Have I missed your favorites? Come on! Share with me!! 

Grapefruit Sunrise…🌿

Well, it’s my birthday tomorrow and although I’m one year older the fun shouldn’t stop should it? I empathically say,no! 

So, I’ve decided to start this year out with a bang. Pink loveliness and 3 of my favorites, Vodka, Sparkeling Rose’ and Grapefruit juice…

Pretty, tasty and memorable…

INGREDIENTS (for 6 servings)

12 ounces of Sparkeling  Rose Brut

12 ounces of grapefruit juice

6 ounces of vodka (I love Titos or Kettle One)

1/2 ounce of mint simple syrup(sugar water with mint leaves infused)


Combine the vodka, grapefruit juice, rose, and simple syrup and shake over ice until chilled, then strain and fill glasses. Garnish with grapefruit rounds and mint. 

Then, let the fun commence! Happy June! 

The Well Stocked Home Bar🌿


 I have been in the hostility business at one point or another, from birth. No, seriously. I really have. Being a great hostess is in my blood. My folks had a fully stocked bar forever ,when they were younger. My high school friends would “Ooo and ahh” over its magnitude. Honestly, I wasn’t interested in it like that,ever. It served a purpose. My parents party guests. And, entertaining is always the most fun when your the one ready for the party, isn’t it?  And, hopefully always for the right party guests! But, we will save that topic for another time though. Being stocked sure makes it easy to slip into your favorite clothes, put on that perfect playlist and get to visiting with your company, even if it’s just two of you. The record player has changed to a speaker and an iPhone but, keeping it classy never goes out of style, does it? 

Vodka– I’m a fan of Ketel One, Titos is good, Grey Goose is another.

Gin– Tanqeray is a steady standard, Hendricks is a nice herbal variety, Bombay Sapphire is a classic. 

Scotch– Scotch drinkers chime in here. There are all sorts. I don’t partake but, I know this gets serious amongst many. Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie, Glenlivet, any thing with a “Glen” leading seems like a safe bet if your going for very nice. 

Whiskey-I do like a decent Whiskey and will have things like Makers Mark, Knob Creek or Woodford Reserve. 

Rum-Not really as popular as in the past but, don’t forget all those tasty tropical drinks for the Summer always seem to have rum. I’m in love with Old Monk on the rocks sometimes, and Diplomatico a Venezulan Rum that is so yummy but, hard to find, then it tails out for me on preference. There’s always just Bacardi.

Dry Vermouth-for Martinis 

Sweet Vermouth-for Manhattans

Bourbon-Bulleit Bourbon is tasty, Old Weller is another.

Tequila– Is making a huge boutique come back. Gone are the days of the not so spectacular, cheap tequilas. And, tequila bars are popping up all over the place. The variations are vast but, Herradurra, Patron, and Hornitos, I think are solid choices. 

This gets us down to the mixers and garnishes: 

Roses lime juice

Triple Sec-margaritas among other things

Club Soda-buy the cans and stash these. They keep forever and you don’t have to open up a huge bottle that just gets wasted anyway. 

Tonic Water-same goes here

Tomato Juice-again small cans, less waste. 

Bitters-an easy addition also, great for stomach aches with soda water. Thought I would throw that in, in case you didn’t know that one. 

Grenadine 

Cocktail Olives 

Cocktail Onions– there’s a brand called McSweets around my neck of the woods that are great in Martinis for a Gibson 

Olive Juice– my friends are into dirty Martinis. It keeps in the fridge. There’s never enough in that silly little jar packed with olives, is there. Who knows about this besides me? 

Lemons and Limes

Juices-Are best fresh, I love breaking out the juicer and a giant bag of grapefruits, or oranges. There’s nothing better then  fresh squeezed juice in a drink. But, watch your time and the mess. This is something best the day before or the morning of…

And then, you need a shaker, stirrer, strainer and some straws. 

A stocked bar is an investment but, think about piece mealing together over time. I have a few friends that do this, even in their small spaces. Some, even ambitiously make their own bitters and shrubs…I did say ambitiously though. It’s a fun foodie hobbie for me and my restaurant friends. But, the store has some great choices nowadays for just about everything if you don’t want the hassle. 

Think about a fun bar cart or cabinet to dedicate space for this and keep stock of what comes and goes. This is a fun way to also display some of the fancier things like glasses and a cocktail set, metal straws and napkins as you add things to your collection. 

And, it’s easy to stock up as long as your not drinking it faster than you can buy it. Now, I encourage responsibility always. It doesn’t go bad people. It’s great to have the basics (I know not everyone will think they need everything here, modify if you must). Here’s some necessary items I think to keep on hand to meet everyone’s want and needs and for letting the festivities go off without a hitch. Of course, when it’s not BYOB (love that too) darlings. Cheers! 🌿

   
Sonya Law

Bar Photo credit: Lula and Georgia

Mini Margaritas and Stuffed Bell Pepper Party🌵

 My parents owned a Mexican restaurant for 30 years. So, I sit around a lot thinking about things like margaritas, nachos and tacos. I can’t help it…

You know those adorable Patron nipper bottles? Ready to put those to fun things to use and have a fantastic, little,  Mexican themed party? A party complete with a mini stuffed pepper recipe and more. It’s super simple. And,  I thought so! 

First,drinks! Every great host or hostess starts with the best stuff first. Ever heard of these unusually flavored margaritas? Well, you have now! They are amazing.  Cucumber/jalapeño is fresh and spicy, chipotle/grapefruit-tart with a kick, grapefruit and limes are in season now. I save my lavender from the summer so, lavender/lime will knock “the girls” out of the water! Gorgeous, floral and tart. If you ever wonder about deep Mexico, mezcal reminds me of my trip to Oaxaca. Wow, that was a doozy. Smokey and gritty. Just like that trip. There’s just something cool about it though. 

What are you waiting for? This stuff is so great! Don’t be scared to switch it up, for petes sake. Blow your guests away already with these ideas. 

DRINKS…

CUCUMBER JALAPEÑO MARGARITA

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup white tequila

1/4 cup orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier

1/4 cup simple syrup, or more as needed

2 slices cucumber, diced

1 jalapeno, halved lengthwise

Ice, for serving

Salt for glass rims, optional

DIRECTIONS

For the rim: Serve with salt-rimmed Patron bottles or glasses. 

For the margarita: Mix together the lime juice, tequila, orange liqueur, simple syrup, cucumber and jalapenos in a large pitcher. Chill for at least 1 hour (the longer the margarita sits, the more the cucumber and jalapeno flavors infuse into the drink).

Garnish inside the bottles with diced cucumber. Or a cucumber wheel on the side of the glass. 


CHIPOTLE GRAPEFRUIT MARGARITA 

CHIPOTLE SALT:

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

MARGARITA:

2 ounces fresh grapefruit juice

2 ounces silver tequila

1 ounce orange liqueur

1 small pinch chipotle powder

2 grapefruit wedges


DIRECTIONS 

For the chipotle salt: Mix together the salt and chipotle powder on a plate.
For the margarita: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the grapefruit juice, tequila, orange liqueur and chipotle powder. Cover and shake until mixed and chilled, about 30 seconds. (In general, the drink is ready by the time the shaker mists up.)

Moisten the rim of the bottles or a glass with one of the grapefruit wedges and press the rim into the chipotle salt. Strain the margarita into the prepared bottle/glass and garnish with small dices of lime or a grapefruit wedge on the side of the glass. 


LAVENDER LIME MARGARITA 

2 oz. silver tequila

1/2 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. lavender simple syrup

1/2 lime

sugar

dried lavender

DIRECTIONS 

*Prepare basic simple syrup (sugar and water mixture). Then, while heating add in dried lavender. Strain to remove lavender then add to your drinks. 

For the rim: On a plate, mix the sugar and dried lavender and use it to rim the outside of the bottle or a rocks glass. 

For the margarita: In a shaker, combine 2 oz. silver tequila, 1/2 oz. Cointreau, 1 oz. simple syrup and the juice of half a lime and let sit with ice to chill. 

Shake and strain the contents of the strainer into the bottles or glasses. Drop dices of lime in for garnish in or a lime wheel on the side of the glass. 
MEZCAL MARGARITA 

2 ounces tequila 

1-ounce Triple Sec

1-ounce fresh lime juice

3/4 teaspoon simple syrup

Ice cubes

1/2-ounce mezcal (I recommend Mezcales de Leyenda)

DIRECTIONS 

For the rim: Lime and salt on your Patron bottles. Garnish inside the bottles with diced lime. Or a lime wedge on the side of the glass. The chipotle rim can be used on this one, as well. It’s tasty if you love some spice. 

For the margarita: Place tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and shake until combined. Pour in the bottles or on the rocks in a glass and pour a float of mezcal on top of either preparation; do not stir the mezcal into the drink, as it should “float” on top of the rocks glass and in the bottles. 

Pull out the straws and start the party. Now, ready to get your “fast” food on? 

FOOD…

STUFFED MINI PEPPERS

1 avocado, finely chopped

3/4 cup rinsed canned organic

 black beans

1/2 cup organic frozen corn, thawed or organic canned corn

1/2 cup  Chunky Salsa/Pico de Gallo

1 lb. assorted sweet mini peppers, cut lengthwise in half, seeded

1 cup grated cheese (I use yogurt cheese slices and throw those in the food processor for my lactose intolerance) 

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

LET’S DO THIS…

Heat your broiler up on low 

Mix avocado, black beans, corn and salsa together. The flavor is in the salsa so, get your favorite. 

Stuff your peppers with your mixture. Top with cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes depending on your oven. Plate and top with fresh cilantro for color.

For a spicy version add some Tapatio to your stuffing mixture or get a hotter salsa. 

So, not only is this fast and easy for friends and say a girls gathering, football party (Go Hawks!), or afternoon snack even. And, guess what? They are only about 40 or 50 calories each. 

OTHER STUFF…

Use your stuffing for mini or regular tacos too, by cutting out the centers for tacos for the littles and pinning them shut with a tooth pick. Or, serving up regular ones and garnishing with fresh cheese and sour cream. Those are crazy easy and FAST! I’m sure I don’t need to give anyone a huge run down on tacos. It’s been done. 

Speaking of fast, you could layer everything into little cups and make a layered dip out of those left over ingredients for another, stunningly,  quick pre-prepped treat. Just grab and go!!! 

Speaking of simple,pinto beans and delicious salsa in a crockpot on low is an outstandingly, insanely simple trick, my mom pulled off all the time with her signature salsa. A can and container on low an hour before is about as big a no-brainer as it can get. I serve organic chips and guacamole. Pickled, spicy jalapeño, carrot and onion is the trick of an authentic twist. 

Throw in some Mexican beer. Throw on Buena Vista Social Club for some tunes with your favorite colored tunic, jeans, flats. Throw a flower in your hair and welcome to maybe one of the simplest parties you have ever pulled off! 

De nada

IT’S TIME TO CELEBRATE! WHAT ARE WE DRINKING?

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Are you ready for delicious, warm libations for this holiday season? It’s always fun to have something special in mind, for friends to try or just something as a new tradition. Here are some fun classic cocktails but, maybe new to you, that are guaranteed to warm the body and spirit. And, make for easy and memorable entertaining. Cheers!

CIDER OLD FASHIONED

1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 orange slice
1/2 teaspoon grenadine syrup
5 dashes Angostura bitters
1 1/2 ounces brandy
1 1/2 ounces apple cider
Ginger ale
Apple slices, brandied cherries, and crystallized ginger, for garnish

1.) Combine brown sugar, orange slice, grenadine, and bitters in an Old Fashioned (or similarly sized) glass. Muddle until brown sugar is mostly dissolved.

2.) Add a handful of ice cubes, then add the brandy and apple cider. Top off with ginger ale. Garnish with an apple slice and/or a skewer of brandied cherries and crystallized ginger if desired.

 

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MAPLE WHISKEY CIDER

5 cups apple cider

2 shots maple flavored whiskey

2 shots apple liqueur

4 cinnamon sticks

1/2 an apple (sliced)

1/2 cup orange juice

Serves 2.

BLACK VELVET

Guinness and Champagne

1 bottle Brut Champange

1 can of Guinness

Fill the bottom of the champagne glass with Guinness slowly with no foam, about half way.

Use a large spoon facing down and slowly fill the rest with a slightly yeasty, sweeter Champagne.

Serves 2-4

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IRISH COFFEE

Heat a stemmed whiskey goblet

Pour in one jigger of Irish Whiskey

3 cubes of sugar

Fill goblet to within 1 inch of brim with instant coffee.

Stir to dissolve sugar

Top with slightly aerated whipped cream, so that the cream floats on top.

IRISH CREAM COFFEE
1 12-oz. wine glass

Preheated Instant Coffee

1-1/2 shot Bailey’s Original Irish Cream

1/4 c. heavy cream  (whipped until stiff peaks form)

Ground cinnamon (optional)
Pour hot coffee into the heated glass

Add the Bailey’s and stir well to blend

Top with a mound of whipped cream

Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.